Monday, February 28, 2011

Black Swan

Natalie Portman received a whole lot of rave reviews for her performance in "Black Swan" so I wanted to see it. Needless to say, she did not disappoint. And neither did the movie. I know the film plays out in a ballet setting but apart from that I didn't really know what else the story was about. I would never have thought that you could create a very powerful psychological thriller with this classical dance as a backdrop, but "Black Swan" does just that.

Ballerinas move so effortlessly and appear so light on their feet that they can give casual viewers the false impression that what they do is so easy. It's not, and this film does an excellent job of making the audience understand the superhuman physical demands required of ballet dancers. It also showcases the intense emotional and psychological strain along with the sacrifice and rejection that they and their loved ones have to go through as they build their careers and attempt to land leading roles. "Black Swan" manages to combine all these ingredients with superb editing, cinematography, and acting to create a thriller that leaves the audience feeling the same sense of paranoia and claustrophobia that Nina, the lead character played by Portman, feels.

I do have to say that Natalie Portman absolutely deserves every accolade and award she received for her role in this film. She actually performed some of the ballet moves herself (a dance double performed the more difficult routines), and just for that degree of difficulty, she merits an Oscar. But it is her emotionally intense, textured, and ultimately believable portrayal of a troubled ballet dancer that makes this an absolute master class. She successfully and effectively combines vulnerability with ruthlessness, repression with desire, calculation with compulsion, and perfection with self-destruction. Nina's closing line, "I felt it - Perfect - I was perfect", applies just as easily to Portman herself.

"Black Swan" has truly dark and ominous themes that make this movie disturbing yet powerful. While it doesn't make for easy viewing, it is a truly amazing film - one of the best I have seen in recent years - and is definitely worth watching.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Another birthday in Adarna

Last year, I took my family to Adarna Food and Culture to celebrate my birthday and everyone really enjoyed the food and the ambience. So to celebrate my brother's birthday, we decided to have lunch here again.

The restaurant, owned by Beth Angsioco and Giney Villar, offers customers incredibly delicious Filipino food with a bit of a twist, so you can be sure that the menu items here are unique. To complete the wonderful dining experience, the ambience is Filipiniana, from the furniture and decor,

to the table settings,

to the interesting memorabilia that you can find all around the restaurant.

Our reservation was at 12:30pm and I got there before everyone else to make sure the food was ready by the time my family arrived. I wanted to take photos of the food but I forgot to bring my camera so I had to settle once again for my phone cam (hence the poor quality). I will say that my pics don't do the food justice at all. Among the items I ordered are the Pancit Molo (P140), Minanok na Talong (P155), Grilled Pork Chop with Salsa Monja (P185), Pancit 1913 (P295), Sinanglay na Tilapia (P185), and Batanes Yellow Rice (P150):

One of my favorite dishes here is the Piassok (P335), an exotic Sulu dish of beef chunks cooked slowly in smoked coconut cream and ten spices until tender. The beef is tender and the sauce is exquisitely rich without being overpowering. I can't get enough of it!

My family loves shrimps, so we got two shrimp dishes: Rellenong Sugpo (P280), prawns stuffed with pork, shrimp, and vegetables rolled in butter and fried to a golden brown, and Camaron Rebosado (P366), deep-fried shrimp which is perfect for kids. Both dishes are served with what I think is an olive oil-based sweet and sour sauce. We also ordered the Adobong Batangas ala Adarna (P240), which is a brilliantly flavored version of the classic Pinoy dish.

From front to back: Adobong Batangas ala Adarna, Camaron Rebosado, and Rellenong Sugpo.

For dessert, my nephews had ice cream while for everyone else I ordered the Platanillos con Mangga (P165), Adarna's version of the mango crepe. I also got three cups of Batangas Brewed Barako (P165) and Rico Tsokolate (P100), a rich Batangas hot chocolate drink. My grandparents initially said they were stuffed but I told them to just try the dessert. As it turned out, both my grandparents loved the Platanillos con Mangga and the Rico Tsokolate, and they managed to consume most of it. Unfortunately, by this time I was enjoying the meal so much that I forgot to take photos. :P

Lunch service ends at 2pm but we extended a bit past that time. My nephews, mom, and brother played Chinese checkers and sungka while my grandfather played some music on the piano.

I had dinner here again a few days later with my high school friends Joyce, Iona (with JP and Aya), and Mitch (with Ferg, Aidan, and Rory) and I must say this is really one of my favorite restaurants. The only drawback is that Adarna doesn't accept credit card payments so you need to make sure you have enough cash with you. Nevertheless, it is excellent value for money and definitely worth visiting over and over again.

Adarna Food and Culture
119 Kalayaan Avenue, Diliman, Q.C.

Telefax: 926-8712
Mobile: 0917-961-8113

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wine, wine, and more wine...

I was thinking of a gift I could give a friend of mine and I decided that a bottle of wine might be a good idea. While looking in Rustan's Supermarket, I noticed there were a lot of inexpensive wines there. Since I'm a big fan of wine - or red wine more, specifically - I told myself that I would get a bottle every so often, especially since there are a lot of choices that won't burn a hole in your pocket.

Some bottles I've tried include Hardy's from Australia (P299), Santa Carolina Premio from Chile (P215), and Two Oceans from South Africa (P345). I enjoyed all three of these. I did try another wine, Pays D'Oc from France I think (P289), but I thought it didn't taste good at all. I also got a bottle of Manta Merlot from Ralph's Wines and Spirits (P350).

I've heard that a glass of wine each day is healthy so I guess it's good practice for me to get a bottle every so often. Then again, maybe not, since I don't stop with just one glass whenever I have wine. :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Three Tenors: Teen Edition

Check out this video of Il Volo singing a modern, upbeat version of the classic "O Sole Mio".

video uploaded in youtube by IlVoloVEVO

These kids are amazing! Their voices are so strong and fully developed despite the fact that their ages range from 15 to 17. They appeared on the popular Italian talent show “Ti Lascio Una Canzone” and won the competition easily. Hearing them perform, I can easily understand why.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Attack of the body... wash?

I have gotten a few bottles of body wash over the last couple of years, usually as Christmas gifts. I realized I had five bottles already but I always felt it was such a hassle to use. That is, until my friend told me that I should use a luffa sponge. When he told me that, I was like, that is so obvious, why didn't I think of that before? LOL So one day during the Christmas break last year, I headed to Body Shop to look for luffa. I ended up getting what apparently is called a bath lily haha. This is what it looks like:

Photo from the Body Shop USA website.

Over the last few months, I've been using my bath lily with my body washes. I've finally consumed one of the five and I've almost fully used up the second one. I reckon I might be able to get to the end of the year before I use up the remaining bottles I have. Cool. At least I get to save on soap. :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Don Quixote in CCP

Ballet Philippines staged 'Don Quixote' in the CCP Main Theatre. My mom wanted to see it and asked my if I wanted to join her. I thought a shot of culture would be good LOL and I have always been impressed with ballet dancers so I decided to watch it too.

The night started off poorly though in that we didn't realize it coincided with Taylor Swift's concert in MOA. Don Quixote was scheduled to start at 8pm and we left Makati at around 6:40pm. That would normally give us more than enough time to get to CCP and even have some food before the show started, but the hordes of people heading to MOA caused major traffic in the metro. We got to the main theater at around 8:10pm and I was really worried that they wouldn't let us in until the second act but thankfully that wasn't the case. As it turns out, dozens of other people were also late - a lot of them arriving up to several minutes after we did - so we missed just a few minutes but still got to see most of the first act.

Thankfully, it was only a few minutes that we missed. As I entered the theater, I was greeted by a brilliant set filled with dancers dressed in vibrant, striking colors. What is truly amazing about ballet dancers is their supreme ability to appear so light and effortless on stage despite the fact that what they do takes incredible strength and effort; how those women manage to dance en pointe is beyond me! The ballet is an interpretation of the novel by Miguel De Cervantes, and its lead characters are the young lovers Kitri and Basilio. Don Quixote and his sidekick Sancho Panza are supporting roles (in fact, these two characters don't dance at all). The final grand pas de deux of the two lead characters is utterly spectacular and after seeing it, I can understand why it is one of the most popular duets in ballet history.

One of the reasons why my mom wanted to see this ballet was because it was headlined by Candice Adea, who recently brought pride to the Philippines by winning a silver medal in the 2010 International Ballet Competition. Candice wasn't performing on the night we caught the ballet though. I did think that her alternate, Katherine Trofeo, did a stellar job, together with Jean Marc Cordero who played Basilio. Since my mom didn't get to see Candice Adea perform, I will be checking up on other Ballet Philippines performances. Hopefully I can bring my mom to see another ballet headlined by Candice.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Taxi receipt

I just got my first receipt from a normal taxi cab here in Manila. I think that enabling taxis to issue receipts to their customers is a good development. The downside to this is that taxi fare costs about 30-35% more than it did before. However, I have always felt that taxi drivers earn too little; with a P600-800 and a 24-hour shift every other day (I struggle working 16 hours a day), their take-home pay allows them to just barely scrape by. So I think it's good that taxi drivers have a shot at earning a better living.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fantasia wins a Grammy!

Congratulations to Fantasia for winning a Grammy Award - her first - for best female R&B vocal performance. Adam Lambert and Carrie Underwood were also nominated but Fantasia is the only Idol alumna who won, which is surprising since she seems to have been under the musical radar in recent history. It's quite good to see some good things happen to her now - she is also going to play Mahalia Jackson in a film about the life of the amazing 'Queen of Gospel' - especially after her troubled life that has even led to her suicide attempt a short while back.

Her Grammy was given for the song 'Bittersweet' from her third album. You can check out the song here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day featured the fourth consecutive year that our band club at work organized a harana or serenade service. People could pay us a small fee to serenade someone else, normally at the person's work station (which normally gets their colleagues all excited and wondering who may have made the harana request) or we bring the 'target' to some other place where we won't bother other people who are working. A huge amount of requests came in and we raised quite a lot of money, all of which go to charity.

Bruno Mars' 'Just the way you are' was this year's top song request. It was requested by dozens of people, and I myself had to sing it a whopping 11 times! I'm surprised that I made it through the entire event without losing my voice coz 'Just the way you are' is incredibly tough to sing. And I had to sing several other songs on top of it. Needless to say, I was relieved when it was over haha.

My personal favorite song request was 'Falling in love' by Taio Cruz. I didn't know this song until someone requested it, and while learning it I thought it was a great song. Very difficult to sing though, so it took a lot of effort and practice to perform it. In the end, I was really happy that I discovered a really good song and that I actually got to sing it.

Here's the acoustic version of 'Falling in Love' by Taio Cruz:

video uploaded in youtube by user 34Harnik34

If you wanna check out Taio's original album version, click here.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Singapore: Day 3

A trip to Marina Bay Sands was reserved for our final day in Singapore.

Before making our way to this fairly new hotel in Singapore that was featured in the most recent season of the Amazing Race Asia, we were treated to a lion and dragon dance in the lobby of our hotel during breakfast (this was part of the Chinese New Year celebrations). I went out to take some photos, during which time the lion started throwing fruits and vegetables from its mouth towards the crowd. I caught a ponkan which apparently means I will have good fortune this year. Cool!

Marina Bay Sands has become popular because of the Sands SkyPark at the roof of the hotel which offers amazing views of Singapore.

My nephews even took in the views through a couple of telescopes (it costs $1 to use the telescope for a few minutes).

Hotel guests are allowed to go to the Skypark and swim in the negative edge pools for free. (Note: I think most people call these infinity pools, but I have been told that an infinity pool is one that gives the illusion that it stretches out into a larger body of water. The ones here are more appropriately called negative edge pools since they don't meet the definition of an infinity pool but they do give the impression that they are missing an edge.)

Guests can pay $20 ($14 for kids below 12, $17 for senior citizens) to visit the SkyPark. We can't use the pool, though, and we are allowed to see only a portion of it. We made the most of it by taking lots of photos.

Before heading back to our own hotel (we had a late afternoon flight), we took some photos at the Sands lobby. This being the year of rabbit meant lots of giant rabbit designs all over Singapore, and I took a photo of my grandparents with these golden rabbits.

I guess seeing the Marina Bay Sands pool made my nephews want to go swimming. We had some time to spare (thankfully, our hotel gave us a late check-out time of 2pm) so once we got back to the Royal Plaza on Scotts, my nephews hit the pool for about half an hour.

We got cleaned up and had a late lunch in The Canteen in Shaw Centre (which was right next to our hotel). This restaurant provides a wide variety of Asian and Continental food. A lot of the reviews in the link I provided are quite negative but my family and I thought the food was pretty good and reasonably priced (the service was also decent). We then headed to the airport for our trip back home, but not before buying a few items in the duty free shops at the airport.

This was definitely a wonderful holiday that was made more memorable by the fact that four generations of my family got to visit another country.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Singapore: Day 2

We went to the Singapore Zoo on day 2. Initially we were thinking about going to the Night Safari as well, but we decided against it because we would have to wait 1 1/2 hours between the time the zoo closes at 6pm and the Night Safari opens at 7:30pm. I read that kids don't enjoy the Night safari it as much as the zoo, which has bigger animals and provides several opportunities to interact with some of them so the zoo, it was.

There's a lot to do here, from watching shows to interacting withe the animals during feeding or animal encounters, but some of them go on at the same time so I had to select which ones we had to prioritize. I was hoping for us to get there by 1pm so we could catch the first afternoon feeding trail but we got there at around 2pm. We did catch the tail-end of this trail, which included the white tigers:

and the pygmy hippos.

We managed to catch a couple of interactive feeding sessions, too. The first one was with the giraffe:

and the second was was with kangaroos.

You have to pay extra to feed the animals ($5 per person for the giraffe and $5 per group for the kangaroos) but the proceeds are used for conservation efforts. Speaking of, during our afternoon snack break, CJ asked for some spare change so he could make a donation to the Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund.

Of course, it wasn't all about animal feeding. :) We also got to see a lot of the animals, like zebras, white rhinos, and other big cats. What's great about the Singapore zoo is that a lot of the animals are not kept in traditional cages. Instead, the enclosures are surrounded by thick bushes, so you feel closer and more connected to the animals. I especially love the orangutan area which is actually open and allows the orangutans to roam freely about the zoo.

There are several animal encounters but the one we really wanted to do was the elephant ride. This is done twice a day, from 1:15-2:15pm and from 4:30-5:30pm. Can't recall how much the ride costs ($18 I think) but my mom and nephews got on the elephant. I didn't join them since I had been on one before and I wanted to take photos. My grandparents were told that, for safety reasons, they couldn't get on.

We caught one show - the Splash Safari at 5pm - where we watched Stan the sea lion do a lot of really cool tricks before we left the zoo. The luckiest break for us was that while waiting for the bus that would take us to the MRT station, a different bus called the Orchard Express drove up. It costs $4 for adults and $2 for kids but it goes straight to Orchard and in fact it's second stop is right in front of the Royal Plaza on Scotts! There were only 3 or 4 other people in the bus as we headed back to our hotel so it felt like we rented a private vehicle (with a lot of leg room) for only $20. That was really cool!

My grandparents were tired to they stayed in the hotel room while the rest of us headed out to Suntec City. My mom wanted to visit the Fountain of Wealth, which was listed by the Guiness Book of World Records in 1998 as the biggest fountain in the world.

We got there during the laser and music show but our main purpose of visiting was to gain some good luck by walking around the fountain three times while touching the water at all times. The guard told us that people would be allowed to walk around the fountain at 930pm, so we decided to have some dinner and ice cream first. We were probably the last people who went around the fountain that day.

Our final stop for the night was the Merlion Park. We were told it would take about 20 minutes to get there on foot so we decided to have a nice evening stroll. Along the way, we caught a glimpse of a wonderfully lit Marina Bay Sands.

We went through the Esplanade (brought back memories of F1 back in 2009) By the time we got to the Merlion, my nephews were already really tired so we just took a couple of photos.

One more tourist stop the next day then we head back to the Philippines. More on our last day in the next blog post.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Singapore: Day 1

Universal Studios was our main purpose of traveling to Singapore so headed there on our first day out.

It was a Sunday so we heard mass first. My friends Che and Anna directed me to and where I was able to get info on mass schedules. We caught the 1030am mass in the Church of the Sacred Heart on Tank Road. After the mass, we walked over to the bus station in Dhoby Ghaut and caught a double decker bus to Vivo City.

My nephew CJ loves crab and my family enjoys Chinese food so we had lunch in No Signboard to make sure that our experience would include enjoying some of the dishes Singapore is known for. Chili Crab - a Singapore classic - is too spicy for my family so we had the Ginger and Spring Onion crab instead. We also ordered the Crispy Cereal Prawns (another SG classic), sweet and sour pork, noodles, spring rolls, and yang chow fried rice. It was more than enough for all six of us and cost about SG$150 (or about $25 per person). Which was a pleasant surprise since I was told to expect about SG$50 per person for a meal here.

The main event that day was of course Universal Studios Singapore. My grandmother, mom, and CJ took the Sentosa Express but my grandfather and other nephew Ciera wanted to ride the cable car so they could enjoy the amazing view.

Once we arrived, we were greeted by a lot of characters from Universal studios like Kung Fu Panda,


and Woody Woodpecker.

My nephews didn't fancy the carousel ride in Madagascar so we moved on to Far Far Away for the Shrek-themed attractions.

We got on Enchanted Airways, a mini roller coaster ride that was actually a lot more fun and thrilling than I expected it to be considering its size. We also tried the Shrek 4-D Adventure and the Donkey Live show.

Most of our time in Universal Studios was spent in The Lost World. My nephews wanted to try the Amber Rock Climb. You need to pay an extra fee if you want scale the wall filled with fossil and skeleton designs that double as hand and footholds. Both my nephews enjoyed it so much though that they climbed the wall twice. They actually have the photos and certificates to prove that they got to the top! :)

It was getting dark by the time we finished at the Amber Rock Climb so I didn't have time to get on the Canopy Flyer since it was more important for us to try the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure. Getting splashed and soaked while on a raft that goes through a river ride lined with awesome animatronic dinosaurs is a lot of fun! So much so that as soon as the ride was over, we got on it again. :)

Due to Chinese New Year, operating hours were extended from 7pm to 9pm which gave us an opportunity to get on one more ride in Ancient Egypt.

My mom and my grandparents decided to go shopping for souvenirs since it was almost closing time. Meanwhile, I took my nephews on the Revenge of the Mummy, an indoor roller coaster that plunges its passenger into total darkness. We got a copy of the coaster photo and it was so funny to see my horror-filled face and my eyes shut tight while both my nephews seemed fairly comfortable and even had their eyes open during the ride LOL.

The shops were still open so I went through the shops along Hollywood to get some souvenirs myself. It was already past 9pm so we decided to stay for the fireworks display at 930pm. It was a great way to end the night.

The taxi queue in Vivo City was horrifically long so we decided to just take the MRT - thank God our hotel was just right next to Orchard Station! - and since we all hadn't had dinner yet, we had a really late meal in the 24-hour McDonald's just outside our hotel. Gotta say, the decision to stay at the Royal Plaza on Scotts due to its location was paying off.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Family trip to Singapore

I took my family to Singapore recently. We stayed there for three days and three nights - the initial plan was to do two nights only but based on flight schedules, I felt we needed an extra day to have a more enjoyable trip. I've done a lot of traveling in my life but this is the first time I went to another country with four generations of my family, which is really cool.

Another first for me in this trip was being able to see the inside of the cockpit of our plane. I asked one of the flight attendants if my nephews could check out the cockpit and she said that we could once the plane landed. So upon landing, we waited for everyone to alight from the plane and the flight attendant gave us a few minutes inside the cockpit and allowed us to take a few photos.

I decided to book rooms in the Royal Plaza on Scotts. My friend Me-Ann recommended this hotel because of its free mini-bar and free coffee (Nespresso!!) and its location is perfect (it's a 3-minute walk from the Orchard MRT and has a 24-hour McDonald's and 24-hour Starbucks right outside). Both of my grandparents are more than 80 years old so location was a key consideration when deciding where we would stay. Also, my grandfather doesn't really want to travel anymore - he wanted to bail at the last minute but decided it would be a waste of plane fare and a Universal Studios ticket - so I wanted to make this trip as comfortable as possible. Plus, the cost of the room is very reasonable for a 5-star hotel in Singapore. Here's a photo of our hotel lobby:

With a group like ours, it would be extremely difficult to see more than a couple of sights per day, so we selected just a few places to visit that my entire family could enjoy. Here is what our itinerary looked like:

Day 1 - Universal Studios
Day 2 - Singapore Zoo, Suntec City, and the Merlion
Day 3 - Marina Bay Sands (for the view)

I'll be writing more about our trip in the next few blog posts.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Nadal wins Laureus Sportsman of the Year

The Laureus Awards are like the Oscars of the sporting world. They are given annually to athletes from all sports who achieved excellence and had unparalleled results in their respective fields. Among the awards given out are:
  • Sportsman of the Year
  • Sportswoman of the Year
  • Team of the Year
  • Breakthrough of the Year
  • Comeback of the Year
This year, by winning three of the four major titles in 2010 and becoming the youngest player ever to achieve a career Grand Slam, Rafa Nadal was given the Sportsman of the Year award. Congrats Rafa!!

He was nominated for Sportsman of the year once before - in 2009 for his stellar performance in 2008 (winning the French Open, Wimbledon, and the Olympic gold all in the same year) but lost out to Usain Bolt. He also has one Laureus trophy already, when he won newcomer of the year in 2006, but that obviously doesn't compare to the top prize.

He may have lost in the quarterfinals of the the Australian Open this year (a painful loss because he was on track to win his 4th Grand Slam title before being sidetracked by injury), but it's nice to see his historic 2010 recognized with a Laureus.


While we're at it, congratulations to Novak Djokovic and Kim Clijsters for winning the Australian Open. This is Novak's 2nd slam and 2nd Australian Open crown. Kim has now won 2 Grand Slam titles in a row, and has four overall. Kim's immense success after returning from retirement is truly spectacular. She arguably has better results now than she had in the first incarnation of her career, winning 3 Slams after she returned to the tour (as opposed to her solitary US open before she went into her first "retirement").

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Chelsea signs Fernando Torres

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Liverpool's been having such a horrible season this season that the odds of its stars leaving for other clubs have skyrocketed. So when striker Fernando Torres was signed by Chelsea, it wasn't a surprise. The inevitability didn't take away any of the sting, though. If Torres moved to most other clubs in the Premiership or even to another league, it wouldn't have been as bad. Unfortunately it had to be to one of the four clubs that I would have wanted him to move to the least. I guess Chelsea are a title contender now and Torres wants to win a trophy so it's a logical move. You can't really fault a player for that, but it's not pleasant for the fans of the club he leaves behind.

Even more interesting is the fact that immediately after the transfer, Liverpool and Chelsea, now armed with the Spanish striker, would be facing off. Result? Liverpool 1, Chelsea 0. Brilliant. :)

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


A global wellness campaign was started recently at work, and the Philippines was one of the pilot sites due to the strength of our employee engagement program. To officially kick off this campaign, we organized a big wellness launch. Several booths that catered to different aspects of overall wellness were set up and employees were invited to check everything out.

We organized a program - complete with celebrity host - that had several interesting segments, including a Laughter Yoga portion. I was kinda forced to join it along with about 8 other people because no one else would haha. I have to say it was extremely weird laughing with less than a dozen other folks while the entire audience was looking at us as if we had all just escaped from an insane asylum! Nevertheless, I have tried to incorporate what I learned from it in that whenever I feel stressed, I try to force myself to smile and even laugh. I guess it sort of works. I'm sure it would work a lot more if I commit to it more fully.

The most interesting thing I tried was the physical fitness booth that featured a lot of cardio equipment, some free weights, and the TRX. The program included a contest on who can complete the most atomic push-ups on the TRX. What is an atomic push-up, you ask? Check out this video to see.

video uploaded in youtube by user FitnessAnywhere

Oh man that is not easy, even if the guy in that video makes it look like a piece of cake! I actually tried it once the contest was over and I managed just do a couple. To be fair though, I did several other ab exercises before trying the atomic push-up, including a difficult ab exericse on the TRX followed by a few ab exercises using a medicine ball and then the kettlebell so when I tried the atomic push-up and completed the crunch, my abs really hurt!

Oh, and what is a kettlebell, you ask? Well, check out this video:

video uploaded in youtube by user ElektraKnight

When you look at this exercise, you won't think that it's an ab workout. But try it with a 20kg kettlebell and you will definitely feel the burn in your lower abs. Even a few days after our event exercises and my abs still feel like they are torn LOL. Note to self: lower intensity next time. :)