Monday, January 30, 2012

Clash of the Titans

In an epic final, Novak Djokovic scraped past Rafael Nadal in a 5-set marathon that lasted almost 6 hours. Novak returned to his dominating ways after a lackluster fall-to-winter season (by his standards) and beat Rafa for the 7th (*gasp*) time in a row. This loss definitely stings but I am pleased that Rafa seemed to take a lot of positives in it. In Wimbledon, Rafa seemed to lose his ability to fight, apart from the 3rd set. In the US Open, he fought as hard as he could but mental demons still seemed to creep into his game in the form of a horrifically bad serve.

In the Australian Open, however, Rafa inched closer to figuring out Novak. He was down 2 sets to 1 and had three breakpoints in a row against his serve that could have left Novak serving for the match but he fought through that in spectacular fashion to win the game. In the 4th set tiebreak, he was down 3-5 before rallying to take the game and the set and even things up in the match. I had high hopes as he was a break up in the 5th set, but Novak just willed himself to the title. Hopefully, Rafa really did take a lot of positives from that loss (and wasn't just saying it in the interviews) and builds on it as the clay season comes in.

Nadal now holds the distinction of being the only male player in the open era to lose 3 Grand Slam finals in a row, but it also means he has made it to the finals of the last 4 Grand Slam events. As such, Rafa clearly stamps his authority over the rest of the field. Here's hoping he can finally find a way to beat Novak Djokovic the next time they play against each other.


That semifinal win against Roger Federer featured some spectacular shot-making. None moreso than this gem of a crosscourt forehand pass. Amazing!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A day without coffee

I am known by the people around me as someone who gets more than his fair share of coffee each day. So when I realized in the late afternoon that I hadn't had my coffee fix yet and I still didn't feel like I needed a jolt of energy, I told myself I would refrain from getting a cup of my favorite for the entire day. As I hit the sack in the evening, I managed for the first time in a really long while to to get through my first day with no coffee at all. Cool! Does this mean I'm not really addicted to it? LOL. Who knows.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

I'll see you at Wembley

What a 1-2 knockout punch! Liverpool FC knock Manchester City out of the Carling Cup, booking a finals spot against Cardiff in Wembley, then promptly eliminates Manchester United from the FA Cup shortly after. With Liverpool still hovering over 6th and 7th place in the Barclays Premiere League, it's pretty good that they beat the current top two teams. Now if they could only channel their Cup winning ways and translate it to victories in the league...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

2121212 goes round-the-clock

I recently placed an delivery order with Quick Delivery 2121212. While waiting for someone to take my order, I heard the recording indicate that they were in a soft-launch of their 24-hour service. With my late night work shift, I tend to get hungry late at night sometimes with no food at home so I thought that I'd try it out the next time the opportunity presented itself. It did, just a few nights later. I got hungry past midnight and decided to call 2121212. There were four options at the time; I can't recall what they were but Uncle Moe's was one of them. The minimum order was P300 so I got beef kebabs and a moussaka melt. (I ate the kebabs as soon as they arrived and kept the moussaka melt in the fridge, for microwaving the next day.)

I got hungry again late one night and decided to go for Uncle Moe's again. But unfortunately, the minimum order had increased to P500. More 24-hour options were available (although technically Uncle Moe's is open only until about 4am I think) but all of them had minimum orders of P500. I ended up passing on it that time since I would've ended up getting 3 meals to meet the P500 minimum and I didn't feel like storing a couple of meals in the fridge. However, having a 24-hour delivery service that is not McDonald's is pretty good and I'm sure I will be making use of this service again in the near future.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A good use of the Wimbledon trophy? :)

Check out this old video of Barilla, starring Steffi Graf. Not sure how well the Wimbledon organization took this ad, but I think it's brilliant. :)

video uploaded in youtube by ravencheetah

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fortune cookie

I opened a Chinese New Year fortune cookie earlier this evening. It said: "In choosing who to help, choose all. Love helps those who may never return the favor." Interesting fortune haha. Then again, I guess my involvement in Corporate Social Responsibility already meets this.


So apparently, while fortune cookies are regularly served after a meal in Chinese - or American Chinese - restaurants, they do not originate from China. (I should have known this as they are not served in Chinese restaurants here.) It seems that fortune cookies are based on a Japanese cracker and the whole tradition started in California. Go figure.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Small Screen

I normally have the TV on at home. Even if I'm working on my laptop, I tend to keep it on since it kind of makes my room feel alive, even in the dead of night. As such, I tend to get to see a lot of TV shows. Recently, I've sort of discovered a few new shows. Or, well, new to me, as they have all been on for a while now. One of them is 'The Good Wife'. I know it stars Julianna Margulies (who I watched a lot of back when she was still on E.R.). The premise of the show is that Juliana's character, Alicia, returns to her old job as a lawyer after her husband, a former Cook County state's attorney, is jailed following a very public sex and corruption scandal. I am watching season 2 so none of the storyline revolves around Alicia's ex-husband anymore, but I do find the cases quite compelling.

I'm definitely a sucker for courtroom dramas, as proven by the fact that I'm also sort of watching another legal drama (or more like a dramedy), 'Drop Dead Diva'. Interesting premise, this one. The lead character apparently died but somehow it wasn't her time yet so she was brought back to earth, but in the body of a different person, a lawyer. Now she lives someone else's life, trying to do good while she also tries to tie the loose ends in her own past life. Pretty interesting premise for a show, and it definitely makes me interested to find out how this will all end.

Half-hour comedies are always a good way to relax and they are pretty easy to watch. Some shows in my radar now are 'Community' and 'Man Up', 'New Girl', 'Friends with Benefits', and 'Two broke girls' on ETC. My friend Lala actually recommended Community to me before. According to wikipedia, this show will 'go on an extended hiatus during NBC's midseason schedule, but will return at an undetermined time with all remaining episodes of the season airing.' Hopefully it gets renewed for a 4th season.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

AI rewind: Anwar Robinson sings 'What a wonderful world'

I don't really follow American Idol anymore. I still get to watch it, or parts of it, but I don't follow it regularly or rush home to catch it anymore. Seeing some of the latest bits of pieces of season 11 made me feel like digging up some of my favorite performances on the show ever. This is one of them.

video uploaded in youtube by user lundymicron

To this day, 11 seasons in and more than a hundred finalists, and I still think Anwar has one of the cleanest, purest voices in Idol history. He released an album early last year. I should check it out.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I bought this little Sudoku booklet from a friend a while back (it was for a charity fund-raising thing). I tried the first puzzle, didn't get it right, and decided sudoku wasn't my thing. Until now. I was determined to get the second puzzle right. And I did! I think I got the hang of it now and I've gone through about half the booklet already. Good pastime to have. Helps keep my mind sharp. I think. :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Meryl Streep wins a Golden Globe!

Congratulations to Meryl Streep for winning Best Actress in a Drama in the recently concluded Golden Globe Awards.

This win puts Meryl in a good position coming into the Oscars. It also adds to the records she already has of being the most-nominated performer for a Golden Globe Award (with 26 nominations) and having won the most Golden Globes (excluding special awards) with 8.

Monday, January 16, 2012

'Paradise' by Coldplay

Not sure what the video means but I absolutely love this song. Methinks I need to get the latest Coldplay CD...

uploaded in youtube by user ColdplayVEVO

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Party weekend

Jesse took a job offer in Singapore. So since she didn't have a lot of time left in Manila, the gang decided to meet up one more time. The initial Friday night dinner plans in the Greenbelt area got nixed and, as suggested by Tim, we opted for a karaoke night in Music Match in Ortigas Home Depot instead. Jesse, Mari, and I were the first three to arrive and it took everyone else at least an hour more to get there. So the three of us kicked things off with slow, emo songs LOL. The tempo of our song choices slowly picked up as more people came in, and by the time the gang was complete, we were hitting songs like Super Bass, Party Rock Anthem, Club can't handle me, and Firework. Of course, you can't enjoy a karaoke nowadays without a couple of Adele songs in there. I also got to try the San Mig Lemon and Apple for the first time (I prefer the apple one).

The next day, I get a text from my Norwegian friend Svein who is based in Singapore but was in Manila for the weekend and got a table in Republiq that night. He asked me if I wanted to join him and his friends and since I missed meeting up with him the last time he was in Manila, I agreed to join him there. A couple of first that night: first time in Republiq on a Saturday night, and first time I had a seated table there (Svein very generously covered the entire cost of the table). We didn't really drink a lot - there were 5 of us and we just downed a 1L bottle of vodka so we were closer to sober by the end of the night haha. I guess it's good to end a Saturday night out not being smashed coz it makes Sunday a lot more comfortable. :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

It's more fun in the Philippines

Recently, a website called 'It's more fun in the Philippines' was launched. It's an interesting, if not controversial, tourism marketing campaign. My friend says its dangerous to say 'more fun in the Philippines' because it automatically raises comparisons with other countries, and this could be counter-productive.

However, I do think that it is precisely that conversation of whether it really is more fun here that will somehow help us. When most people from Western countries talk about places to go in Asia or South-East Asia, the Philippines doesn't normally make it their shortlist. The buzz generated by this slogan somehow puts us in the radar. As they say, bad publicity is good publicity.

The website still doesn't have that much content so I am hoping the owners of this website continue to build it and add more useful information. It would certainly be great if more people start visiting the country and start feeling that, while a lot of things need improvement, you really can have more fun in the Philippines.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

7 Wonders

My friend Mike is a big fan of board games, or more specifically, board games that involve strategy. He's introduced me to games like Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan, and Agricola. Even more recently, he introduced me to 7 Wonders.

As with most other strategy games, the objective of 7 Wonders is to end up with the most points. Points can be earned through a variety of ways, from building the different sections of your wonder or from the points provided in the cards you have. Earning points differs per card type, as some cards provide automatic points while others are based on other factors, such as the cards that adjacent players have or how many sections of their wonder they build or even from military tactics. It sounds slightly complicated but it's actually easy enough to understand.

Playing it well, though, takes some effort, and it took me a while to get the hang of things. One really important thing is to pay attention to what other people are doing and building to make sure you are employing the right strategy to maximize your points. The great thing about this game though is that unlike other strategy board games which usually take a couple of hours to complete, it takes about 20-30 minutes to complete one full game of 7 Wonders. As such, I got to play around 5-6 rounds of it before we called it a night.


While we are on the topic of 7 Wonders, I am happy that the Underground River in Puerto Princesa, Palawan is now possibly among the new 7 Wonders of the Natural World. The initial announcement was made back in November, and while the Swiss foundation has warned that this is still provisional and changes may still be made before announcements are finalized early this year, I am hoping that this strengthens tourism in the country.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Just Dance 3: Boogie Wonderland on Wii

I mentioned in my 2011 Year in Review post that one of my new experiences last year was playing 'Just Dance' on Wii. More specifically, it was Just Dance 3. My favorite dance in this game is 'Boogie Wonderland'. Part because of the song, part because it involves four people, and part because the moves are so cheesy that it makes the dance so much fun. :) Check it out:

video uploaded in youtube by rct1234fan

I was the guy in purple when I danced this. :)

Sunday, January 08, 2012

50 years

It's wonderful to be witness to a beautiful love that lasts. My grand-uncle Albert and grand-aunt Isabel celebrated their 50th anniversary and my family joined them and our other relatives in Century Park Hotel in Manila.

The evening didn't start out all that great in that the wedding anniversary of Uncle Albert and Auntie Isabel coincided with a football game between the Azkals and CF Madrid in Rizal Coliseum, which is right next to Century Park Hotel. As such, it was incredibly tough to find parking. I could have availed of the valet service but the automatic lock of my car wasn't working so I was afraid to leave it with a valet who may end up not locking my car properly. In any case, I finally found a parking spot after nearly an hour of going around.

It turned out to be a really enjoyable anniversary celebration. Auntie Isabel and Uncle Albert's children and grandchildren put together a fun-filled program that even had them singing (and playing musical instruments) and dancing to choreography! Afterward, the dance party started. I was out til 5am the night before and I think the difficulty I had parking earlier in the evening sapped me of my energy so I sat it out and just enjoyed coffee and dessert (and then I complain about my weight...) but everyone else hit the dance floor. What started out as ballroom dancing turned into free-style when the band started playing current songs like JLo's 'On the floor' and Taio Cruz's 'Dynamite'. My nephew even stole the show when he started dancing to Maroon 5's 'Moves like Jagger'!

With my grandfather passing away just a few weeks before, it was good for my family to get out and enjoy the company of our relatives in a happier setting. I hope that Uncle Albert and Auntie Isabel have several more wonderful and love-filled years together.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

United States of Pop: World Go Boom!

Top hits of 2011 in a DJ Earworm mash-up.

video uploaded in youtube by djearworm


I prefer his 2009 mash-up Blame it on the Pop - I guess the top hits that year sounded better together - but this is still pretty good.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

2011 Year in Review

Before I get fully immersed in 2012, let's take a quick look back at some highlights of 2011.

I am thankful I once again had several opportunities to travel. Here are the places I got to visit in the last year:


South Korea
Plus my food trip in Tagaytay that I still have to blog about.

2011 has also been a year of loss. I lost my grandfather, Tatay, shortly before Christmas. Back in August, I lost Mama Guading, who was my family's maid for 55 years. I also lost Uncle Vie (my lola's sister but we still call him Uncle), Tito Chito, and Tita Renee.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
The CSR Initiative that I lead at work continues to thrive with 18 company-wide projects executed and 4 performed in my department. Amazing! Some key projects:

International Coastal Cleanup Day
Tree planting
Amazing Race for kids

We also kicked off a program to reduce the paper cup usage at work and replacing them with reusable mugs. We also ran a fund-raising project that generated enough money to provide a full scholarship to a deserving student.

I also attended two weddings, both of which I had some kind of participation in. During Celine's wedding, I sang 'Bless the broken road'. In Tim and Steph's wedding, I choreographed a dance number performed by the couple and their entourage.

I didn't get to perform in a lot of company events this year because I couldn't commit to the rehearsal schedules, but my office bandmates still slotted me in for a few singing engagements. Looking back, all the songs I performed were quite difficult to sing. Not sure if I did them any justice but I'm glad I got to perform A-Ha's 'Take on me', Queen's 'Don't stop me now', Stevie Wonder's 'Superstition', Lenny Kravitz's 'Are you gonna go my way?', and Journey's 'Don't stop believing'.

Not a lot of experiences for me on this front, but I am happy I got to see Don Quixote and Varekai while it was on its limited run here in Manila. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that more Cirque du Soleil shows find their way to this part of the world.

Apart from lots of time spent with family and friends, I also got to play a few new games: Just Dance on Wii, Go Go Balls, Monopoly Deal, and Agricola.

New stuff
Probably the biggest new thing for me last year was my introduction to, and high usage of, online deal sites. By my last count, I've purchased 120 discount vouchers online and I've used almost all of them. Another new experience for me was a food trip in Mercato.

Hopefully 2012 can continue to bring lots of great experiences that I can enjoy with the people I love. :)

Monday, January 02, 2012

Happy New Year!

2012, here we come! :)

video uploaded in youtube by user BBC