Sunday, March 31, 2013

Family trip to Singapore and Malaysia

When I found out last year that there was a Legoland in Malaysia, I decided it would be good to bring my family there especially since my nephews are big Lego fans. I asked a couple of my friends about Legoland and they said it would be a better option to stay in Singapore than in Kuala Lumpur because SG is only 1 1/2 hours away from Legoland (including the time you spend in immigration) whereas KL is about 4 hours away.

I figured that if we were going to stay in Singapore, then we may as well visit Universal Studios Singapore again because my other brother who was with us in this trip had never been.

We didn't have a lot of time for this holiday actually. We got there on Friday after lunch and we left on Monday early afternoon. So essentially one day was spent in Legoland and another in Universal Studios, and there wasn't much time to do anything else. It was my brother's first time in Singapore so we decided to stop by the Merlion near the Esplanade on Monday morning before we left.

I'll write in more detail about Legoland and Universal Studios SG in my next couple of posts.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Unforgettable "a diamond is forever" advert

It's effectively simple. It uses strong imagery. And it features beautiful music. This De Beers "A diamond is forever" commercial from back in 1987 remains to this day one of my absolute favorite adverts that 24 years later I still remember it. I recall searching for this video before but not finding it. Thankfully someone made an effort to put it on youtube. Check it out.

video uploaded in youtube by user KnysnaHK2

De Beers did pretty memorable commercials back in the day. One of my first ever blog posts was about another De Beers commercial that featured music by Karl Jenkins. This video clearly made an impact on me because to this day, even before seeing it again, I actually still remember its evocative imagery and music. Note that this advert came out 24 years ago! (I also have to say that the hand of the woman is absolutely beautiful!) When I found this video, I started reading the comments and it's amazing to see how many people actually remember this commercial and that they, like me, have been searching for it for years. It's truly amazing how youtube and the internet can now easily make classic commercials like this available again to everyone in the world.

Monday, March 25, 2013

What a weekend

The weekend started on Friday. My team had an event in Batangas and since we decided to carpool instead of getting a bus, I brought my car. It was a full morning of business and strategy updates and an afternoon filled with pretty cool games. We closed the event with a fun evening program that somehow ended up like a live karaoke party - a few of the musicians kept playing songs and people kept requesting them to play songs and then they would sing along with microphones. "Lowlight" - I bombed on the one song that I performed. I was requested to do Bruno Mars' "Locked out of heaven" which I practiced maybe a couple of times two days before. We even brought the key down half a step to make it easier to sing. I did quite well during rehearsal but maybe all the shouting during the games and the exhaustion of the day left me with pretty weak breath support and I flubbed on multiple notes, especially during the bridge. Probably my worst performance ever. Oh well. It was bound to happen, at one point or another. :)

I drove back early on Saturday and took a nap for a couple of hours at home but I woke up just in time to make it to my nephew CJ's graduation. Can't believe how quickly time flies! We had dinner in Ayala Triangle after the ceremony then we headed to Picasso Boutique Hotel to spend the night. I used the second of my two vouchers for a loft room in this hotel that I got from Deal Grocer. (I have to say that I really like this hotel and I hope they open up another deal for rooms here.) I also brought with me a dozen cupcakes from Sugar Lily Cupcakes and Pastries to help make the graduation celebration even better.

The next day, we all went our separate ways. My brother and CJ went home since CJ wanted to play computer games while I drove mom to Uncle Albert's house for his birthday celebration. I was supposed to join her but my other nephew Ciera said that he wanted to go to the Toonami Inception 13 event in Eastwood. I actually thought it was his friend's party since his friend had given him an invite to the event, but apparently that invite was only to encourage their friends to go. Ciera and I got there in the early afternoon and while it was tremendously hot, it also meant that a scant few people were there at the time so Ciera was able to try everything without having to wait in line too long (some of them twice). By the time we left, there was a pretty sizable crowd and the queues at the different booths were starting to get long.

My mom went to Eastwood just as we were finished then we passed by La Funeraria Paz to pay our respects to my aunt, Tita Ghie, who very sadly passed away late last week. Her children (my cousins) were all there and they shared with us how things happened, very quickly at that. It was kind of good though that Tita Ghie was able to talk to them and tell them how much she loved them before she passed away.

Before heading home, we passed by Fleur De Lys in Tomas Morato to get some Chocolate Florentines. We also passed by Kenny Roger's to get some take out. It was at this point that it started to rain extremely hard. Thankfully our long weekend was done and we were on our way home by then.

I am quite glad that it is Holy Week this week as I will have to work for only three days this week (one down, two to go) before I get four days of rest. I badly need some rest and relaxation time.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Nadal: Three in a Row!

Rafa Nadal wins the BNP Paribas Masters at Indian Wells, beating Juan Martin Del Potro in three sets. This win was significant on many levels:

  • This marks Nadal's third title in a row, after Brazil and Mexico. It's also his fourth final in a row. He is now riding a 14 match winning streak.
  • He wins the first hardcourt tournament he plays after his 7 month tennis hiatus due to injury. It was the first time he played on a hardcourt in almost a year and he wins it. It is also his first hardcourt title since 2010.
  • In 2009, he lost to Del Potro three straight times, all on hard courts.
  • He beat Roger Federer en route to the title. He also defeated Ernests Gulbis who was enjoying a 13-match winning streak and an in-form Thomas Berdych.
  • Rafa nudges ahead of Roger Federer, now becoming the lone record-holder for the most number of Masters 1000 titles with 22.
I was worried about how Rafa would do after his 7-month break from tennis, but with a couple of claycourt titles and now a hardcourt Masters title, Nadal has shown everyone that he is back to his pre-injury form. His 2013 results must be really good for his confidence leading into the claycourt season. He will certainly need all the confidence he can get as he will most likely go into these tournaments ranked #5, which means he may meet any of the top 3 (Novak, Roger, and Andy) in the quarterfinals. Congratulations, Rafa!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

"Lover of the Light" by Mumford & Sons

While I had heard about Mumford & Sons before, I only really discovered them a couple of days before the Grammys. I was driving that day and the radio station I was listening to at the time was featuring Grammy nominees. The DJ then introduced the next song, "I will wait" by Mumford & Sons. As I listened to it, I started really liking it. So much so that later that night, I started digging up their songs on youtube and I became hooked.

Probably my favorite song of theirs right now is "Lover of the Light". The video has gotten a lot of positive feedback because it is well-made, well-acted, and viewers aren't particularly sure what it means, making you think about it after you watch. Check it out here:

video uploaded in youtube by MumfordAndSonsVEVO

I've tried to dig up online what the video means, and not surprisingly there are many different interpretations. Even the band themselves have said that they only think that they understand it. :) But whatever it means, it's such a powerful video that matches an beautiful song. That bit where he starts running (and the way he runs!) is just saw intense and moving. I've now purchased their album "Babel" and I can understand why it won Best Album at the Grammys. I do want to get their first album as well, "Sigh no more", but I think that the local stores don't carry it yet. Maybe if lots of "Babel" CDs get sold, they'll make "Sigh no more" available here too. If not, I can always get it on Amazon.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Viva Il Papa

Welcome to the new Pope Francis I!

Jorge Bergoglio, a Jesuit from Argentina, was elected a couple of days ago to become the new leader of the Catholic church. He is the first Jesuit pope and the first non-European pope in more than a thousand years. He is also the first pope to be named Francis and on a personal note, I'm happy that he chose his name in honor of St. Francis of Assisi because St. Francis is the patron saint of my alma mater.

You also have to admire his simplicity and humility as he turned down the red velvet cape when he was presented to the world and instead chose the simple white cassock of the papacy instead. He also actually picked up his own luggage at the Vatican hotel and paid for his own bill.

I pray for the best for our new Pope Francis I. Viva Il Papa!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Our dog is missing :(

We have two dogs at home. Since we don't have a lot of space inside our house, we normally let them out the gate every now. After some time of being outside, they return to the house, although one of them does tend to stay out longer and sometimes even camps outside our gate at night.

Unfortunately, after leaving our house early last week, one of our dogs hasn't been back. It's been about 4-5 days now so while I am still hoping for the best, chances are that something unfortunate has happened to him. There is also that probability that he may just have found some other free-roaming dogs in the neighborhood and decided to join their pack. I wish that if he never returns to us, then its the latter that has caused this and not the former.

My mom told me she asked the neighborhood security to help find our dog but he still hasn't been found. My family have also tried looking for him the last few days but I think they've given up now. I will make one last attempt to find him but I'm afraid these efforts may provide futile.

I also wonder how our other dog is dealing with this. Our dogs are brothers and they have been together now for about a year and a half. I guess we now need to take more care of him so he doesn't feel abandoned.

My brother told me that the dog of my grandparents once got out of their house and didn't return for a week. Maybe our dog will still come back after a few more days. I just pray though that if something bad happened to him, he didn't/doesn't suffer.


ETA: I drove around our neighborhood a couple of times yesterday but unfortunately I didn't find our dog. I think I will make another attempt next weekend and see if maybe one of the neighbors took him in, assuming he was a stray. If I don't find him and someone else has him now, then I just hope that they take good care of him. We treated him very well and took great care of him when he was with us (maybe a bit too well because letting him out was meant to give him more freedom but apparently it backfired) so that if he is still alive and just with someone else now, then I wish he continues to have at least a decent life.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

DLSU Lady Spikers Three-Peat

Congratulations to the DLSU Lady Spikers for winning their third championship title in a row, beating the ADMU Lady Eagles in the finals.

The De La Salle women's volleyball team lost their first game against UST but as it turned out, that was the only blemish on their record this season as they won every other game they played. This included two amazing come-from-behind wins against against Ateneo, once in the first round of eliminations and again in the first game of the finals. Both times, they were behind two sets to love, and both times they fought their way back. That showed amazing belief and incredible heart. Those qualities, along with their experience and all-around talent and consistency (and unparalleled blocking!) got them the championship.

This caps a truly amazing season of UAAP women's volleyball, where six of the eight teams were strong contenders for the final four. In the end, though, DLSU was just too good for everyone. Congratulations, Lady Spikers! Congratulations also to Abi Marano and Ara Galang for being hailed co-MVPs of the season and Michele Gumabao for being declared the finals MVP.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Harlem Shake Simpsons Edition

There are two versions of this out there. This one has the Baauer Harlem Shake song as background, which I prefer:

video uploaded in youtube by Starwarstcwseason 

Fox also put together a different version, making adjustments to the lyrics of the song and having Homer sing it. You can check this Fox version out here.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Nadal wins again!

After being away from tennis for 7 months, Rafael Nadal decided to head to South America where he could find his form again on his best surface, clay. This turned out to be a fantastic move because, while he lost the final of the first tournament he played (in Chile), he won Brazil and just now, Mexico. Congrats, Rafa!

photo from

What was great about this latest win is that he ran into tough competition in the semis and the finals in the form of David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro, who are ranked #5 and #12 respectively. What's more is that both these athletes play well on clay and they are also relatively in-form (Almagro got to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open where he lost to Ferrer who himself got to the semifinals). I was hoping that Nadal would put up a fight against both of them, but as it turned out, he beat them both. Almagro put up more of a fight, losing to Nadal in two tight sets (7-5 6-4). It was the result in the final that shocked me, though. Nadal completely routed David Ferrer 6-0 6-2.

So three clay-court tournaments, three finals, a couple of wins over top 20 players, and two titles. That's a good start to Nadal's comeback. I hope he finds his early 2012 form again so that Rafa can snag Roland Garros title #8.

Saturday, March 02, 2013


My back started hurting early in the year. I was told that bad posture, stress, and poor physical fitness is the main causes of back pain so I'm pretty sure the stress and the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season contributed greatly to it. But it wasn't until I drove 6 hours to Bolinao one day and then back again to Manila the day after that my back started hurting pretty badly. I thought it would go away after some (lots of?) rest but the pain kept flaring up every so often that I decided to see an orthopedist.

My orthopedist looked at my x-ray results and thankfully, there wasn't anything wrong with my spine. He did tell me that at my age (ahem), back pain is quite common and it is supposed to be the leading reason for people missing work. He suggested I start doing exercises for my back and he also recommended that I get therapy which was thankfully covered by my health card. So on six separate occasions over the last few weeks, I went to the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation of Makati Med for the following treatments: Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator, Ultrasound, Host moist pack, and Lumbar traction.

I completed my sixth session earlier today although I did notice that after the 3rd session, my back pain started abating. I now just need to continue with my exercises to help strengthen my back and prevent or reduce further pain and I need to start exercising again. I do have to say that I pay a lot more attention to my posture now and I am trying to follow the recommended way to get out of bed when you have back pain. Gosh, I feel so old!