Saturday, October 31, 2015

Brasserie CiÇou

I first learned about Brasserie CiÇou when I was searching for good French restaurants in Manila. I learned that this place won Best French Restaurant in the Manila's Best Kept Restaurant Secrets (MBKRS) Awards in 2012. I didn't get to try it out at the time. But when I recently decided to take my family out to a really fancy meal, I thought it would be as good a time as any to try Brasserie CiÇou.

We had a really late lunch at 1:30PM and when we got to the restaurant, we almost had the place all to ourselves. I can't really say what the service would be like if the place is packed but it was fantastic when we were there. The waiters were warm and friendly and very professional. The ambience is cozy and comfortable and the color scheme makes the dining area feel more spacious. There are a couple of cozy corners where diners can have a bit more privacy. As seems to be the popular thing now, a glass window provided guests with a view of the chefs at work in the kitchen.

Vividly colorful wall mural

We ordered quite a few things, including a Quiche Lorraine starter (quite possibly the best quiche I've ever had), a couple of entrees and some pasta and salad. The highlights of our meal, however, where the dishes I got for sharing. First was the US Grilled Certified Angus Rib-eye (P2,988). This 500-gram steak is served with Potato Dauphinoise and Herb Butter. This steak was absolutely superb and it was seasoned very well. The strong flavors of the beef matched perfectly with the richness of the Potato Dauphinoise which could probably have been a dish by itself since it was so good.

US Grilled Certified Angus Rib-eye (500 grams, good for 3-4 people)

We also ordered the Duck Three-ways: Pan-fried duck breast, Duck Leg Confit, and Duck Pie (P3,888). The Pan-fried duck breast was served kind of like Duck L'Orange as it was served with Orange Sauce. The duck pie was very good and the pie pastry was light and flaky and held the strong flavors of the duck quite well. However, my favorite of all three preparations was the Duck Leg Confit. That was just stunningly delicious! (Both the duck and the steak are good for about 3-4 people so while they are on the very expensive side, they are definitely worth it.)

Duck Three-ways: Pan-fried duck breast, Duck Leg Confit, and Duck Pie (good for 3-4 people)

A sign outside the restaurant says that Brasserie CiÇou is home of the original Manila's best dessert: their L'Original Kouign Amann de CiÇou (P330). (I learned for the first time that Kouign Amann is pronounced Queen Aman). Naturally, even if we were quite full from the fantastic meal we just had, we also needed to try it. This dessert, which comes with two pastries topped with their home-made salted caramel ice cream. was such a satisfying way to end our meal and I highly recommend it. One of my nephews also enjoyed the ice cream so much that I ordered a scoop of it for him.

L'Original Kouign Amann de CiÇou served with Salted Caramel Ice Cream

We also tried the Baba au Rhum (P250), a yeast cake soaked in syrup. It wasn't as good as the Kouign Aman but it was something we had never had before so it was still an enjoyable dessert experience for us.

Baba au Rhum

We learned from the wait staff that the name of the restaurant comes from the nickname of the owner, Chef Cyrille. We were told us that the chef was actually there earlier but he and his wife left to enjoy the weekend so it was too bad that we didn't catch them. As we got the bill, they handed us a few envelopes which contain surprises that we can get on our next visit (we were told not to open these envelopes). Pretty cool concept to encourage return visits! Given how enjoyable I found our dining experience to be, I am certain I will be back.

Brasserie CiÇou along Annapolis Street in Greenhills. 
If you are coming from Edsa, it is right before O.B. Montessori Greenhills.

Brasserie CiÇou
57 Annapolis Street, Greenhills, San Juan, Philippines
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 12nn to 11pm
+63.2.661-9200 / +63.917.885-8841

Friday, October 30, 2015

Pinoy teams achieve success at HHI 2015

This post is a couple of months late but I still want to congratulate the Philippine crews that participated and achieved success at the recently concluded 2015 HHI World Hip Hop Dance Championships. Three teams took home medals in their respective divisions:

A Team - 3rd place, Mega Crew Division
A Team made it back to the podium with a bronze medal in the Mega Crew Division. While they were unable to defend the title they won last year, this top three finish is confirmation that they are a consistently world-class hip hop dance crew.

video uploaded in youtube by OfficialHHI

Romancon - 2nd place, Adult Division
Romancon, a dance group from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, took home the silver medal in the Adult Division. Looking at their facebook page, it seems that this group is very diverse when it comes to dance styles.

video uploaded in youtube by OfficialHHI

Legit Status - 2nd place, Varsity Division
Legit Status, a dance crew composed of students from different high schools and colleges across Metro Manila, also took home a silver medal in the Varsity Division. Read more about them in this interview.

video uploaded in youtube by OfficialHHI

Aside from these three award-winning crews, other Pinoy dance groups also made it to the finals in different divisions:

Great job to all these crews. Thanks for bringing pride to the Philippines and raising our flag high!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

My car got screwed

Last week, my friends noticed that one of my car's rear tires seemed a bit deflated. I thought it just needed some air but upon closer inspection, they noticed a screw stuck in the tire. Yikes!

This screw was lodged in the rear tire of my car.

I had air pumped into the tire to fully inflate it and it didn't seem like the pressure in my tire was dropping rapidly so I was still able to drive home, I decided to just worry about getting my car sorted out the next day. However, when I checked my tire the next morning, it didn't look like it lost any air. Wow! I guess the screw punctured my tire in a way that it also prevented air from leaking out. I actually managed to drive this entire week without having to have my tire fixed. Obviously, I didn't want to keep things as they were for much longer so I finally got to have my tire vulcanized early today. Feels a lot better driving now.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Subic again

Interesting how I hadn't been to Subic in years then in just a span of about a month, I get to go there twice. This time around, I went there for a team building/planning activity. Thankfully, we managed to find a place that had a kitchen and that could actually fit all twenty or so of us. And since the team didn't want to go to Pansol (which is normally the default venue for team events), this place we found in Subic proved to be a good alternative for us.

Our leads kicked off the event by breaking everyone up into three groups to play tangram puzzle games. To make things more interesting and entertaining, in each round, only one person could touch the puzzle in each round but everyone else could give instructions and suggestions on what to do. That made for some animated and loud game play. :) Afterwards, everyone went through the four temperaments personality test that provided interesting insight into our tendencies and dominant behaviors and how best to interact with others. After a very satisfying dinner, our event organizers kicked off some "Minute to win it" games. My big moment that night was when I competed in Puddle Jumper and dominated my competition as I completed it while my opponents were unable to get even one ping pong ball properly into the other cup. Cool!

While check-out was at 12 noon, we all decided to leave a bit earlier to give us time to go to shopping at Royal Duty Free. I ended up getting a whole lot of chocolates that aren't easily available in Manila - After Eight Mint Chocolate Thins, Milka (I got a couple of variants but the Noisette one was on sale at P41 each so I got a few of those), Cadbury Oreo and Cadbury Puddles. I also decided to get the Leclerc Célébration butter cookies with dark chocolate and the Creme de Pirouline chocolate hazelnut artisan rolled wafers. (That's a whole lot of sugar...) I also decided to get a lot of the special Alpo flavors for our dog since they were a lot cheaper in Royal than they are in Manila.

Oh and this trip also allowed me to try two restaurants I had never been to before. Before we checked into our Subic accommodations, we decided to have lunch in Coco Lime. It is currently ranked #3 among Subic restaurants on Tripadvisor and it definitely lived up to this hype. The food was really good - I especially enjoyed their sisig and  Chili Chicken Wings. What's more, the food was pretty inexpensive. We spent less than P2,000 for ten people (that's less than P200 each!) and we were all pretty full and thoroughly satisfied after our meal. I definitely recommend this restaurant.

On our way back home to Manila after our duty free shopping, we had lunch at Meat Plus Cafe. I decided to go for the Rib Eye (P435).

Before placing my order, one of my teammates told me he tried it before and thought it was just okay. That made me think twice but I decided I wanted to try it anyways since it wasn't too expensive for a steak and I was hoping my friend just had a not-so-good serving before. After trying it, I have to agree with the assessment that this steak was just okay. The next time I visit, I'd probably try the roast beef, the baby back ribs, or maybe a different steak cut.

New restaurants aside and shopping aside, it was a really great team building activity. Our dynamic as a group was already good to begin with but this event has strengthened  it even further. so much so that people have already started talking about doing more activities together. Cool. :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The inspiring Mudjur Clemente and Gladys Dela Cruz

This is a good reminder that we shouldn't take things for granted. Two children - Mudjur Clemente and Gladys Dela Cruz - have recently been thrust into the social media spotlight because of the work that they do as street vendors to earn money to support their families and maybe allow them to go back to school. While many people just cruise through school and and sometimes even despise having to study, acting as if an education wasn't all that important, here we see two underprivileged children putting in an inspiring effort to learn even as they sell snacks on the streets.

Mudjur Clemente (left) and Gladys Dela Cruz (right). Photo courtesy of 

I first learned about Mudjur Clemente, a 13-year-old kid who sells snacks to law students in Mendiola when an article on Manila Bulletin went viral. To help get law students to buy from him, he volunteers to recite the Preamble of the Philippine Constitution. (Check out this video of Mudjur reciting it.) He has also memorized the National Territory, the Declaration of State Policies, and the Civil Code Article of 1920, among others and he's working on memorizing more. He has impressed a lot of people who have taken to social media to share his story. Mudjur hopes to one day become a lawyer himself but that dream has been put on hold because he stopped schooling last August to help support his family.

I then learned about Gladys Dela Cruz when I found this Facebook page that is trying to help both street children obtain an education. Gladys is a 9-year-old kid who has memorized the square root of perfect squares all the way up to 1000 (although as you will see in this video of Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho where she was featured, she also knows the square root of 1 million). Unfortunately, she had to stop school last year to sell snacks to help her grandmother. Her earnings aren't even enough to cover basic necessities so school is no longer an option. Despite this setback, Gladys still dreams of one day becoming a civil engineer.

The Wonder Vendors: Mudjur Clemente and Gladys dela Cruz Facebook page has shared this report: "Mudjur has spoken to Merlita Helms, CEO and President of the foundation One Heart For Hope. A coordinator from the group will soon get in touch with Mudjur to sponsor his studies and to help with the livelihood of his family. The hope is that Mudjur will focus on his education and forego the need to be a street vendor." That is great news!

Support is still being raised for Gladys and also her cousins Gerald and Justin Tamayo. Please visit The Wonder Vendors Facebook page to read more about them and learn how you can help. You can also read more about Gladys and Mudjur in (click on this link).

Monday, October 26, 2015

Typhoon Lando: How you can help

Typhoon Lando (international name Koppu) made landfall in the Philippines last October 18 and it has since been declared by the NDRRMC as the biggest storm to hit the country so far this year. According to Manila Bulletin, as of October 26, a total of 64 people have been killed. Rappler reports that about a million people have been affected, with 25,000 families displaced from their homes and needing to take shelter in evacuation centers. According to the Inquirer, Lando has caused damages amounting to P9 billion. A bit of good news though, the United Nations praised the Philippine government for being prepared.

Hundreds of thousands of people impacted by typhoon Lando still need help. If you would like to provide assistance, Rappler provides an extensive list. Click here for the full list. Here's a shorter list:

Red Cross
You can donate in cash (through bank deposits) or in kind. You can also donate online (select Typhoon Lando (KOPPU) in the campaign field.

World Vision
Online donations will be used to provide hygiene kits and life saving materials for a whole family. While the site suggests donations of P1500, P3000, add P6000, donors may choose other amounts.

ABS-CBN Foundation
You can donate online through this link.

Kapuso Foundation
The Kapuso Foundation is collecting donations in kind that you can bring to the GMA Kapuso Warehouse in Tandang Sora, Q.C. They are also asking for volunteers who can help in the repacking efforts. Check out this link for more details.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Cello's Doughnuts

Right next to Gino's Brick oven Pizza was a Cello's Doughnuts and Dips shop. If I were to hazard a guess, I would say both places have the same owner because there was no door to separate them. As such, while I was waiting for my food at Gino's, I walked over to Cello's to get some donuts that I would bring home to my family.

I tried this place maybe once or twice a really, really long time ago but I barely recall what I had. I just know that I enjoyed my order. While I still prefer J.Co, Krispy Kreme, and Dunkin Donuts, Cello's is still a pretty good place to get donuts. It also carries a couple of flavors that you won't find in other donut chains such as Creme Brulee and Smores.

The donuts at Cello's are quite expensive at P45 each but, similar to Krispy Kreme and J.Co, you get a bit of a discount with bulk purchases since a box of 12 costs P460 and a box of 6 costs 250.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Gino's Brick Oven Pizza

I learned about Gino's Brick Oven Pizza a while back from a friend of mine who said that the food here is really good and that we should try it. I haven't been able to go there with my friends yet but when I was headed home last weekend, I thought it might be good for me to try this place. I believe Gino's has a few branches located in different cities across Metro Manila but the one I got to try that afternoon was the Katipunan branch. As it was late in the afternoon, there was no one there when I had my meal.

Since I was alone, it didn't make sense for me to order a pizza LOL so I decided to try the Stuffed Chicken Pasta (P320). This dish has stuffed chicken breast slices served with what seems to be a cream sauce or gravy and aglio olio pasta on the side. I gotta say, I found this dish to be awesome!

The chicken breast was tender and well-cooked, the stuffing was delicious and the rich cream sauce/gravy provided a good taste and textural contrast to the meat. As good as the actual stuffed chicken was, it was the aglio olio that drew my attention. It was cooked to the point of being on the verge of being crunchy but still al dente and the strong garlic and olive oil flavor made this relatively simple pasta dish burst with flavor. I finished this dish thinking when I could try this place next so I can order this dish again. :)

I did place an order for four pastas and two pizzas, all for take out and the food was all pretty good. I have plans to meet up with a couple of friends soon so maybe I can suggest to them that we try this place. I'm pretty sure they will all enjoy the food here.

When kids meet their football idols

Earlier today, I came across an article about why being a fan is a good thing. Given this, it's not surprising why so many of these kids are absolutely delighted and in some cases overcome with emotion when they get to meet their football idols. Check out this awesome video:

When Kids Meet Their Futbol Idols
If you're a football fan this might make you cry a little.For more great futbol viral videos --> FootbOlé
Posted by FootbOlé on Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Les Miserables coming to Manila in 2016

Another major musical will be making its way to Manila soon and I am really excited about it. Les Misérables, the legendary production of Cameron Mackintosh, will be staged at The Theatre at Solaire next year, from March 11 to April 3, 2016.

You can get a 10% discount on all tickets from Ticketworld if you use your Visa credit card to buy tickets until October 29. Not many seats are left, even on the weekdays, so if you are thinking about watching, make your mind up quickly and get purchase your tickets ASAP.

This is the fourth production of Mackintosh that will be staged in Manila, after Miss Saigon (back in the early 2000s), CATS, and Phantom of the Opera. I'm really happy that I have now gotten to see so many musicals staged in the Philippines and I am definitely looking forward to watching Les Mis next year.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Subic: Texas Joe's House of Ribs

As I often do, before hitting Subic, I went online to check what restaurants I was interested to try. Texas Joe's kept on coming up in lists of Subic restaurants that visitors should try (it's currently #1 in Tripadvisor as of this writing). I had also seen some of my colleagues enjoy a meal here recently so I wanted to try it. My friends and I had lunch here and it was a very good choice.

Texas Joe's is quite spacious and it also has al fresco dining outside which means that you can mostly get seated even on a busy day. The vibe is casual and comfortable.

I definitely wanted to try their ribs but as soon as I checked the menu, I saw a photo of their grilled shrimp and it was really tempting. I was thinking of ordering both of them but thankfully, there was a Ribs and Shrimp Combo (P599) on the menu. That made my decision quite easy. This combo meal had included ribs with 2 bones and one stick of grilled shrimp but don't be fooled. The photo below doesn't do justice to the portion size. More than the size though, this dish was really good.

Since we were all quite hungry when we got there, I also ordered the Onion Loaf (P149) for everyone to share. It kind of reminds me of the onion loaf you can get at Racks.

Given how big the portion sizes are, a lot of my friends decided to get slightly bigger orders or ribs and share instead of getting individual orders. Everyone was really pleased with both the quality and quantity of the food. The service was also very good, with the wait staff always responding quickly and providing service with a smile. Texas Joe's is definitely worth visiting when you want to have a good and satisfying meal in Subic.

Texas Joe's House of Ribs
Waterfront Rd. Corner McKinley. Subic Bay Freeport Zone
Olongapo City, Philippines

(047) 252 3189

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Subic: Rachi Curry Corner

For dinner on Saturday night of our Subic trip, the plan was to try Sakura, which is currently rated #2 among Subic restaurants in Tripadvisor. However, while were driving along, we saw a sign on the road that said Rachi Curry Corner. My friends suddenly had a bit of a craving for curry so we decided at the last minute to change our plans and try this place instead.

When we were seated, there was a bit of trepidation about our restaurant choice since we weren't sure whether the food here would be good. However, once our orders arrived, we were all quite pleased. We got quite a few items for sharing, such as samosas, naan, and roti to complement our main dishes. My favorite dish that we got was the Chicken Curry:

The Chicken Tikka Masala was good but I preferred the simpler Chicken Curry.

We also got three plates of Biryani (these were pretty sizable but were all very hungry so we managed to eat everything. :))

The food here is pretty good, the portion sizes are quite large, and the dishes are not very expensive. (Unfortunately, I didn't keep the receipt but I believe everything we ordered was in the P300-400 range and practically everything was for sharing. Many good Indian restaurants in Metro Manila would have dishes that cost a lot more than that and the portions wouldn't be as big).

You can find Rachi Curry Corner along Sta. Rita Road in Subic, quite near the corner of Sta. Rita road and Rizal Highway.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Subic weekend

It's been ages since I visited Subic. Considering that the SCTEX makes it quite easy to get there now from Manila, I am surprised that I hadn't been there more often. So when my friends and I agreed to go out of town somewhere for the weekend, I decided we should take a trip to Subic.

I saw a voucher on the now-defunct Groupon Beeconomic for Forest View Leisure Residences and I thought it would be good to try this place. The apartments have 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms which was pretty good for a group of 10. It also has a kitchen so visitors can cook their own food. We decided that since we weren't in Subic very often, we would just head out for our meals instead of cooking. The place wasn't 5-star by any means but it was pretty sufficient for our needs and there was enough space for all of us.

Apart from going duty free shopping and me wanting to try Texas Joe's House of Ribs (which we did; I'll write separately about this later), we didn't really have any other plans. The may point was just to head out of town somewhere and chill out. Apart from Texas Joe's, my friends and I also got to try  Rachi Curry Corner (I'll write about this separately as well).

I brought several card games with me and I also brought 7 Wonders which I thought we could play in the evening but once we brought out the drinks and chips, it felt like too much of a hassle to make space on the table to place these games. Instead, my friends and I enjoyed many hours of Heads Up! fun. We started out with the some of the less physically exhausting categories such as movies and music, but a lot of the biggest laughs came when we started playing charades. We were all sweating by the time we decided to call it a night but the game did leave us all quite exhausted so we all fell asleep quite easily. :)

On our way home, we went duty free shopping although I must say, I wasn't too happy with the selection in Pure Gold. Normally when I go duty free shopping, I purchase items that are significantly cheaper there (such as the 40-ounce bag of Reese's miniatures which cost about the same as a 19-ounce pack in Manila) or items that aren't readily or easily available. Unfortunately, there weren't a lot of items there that met these criteria so I ended up buying just a few things (mostly chocolates). I do have plans to visit Subic again soon, and when I do, I'll most likely try a few other places instead.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Djokovic upends Nadal yet again

Rafael Nadal has not been having a good season, at least not by his high standards. So it's not surprising to me that he ended up on the losing end of the finals of the China Open in Beijing. His conqueror? World  #1 Novak Djokovic, who has been nearly untouchable this season.

On some level I am happy that Rafa made the final. He's been struggling massively this year, often losing early. So making it all the way to the championship match is a step in the right direction for him. However, losing to Novak isn't exactly what I wanted to happen. Their head to head match-up is now 23-22 with Rafa now ahead by only 1 match. I would love for Rafa to end his career ahead in the H2H match-ups against his toughest competitors but the way things are going, it looks like Djokovic will soon take the lead in his head to head against Nadal. In any case, this has to be a good sign for Rafa. I hope he can rack up as many wins as possible towards the close of the 2015 tennis season to maybe give him momentum for next year.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

UP wins World Supremacy Battlegrounds Street Dance

Some positive news to pick up the spirits of UP fans after that heartbreaking cheerdance competition loss. UPeepz, a professional dance group from UP Diliman, won first place at the World Supremacy Battlegrounds Monster Crew Division. Check out their winning performance:

video uploaded in youtube by MASpresentsHD

Congratulations UPeepz!

Monday, October 05, 2015

UP Pep Squad: Utak at Puso

Of all UP's UAAP Cheerdance Competition losses over the years, this one stings the most. The amazing UP Pep Squad put together an incredibly exciting and moving routine with the theme "Utak at Puso" that had audiences raving. Sadly and surprisingly, they ended up only 2nd runner up. Despite the loss, I am still massively proud of the show they put together. Check out their amazing routine:

video uploaded in youtube by Philippine Collegian

(This video was taken courtside so it isn't the full view; if you want to see the full version that we got to see on TV, check out this video uploaded in youtube by ABS-CBN Sports and Action.)

From the beating heart formation at the start to a repeat of one of their awesome pyramids in past years where one woman lifted two other women with her interlocked arms in an incredible display of feminine strength, to the scintillating final sequence performed to an amazing guitar version of UP Naming Mahal that closed with a heart-shaped pyramid that brought the house down, this for me was one of UP's most memorable routines.

I watched the Cheerdance Competition with my friends from DLSU, FEU, and Mapua and a lot of them were saying they had goosebumps watching the showstopping climax, as did I. Apparently many other people who aren't from UP were just as moved:

To be honest, I wasn't expecting the UP Pep Squad to win, not because I didn't think they didn't deserve to win (they do!) but because they were the first to perform and I have almost never seen the first performer in a judging competition win. But for them to land in third place was just disheartening. I'm not a gymnast so I will just assume that the teams that the schools that beat UP did perform tumbling passes and tosses that had higher degrees of difficulty, resulting in their massive leads over UP (although unless an expert explains the scoring system to me, I don't think I will agree that the discrepancy should have been that big). I hope that UP learn from this and figure out a way to bump up their tossing and tumbling scores and strengthen their dancing and choreography in the future.

Regardless of this result, many will agree that the UP performance was the most memorable of the day. UP also continue their unprecedented and unparalleled streak of 20 consecutive top three finishes in the UAAP Cheerdance Competition. They will also be competing in the Cheerleading World Championships in Berlin next month so I with them all the best.

Congratulations on an amazing performance, UP Pep Squad, and good luck in Germany! #UPuso

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Gilas places second

What an incredible run. Gilas Pilipinas won the silver medal at the 2015 FIBA Asian Championship.

This is the second time in a row that the Philippines placed second in the FIBA Asian Championships (we lost to Iran in the final held in Manila back in 2013). This year, Gilas Pilipinas had a bit of a scare early on when they lost to Palestine in the preliminary rounds. Thankfully, the team beat Hong Kong and Kuwait in their group, allowing them to advance to the second round. From there, they gained massive momentum, beating Japan and India and upsetting Iran, handing them the top seed going into the quarterfinal round. Gilas then routed Lebanon in the quarterfinals and beat Japan for the second time in the tournament in the semifinals to secure a finals berth. A win would have meant a sure slot to the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. Unfortunately, they were unable to overcome a very strong China team along with the home court advantage they held.

Despite not making it all the way, Gilas Pilipinas showed that they have definitely become a very competitive team in Asia. In fact, Jayson Castro also made it to the mythical five (deservedly so).

With more training and strong medium-to-long-term strategic planning, the Philippines may eventually take the FIBA Asian Championships crown. And who knows, we may have a chance to challenge the European powerhouses in the near future. I am hoping that we learn from our recent forays in the world stage and become even stronger.

Congratulation, Gilas Pilipinas! You have made the country proud.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Joint Administrative Order 2014-01

Here's an important thing for all Filipino drivers to take note of: make sure that you renew your driver's license on time and that you have it with you every time you are on the road. The penalty for driving without a license or with an expired driver's license is a fine of P3,000 as well as the revocation of driving privileges for a year.

I found out about this while I was on a taxi cab recently and the driver was listening to Isumbong mo kay Tulfo on the radio. A guy called in to raise a concern about the penalty he got for driving with an expired license. More than the money, it was the fact that he couldn't get a license for 1 year that hurt him quite badly, as it would any driver. Tulfo then called a government official to ask about this and the official confirmed that the penalty was in fact correct ever since Joint Administrative Order 2014-01 was put into effect in June 2014:

Top Gear Philippines provided a summary of the updated penalties for certain traffic violations. To all Filipino drivers out there, make sure you familiarize yourself with Joint Administrative Order 2014-01 and make sure you do not commit any of these violations as the penalties are quite stiff.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Scrabble tournament

Our annual company sportsfest kicked off last month and as a bit of a twist this year, three board games were included in the list of events. (Yes I know, these aren't sports, but our sportfest has evolved over the last few years and it no longer includes purely athletic events to make it more interesting and diverse and so that more people can participate.) These board games were chess, dama, and Scrabble. I wasn't really planning to join any of these events but when I checked our sign up sheet, I noticed that almost no one registered for Scrabble. I hadn't played this game since maybe the early 2000s so I wasn't too keen on signing up but I didn't want our department to be defaulted either so I decided to sign up anyway.

Thankfully, I did. The Scrabble tournament had three categories: Men, Women, and Open. And our team had only three players, including me. If I didn't sign up, we may have been defaulted in one category. If that happened, we would most likely have ended up in last place.

As it turned out, we didn't do much better than last place, finishing 6th out of 8 teams LOL. However, on a personal level, I am quite pleased that my scores were quite good. In the first round, I scored 157, landing in second place in my category. Unfortunately, the total score of our team fell short by 20 points and we ended up in the lower bracket, which meant we could only compete for 5th place. In the final round, I scored 172 which was a pretty decent score but it was only 3rd in my group, with my competitors scoring 195 and 176. There were only three of us - the fourth team didn't have someone to field in our category - but the unfortunate thing was that the player next to me opened the triple word score three times and the player after her (and before me) was able to play a word using the triple word score in each of those times. That allowed him to build a solid lead and often left my with very little options to score well. In the end, we beat the 7th place team by about 20 points and the 8th place team by around 50 points so I guess I did make some kind of positive contribution.