Monday, May 27, 2013

#RG13

Roland Garros 2013 (aka the French Open) has just started today. We've already had a match where the winner came back from two sets down to win in 5 sets ([15]Gilles Simon, FRA def. Lleyton Hewitt, AUS), and a teenager upsetting a seeded player (Monica Puig, PUR def. [11]Nadia Petrova RUS)

Anyway, here are my predictions for who will make the quarterfinals in the men's and women's side:

[1]Novak Djokovic, SRB vs [12]Tommy Haas, GER
[3]Rafael Nadal, ESP vs [9]Stanislas Wawrinka, SUI
[5]Tomas Berdych, CZE vs [4]David Ferrer, ESP
[6]Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, FRA vs [2]Roger Federer, SUI

Winner: [3]Rafael Nadal, ESP

[1]Serena Williams, USA vs Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
[14]Ana Ivanovic, SRB vs [5]Sara Errani, ITA
[6]Na Li, CHN vs [3]Victoria Azarenka, BLR
[7]Petra Kvitova, CZE vs [2]Maria Sharapova, RUS

Winner: [1]Serena Williams, USA

I'm also predicting that our winners will be defeating the #2 seeds on their respective draws pretty easily in the finals.

I'm not seeing any huge upsets for this tournament (although Kuznetsova is not seeded, Roland Garros is one of the two grand slam titles she has won, so a sudden QF run for her shouldn't be *that* surprising. Ivanovic, another former winner here, looked shaky in her first round match, but I expect her to go through that part of the draw over the struggling #4 Radwanska. Of course, this is Ana, so she could lose in the very next match.

I'm hoping Dimitrov pulls of another upset over Djokovic in the 3rd round, just as he did in Madrid a few weeks ago. But beating the world #1 in a grand slam tournament is a totally different thing, and I expect Djokovic to be sharper and be better prepared this time. 35 year-old Tommy Haas is having a great resurgence, and while he has generally underperformed in grand slams (he's never been past the 4th round in RG, and has "only" been to 4 grand slam semifinals), the former #2 is playing as well as he has ever been the past year.

So by the end of this tournament, I think we'll be seeing Rafa winning his record 8th Roland Garros title, and Serena finally adding to her lone Roland Garros title from 2002(!).

Sunday, May 26, 2013

7 Minutes to 3 am

It's Sunday. Seven minutes to 3am. Might as well be a time to think about what I really want.

Here I am sitting in my bed in my small room in our apartment in Mountbatten. 13 months ago I was in a pretty similar situation; at a fork in the road, being utterly confused about what to do and where to go. As much as I would like to think that I'm a year wiser, I'm really still having a hard time making a decision on whether I should go back to Manila or have another go here in Singapore.

I have a lot of doubts and worries right now. I would just have to face up to each one of them one by one until my head is clear.

Maybe a trip somewhere where I can go offline and unplug from the rest of the world will help me. Or maybe that will make me go psycho. I think I should just watch Up In The Air and Midnight In Paris again.

Monday, December 31, 2012

It's The Yearly What Happened to My Year Update

So I haven't written much in here this year. What better time to catch up on blogging than the last day of the year. That's kind of my style anyway.

It's been a very eventful year. I'm really not sure how I can classify it really, so I'll just go ahead and call it a mixed bag. It was a fantastic year for travelling, no doubt about that. Maybe not so much on the job-front.

I finally got to visit Thailand this year, which was pretty cool. It was a great travelling experience. I was living out of my backpack for about 3 weeks, with no clear itinerary. We were basically deciding whether to stay put or move to the next destination almost every other night of the trip. It was great. (It wasn't a flawless trip though, I experienced a tsunami scare right before our flight to Indonesia, but that's a story I've already told on my Facebook page.)

I also got to visit Cebu and Bohol for the first time this year (can you believe it??) And those trips were nice too. I loved Bohol, and I really, really liked Cebu (especially the food, went there twice this year.) However, I think Cebu has some curse on me; no matter how awesome each Cebu trip was, it always manages to end up badly, haha. I had plenty of quick Manila trips too, and a nice Boracay trip just before I started with my new job. Boracay is still the best beach out of all the beaches I visited this year.

The best new destination I went to this year, however, was Mui Ne in Vietnam. That place is ridiculously awesome.


I was also able to go back to Siem Reap, which is my absolute favorite Southeast Asian city, (and Ho Chi Minh City) after 4 years. I loved that trip. I also got to squeeze in a couple of trips to Hong Kong and Macau (once on my own, before I flew to Thailand, and a second time with my awesome Manila friends)

It wasn't such a great story on the work-related front though. I started the year jobless, since there was no budget for a next project. The bright side to that was I was able to find time to travel, so I guess it wasn't that bad, haha. And I also got to find a new job at a new company after my Hong Kong - Thailand - Boracay adventure, but I will withhold comments about it while my contract is still ongoing. :-)

So that's pretty much why it was a mixed bag. Basically, 2012: Leisure = Awesome, Non-Leisure != Awesome.

I also went through some rough patches with some personal relationships, which I won't elaborate here, because I don't do emo drama shit. But suffice it to say, I learned a lot about friendships and relationships, and I'm still learning (because I'm usually on the losing end of things, lol.)

But who am I to complain? I had so many great moments with great friends both in the Philippines and in Singapore, and that's really all I can ask for when I look back on what happened to my year. Maybe I had some rough times with work and with some friends, but that's all part of what we have to live through. We deal and we move on, and then a new year comes around.

Maybe the coming year will be better, or maybe it won't. The main thing we have to remember is it's new.

Happy new year, you.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Like Clockwork Without the Accuracy

Through the years, I'd like to think that my life's philosophy has always been: focus on the now. Focus on what's in front of you and enjoy it.

Many times, I've been tempted to think of the what ifs, the what could've beens, and the what should bes. That's unavoidable for someone like me, I guess. I'm neither an idealist nor a pessimist. I'm a worrier in my mid-20's. I'm in a stage where life can take me anywhere. And I've figured that the answers to the questions (or uncertainties, depending on the side of positivity you lean on) worrying my mind will never be answered conclusively. What makes sense to me could be a complete puzzle to Person B, and the light bulb that sparks Person B could simply be an empty box to Person C.

My point is, if what's in front of me makes me happy, then I should stick with it. And the moment I realize it no longer is capable of putting a smile on my face, is the moment I should accept that I should move on.

And yes. This is one of those moments. I should move on and find another that will put a smile on my face.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Life in a Study Room

Been quiet here the past nine months. Just to recap: it was an awesome nine months. I loved every part of it, most especially the people I've met and re-met. From the old friends from HP who have also made the same move, to the new friends from ING (the Pinoy Mafia, and our honorary non-Pinoy members), and all the other folks I met from here and there (and there). I realize I'm doing a disservice to the awesome period of my life by writing just a measly paragraph about it, but I'm far too lazy this Saturday afternoon to actually write a long ode to the very significant April - December 2011 part of my life. I guess the important take-away is this: it's always the people that make experiences extra-awesome.

2011 was a life-changing year for me, in more ways than just moving to a new country. I learned a lot about life and what I should be doing with it, and found out some things about myself that were pretty unexpected (although I'll have to admit that some things still continue to confuse me, haha.)

I was talking to one of my newer friends yesterday while riding the taxi to our respective dinners, and I admitted that after making a quick trip back to Manila for Christmas, I realized that maybe going back there (and I mean permanently, in the immediate future) might actually be a good idea. A month ago, I would've dreaded it, not because I dread Manila, but because I really was enjoying my life in Singapore. But now, if I got a good job offer in Manila, I would seriously consider packing things up here and taking it. My mind is so fickle.

So yes. As life-changing as 2011 was, I'm actually thinking that it might not be so bad to change it back.

Alright 2012, let's do this. I'm ready for you.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Life in a duffle bag.

Life in a duffle bag. Eating pancit canton cooked by my mom. Emo at 4am.


In about 13 hours, I'll be leaving Manila and will be moving my life to Singapore. I should be excited, and to be honest, I think it's fair to say that March 2011 has clearly been one of the most awesome months of my entire life, and I can't wait for what April has in store for me.

But I just can't help myself from not feeling a bit down when I look at my now near-empty closet, and look at the two small bags that now hold all the carefully chosen stuff that I'll be bringing with me. I think it's the realization that I can't take the most important stuff in my life with me and put them in those two small bags.

The reason why March 2011 became a clear highlight in the timeline of my life wasn't really because I've found a job in a nice and shiny city, but because in the last two weeks, I've managed to reconnect with all my friends from most points in my life in a more profound way. We weren't just drinking because we wanted to get drunk (but yeah, that too...) We were drinking because we knew that the distance that was gonna exist between us after April 2 will surely affect our relationships, even if we try as hard as we can to convince each other that we'll be keeping in touch and nothing will change. We set aside a time to have dinner together because we knew that it's gonna take a long, long time again until we get to sit down in front of each other and just talk about our lives, and get what each other is saying without much explanation.

I can't help but feel down right now, at 4 in the morning, because I'm realizing how much I love these people (you) that I'll be moving away from, and your lives will move on, and my life will move on, and maybe when our paths cross again, we've already gotten used to not seeing each other, not getting drunk together, not eating together, or not understanding each others' jokes.

Fuck it. If you're still reading this up to here, could you do me a favor and not let that happen?

Also, thank you.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

So Fucking Happy I Could Kick a Puppy

March has been really, really hectic. And it all started off with a job interview on the evening of Feb 28. All I can say about that right now is that I'm completely surprised and ecstatic about how fast things has happened. Within three days, I found myself getting interviewed and then getting an offer and then resigning from my current company to take the new job. Awesome.


After that great bit of news, I took a two-day leave from work to go on a four-day vacation in Boracay, which will never stop being an awesome place (hopefully, anyway.) Pics here, here and here.



















Boracay Sunset



















Zorbing with Jan and Ish



















Messing around on the beach

Swimming and chilling and doing nothing on the best sand in the best beach in the world, partying at night, eating good food, having great company... Yep, this year's Boracay trip was awesome.

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My boss from Poland also swung by Manila for some meetings, and it was fun talking to him about Warsaw (I miss it) and Manila, the beautiful places in the Philippines he should visit (I tried convincing him to skip work and join us in Boracay, lol), which parts of a pig sisig is made from (ears, cheeks and brains) (I told him this after he finished eating some, of course), crossing the streets of Metro Manila (I think he'll be scared of our streets for the rest of his life), and how he should eat balut (even more scared...)

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I attended a couple of Couchsurfing activities. Both involved drinking and lots of talking (and a bit of awkward dancing), and both were completely fun. Kind of makes me regret not participating in more CS events!

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Just last week, another slight change of routine was in order. My soon-to-be-former team also moved in to a new building at McKinley Hill in Taguig City. The new office is actually really nice. It has lots of workspaces (thankfully! since our team was basically displaced in our old office in Ayala...), wider hallways and bigger conference rooms. The only problem is, since the new floor isn't fully furnished yet, we have to go to another floor just to use the washroom or get a glass of water. Such a hassle. Of course, I'll only be working in that office for just 2 more weeks, so I'm not gonna complain too hard.



Now, last 3rd of March, be awesome!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Don't Call Me Lovelorn

I've been abusing youtube's play button lately, listening to these songs:





I mean, seriously.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gujab Chieffy!

The Azkals won the first leg of the AFC Cup qualifiers against Mongolia, 2-0!
Chieffy Caligdong scored this awesome goal in the first half. Let's give it up for the home-grown, 5'5 1/2''-tall Air Force man! Talent ang tawag dyan! :D Phil Younghusband scored the second goal right at the end of the 2nd half (during stoppage time pa yata.) I was hoping for more goals so that we could get a hefty lead for the 2nd leg, but 2-0 is a good win nonetheless.

The next leg will happen a month from now in Ulaan Baator, Mongolia. A quick google search says that the average temp in Ulaan Baator during the middle of March is close to -20° C. I guess the team needs to start investing on good thermal underwear?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Blogging From My X10

Ok, just testing out this bloggerdroid app before going to sleep. Good night!

Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Aussie Kim

Our Aussie Open 2011 Women's Singles champion:
Kim cleans up well, huh? But couldn't they have chosen a nicer place for this photoshoot?

For the first hour of the women's final, it looked like Kim finally met her match in Li Na, who was was trying to make history by being the first player from an Asian country to win a grand slam singles title. Li was matching Kim's baseline and defense game, and wasn't showing any signs of nerves - which is what I predicted would hinder her from winning the final match. But Kim stayed steady, and slowly worked her way into the match. Kim was a point away from going down a set and a 4-2, but she fought her way back and eventually won 6 straight games, and by the time Li got her game together again, Clijsters already built a good lead and cruised in the last game to claim her 1st Australian Open title, and 4th grand slam singles title overall.

Li definitely acquitted herself well in Australia, not just because she showed that she has the game of a top 5 player (she was on an eleven-match winning streak, including a straight set win
over Kim two weeks ago in Sydney), but she showed that she also had the great personality of a global athletic star. Her post-match interviews (especially the one right after she beat world #1 Caroline Wozniacki) were comedy gold, and she still kept her head high after her loss in the final, which is a good sign that she won't be continuing the rest of the year being deflated about missing this chance.

Back to Kim, she has now won the last two grand slam events and is moving up to the #2 ranking this coming Monday, just 140 points off from Caroline's #1 spot. With Justine Henin's retirement (sad face) and Serena Williams's injury still preventing her from returning to the tour, will Kim be the favorite to win Roland Garros? If she does, that's gonna be her 3rd straight grand slam title, and a win at Wimbledon (where former champs Serena, Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova all are nursing, or playing below their best because of, injuries) will give Kim a career Grand Slam, and her very own Kim Slam.

Suddenly, the WTA Tour got a lot more interesting this 2011.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

6-4, 1-6, 16-14.

This Australian Open is starting to be somewhat of a banner tournament for marathon 3-set matches on the women's side.

In the first 3 rounds alone, we've already seen extended 3rd sets in the following matches:
  1. Russian Ekaterina Makarova edged out Serbian former #1 Ana Ivanovic, 10-8,
  2. Another Russian Regina Kulikova beat Slovakian (and personal favorite) Daniela Hantuchova 9-7,
  3. Former top ten player Alicia Molik of Australia defeated Italian Roberta Vinci 8-6
  4. Chinese Shuai Peng beat Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko 8-6
  5. Another personal favorite Maria Kirilenko ousted Italian Romina Oprandi, 8-6
  6. Francesca Schiavone (who we'll be talking about again) surviving Canadian Rebecca Marino, 9-7
  7. and Ekaterina Makarova again, this time beating out fellow Russian Nadia Petrova, 8-6
But none of those 7 matches even came close to the match we saw earlier today. That match being the longest match in women's grand slam history: reigning French Open champion Francesca Schiavone outlasted 2-time grand slam champ Svetlana Kuznetsova in 4 hours, 44 mins. I only got to see the 3rd set, but that was enough for me to see how much fighting spirit these players had. Sveta isn't exactly known as the steadiest players out there (she's very powerful, but also very erratic), but she held her nerve for most part of the 3rd set and produced some great winners. Both players put their heart, sweat and guts on every shot they made (no, not literally...), but it was Schiavone who just pushed a little harder. She saved 6 match points in all, played great defense by chasing down ever shot even though it looked like she didn't have a chance to win the point, and hit some great winners and volleys herself. Great job on the win Francesca, and despite the loss, congrats are in order for Sveta's great play too.

Their match actually lasted about as long as the Hewitt-Nalbandian 5-setter in the first round. After that match, Nalbandian just had no gas in his tank and barely won a game against up-and-comer Ricardas Berankis before retiring. We'll see how Francesca holds up in the quarterfinals against Caroline (she's had 2 marathon matches already, and her other 2 matches weren't a walk in the park either.)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Split Racket and Some High/Lowlights


LOL. I bet Marat is jealous this never happened to him.

The first two rounds of the Australian Open is now done, and we've seen some pretty great matches so far. The best one yet is the 4 hour, 48 minute Nalbandian vs Hewitt first round match. I'm not a huge fan of either players (and I particularly dislike Hewitt's special brand of annoying-ness.), but this was a really high quality, high-tension match. On the opposite side of the spectrum is the first round match between Kim Clijsters and Dinara Safina, which lasted 44 minutes, ending with the score 6-0, 6-0. It's definitely a heartbreaking loss for Lil Sis Dinara, who less then 2 years ago was the world #1. Now, after her 1st round loss, she's projected to drop out of the top 100. To give Dinara a break, let's just focus on Ana Ivanovic's heart-breaking loss to Russian Ekaterina Makarova. Ana started the match well, winning the first set, but Makarova started to find her shots and went on to upset Ivanovic, 10-8 in the 3rd set. It was a shame since Ana's form is definitely starting to pick up. She was hitting huge forehands winners and was really going for riskier shots. Unfortunately for her, so was Makarova and on the crucial points, Ana just fell short while Makarova remained solid.

The match highlights (or lowlights, in Dinara's case) are here:

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Tween.

And that in-betweener from Roger Federer signals the start of the 2011 tennis season!

Tons of tournaments in the first week of the year: there's the men's tournaments in Qatar and Chennai, the ladies' tournament in Auckland, and the mixed tournament in Brisbane. There's also the exhibition in Hong Kong featuring the WTA players and ATP legends, and the always awesome Hopman Cup in Perth. It's so awesome that Nicolas Mahut wore Kristina Mladenovic's tennis dress:

The Australian Open starts in about a week!

Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Others

Ok, I was supposed to talk about some other things in the last post, but I realized the previous entry has gone on too long (sorry, once I start talking about tennis, I usually don't stop)

So... here are the best of the others:

Best movie I saw this year: Inception.
It had everything, a great concept told in a very entertaining and exciting way, an interesting group of people you could root for, and if that didn't work for you, you could still take it as a great action/heist film with awesome visuals. And that top didn't stop spinning.

Best TV series: I usually just say The Amazing Race here anyway, so I'll just enumerate the 10 runner-ups:
Bones, Criminal Minds, Burn Notice, White Collar, Modern Family, Parks and Recreations, Cougar Town, Community, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Big Bang Theory.
(Note: not that I have a lot of time in my hands, I don't even download any of these via torrents. I just watch these shows whenever I catch them on TV.)

Best line from a TV Show:
"All I ask is one thing... and this is... I'm asking this particularly of young people that watch. Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism. For the record, it's my least favorite quality. It doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you. Amazing things will happen. I'm telling you. It's just true. As proof, let's make something amazing happen right now." (goes on to sing Freebird)
Well said, Coco. Well said.

Best Performance in a Movie:
Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit Girl.
*Don't watch if you're under 18 or are otherwise immature or have strong aversion to gore.

Best Viral Video:
I was tempted to give it to the Cebu Pacific's Dancing FA's, but I remembered this one. It was hilarious when I first saw it floating around on Facebook. Still hilarious now.

Top 3 Annoying Facebook Trends:
1. People saying "unlike" when they really mean "dislike".
2. People tagging me on pictures where I'm just a blur in the background.
3. People tagging others on pics of things that they're selling. (Thanks to Jun for reminding me of this!)

Best Fake Twitter Account:

Top 3 Food for Delivery:
1. Shakey's Greek Summer Salad + mojo potatoes with Caesar dressing
2. KFC's California Maki Twister or Hotshots + Choco-Banana Krusher
3. Wendy's Big Classic Burger with cheese

Most Addicting/Time-Wasting Android game:
Sige na nga, Angry Birds. (Air Control and Word Up are the runners-up.)

Best New Restaurant/Food Place:
Bon Chon at the Ayala Triangle Gardens. Saraaap ng chicken wings.


2010 Sports

2010 sports was definitely dominated by the World Cup, and while the teams I rooted for fell by the wayside one by one (France, Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands...) Spain was undeniably the best team in South Africa. Of course, in the last few weeks, our own Philippine Azkals also made waves here in Southeast Asia. Maybe it's too soon to think about seeing our boys play in Brazil 2014, but hey, there's nothing wrong in dreaming of seeing them maybe in the next World Cups in Russia and Qatar, right?


Since my blog is tennis-dominated, my year-end sports review will mostly focus on tennis.

Male Player of the Year: Rafael Nadal
Now, you probably know that I'm a die hard Federer fan, but 2010 was Rafa's year. He won 3 of the four grand slam titles, including his first US Open, which put him in the very exclusive group of players who have won all four Grand Slam events.

Female Player of the Year: Kim Clijsters
Caroline Wozniacki may have won the most WTA titles and ended the year as #1, and Serena may have won the most Grand Slam titles among the women, but Kim won two big titles (the US Open and the WTA Year End Championships) and managed to be significant for the better part of the year. So by process of elimination, she's my player of the year.

Saddest News of the Year: Elena Dementieva retires :(
Elena took the tennis world by surprise by announcing her retirement after playing her last match at the WTA Year End Championships, without any hints or advance warning whatsoever. She's had a great career, where she won an Olympic gold medal in Beijing, and ended each year ranked inside the top 10 for about a decade(!) An update on Elena's facebook page earlier today just said that she's been hired as the Vice President of the Russian tennis federation, so it looks like her post-pro tennis career is going to be great.

Match of the Year: Wimbeldon, First Round: John Isner def. Nicolas Mahut, 6–4, 3–6, 6–7(9–7), 7–6(7–3), 70–68
70. 68. Nuff said.

Breakthrough Players of 2010: Petra Kvitova and Ernests Gulbis
Kvitova made the semis of Wimbledon where she made Serena work hard before eventually losing. If she can play in 2011 like she did there at Wimbledon, she could be a contender. There has always been some buzz about the talent that Gulbis has, but it really was only this year that he showed what he can do on the court, which is to beat Federer and take a set of Nadal on clay. Too bad an injury stopped his momentum at the French Open. I was thinking that he was ready to make a serious run to the top 10 during the second half of the year. Maybe in 2011.

Players to watch for 2011: Grigor Dimitrov and Laura Robson
I've been following Dimitrov's career for a couple of years now ever since I heard people calling him Federer Jr, and found out that he was being coached by Roger's previous coach, Peter Lundgren. He has loads of talent, and went on to win 6 ITF titles the past year. He's now knocking on the door of the Top 100, and I expect big things to come from him next year. Robson, like Dimitrov, won the Wimbledon juniors title back in 2007. I saw her playing at the Hopman Cup in Australia last January and was very impressed by what I saw. She played great for a then 15-year old girl. I don't think she'll be breaking into the top 10 in 2011, but it'll definitely be fun seeing her rise up the rankings.

And of course, closer to home, props to our Asian Games gold medalists (all coming from the 3 B's, naturally): Boxing's Rey Saludar, Bowling's Biboy Ramirez, and Billiards' Dennis Orcollo.

At siyempre, kay Manny Pacquiao. :D

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Travels

2010 was another great year for traveling. I mean, I got to travel a lot this year, which is always fantastic.

I made my second trip to Singapore last July in time for the Great Singapore Sale and the quarterly IT Show, and I got to see my BI/DW friends again, which is always great. I also returned to Hong Kong and Macau last November, this time with my new teammates. The weather in Hong Kong and Macau that time was perfect. I was also able to appreciate Macau more this time around since I got to walk along the Historic Centre of Macau (and we got to visit more hotels and casinos too.)

I attended three destination weddings this year. Two of the weddings were held in Baguio (Victory Liner's deluxe buses are awesome, as is the PNKY bed and breakfast), and the third one was in Iloilo (where our airfare was only around 300 pesos, roundtrip! Thanks, CebuPac.) It was my first time in Iloilo, and I stuffed myself with La Paz Batchoy from Ted's and Deco's, and oysters and other seafood in Tatoys and Smallville. I also got to see the Miag-Ao Church, which is just a beautiful structure.

After the Iloilo wedding, we went Guimaras to see the beaches and eat mangoes. Guimaras is a very scenic place and the mangoes I brought back to Manila were the yummiest mangoes I've ever eaten.

The highlight of my traveling year was definitely Batanes. I've been wanting to go to Batanes for several years now, and this year, the trip finally happened. And Batanes definitely didn't disappoint (even considering that the end of our trip was ruined by a typhoon that made a direct hit on the islands and left us stranded in Basco for 3 days.) Batanes is just absolutely stunning, and the people in Batanes were nothing short of kind and welcoming. The Ivatans definitely embody that hospitable trait we Pinoys love to bandy about when promoting Philippine tourism.

Batanes is right up there with Coron and El Nido as the best places I've ever visited in the Philippines. Scratch that. The world.

hellgod_13’s Charts

So here goes the start of my year-end lists.

According to Last.fm, these are my most listened-to songs of the past 12 months.

hellgod_13’s Charts – Users at Last.fm:
1
13
2
11
2
11
4
10
4
10
4
10
4
10
4
10
4
10
4
10
Not even one song here was released within the last 3 years, LOL... but I'm blaming this on the Last.fm scrobbler plugin not working on my laptop (plus me doing most of my music listening through my trusty, 3.75-year old Creative ZVM)

But if I had to choose a song that really made an impact to me this year, it's this gem by Up Dharma Down. (Alright, I know this song wasn't released this year either, but bear with me)
Something about this song (the *brilliant* lyrics, the smooth melody, Armi's incredible voice, Carlos, Pol and Ean's tight playing, the witty original video) and something about the things that happened the past year just *clicked* in an incredibly affecting way. The above video was taken from Up Dharma Down's live performance during the last few days of NU 107's existence (tear...)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

What Happened in December

This December has been a pretty hectic month (as it is for everyone, I guess.)

The Hong Kong-Macau trip at the end of November with my teammates was fun, but it also meant I had some catching up to do at work as soon as I got back. Once December came though, the company Christmas parties came one after the other. First was the company-wide party/charity fundraiser at PTTC beside the Manila World Trade Center (it was originally supposed to be at the Megatent in Ortigas, but was moved to PTTC less than a week from the event because of some, uh, trouble? in Megatent.) Next, there was my team's planning session/team building/holiday party at the really nice Punta de Fabian resort in Baras, Rizal. It also served as our farewell party for our teammate Mel, who's leaving to take up her Masters in Australia.


In between those two events, I went up to Baguio to attend Karon and Wayne's wedding. This was the third destination-wedding-care-of-former-teammates that I attended this year, after Camille and Marlon's Baguio wedding and Mich and James' Iloilo wedding. Baguio at this time of the year is just so nice. The weather, the food and the sights are awesome, and of course, Wayne and Karon's wedding was really nice too (the food was GREAT!)

Congratulations, Karon and Wayne!

After that, there was the AMG (our group) year-ender party at the New World Hotel, where everyone was dressed well, and the food was great and the party was nice. It's probably the best HP party without alcoholic drinks I've been to (because for some reason, alcoholic drinks aren't allowed at official company parties anymore, effectively killing any chances of the HP Beer Bash ever coming back... Boooooo!)

And that's why a day away from Christmas eve, I'm still not done buying Christmas gifts for my godkids and housemates. (Actually, it's really because I'm not a big fan of Christmas shopping and I'm a lazy shopper... but why say that when you can claim to be busy attending parties?)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

One Woof For the Azkals

After Manny's epic win over the bigger Margarito last month, we have another awesome news for Philippine sports with our Philippine football team, the Azkals, making it to the semis of the AFF Suzuki Cup for the first time in the tournaments history.


Our boys successfully made it through the qualifying rounds (because we have a low world ranking), and then went unbeaten in the round robin stage by drawing against Singapore, beating defending champion Vietnam 2-0 (upset of the tournament!), and then playing to another draw against Myanmar. Of course, Southeast Asian football is definitely just a small pond in the football ocean, but there was a time a few years ago when our team was getting beaten 7-nil or 13-1 by our neighbors. Those days are over and our team is improving quickly!

Hopefully, now that the Azkals have shown what they're capable of, the Philippine Football Federation and our government's sports institutions will start providing support to the team so that they could reach their full potential.

Seriously, I can just imagine how awesome and exciting it would be to root for our team in the next World Cup (kahit sa qualifiers lang :p) Let's go Azkals! Woof!














Oo, Neil Etheridge, ikaw na ang magaling na goalkeeper!


Next on my sports wishlist: Our Davis Cup team making it the World Group!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another Year

It's been almost a year since I posted this. Sadly, both issues are still unresolved.


The problems we have regarding reproductive health remains unaddressed, and worse, the anti-RH "advocates" seem to be getting more ignorant about the issue while at the same time becoming more aggressive in their advocacy. What a dangerous combination.

Justice is still elusive for the victims of the massacre in Ampatuan, Maguindanao. I remember the overwhelming emotions that people had when this heinous crime came to our knowledge. Today marks the anniversary of the Maguindanao massacre. I hope we don't see another Nov 23 like last year's in our country's history, and I hope we won't have to wait another year before justice is finally served.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gujab, Manny!

Gujab, Manny.