Sunday, May 23, 2010

Justine/Rafa 2010

The French Open will be starting later today and this one's gonna be all about comebacks, I think.

Rafael Nadal will be looking to reclaim his title after shockingly losing (for the very first time) at Roland Garros last year to Robin Soderling. Rafa hasn't lost a match on clay this year, and it looks like he'll be keeping that trend up in the next two weeks. And just like the past 4 years, I'm expecting to see Roger Federer on the other side of the net versus Rafa in the finals, but he won't be winning back-to-back French Open titles over the best player clay court player of all time, who also happens to currently be in top form after suffering from injuries last year.

The other great comeback that I can't wait to see is from Justine Henin, who came out of retirement at the start of this year and then displayed a more aggressive game all the way to the Australian Open final, before losing to #1 Serena Williams in a tight match. Justine was the queen of Roland Garros, she was a 3-time defending champion from 2005-2007 (she also won it in 2003) before deciding to abruptly retire from tennis two weeks before the 2008 French Open while ranked #1 in the world.

Justine's draw this year is actually really, really tough. She's seeded #22, and could potentially face #12 Maria Sharapova (who just won in Strasbourg a few hours ago) in the 3rd round, and #7 Samantha Stosur (who won at Charleston and then reached the final in Stuttgart last April) in the 4th round, and then #1 Serena Williams (who, you know, is Serena) in the quarterfinals. That's a really difficult set of players to get through just to reach the semifinals of a tournament.

Anyway, it should be interesting to see how Justine does. I predict that whoever wins the Justine-Serena quarterfinals will go on to win the whole tournament. And that match should be fun!

Monday, May 10, 2010

The 051010 Choice, Part 3

Ok, I AM fickle minded.

I voted for Gibo. I changed my mind last night, after a conversation with a Gibo supporter/high school friend of mine. The thing is, I like Gordon's accomplishments, but I just don't like him. And I don't mean "like" in the way that I like musicians or actors or tennis players. No, it's not about likability or personality.
I like his stand on education, but I most probably won't like how he'll implement it. I like his platform but I don't like his views about the Filipino psyche. And that's exactly where he lost me.

With Gibo, I like his platform, and his views, and his leadership style and the way he ran his campaign. And I like his potential as a leader.


In terms of the actual voting, I want to put it on record that I liked the automated elections. Some friends had nightmare stories of waiting in line for 3-6 hours (under the hot Manila summer sun), but mine was more like a 20 minute stroll to the classroom. The quick turnaround on the (unofficial) results was also a great relief from the slow crawl of previous elections' manual counting, complete with chalkboards and candle-light vigils and people sitting on the yellow ballot boxes to avoid vote-switching and petty election fraud techniques. And yes, it is pretty neat that I get to say that I voted during the first ever automated Philippine National elections.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Camille & Marlon's Baguio Wedding, pt 2

[April 24]
Kasal na nila Marlon and Camille! Let me just start by saying that it was a really fun wedding, from watching Marlon and then Camille marching down the aisle to the cocktails and the fotoloco booth to the wedding reception/party to the after dinner drinks.

I woke up at around 8 am, and had breakfast at the PNKY Cafe where we finally met up with the rest of our office friends, who left Manila the previous night and arrived in Baguio a couple of hours after midnight. The girls went to get their hair done somewhere in the city while some of the guys went to the Good Shepherd Convent to buy bottles of ube jam, peanut brittle, and other stuff you buy from a convent filled with pastry and dessert-making experts for pasalubong. Some of us went to Session Road to have lunch. We decided to eat at Pizza Volante because we heard that the pizza was pretty good there.

At around 1PM, we all* proceeded to the Baguio Cathedral (aka Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral) for the wedding. The wedding ceremony itself was really nice. Baguio Cathedral is big and looks really nice, and the mass went by quickly.
*all except Marj, na naiwanan pala sa kwarto kasi ang tagal magbihis... LOL

After the mass, we taxied our way to the Baguio Country Club where cocktails were being served. Since the reception wasn't gonna start until 6 pm, we went up to BCC's restaurant to hang out, and then we grilled Enzo about hot topics involving him (oo, kasama na ang sweldo dun. lol)
We also went crazy on the fotoloco booth, halos 20% ng pics jan sa album are pictures of our group haha.

The reception started at about 6pm, when the entourage danced their way to the middle of the ballroom (except kay Sheryl Tan na naglakad lang, boooo!)
The food was great, I think I ate about a plateful of the fish fillet.

Then, games! The guys had to blow balloons up until they popped. The guy who doesn't pop his balloon gets to be the one to put on the garter to the girl who "won" the girls' game. The "winning" guy was Philip, who we suspected of pretending to not be able to blow the balloon hahaha...

The girls' game was Trip to Jerusalem/Musical Chairs, but instead of racing each other to sit on the chairs, the girls had to race each other to grab a banana that was placed in between the guys' legs. Daisie was extra excited for the game, she squeezed two(2!) bananas into mush. Don't use your imagination too much. Anyway, the twist was that right before Philip was to put the garter on the winning girl's leg, they blindfolded him and the girl was replaced by someone's grandma. We were all very happy about this. (Well, all except for Philip I guess.)
After the wedding, we all went back to PNKY to change before heading out to have some drinks at the nearby bar. We were supposed to go to Nevada Square but we Karon and Wayne found out that their dress code didn't allow people to wear shorts or slippers, which more than half of us were wearing that night (hindi gaanong malamig sa Baguio nun eh.) After the drinks, some went to sleep, while the rest of us stayed at PNKY's front porch and drank the bignay wine that we got as a souvenir from the wedding, all along exchanging ghost stories, since Baguio at night is scary, and did I mention that the creepy white house in Baguio was right there in front of us?

Congratulations ulit, Camille and Marlon! That was definitely a great, memorable way to start your married life! Cheers!

Camille & Marlon's Baguio Wedding, pt 1

[April 23] Our first day in Baguio for Camille and Marlon's wedding. We took the 1:15 AM Vicotry Liner bus, which left the Edsa-Pasay station at about 1:45 AM. The bus ride was really quick, we arrived in Baguio just 4 hours and some minutes later at around 6am. We went straight to PNKY:
(an awesome bed and breakfast with the Baguio haunted house* right in front of it, and our home for the next 2 nights) to leave our bags. Check in time wasn't until 2pm in the afternoon, so we decided to grab a nice breakfast at the first place we saw that was open, Glenn 50's Diner, just a block away from PNKY.
I ordered Fish and Chips, and it felt like I was eating a whole school of dory. For 100-something pesos, it was a lot.

We lucked out on Joseph's mom's friend having their house blessed that day, so we went to Joseph's mom's friend's house to join the house blessing, including the best part of ceremony: free lunch. We also went to SM Baguio because Airis (aka The Face) wanted to look for a place where the girls could get their hair done before the wedding. After SM Baguio, we took a quick stroll along Session Road, where we had a cone of ice cream (we had Razon's halo-halo earlier at SM.) We burned off the calories by biking at Burnham Park.
I haven't biked in a really loooong time (grade school pa yata ako nung huli akong nagbike.) I think I know why I haven't ridden a bike for such a long time. Those bike seats aren't very comfortable. Now I know what it feels like to be raped. Masakit.


After an hour of biking, we headed straight to Forest House for late dinner. The food was great, and the place was really nice too. I had sesame crusted fish fillet with Asian mango salsa. I got a surprise birthday cake to end the meal. Thanks Forest House and friends!

After that, we went back to PNKY, all tired but full. Great first day! Ikakasal na sila Camille and Marlon bukas!

More pics here:

*a quick google search says that it's actually the Laperal House, built in the 1920/30's by the Laperal (duh) clan. It has since been abandoned but some sources say that the house was bought by Tito Lucio (Tan) about 3 years ago. Even saw some pics of the house's interiors. It looks nice from the inside!

The 051010 Choice, Part 2

Ok, call me fickle minded.

But the pull for voting for someone who has proven his ability to lead and to create changes successfully, and continues to submit fresh, innovative ideas, and who is willing to rally the people's minds AND hearts to lift us from our current situation, and espouses positive transformation in various aspects of his vision? Is much stronger than the hope that I'm projecting towards a Gibo leadership.

They both have their strengths and they both have their weaknesses. The positives qualities that each of them possess are very admirable, and fits to what I'm looking for in a president. Gibo's stand on improving infrastructure and economy, and Gordon's stand on education. In my eyes, if I was looking at their strengths exclusively, choosing between them is like flipping a coin.

What I realize now is that I can bear with Gordon's weaknesses more than Gibo's, because he has shown that his strengths supplement his weaknesses, which is something I can't say for Gibo just yet. With Gordon, there's the fact that people think he brings a lot of hubris to his talk. And there's the fact that his ideas are wild and grand and also sometimes almost quixotic. With Gibo, there's the doubt about accountability, that their might be slack in getting it, in as far as his actions as DND Secretary and NDCC chief showed. And there's the doubt on his position regarding issues that directly affect his alliances, that his alliance with GMfuckingA and trapo-filled party will cloud his positions on issues such as corruption and human rights.

With Gordon, I know what I'm getting, and I know that his positive qualities can override his perceived negatives. And I trust his sincerity and integrity and his desire to get Filipinos not just to change, but to move forward.

And yes, his fresh energy.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The 051010 Choice

At the beginning of this week, I was still torn between voting for Gibo and voting for Gordon.

On the one hand, Gibo is incredibly intelligent, and hearing him answer questions during the different presidential forum is enough for even doubters to be convinced of his ability, his intelligence, his competence (or at least, his eloquence.) When he talks, he shows his understanding of issues, and provides specific, implementable ideas that align to his clear vision. He talks to the point, and more importantly, with a specific, strong point, which is a breath of fresh air in Philippine politics. The big thorn on his side is of course, he's coming from the same political party as GMfuckingA.

On the other hand, here's Gordon and his long list of achievements. He has proven in his track record that he can do many things well. More to the point: he can lead well because he has shown that he understands what good leadership is all about. He also has a lot of ideas. Big ideas. He is also thought of as bringing a lot of bark to his big bite.

Gibo and Gordon have their individual strengths: one can boast of a clear, well-thoughtout vision and platform and the other, a clear, headstrong leadership skill. Gibo is showing to be concensus-builder, while Gordon has shown himself to be a steadfast doer. At the same time, they share the same positions on various different issues, which is why it's proving a challenge to discern between the two who exactly is a better fit for the highest position in the land.

That's when a thought came to me: imagine what a leader like Gordon would've done had he been president of the country at his vital, peak years, carrying all that fresh energy and can-do way of thinking that he applied to transforming Subic and the Department of Tourism. A leader like him, in a fresh package full of dynamism and positivity, would probably have a great run as the President of the Philippines. Makes you think.

And that's why I'm voting for Gibo.