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!