Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tips for Your Next Makati Coup

Thank you Senator Trillanes for giving Mrs. President the chance to once again flex her flabby biceps and show everyone who's boss. A few things to consider for next time:

1. Check the weather report. Especially if you fancy a long walk down the aisle and want some audience participation along the way. We Pinoys hate walking as it is so it's silly to think we'd be more willing to do it in the rain.

2. If your cohorts are old enough to be your father and grandfather, expect little support from the 18-49 male demographic and none at all from females of all ages.

3. We like your choice of venue so keep it up. Consider calling yourselves "The Posh Putschists".

4. Get rid of this guy.

4. Show us you're game. If you start something, bring it to conclusion. If you make a demand, stand your ground until you get it. If you chew gum, blow a bubble or two. Or at least make like you're trying.

5. Give whatever it is you're doing a name. Right off the bat, say, "This is a coup / putsch / rebellion / mutiny / terrorist act / hunger strike / sit-in." You will save us the trouble of figuring out what the hell it is and more importantly you will have people referring to you as coup leader, rebel or mutineer instead of twat.

6. Make sure people get something out of it in the end. If not a new government, then maybe a couple of days off work. And in no case should it be a fucking curfew.

7. Lastly, don't forget yer balls.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Last Supper in 16 Billion Pixels; Gloria di Sant'Ignazio in 9.8


This website by an imaging outfit called HAL9000 lets you get up close and personal with the most famous 13-person portrait of all. Zoom in and you can almost smell the must and feel the cold surface just inches away from your face.

Another masterpiece featured is Andrea Pozzo's Gloria di Sant'Ignazio, the fresco in St. Ignatius's Church in Rome. Zoom in and notice that the mouldings in the painting are painted with cracks -- details a viewer on the ground would never get to see (until now), but are nonetheless there.

This is my favorite of all the artworks we saw in Rome when we were there in 2000. We almost didn't see it; it wasn't in any of the five guidebooks we carried around. We were walking in one of those streets from the Vittoriano leading to the Spanish Steps. There was a sudden shower and we took shelter in the doorway of an indistinct church. I saw the brass sign on the door and said to the wife, "Hey, look, St. Ignatius. It's fate. We have to go in."

What we saw inside was nothing short of majestic. The church vault had opened out to heaven and God's people were being drawn up by the sheer glory of it all. The images were so life-like we didn't know if we were looking at paintings or sculptures. We stood there open-mouthed, unbelieving, awestruck.

When we gathered our wits, we proceeded towards the altar and noticed that the cupola was rather askew. We realized there was no cupola; it was a perspective painting. Much later wifey found a marker on the floor. We stood on it and looked up. The painting was gone and right there was a cupola above the heart of the church. Amazing stuff.

St. Ignatius's Church was the best serendipitous find of that trip (of our lives to date, actually). We discovered it on our second day and by the time we were through with our exhausting and exhaustive 10-day visit it would rank right up there with the Sistine Chapel and the Parthenon as the greatest masterpieces of Rome in our book. Quite a feat considering the competition.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Are they serious?

Saw a Philippine Daily Inquirer ad at the movies recently that went:

Fade-in: photo of Romeo Garduce. "How hard can it be?"
Fade-in: photo of Lea Salonga. "Why not the world?"
Fade-in: photo of Ninoy Aquino. "Why can't I come home?"
Philippine Daily Inquirer. Dare to Ask.

I don't know that these words were ever uttered verbatim, but they are attributed to these people using sound-alike voice-overs to boot.

But apart from this, the problematic thing about the whole bit is that while it gives examples of supposed inquiries and dares us "to ask", those questions up there, as any fourth grader would know, are freaking rhetorical questions.

Sure we should all be Inquirers. But by asking "questions" that are by definition "used only for rhetorical effect and to which the answer is obvious, immediately provided or simply not expected," how much inquiring does one do?

Ten Years Old and It Still Kills

Tony looks like a human being, Drea de Matteo is a restaurant hostess, Big Pussy's on dry land, Christopher is lean and hungry, Paulie Walnuts looks exactly the same and Livia Soprano is the most terrifying of the lot. The Sopranos Season 1 is midway through its first Philippine television broadcast on Crime/Suspense (Ch.50 on SkyCable) Fridays at 10:00 PM, encore at 3:00:AM. Reruns on Mondays at 1:00 PM and Sundays at 11:00 PM. The girls at the Bada Bing are pixelized, but more than a few choice colorful words escape bleeping.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Beyoncé Experience. Live in Taguig! (To be exact.)

What's with the Taguig crap? A few months back Christina Aguilera went Back to Basics Live in Taguig. Now it's Beyoncé taking her Experience World Tour Live in Taguig.

Why the sudden stress on geographical accuracy with (of all places) Taguig? The Black Eyed Peas and Babyface concerts weren't "Live in Cubao". Passengers landing in NAIA aren't greeted with "Welcome to Parañaque." And The Peninsula, Hotel Intercontinental and Mandarin Oriental aren't branded "Makati". What makes Taguig so pompously special?

Well, is there doubt in anybody's mind that this Taguig thing was rammed down Chritina's and Beyoncé 's vocal cords by the Honorables in City Government, who obviously think getting top billing is the way to being famous, rather than the other way around. Forget working on being known for good governance, superior health care or, ahurm, effective flood control. The quickest way for these people to see their city's name up there in lights is, literally, to put the city's name up there in lights.

Is it working? Is Taguig world-famous yet? Is it getting top mileage from the prominent exposure it gave itself? Not by a long shot. In the past two weeks, there have been two Associated Press articles on Beyoncé (here and here) and Taguig is prominently not mentioned. And good luck getting a shout out from her at the concert: although Beyoncé can't spell Manila, she sure as hell can say it -- and yell it out -- much easier than that freakin' place she's never even heard of but oddly shares top billing with.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ateneo 65, La Salle 64

Behind by six going in the last two minutes, Ateneo scored seven unanswered points -- five of them from Chris Tiu -- to steal the game that was so controlled by La Salle from the toss it seemed like a lost cause as early as the 3rd quarter.

It was never a pretty picture for Ateneo especially on paper -- more than 25 turnovers, only one 3pt attempt converted the entire game, and just two or three players delivering.

But, as they say, statistics are as important for what they conceal as for what they reveal. And so despite the bad figures (and Boom Gonzales's hitting us over the head with it every chance he got) Ateneo pulled another one off and they did it with persistence, composure and heart. Some things you just can't put a number on.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Even the New York Times is weighing in.

New York Times Sports
A Nation’s Passion Lives in a Rivalry of Green vs. Blue
Published: September 23, 2007

In the basketball-crazed Philippines, Ateneo and La Salle are the most prestigious private universities and have also become fierce rivals on the court. More>>

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Ateneo 69, UST 64.

So with the drubbing of defending champion UST, Ateneo forges a knockout match or two against La Salle for the right to face UE in the UAAP finals.

The profound implications of these do-or-die battles between last season's pariahs who have been headstrong in charging their way through the semis in an emphatic comeback, against the runners-up who have just dethroned the defending champions in their own quest for redemption can be captured in two words: Ka-ching!

What do you think of this theory. UAAP tickets are sold, the most expensive of which (Patron Seats) can be bought for P300 apiece officially. But the tickets never reach the public in such straight fashion. Instead they end up in the blackmarket where they are flipped to the hungry masses for a whopping P5000 - P7000 each -- the going rate during the elimination round.

Now, what if the original ticket sellers also controlled the blackmarket. Not too difficult to imagine hereabouts. Bottomline: the sale is recorded as P300 in the books and taxed accordingly, but in truth the blackmarket earnings are ten to twenty times that amount -- undeclared, unrecorded, untaxed.

It's like a license to print money.

The Elliott Yamin Maul Tour

..Last week in I posted this billboard pic I had taken for the Wifey. I thought I'd give the rabid thread denizens a thrill, but guess where it ended up recently. The MySpace page of Elliott Yamin himself -- his profile pic at that.

Anybody know how far I can go with this? Attribution or monetary compensation won't cut it for me. I'm thinking meet-and-greet passes to his mall show which are hotter than UAAP tickets if you believe the forums. Perfect for the Wifey -- one of the earliest Yamin adopters on this side of the planet -- who's having a birthday soon. Save me as well from having to buy her something I'll be paying for through the nose for the next 6 months.

I'm talking to you Mr. Yamin. Least you can do for hi-jacking my pic.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

So where were you on July 15, 2007?

If you need to but can't recall where you were on a certain date in your recent past, try this: check your credit card bills. If you've got them on file or if your credit card company keeps them archived online, chances are you can trace your whereabouts depending on how conspicuous your consumption has been.

If, despite your manic plastic use to rack up points for that plasma tv your bills still draw a blank on the date, it's time to consider the only other possible explanation, alien abduction.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Self Awareness 101

Interior, bedroom. Me on the PC and the two kids horsing around on the floor. Fighting erupts between the two for the umpteenth time in the same hour. To keep them from ultimately killing each other, I dive in and distract them.

Me: "Hey guys! I think I want to play a game."

(It works; they let go of each other's shirts.)

Little Girl: "What?"

Little Boy: "Yeah, what?"

M: "It's a new game, who wants to play it?"

LG/LB: "Me!!!"

M: "Well, I will only play it with good little boys and good little girls."

(Brief pause.)

LB: "Who's them?"

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Summer in the Raintime

Since it's been feeling a lot like summer this monsoon month, we ran off to the beach last weekend, slapped on some sunblock and made like Easter was just around the corner.

The place: La Luz Beach Resort in San Juan, Batangas, about 80 minutes from Lipa City. Good roads except for the unpaved couple of kilometers at the end where the Laiya beach resorts such as Coco Grove, Sabangan, Kabayan, Blue Coral and Balai are lined up one next to the other. La Luz is at the very end of the row so we got pretty acquainted with that moon surface.

One building, four doors. The second floor units can each house ten persons on two levels.

Beach at the neighboring cove accessible from La Luz at low tide.

Jump right in.

Pavillion for the buffet -- a full day's breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner at P900 per. A good deal if only for the convenience of not having to bring along your own food or think about what or where to eat all day. Kids were free by the way.

The skinny: It wasn't Boracay but the place wasn't bad at all. The food was okay, the facilities worked. The beach at this part of Laiya is more rocky than sandy. But the rocks are small and smooth and won't find their way into places sand usually does when you're sitting on the shore. The sea was clean and teeming with marine life just three yards in. We kayaked and snorkeled and the kids made new friends. All in all a good old summer weekend experience -- at off season rates.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Edifice Complex goes Conjugal

Went to the beach in San Juan, Batangas this weekend and saw celebrity buildings along the way:

The "Senator Ralph G. Recto Type School Building"

The "Mayor VS Recto Type School Building"

We tried to find a "Ryan Christian S. Recto Type School Building". Maybe a baby blue single-story affair for grade schoolers. No luck.


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Friday, September 07, 2007

What's next? Smoking is smart? (Yesss!)

Let me get this straight:

- Alcohol in moderate amounts is good.
- Red wine is very good.
- Coffee is an antioxidant.
- ... And now this?

Well, thank you Science for validating my lifestyle. I knew you'd come around.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

2007 US Open Coverage on SkyCable

Hold off that fire-and-brimstone email to SkyCable for slavishly airing basketball reruns on two different stations while ignoring the final Grand Slam of the year. There's a new channel on test broadcast called "Balls" on SkyCable Ch.33 which as I write this is showing a replay of the Nadal-Ferrer 4-setter that happened just this morning. The crawl says it's a SkyCable exclusive.

But hold off that email of appreciation as well, though. It's free now but I wouldn't put it past this operator to start charging fees or forcing us to upgrade to some sports package come the finals or semis or even quarterfinals.

So just keep both a Thank You and a Fuck You email in your Draft box until we know which one to send out in a few days.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Family Cool.

On the Morning Rush today, Chico and Delamar were counting down the Top Ten Signs that Someone is Cool. Here's the text entry which I was supposed to send, squeezed to fit one txtmsg:

"I alwys thot dat my wife was musically chalenged but 1tym when our kid couldnt stop crying & get to sleep my wyf sang him a rock song & d kid dug it. Cool huh."

Didn't quite capture what I had to say and would've cost me P2.50, so I thought I'd just as well blog it here for free. The full skinny:

When the Little Boy was about a year and a few months old, he would sometimes wake up and cry in the middle of the night. The only way to get him to stop and sleep again was for me to pick him up, dance and sway him side to side while singing a song he likes (usually a nursery rhyme or a lullabye, but sometimes a pop song does the trick.)

One night, maybe because of a particularly bad dream, no amount or manner of dancing or swaying or singing could soothe him. He was bawling, well, like a baby and pretty soon I wasn't so much dancing, swaying and singing a lullaby as jogging and twirling while rapping the chorus of "The Thong Song".

Seeing the futility in my performance, the Wifey stepped up the plate and took the Little Boy from my numbing arms. People always say she has quite a singing voice and I thought she'd tranquilize the baby with one of her famous ballads or pop schmaltz -- the only kind of music she liked and listened to. But instead, she belted out what I thought was the vocal equivalent of a rock riff.

It turned out to be the intro to "All Day and All of the Night" which she started to sing and jig to with the Little Boy in her arms. I did a double take and asked, "What the hell are you singing?"

"The Kinks!" she said.

"I know it's The Kinks but what the hell are you doing singing it?"

"Ssshhhh!", she shushed and kept on singing.

Pretty cool when the wife you've always known to be a regular Celine and Mariah kind of girl shows you she's got a Kinks side as well. Coolness of all, the Little Guy approved and was fast asleep by the end of the second chorus.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

And the Super Bowl of Love Continues.


Letterman makes first ever Oprah appearance September 10.

Update 9/11 -- Here's a news article that covers everything, including the Top Ten. And in the modern spirit of keeping a cynical eye open when it comes to this kind of media event, here's the snarkiest one I could find.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Real Life to a 5-year-old

I caught the Little Boy jumping up and down on the bed. Again.

"What have I told you again and again about jumping on the bed?"

"It's not good."


"It can get broke."

"So why do you still do it?"

"Dad, I find it very very hard to be good. Really!"


Friday, August 24, 2007

Reality to a 2-year-old

Little Girl sees his Kuya sprinking pepper on his food. She looks up to her yaya and says, "Yaya, can I have some pepper?"

"Tanong mo sa kuya mo kung pwede ka mag-pepper."

"Kuya can I have pepper?"

"NO!!!!" (at the top of his lungs)

She looks up to her yaya again. "He said yes."

Thursday, August 23, 2007


1. As feared, earthquakes did hit these islands this week after shaking up the Ring of Fire a few days ago, the strongest being Monday's 6.6 in Davao.

2. A new wave of recalls of children's items the past couple of days: notebooks, tops, pails and jewelry (for lead paint), and articles of clothing (for formaldehyde).

We hope we've seen the worst of this batch of earthquakes for now. As for No.2, is it far-fetched to think that some interest groups are out to do a demolition job on Chinese goods to drive consumers away and boost products made outside of China? (Or is it more far-fetched to think there are still things that are actually being made outside of China?)

Update on the comment 8/31: Seems the thought isn't far-fetched at all. In fact, it sounds quite the theory in technocratese: it's in the "protectionism agenda" of some government officials and media in the US to use doubts on the quality of Chinese goods "to press for narrow trade protection". Read on.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Bears Eat Man at Beer Fest

Is there a Lead of the Year contest anywhere? I nominate this one:

"A 23-year old Serb was found dead and half-eaten in the bear cage of Belgrade Zoo at the weekend during the annual beer festival."

In as few words as possible, it covered the who, when, where and how much of the subject had been eaten. Here's the whole story it so makes you want to read.

FDA on Cough and Cold Medicine for Kids

Hoping to halt the growing number of injuries to infants and toddlers, the Food and Drug Administration issued an advisory Wednesday warning parents never to give cough and cold medicines to children under the age of 2 unless instructed to do so by a doctor, the NYTimes reports. Another article names Toddler's Dimetapp as one of those (we have this here in Pinas. In our medicine cabinet in fact.)

Jeez. A few days ago, we parents were told we probably gave our kids poison toys to play with. Now it's nasty medicine. Not a good week for parents and kids.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

It's the CD's Silver

Happy 25th, you round piece of shiny non-biodegradable plastic.

The first CD I ever had (I didn't say bought, because I actually stole it from my uncle's revolving CD rack back in the mid-80s) was "Frampton Comes Alive". I didn't buy my first CD until I could afford it (and the LD/CD player) in 1994. It was "Smash" by The Offspring. I'd always thought CDs were a scandalous extravagance (at P500-700+). In between, I was content with the decent, affordable cassette (P80). I had tons of those.

The last CDs I bought were "Speakerboxx/The Love Below" and "Underworld 1992-2002", two double CDs at the same time in 2003. I don't know what got into me. Brand new credit card I guess.

Now I buy blank CDs for P8 apiece and fill it up with seven albums' worth of music.

But I will still buy Up Dharma Down's "Fragmented" even if I already have the .OGG version in the hard drive. Some music are still worth and some artists still deserve the silver.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Earthquakes and Typhoon

A series of earthquakes has been rocking the Pacific Ring of Fire lately:

First, on July 16 at 10:13 am (0113GMT) 6.7 magnitude off the NW coast 240 km N of Tokyo.

Then three successive days of temblors beginning on August 15 at 6:41 pm (0041 GMT Aug 16) 8.0 magnitude 145 km. SSW of Lima.

On August 16 at 7:39 pm (0839 GMT) 6.7 45 miles WSW of Honiara, capital of the Solomon Islands NE of Australia.

About 8 hours later, still on August 16 at around 11pm Jakarta Time (1600 GMT)
5.9-magnitude West of the island of Java, 280 kilometres SW of the capital Jakarta.

And now this morning at 9:16am Jakarta Time (0216 GMT), a 5.8-magnitude quake struck SE of Ambon in eastern Indonesia, according to AFP. An hour later at 10:04am Jakarta Time (0304 GMT) a 6.2-magnitude quake, with an epicenter in the same area nearly 250 kilometers SE of Ambon. (According to CNN however, the US Geological Survey reported the first earthquake at 6.3 magnitude followed by a 6.1 in the same area about 2 hours later.)

I can't help but think that the Philippines being a major player in that ring -- and cowering under a typhoon as i write this -- is next in line. As we pray for the victims whose numbers increase by the hour, we plead for our own safety -- from the rumbling skies, the rising waters and now the restive earth.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Toy Recall Redux

CNN has compiled an interactive list of the Mattel recalls 1 and 2, plus the Thomas the Tank Engine recall blogged here last June.

In the Philippines, consumers were advised to call the Mattel Care Line at 891-3472 for additional information. More...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Holidays August to December 2007

So, courtesy of Malacañang, these are The Holidays Still to Come This Year:

Double triple:
August 20 (Monday) - Ninoy Day (Proclamation 1353)
August 27 (Monday) - National Heroes' Day (RA 9492)

Let's hope Oct. 12 Friday gets declared:
October 13
(Saturday) - Eid ul-Fitr (RA 9492)

Four-day weekend for those above ground:
November 1 (Thursday) - Undas
November 2 (Friday) - Special Non-working Holiday (Proc. 1211)

3-day Payday Christmas Shopping Holiday:
November 30
(Friday) - Bonifacio Day (Proc. 1353)

Really Happy Holidays with back-to-back 4 day weekends:
December 24
(Monday) - Special Non-working Holiday (Proc. 1211)
December 25 (Tuesday) - Pasko
December 30 (Sunday) - Rizal Day (Proc. 1353)
December 31 (Monday) - Last day of the Year (RA 9492)
January 1 (Tuesday) - New Year's Day (RA9 9492)

Say Merry Christmas and good bye to your officemates on Friday Dec 21st and come back to work in 2008. That's a 2-week vacation for a 6-day leave. File your Leave Form this early before the boss beats you to it.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Holidays. . . Ooh yeah. Ooh yeah.

Gloria Arroyo signed Republic Act 9492 a few days ago and made her "holiday economics" policy (longer holidays = vacations + domestic spending) the law of the land. All the holidays in the Philippine calendar (except those which are day/date specific ) are now moved to the nearest Monday guaranteeing us three-day weekends where once there were but midweek day-offs (which were good only for nursing hang-overs from the night before) or Sat/Sun holidays (which were good for nothing).

The official roster:

Regular Holidays (Get 200% your pay when worked):
New Year’s Day - January 1 (fixed)
Maundy Thursday - Movable date
Good Friday - Movable date
Eid ul-Fitr - Movable date
Araw ng Kagitingan - Monday nearest April 9 (Bataaan and Corregidor Day)
Labor Day - Monday nearest May 1
Independence Day - Monday nearest June 12
National Heroes Day - Last Monday of August
Bonifacio Day - Monday nearest November 30
Christmas Day - December 25 (fixed)
Rizal Day - Monday nearest December 30

Nationwide Special Holidays (Get 30% premium):
Ninoy Aquino Day - Monday nearest August 21
All Saints Day - November 1 (fixed)
Last Day of the Year - December 31 (fixed)

January 1, November 1, Christmas Day and December 31 are the date specific holidays. Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Eid ul-Fitr are the day specific ones.

The law states that if date-specific holiday falls on a Wednesday, it will be observed on that week's Monday, and if on a Sunday, the following Monday is off. It also provides that Malacañang will "issue a proclamation, at least six months prior to the holiday concerned, the specific date that shall be declared as a nonworking day". (To remind people who they're supposed to thank for their furlough?)

Now that GMA has the "holiday" bit down pat, wonder what she intends to do with the "economics" part.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Las Piñas Friendship Sticker 2007

Got mine last Thursday. A special venue (covered basketball court) has been set up by the city government for application processing. From Alabang, turn right at the corner of the road opposite the old Ever Gotesco Mall in Phil-Am (just before gas station) and look for this sign:

Click pic to see requirements.

You're not required to bring the car you're applying for so you can just present the papers for all your cars that need stickering. They'll be there until August 15, including Saturdays and Sundays up to 5pm. At least that's what they told me.

Btw, it's FREE!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Praying for Rain in Monsoon Season

The bishops last Sunday asked us to pray for rain. We did and now people are wet.

Next time I hope they ask us to pray for moolah. Wouldn't mind being neck deep in that.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Mary Immaculate Parish Roof Drive


Anyone who's been to the Mary Immaculate Parish in Moonwalk, Las Piñas even once would be quick to agree that it made quite an impression. The tree stump pews, the capiz doves in flight and the suspended cogon/anahaw roof that practically had no walls holding it up are hard to forget. This urban oasis wasn't called the Nature Church just for the materials and decor though. Architect Bobby Mañosa's brilliant design also made minimal field impact and even integrated existing fauna into the structure.

Ironically, these same qualities rendered the church easy prey to urban hazards, a hapless victim of the very surroundings it nourished and enhanced. On New Year's Eve this year, the church was razed to the ground. A wild kwitis that had hit a tree landed on the cogon roof and lit it up like a tinderbox in the dry breeze.

We went to Mass there in early June. A spartan steel structure put up in another part of the parish grounds now serves as the place of worship while the old church is under reconstruction. After communion the priest gave an update on its fund raising drive and asked everyone present and not for more help. Click on the pic below to know how.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Baguio - Manila Alternate Route

Been hearing a lot of good stuff about this other way home from Baguio. It's longer but the driving is infinitely better -- well paved roads, great scenery, proper directional signs. They say you can turn off back to the main highway at several points on the route, but for the quickest way straight to Manila follow these directions to the decimal point:

Set the odometer to 0.0 as you turn LEFT at the Binalonan Junction;
at 1.7 kms turn LEFT
at 2.3 kms turn RIGHT
at 3.0 kms turn LEFT
at 9.8 kms turn LEFT
at 17.1 kms turn RIGHT
at 21.8 kms turn RIGHT
at 30.1 kms turn LEFT to Cuyapo
at 32.5 kms turn RIGHT to Cuyapo/Guimba N. Ecija
at 62.8 kms turn RIGHT
at 74.7 kms turn LEFT via Pura
at 81.3 kms turn RIGHT
at 81.4 kms turn LEFT to Victoria
at 97.1 kms turn LEFT
at 98.5 kms turn RIGHT
at 116.9 kms turn RIGHT
at 119.9 kms turn LEFT towards Concepcion-Magalang Road
at 128.7 kms turn RIGHT to NLEX.

One more thing: they say that due to the absence of roadside assistance, this route is not to be taken at night.

Update 27 April 2008: Finally got to try out this route last week and it was all it was hyped up to be. Last Friday, the Inquirer published the route incorporating the new Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway cutting travel time by an additional 30 minutes. I posted the northbound and southbound versions of this route in diagrams. Just click the links.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Radio Ga Ga Ga

Three pre-sets on the car radio have been getting a workout from me the past two weeks, tuned to stations that aren't quite garden-variety.

One is set to 108.00 FM, right on the edge of the dial. (Yep, there's traces of life beyond NU107.) I don't know how long this station's been on, who owns or operates it or what its call letters are. Heck, I don't even know if it's legit. It plays nothing but dance -- house, dub, trance, techno, garage, old school Chicago. There are no talking DJs, no ads, just a few stingers announcing the DJ on the tables. You'll find yourself nodding to the groove in no time although nobody can really listen to this stuff for more than twenty minutes alone and sober. But it's a good picker-upper especially when traffic is light and you hear an old anthem or two.

Update 11/22/07: Frequency has been changed to 107.9 some weeks back. I've heard the station call itself 107.9 FM and something that sounds like "Q" FM. Hard to hear with all that thumping.

Button No. 2 is on 92.3 MHz, the old "Joey" getting X'd and resurrected as xFM. Music is chill-out, downtempo, ambient, some dance and indie. In other words, it's Anton Ramos's weekly show on the old Joey stretched 24/7. Nation Broadcasting Corp. pulled out all the stops with this new format doing market research, appointing industry veterans Raymund Miranda (ex-DWRocK, ex-GMA 7, ex-Disney Channel Asia) as President/CEO and Al Torres (Al W. Leader ex-99.5RT, KissFM, ex-DWRock) as Managing Director, throwing launch parties and blitzing media with press releases and interviews.

This is definitely the most polished of the three -- best reception, well-produced stingers, normal adverts, and taglines voiced-over by girls who sound as young and well-scrubbed as its target market. All in all the station sounds hip and cool and trendy enough -- like you're in some edgy boutique or gallery -- with the music rather esoteric and the artists appropriately obscure (except for some Lamb, Bjork, Tricky here and there, I have no idea who's playing almost all the time). But still, bits of Coldplay, George Benson and Diane Reeves manage to slip in especially at night. Seems the old Joey ain't that dead and buried just yet.

Update 11/22/07: For a time it sounded like the old 92.3 was really back, with the old Joey songs in heavier rotation than the XFM stuff. Now it's back to the XFM groove, but genres have been split with the downtempo/ambient/electronica stuff heard in the nighttime and the smooth jazz/pop in the day. Also, I heard Raymund Miranda jumped ship and landed with NBC Universal International.

The last button brings up 105.9 RJ Underground Radio, Ramon Jacinto's latest venture. There had been buzz that loud music was coming out of this frequency and people immediately thought the old LA105 was back. Turned out it was the old RJAM that was getting a new lease on life. Nothing but rock on this dial, each 3-song set made up of something old (Led Zeppelin, Cream, The Guess Who), something newer (Radiohead, Sigur Ros, The National), and something Pinoy (The Jerks, Yano, Hilera). It's amazing that the format is 1/3 OPM and as far as this segmet is concerned, not restricted to straight rock -- more a showcase of the talent found in the burgeoning local scene, and so acts like Nyko Maca and Sino SiKat also get their share of airplay. Howlin' Dave even takes the helm Sundays 12 to 3pm with Pinoy Rock n Rhythm (haven't heard it yet tho).

I don't find anything "underground" about the broadcast, except maybe the reception which sounds like it was transmitting from under the ground. Some of the DJs do sound like they just crawled from under a rock, obviously reading off the artist's webpage or wiki entry or babbling like their mike wasn't on.

But the music is tremendous and the focus on Pinoy Rock even more so, making it worthy of the top pre-set button on your head unit. That is, if you can get past the most ridiculous taglines on the air today. A sampler (and no kidding here): "RJ Underground. The hand that rocks the cradle, cradles the rock!", "RJ Underground Radio, if they don't play it, we do! If they play it, we don't!", and the best of the lot yet: "RJ Underground Radio. You see nothing, but you hear everything!". After which, something like Van Morrison's Astral Weeks is played. Stupidity sets up the sublime. Maybe that's how it's done underground.

Update: See Comments.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Surprise! It's a Dick In a Box

Yes, I live under a rock . . . in a cave near a mountaintop in Pluto. It's been out since Christmas and yesterday after I'd learned of it from Letterman for the first time, I became its 24,672,822nd viewer.

This is, as Dave called it, the genesis:

This is how it went down on the show:

This is how it will be on September 16th, about 8:14pmPST:

[EMBED VIDEO of Adam Samberg and Justin Timberlake accepting 2007 Emmy Award for Best Original Music and Lyrics HERE]

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Lunar Eclipse August 28th.

The kids are counting the days.

"This eclipse will be visible in the Philippines as well as in the United States, the Pacific, eastern Asia and Australia, PAGASA said.

The eclipse will begin as the moon enters the penumbral stage at 3:52 p.m. and the umbral stage will begin at 4:50 p.m. It will end at 9:22 p.m. The moon will rise at 6:08 p.m. and set at 5:16 a.m. the following day." More . . .

Monday, July 30, 2007

Baby Hamster Update

Day 10. These puppies are growing like anything. A sheen of fur covers their bodies. Their eyes are pronounced but still unopen, which doesn't stop them from moving about. Roborovskis are a small breed; adults are a mere three inches long so these pups may well be the tiniest baby mammals we'll ever see first hand. They yellow object near one of the pups' rump is a corn kernel.

Closer look at the pups with mom. Dad still in exile keeping to himself in the tubes and rarely venturing on the factory floor. Pups still suckle every chance they get.

~ o 0 o ~

Day 15. Five days later and the pups own the place. Their slit-for-eyes are a bit open, their ears very defined. They're nibbling seeds and pellets, or trying to. One of them is even climbing up the tubes (see his shadow faintly inside the tube on top right as the clip ends). Time to buy some hamster real estate and some kind of water dispensing device for the pups. Can't have them swimming in a dish and catching pneumonia or drowning. Hamster CPR is tricky I hear.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

It's not brilliant but it's big.

The Simpsons Movie suffers from the weight of its own legacy, an unwieldy plot, and a killer sight gag that was too big too soon.

A few minutes into the movie, you realize that for this thing to work it's got to be better than or at least in some way different from a TV episode. But after 400 installments of some of the best comedy TV has ever seen, it's instantly clear that the bar has been set too high. There's also the problem of the unfolding plot. It's about the environment? Really? Good luck going to town with that one. Then the much much-buzzed Bart full frontal turns up in the first fifteen minutes. I must admit I've never laughed in a moviehouse harder this year. It's truly one for the ages. But it dooms the next 75 minutes of the film -- the momentum isn't sustained (see plot, above), none of the next gags comes close and it ends up as the film's defining moment.

So, besides a big, fat, juicy "D'oh!", what else is there to say of a film whose saving grace is a wiener shot? That even if you turned your expectations down a few notches, you'd still be disappointed ("I hope there's cameos!"). That it's a movie that didn't have to be made and that movies of TV shows rarely turn out great anyway. That maybe the filmmakers knew all this going in so they didn't strain themselves. That since Homer (speaking to the audience) laid it all down nicely for everyone at the opening scene, no one has the right to bitch about anything.

Friday, July 27, 2007

You can buy her Umbrella ella ella e . . . eh?


Totes Website
This actually sounded like a cool idea for about two minutes. In fact I already had 3 (to qualify for free shipping) in my shopping cart when I came to my senses.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Advances in public peeing

Four years ago, people in these parts who peed standing up and had poor bladder control were introduced to pink urinals -- doorless, roofless steel cubicles that made street pissing in Metro Manila a more private, colorful and splatter-free experience.

Sometime last year, it was the waterless urinal that made its debut in mall restrooms. By eliminating the flushing system, it promised to save 150,000 liters of clean water a year per urinal. Wow!

One would think that an achievement of such proportions would come at great olfactory cost. Wonder of wonders, it didn't stink with any particular severity. Actually, it didn't stink at all. In fact, its water-guzzling counterparts stank way more.

How was this possible? Hi-tech plumbing? Super-strength deodorizers? Alien technology? The answer is right there for those who seek the truth. Behind the janitor's locker door in an SM Megamall men's room to be exact.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Thriller in the Slammer

John Landis would be so proud: Inmates of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center doing some rehabilitation.

Anderson Cooper featured this clip on AC360 last weekend, so it's only a matter of time before ABS-CBN or GMA 7 does a story on this as well. First, a spin (we're world-famous again!) and later, a full investigative piece asking (1) why were these inmates doing non-official business on company time? (2) what in God's name were they practicing for? and (3) who smuggled the make-up?

Best watched alongside another spawn of the 80s.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in the hzouse.


I hope this lives up to the hype. Even if it doesn't, I just hope it manages to keep itself together, you know, not unravel or fall to pieces or make a mess. All I ask of books or movies, really. I'm that easy.

I took a playful peek at the very last sentence and was instantly sorry I did. I might have just ruined it for myself, dogmaddit.

If you want your reading to stay fresh and unspoiled DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT TAKING A LOOK at the last couple of sentences.
They're very short and easy to read, but they may well summarize the entire book and give away the answer to the most important question of all, taken at face value. Word to the wise.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Alaska wins Fiesta Conference 99-96

Talk n Text's Macmac Cardona was fired up all night and for a while looked quite capable of taking his team all the way. He was everywhere with his signature hook and nobody could stop him, not even his former teammate and mentor Willie Miller. And he knew it too, at one point cocky enough to trash-talk the import Ellis in whose face he sank another hook just seconds before. Ellis took the bait and got slapped with a technical.

But Fate (or Justice the Poetess?) had other plans: down the last minute and a half with the score inextricably tied for the longest time, Miller would convert from a steal off Cardona, and a few seconds later, it would be Ellis' turn to score -- with a hook no less.

Alaska never looked back from that 4 point lead, surviving seven missed free throws of their own and Talk n Texts' near-perfect execution its last 2 plays including (Best Import) Sullinger's final-second 3point shot that had a heck of a good line to the basket but bounced out at the buzzer.

This one played out good, like a Game 7 should. (Made me want to reach out for my Winstons. Too bad I quit six years ago.)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Simpsons Soon


"The Simpsons Movie" billboard lording it over the Pasig River and the C5 bridge since last week. Must admit it's quite a sight. Would have loved to photograph an actual, live Kwik-E-Mart but since we live in a place where billboards rule the landscape they actually kill people, what we got is a movie poster of IMAX proportions.

Heard Late at Night

On Letterman, Monday July 16:
Top Ten Things I'd Rather Be Doing Right Now:
2. Enjoying a chuckle over Jay's "Headlines"

Dave zipped through that one, not even waiting for the audience to react.

On Leno, same night.
Bill Maher: "Whoever is gonna win [the Democratic nomination] has to come from the South. You have to be able to pronounce all the e's in 'shit'."
[Audience laugh, some grumble]
Maher: "Sorry, I had to say that."
Leno: "No,i t's ok. They like edgy."
Maher: "That's edgy?"

Yessir. For Leno and his minions, it's the Hattori Hanzo in the arsenal of wit.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Harry Potter and the what else is there to talk about.

Saw the Harry Potter flick which has been getting raves especially from fans of the book. It stayed faithful and true, covered everything important, and took the franchise to "another level," they all gush. For me though, one of twelve people in the world who haven't read the book, it was a far, far less magical experience.

For a movie, it had absolutely zero high point. Nothing to make you sit up or jolt you out of stupor. No quidditch, no money shots, no spectacle of evil-thwarting wizardry in the end. In short, nothing to grab me and my attention with.

It also had zero tolerance for people who didn't do the assigned reading. Characters like Dumbledore and Sirius were popping in and out of nowhere. Some like the House Elf would say things with no later consequence. People and creatures did stuff, behaved, reacted a certain way and damned if the movie would give so much as a hint why. You were supposed to know.

But, it also had Imelda Staunton whose performance was worth the price of admission in my book. One of the best performances -- in any movie -- this year. Those who read the book weren't so keen on her though. She wasn't "froggy"-looking enough. Wha? I really ought to read more.

On that note, I reserved my copy of the final book at National Bookstore today. I was a very early adapter with the first book. In fact, got my copy even before National started selling them. But I stopped reading midway through the third book and never bought the later ones since. About the same time the movies started coming out. I figured I'd let the cinematic versions surprise me. But I'll be buying and reading the last one -- for the social and historical significance of the thing, if nothing else. Heck I'm even thinking of crashing the 7am store opening on Saturday. Stay tuned for pictures.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Hamster Update


The Roborovskis surprised us today with three pink, squirmy, throbbing little ones. They were so tiny and fleshy looking, they looked like a perfect feast for any predator -- or even mom and dad themselves. In fact I thought I saw the dad having a go at one of them. He just picked a pup up and ran off to a corner while the mom was elsewhere doing godknowswhat. When she came back and found she had less of a litter than before, she ran to where dad was, jumped on him and snatched the little one. An animated struggle ensued. For a while I thought they were trying to rip the baby apart. The mom won out and took the baby back to the nest without a scratch.

We were thinking these pups would eventually end up either abandoned or eaten for dinner. But a few hours later, mom's instincts kicked in and she started nursing.

I think dad on the other hand has been banished and is keeping to himself in the upstairs level -- with a beer in one paw and the tv remote in the other I imagine.

So far so good. Time to Google "Roborovski Hamster Babies" to get some idea what's in store for us the next few weeks. And then eBay, see what these babies are going for ha ha ha.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Fingers of God

Stumbled on this while searching for a "Fix You" video on YouTube. Might as well have been searching for "sold soul to the devil" and this guy would have been on top.

He's got a decent "Fix You" but this one's the killer. ("Dead!" also by My Chemical Romance is a tight second.)

Easy to find yourself staring at the right hand since it's doing the vocals and melody, but it's the left you should be watching -- especially down the stretch.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Continental, Cathay, Catastrophe.

Passengers on two planes, one on its way out the US West Coast and the other flying into the East, recently went through what can only be described as the modern-day definition of "living hell". Oh, the humanity!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Globe goes Boom.

So the New People's Army just blew up another one of Globe's cell sites, this time in Iloilo for its refusal pay "revolutionary taxes" or in plain English, extortion money. "We only pay taxes to the government," its spokesman said. According to the company, its facilities all over the country have suffered more than 50 attacks from communist guerrillas over the years.

The way it's taken the heat for standing up against enemies of the state, Globe should get a citation from the government of some sort, like the corporate equivalent of the Medal of Honor. Or a tax break. Seriously now.

Meanwhile, what do the spankingly untouched facilities of Smart imply?

Maybe it's time each of us took a good look at the cell provider we're giving our business to and consider who they're doing (or refusing to do) business with.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Thomas and Friends Product Recall

Disturbing news: Certain Thomas and Friends toys contain lead and are being recalled worldwide by manufacturer RC2 Corporation.

In the Philippines, consumers are directed to contact local distributor Maxibear (owned by Sen. Pia Cayetano and husband) which has issued its own recall advice. From the product list and photos, it appears that #5 Engine James and other red-colored characters are the tainted lot.

Checked our toy bin and sure enough, #5 and his coal tender were mingling with the rest of them. Darn it, James, you were always clashing with Thomas --not just color-wise-- and now you've gone and brought lead into the house. I hear Sir Topham Hat is so pissed he's thinking of paint-scraping you alive.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

It's not your set, folks.

That Sopranos ending sure wreaked havoc on the office pool.

I myself was totally blindsided, and happy to be. A neat and tidy ending all wrapped and tied up with a bow would have smacked of pandering to TV conventions and fly in the face of this series' stature as being nothing television has ever seen before and will ever see in a long time. I like this one. True to form, brave, an instant classic. Bravo!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Endtime for Tony

And so it's come down to this.

Today's the day folks. In a few hours, the fate of the most beloved anti-hero ever to hit the screen will be revealed. A revelation I do not want to get second-hand.

So while people in the East Coast are kicking off the first of the last Soprano parties, I'll be crawling under a rock to avoid the firestorm that's about to explode. Just crank the torrents and fold down the laptop lid until they're done, I reckon. No news, no papers, no 'net. Plug up that information funnel until I see those final final credits roll up the screen myself. See you in a couple of days.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

What the 'h'...

I don't know what he's been watching on Nickelodeon, but the Little Boy has been asking about heaven lately starting with "What's heaven?". I tried my darndest to answer, which, of course, only led to more questions, like "Where's heaven?" and a few days ago, "If we ride a rocket ship to the sky, will we reach heaven?"

This morning he had a heaven whopper. I had to try my darndest not to burst into tears.
"Tatay, if I die and I go to heaven, are you going to be there with me?"

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Where is my mind?

Been back from a six-week vacation since Monday, but it seems my brain ain't here yet, got redirected elsewhere like lost luggage. We're all nursing the wickedest jetlag in history and the heat isn't helping any. Getting back to the groove looks like a tough proposition from where I slouch, one that I'm in no rush to deal with at the moment. Right now vegging out seems the only way to go. While I wait for my mind to turn up.

Meanwhile, the kids talked me into buying hamsters(!). I hardly put up a fight.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Globelines Broadband

My Globe Broadband account it 18 days old. Advertised speed is 1Mbps. Rate is cheaper than PLDT by P500 per month. A wireless modem router with 4 LAN slots was supplied along with promises of product superiority and service better than hell-born PLDT.

I'm experiencing intermittent, unstable connections I'd say about 20% of the time. There have been websites that would take a particularly long time to load if at all. But now it's only Yahoo! (my homepage at that) that's consistently "not found". I have no idea why. My torrent speeds are the same as what I had with PLDT. The connection speed in general is in the 330 to 380 range, with the fastest clocked at 432 Kbps, a bit faster than PLDT.

I had no internet at all the entire Sunday. I called Monday and had to wait 28 minutes to talk to a human. The fellow was eager to help but was not able to solve the problem with a reset at his end. I called Tuesday and waited for 24 minutes for a human. Couldn't do anything else at his end so he scheduled a site visit the next day at around 10am or past 5pm. The next day at 5:15 pm, Globe guys came and fixed the connection inside their hub at the lamppost outside. Connected again. State of connection: see par. 2 .

I'm willing to consider all this as birthing pains, as Globe installed their infrastructure in our area just this month. I'll give it a couple more weeks to get its act together before I concede Globe is just plain old hell-born PLDT on the cheap.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Pacquiao the Pol

Looks like Manny Pacquiao has been talked into running for public office.

I guess if you could be talked into stripping down to your shorts and beating the crap out of another half naked guy in front of rabid spectators, there's very little else you can't be talked into.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Me, MD

The pedia gave me high marks today for some classy caregiver moves. See, the Little Girl had been out of sorts the past couple of days. Yesterday morning she was wincing before doing No.1 and by midday was running a fever and flat-out bawling while trying to (or not to) pee.

We'd seen this on the Little Guy before so I looked for a clean container -- a Q-tip canister did well -- cleaned it and waited. And waited. Along with a stream of tears, a stream of wee wee eventually came, some of which I caught in my waiting vial.

I rushed to the lab of a nearby hospital and had it analyzed. After an hour, suspicions were confirmed: White Blood Cells were "TNTC" (too numerous to count) and Bacteria were "Abundant".

When we went to the
duktora this morning, half her work was done. Didn't stop her from charging us full price though.

Tips on UTI:

1. The urine sample must be in the lab within 3o minutes from taking.

2. A cloudy and/or unusually smelly urine raises a flag that should be confirmed by a urinalysis.

3. Lingering in bathwater and using bubble baths can irritate the urinary tract.

4. They say drinking coconut water helps. Also cranberry juice. Neither of which appeals to the average kid.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Cory Aquino on Deal or No Deal

Wanted to post this last weekend but attempts to go wireless ended up leaving me 'netless instead for a few days so you might have already heard: Cory Aquino was a contestant on her daughter's show.

The episode was taped last Friday and will air February 14, otherwise known as Kris Aquino's Birthday which Pinoys celebrate by trooping to the city's motels and filling it to capacity until the fresh linens run out. A friend who's a friend of the Concios was in the audience and happily reports that the ex-President came home with a whopping P400.

Yep, 2 zeros.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Gasoline through the Google machine

Unleaded : P36.37 / Liter
USD 1.00 : 48.83 Php

Where was Google when I was in high school. Aside from churning out bits of useful info, turns out it also calculates. Serendipitously found a way to convert those stats up there in US units without breaking a sweat. Typed "36.37 PHP per liter in USD per gallon", hit Google search and ta-dah!

36.37 (Philippine pesos per liter) = 2.81925354 U.S. dollars per US gallon

Hmm. Looks like Bush's war is costing us more to move around than it does his minions. How's that for a freaking factoid.

If you want to do your own Google calculations, click here. Come back with your startling stats.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Golden Globezzzz...

I hear nothing earthshaking happened at that awards show earlier so I don't think I'm staying up for the late night telecast. Borat's speech was supposed to be the highlight (yep, jolted everyone in room from drunken stupor) and I already caught that on the prime time broadcast a few hours back.

So why am I here? Just to gloat about Alec Baldwin's win which I called a few posts back (yes, I was the first one in all the world). Been downloading the latest eps a day or two after they air. My DSL and HDD haven't been put to better use in a long time.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Good News on Brother Ely

We've all been on pins and needles the past few days waiting for more news on Ely Buendia's condition. Some good news tonight.

Ely underwent an "almost perfect" procedure according to wife Diane. Full recovery is expected. Video here.

During the second angioplasty, a third blockage found and cleared. Jessica Zafra's blog post here.

Keeping our fingers crossed everything turns out well indeed.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Don't text and drive.

A text exchange between an Atenista and a UP friend. Today 5:48 pm.

Atenista : Meron ka bang itchyworms?
UP-ista: Caset. Great concept album. Matatalino dahil peyups.
No wondr it won sa rak awards

A : Mga atenista po yan.
U : UP. Parokya yun.

A : Taeneo yan sorry to disappoint.
Got their name from the higad sa puno sa quadrangle NAMIN.
U : Mabuhay mga tenista.

A : Mabuhay ang mga taga up. Kala nila mga atenista sila
U : It's d other way around.

A : Hendeh. Kala mo skulmeyt mo sila. Di ka naman taenista.
U : Eraserheads, yano, tame d tikbalang, buklod, ROMY LEE, etc. I rest my case.

A : Wow napikon. At least kelan man di namin sila inangkin!!!
I rest my fucking case. Mababangga ako sayo.
U : U shtartd it.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Same Job, New Year

Had no plans of going to work today but by 9am my old geezer of a boss was on my cell telling me to see him the minute I step in the office. Which was his way of telling me his holiday has ended and so should mine.

So I went and made sure I had face time with the geezer at once to let him see my street clothes and unshaved mug. Which was my way of telling him that it's still the first day of the year in some parts of the world, which he'd realize as soon as he pulled out that stick up his ass from last year.

Might be of interest: