September 29, 2009

Homes Vs. Mother Nature.

This weekend the Philippines witnessed the wrath of Mother Nature. The powerful the typhoon that hit the metro, many are left homeless. As technology has changed, so have the way we have lived our lives. On a personal level, I never imagined that homes of today would lose a battle against the forces of nature, what with
fireproof walls and insulation, waterproof safes for important documents and gadget, and even good pest or subterranean termite control.However, I realized we are no battle for a deluge like what has happened over the weekend, especially given the reality of climate change. In a perfect world, we would not have tragedies like these. But like I said, that would be a perfect world. At this point, one lesson I learned over this tragedy is how important it is to be prepared. As of this writing I am trying to gather things to donate and find ways to support my less-fortunate countrymen.However, as soon as I have the time, I will prepare an emergency disaster kit for my home and in my car. to continue reading...

September 26, 2009

Flood in the City.

I woke up with the sound of the pouring rain. I have always hated the rain, but today, I think I hated it more. Despite me being safe and sound in my home, I saw how the rest of the city was inundated with water. Major thoroughfares were submerged in deep waters, some going as deep as 6 feet. Even the campus I teach in is under water. This storm really hit hard. I am amazed at how the even Makati, the business district, is under water.

The floods and bad weather has prompted the government to declare most of Luzon under a state of calamity. The city streets are like raging rivers. Light vehicles have been rendered useless, as have SUV's. Yup, even SUV's have not been safe from the floods.

At this point, many are seeking rescue. If you need help, contact the National Disaster Coordinating Council Emergency Nos.: 912-5668, 911-1406, 912-2665, 911-5061. to continue reading...

September 21, 2009

Bling it On.

Last August, I attended a surfing event and won a nice necklace from one of it's sponsors. Unfortunately, it was for men. I was slightly disappointed because I had no use for it, and I had thought my brothers (who are the only men in my life at the moment!) would not be interested at all in it. However, when I showed it to them, they quickly asked for it. I had no idea that urban jewelry was their thing nowadays. One of them even proceeded to tell me that what he wanted for Christmas was to get his ears pierced.

Personally, I never really liked jewelry in men, especially big chunky ones. The only piece of bling that I found suitable for men were watches. I think it's because I used to associate them only with gangsters and the like. However, as I observed a lot of the musicians and personalities in media, I think I was proven wrong. Perhaps I may not yet readily embrace hip hop watches, sparkly diamond studded pendants and men's bling watches at this point in time, I suppose they're not as bad as I thought they were. In fact, as I tried to look around the web for some, I was pleasantly surprised that they are tasteful and to some extent, they can actually be classy. In fact, I would actually consider giving jewelry to my brothers for Christmas. I think they even would look good for men in the workplace! Apparently, my assumption that hip hop and urban jewelry were too gangsta is way wrong!!! to continue reading...

Pet Vacations.

One thing that keeps me from going on vacations is the fact that there are very few places I can take my Bubba to. There are days when I'd like to check into a hotel and just relax but when I remember that he can't come along, I decide not to. Lucky for us, I discovered one place that allows me to take him with me: Balai sa Laiya. I love the fact that he is welcome there. So as not to wear out that welcome, I make sure to bring along my trusty scooper for his poop. The staff are also quite nice to him!

I first discovered Balai two years ago when I was going through a rough patch in my life and needed to get away. I had heard that Laiya was a nice beach within two and a half hours of the city. I Goggled "Laiya" and found lots of resorts in that area. However, because Balai had the easiest map for me to follow, I decided to give it a try. The first trip I took was on my own. Since then, I have returned to Balai many times. It became even more a favorite when I found out Bubba could come along. I'd like to believe he enjoys the beach as much as I do, despite our traumatic first experience hehe. The first time we went he cut up his feet so badly climbing up some rocks. Now I know better and have gotten him a pair of dog shoes to protect his feet. I can't wait till October so we can take our trip to Balai once again. to continue reading...

An End to Prank Callers.

When I was younger, my cousins and I found it amusing to play prank calls on random people. Now that I am an adult, I realize how annoying it can be for the person being called. We also used to play a game we called "ring and run". We'd ring doorbells in the neighborhood then run as fast as we can so as not to get caught. I'm sure we would have gotten in a lot of trouble had we been found out.

Today, it is so much easier to catch pranksters. Homeowners and businesses can now easily Trace Phone Numbers. This can help them get a hold of the prank caller and perhaps report them to their parents or to the authorities. Compared also to the traditional phone book or yellow pages, having a site like this makes looking up numbers easy because with just a click of the mouse, it's all there! Can you imagine having to scour your yellow pages for a number?!? to continue reading...


Sadly, my little Apple (that red-shelled Mac that I love so much) seems to be turning into mush. I am so hoping that she isn't at the end of her rope yet and that some refrigeration (aka reformatting, reinstalling, upgrading or whatever) will soon fix her up. I have loved every moment with her, despite my initial trepidations about shifting from a Windows OS to Mac. I'm starting to hate seeing that wheel of death turn relentlessly as it tries to catch up with what I want it to do.

Much as I love Apple, I kinda wish I had the bucks to buy her silver-lined cousin (one of the new MacBooks). I'm not really rooting for a MacBook Air, but if for some reason, manna falls from heaven I would gladly accept it! to continue reading...

At the End of the Rainbow.

You know that saying, that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Well, I sure hope there is and that I find one! That definitely would be a fabulous find. In the meantime, if you are a serious coin collector, it would probably be a better idea to buy a gold coin rather than hope that you come across a magical pot.

I wonder, however, if to buy gold is a good investment though. I kinda worry about scams and fakes that are around. I have heard about these scams when people buy bullion or bars. I think it would help if one went to a reputable seller or site to buy gold coins.

If I had extra money, I may consider investing in some of this. I read in Wikipedia that the performance of gold bullion is comparable to that of stocks. I'm still trying to understand the difference between the two, but perhaps it would be a good idea to buy gold bullion rather than stocks, especially in this extremely unpredictable stock market.

Any advice? to continue reading...

Rainy Days and Mondays.

Like the Carpenters' song says, rainy days and Mondays always get me down.

Yup...after the relentless rains and a string of holiday-Mondays, I find myself in that proverbial dark place. While I do love waking up late and lounging in bed, I can't help but have thoughts of what I'm doing with my life creep in.

I don't know what it is about rainy days that really get me down. Perhaps it's the gloomy aura of the sky, or perhaps the bitter chill it brings after incredible humidity. The sudden flooding and perpetual wetness is nothing to smile about either. The only upside to the rain is that most of the time, I love the way it smells.

I think there's only one solution to this: I need to go to the beach. For some reason, whenever I am basking under the sun's glow, things are just so much clearer.

What about you? When you find yourself in the throes of stress and are feeling anxious, restless, depressed or what-not, what makes you feel better? to continue reading...

September 19, 2009

Online Safety.

Recently, I was interviewed for a local television show about stalking. In the Philippines, stalking may not be as scary and as big of a problem as in other countries but it still is a concern for many individuals. Given today's modern technology, another form of stalking that has emerged and has actually caused a lot of problems with my friends is cyber stalking. Even kids in the school I teach have fallen victim to some form of stalking or bullying online. This also seems to open up the avenue for identity theft as well.

At this time, especially here, there is little we can do to safeguard ourselves from stalkers online. Some social networking sites have means of protection, but blogs, for example, may have less protection. If there is one thing I can do, however, is to Track IP addresses of those who leave scary or inappropriate comments in my blog. This way I can ensure that predators are not on my site. Also, by tracking these addresses I have the capacity to block these unwanted voyeurs and spies on my sites. to continue reading...

Share the Sweetness of Gratitude!

One thing we often forget to say is THANK YOU. Don't you think it's time to change that? If you agree, head on over to and join the campaign to Spread the Sweetness of Gratitude photo contest sponsored by none other than Toblerone :-) to continue reading...

Safe Home Improvement.

Growing up in a family of DIY people, I have always been around a lot of construction sites and renovation equipment. They seem to love buying old and dilapidated homes then they fix it up and sell it for a profit. It's more than just a business, I think. For me, it seems the family really enjoys making something beautiful out of something that was previously trashed up. Even more than that, they love doing things themselves. From spackling walls and changing fixtures, they have done it all. However, I seem to be not one of them. I get extremely freaked out with all the noise and dirt that are around. The only thing I enjoy with the whole construction biz is the fact that I get to use a lot of their scraps for arts and crafts!

I remember one time I was so frightened when one of the equipment they were using exploded. Nobody got hurt, but it sure was scary. It's a good thing my uncle, who is based in the US, helped secure some explosion proof ventilation fans and other safety equipment. This makes me feel better about the safety of my family as they work in the construction sites. As for me, I'd rather just sit and handle the books, if that's okay with them! to continue reading...

September 18, 2009

Back to the Big Apple!

I just caught my first glimpse of one of my favorite style icons: Carrie Bradshaw!

I am so excited to hear that the new Sex and The City movie is currently filming in (where else!) NYC. I was always a big fan of the series and last years big screen adaptation was definitely one of my favorites, despite the mixed reviews it got from people around the world. For me, I loved it because I got to see my all-time favorite characters together again.

The character of Carrie has always been my favorite. In fact, I see a lot of my personality in hers. While I may not have a New York Times Bestseller (yet!), I tend to write about many things in the same way she did. I remember how one of my psych professors once told me I write in too many flowery metaphors and words, just like Carrie. I love her independent spirit too, and yet, she despite being such a strong woman, she was also vulnerable and needy. A perfect balance, in my opinion.

I suppose I have to remind myself now to stop gushing about SATC!!! I will end it with this though: I CAN'T WAIT!!!!

Slated for release in June 2010. Presented by New Line Cinema and Distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures. to continue reading...

September 16, 2009

Pillow Talk....Minus the Bedbugs Please!

One of the things I dislike about traveling is the fact that I always end up getting allergies and bug bites from wherever I end up staying. Well, I have to admit, I usually get cheap accommodations, so what can I expect, right? I usually pick the more affordable hotels because I barely spend any time in the rooms anyway, so it is almost always pointless to splurge on high-end digs. To be fair, I have been generally satisfied with most of the places I have stayed in, especially since they've been generally clean and neat. However, I always have an issue with the pillows and mattresses around. So every time I travel, I bring along a huge pillow and a blanket with me. No matter where the trip may be, I always end up lugging the hugest bags because of it. I remember in a recent overnight trip, I got a lot of flack for my big bags, but once I explained to my friends my dilemma, it made sense to them. For me, this is the best way I can protect myself from possible allergies or bug bites I may get. I wish there was a sure shot way on how to get rid of bedbugs that does not cost too much, thus allowing my cheap accommodations to remain within my pocket's range! to continue reading...

September 15, 2009

The Dead of Winter: A Whiteout Movie Review.

Beneath the snow-capped mountains deep in the South Pole lies a sixty year old secret whose discovery suddenly brings chaos to the otherwise serene and beautiful ice lands of Antartica, the coldest place on earth. Despite the frigid and bitter weather, the only dangers the land knew was nature's fury, known as the Whiteout. That was until U.S. Marshall Carrie Stetko discovers a dead body on open ice known as No Man's Land. It was Antartica's first murder.And so begins a wonderfully woven story that kept me at the edge of my seat for the duration of the movie.

As Stetko tries to find the killer, the Whiteout quickly approaches and the long arctic winter sets in, she finds herself at the mercy of the dead of winter --- or the hands of a killer.

This was definitely another movie I enjoyed a lot. For the most part, I really like watching mystery/suspense flicks and this was surely one that kept me guessing the whole way through. I liked how I wasn't really sure about whodunit till the end, despite the fact that the storyline can fall into a bit of a predictable thriller-movie pattern. I was glad about that! Before the movie, I was already thinking that maybe this would be one of those films that I'd end up saying would be a DVD recommendation rather than a big screen one, but I was definitely wrong about that! I think seeing this in the theaters will allow the audience to appreciate the setting or environment more, as well as add to the flavor of the movie.

Whiteout stars Kate Beckinsale, Gabriel Macht, Columbus Short and Tom Skerritt. Directed by Dominic Sena and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. Opens in theaters in the Philippines tomorrow, September 16, 2009. to continue reading...

September 12, 2009

A Day in the Theater.

The other day I asked my brother what he wanted to take up for college. He said he wanted to go into Theater Arts, which, I have to admit, was a bit of a surprise to me. I may have dabbled in theater myself when I was younger, but my brother did not express any interest in theater at all. Upon further questioning him, he said he wanted to do the technical side of it, such as lighting and set design. I told him perhaps something he should do is watch some plays and concerts and perhaps join in theater groups as early as now to explore whether this is really something he'd like to pursue.

With that, we started checking out what new plays and shows are running. It's unfortunate that in the Philippines, we don't have as many options for plays. I would love for my brother to explore shows on (or even off) Broadway, for example. If I could, I'd get us a pair of A Steady Rain tickets. Why that? Well, the play stars Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig....selfish reasons coming from me hehehehe!!!! Since we have family in Virginia, it would also be nice to get Trans-Siberian Orchestra Tickets. It would also be fun, I think, to see the Ringling Brothers Circus with a pair of TD Banknorth Garden tickets. This way he gets to see how sets can be designed for plays, concerts and special events. to continue reading...

September 5, 2009

Nature Question.

A few months ago, I watched a bunch of caterpillars grow into moths. It was an amazing process! I saw how the cute little green caterpillars got fatter and fatter until they turned yellowish then brownish then begin to form cocoons. Interestingly, the cocoons they formed wasn't the way I imagined it. I always thought the bugs would weave little threads around themselves and spin round and round till they're covered. Apparently, there are two ways they form the cocoons. First is by using that sticky, spider-weblike substance into the leaves around them until it forms a ball to cover them. Another is by burrowing in the soil.

The other day, when walking Bubba, I saw this:

I wonder what's in it!

see more of my caterpillar pictures here: to continue reading...

September 3, 2009

There's A Monster in My Pocket.

It came so subtly....and yes, I fell for it.

One day a shiny black plastic card came for me in the mail and against my better judgment, I decided to dial the number in the letter and said, yes, please activate me. Yup...I let in a monster in my pocket. It's name: Mastercard.

To be fair, this monster did not start out as a monster. It was a friend, in fact. It came at a time where I was financially stable, investments and jobs all secure but then came the fall of those big companies and the crash of the economy. Prior to this I was just finishing up my two-year car loan. Thus, to keep a float, my shiny plastic friend became a saving grace, or so I thought. Before I knew it, I found myself in a sinking hole called debt. Thankfully I stopped myself before signing a contract for a condo loan!!! As it is, interest rates are driving me insane!

Over the past few months I've been trying to make little changes to get out of where I am, but I have to admit, it was so much easier getting there than getting out. It helps that I made a contract with myself that I will pay a certain amount of my bill monthly no matter what. However, since it is just with myself, I find it difficult to strictly enforce it.

The other day, I was watching a show on cable and a debt manager came on and gave very good tips on how to clear debt in manageable and doable steps. It helps, she said, to get a debt manager and to commit myself to a real plan that will actually cut debt. The problem with some of these get-out-of-debt plans, however, is that they offer you a loan to get out of the loan you are in now. This is definitely one I will not get myself in to! I think what would work best for me is something wherein I have an contract with someone that I have to fulfill. I think having something like it, such as an Individual Voluntary Arrangement or IVA to get out of debt will be a good way for me to truly make a dent in my debts. An IVA is a contract that can allow you to clear your debt as it helps protect you from creditors chasing you plus it helps you find a way out of piling up interest fees. to continue reading...

September 1, 2009

My Almost Globe Tattoo.

photo from
I came within a hairs-breath of coming home with this on my lower back last Saturday, but I gladly settled for this:

Let me back track a bit: It started with a dare. I received an email invitation that asked if I was up for an exclusive bloggers challenge. Curious about the lack of information and very provocative words, I quickly signed up and waited for Saturday to arrive.

Along with many of my blogger friends, we were whisked from the swanky M Café in Greenbelt to the rocking Handle Bar. Yes, it was getting curiouser and curiouser. Before boarding the vans, we were dared to hop on a Harley. Backtracking a bit: the invitation said "dress to impress". On the way to the bar, we passed by a tattoo parlor. I blurted out: If there's a dare for anyone to get a tattoo, I'm in! Lo and behold, not long after that we were dared to get a tat! I wished I got it!

The event was sponsored by Globe as they introduced us bloggers to the Globe Tattoo YOUniverse. Admittedly, it's been forever since I was last a Globe subscriber but I was impressed with the new services and products launched.

First is the Globe Tattoo Sim Card. This new prepaid card comes in four eye-catchy designs and retails for Php 40.00. With this you can send SMS and you can access broadband internet service for Php 5.00 for 15 minutes.

A new service that may be of interest to many is the new Globe ImmortalTXT. This seems to be a good option to individuals who do not text that heavily. With only ten pesos, you can have 50 texts to Globe/TM plus 10 texts to other networks. What makes it different is that unlike the other services offered, this one has no expiry. This should be a welcome relief to those who often find their loads vanishing into thin air.

The exciting one to look forward to is the Globe Tattoo Website which is scheduled to launch anytime this week. With its widget based interface, it brings a new twist to social networking and connectivity...truly with Globe you can be connected 24ever!

I will be trying out this new sim in a few days (still working out the cellphone situation....sim locked kasi with other networks hehehe). I plan to use this as an alternative number which I will give out to my students this coming term. Since I don't plan to text them a lot, I figured the ImmortalTXT will be a good deal for me.

Have you tried the ImmortalTXT? Do let me know what you think :-) to continue reading...

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