Monday, October 16, 2017

Adem Dance Crew amazes in Asia's Got Talent 2017

Asia's Got Talent kicked off its second season last weekend and I got to see it. The highlight of the show had to have been Adem Dance Crew from Kyrgyz Republic. (I am like almost everyone who wondered what country it was that they said they were from; I was more familiar with the name Kyrgyztan.)

During the interview, when the guy with the mic said "I think you've never seen this kind of dance before," I was a bit skeptical as to how different their performance would be. When they started doing pop-and-lock moves with some lighting effects in the mic guy's hat, my skepticism started to grow.
Obviously, they were really good but from a uniqueness standpoint, I was thinking "is that it?" Well, apparently it was not. Things just took off in an unexpected and jaw-dropping direction at around the 2:25 mark. The shock value continued all the way until the end. These (I'm guessing double-jointed?) men are flexible beyond belief. Check it out here:

video uploaded in youtube by Asia's Got Talent

That Golden Buzzer from new judge Jay Park was well-deserved. (They also won the Traveloka award, meaning they all get a free trip to Europe.) I decided to check out some of their other videos on youtube and their performances are really incredible. Contortionist pop-and-lockers, what a pretty amazing combination. I am definitely looking forward to seeing more of them in Asia's Got Talent.

Adem Dance Crew

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Starbucks Chicken Pot Pie

My favorite pastry at the moment is the Chicken Pot Pie from Starbucks. I discovered it recently when I was looking for something savory to eat that wasn't too heavy. The moment I saw it in the display, I knew I had to order it.

I like this so much that the moment I got over my stomach problems, this was the first thing I ate. :)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Stomach problems again

I'm not sure if I ate something bad or I suffered from dehydration (or both) but I ended up with some pretty nasty stomach problems mid last week. I defaulted to my "stomach problem diet" of Sky Flakes, bananas, and Gatorade and Pocari Sweat. I also took a couple of Diatabs capsules. Despite all that, I was still having trouble after 3 days. What was a bit worrisome too was that I felt a very slight cramp on both my legs which kind of made me think that I was still badly dehydrated. Which was a bit strange because I was drinking about 2 to 4 liters of fluids - water, Gatorade, Pocari Sweat, and oral rehydration salts - every day. It was then that I decided to head over to the ER of Makati Med.

I ended up getting my electrolytes checked and thankfully, despite my initial concerns, my electrolytes were normal. I was prescribed medication as well as Erceflora, which is a probiotic (read: good bacteria) that helps in proper digestion. It didn't work immediately but after a few more days of sticking to my diet and taking my medication and Erceflora, I finally got better.

Aside from the misery of being sick and not being able to eat any proper food (or even enjoy coffee), another sucky thing about this was that I had to take a few days of leave without pay. (I don't have any sick leaves yet since I am still new.) I also had to do quite a bit of catching up to do when I finally returned to work. The only good thing that came out from this was that I lost some weight, something I had been needing to do for a while now. Whether or not I can keep the weight off is another matter. :)

Friday, September 29, 2017

September hodgepodge

I haven't really been able to blog a lot in the last month because I've been quite busy, both at work and outside. The highlight of the month has to be my high school reunion. It was a milestone anniversary for my batch and because of that, almost half of our entire class went to the event, with many people flying in from other countries to join in the celebration. It was an amazing party and what made it even more amazing was seeing so many people I hadn't seen in such a long time. I was telling one of my friends that while I am still quite connected to many of my high school friends through social media and I get to interact with some of them every now and then, it was still very different seeing everyone together at the same time. It really was an epic night.

It was great to revisit my alma mater

Having many high school classmates in town at the same time meant that there were several smaller reunions organized right around the main homecoming event. My third year section had dinner at Toast at The 30th Ayala Mall and many of my classmates were able to make it: Trish, Edsel, Flo, Jan, Eugene, Elaine, Mitch, and George. I also had lunch at Marcia Adams in Tagaytay with Mitch and Eugene. I will write more about my lunch in Marcia Adams in a separate post.

Marcia Adams

Kingsman: The Golden Circle was the only film I watched at the cinema this month. This was a sequel of Kingsman: The Secret Service which I absolutely loved so I naturally had to watch this second film. I have to say that I liked the first one more and I think it had a tighter story but The Golden Circle was still a lot of fun to watch.

Two of my newest board games are Scythe and Century Spice Road, both which I brought to my September game night. I had played Scythe once before and I have to say that I really like this game, even if I did end up in last place. :) If the rules were easier to explain, I would probably get more of my friends to play it.


Century Spice Road is also pretty interesting. This one has easier rules than Scythe (it's been compared to Splendor but I don't think they are all that similar in terms of their game play) so I am sure I will play this with my more casual gaming friends.

Century Spice Road

I also brought my family to Niu by Vikings to celebrate my nephew's birthday. My nephews are in their teens and they can both eat quite a lot so I thought a buffet would be a perfect choice. It turned out to be a night of some massive feasting, with everyone heading back to the buffet spread for seconds and thirds (and even fourths). Niu is more expensive than a regular Vikings though so maybe for the next birthday celebration, we will go to a regular Vikings. (I think the difference is mainly that Niu has a few more luxury items and it also has wine but none of us had any wine so we ended up not really optimizing our dining options.)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Nadal still at #1

This is very late but as a Nadal fan, I still have to congratulate him for winning the 2017 US Open. That win gave Nadal his 16th Grand Slam event trophy, his 3rd US Open championship, and his 5th title this year. It also ensured that Rafa would continue to be ranked #1. And here I was worried that he would lose the ATP top ranking after the US Open.

This Nadal win means that he and Roger Federer have split the 4 major tournaments this year. Considering that many people have felt that Rafa and Roger were way past their primes and may never return to the pinnacle of the sport, this resurgence of both athletes is a testament to how astounding and legendary they are, both physically and mentally. They are both pretty much a lock to end the year #1 and #2. While Rafa has the advantage right now, the remainder of the year will be played on hard courts, a surface that favors Roger so it will be interesting to see how this all pans out.

I was having a discussion with a friend of mine recently who was wondering why the up-and-coming men can't seem to break through. I told her that in my opinion, it was not because they weren't great; it was just because they were playing in the era of three of greatest players of all time. Over the last decade and a half, you would normally have to beat at least two of the three (Roger, Rafa and Novak Djokovic) to win a tournament. It doesn't help that usually, one or two of them are playing at the top of their game. And if they aren't, then Andy Murray is. All four of these players have had a lock on the #1 ranking since 2004! Novak and Andy have been practically absent this year due to injury challenges. It will be very interesting to see what happens next year when both return and with Rafa and Roger also at the top. It also makes me wonder who the next player is to achieve the #1 ranking in the ATP outside the Big Four.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Celebration dinner at Zucchini's

I had been wanting to try Zucchini's, a fine dining restaurant along Scout Tuason (near Tomas Morato), for a while now. When thinking of restaurants where we could celebrate the birthdays of my mom and my brother, I figured this would be a perfect venue.

Since we were celebrating a couple of special occasions, I decided to splurge on the food. We ordered a variety of soups: Forest Mushroom, French Onion, and Lobster Bisque. All of them were very good, but the general favorite seemed to be the lobster bisque. For our appetizer, we ordered the Seafood Platter, which consisted of smoked salmon, baked mussels, scallop gratin, and shrimp gambas.

Seafood Platter

We also ordered the Slow-Baked Bone Marrow with Sea Salt and Arugula. To enjoy this dish, we took some bone marrow, spread it on the crostini as if it were a pate, and added a bit of salt. This was really good too.

Slow-Baked Bone Marrow with Sea Salt and Arugula

In fact, everything we ordered was excellent, from the Certified Angus Beef Rib-Eye Steak...

Rib-Eye Steak

to the Chilean Seabass...

Chilean Seabass

to the Shrimp and Scallop with Truffle Oil Risotto...

Shrimp and Scallop with Truffle Oil Risotto

to the Lobster.


After feasting on appetizers, soup, and entrees, we all still had room for dessert. Zucchini's very nicely gave us a couple of cakes for free to celebrate the two birthdays. On top of that, I ordered the Gruyere Parmesan Souffle with dulce de leche sauce on the side because I felt like trying a souffle and this combination seemed interesting.

What made our dining experience even more enjoyable was the ambience. The service is topnotch and the interior is warm and luxurious. The artwork displayed on the walls is fun and whimsical and, along with the dinnerware, give customers a sense that they are in France.

I am happy I chose Zucchini's as our celebration venue because my entire family greatly enjoyed our evening here. The food was exceptionally good and I'm pleased that my family also got to try menu items that they wouldn't normally order. Since it is a fine dining restaurant, the food is obvious pretty expensive but it is perfect for special occasions.

20 Scout Tuason corner Scout Castor Streets, Quezon City, Philippines
(02) 415 5533

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

August hodgepodge

Let's kick things off with some bad news. My car got hit by a tricycle. We were stopped at an intersection and I was on the 3rd lane while the tricycle was on the 2nd lane. When the stoplight turned green, the tricycle suddenly moved into my lane - and in fact the driver wasn't even looking my way - and he hit the front side of my car. He actually drove off and I had to keep honking my horn at him for him to stop. When he did stop, he had the audacity to accuse me of being at fault. Wow! I was livid and thankfully a few traffic enforcers joined us to help out.

On to the positive stuff. I got to spend some quality time with friends this August. My colleagues from my first company had a reunion early in the month. We met up with Raych who was in town for a couple of weeks. Anna was also in town so our dinner group included the two of them along with Jette, Mitch, and Ric and Lany (it had actually also been a while since I had seen Ric and Lany). We decided to have dinner in Provenciano along Maginhawa. Our friend Bett was unable to join us but she recommended that we try their bibingka so we ordered that for dessert and it was really good. (The rest of the food we had was also really good. No wonder this place is always full.)


My friends from my second company also had a reunion. Chris was in Manila and for the first time since he and his family moved to Canada, I got to hang out with him. Joh, Raffa, Alvin, Doray, Mike, Reb, and I joined Chris for dinner in Ping Pong Diplomacy. (The food was pretty good.) This reunion also doubled as Joh's birthday celebration. We then headed over to Toby's Estate for coffee and dessert.

I also met up with Shai and Pia, my colleagues from my previous company. We ended up having dinner in Florabel in Estancia. Shai and I had been planning to meet up for a while so we finally found a schedule that worked for both of us. Pia was also in the neighborhood so she was able to join us.

Finally, my high school friends and I celebrated Joyce's birthday at The 30th Ayala Mall in Ortigas. We had dinner in Shrimp Bucket and coffee in La Maripili. I actually really liked the interior of this restaurant. I also enjoyed the nutella crepe I ordered.

La Maripili

I recently purchased Clank! because it had some pretty good reviews online and thankfully, it lived up to the hype. It's a combination of deck building and dungeon crawl, and the first time I played this, I actually won.

Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure

I also got to play a few more games, including Lords of Waterdeep, Dungeon Petz, Splendor, and a new game Here, Kitty, Kitty! Dungeon Petz remains to be one of my favorite games despite the fact that I have never won and in fact I have usually placed 3rd or 4th out of 4 players LOL. You know you enjoy a game when you keep losing and still enjoy playing it.