Wednesday, June 22, 2005


I think the popularity of DVD and VCD piracy has really driven video prices down. Imagine, when DVDs came out in the Philippines, they cost about P1,000 and VCDs cost about as much as a music CD (P450-ish). Now, although there are still some DVDs that cost that much, a lot of them now cost from P395-595. On the other hand, a lot of VCDs now cost P150-275. What's more is that there are always video sales wherein these prices drop even further. Last week, for instance, there was another sale in Tower Records. I took a look at the items on sale and I found two very old Jackie Chan movies - 'Drunken Master' and 'Snake in the Eagle's shadow.' When I was a kid, I used to watch a lot of Kung Fu movies on betamax with my brothers and cousins, and these movies were two of our favorites. So when I saw them on sale, I decided to purchase them, and I watched them both over the weekend. Pretty cool! Brought back a truckload of childhood memories hehehe.


My nephews started school in Community of Learners this week. Actually their first day was supposed to be last Wednesday but both of them got really sick so they had to miss the first few days of school. My grandparents were also able to find a driver so that someone can take the kids to and from school (which is actually quite a distance from home). My older nephew CJ is having 'i-don't-like-school' problems, which might be coming from what we think is some trauma developed in his previous pre-school. My mom actually went to Community of Learners yesterday morning since CJ was having problems, and she says that the way they handle special children and their teaching methods are very good indeed. According to my mom, CJ is starting to warm to the idea of school again (he said 'I like school') so maybe it will just take a little more time before he gets in a groove. On the other hand, Ciera, my younger nephew, seems to be enjoying himself there quite a bit. Hopefully, Community of Learners can help them a huge lot in their development.


My band, StillOz is going to having another gig tomorrow, this time in Racks in El Pueblo. It'll be our first time to play there, and is always the case when we play in a new venue, I will surely get stage fright again. I just hope we can do well in this gig as it could become another semi-regular venue for us to play in.


Bo Bice's single, 'Inside your heaven' (which is the idol song) was released last Tuesday in the US (June 21). The single is now ranked #2 in both the Barnes and Noble bestseller list and (behind Coldplay's new hit album, X&Y - I like their new song btw). Carrie's single, which was released a week earlier, is doing fairly well too, although not as well as Bo's. It really seems to me that AI wanted two idols, as you can see by the fact that both the winner and the runner-up released the Idol song 'Inside your heaven', which has never happened before.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

1st week results...

The last week has been a true test of will power on my part as I began my attempt to do well in the 21-day challenge. I managed to exercise for more than 30 minutes in five out of the first seven days of the challenge. What's even more impressive is that I have managed to say no to the following food and beverage items on several occasions: chocolate buffet, coke, coke light, chocolate mousse, wine, ice cream, Mary Grace brownies, dark chocolate, coffee bean sans rival, mange crepe, banana crepe, and beer. Also note that I had to say no to these food items during (1) my gimmick with my HP friends, (2) Gary's wedding, (3) the dinner at Mitch's place, and (4) my team dinner last night. Not exactly easy to explain to people why I can't even have one glass of wine or one spoonful of mousse (I have to keep saying that after 21 days it'll be okay and I just need to earn the points for three weeks). Me saying no to food? That's a first.

But it seems to have paid off. When I weighed myself two Mondays ago, I was 167 lbs. On Wednesday last week, I was 165lbs. And yesterday, I was about 160-161lbs. That's about 5lbs in a week, and 7lbs in 9 days. What's even better is that my body fat percentage has gone down from 31.5% to 30%. This means that of the ~5lbs I have lost, almost 4lbs are fat. I have lost 4lbs of fat! Wahoo! (Must be the near elimination of dessert in my diet).

Hopefully by the end of the month, I will be close to 150lbs and have a body fat percentage of about 28% (maybe get a six-pack along the way hehehe). Not a bad thing to pull off before I turn 30. =)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Performance night

Last night was a pretty showbiz night for me, what with the partial repeat of our Walang Kupas play and the StillOz gig in Ponti.

The Walang Kupas play we did last May was such a hit that there has been such a demand for a repeat performance. The thing, though, is that it is more than an hour long and not really a lot of people have patience to sit through an entire musical unless it was something like Les Mis or Miss Saigon. So for the company event we had yesterday, we just performed a total of 5 scenes: the opening scene, leading into the laundry scene, then the miracle scene, then the sari-sari store scene, then the finale. Now in the original performance, we had 10 dancers with us, as well as stage actor Noel Rayos performing the role of 'Kulayaw' the narrator. In this 15-minute excerpt of the play, we naturally did not have the budget for Noel and the dancers (which is okay because we had a smaller stage). So the entire cast ended up as the dancers (that is, whenever they weren't supposed to have any other part), and the role of Kulayaw was given to me. I ended up making a lip-sync mistake in the opening song, and I almost forgot one of my lines in the miracle scene, but I think all in all I was okay. And as a group, we put in a great performance (I'll try to post some pictures here soon) that got us a standing ovation. Cool. =)

I wish I could say the same for the StillOz performance in Ponti later that night, or well at least the 1st set. Our 1st set last night was one of our worst performances ever, definitely the worst in recent history. Our sound check was actually good, but then for some reason we were not in sync with each other. I think we picked up finally with 'Grey Street' (although I have to say I was unable to complete the 17 second sustain in that song, which is quite unfortunate because I nailed it during practice. Oh well, I still managed to sustain the note for about 13 seconds which is definitely nothing to sneeze at). However, the best performance of the set and probably of the night was 'Far Behind' by Candlebox, which we performed right after 'Grey Street'. I used to shy away from that song because it is really difficult to sing, but after realizing that a lot of the songs we do right now are just as difficult, we decided to finally put it in our repertoire. And boy did the audience love that performance. Our 2nd set was definitely much better (we managed to play 3 requested songs from the audience, including what I think is one of our best covers of 'Scientist' by Coldplay), but we definitely need to shape up for our next gig on June 24.

Funny thing, one of our visitors from Germany who is in Manila this week to meet up with my team asked me if maybe I was in the wrong business. Hehe, unfortunately I am a bit too old to try and enter showbiz right now. Maybe if our local singing festivals increase the age limit to 30 I have a chance. Oh if only we still had 'Bagong Kampeon,' then I could join the 'Pwede pa kami' portion hahaha!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Hanging out with friends

With all the stuff that had been keeping me busy over the last month or so, I haven't really been able to spend a lot of time with some of my other friends who I don't get to see on a regular basis (i.e. people from work, StillOz or Bukas Sarili folks). So it was great to get a chance to actually hang out with a lot of them over the last 4 days.

Last Thursday was Paulo's birthday, but since he had a big presentation for his MBA class on Friday, we decided to celebrate his birthday with him after his presentation. We ended up at the Pen lobby - Paulo, Raffa, Joh, Tim, Che, Meann, Pia, Hannah and John Q. It was a lot of fun seeing them again as I think it had been about more than a month since I saw them all last.

On Saturday, Gary and Winnie got married and Mitch, Anna, Iona, and I were all invited. What was cool was that Mike L, Monique, and Rona G were all there, and it had been ages since I saw them last. Also there were (the other) Rona and ID and Jude and Pia, and I haven't seem them in an even longer time.

On Sunday, I met up with Mitch, Anna, and Iona again at Mitch's place, but this time with Joyce for dinner and videoke. Rommel came by some time later as did Myra and her boyfriend Jun. Dinner was great and it was lots of fun. We ended up leaving at around 2am. Not exactly sure whether our singing (or my loud voice) kept Mitch's neighbors up. Oh well. =)

Then today, I had rehearsal for the Walang Kupas partial repeat so I spent the afternoon with Donna, Stelz, Denz, Queena, Ghe, Mark, Ivy, Neyna, and Janet, as well as the staff and crew. A lot of fun as it always is when hanging out with these people.

Finally, I am going out for coffee and a movie tonight with Diane and maybe Dale. I haven't seen Diane since she left for Cincinnati (gosh, when was that exactly?) which was probably the same time I saw Dale last. We plan to see Mr. & Mrs. Smith and I can't wait to hear the super super hot Angelina Jolie say "Who's your daddy now?" Ahh, if only I were Brad...

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The 21-day challenge begins

Today is the first day of our 21-day challenge. What exactly is it, you may ask? Well basically it's a program we have in the office where participants try to gain healthy habits and lose unhealthy ones, and as part of this you get free use of Gold's gym (well, free for the participants, but the company pays for it of course).

At the start of the challenge, you have to declare what you need to accomplish at the end of the 21 days. This means you either maintain your current weight, gain weight, or in my case lose weight. The company doctor checks your height, weight and body fat percentage before the start of the event and confirms whether your target goal is appropriate for you.

So what does that mean for me? Well, for starters, I need to consume only about 2000-2200 calories a day. That means smaller portions! To add insult to injury, all junk food (which includes sweets like cakes, brownies, pastries, and cookies.) So today, for breakfast I had cereal with low fat milk, for lunch I had a diet coke, a can of tuna, a cup of rice and a guava, and for snack I had another small box of cereal with low fat milk. Haven't had dinner yet (and boy am I HUNGRY!), but I think I can eat up to about 700 calories without going over.

I don't really think this is sustainable over the long run. However, one great thing about this free use of the gym is that we also get 10 free sessions with a personal trainer (which would otherwise cost a LOT of money) so I am now targetting to lose an inch or two around my waist and buff up my upper body and arms a bit. That way I can pull off the tight fitting shirts that I 'have' to wear during our gigs a little more. =)

Monday, June 06, 2005

My recent buying spree

I think I actually need to call my credit cards to check how much in debt I already am coz recently, I got into a zone of buying stuff. To be fair, I don't think I bought anything whimsical and expensive, but I think I spent more than I should have as these small purchases all started piling up.

Let's start with VCDs. Nenen recently decided to sell her videos as what I guess to be a part of her apartment cleanup since she is moving out of her unit in Westgate by the end of the month. She had a truckload of videos and was selling her original VCDs at P40 each. A good bargain for me because if I rent VCDs at ACA, it'll cost me P30 each. Yeah yeah I know, I must be the only person still renting videos and buying original, but well if I end up being in showbiz at least I can say I've been (mostly) anti-piracy all the way. =) Anyway, I ended up getting about 35 VCDs, including the entire 5th season of 'Friends'. I started watching them already over the weekend.

Also, my marathon will be on August 7. As such, I need to start training at least 3x a week. And since I also joined this 21-day challenge in my company, I get 15 free trips to the gym, and 10 free sessions with a physical trainer. Add to this the fact that I am still taking tennis lessons (I still have 4 sessions that I have already paid for). So it'll be a physically fit June for me, with exercise practically every day. Thus, I decided to buy a couple more sports shirts. I got an Adidas Climacool shirt, a Nike sphere shirt, and a Nike dri-fit shirt. I have to say, since I got my first drifit shirt a couple of years ago and with my level of perspiration during phyiscal activities (a cotton shirt really weighs down on you after you run 10km), I realized that with shirts, it's drifit and similar fabric shirts or bust for me. That said, it does cost me a lot of dough.

I also got a lot of music CDs. Over Amazon I ordered the Blues Brothers 2000 OST, Aretha's Amazing Grace live recordings, Diamond music from Karl Jenkins, and the Cosima single 'When the war is over' which I heard on a plane trip a year ago and which I promised myself I would get (this Australian Idol runner up or 3rd placer has a fantastic voice). I also purchased the American Idol 4 Showstoppers CD as well as Fantasia's 'I believe' single. My mom also asked me to get a video of the Wizard of Oz so I got the DVD at Tower (it was on sale). And on another trip of mine to gateway, I found this CD of Ron Miller, "Somewhere in time and other piano classics." When I was a kid, my mom bought a cassette tape of this and I used to listen to it a lot as a kid, so I decided to get this CD as well (P100, not bad for a CD with 20 songs in it).

Then yesterday, I got myself a new mattress. Why, you ask? Well, that's because my bed fell apart about 2 months ago and I got a new bed last month (yeah, I slept on a broken bed for a month or so =)). The problem with my new bed is that it had larger metal bars as compared to my previous bed, and my old mattress was quite thin. So when I lie down on the mattress, my weight flattens it to the point where I can actually feel the metal bars against my body. Suffice it to say I would feel quite sore each morning that I got up. So I got a new mattress that's about 6 inches thick and well, I slept a lot more comfortably last night than I have over the last few weeks.

And as I mentioned in a previous post, I also bought some running shoes last week, and still plan to buy those thick running socks to prevent blisters. So there you go. A truckload of cash gone down the drain. I have a wishlist of stuff I still want to buy actually (like the Kenneth Cole watches I saw in Powerplant) so maybe I can post that here soon so some kind reader would be nice enough to buy them for me. (Haha yeah I know, fat chance. =))

Friday, June 03, 2005

Gateway and other stuff

Last Saturday I went out with Anna, Iona, and Joyce in Gateway, the supposedly cool new place to be in Cubao (Mitch and Ferg were still touring Europe so they couldn't be with us). It actually wasn't bad, and it makes Cubao a more interesting place to hang out again.

I actually started the day off with a meeting with Ray and Jay at Ray's unit in Ortigas. Topic was the future of Bukas Sarili since Stanford accepted Ray's application and he will be leaving for Palo Alto in end-July.

After that I headed to Robinson's Galleria to look for running shoes. The running shoes I have, the ones I used for my marathon last year, are a bad fit and when I run more than 10km in them I end up getting very bad blisters (as I did when I ran the marathon last year). I couldn't find any in Robinson's Galleria so I decided to go to Shangri-la Mall and look for shoes there. I couldn't find the running shoes that were recommended to me by (I'm flatfooted so I need to find shoes with motion control) so I looked for another similar shoe and ended up with New Balance 765, which was on sale actually. I haven't been able to run in them yet, though, (I have to remind myself to buy thick running socks - Thorlo - tomorrow so I can run on Sunday).

I was then supposed to meet with the gang there at around 7pm for dinner but when I had purchased my running shoes and had nothing better to do in the Ortigas area, I decided to head to gateway early and check the place out.

It's actually quite cool. Greenbelt-looking, albeit with a bit less space to move around in. Some of the shops and restos there are quite high end so we know which market Gateway is trying to pull in. I discovered that there was a Columbia shop there. Columbia is an outdoor activity and sports store (I guess similar to Northface), which has these hmm light-weight, 'dri-fit'-type 'convertible' pants - you know, the pants that have a zipper at the knee area to allow you to use them as either long pants or shorts? I am kind of on a budget right now so I figured I wouldn't buy them just yet. Maybe in July before I take two weeks off for vacation.

I then met up with Anna who was looking for a wedding gift for Gary and Winnie, and we subsequently met up with Joyce and Iona. We were planning on having dinner in Cibo, although I really wanted to eat at Taco Bell since Gateway is the only place in the Philippines with a Taco Bell. Unfortunately for me, Iona had already eaten there and didn't really like it. Anna suggested we try Pizza Hut Bistro because the menu had items that were not sold in any other Pizza Hut. I had this tortellini dish and also ordered the chicken popcorn pizza (which is currently one of my favorite pizzas around). Pretty good meal. We then capped off the night at Coffee Bean.

All in all not bad. Gateway is a bit cramped when you compare it to Greenbelt, Powerplant and Shangrila mall, but I wouldn't mind going there. The extra bonus you get there is that they have valet parking (pricier but at least you don't have to worry about looking for parking).