Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Almost 2 months after the May 10 elections, Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III becomes the 15th president of the Philippines.

I only caught part of the inauguration though. I had my place cleaned (I used to clean my own place then I realized it it was just better use of my time and effort to pay a few hundred bucks for maid service so that's what I do now) and since that took a couple of hours, I decided to have my car washed as well. There was a TV at the carwash and so I actually caught part of Noynoy's speech while I was there.

A lot of promises were made in that speech and while I don't know how much of it will be actualized, I am hoping for the best. The thing we have to remember though is that change or improvement in our way of life doesn't come just from one person or one government but from everyone. The best thing for us to do really is to figure out how we can contribute and to do our share.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Clear path to the title

Wimbledon seems to be copying the French Open. At least in the women's draw. The semifinals features two unseeded players as well as the woman currently ranked #21. This isn't the group of women you expect to see in the final four. Except it also features current #1 Serena Williams who seems to be in unbeatable form at the moment.

In her past 5 matches, Serena has not dropped a set and has hit an incredible 73 aces (that's about 15 aces per match or 7 aces per set)! She is also on track to break the women's record for most aces hit in a Grand Slam singles event (the record is currently held by Martina Navratilova). It's highly unlikely that any of the remaining women can beat Serena on grass which means the younger Williams sister is almost certain of hoisting her 13th Grand Slam trophy on Saturday. This will move her past Billie Jean King (who currently has 12) to solo 6th place in terms of most Grand Slam singles titles won, and right behind Navratilova and Chris Evert who both have 18.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Marathon #7

It's that time of year again. The Milo Marathon will be held this Sunday, July 4. Less than a week left!

You can read more about my marathon for charity here. Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What a shame!

England have been bundled out of the World Cup by Germany, who beat them 4-1. But while Germany were clearly stronger team and deserved to go through, it's just unfortunate that Frank Lampard's goal did not count when in fact it very clearly crossed the goal posts.

You could argue that it wouldn't have made a difference - Germany had that match in their grip and were controlling the game. However, the incident happened at 2-1 with Germany ahead by just one goal. If Lampard's goal counted, it would have been 2-2 and could have been a different ball game all together. Unfortunately, the goal didn't count. And I am sure the frustration of remaining a goal behind would have been a factor in how the rest of the match turned out. Maybe it wouldn't have mattered in the end. But it would have been so much better if the whole incident didn't happen, because then the result would not have had any what-ifs attached to it.

(I guess England aren't new to this, considering they lost to a Maradona-led Argentina in 1986 because of the infamous 'Hand of God'. I've been told though that England won the WC in 1966 against Germany because at 2-2, England officially scored a goal that apparently didn't cross the goal posts. Oh well. Hopefully there are less controversial moments in the next World Cup.)

Friday, June 25, 2010

The longest tennis match in history

History is made. The longest tennis match in history was just completed in the first week of Wimbledon. John Isner defeated Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68.

You read that right, 70-68! With the 5th set in Wimbledon played out with no tie-break, both players kept on holding serve until Mahut, who had to serve 65 times to stay in the match, was finally, sadly, broken. This was one of those matches were you just wish that neither player had to lose.

Not only is this the longest match in terms of games played (138 games in just that final set, and 183 games in total!) but also in terms of duration. The entire match took a whopping 11 hours to complete, and this was played over 3 days. Players have won Grand Slam titles spending less time on court than that. The 5th set alone lasted 8 hours, and is longer than the previous record-holder (which lasted 'only' 6 1/2 hours). In fact, when Isner and Mahut resumed play on the third day at 59-all, they still had to play 18 games in more than an hour to determine the winner. That's the exact same number of games played and about the same amount of time in the Kim Clijsters-Maria Kirilenko match.

I've read an article which indicated that the last set is more akin to the scoreline in a basketball game than on a tennis court. I don't think I will see a tennis match last longer or have more games than this, so it's great that I got to watch history be made.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


I've been really busy lately and while I've missed a few films that I really wanted to see (most notably Shrek Final Chapter), I've still managed to find my way to the movie theater a couple of times in the last month.

'Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time' is a really enjoyable movie to watch. The pace at which the story unfolded and the way that the premise and the conflict were resolved kept me thoroughly interested. The action sequences and the visual effects framed the plot perfectly and the characters were interesting and well-portrayed. I've heard people say that the ending was a bit odd or off, but I thought it wrapped things up pretty nicely.

Sticking to the theme of popcorn blockbusters with great action sequences and a good cast is 'The A-team'. The movie briefly reminded me of 'The Italian Job' in that a betrayal early in the film sets the stage for the rest of the storyline to develop. While I guessed who the masterminds were as well as how the lead cast would get out of their final entanglement, watching how the A-team would handle the assignments they were given and the predicaments in which they got caught definitely made for great entertainment.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

23 by Jimmy Eat World

Here's another great song which I discovered by watching One Tree Hill. It's called 23 by Jimmy Eat World.

video uploaded in youtube by user Angeless

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

3 hours on a treadmill

This is definitely a personal record. I've been training for my next marathon for some weeks now, and since June 14 was a public holiday, I decided I would go for a long run on that day. The ideal situation would be for me to have run outdoors but I had time limitations that day. So I ended up running on the treadmill for three hours. And may I see, that was the most boring training run I've ever had!

The worst of it was that while running, the power went off! Twice! First time it happened was almost 1 1/2 hours into my run. The lights go off and the treadmill does a dead stop, so I nearly fall off. The generator kicked in seconds after, and so I get back on. But after about 12 minutes, the power returns so they turn the generator off and switch back to the normal power supply. Which meant another dead stop in complete darkness. My momentum was massively thrown off after that but I'm still pleased I managed three hours of running. My next long run will be on Saturday, so I will try to do a long run outdoors.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sports round-up

Another McLaren 1-2. Lewis Hamilton wins the Canadian Grand Prix with Jenson Button moving up a few places from his starting position to finish 2nd. This second McLaren 1-2 in a row puts the team firmly ahead in the Constructors Championship as Hamilton moves to the top of the Drivers Championship with 109 points and Button stays close behind with 106 points. Hopefully Jenson can snag another win in the upcoming European Grand Prix.


Some major upsets in last week's grass court tournaments across Europe. Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, and Roddick were all upset early. Nadal lost in the quarterfinals to Feliciano Lopez, who snaps a 5-match losing streak to Nadal, while the other three lost the round before).

Lleyton Hewitt pulls of a surprise himself by upending Roger Federer, snapping an even longer 15-match losing streak to the current world #2. The last time Hewitt beat Federer was back in 2003 as well.

And it's good to see that Li Na wins the Aegon Classic, defeating Maria Sharapova. This isn't really an upset since Li Na is ranked higher than Sharapova but it was nice to see more Asian success in the women's tour.


The World Cup is in full swing but I have yet to be enraptured in all the event buzz. I've seen a couple of matches - UK vs. USA, Germany vs. Australia - but I haven't been as into it as I was in previous World Cups. I think Liverpool's miserable results in the last football season have left me with a distaste for the sport, at least in the short term. I am still hoping that England win though, coz it would be awesome to see Steven Gerrard lift the World Cup trophy as England Captain.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

An afternoon in Virlanie Foundation

It's always great to spend some time with orphans and street kids and try to bring them some joy and entertainment, even if it is only for a couple of hours. On Friday, I organized an orphan event with kids aged 3 to 8 in Virlanie Foundation. (I organized a similar event for my department in Virlanie last year, but for kids aged 9 to 14).

We were planning to start at 1pm but settling down and volunteer arrival took some time so it was almost 2pm when we started. As expected, I hosted the event LOL, and I realized when we got there that it was a bit of a mistake for us not to have brought a microphone! Thankfully my booming voice was big enough to ensure everyone there could hear me. :) I kicked things off with a game of 'Bring me'. With only a few prizes though, it became a bit difficult to explain to some kids that they just had to try again in the next round or the next game to win something. So after a few rounds or 'Bring me', I switch to a simple relay. We split the kids into four groups, and the members of the winning group all won a prize (at least 7 winners was better than 1 or 2 per 'Bring me' round). We were supposed to have one more game - longest breath - but since we were an hour late, I decided to jump straight to our last game of pass the ball.

My idea for 'pass the ball' was that we'd have the kids pass a ball around while music was playing and when the music stopped, whoever was holding the ball would be eliminated. But as I explained the rules, I suddenly felt horrible since each round, one kid would be very disappointed (it was tough enough to tell kids in previous games that they had no prizes, much less to eliminate kids one at a time). I then realized this would be the perfect opportunity to distribute the loot bags under the guise of a prize. As each kid was eliminated, we'd hand them their loot bag. It was a really good move as some of the kids actually wanted to be eliminated so they could get their "prize".

Once the game was done, we distributed the food (pasta and barbecue) and juice drinks. I also played my "Kung Fu Panda" DVD so the kids could watch it while eating. I made sure that the prizes from the games would either be interactive toys (such as kiddie badminton sets or jack stones) or creative stuff (I found a cool Toy Story whiteboard which came with its own whiteboard marker and eraser). The loot bags contained a lot of creative stuff too - educational coloring books, crayons, modeling clay, pencils, an eraser and sharpener, a drawing book, and a small toy (I also included a Hello wafer bar and a small container of Stik-o).

As it turns out, the choice of prizes and loot bag contents seemed to be perfect since half of the kids there who didn't want to watch the movie started playing with their prizes or using the contents of their loot bags. This also provided a lot more opportunities for interaction between the adults and kids - you could see so many of the kids and adults sprawled on the floor either coloring their coloring books or designing lots of cute and clever things with their clay or playing jack stones. It was really great to see!

We wrapped up about 10 minutes past 4pm (which was around the time the movie finished) and. while it was difficult to part with the kids, we left with a feeling of joy. Two hours with these kids from Virlanie is nowhere near enough, but it's definitely better than nothing. I do hope that we were able to leave the kids not only with items that can help them socialize with other kids and develop their creativity and imagination, but also with memories from a really fun and fulfilling afternoon. I know that the volunteers will all have great memories of this wonderful afternoon.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

"Stay" by Michelle Featherstone

Another great, haunting song I discovered by watching One Tree Hill. This I think was played in final episode of Season 1.

uploaded in youtube by user SoulTheWhale

Monday, June 07, 2010

The King of Clay is back!

And in style! Rafael Nadal wins the French Open title this year, beating Robin Soderling in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2, 6-4. Some details that make this win even more amazing:

  • With this win, Rafa returns to the #1 ranking!
  • This is Rafa's 5th French Open title. Only Bjorn Borg has won it more times (6)
  • He now has 7 Grand Slam titles, the same number of slams (singles, that is) that John McEnroe and Mats Wilander have
  • He hasn't lost on clay so far this year
  • Since the Madrid Masters becoming a clay court event last year, Rafa holds the distinction of winning three clay court Masters titles and the French Open in the same year
  • He didn't drop a set en route to the title for the second time in his career (he also managed this rare feat back in 2008)
  • And while this isn't as important, Rafa avenged his loss in last year's French Open 4th round to Soderling
  • He also becomes the first player to qualify for the year-end championships
Since Nadal didn't play in Wimbledon last year, he's bound to keep the #1 ranking until after Wimbledon. Here's hoping that Rafa can carry his success on clay into the grass and hard court seasons. Would be great if he can win Wimbledon and end the year #1 again.


This also marks the first time since the French Open 2004 that Roger Federer didn't win or lose to eventual winner of a Grand Slam event (he lost to Soderling who lost to Nadal). So two of Roger's streaks were snapped in this year's French Open. If it's any consolation to Roger, I don't think he will ever see these two streaks broken in his lifetime. I don't even think anyone will come close.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

French Open stunner

Roger Federer is out of this year's French Open, losing to Robin Soderling in 4 sets. So while Roger is unable to defend his Roland Garros title, the most significant piece of news attached to this result is the fact that his streak of getting the semifinals or better in Grand Slam events has finally ended at 23. Imagine that. 23 consecutive Grand Slam events of getting to the semifinals or better. To put this achievement in perspective, the second longest semifinal appearance streak among men belongs to Ivan Lendl, who got to 10 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals. Unbelievable!

In any case, Roger's quarterfinal loss also means that Rafa Nadal will regain the #1 ranking if he wins the French Open. He's on court now against Almagro who is putting up a good fight, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Rafa can end the claycourt season in style by winning his 5th French Open title and going into Wimbledon with the #1 ranking.


Serena Williams had a matchpoint but lost to Samantha Stosur in the quarterfinals. This means that the winner of the women's title at the French Open this year will be a first time Grand Slam winner. Jankovic, Dementieva, Stosur, and Schiavone. Should be interesting to see which one of them bags home the title. (I'm hoping it's Dementieva...)

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Massive weekend

My family went to Bicol over the weekend. Unfortunately I wasn't able to join them because I had two friends in town. Ben, my English friend who lives in Singapore, was in Manila to join his Aussie mates in an Aussie rules football tournament on Saturday, and Dino, now based in Canada, was in Manila to enjoy the Philippine summer. I don't get to see Ben and Dino a lot so I decided not to join my family in Bicol.

As expected, alcohol factored into my weekend. A lot. I hung out with Ben and some of his Aussie friends on Friday night and had a lot of beers before meeting up with my friends Walter, Tim, Basil, and Cesar in Burgos Circle for more drinks. On Sat night, I met up with a lot of my college friends, including Dino, for the "Senior Edition" of one of our org's annual activities - Vice Night. :) Of course, we weren't as crazy as we used to be so it just involved drinks (lots of them), food, and a whole lot of catching up. Some of the folks I saw that night were people I hung out with a lot in college but haven't really seen since then. After our party, I header over to Encore to join Ben and his other friends.

So it isn't much of a surprise when I was sluggish practically the entire Sunday. Thankfully I didn't have a headache on either day. It was a great weekend though, where I not only got to hangout with Ben and Dino but also got to catch up with a lot of other friends and also make new ones.