Tuesday, November 29, 2011


My friend Mike is a big fan of board games, and heck so am I. So he set up game night with me and his girlfriend, Sabrina. I don't mind being the third wheel LOL so we all gathered together to try out one of Mike's many board games.

Mike loves these strategy games like Ticket to Ride and The Settlers of Catan, both of which we had played before. This time around, we played Agricola. It's the first time I played this game and it was quite interesting. The goal of the game is to build the most well-balanced farm. I won't attempt to describe it beyond that as it is quite complicated, but after some time I started to get the hang of it.

I ended up in 3rd place with 29 points, but Sabrina had only 2 points more than I did. Mike was a massive winner with 54 points, and this may have been his best score ever. I'm no longer very competitive and don't mind losing but both Mike and Sabrina told me that my score was pretty good. Mike showed me the score of a lot of other first time players, and they ranged from 11 to 24. So I guess I did pretty well LOL.

I'm interested in playing that game again (or heck, any of the other games LOL). The thing about Agricola is that it is quite time consuming; with just 3 of us, it took 3 hours. I can only imagine how much time it would take if there were 4 or 5 players. Or how much more complicated it will be. But I guess that's part of the charm. At least it does test your brain quite a bit. :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Button ends the year #2

Jenson Button ends the 2011 Formula 1 season at #2! Vettel secured the Drivers Championship weeks ago (he ended the season with 11 wins!) but the #2 ranking was still up for grabs in the last race in Brazil. Both Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber had a chance to overtake him. Thankfully, a good run during qualification and a great race gave him a 3rd place podium finish and allowed him to remain at #2.

Mark Webber won the race - his first this season - and managed to pip Alonso for overall 3rd spot. With Vettel placing 2nd in the race, it meant that all three podium finishers in the final race are also the top 3 drivers of the season. Pretty cool.

Hopefully Jenson can continue to drive well and maybe win a few more trophies with McLaren next year. It'll certainly be tough with Vettel starting to dominate F1, but Jenson managed to win a few races this year so that's a good sign.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Birthday celebration Friday

Two friends of mine have their birthdays in late November and with both of them celebrating on the same Friday night, I ended up being double-booked. Thankfully, the schedule didn't conflict completely.

Me-ann's birthday celebration kicked off very early in the evening. She sent out an invite for dinner in Cafe Juanita in Burgos Circle at 630pm, and somehow, 5 of us were more or less on time LOL. (This still doesn't beat the outback dinner we had a couple of years ago where we started at 630 and attendance was complete by 645!) We were joined later on by four more of our friends. Since I was double booked, I had to excuse myself at around 845pm. I think a couple more people joined after I left.

I made my way to Salcedo Village for the pre-game of my friend Walter's birthday celebration. He managed to get us all in the Republiq guest list, but since drinks there cost a lot, he decided to set up a pre-game in the penthouse of the condo of one of our other friends. It was drizzling a bit when I got there but thankfully it didn't get any heavier and stopped shortly. We had quite a few drinks here before making our way to Republiq. Several more of Walter's friend joined us here and we all enjoyed a lot more drinks and great music until the wee hours of the morning. I haven't been to a club in a long time so it was great fun. Needless to say, I stayed away from alcohol the rest of the weekend. :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

"Take on me" by A-ha

I'm supposed to sing this song in our office Christmas Party. It's really high! LOL Good luck to me. :)

video uploaded in youtube by XcmNear

Most people who watched music videos back in the 80s will remember how revolutionary this video was back in the day, with its mix of live action and black-and-white, comic-style animation. Pretty interesting storyline too.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Haven't been to Boracay in a while and since I badly needed time away from work, I spent a weekend here. Perfect place to unwind, given that Boracay was ranked #4 in the list of 2011 World's Best Islands of Travel and Leisure, besting places like the Great Barrier Reef Islands, Maui, and Galapagos.

This trip involved walking barefoot along the beach, food-tripping (Kasbah, Epic, Aria, Lemon Cafe), having drinks at night (Exit Bar), and lounging about both on the beach and in the sea. Quite a few changes in Boracay since I was there last, including the airport which is now pretty good. What hasn't changed are the glorious sunsets (although a whole horde of clouds on the western sky made it tough to catch a glimpse of the sun setting in the horizon).

A weekend in Boracay isn't anywhere near enough time to relax and enjoy so hopefully I can take a bit more time off work for my next trip here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


This is not good. Roger Federer absolutely blitzed Rafael Nadal 6-3 6-0 in the round-robin stages of the ATP World Tour Finals. This is Rafa's worst loss to Roger in their rivalry. Nadal was not at his best (he was pushed to the absolute brink in his previous match against Mardy Fish because of a stomach problem that forced him to take a bathroom break in the 3rd set) but it's still unfortunate that he got routed this badly. I guess if there was anyone he would lose to this badly, it may as well have been to Federer (I would surely have been more painful if Rafa got whitewashed by Novak Djokovic).

Rafa has never really fared all that well in the ATP World Tour Championships (apart from last year when he challenged Roger in the final) because the surface doesn't favor him and I guess this year is no different. Hopefully, Rafa can shake of the bad vibes (which have been mainly due to his losses to Novak) and get back on the winning track in 2012.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Oscar #3?

I am really looking forward to this movie. Meryl Streep portrays British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the upcoming movie "The Iron Lady". Check out the trailer:

video uploaded in youtube by user trailerobsessed

Lots of buzz for Meryl Streep's performance in this, and I am really hoping that she can finally snap her losing streak and win her 3rd Oscar (and 2nd for best actress).

(Check this out a longer version of the trailer.)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Trying out City Delivery 87878

I've ordered a few times from Quick Delivery (2121212) but I just realized I have another option in City Delivery 87878. I reckon these two services don't share the same restaurant list so it means that I have a couple of options now, depending on which restaurant I want to order from.

I checked the restaurant list of City Delivery and saw that it carries Marciano's so I decided to order my dinner from there. Since the minimum order value is P500, I got a main course and a pasta dish. No big deal, what I can't finish, I can always eat in the next meal. :)

I think it's great that 87878 is now in my radar. I've quickly browsed through the list of restos and I plan to order food from Heaven 'n Eggs Rockstar and Amici one of these days. Having my meals delivered makes me sound so lazy LOL but I have to say, I really love the convenience brought about by these delivery services.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Rhian Ramos: Super Bass

This video has been making its round for a while now (it has more than its fair share of hits on youtube already) but this is a really good lip-syncing job by Rhian Ramos of Nicki Minaj's 'Super Bass', a very difficult rap to perform.

video uploaded in youtube by moymoypalaboy

I'm not the biggest fan of Moymoy Palaboy - I find that they have a tendency to be a bit too forced and unnatural - but Rhian is brilliant here. Her expressiveness (she continually changes her facial expression) keeps viewers entertained and the lip-syncing job is pretty good. Helps, too, that she's a looker. :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pacquiao-Marquez: version 3

I didn't get to see the fight, but apparently the result was not a popular one with the crowd. While Manny Pacquiao has been a huge fan-favorite among boxing aficionados around the world, his fight - the third one - against Juan Manuel Marquez had most of the crowd believing that the methodical, counter-punching Mexican had been the more successful and effective boxer in the 12 rounds that they faced off. So when Pacman was announced as the winner, the crowd which had often stood behind the Philippine congressman made their thoughts known to everyone.

The judges' scorecards show that what was not apparent while watching the match was pretty clear on paper. It may not have been a dominant performance by Manny, but it was enough to win. It's generally true in any sport, that even the biggest sporting legends have that one person or team they can't seem to beat as easily as everyone else, and it looks like Marquez is Pacquiao's nemesis with all three of their fights going the distance and all of them being very tightly contested. It will be interesting to see if there is a round 4 between these two or if the long-awaited bout between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. will push through.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Junior Masterchef-Inspired dishes in Pancake House

I've been seeing these ads for new meals inspired by Junior MasterChef (Philippine edition) in Pancake House. So I thought I'd give it a try. There are a couple of featured dishes and I decided to go with the Fish burger with Malunggay Sauce and Caramelized Ginger with Brown Rice Pilaf (P235):

Not bad. And healthy to boot. For me, it's worth a try.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Meeting up with friends and my first Serenitea

It was initially planned as game night but ended up being dinner and a visit to the newest addition to the gang. Joh rounded everyone up for dinner in Kebab Factory in Burgos Circle. Pia had just returned to Manila after being assigned in the US for a couple of years and we used her return to the country as an excuse to meet up (not that we needed an excuse). Pia hitched a ride with me, but I had several escalations at work and the Friday night traffic was made even more horrible by the rains so we ended up being unfashionably late. Thankfully, Joh and Raffa were very understanding and the fact that they had ordered for everyone meant that I had food on the table once I was seated.

Me-ann was also supposed to join us but an emergency came up so the only other person we were waiting for was Mike, was came from that wine-tasting and buffet thing at the Marriott (I was thinking about getting a discount voucher for that but decided against it, and given my issues that night that resulted in me leaving the office quite late on a Friday night, I was happy about my decision to skip it). So by around 9pm or so, all five of us - me, Pia, Joh, Raffa, and Mike - were there. We wrapped up dinner shortly - Pia very generously took the bill (thanks Pia!) and we checked with Peegee and Randee whether it was okay for us to pay them a visit. Randee had just given birth to a baby boy named Pio and some of us had not seen Pio yet. They said it was okay so we all headed to their place where we spent a couple of hours catching up and seeing the baby. By midnight, we felt that it was time to let the family rest so we bid each other a good evening and split up.

The other notable thing is that I had my first Serenitea. We were already in Burgos Circle for dinner and both Joh and Raffa were fans of this place, so we decided to pass by quickly to get some drinks. I had never been there before and I was lost with all the options available, so Joh picked a drink for me - Hokkaido 50% with pearl (or something like that LOL). It was pretty good and refreshing so I can understand why a lot of people are big fans of this place. I'm still a coffee person myself, but I guess if I want to change things up every now and then, I wouldn't mind paying Serenitea another visit.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Gadget update needed

I tried burning some photos into a CD recently when I realized that my laptop couldn't read my CD/DVD drive anymore. I tried going online to find out what the possible reasons were, but after trying out a few things, I figured that maybe the drive is already broken. I've had my personal laptop for almost 5 1/2 years now and it has definitely been used extensively in that period of time. In fact, my battery hasn't been working for a while now (so my laptop is more like a portable desktop because I can't use it unless I'm plugged into a power source lol). It's also really slow - I've defragged it multple times but it doesn't really speed up all that much - and on a few occasions, I have had difficulty starting it up.

Which means one thing: time for a new laptop! I'm glad I have some friends who are laptop experts and have given me some feedback on what I should be looking for. But I still have a lot to think about.

I need to be careful about my budget though because I also need to replace my mobile phone and my digital camera. I wrote about my need for a new mobile phone a few months ago. As for my digital camera, there seems to be some problem with the lens. Ever since July 2007, whenever I take a photo, there's this very visible smudgy thing that comes up on the upper left hand side. It used to come up only when I would take a photo of bright skies, but recently it has been coming up all the time. I can try to 'photoshop' it, but it's such a hassle to do that for every photo I take. Obviously, the smudge tends to ruin the pics I take. I've had it for 5 years and has been a constant companion in all my travels - I am sure I have taken several thousand photos with it already - so I guess it's time to replace it as well.

My need for a new laptop, mobile phone, and digicam will have a massive impact on my budget (bye bye 13th month pay!) so I'll need to plan for all these expenses carefully. Good luck to me.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Twix Ice Cream!

I love Twix. And I love ice cream. So when I saw a pint of Twix Ice Cream in Rustan's Supermarket, I just had to get it.

The verdict? It's good but I prefer Twix as a chocolate snack bar than as an ice cream. Nevertheless, it was worth trying. Makes me want to get a Twix chocolate bar now...

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Ipod project: Complete!

It took a year and a few months, but after starting my project to listen to every song on my Ipod at least once last year, I finally did it! 5212 songs.

It should really have been sooner - I used to listen to music for about 5-6 hours a day (or more) while I worked - but the last couple of years, my calendar has been littered with meetings making it impossible to listen to my Ipod while working. In any case, I made some significant progress on it recently. When I saw that I had about 200 songs left, things started moving more quickly and I now find myself completing this strange and very obsessive-compulsive project LOL. (I mean, there is no real purpose in listening to all songs in my Ipod right? hehe) Nevertheless, I can now finally start adding new songs to my library. About time! :)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Time to get a Starbucks planner?

Every year since Starbucks started its Christmas drink promo, I have always gotten a Starbucks planner. In fact, I have always managed to get two or more planners, and I give the others to my family and friends.

I just got my promo card, and the difference this year is that you don't need to purchase Christmas drinks to get a planner. You can keep ordering your usual drink and just collect more stamps - you need 23 stamps of any drink to get a planner, but if you order Christmas drinks, you only need 17 (a combination of 9 Christmas drinks and 8 normal ones).

I'm not as big a fan of the Christmas drinks as some other people so I'll be taking the 23-stamp route. It'll take a lot longer to complete, and with the promo running until January 8 2012, I need to buy a couple of Starbucks every week to get a planner. Which will be a stretch because I don't drink as much Starbucks now as I used to. I haven't seen the planner yet though. Maybe I should check it out first to figure out whether or not I want to get one.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Steffi Graf as Smurfette!

My favorite tennis player of all time, Steffi Graf, has really gotten into the spirit of Halloween. I would never have imagined Steffi dressing up as Smurfette (and even sporting blue body paint!) but she pulled it off exceedingly well.

Stefanie Graf's photo We always have a great time on Halloween celebrating with friends and family trying to outdo each other with creative costumes.  Here I am as Smurfette for this year's party.
Stefanie Graf on WhoSay

To quote Steffi: "We always have a great time on Halloween celebrating with friends and family trying to outdo each other with creative costumes. Here I am as Smurfette for this year's party."

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Gotta do better than this..

0-0 against Swansea. That's not good. Liverpool are currently 6th place in the Barclays Premier League table. While I'm still a fan (you'll never walk alone!), it's been tough to be a Liverpool supporter these last few years, when a top 4 finish has no longer been a given. I'm hoping they can find their form soon and start winning more matches - including their next big fixture against Chelsea on November 20.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Broccoli, Walnut, and Mushroom

Oh man, this is crude but it made me laugh. :)