Friday, October 31, 2014

Incredible pancake artist

I saw a friend of mine post this recently. It's hard enough to draw the face of different apes and monkeys - I can't even do that with a pen and paper - so seeing someone cook pancakes that look like apes and monkeys is just astonishing. Check it out:


video uploaded in youtube by Nathan Shields

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

New Zodiac

This piece of news went by me and I only found out about it when my colleague shared this info with me recently. Apparently, there has been a new zodiac sign since 2011. The new sign? Ophiuchus, the serpent bearer.

Obviously, fitting in a new sign within the same year means that practically every other zodiac sign will be impacted. With the new 13-sign astrology means, most people will now have a new star sign. Check out the new dates for each zodiac sign, although I don't know why there are overlaps (e.g. May 13, June 21):

Sign Traditional (tropical) dates Dates based on the IAU constellations
(as of 2011)
Aries.svg Aries The Ram 21 March to 20 April 18 April to 13 May
Taurus.svg Taurus The Bull 21 April to 20 May 13 May to 21 June
Gemini.svg Gemini The Twins 21 May to 21 June 21 June to 20 July
Cancer.svg Cancer The Crab 22 June to 22 July 20 July to 10 August
Leo.svg Leo The Lion 23 July to 22 August 10 August to 16 September
Virgo.svg Virgo The Virgin 23 August to 22 September 16 September to 30 October
Libra.svg Libra The Scales 23 September to 22 October 30 October to 23 November
Scorpio.svg Scorpio The Scorpion 23 October to 22 November 23 to 29 November
Ophiuchus zodiac.svg Ophiuchus The Serpent Bearer
29 November to 18 December
Sagittarius.svg Sagittarius The Archer / Centaur 23 November to 21 December 18 December to 20 January
Capricorn.svg Capricorn The Sea-goat 22 December to 20 January 20 January to 16 February
Aquarius.svg Aquarius The Water Bearer 21 January to 18 February 16 February to 11 March
Pisces.svg Pisces The Fish 19 February to 20 March 11 March to 18 April

Monday, October 27, 2014

Nadal ends his 2014 season

Nadal yet again ends his season prematurely due to health concerns. This time, though, the issue is not one of the usual suspects. It's actually appendicitis. What I did find a bit strange was that Rafa trudged on and played in a couple of tournaments instead of getting surgery. He ended up losing to people he shouldn't be losing to: Feliciano Lopez in the 2nd round of the Shanghai Masters and Borna Coric in the quarterfinals of the Swiss Indoors. Hopefully he gets to bounce back in 2015 and maybe win another French Open.

In other tennis news, two 33-year olds took home titles. Serena Williams and Roger Federer both won their respective tournaments relatively easily. Serena ends the year ranked #1 and Roger has, for the first time in a couple of years, put himself in a position to take the top ranking on the men's tour.

Joining them in the winner's circle this weekend is Andy Murray who won the Valencia title after having to save five championship points against Tommy Robredo. The unbelievable thing about this is that just a month ago, Andy also had to save five matchpoints in the Shenzhen final, also against Tommy Robredo. This means that in two tournaments, Tommy had 10 championship points total, all against Andy, but he was unable to convert any of them. That has to hurt big-time. In any case, this win now gives Andy Murray a solid chance to make it to the year-end championships.

While we are talking about tennis, Federer has now replaced Nadal and will be joining Murray and Serena in the International Premier Tennis League that will be held in Manila on the November 28-30 weekend. I was in two minds as to whether I wanted to watch this but when I saw that the ticket prices increased (apparently the prices I saw a few months ago were early bird prices) and that Nadal won't be playing anymore, it was like my decision was made for me LOL. Or well, who knows, it's still about a month from now so maybe I will still change my mind. We'll see.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Philippines - Paradise on Earth

I'm lucky to have been able to go around the Philippines a lot but even with my many local travels, there are a lot more places I haven't been to. Seeing this video just makes me more excited to visit more wonderful Philippine destinations.


video uploaded in liveleak by SevenZero

Monday, October 20, 2014

Alqueria Restaurante + Chocolateria and the SM 3-day Sale

This weekend, I went to SM Megamall because my mom was there but her SM Advantage Card was with me (I borrowed it a couple of weeks ago and forgot to return it). My plan was to just pass by to give her the card, maybe have coffee or dinner, then head home. I met up with my mom as she was in the queue to go into H&M. They were clearly trying to manage the number of people inside but my mom said that she didn't really have to be in line very long before she got in and it was worth it because she bought some really good items. She asked me if I wanted to go in with her but at that time, I didn't really feel like falling in line. However, as I had just driven through pretty heavy traffic and I was already there, I decided to look around other shops. What happened next? I ended up buying a long-sleeved shirt in Old Navy, a couple of collared shirts in Izod, and a jacket in Memo. And here I thought I was just passing through Megamall. :)

While shopping, I texted my mom and suggested that we have dinner once she was done. There were a few restaurants on the 3rd floor which is where my mom exited H&M and we decided to have dinner in Alqueria Restaurante + Chocolateria.

Alqueria Restaurante + Chocolateria on the 3rd floor of Megamall, near H&M

We were pretty hungry when we got there so before selecting our main dishes, I decided to order the Huevos Con Chorizo (P218). This appetizer is a pile of crunchy fried potatoes cooked with Spanish chorizo and topped with a fried egg. It was really, really good! The chorizo was so incredibly flavorful and it worked perfectly well with the potatoes and the egg.

Huevos Con Chorizo (P218)

For our main course, we ordered Lengua Estofado (P398) and Paella Valenciana (also P398) and both were really good too. To cap off our meal, my mom and I both had their hot chocolate (P98). It was a bit on the sweet side (I normally like my hot chocolate more bitter) but it was rich and thick and still very good overall.


The restaurant is cozy and has a casual luxury vibe. As Spanish restaurants in Manila go, I think Alqueria is quite affordable (often, Paella Valenciana in other restos would be in the P500 range; here it was under P400). I think it is also new because I tried searching for it online and couldn't find it on munchpunch or zomato and it doesn't have its own facebook page yet. My google search did direct me to this article so apparently, Alqueria is owned by Marvin Agustin and the Sumo Sam Group.

Interior of Alqueria Restaurante + Chocolateria

This was the first time in a really long time that I braved the crowds to go shopping in an SM 3-day sale. Despite the loads of people in the mall at that time, it was still a pretty good and productive evening. I'm thinking of going to Megamall again one of these days to do my own queuing and shopping in H&M. :)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Disco frenzy!

Last year, I got signed up for a dance competition at work. Seems like I did a decent job there because I was called yet again to join the team and we just competed early this afternoon. This year's theme: 70's and 80's disco! Groovy! :)

While I complained last year that we had very little time to prepare, it seems that our 2 weeks of practice then was already a luxury because this time around, we only had one week to prepare. Yikes! To add to the complexity, I initially intended our choreographer to figure out what music to use although I shared a list of suggested songs. However, in the end, I actually made the final selections and also provided which parts of each song we would use. We ended up having a the disco medley that had Donna Summer's MacArthur Park, The Bee Gees' You should be dancing, and Boogie Wonderland by the Earth, Wind and Fire.

Even the costume idea came from me. My initial plan for our costumes got replaced by another design on the first rehearsal day (which I missed due to other work requirements) but when our tailor showed us a sample of that other design, the women in our group realized they weren't so comfortable with it. As such, they ended up going back to my first suggestion. The coolest thing about this was that we actually got awarded "Best Costume" haha. I was shocked given the last minute changes we had to make but when I ended up seeing the video, I realized our costumes did look really good on stage. :)

Apart from that minor award, we also won 2nd place. Woohoo! We were third last year and second this time around so hopefully this trend continues next year. :) However, I think I will have to excuse myself already because being involved in this dance competition is so time-consuming and physically exhausting. (My legs and my back are really sore as I write this blog post.) Now, whether I will be allowed to not participate is another question. :) In any case, I will finally be able to have a good rest tonight.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

UAAP domination?

National University won the UAAP season 77 basketball championship, beating FEU quite easily in their final game with a score of 75-59. It's a really impressive come-from-behind win for them tournament-wise, considering that they were on the verge of elimination six times. They had to beat UE to make it to the final four (they did) then beat Ateneo three times in a row to make it to the finals (they did). Once they got to the final, they lost the first game which meant they had to win the next one to stay alive (they did) then win the do-or-die final game when they were tied with FEU at 1-1. That is just amazing.

NU also won the women's basketball title, the men's beach volleyball crown, and the cheerdance competition. This has to put them way ahead of everyone else in terms of overall UAAP championship contention. Will NU continue to dominate the rest of the season? It remains to be seen.

 *****

Volleyball season will be starting in about a month's time. I can't wait to see how that turns out.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Bowling

Yesterday's company bowling tournament didn't go so well for me. Despite my solid scores during practice a few days before, I came up terribly short during the actual game as I scored a horrific 90! Ugh, that's the absolute lowest score I have gotten since I first started bowling. I don't know how it happened. I mean, I kept hitting the pocket, bringing down 8 or 9 pins with my first ball, which would normally be a good thing. Unfortunately, I somehow ended up with splits about half the time and either the 7 or 10 pin left standing the other half, making it difficult for me to spare. Since I was hitting the pocket, I wasn't sure what adjustment to make. Thankfully, there were ten of us in the team and only five players were required to play in each round. I told the team not to field me in the rest of the games anymore.

A bowling first for me: I saw someone score 241. It was my teammate who did that in the same round I scored 90 so he more than made up for my bad game. :) I think I've seen someone hit a 220+ score before but never a score over 240. He closed all frames, hitting a turkey as well as a five-bagger and his score was the highest of the day.

Unfortunately for my team, while we had one person on fire (he finished the day with an average that exceeded 170), a lot of other teams had really strong players too and we ended up fourth. Still not bad as we were only one of two teams that had both men and women in the final. Our women's team ended up second, and they did that by coming from behind to beat the third placer by one pin! Talk about cutting it close. :)

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Coolest lost and found service ever

This is such a brilliantly innovative idea that strengthens the KLM brand. It greatly reduces the time to return lost items to their owners and it is an amazing display of customer service because items are returned even before their owners realize they lost something. Of course, the fact you have an adorable beagle returning your stuff just makes the whole lost-and-found experience absolutely cool and memorable. :) Check it out:


video uploaded in youtube by KLM

Monday, October 06, 2014

Catch-up lunch

Really good thing that it was a holiday today because I was able to meet up with my long-time high school and college friends for my birthday lunch. The last few weeks (months?) have been unbelievably hectic which made it really difficult for me to find time for our get-together. So when the announcement was made that October 6 would be a public holiday, I figured it would be the best time to have my belated celebration.

We ended up having lunch in Duck & Buvette in Shangri-La Mall because someone requested that we meet up in Ortigas and I had been interested to try this place since I learned about it (I think it's the old Cafe Proven├žal that rebranded and changed its menu a bit). The food here is really good! Most people didn't have plans until later in the afternoon so I got to hang out with them for a few hours, probably the longest time I spent with everyone in a really long time.

I had intended to go home afterwards but then I realized our company bowling tournament is already next weekend and the last time I played was last year. On a bit of a whim, I decided to practice by myself. I felt I had to because I wanted to increase the weight of the ball I play with. I used to play with the 12-lb ball before switching to the 11-lb ball. However, I somehow realized that since I made that switch, my scores were never as high as they were before. I am guessing my analysis had some merit because today, I played four games and my average went up by 15 pinfalls compared to last year! I also exceeded 150 for the first time in around 9-10 years. Wow! My arm is really sore now (that's what happens when you play four games in a row by yourself with very little breaks) but at least I have several days to rest it before game day. Hopefully our team does really well.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Baking projects that didn't turn out like the photos

I ran across this link a while back. It shows some baking design ideas and (failed) attempts at recreating them. The images made me laugh out loud then and they makes me laugh now:

Backing projects that didn't turn out like the photos

Here's a sample of what you'll see in this link. :)

photo from of lifebuz.com

Of course, the bakers who created these edible works of art spent a lot of time honing their skills so recreating them is a tall order. I just look at them and know they are not easy to do. So when someone doesn't quite get it done, it's not all that surprising. Pretty good for a laugh though. :)