Monday, December 29, 2008

Bloggers Christmas Party

A few pictures from our Christmas party yesterday!!


[Me, Ria and Gwing]


[Jude(?), Angel, Jim, Chattee]


[Angel, Jim, Chattee]


[Me and Gwing]


[Angel and Dominique (who was also celebrating his birthday)]


[What are Chattee and Brendel doing?]


[Gwingston FTW]


[Andrew, Gwing, Ria, Winston]

The party was held at the World Palace, which is practically on the same street as my house, Gwing's, Blogie's and Ria's hahaha. Talk about convenient. The food was great particularly the calamares (squid rings) and buttered chicken. I could have stayed a bit longer had my tummy behaved appropriately. But I had fun! Till next time!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas and Then Some



Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you!

This year's Christmas has been the same for me for the last ten or so years. Boring, lame, lethargic. The food, although deliciously cooked up by my talented mom and aunts, fail to liven up the party. And I'm on a diet. The most exciting part of our celebration has to be the kris kringle part. A few weeks before Christmas my cousins and I pick our manitos/manitas using an online application I made up 3 years ago. It is simple: you login, click a button, and the system picks out someone whom you should buy a gift for. There's also a wishlist where you can put in what gifts you want from your secret santa. Since most of us are already in our twenties and thirties (ehem), working or out of town, we barely have any time to do this manually, that is, roll up our names in pieces of paper and pick one out from a jar. Some of my cousins wonder if I'm leading them to think that they are actually picking a name randomly but in reality they have already been assigned their manitos right from the beginning. They can think whatever they want. What's important is the app does its job and it does its job well!

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Leading up to the holidays I have been hitting the gym almost everyday. I am absolutely addicted to this group exercise called 'spinning'. You have an instructor in front of you, yelling at you and telling you what to do. There's very loud thumping music and ten other people on stationary bikes. Fun! One of the instructors named Jet tells us that an hour's session burns 500-700 calories. Whoa. That is a lot! That's why I've been so engrossed in it because I wanna lose my belly so bad. Like desperately bad. I know I'm not exactly the type that needs to lose weight, but despite my thin frame, my belly is disproportionately big. I get that from my dad. But anyway I am seeing some success with my regimen. I've lost about 2 inches around my waist and around 6 pounds. My belly still needs some work. So far I only have a "two-pack" instead of a six-pack. Haha. Gotta do more of those ab exercises I guess.

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Tonight we're having a Bloggers Christmas Party here in Davao City. It was organized by my friend Blogie. We're supposed to buy a gift worth P150 for another round of kris kringle. I bought a Melody Mouse worth P180. Problem is, I don't know who I'm giving it to. :] I hope to have a good time tonight.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hottest Searches - December 20, 2008

Google:

1. rca dome implosion
2. a very brady christmas
3. paul rhoads
4. miss uso
5. ethan bortnick
6. paul rhodes
7. picower foundation
8. world gsm chip
9. gooey duck
10. miss uso mayra veronica

Yahoo:

1. sock and awe game
2. evan rachel wood
3. cheryl burke
4. rachel weisz
5. chace crawford
6. lindsay lohan
7. nfl
8. lisa rinna
9. hi-5
10. walmart

Big differences in search trends between Google and Yahoo. Google tends to be more relevant to current events, while Yahoo's users are more after pop culture than anything else.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Depapepe



I was listening to a nice instrumental song at Kangaroo Cafe that sounded Christmas-y and eerily Korean, but I wasn't sure what it was. I asked a barista if he knew the title. He didn't know. He said it was an Mp3 file playing off of a USB stick, and generously offered to give me a copy. I scanned through about 200 songs in the drive. Ugh, it was not until the last 20 songs that I found it. It's a song called "Spur" by "Depapepe", a guitar duo composed of Takuya Miura and Yoshinari Takuoka. Honestly I was a bit thrown off by their name. "Pepe" stands for a female sexual organ in Filipino. Lol, now I see why they're not that popular here. But seriously I love the style and composition of their songs. To think they are limited to only two guitars, which is not a lot. Although some tracks have violins and pianos occasionally mixed in, the pair's superb guitar skills stand out in every track.

Depapepe's music is the type that you listen to when you wanna take it easy or simply "chill". You can say it's kinda what you hear in Korean soap operas (they're Japanese). Out of all their albums, my favorite songs, besides "Spur", are "Days", "Summer Parade", "Hoshi no Kazu Dake Negai Todoku" and "This Way". If you want to experience a different genre of music, Depapepe's worth a try.

Here they are playing Spur:

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Money: Does it Make You Happy?

At the risk of sounding materialistic and sad, yes, money makes me happy.

Not always, anyway. It's the kind of happiness that is fleeting. It never lasts more than a day. I'm triggerhappy when it comes to my money. My bank account isn't quite the bottomless pit that I'd like it to be, but I like digging into it. On crazy days, very deeply. What the heck do I buy with my money? I like buying clothes, gadgets and expensive food (burp). I'm kinda high maintenance. These days though, I'm feeling the crunch of the crisis happening in the US. I earn in $$$. Anything bad happening in Uncle Sam's turf affects my financial well-being. Yeah, when I know I'm losing money, it makes me feel cranky. I guess money doesn't always make one happy, eh?

Money gives one a sense of security, but I have to stress the all-important mantra that money isn't everything. It just would be sad if your world revolves around money and nothing else and no one to share it with. But take the case of my office assistant. I talk to her all the time. I can tell her everything and she tells me her problems too. Unfortunately, she belongs to the large percentage of the Philippine population that is poor. She had her fourth child only recently. Her salary is minimum wage; her husband earns a little more than her converting swine waste into biofuels. Before she gave birth, I would take her out to Kopi Roti and Chow King to grab a bite. Our out-of-office trips were always interesting for me because she had lots of interesting stories to share. Oftentimes, she would tell me how difficult it was to feed her family. Aside from her day job, she processes government documents as a sideline. But despite that, the money was never enough. There were days when she couldn't come to the office because she didn't have money to commute. On rare occasions I see her beaming with a big smile on her face. She says it's a "good day", she even offers to treat me out to Kopi Roti. But I hate it when I see her crying because I know it's about money again.

Despite the monetary problems, I couldn't help but applaud her for her tenacity to reach her goals. She was able to build a comfortable house for her family and that was when her husband was for a time jobless. She is able to send her 3 elder kids to school. Though she borrows money from other people, she is able to settle them eventually. One time, while we were heading back to the office, I asked her if money made her happy. She says, without hesitation, a resounding "Yes!". I couldn't blame her. I would feel as depressed as her if I knew my family was starving. But I know in my mind that she loves her kids to death. And I know it's them that truly makes her happy.

Money, in the end, can make or break you. If you know how to manage your money and spend it on the right things, you will go far in this world. You keep the people you love and the friends you admire. If you squander money, deceive people and run away from bad debts, no question, you'll lose them all. My mom always said never to do business with relatives or friends. Somehow there is some truth to that. But ultimately it's the way both parties respect each other. With that, money becomes a non-issue. The moment it becomes an issue -- the personal relationship deteriorates into a mere business relationship. And we all know how chilly businessmen turn out to be when something's not right. It's all about trust and honesty. Without that any kind of relationship is doomed to fail.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Celebrity Lookalikes

And this is what happens when I'm bored:



I don't know half of the celebs I supposedly look like hahaha! And who the heck is Takizawa Hideaki?!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Counting Calories

The funny thing about me is I'm very conscious about my weight but at the same time I eat like a hungry trucker. Since last week I began my quest to lose my belly -- a trait from my dad that hasn't fully manifested itself yet thanks to my yo-yo dieting. I'm having some success in building my upper body after two freakin' years of hitting the gym. I was super skinny before, it ain't even funny. To build my upper body, I had to eat a lot of protein. And what better way to eat protein but with lots of carbohydrates, ergo, rice. As a result my tummy ballooned to unprecedented (dis)proportions. So now I'm focusing on cardio exercise such as running and playing badminton and not so much on weight lifting.

If you're trying desperately to lose weight, what works for me is halving my rice intake. If you're the type that consumes a pile of rice and little viand, I say STOP, now na! Thankfully, I'm not like that, but I love rice. Anyway, limit it to half a cup for lunch and another half for dinner. Another bane to my diet is Iced Tea. I'm a confessed Iced Tea addict like my pal Jay. Unfortunately, my evil friend Aileen also introduced me to Kopiroti's equally evil Iced Tea with Milk while I was in Manila last month. Ugh, I drink it at least 3 times a week now! Zzzzzzz. Did you know that a glass of Nestea iced tea contains 125 calories? A bottle of it has 250 calories. ZZZzzz!! I tried desperately to avoid it by drinking Coke Light or Coke Zero instead. But I discovered that caffeine and me don't mix. So I'm back with Nestea. Since this is a post about dieting, don't follow my example lol! Stick to clean, natural, fresh water. *cough* boring *cough* Ohhh have you tried those awesome Chocolate shakes at Shakey's?? Hahahaha.

Side Story:
Odd story about my ex-badminton group. I was introduced to it by my friends Tom and Paolo. It was weird because it was like an organization with a President, Secretary, Treasurer, division heads and even a set of rules!! I didn't really like everyone so I stopped playing with them. They were strict about not showing up! You had to pay a penalty. Are they whacked or what!? Now Tom and Paolo stopped going with them too. Pffft.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hello Kitty!



Here's a clip of me and my niece Mavis talking about Hello Kitty O__0

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Life is Full of Pain



What? An emo post by Andrew??

Noooooooo!

No really, my life is full of pain because my neck and back hurt like hell!!

Since my trip to Singapore I stopped going to the gym. It was only two days ago when I came back and look what happens. Last night I couldn't even enjoy my dinner because of the pain. :( So I got a massage at a nearby spa, which helped a teeny bit. I wanna go back and get another one! Ok, addict.

No, I ain't going emo on my 6-7 readers. Well, things are quite dandy except for this stupid pain on my back. Nothing to emo about then. :) Lol.

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BTW, there's a Davao Hotel you might want to stay at while you're in town. Check it out :)

Monday, April 14, 2008

What in the World is Ginanggang??



Ginanggang is grilled banana on a skewer brushed with butter or margarine then sprinkled with sugar. It's pure heaven, and it costs a measly three pesos (~7 US cents)!



Sorry for the ugly pictures, I used my camera phone.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Techno-Stressed I Am

So far this week I have not stepped into a cafe to "wifi". My cousin Ria can attest to that. Why? Because I'm techno-stressed as my friend Aileen lovingly calls it.

From now on I promise myself not to wifi more than three times a week. It's not only taking a toll on my body, but also on my wallet. It ain't cheap ya know! For now I am relaxing even though my work tasks are piling up. I plan on getting another massage tomorrow and see if I can get any work done in the evening. Next week, when I *hopefully* get my mojo back, I'm gonna finish up all pending work so I don't have to worry about them while I'm in Manila for iBlog4. I've made tons of plans already with Aileen, Ria and Migs and hopefully other bloggers can join us too.

If you're techno-stressed like me it helps to blog about inane stuff like photography. Ok don't get me wrong but I love photography, but I consider it only a hobby of mine. I love to blog about my pictures as you can see and it makes me forget things that stress me out. If you do like taking pictures try making a photoblog because all you have to do is post the pics, say a few stuffsss and voila... you are know a photoblogger. Hehehe. Alright it's getting late gotta get some rest.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Barack Obama Should Get A Grip

Can you honestly say he would be in his position now if he weren't black? No, I don't think so. One glaring facet of this campaign that lot of Americans are turning a blind eye on is that on one corner, we have this amazing, experienced lady seeking to become the first woman President and on the other, a young, idealistic man who would become the first Black President. What's not to love? So why is that when we make comments that begin with "if she were a man" or "if he was white", people go ballistic?! Clearly a wave of change is about to happen (as Obama asserts quite so often), and there is no turning back from it. If both of them were white men, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be half as excited watching CNN as I am now.

I'm completely with Geraldine Ferraro when she said that the Obama camp had gone overboard by calling her racist JUST because she's on Clinton's finance team. He's really turning out to be big headed brat who doesn't hesitate to twist any truth to his advantage. Ferraro was merely pointing out the obvious. Obama's black, and the people love it. I would even go as far as saying that Oprah Winfrey went out on a limb for him because he is black. Would she do it if he was Caucasian? Not in a million years! Sure, he's qualified and all, but being qualified alone will not make Ms. Winfrey fall for anyone like she did for Obama.

My message to Obama is: Embrace your blackness. People are rooting for you because you are black and you represent change. I actually like you. Don't blow it!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Singing in the Drain

Last week, I started taking voice lessons at Dom's Notespell studio, which he says he a acquired through some bizarre hostile takeover. OK, why the hell am I taking voice lessons? It's one of those things I've thought about doing but never had the guts to until now. When I heard weeks ago from Dom himself that he owned a music studio, that was my cue!

Fortunately, it turns out that I'm related to my voice instructor. All throughout my first session, Mam Vicky kept on saying that I looked familiar. Did she see me on TV? Did she watch my newest blockbuster movie? Did she catch me in my latest commercial? AH. Neither. Wake up silly. Finally she asked me who my dad was. I said, Dion dela Serna. She went berserk. "Tito Dion's your dad?!" "Ah yeah." "Tita Baby's your mom?!" "Yup. So, you know them?" "We're cousins!!" "No wait, what?" Apparently, her mom is my lola's first cousin. That makes her technically my aunt, but we're the same age, so I avoid calling her tita (she kinda hinted that she'd kill me if I called her that).

Getting back to the subject, I have no grand plans of entering showbiz any time soon or sing in front of an audience (big or small). Hell no. I just wanna learn how to sing and hit all the right notes. Mam Vicky says I sing decently. On our next session, she wants me to learn how to sing an OPM song, which I don't normally listen to. I guess I'm gonna give Ogie Alcasid a test run. Bakit ngayon ka lang? Bakit ngayon ka lang dumating sa buhay ko? Ooh, snap. Just shoot me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Zakoya Japanese Restaurant Review



Last December 19, 2007 (yeah that's a looong time ago) I had a wonderful time eating dinner at the Zakoya Japanese Restaurant with fellow bloggers Oliver, Maria, Winston, Dominic, Eric, Dennis and Ria (formal ba?). Apparently, the place is crowded with Japanese people (what's the politically correct way to say that) because Zakoya is as real as it gets when it comes to authentic Japanese cuisine. Anyone who knows me can attest that I love Japanese food. That's why when Blogie said that we were going to eat at Zakoya for our Food Trip, I was pumped!

The owners of the restaurant treated us to an eat-all-you-can buffet meal. I particularly enjoyed the Maki and Sushi bar, since there was a lot of items to choose from. Right beside it was the Yakitori grill and the Tempura. Whoa, I couldn't get enough of the tempura either! The nice thing is Zakoya keeps their buffet tables constantly filled with food. They definitely weren't skimping on us!



If you're in Davao City craving for real Japanese food, be sure to check out Zakoya! It's located at Door #3 DavCon (Davao Convention Center) Autoville, along Torres Street.