Let’s buy pork!

 

Everyone is panicking right now because of this swine flu virus. It’s been in news for days and it’s sad that this virus has killed so many people in Mexico where it was suspected to have originated. Of course the Americans, being paranoid by nature, has made all the necessary efforts as well to contain this virus from spreading especially that the risk is so high considering the high influx of people coming through the Mexican borders, legally or illegally.

Here in the Philippines, the Department of Health together with other related agencies is already in high gear to prevent this disease from entering our country. And while watching the news tonight, I learned that the price of pork has gone down at a very steep rate because people have avoided buying it. This one made me smile – evil, maybe – because all of a sudden I remember that it is during times like this that it is actually perfect to do just the opposite of what most people do. Let me explain.

I read some time before (when the news of the recession first came out) about Warren Buffet encouraging investors to buy stocks while the rest are trying to sell theirs with the hope to save what is left of their plummeting share values. The moment after I read about that radical idea, I realized that it complements some of my similar thoughts:

  1. It is safe to ride airplanes days after one has crashed because every airliner at that time will be taking a closer check of its fleet;
  2. And for the same reason, it is also safe to board ships days after one has just sunk.
  3. It is safe to visit the malls days after one has been bombed (like the Glorietta incident) or vandalized because every security guard will be on its feet and will surely pay more attention with the way they conduct their inspections.
  4. It is safe to buy vehicles of the same brand after a recall because the manufacturer will make sure that the present problem doesn’t get out of hand and that its sales won’t be affected any further.
  5. It is safe to eat at a restaurant after a fly has been found taking a leisurely dip at the soup because most likely management will be on the lookout not only for flies but other things that a customer would hate to be in or on his food.

The above stated advice of course should be followed only after careful considerations of several factors that may affect the decision making process. Like one should check if the Airline Company, mall, car manufacturer or restaurant involved is reputable otherwise they might just not even care even after something bad has happened. It is also of course highly and always recommended to check WHO gave such advice in the first place. Hahaha. So do you think you’re going to buy pork now?

 

 

 

Mood: 2/10 Honks!

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The Fat and the Furious

Who's fat, who's curious?

Where can you find a driving condition such as this? Racing with 4 other cars. Helmet and Seat belt not required. Infant in front of the car.

Fear not, safe driving advocates. This was taken inside an arcade in Robinson’s Bacolod.

Here’s my son, more focused than I am, at the other 3 cars in front of us…Hahaha.

Happy Easter, everyone!

 

(originally posted on my blogger site)

A Gold Fish and An Iron Man

The recent gas price hike didn’t keep us inside our house on a weekend.  It’s not that we’re rich (but I WISH we really are) or never really cared if a liter will cost us around Php 50.00 (>USD 1.00), it’s just that we craved for Indian foods since the start of last week. And Sunday was like a much awaited day and when it finally arrived, we were so raring to go.  In fact, I was so excited that I once again met up with Hana and had my red collared shirt pressed.

Originally we were headed for Bollywood restaurant in Greenbelt 3 Makati. After attending mass however in the Shrine of Jesus church, we decided that maybe the giant Mall of Asia (MOA) will have some Indian foods to offer. And after less than 10 minutes (which most of it was from cueing at the exit and letting some pedestrians pass) of driving from one parking lot to another, we were already inside the mall.

Just like any visit we had in MOA, the mixed feeling of excitement and confusion enters my mind as soon as we came in. The mall is so huge that it has a dizzying effect especially if you don’t exactly have a plan in mind to where your destination may be. Or maybe I’m just not the window shopping expert yet that relaxes at the sight and thought of the numerous stores ahead.

And since it was already lunch time then, we immediately checked the stores locator. Bingo! We spotted an obvious Bollywood replacement . The name itself shouts I’m an Indian food restaurant. The place is Prince of Jaipur. I likewise noted Fish & Co.’s location. I got hungrier with anticipation.

Disappointingly, when we reached our first choice, the place was deserted.  It was as if a police caution tape has been placed around it that only the surrounding restaurants had flocks of patrons whom some are even eating al fresco (by choice or not). For whatever reasons, none were inside Jaipur’s and in the food business the mutual rule, “eat where there is a long queue” is a surefire rule of getting good food. Although my wife and I are the type who willingly try any food around, the emptiness inside the Indian restaurant on a lunch time is not a good sign. Maybe our second choice is good.

Fish & Co.’s place was enticing. Once we got inside the restaurant, the smell of the place tells me, this one is a hit. The place is almost packed and by the look at the tables, it looks like everyone is enjoying their meal. Happy customers mean good food. And just as we got seated the menu was promptly laid in front of us. And that’s when I smell something fishy when I glanced on the price list. But since my mind was conditioned to have anything Indian, the word curry convinced me to order the Seafood curry. My wife picked the Prawn Fettuccini.  

 

Gladly, the foods were served in no time. The presentation was just like in the menu book. So far my two senses – smell and sight – agree that I got the right stuff. But just as the two are feasting on what’s on the table, my taste buds tell me that I’ve been robbed. So as not to be judgmental on the first bite, I kept on eating. I even tried if my wife got better pasta than she ever had. Unfortunately, the ummmhs and the ahhhs never came. Both foods didn’t deserve a round of applause. And by the way, the clam chowder is a shame compared to Don Henrico’s (theirs is the best so far). We’ve been robbed indeed. I can’t say, “Curry $14, Pasta $10, having Sunday lunch at Fish & Co. priceless”. This commercial tagline just doesn’t fit in.  The food is overpriced, period.

Next time, we’re eyeing MOA’s Sakae Sushi. Doesn’t buffet ring a bell?

 

 

 

***

Good thing we got our ticket for the 1:20 PM showing of the Iron Man at Centerstage – at least we got a reason to scram out of Fish & Co. (and I’m never buying anything from there, if you ask me).

As I’m never an avid reader of marvel comics, I’m just going to give my pros and cons of this movie just the way I see it.

Pros:

·         I dozed off at the first part of the movie…errr, this must be in Cons.

·         Setting aside Mythbusters , I find the effects such as the transformation and Iron Man’s flight great (I’m a sucker for anything that flies – except flies).  We never knew if such technology will someday come to reality and to quote “it’s all funded by the military”. Amen.

·         The sound effects are overwhelming. Hearing the Jericho blast out of the missile pod made me smile. The sonic boom Iron Man created is just as remarkable.

·         Gadget’s and cars galore!

·         The humor lines are perfectly delivered.

Cons:

·         Story is a bit dragging at first plus the fact that someone invited something sophisticated inside the cave is just lame.

·         Surgery and implants inside a crude environment – cave. I just wonder if anyone will survive for days. I could be wrong though, I’m no medical expert.

·         Stupid villains are a thing of the past. And by the way, somewhere in the Middle East, an anti-Iron Man movie sentiments is brewing, I’m sure.

·         Gwyneth Paltrow’s character is pathetic…hmmm, must be the talent fee that convinced her to still do it.

Overall, this movie is great if watched with a couple of friends over a bottle of beer (paging cinema owners) just to kill time. And remember, always forget about the Mythbusters prior to watching the movie.

 

Photo credits:

Fish & Co website

Iron Man – Yahoo movie site

Beowulf

After coming back to Honda Cars Alabang just like a ghost of a car buff restless until he gets what he wants, I dropped by Ayala Town Center just so I can catch a van going back to my place. Once there, curiosity guided my feet to pass by the cinema to check out the new movies. After all it’s been a while since I’ve watched one. Beowulf. Three cinemas are showing it. But then I remembered someone from multiply.com had a review of it and the review about it was bad (no pun intended).

So right after buying some delicacies at Bread Talk bakeshop I hastily go to the van terminal for me to be home at least more than an hour after lunch – and watch PBB maybe or have my regular siesta. Disappointingly, the vans are all empty and the dispatcher mentioned that the first trip will leave by 2pm. Now what’s left to do but to go back inside ATC and convince myself to check Beowulf despite the threat of drowsiness.

But that drowsiness didn’t come. My siesta clock shut down and there I was in front of the big screen with eyes wide open.

From the very start of the movie until the end I just can’t believe that what I’m watching is a 3D animation. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before (either in my Blog or to someone) that someday there will come a time when we won’t differentiate an animated character to a real one. Now I think it is starting to happen.

The cast and crew of this movie did a great job producing a very realistic film. I don’t know the technology behind it but whatever it is, it is the future of animation.

Anyone who will watch this film will eventually notice the resemblance of the animated characters to the real actors behind the face and voice. Just after watching Meet Joe Black, I immediately recognized John Hopkins (Hrothgar). Then I recognized John Malkovich (Unferth), first from the accent then the stare confirmed the hunch. Of course, anyone who has seen Angelina Jolie (Grendel’s Mother) will immediately notice the pouty lips (even in animation, she just looks so seductive and sexy).

I don’t know the rest of the actors behind the other characters but just by the look of it, I’m sure they’ll be exactly just the same in person. Although I doubt if Ray Winstone (Beowulf) has all the battle scars on his body.

And here another one  that I find fascinating about this movie. Although it may have cost a bit more (I don’t have the idea how much exactly) to produce this quality of animation than do prosthetics or make up, the producers had the pleasure of doing whatever they want for an actor or character to look like. Beowulf I think will set the trend.

The story may have some flaws but the experience of watching the awesome animation totally compensated for all of it. It was so (with extended ooooo’s) good, that I think viewing it in IMAX will be more thrilling and fun…wait, forget the fun, this is not for the squeamish or weak of heart. And just a word of advice, do not bring and eat pizza or even Bavarian donuts (or any food that drips) if you’re picking this movie. Trust me, you’ll regret it. I just hope I’m not going to have nightmares again tonight.

Masskara: New Things…Part II

“So many beers, So little time.” – Alcoholics Anonymous

“Kari sa Bacolod, dala maskara.” Masskara Festival quote


I never thought that coming back to Bacolod during the Masskara festival would bring such a new experience even for me. Regardless of our 3-day stay being a bit short and was full of odds (as I’ve mentioned before), the vacation was not only fun but educational as well. Sounds like something from Knowledge TV? Well, sort of.

Some of the new things I learned are:


Upon returning to work after the time-warped vacation, this year’s street parade music kept playing in my mind. LSS (Last song syndrome) or was it forced deeper in my ear canals with the giant speakers (actually, I’ve seen bigger ones before) that surrounded the whole plaza? What’s weird is, this year’s music is in Ilonggo (I got used to hearing foreign festive/pop songs, but then it’s more appropriate) but in modern version. I don’t know the origin of that song but I knew we used to sing that one way back in my Elementary days -“may ga-labaylabay na aso, utot ni Celso (A smoke passed by, it was Celso’s gas)”. Don’t worry, that’s our wrecked lyrics. The original one is decent. By the way, Celso was our classmate.


Masskara is pronounced as MASSkara rather than massKARA. I must have been too focused with getting drunk when I was in college that I failed to learn about this. I never even knew that it was only 28 years ago when the first festival was celebrated. And so it dawned on me that I may have indeed attended the 1st street parade. I still can recall which street I was watching it and what mask my parents bought for me. I was a smiling devil then. Ti abi, a Christian in a Devil’s mask. What could be more ironic than that?

The Club category street parade had several participants with its members on scooters. Gone are the days when BMX and Mountain bikes can be seen parading and performing – or did we miss it? I like what it used to be as the sight of motorized vehicles dominating the parade is not only noisy but polluting as well. Anyway, it’s one of the signs of the times.


Bacolod at last has its own SM mall. Just barely a year old and built in the reclamation area, it is now home not only to mall goers but of course a job source for almost 6000 employees. This is only one of several new companies (another famous one is Teletech, a BPO company) that started doing business there. Hopefully other Manufacturing corporation gets enticed as well. I might consider working there if that happens.

Lastly, I learned that I can now enjoy a shower at home without having to fetch water – which before won’t even get me to use the shower head. Kabo lang (water scoop only). Since we transferred there (1980s), on good days I’ll be pumping water from our well, on bad days though I would have to fetch a couple of blocks from home (from our neighbor’s). And that is done daily. No Ifs or Buts. That went on even until my last year – i.e., before I left to look for work. So before we left home for our trip back to Cavite, I enjoyed my shower just like those in soap commercials. Sorry Greenpeace, I really have to enjoy it.

So now, although I’m back working, back to reality, I’m now looking forward to being in Bacolod again for the Christmas season. I’m just really hoping that next time my on-line reservations will be better, weather will be great, more polite taxi drivers, fewer litterbugs and that Cebu Pacific’s baggage receiving area will at least have a conveyor belt – automated or not, it would be a big improvement from their current system. Ti abi.

Day 7 (Where to Now?)


This was supposed to be Batu Cave day.

But with our Malaysian Ringgits running low, we got our heads together, after breakfast, and discussed how to get this last day into good use. I could have mentioned to watch the monkeys outside and it could have made my day.

With the aide of our trusty tourist guide and map, we find a place which reads “Cosmos, Indoor Theme Park” with a roller coaster pictured on it. Ride lovers as we are, my wife and I decided this will be it. With Noel and Lani, clueless on what to expect, they went with us anyway. Besides, the word Mall in the description convinced them real good in no time.

Luckily our taxi driver on the way there was once again Badri. Just like before, he’s still loaded with insights as he describes the places we passed by with great enthusiasm and pride. He got us to Berjaya Times Square in a jiffy.

The place was huge and high. It was actually a hotel and mall in one package. (Badri by the way, dropped us in front of the hotel entrance, which sent the bellboys rushing to open our cab. They learned in an instant that we’re not hotel guests when I asked where the roller coasters are). Sadly, their food court ruined our fascination for the place. The food booths weren’t that accessible as we used to know back home. One had to go a long way around the atrium to transfer to the other section of the food court. It must be one way to get the appetite going, I assume. That’s because just after a few minutes of checking the foods, I settled at one, which serves mixed rice. Yummy.

As if trying to test our stomach, after lunch, my wife and I decided to check out the theme park. And we’re aiming for the roller coaster right away. No go, for Noel and Lani this time. We learned they got dizzy just looking at the coasters in motion.

We eventually find ourselves seating in one of the cars. There was a bit of mixed emotions once we got ourselves strapped in. The few minutes of wait just killing us as we were impatiently waiting for the roller coaster to move and excitedly waiting for the first feel of the G-forces. Then, the time came.

The coaster ride took less than 2 minutes. There were some exciting moments but it didn’t met our expectations. We came out amazed but disappointed. We’re expecting for us to come out dizzy and swearing.

We tried the rest of the rides anyway. And good thing we find some favorites and we were dizzy and smiling again. There was one ride however that got us pumped up, unexpectedly. It was the innocent looking Ooort’s express that at first look, someone looking for a rush would snob it right away. But we find out the hard (and heavy) way. This one speeds up like a cat on fire. And that speed was enough for both of us to be squeezed at one side of the cart the whole time it was running. My head and stomach was turning and my hips were aching once we got out. We got what we paid for. Redemption.

It was raining hard when we got in a cab. It was time to go home. It was time to pack our things up.

Next: Day 8 (Putrajaya Drive-By)

Day 5 (Taman Tasik Perdana)


Since we arrived late at the Lake Garden the last time, we decided it would be a good idea to explore it more by early morning.

And so today is that day. We’re going to have a picnic.

Once we finished breakfast, another cooking session began. Noel cooked the typical Filipino picnic food, pansit. Peanut butter sandwiches were also prepared. And then again, I was just the eager onlooker.

Our taxi driver going to the garden was Badri, who just like any other Malaysian we met, is a Jericho Rosales (a Filipino actor) fan. He was so delighted when he learned that we’re from the Philippines. He openly told us that he likes Jericho movies a lot that he spent several tear-jerking moments watching it. Badri was fun to be with as he talks and smiles a lot. I can sense from the way he talks about everything that he’s one proud Malaysian (other than the fact that he loves one of our actors). I’m yet to be completely proud that I’m a Filipino.

We were supposed to go start our day at the KL Bird Park, which is a section of the garden. They had to cancel it however when they saw that the entrance fee would cost each of us RM35. With me protesting mentally, they voted to check other attractions around. Free attractions, that is.

The decision to scrap the Bird Park tour wasn’t bad at all. We discovered that some of its birds & aviaries could be seen along the road. Well, the best things in life are free, right?

After settling in one of the park’s tables and eating the food that we brought along, we started to look for the “lake” in the Lake Garden. At first what we saw was somewhat disappointing as the lake appears to have accumulated moss and looks as if it had been stagnant for a long time.

Not to be deterred by that sight, we pushed further south. And things began to get interesting once more.

We passed by the Fantasy Planet playground where for a moment we turned into kids enjoying the sight of colorful slides, play bridges and spiral bars. We got to play with the revolving swings as well.

As we neared the boathouse, the sky went a bit gray & it started to drizzle. So we took shelter. The girls were at the swing while Noel and I under a shed. It was where we got to know Rosman. A security guard in that area.

We got to talk a lot of things (from park birds, cars, gadgets and even religion). And the more I talk to him the more I learn about what Muslims are really like. Well at least, for him, in this case. (At this point of our trip, I’ve conversed with a lot actually and I haven’t found any rude ones). They’re just actually just like us Catholics. They’re not so different after all.


The sun eventually found its way past the gray clouds and we continued with our tour of the garden. After a minute of stopping by and finishing our food, the park’s shuttle driver arrived and we got the chance to completely cover the whole Lake Garden. And guest what, it only cost us RM0.50 each. And we had a couple of laughs when we saw that we were aimlessly wandering around early this morning and which the main entrance of the garden was just one left turn away from the bird park.

Once the shuttle tour was over, we decided it was time to leave. We needed a taxi going back and somebody we asked, advised that we can just go straight further and we would get a cab from there.

That way led us to a tunnel or some sort of an underpass. Not knowing what to expect we pushed through anyway.At the other end, discovered we’re heading straight into the National Museum. Great.


Luckily, it was just 4 PM and we still have a couple of hours before closing time. And so after paying RM2.0 (each), we were inside goggling and peaking over displays. And one thing I liked in there is that they allow the visitors to take pictures and videos. What I hated though, was that I’ll be shooting in low light condition and…and that I’m running low on video 8 cartridges. Ti abi.

To cap the day, we paid KL’s biggest mall – the Mid Valley Megamall. The “myth” (actually a hearsay) that there’s no big and good mall in Malaysia is now busted.

Next: Day 6 (The Twin Towers)