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Friday, October 31, 2008

They’re Cute… But They Have To Be Killed!

I see them scampering in the corners of my eyes… when I’m eating… when I’m watching TV… when I’m on the computer… when I go down the stairs… even when I’m washing the dishes.

But if my wife don’t mention about seeing any, I just keep my mouth shut since my wife is petrified of these little critters. I think she’s suffering from musophobia/murophobia/suriphobia as she trembles when she sees one of these things, even if it’s already trapped or dead.

But then, we started seeing tiny black poopies all over the house… and almost every night, since Tuesday, my wife would rush to where I’m at saying that she saw one somewhere and asks me to set up traps.

Our weapon-of-choice… fly paper.

They’re quite messy, the fly paper I mean, but when you get used to handling them like I have, they work like a charm. And, believe it or not, I never use any bait. All I do is place them in dark corners of the house, on the floor and against the wall, and wait.

I have countless times been tempted in using “Dora” (rat/mouse poison), but every time I would think of the possibility that they would die in the ceiling or inside the walls and we wouldn’t know about it before they start to rot and stink… and once they do, getting them out would not be easy.

Whereas, with the fly paper, I would just retrieve it from wherever when it’s already caught something, roll it up (wrapping the critter with it), wrap it all up with packing tape for good measures, and throw it in the trash.

In a period of 24 hours, I was able to catch four of them. And, just this morning, less than an hour after I’ve set up a new batch of traps (and a few minutes after I left the house), I received a text message from my wife saying that one of the traps has caught another one.

Here’s casualty #1, caught last Wednesday evening:

And here are casualties numbers 2, 3, and 4, all caught yesterday:

I still have yet to retrieve the one caught this morning… I'll do that when I get home later. That would be casualty number 5.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween and Ghost Stories

I’ve neither experienced donning on a costume nor have I attended a Halloween/costume party in my entire life… not even the kiddie ones.

We almost went to one last Sunday, but due to budgetary constraints, we decided not to follow through with our plans.

If my memory serves me right, trick-or-treating never existed here in the Philippines until some subdivision’s homeowners decided to give it a try some years ago. However, due to security reasons, the kids went around the subdivision with their parents, guardians, and yayas… moreover, many (if not most) of them went around the subdivision in their cars and in broad daylight. And they went around as a group, kinda like a caravan of trick-or-treaters.

Doesn’t sound like a lot of fun to me. But, concerning the parents of the kids who took part in it, I think it was for the better.

Anyway, my memories of what is supposed to be the “Halloween” season in this country revolve around horror movies, TV shows, and (my personal favorite) ghost stories shared by friends and family members.

The stories I like the best are those told by the supposed first-hand witnesses. Just like the story retold to me by my maternal grandmother about a year or so before she passed away. I said “retold” because my mother have told it to me countless times… and I sort of did not believe her and took her story as just one of those… well… stories. Until I heard it from grandmama.

It was about a huge tree that stood in the middle of my grandma’s uncle’s property. A mango tree I think it was.

According to my grandma, she has seen the tree “come alive” at around midnight every night she was at her uncle’s place… she mentioned of seeing the tree’s leaves glow a golden light and hearing voices of unseen merry-making beings. That is, until her uncle decided to build something on that part of his property which required the felling of the tree.

But before her uncle did anything to the tree, he gave it offerings and did some sort of incantations and, when she woke up the following morning, she saw the tree already dead, bone-dry, and not a single leaf (dry or fresh) attached to its branches.

My grandma also told me of another story, one that she only heard about. She said that there had been stories about an “aswang” living in a house in Banquerohan (Davao City). According to the story, if one would look into the “aswang’s” eyes, one would see his/her reflection upside down.

Interesting, isn’t it?

Those, however, aren’t at all scary compared to other stories I’ve heard from other supposed first-hand witnesses.

Like those told to me by my friend, Allan, who told me two stories which I consider to be among the scariest I’ve heard.

One of his stories went like this… he, together with two of his friends, were having a “drinking session” one night at one of his friends’ house (somewhere in Angat, Bulacan). Seated around a small square table drinking their nth bottles of beer and chatting, one of Allan’s companions, who was seated across him, suddenly fell silent and turned very pale. Allan called his friend’s attention asking him what was wrong.

For quite some time, his friend did not respond to his questioning. Then, when he was finally able to speak again, he asked Allan “Hindi mo ba napansin yung bata kanina diyan sa tabi mo?” (“Didn’t you notice the boy beside you a while ago?”) Upon further questioning, his friend told him that he saw a little boy who looked like a corpse standing beside Allan resting his chin on the edge of the table and that the boy was staring at him (Allan’s friend).

The second one went like this… Allan and some of his friends went to one of his friends’ uncle’s house. As soon as they arrived there, the friend’s uncle warned them, “Whatever you do, do not spit outside. And if you ever see something out there, just ignore it and pretend you’re not seeing anything.”

One of his friends must have forgotten about the warning and spat out through one of the slits of the bamboo wall. In no time, they saw a really huge dark human-like being which moved like a dog rushing towards the spit and licked it.

My parents also had stories of their own…

My father was a buy-and-seller before (ahente kumbaga) and he traveled to numerous provinces in Visayas and Mindanao because of it. I can’t remember which province his “experience” occurred, but it went like this…

He was sound asleep in his hotel room one night when he was suddenly awakened by two hands restraining his arms above his head. He also felt a weight bearing down on the rest of his body. He tried to kick whatever it was pinning him down to his bed but he couldn’t lift either of his legs. He was then reminded of a “tip” that someone had given him before… whoever that was told him that in situations like that he should use his left hand to try and punch his unknown “assailant”. He did so with all his might and was suddenly freed … he rushed to turn on the lights and saw a whirling dark matter fly out the window from the foot of his bed.

And here’s my mother’s story… her story occurred when she had just given birth to me, I think, or was it to my brother? In any case, her story took place in the hospital. My mother was awakened from her sleep feeling that her bed was being rocked. She looked under the bed and saw it was floating! Then she noticed that the room’s door was opening slowly and “white smoke” was pouring in through the opening. She tried waking my father up but he was sleeping soundly. Moments later she saw a hand appear from behind the “smoke” doing a “come hither” motion at her.

Got a really good ghost story? I’d love to hear about it.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Melamine Tainted Eggs?! You Must Be Kidding Me!

First it was the paint on toys… then cardboard-filled dumplings… then melamine tainted milk… now, eggs?! What the…?!

Just saw this on Yahoo News:

BEIJING – Chinese authorities said Wednesday they were investigating how eggs came to be contaminated with the same industrial chemical at the center of a milk scandal that sickened thousands of babies, as more tainted eggs turned up in Hong Kong and the mainland.

The action follows a brand of chicken eggs produced by China's leading egg processor Dalian Hanwei Enterprise Group being pulled from some stores in the country after Hong Kong food safety regulators found excessive levels of melamine in eggs from the company.

The widening food scare has exposed the inability of Chinese authorities to keep the food production process clean of melamine, the chemical that sparked the recent dairy crisis, despite official vows to raise food safety standards.

Hanwei's Web site said that besides the domestic and Hong Kong markets, its egg products are exported to Japan and countries in Southeast Asia.

China's fresh eggs are mainly exported to the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macau, while processed egg products are also sold to Japan and the U.S., according to a February egg market report on the Agriculture Ministry's Web site, the latest available report.

The government of Dalian, the northeastern port city where Hanwei is based, said in a notice dated Wednesday that it was first alerted to the problem of melamine-tainted eggs more than a month ago — but it did not explain the apparent delay in publicly reporting the problem.

The notice said that Dalian authorities were notified Sept. 27 of tests by the customs bureau of Liaoning province that had found melamine in a batch of export-bound eggs produced by Hanwei.

The city government said it immediately ordered Hanwei to recall the eggs deemed "problematic" and temporarily halt its egg exports. By Oct. 5, seven shipping containers that had reached Hong Kong carrying Hanwei's eggs had been recalled, while two other containers that stayed in Hong Kong were sealed off.

The recalled eggs were destroyed to prevent them from entering the domestic market, the notice said, while further tests on other batches of eggs from the company did not detect melamine.

The Hong Kong government said late Tuesday that tests on a second batch of eggs, processed by Jingshan Pengchang Agricultural Product Co. of China's central Hubei province, also found an excessive amount of melamine.

Pan Fengxia, the company's manager, said a retailer had notified her of the Hong Kong test result and said she was sending another sample of eggs to be tested by the Hubei provincial food safety authority.

The Hong Kong eggs from Jingshan contained melamine with a concentration of 2.9 parts per million. The legal limit for melamine in foodstuffs in Hong Kong is 2.5 parts per million.

The Hong Kong-tested Hanwei eggs contained 4.7 ppm of melamine.

Authorities in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou meanwhile found melamine in eggs produced by a Shanxi company, the official Hangzhou Daily newspaper reported. Phone calls to the company and to Hangzhou government offices rang unanswered Wednesday.

It remains unclear what eating melamine-tainted eggs will do to humans, but in the recent milk products scandal, milk formula heavily contaminated with the chemical caused kidney stones in babies. It was blamed for sickening 54,000 children and linked to the deaths of four infants.

More than 3,600 children remain sick, health officials say.

It was unclear how the chemical got into eggs. But a Chinese agriculture official, Wang Zhicai, was quoted by the Beijing News newspaper Tuesday saying it was highly likely that melamine had been added to the feed given to the chickens that laid the eggs. Melamine is not an animal feed additive and is banned from being mixed in, Wang said.

Angels & Demons the Movie Due Out in May 2009

Ok, I’m feeling really excited about this.

I’ve heard something about this some months ago (maybe even over a year ago)… that they were going to make a movie based on this book by Dan Brown. But, somehow, I’ve forgotten all about it.

That is until I visited the website a while ago and found the movie listed there with a release date of May 15, 2009.

In my opinion, Angels & Demons is WAY much better than the Da Vinci Code, as far as the books are concerned.

This reminds me of the first time I heard of Dan Brown…

My then girlfriend (wife now) and I were at PowerBooks in Greenbelt in Makati at the time, and this book, “The Da Vinci Code” which was displayed on the “New Releases” stand, caught my eye.

I had a very strong feeling that I would enjoy the book the moment I laid my eyes on it, so much so that I spent the entire time we were at PowerBooks thinking and deciding whether or not to buy it. It had a price tag of around 850 pesos, I think.

After “thinking out loud” a couple of times, my girlfriend told me “just wait for the paper back”.

Before we left the place, I headed back to the stand where I saw the book, grabbed a copy of it, flipped it over, and looked at Dan Brown’s picture that was printed on the back cover.

Then, in an attempt to discourage myself from buying the book, I thought to myself that he didn’t look like someone who can “convince” me. So, I put the book back from where I got it and left.

Days (or was it weeks) later, the book (or mentions of it) was everywhere… on the papers, on the web, on the news… it was causing a stir which I’ve never heard of since Harry Potter came under the spotlight! How I regretted not buying the first edition of the book. I’m actually still regretting it up to this day.

Anyway, I eventually bought a copy of the paperback version along with a copy of Angels and Demons which was said to be the prequel to Da Vinci Code.

And since it is the prequel, I started with Angels & Demons.

It was so good that I finished reading it in record time. I won’t go into specifics regarding the time frame, but I am quite a slow reader and basing on my standards, I finished the book really fast. Just take my word for it.

And (I NEED to mention this), John Langdon’s works (the ambigrams shown in the book) were so amazing and mind boggling that I became an instant fan!

Naturally, after finishing Angels and Demons, I proceeded directly to reading Da Vinci Code. And, as I’ve already mentioned, I didn’t find it to be as good as A&D which caused me to “stall” a bit in the later chapters. I sort of “forced” myself to read it to the last page just for the sake of finishing the book.

Likewise, I was kind of disappointed with the movie (to which the MTRCB gave an “X” rating which, in turn, resulted to its being banned from all SM cinemas). It didn’t come close to how I imagined it with the book. I like Tom Hanks, but it just didn’t work for me (though, I’ve watched the movie about three times already). But, then again, most book-to-movie adoptions are like that, with the exception of The Godfather parts 1 and 2, in my opinion.

Anyway, I sure hope that Angels and Demons the movie will be better than the Da Vinci Code and/or be as good as the book.

I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More Shell-Ferrari Collectibles!

I first heard of Shell’s latest promo from my friend, Arnel, some time last week, and being the Ferrari fanatic that I am, I made it my mission to get one of those really neat key chains over the weekend.

And, guess what… I managed to get not one but two of them! One on Saturday and another on Sunday! They are BEAUTIFUL!

Though, when I first got my hands on the F2007 last Saturday, I was somewhat disappointed because I was expecting it to be bigger than what I had in my hands… also, I was looking at it under dim lights so I didn’t see its beauty at the time.

But, upon reaching home, and upon further inspection, what I saw motivated me to get them all (which led to my purchasing a second one the following day, the “Ferrari 156 F1”).

The details are SUPERB considering how small they are! And I’ve read somewhere that they’re made of “pure chrome”, though I don’t know how true that claim is as there are no such claims/indications on the packaging (well, I can’t find any).

Have I mentioned that the details are wonderful?

And, because I have a Citibank-Shell card, I got them for only 49 pesos a piece (regular price is 99 pesos).

I hope I’ll be able to get more this coming weekend… my target this time is the F50… though it would be better if I can get them all. ;)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Shooting in Q.C.

How would you react to a scene like this...

...which was preceded by a scene like this?

I’ve witnessed so many scenes like this when I was a lot younger. We used to live in a place situated in very close proximity to a “depressed” area and, at the time, I would see crime and violence unfold from the windows of our fourth floor apartment unit on an almost daily basis.

The severity of the scenes I’ve witnessed ranged from PG-rated ones (like the all too common fist fights and snatchings) to R-18-rated ones (like the ones resulting to the “defeated” being covered with newspaper until the cops arrive).

It was also from one of those windows when I first saw a totally naked woman… however, she was mentally ill and she was lying on top of a car’s hood.

I couldn’t tell if the things I saw had any effect on me… though, I don’t think I feel traumatized by it all.

Anyway, the images above are just photos of a film shooting which I took last Saturday somewhere in Quezon City. I don’t recognize any of the actors there except for Roy Alvarez.

Likewise, I don’t know what show it was as I’m not really a fan of “tele-seryes”. I do watch a few of those shows, but only because my wife and my mother-in-law have them as sort of an additional viand (ulam) for dinner… particularly “Dyosa” and “Betty La Fea”… and, I admit, I’ve developed a liking for “Dyosa”… but only because of Anne Curtis. :P

And that's a wrap!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Google's Webmaster Tools

As my friend Arnel very often tells me… “You learn something new everyday…”

And today I did.

I was looking for a “search engine crawler tracker” for my WordPress blog a while ago and came across a blog article that mentioned about Google’s “Webmaster Tools”.

I’ve heard of it before and, I believe, I had already “signed up” for it. At the time, I didn’t see its usefulness that I never bothered to tinker with it the second time and ended up forgetting all about it.

If you don’t know it yet, search engines (e.g., Yahoo, Google, and MSN) have these things called “web crawlers” (a.k.a. “web spiders” or “web robots”) that crawl the world wide web to gather information from and about websites/webpages. The data gathered by these crawlers are then used by the search engines to index the crawled sites/pages and possibly make them appear in their search results (well, sort of like that).

There are tons of factors that influence how a website/webpage is ranked in the search engines’ search results. Among them would be how “popular” that site is (based on the number of external links pointed to it), how frequent it is being updated (the more frequent the updates the better), the “tags” and “meta tags”, and, of course, it has to be “crawlable”.

If the web bots can’t crawl a website/page, there’s no way it will appear on any of the search engines’ search results.

Anyway, going back to that blog article I mentioned earlier, it provided a link to Google’s Webmaster Tools… so, naturally, I clicked on it and it directed me to my Google Webmaster Tools “Dashboard”. And surprisingly, this blog was already there with an “unverified” status (that’s why I said I think I’ve already signed up for it before).

So, verify it I did. And, being a fan of numbers, graphs, and statistics (no, I’m neither a statistician nor a mathematician, I just happen to have a strong liking for these things), I was very much delighted to see all the information/data it showed regarding this blog.

If you’re not using Google’s Webmaster Tools yet, think of this… it shows you when your blog/website was crawled and how much of it is being crawled. It shows you ALL the sites that have links to your blog/website. It shows you the errors that Google’s crawler has encountered while crawling your blog/website (if there are any). It shows you what search keywords cause your site to appear on Google’s search engine. All that and a whole lot more! Neat, no?

After that, I thought it would be a very good idea to add my WordPress blog to it also and did just that.

However, as far as blogs are concerned, there’s no way to access and modify their html/css files. Google’s Webmaster Tools provides two ways of verifying a website (you verify a website to prove your ownership), one is by adding a “meta tag” and the other is to add an html file in your site’s root directory. Both of those methods would require me to do things that I’m not allowed to do on WordPress. I was disappointed… for a while.

FORTUNATELY, I found a really simple and clever work-around for it and… now I’m in statistics heaven.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Quote of the Day (Children and Childhood)

“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.”

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Quote of the Day (Whe... Really Now?)

“Make it simple. Make it memorable.
Make it inviting to look at.
Make it fun to read.”

Leo Burnett
Pioneer American advertising Executive 1891-1971

Friday, October 17, 2008

Mangan Ta Na!

Finally, after so many failed attempts at finding out what the fuss was all about!

As a small celebration for our son’s birthday, my wife, my son, and I went to Razon’s (in Banawe, Quezon City, near the corner of Maria Clara) after dinner last night and feasted on their popular Halo-Halo.

Well, I’m not so sure about what I’m going to say about it… yes, it is true that it’s quite delicious, but I sort of find it overly simple and rather pricey (at 73 pesos a serving) considering its simplicity.

How simple? Well, all it had were bits and slices of sweetened banana, strings of macapuno (sweetened coconut meat), leche flan, milk, and shaved ice… uh… yeah, that’s about it.

Though, I should mention, the shaved ice is superbly fine and smooth (as in pinong-pino) and their sweetened banana has a distinct taste and texture which I have never experienced before… but then again, it’s not something that will make your eyes widen in delight, it’s quite subtle, really… but still different.

And, although simple as it may be, it still has that typical halo-halo taste (in my opinion, all halo-halo taste quite the same) which, I think, will be able to satisfy anyone’s craving for this “mixed-up” dessert.

By the way, according to a sign on the wall, Razon’s traces its history to as far back as 1908, crediting the recipe of the now famous Razon’s halo-halo to Sersia Juan (“Apung Sersia”) … I wish it went into more detail than that.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It Wasn't Long Ago...

Taken in October, 2005

It wasn’t long ago when I was able to carry him for hours on ends without straining myself. My arms had felt numb once in a while during those innumerable marathon-carrying sessions, but it was only because his weight had been resting on my veins.

It wasn’t long ago when he seemed so helpless and so fragile that I couldn’t wait to see him take his first step.

It wasn’t long ago when the only word he could say was “fish”.

He learned to recite the English alphabet soon after he turned one… with the exception of the letter “w” which he used to call “wee”. At around the same time he learned to count from one to ten.

Books, trucks, toy cars (matchbox/hot wheels), and robots… pizza, pasta, cakes and bread… these are a few of his favorite things.

He says “Peyngkyu” for “thank you”, “amals” for “animals”, “opopus” for “octopus”, and “po bear” for “polar bear”. “Chew” for “two”, “etric fan” for “electric fan”, “chip n dayo” for “chip and dale” (the chipmunks), and “donna duck” for “Donald Duck”. “Chelelas” for “tsinelas”, “Milo a day” for Milo (the malt drink) which he used to call “coffee” not so long ago, “akyet” for “akyat”, “wayo” for “whale”, “sa-boon” for “sabon”, and “neyn” for “name”.

He says “Daddy/Mommy, water” when he’s thirsty.

He says “Daddy/Mommy, dodo daw” when he wants his bottle. And if he specifically wants the 8oz bottle, he would say “big lang”. By the way, “dodo” and “milk” are two different things to him.

He says “Ihi ka” if he wants to take a pee… which, more oven than not, is when he almost couldn’t hold it anymore.

He says “pukpuka” if he wants to take a dump. He got the “pukpuka” from the time when we were potty-training him… that time we would ask him “pupu ka?”

He says “Wake up, Mommy” when his mommy would pray with her eyes closed in church.

He says “Daddy/Mommy, punas…” whenever he drools. And if you don’t do so right away, he would approach either Mommy or Daddy (whoever is present) and pull Mommy or Daddy’s shirt and wipe himself with it. <-- kasalanan ni daddy yan

He calls his going-out clothes “pogi”… <-- kasalanan ni mommy yan

He says “sakit ako” whenever he’s hurt. He only knows of five insects… “ipis”, “lamok”, “butterfly”, “ants”, and “bee”. If you hear him yell “A bee!” repeatedly, it only means that he saw an insect that is not any of the four others, and he’s terrified of whatever it is.

He also knows “spider”.

He says “that tickles” almost every time I wash his feet at night.

He says “bo-be” together with “no” if he really really doesn’t want something.

He puts his toys back in their box when told to.

He likes to group hug. He likes to climb up and down the stairs.

He knows how to say “sorry” and “be careful”. He knows how to say “it’s ok Daddy/Mommy” but I doubt he knows what it means. He knows how to say “please” when asking for something.

He doesn’t like having his teeth brushed. He doesn’t like soft drinks. He’s not a fan of rice… so every time we would feed him rice with soup (sinabawang kanin), we would very often hear him say “soup lang”.

He has this thing about asking people to open their mouths and looking inside them and saying “Hala! Dirty!”

Just the other night I bit his butt cheeks, he was yelling “No! Daddy, no!” as I was doing so… afterwards, he sat up, turned around to face me and said while waving his finger “No… mouth… kimmut… sakit yun.” Which had me and my wife laughing really hard.

Also that night, he asked me to open my mouth. After looking inside my mouth and saying “Hala! Dirty!” he asked me to close it. I didn’t. He tried to close my mouth by pushing up on my chin. I still didn’t close it. Then he said “Sira… mouth… daddy.”

To my dear son…


Just a few days ago at "Pan de Manila"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Very Pleasant Morning to Me

I was checking on this blog’s traffic early this morning and saw a referring website which I have not seen before, and there was a huge volume of visitors coming from it. So, just like what I do each time that happens, I clicked on the link to see what that referring website is and why I was getting so much traffic from it (I’m using the word “much” here in relation and comparison to what I usually get… see my “Raising the White Flag” post if you want to learn more about that).

And this is what I saw…


To Jacob Gube and Smashing Magazine, thank you so much for including my tutorial in your list!

If you’re curious about the tutorial, just click on this.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mamang Sorbetero

For how much longer are we going to see these on our streets? Magnolia used to sell their twin-popsies, ice cream cups, drumsticks, and pinipigs in these also, but instead of ice and salt, Magnolia carts used dry ice to keep the icy treats they contain from melting. And instead of having stainless drums inside the carts to contain the ice cream (like the ones inside the sorbetes carts), the Magnolia carts are basically iceboxes on wheels in which the icy goodies are stacked and arranged amongst the tablets of dry ice (which are about the size of a small plate and are individually wrapped in a sort of brown colored paper).

Also, the Magnolia carts had only a small square hole on top (less than a square foot, I think) as access to the cart’s cold chamber which is kept sealed by a heavy-looking square insulated cover (as compared to the rectangular covers of the sorbets carts which, when lifted, exposes the three stainless drums inside). And what beautiful and simple packaging Magnolia had that time… which reminds me, I miss the Magnolia mascot (the one that looks like a cloud/clump of cotton).

Enough about Magnolia… I still remember the time when 5 pesos bought me enough ice cream to fill a mug almost to the brim. My father once told me about a game that the sorbteros near their school used to offer children/students to play, though, I don’t know if many sorbetros of the time did this. The game went like this… the sorbetero would ask his customer to wedge a coin in his/her palm (in magician lingo, they call it "palming") and hold his/her hand out with his palm (and the coin) facing down. The sorbetero would then touch the exposed face of the coin and guess which face it was. If the sorbetero guessed wrong, the kid would get a free cone of ice cream. My father, being the mischievous kid that he was, would step on his coin and rub it against the pavement first before going to the sorbetero to up his chances of getting his freebie.

Anyway, I don’t like the “modern” ice cream carts as far as aesthetics is concerned. Oh, and also the tunes they play which I find rather annoying. Though, they are more “humane”, so to speak.

Let's sing a song, shall we?

Mamang Sorbetero
by Celeste Legaspi

mamang Sorbetero, Anong Ngalan Mo
tinda Mong Ice Cream, Gustung-Gusto Ko
init Ng Buhay, Pinapawi Mo
sama Ng Loob, Nalilimutan Ko

mamang Sorbetero, Tayo'y Sumayaw
kalembang Mong Hawak, Muling Ikaway
batang Munti, Sa 'yo'y Naghihintay
bigyang Ligaya Ngayong Tag-Araw

masdan Ang Ulap Sa Himpapawid
korteng Sorbetes Sa Pisngi Ng Langit
mata Ng Dalaga'y Nananaginip
mayro'ng Sikretong Nasasaisip

mainit Na Labi, Nagbabagang Mata
sunog Na Pag-Ibig, Parang Awa Mo Na
mamang Sorbetero, O, Nasaan Ka
init Ng Buhay, Pawiin Mo Na

[Repeat Chorus]

la La La La La...
la La La La La...

[Repeat Chorus]

la La La La La...
la La La La La...
[Repeat While Fading]

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Scariest Place on the Web... It May Have You Pissing in Your Pants

Since Halloween is just around the corner, as if we celebrate Halloween here…

Okay, let me rephrase that…

Since All Saints Day is just around the corner, I’m gonna post something for all you horror movies and ghost stories fans out there.

An officemate (Ry) recommended this website to me:

Note: This is not a paid post! I am posting this because I’ve personally tried it and had one of the most terrifying moments I’ve had in my entire life. And, I personally want YOU to try it out.

Before you head on there, make sure that you have the Flash plug-in installed on your browser. Also, to be able to “enjoy” it, you need to have a relatively fast internet connection as the site is quite graphic intensive (technically, figuratively, and literally speaking). If you’ve got all that checked out, then, prepare yourself.

Now, the website may only be viewed between the hours of 6:00 pm to 6:00 am. But, don’t fret, there’s a workaround to it if you want to visit the site at any time during the day. All you have to do is to change the time on your computer’s clock (for Windows, it’s the clock on your taskbar) to any time within the “allowed” visiting hours.

Once you get to the site, you will be asked to register. As I’ve found out, you may enter bogus information for that, including email, as the registration doesn’t go through any account validation process.

By the way, according to the “Privacy Policy” of the site, it is operated on behalf of Frito-Lay North America, Inc. (“Frito-Lay”). So, I guess, that makes the site a pretty safe one to visit. Nevertheless, just to be sure, THAT is what I would recommend you to do. But DO take note of the “email” and the “password” you will be using as you’ll be needing those to “check-in” at the “hotel” later.

Also, in the registration process, you will be asked to turn on your microphone and webcam. This is not required and you can opt out for that by leaving the tick box labeled “Enable Webcam and Mic” unchecked. I haven’t tried activating my webcam and mic, so I don’t know what those can add to the experience (though I think I have a pretty good guess as to what they are for, but I will not mention it here for fear that I’ll be spoiling it for everyone).

Oh, before I forget, you do have to accept the terms and conditions of the site before you’ll be allowed to proceed. Do so by clicking on the tick box labeled “Accept Terms”. If you want to read all of the site’s terms and conditions first, just click on the link that says “view”.

By the way (and this is a MUST)… turn on your speakers (or plug in your earphones).

What happens next I’ll leave you to discover on your own.

The only warning I could give you is that if you’re easily scared, if you are unable to get any sleep after watching horror flicks or listening to ghost stories, or if you’re terribly terrified of the supernatural, then DO NOT go there.

But if you think you’re gutsy enough and you’re up for some hair-raising and heart pounding “fun” then go and get yourself a room at Hotel 626. NOW!

Just a tip (since you are given no instructions as to what you have to do aside from the textual clues shown on screen during loading), as you go down the corridor, approaching what seems to be a huge moving shadow at the far end, look for a door on the right that has a different color and click on it… just keep on clicking on it until it opens.

I’ll be Back, Mr. Oblation… Mark My Words!

Oblation Monument, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City
I was ecstatic to see the preview of this shot on my camera’s LCD… my first time to take a picture of Mr. Oblation (U.P. Diliman) and I liked what I had been able to capture.

Until… I downloaded it on my computer.

My heart sank when I saw a dark band running down the whole length of the left edge of the picture (not shown here as I’ve already cropped it, out of desperation)!!!

I’ll be back Mr. Oblation… I’ll be back.


By the way, no, I’m not an alumni, if that’s what you’re thinking.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Of Titsers and Apols…

What happened to “guro”? How about pisara and kwaderno?

Was it really necessary to change them to “titser”, “blakbord”, and “notbuk”?

“Pabliser” for “publisher”? “Palisi” for “policy”? “Riserts” for “research”?

I don’t know how these changes came to be, but I find it rather silly, really.

Are we just a few years away from “frut”, “vedstabol”, “fis”, “mit”, and “rais”? From “apol”, “greyps”, “oreynds”, and “manggo”? From “tsarts”, “skul”, “ofis”, “siti hol”, and “mol”? From “wok”, “ran”, “dyam”, and “nil”? From “ay”, “yu”, “hi”, and “dey”?

And what about the “bumibigat na ang trapiko” that we keep on hearing traffic reporters say on TV and on the radio? Is the Filipino language THAT shallow that they have to translate almost verbatim how it is said in English? “Bumibigat”?! You must be kidding me!

Then add to that the “text speak” that’s become very popular… “d2 n me”, “wer n u”, “pnta n aq”…


Monday, October 6, 2008

Have you been to Fort Santiago lately?

I went there last Saturday to take some photos which I thought would only take me about 30 minutes max as I have already mapped out in my mind the things I was going to take pictures of. I've been there many times before, so I have a pretty good idea of the place... or so I thought.

It's been, I think, more than two years since I last went there. Although the place has remained pretty much the same, I saw enough "new" things that my planned 30-minute visit became a 2-hour photoshoot.

So, what's new? Well...

A tunnel situated just after the row of tunnels-turned-offices/shops/galleries near the entrance that used to be inaccessible (at least from Fort Santiago) is now open.

Then, there's a new(?) statue of Rizal on the lawn near the Rizal Shrine.

And, there's an exhibit of Rizaliana furniture held by the National Historical Institute (NHI) at the Baluarte de Santa Barbara (10 pesos entrance fee).

But what really got me staying for two hours was the change of rules! They now allow non-flash photography inside the Rizal Shrine!

So, I tried all the best that I can at taking pictures of the dimly-lit halls and exhibits with my shaky hands... how I wish I had a better camera... sigh...

Anyway, you may want to go there before the 1st of November because they're going to increase the entrance fee by then (from 50 pesos to 70 pesos for adults... I can't remember the price for students).

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