28 November, 2009

Cebu to Singapore

This post is actually a year late since my trip to Singapore happened in 2008. I decided to still post though to capture my Singapore moments in pictures and writing.

I was sent to Singapore on business. As our main office is in Cebu, I had to take the Manila – Cebu flight, stay overnight in our hotel and in the morning, meet my colleague at Mactan International Airport so we can take our Silk Air flight to Singapore.

The waiting at the airport

The waiting at the lounge wasn’t that long as the plane was on time. I was also kept entertained as the lounge had free Wi-Fi so I spent most of my free time surfing the worldwide web.

The Airline

We were told by our travel agent that there are no direct flights from Cebu to Singapore via Singapore Airlines so we had to take Silk Air. Silk Air is actually a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines. As its regional wing, Silk Air primarily caters to the Southeast Asia, South Asia and China markets.

The Silk Air Experience

I like the fact that the flight was on time since majority of my experience with local airlines (Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific) involve delays.

Another positive experience was the food. The chicken I had was delicious and I appreciated the fact that they served fruits for dessert.

The downside was that the airline was small and a little cramped and its in-flight entertainment’s pretty much boring. I thus resolved to reading its magazine and later, when the go-signal was given, turning on my laptop and playing Bookworm since Jid, my companion, opted to sleep.

As for the service, the flight attendants were all attentive and nice. It was by far my best trip aboard an airline.

23 November, 2009

Bloom’s Sheer Colour Cream

I first discovered Bloom in 2007 while I was on my quest for an easy-to-apply, no-frills blush-on and I must say I scored a good find in Bloom’s Sheer Colour Cream as it is not just for the cheeks. It can also be applied on the eyes and lips.

What I like about it

Aside from it being a multi-purpose beauty essential, another reason why I bought it is the fact that it is so easy to apply. Since it is a cream, applying it does not require any brushes as one’s fingers will do. It also glides effortlessly on my cheeks.

I have also tried using it in conjunction with other cosmetics and I found it effective as a layer-on beauty product. I have this really red Maybelline lipstick that does not really complement my complexion so I only used it once. That is, until I found out that layering Bloom’s Sheer Colour Cream over it will tone down the red tint and make the final resulting color appear very polished. I have since used the colour cream either to tone down the shades of some of my dark-colored lipsticks or add more punch to the neutral ones.

And oh, Bloom’s Sheer Colour Cream also comes with a light scent that I like.

This year’s pick

The past two years, I have been using the Rosie shade, which is a sunset-sky pink. This year, I shifted to trying out Sun Kissed, which is a soft, dusty pink and like its predecessor, I absolutely love it. On days when all I want is just a hint of color on my cheeks and lips, I just apply Bloom’s Sheer Colour Cream in Sun Kissed and I am good to go.

Bloom in the Philippines

The last time I bought Bloom’s Sheer Colour Cream, which was a couple of months back, it cost Php695. It is available in Beauty Bar stores in the Philippines.

For more details about Bloom products, visit its official website at www.bloomcosmetics.com

07 November, 2009

The Rainbow

It’s been so long since I saw a rainbow. The last time was maybe when I was still a high school student in my province and that’s like a decade ago. The past nine years, when I was still in Manila, I used to wonder why I had never seen any rainbow there. Maybe all the smog (smoke and fog) in Manila’s atmosphere obscured any sight of it.

Imagine my glee then when today, as I was doing my rounds in the hotel that I work for, I saw the rainbow - beautiful in its arch and colors. The scene was made even more beautiful by the fact that its backdrop was the famous saltwater lagoon of Plantation Bay Resort and Spa. Too bad I only had my camera phone at that time thus in the pictures that I took, the rainbow's not clearly defined.

I love rainbows. For me, it’s not just an aesthetic gift. It is also a reminder that like nature’s way of having the rainbow after the rain, we as well can look forward to something beautiful after we have triumphed over life’s trials.

06 November, 2009

My PNRC First Aid and Basic Life Support Training

I hate the sight of blood. I cringe each time I see accidents on TV. I even refrain from watching the news during the New Year as I know it will feature people losing their limbs over pyrotechnic accidents. I was thus not particularly ecstatic when my company sent me to the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) Lapu-Lapu Cordova Chapter for my First Aid and Basic Life Support training.

I had no medical background thus I felt at a loss during our first day as the instructor discussed about what medial, inferior, proximal etc. meant. I felt even more at loss because among all my classmates, I was probably the most inexperienced (more than half of the class were caregivers, two of my colleagues were nurses, one works for our Recreations Department and was just there to renew his certificates and another worked in an ambulance for 10 years). To make up for it, I thus made it a point to read our handbook every day and to do online research.

The training was tough. Every day, we had a quiz and I was just glad my efforts paid off as I passed all the quizzes. I even got 100% on our second quiz. But what really drained me were the physical exercises. The carries, bandaging, splinting and basic life support (read: cardiopulmonary rescue or CPR) were grueling activities that not only entailed physical strength but mastery of the step-by-step process and / or the practice of ergonomics.

Bandaging / Splinting
My greatest challenge in this was folding the triangular bandage properly (the one where I had to make the point and the base meet) as everyone except me knew how to do it. After some time, I got the hang of it and I then got to learning various bandaging techniques. I learned that the bandage to be applied depends on where the injury is located and how severe it is.

As for the splinting part, our instructor just demonstrated the proper way of putting splints and pointers on what and what not to do in splinting.

Carries / Drags / Assists
These were activities that really exhausted me because it was tiring to carry someone, especially if s/he is heavy. Funny. At some point, a colleague of mine volunteered to be the victim but he was met with protests. Most of us said he was too heavy thus no one wanted to pair with him. Our instructor overheard us and chastised us, saying that in accidents, we couldn’t very well choose our victim. We jokingly responded that in real situation, we won’t be picky but since this was just an exercise, we could do with only those that we can easily carry. LOL.

Basic Life Support
The demonstration from our instruction fascinated me. I watched in awe as he performed chest compressions, CPR and rescue breathing on the dummy. I knew that afterwards, we were supposed to do it ourselves and honestly, I was fine with doing the first two but was very hesitant about the latter. I mean, come on, who wanted to perform “mouth-to-mouth” on a dummy that’s obviously been used hundreds of times?! I was so hesitant I thought of asking for an exemption but it was the thought that this could save a life that made me tough it out and just meet the challenge head-on. That and the fact that we’d use gauze over the mouth so it’s not really as if I would perform “mouth-to-mouth” to it.

Thankfully, I was able to learn how to do it properly as I passed the exercises on doing basic life support on an infant, a child and an adult. But boy, was it the most challenging among all our activities as the counting alone (1, 1002, 1003, 1001 breathe / 1, 1002, 1003, 1002 breathe…) could easily make one lose track of everything. And to think we had to count until 1024 for adults (and a count of 40 on children / infants!), huh!

The Simulation
Aside from the quizzes and actual exercises, our learning was put to the test when at the end of our course, a simulation was made. Our instructor chose 3 victims among the class who supposedly were victims of an explosion and asked the rest of us to help them out. It was tough as this time, we have to assess the situation and their injuries ourselves (unlike before when the instructor would just say the injury is on the leg or the burn is located on the chest etc). Good thing we passed this final test.

All in all, it was a really fun and fruitful experience I’d gladly take again when my certificates expire.

21 October, 2009

Relocating to Cebu

Wow. The past couple of months have been such busy months for me it felt as if my days were a blur. Proof of this is the fact that I haven’t posted anything in this blog for two months now

Leaving Manila

Undoubtedly, Manila had been my home for nine years. I first set foot on it when I was still a wide-eyed girl of fifteen on her way to earning her college education in the big city. My college and working days were one of the best phases of my life as it is on these stages that I became independent. Eventually though, the traffic, the noise, the hordes of people in most places and the really fast-paced urban lifestyle got to me. I grew weary and craved for something mellow. The opportunity to leave Manila came when my company offered me a post in our Cebu office.

An Important Career Move

I was on my way to my second year in my current company when the offer came. Despite my wish for a slightly less fast-paced life, I still did a double-take when the offer came as it entailed leaving my friends and my lovely colleagues who are like a family to me. Manila may have been chaotic but it is made tolerable by friends who brightened my days with our shared experiences.

Also, leaving my comfort zones scared me a bit. I never really had problems adjusting to anything as I was often described as a chameleon but this move was different as it was a major one. Considerations varied from little ones like how to pack and move all my accumulated stuff to questioning myself if I were up to the challenges that came with the new position. The latter proved to be the catalyst for I have always been drawn to challenges.

And so I packed my stuff and accepted the challenge, armed with just my zest for adventure, willfulness and optimism.

My stay in Cebu so far

I arrived in Cebu on August 29, 2009. A grueling month-long training ensued. It was a little tiring but ultimately fulfilling for I got to learn a lot of things. I also gained new friends. The only thing that I am grappling hard with is speaking Cebuano (the place’s dialect) but aside from that, I am enjoying my stay here. It is a thriving city but it lacks Manila’s chaos. The cost of living is also cheaper and the people are friendlier as in Manila, I lived in an apartment for three years but I never really knew who my neighbors were. Here, the people’s smiles are warmer and given without hesitation or calculation.

Cebu’s a really great place and I sure am going to make the most of my move here.

16 August, 2009

G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra

photo credit

The Plot
Paramount Pictures and Hasbro, whose previous collaboration was the worldwide blockbuster "Transformers," join forces with Spyglass Entertainment for another extraordinary action-adventure "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra." From the Egyptian desert to deep below the polar ice caps, the elite G.I. JOE team uses the latest in next-generation spy and military equipment to fight the corrupt arms dealer Destro and the growing threat of the mysterious Cobra organization to prevent them from plunging the world into chaos. "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra." is directed by Stephen Sommers ("The Mummy," "The Mummy Returns").

Click HERE to view my source of the above plot. For a synopsis, click HERE. You may also visit the movie’s official website or click HERE for its Wikipedia entry.

My Verdict

Watching the movie made me remember that faraway time when I was “one of the boys.” When my childhood toys weren’t dolls but toy soldiers, toy guns and army camps complete with flags, tanks, fences and other battle armaments. It also made me remember the G.I. Joe Choose Your Own Adventure-like books I read as a teen.

G.I. Joe The Rise of the Cobra was one engrossing movie. I love the visual effects (still can’t get over the horror of watching France’s trademark Eiffel Tower collapse) and the fight scenes. But what I like best is the fact that the characters’ pasts were probed thus making the viewer understand their relationships more (like the Baroness’ hatred of Duke and the very palpable enmity between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow).

My friend and I had to wait for more than two hours to get reserved seats for this movie but I must say this movie is worth the wait. Now I can't wait for its sequel.

14 August, 2009

Beware of Spaghetti Factory

Last Wednesday, after work, my friend and I went to Glorietta 5 and after about thirty minutes of going from one shop to another, we got hungry so I suggested that we eat out. We saw a really huge banner of Spaghetti Factory and since it’s something new to us, we decided to try it out.

The Ambiance
The place was charmingly furnished. It was quite homey actually though it had space restrictions. On its walls were reviews and articles about the place that came out in newspapers and magazines. From what reviews I read, it was a pretty good place for pasta. I sure hoped so since my tummy was already grumbling even before I was seated.

The Menu
The menu was pretty extensive but since we’re just looking for some snacks (I was supposed to be on a diet and on a soft diet at that since I just had a tooth extraction), we chose something from their merienda meals. Des and I each ordered Birdy and Spaghetti Carbonara. This had chicken drumstick with gravy, spaghetti in creamy sauce, Caesar salad, freshly baked bread and iced tea. I also ordered an additional siding of French Fries.

The above seemed too much but when our order came, I understood why it was only priced at Php99 (exclusive of 8% service charge). The serving was too small, is why! We also did a double take as the chicken was burnt and so was the bread. Whatever happened to the FRESHLY BAKED description in their menu, huh? Both looked reheated!

Never been one to waste my food, I dug in still. I had to laugh though when Des sniffed the bread.

Taste-wise, the carbonara was good and so was the salad (I couldn’t help but notice the burnt croutons in it though) but the chicken was the worst I ever had! Even our home-cooked chicken would have fared better. Not only was it burnt, it also tasted funny. I really couldn’t quite describe it but it was bitter and leaves a weird aftertaste. Des and I thought it must be because they used old oil. Also, our order of French fries tasted the same, as if it was cooked on the same oil as the chicken. Fried Chicken and French Fries are two of my favorite foods but when it’s cooked as badly as Spaghetti Factory’s, I’d rather pass. It was so horrible that I did not finish eating them.

The Service
I’m a gracious eater. Even if there’s something that I did not like in a restaurant, I would focus on what I consider to be good. I was thinking of this when the waiter ruined everything for us. It started when the bill came. They had erroneously billed us as they charged us Php99+ for the fries when in their menu, it was just Php29+. We thus called the waiter’s (I was later told by another staff that his name was Jomari) attention and when he came over, he apologized. As he was already there, I decided to give a feedback on how our meal went. The exchange went something like this:

Me: Is this how your chicken really tastes?
Jomari: Why?
Me: It tastes funny. Kind of bitter. As if the oil used was old. The French Fries tasted the same, as if it too were cooked in the same old oil.
Jomari: Ma’am, we use different oils in cooking the chicken and the fries. And you should have told us from the start.
Me: It’s ok. I just would like you to know. But both do taste funny. You may want to taste both.
Jomari: (Just looking at me. Silence. Then I saw him arch his browse and smirk and that’s when I flared up).
Me: You shouldn’t be doing that. When a customer gives you a feedback, you should take it the feedback into account.
Jomari: OK (then he left).

Like whaaaat? How rude! He shouldn’t be working in the service-oriented industry if he is like that.

I thought the worst of our meal was over but he further ruined it when we overheard this exchange he had with another Spaghetti Factory staff.
Unknown staff: What happened?
Jomari: Don’t mind them.
Arrrrgh! How could you be working in a restaurant when you wouldn’t acknowledge your patrons’ feedback? Geez.

Later, it was a different staff who came over with our corrected bill (I am sorry I wasn’t able to get his name but he was nice and I actually got Jomari’s name from him). I was wondering though how Jomari would suddenly forsook us. Maybe he did not want to hear another complaint or at the least, a feedback. Oh my. Good thing I was in a good mood then else I would have asked for the manager.

Final Words
Spaghetti Factory is located in Level 2, Glorietta 5, Ayala Center, Makati City. But if you can steer away from this place, please do. You’ll be saving yourself from unsavory food and insensitive service. Des and I were saying we would have been better off eating at Chef D’ Angelo. Now I know better though as never again will I set foot in it or in any of their branches.

No wonder Spaghetti Factory wasn’t packed with diners for how could they attract customers if their service is as lousy as Jomari’s?

13 August, 2009

The Proposal

The Plot
Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) is the high-powered, no-nonsense editor-in-chief of Colden Books who coerced her assistant, Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) into marrying her to avoid being deported to Canada. He grudgingly accepts her “proposal” provided that she promotes him into being an editor and publishes his manuscript. The couple then went to Sitka, Alaska in his hometown where she meets his quirky but endearing family and (gasp!) his ex-girlfriend. With an impromptu wedding in the works and a tenacious immigration official at their heels, both Margaret and Andrew must navigate their way out of one amusing situation after the other without exposing their plan.

And oh, what happens when in their having surprising revelations about the other, the single-minded and fiercely independent Margaret realizes that she has fallen in love with Andrew for real?

My Verdict
I have been an ardent Sandra Bullock fan since I saw the movie Speed thus I make it a point to always watch her movies. And like her other flicks, this one is a gem. I admit though that during the first ten minutes of the movie, I was kind of unnerved, as I wasn’t used to seeing her play an unlovable role. I mean, Sandra usually has endearing roles (think of Gracie Hart in Miss Congeniality and Lucy in While You Were Sleeping) thus to see her being called a “witch” took some getting used to. But I guess that’s one of her gifts – making each role her own, that while watching, I began to empathize with those who were put off by Margaret’s icy demeanor.

Quotable Quotes
The movie was very entertaining because of the funny banter from the cast. Below are some of them.

While on the plane bound to Sitka, Alaska and they were trying to get as much information about each other as possible, Andrew said he already knew a lot of things about Margaret, even the fact that she has a tattoo thus it is she who has to catch up on learning things about him. Goaded, she asked,

Margaret Tate: What am I allergic to?
Andrew Paxton: Pine nuts. And the full spectrum of human emotion.
Grandma Annie: (when Andrew pointed Margaret out to her) Does she prefer Margaret or “Satan’s Mistress?”
Margaret Tate: Why didn’t you tell me you’re some kind of Alaskan Kennedy?
Andrew Paxton: We were in the middle of talking about you… for the last three years.
Grandma Annie: (taking a knitted blanket from the cabinet) If you get chilly tonight, use this. It has special powers.
Margaret Tate: Oh. What kind of special powers?
Grandma Annie: I call it the baby maker.
Margaret Tate: Ok. (Turning to Andrew) Better be super careful with this.
Andrew Paxton:
(after traipsing from Alaska to New York to go after Margaret) Margaret, will you marry me? Because I’d like to date you.
And my personal favorite is the part where Grandma Annie and Grace Paxton, Andrew’s mom had them narrate how their proposal went. It was just hilarious!

Andrew Paxton: You know what? Actually, Margaret loves telling this story, so I'm just gonna let her go ahead and do that. We should just sit and rapture.
Margaret Tate: Wow, okay... wow, where to begin... the story... Well, um, wow... Okay, well, um, Andrew and I... Andrew and I were about to celebrate our first anniversary together and I knew that he'd been itching to ask me to marry him and he was scared, like a little tiny bird. So, I started leaving him little hints here and there because I knew he wouldn't have the guts to ask...
Andrew Paxton: That's not exactly how it happened.
Margaret Tate: No?
Andrew Paxton: No, no, I mean I picked up on all of her little hints... this woman is about as subtle as a gun. Yeah, no what I was worried about was that she might find this little box...
Margaret Tate: Oh, the decoupage box that he made, where he'd taken the time to cut out twenty little pictures of himself, just pasted all over the box. So beautiful! I opened that beautiful little decoupage and out fluttered these tiny little hand cut heart confetti and once they cleared, I looked down and I saw the most beautiful, big...
Andrew Paxton: ...fat nothing! No ring.
Grandma Annie: No ring?
Grace Paxton: What?
Andrew Paxton: No, but inside that box, underneath all that crap, a handwritten note with the address to a hotel, date and time. Real Humphrey Bogart type stuff. Masculine. Naturally, Margaret, she thought...
Margaret Tate: I thought he was seeing someone else... so it was a terrible time for me, but I went to that hotel anyway, I went there and I pounded on the door. But the door was already unlocked. As I swung open that door, there he was...
Andrew Paxton: Standing.
Margaret Tate: Kneeling.
Andrew Paxton: Like a man.
Margaret Tate: On a bed of rosebuds, in a tuxedo. Your son. Your son... and he was choking back soft, soft sobs. And when he held back the tears and finally caught his breath, he said to me...
Andrew Paxton: 'Margaret, will you marry me?' and she said 'yep', the end!
Wow. If I were among the audience during this amusing exchange, I might not have been able to stifle a giggle!

Please note that I did not take down all these lines, as I was so engrossed with the movie. To view the source of the above quotes, please click HERE.

My favorite scenes
Aside from their narration of how their supposed proposal went, these are some of my favorite scenes of the movie.

When Andrew asked the haughty Margaret to propose to him on the streets of New York - on her knees. And nicely!

When Kevin, the Paxton family dog, got swooped by an eagle and Margaret saved him only to later have her mobile phone taken by the same eagle. She then waved the dog, enticing the eagle with it in hopes of getting her phone back. Grandma Annie and Mrs. Paxton saw her and thought she was playing with the dog and thought it was cute.

When Margaret and Andrew collided into each other buck-naked! And while Margaret was trying to find something to cover herself with, she ended up with the “baby maker,” which she hurriedly tossed away.

When Andrew and Margaret shared some things about their past and they found out that they like the same band and Andrew even sang the song.

When Andrew saw Margaret in one of her unguarded moments at the woods, dancing to Get Low with his Grandma Annie.

When Margaret was reminded of what it was like to have a family and she was so touched to have Grandma Annie and Mrs. Paxton fawn over her while they were having her fitting for her wedding dress. Grandma Annie also gave her a necklace that has been in the family for generations.

When Margaret tearfully admitted the real reason behind their engagement during their “wedding” at the barn. A “chase scene” ensued as Andrew did his best to go after her. He later showed up in the office where he confessed his love for Margaret and asked her to marry him because “he wants to date her.” The two then get engaged for real.

Fashionable Margaret
Another reason why I enjoyed the movie was the fact that Margaret was dressed to the nines. Being a power-driven executive, she does look the part – from her well tailored power suits to her chic bags and killer shoes. They just exude timeless elegance and sophistication.

Over-all movie experience
It’s been a long time since I watched a movie that I really like and I am glad I did not miss watching this on the big screen. It’s too entertaining a movie to miss.

10 August, 2009

Making my Feet "Happy"

Wow! I have been so busy with the Yahoo! Philippines Purple Hunt during the past months that most of my blogs from May to July were about it. But now that the said campaign is already finished, I will now start blogging about those that I used to blog about prior to my involvement to the Purple Hunt.

And so today I decided to blog about my beloved Happy Feet sandals. I rarely use sandals that are of the "bakya" type but the moment I saw these lovely pair of sandals with its equally lovely hand-painted designs, I knew I just had to buy it.

A beauty
Aesthetics-wise, each pair of Happy Feet Sandals is a work of art since it is hand-painted thus making each pair unique in itself. It also uses fun designs to express the wearer’s mood or character. I chose the one with a Japanese geisha design because at the time when I bought it, I wanted something that evokes confidence, a unique pair that is a testament to a woman’s charms. LOL.

Proudly Filipino made
But aesthetics alone will not be able to convince me to buy a pair and so I delved deeper into the product and found out that Happy Feet sandals are conceptualized by Filipinos, making it a product that showcases excellent Filipino craftsmanship. They have been around since 1975.

Happy Feet Sandals are also made from natural wood, which has a wax finish that through time and with the natural oils from the wearer’s skin, will give the wood a light sheen.

Cares for the Feet
But the selling pitch of Happy Feet sandals for me is the fact that it does care for the feet. From toe grip to arch support and heel cup, this wooden footwear caresses the vital pressure points of the wearer’s soles, giving her feet a continuous massage. Aside from supporting the arch, ball and heel to take pressure off these vital parts, Happy Feet sandals also alternately stretches and relaxes sole and calf muscles while walking to cool down muscles.

I have been using Happy Feet Sandals for a couple of months now and I can say that it does bring comfort to my feet.

For more information about Happy Feet Sandals, please visit their website at www.happyfeetsandals.com or contact them through (632) 726-5393.

03 August, 2009

President Corazon "Cory" Cojuangco Aquino, Beloved Mother of the Philippines

I first learned about her demise when I woke up at past 4:00 AM last Saturday, August 01, 2009. Unable to go back to sleep, I went online and browsed through Yahoo! News and read about it there. I was stunned but at the same time, wary. Too wary that I did not post a link of the news page in any of my social networking sites, specifically in Facebook because the week before it, there were erroneous reports about her “death.” But I buzzed about the news so it will reflect in my Yahoo! Profiles and I can easily get back to it for reference.

At about 7:00 AM, I headed downstairs to buy breakfast and came back to the condo where I saw my housemate watching the news. My wariness about the news of Tita Cory’s death dissipated into thin air and in its place came sadness.

I was only three years old when the 1986 EDSA Revolution happened but later on, I got fascinated by the stories I learned about it. One professor in college narrated that that was the time when one is proudest to be a Filipino. Another professor said that the world was so awed by what they witnessed that when Filipinos would travel abroad, they were accorded with such esteemed regard that extended to Filipinos having a special “express” lane whenever they would arrive in or depart from some countries.

I have always been proud about my being a Filipino but it makes me prouder to have such honorable countrymen as President Corazon “Cory” Cojuangco Aquino. Thank God for the gift of her to us.

Below is the message I left in her official website. You may also leave your message there and have the website as your reference for it has announcements as well as live streaming.

To Tita Cory,

You will be sorely missed. Know that you are very much loved and we thank the Lord for the gift of your life. May you in your resting place have peace and may you also continue to intercede for the Filipino people and for peace in the world.

Some people live even after their death and you are such a person to us. Your legacy lives on and even in your death and beyond it, you are still and will always be a beacon of hope and a source of inspiration to countless Filipinos and to the world as well.

With prayers.

I also posted a message that is on the same thought in Yahoo! Answers. To view the question, click HERE.

The past days, I only got updates about Tita Cory’s wake through the news on TV, online or on newspapers but today I had the privilege of personally seeing the nation mourn the loss of its mother. Cory’s remains passed by Ayala Avenue, Makati to where the statue of Ninoy is and what I witnessed was enough to give me goosebumps. It was quite moving.

The crowd was overwhelming! People from all walks of life were there – students, young professionals, the religious, the rich and the poor, the old and the young alike. These people braved the scorching heat of the sun so they could pay tribute to the lady responsible for bringing back democracy in the country.

As for my participation today, I did updates online through my Facebook account. I also threw some confetti, which we have prepared since 9:00 in the morning, right after we found out that she would be passing by our area. I also snapped some pictures from our office building.

For the complete set of pictures, click HERE. Some pictures are not that clear though as either the camera was zoomed in or I took the picture through our glass windows.

This picture of a lone yellow balloon was taken moments after the President passed by. And like this yellow balloon, may she fly freely to where Ninoy is waiting for her.

Rest in peace, our beloved Tita Cory.

29 July, 2009

The Yahoo! Philippines Purple Hunt Winners

the prizes, sans the Honda Jazz car

It’s fun. It’s purple. That’s how things have gone for the Yahoo! Philippines Purple Hunt. And to cap the event, a grand finale was held on July 25, 2009 where Yahoo! painted Manila purple and purple hunters had fun joining the many activities that Yahoo! prepared for them.

And to end my blog posts about the Purple Hunt, I am posting the list of winners from Phases 2 – 4.

Phase 2 – The Hunt for the Canon Digital Ixus Camera
Congratulations to the following:

1. Franze Ramirez
2. Tristan Jerick Reyes
3. Antonio Victor Velasco
4. Francesca Cruz
5. Marileen Moral
6. Joan Lyn Matawaran

I am so glad to know that one of the winners (Tristan) is from Yahoo! Profiles, which I manage as a Purple Crew member.

Tristan onstage, with Myx VJ Drei and Jonas de los Reyes of Yahoo!

And oh, I so love his unique and very craftily made jeans! Isn’t he creative?

I was so charmed by his pair of jeans that in the morning, I asked him if I could get pictures of it. He obliged, which was so nice of him. Love the Yahoo! logo, huh.

Again, my heartiest congratulations, Tristan!

Phase 3 – The Hunt for the Blackberry Smartphone
Congratulations to the following:

1. Jennilyn Tanciangco
2. Sylvia Oronce
3. Germie Florendo
4. Alwedjh Obenario
5. Coralyn De Castro
6. Eleonor Priscilla Garcia

Phase 4 – The Finale Footrace

the Footrace winners from left Erliza Karen Cabisidan, Calvin Galgana and Jemuel del Valle

Congratulations to the following:

Calvin Galgana - 1st Prize: the Honda Jazz Car.

Calvin onstage with the lovely Miss Bianca Gonzalez & VJ Drei

Erliza Karen Cabisidan - 2nd Prize: state of the art entertainment system including an Apple Ipod Touch, a Bose SoundDock, an Apple Macbook Air and a Sony Playstation 3.

Jemuel del Valle - 3rd Prize: the Canon 500D Digital SLR

The Finale Footrace winners doing the Yahoo! yodel

Congratulations too to the remaining 37 footrace hunters who each got a Globe Broadband Tattoo Prepaid Kit.

For more information about the Purple Hunt Finale, check out the blog of Miss Janette Toral, a fellow Yahoo! Power User and Purple Crew member.

And oh, the fun does not end when the finale was held as now, the Yahoo! Philippines microsite is a fun place of Purple Trivia, games and cool downloads. Be sure to check it out!

Thanks Yahoo! for bringing the purple fun to the Philippines. Cheers!

22 July, 2009

An FAQ on the Purple Hunt Finale

One of the most anticipated and grandest of Philippine events this year is definitely the Yahoo! Philippines Purple Hunt finale, which is set to paint Manila purple this Saturday, July 25, 2009.

And to shed light to some Purple Hunters' concerns, below is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs). Some questions are actually paraphrased from the microsite (click on FAQ then Purple Hunt Finale) but since there are still various scenarios per Purple Hunter, I have thus decided to delve deeper into each topic.

Where is the location of the finale?
This is actually a question that we, as Purple Crew members, cannot give the exact answer to. We may provide you with clues though and since I am primarily in-charge of Yahoo! Profiles and Yahoo! Answers, I will thus provide the link to the latter. Click HERE to view your clues, as given in Yahoo! Answers.

Or go to the microsite and take your guess as the microsite pieces by now have gradually been peeling off.

How can I enter the Purple Hunt Finale footrace?
1. Guess the location of the finale.
2. Print and present the confirmation email, together with any government issued ID for verification of your age.
3. Wear purple.
4. Crack the secret code.

Are there any conditions that apply for me to be eligible to join the footrace?
Yes. You must be at least 18 years old to take part. Please note that any form of parental consent will still not allow minors to join the said activity.

The second condition is that you do need to be physically present during the finale so you can join the actual footrace.

What IDs are considered as government-issued ones?
Passport. SSS ID. Driver's License. Postal ID. GSIS ID. Voter's ID. BIR TIN ID. Philhealth ID.

What if I do not have any government-issued IDs?
Government-issued IDs are the main type of ID that Yahoo! is accepting to verify the identity of the winner. In special cases where the person has no government-issued ID, s/he may be required to provide Yahoo! with other official government-issued documents like an NSO-certified birth certificate or NBI clearance. However, please note that the latter is not the rule but an exception so it will always be best to provide what was required and bear in mind that an entrant’s failure to validate his/her identity will result to the forfeiture of his / her participation to the finale.

Am I allowed to provide photocopies of my ID or any other required document/s?
Please note that Yahoo! will not accept photocopies of any IDs or documents.

Will Yahoo! allow us to provide IDs or documents that have lapsed validity?
No. Any ID or document that you have to present has to be valid and up-to-date.

Will Yahoo! allow Purple Hunters to bring non-Purple Hunter friends or family members? Any requirements for such?
Yes, bringing in of friends and family members is allowed. People who wish to go to the venue and join in the purple fun are not required to present any document at all. They also do not need to wear purple as only footrace participants are required to follow the said guidelines. Your companions also do not need to be at least 18 years of age. Parents or guardians though should be responsible for their children and ensure their safety and wellbeing at all times.

What is the "Crack the Secret Code" about?
It has something to do with the experience you got from hunting for the locations of the items from Phases 2 - 3. Details of this and other rules for the contest will be provided to the entrants on the day of the finale itself so recurring questions about this asking for more details will go unanswered. ***wink***

About the Footrace, what if I made it to the Footrace and I have friends who are also footrace participants. Can we help each other out?
You can't help each other out, especially in the challenges. It's up to you, really, if you want to tell others the locations of the clues if you have solved them already (but that will work against you), but essentially, you're on your own during the final hunt.

Any hints on how the footrace will go?
The footrace is much like the Amazing Race with a uniquely purple twist. It will have pit stops where a Purple Hunter will have to finish certain task/s before moving on to the next stop. The first one who reaches the end point will be announced the ultimate winner who will be bringing home the much coveted Honda Jazz car. The moment the said person reaches the final stop, the race will be halted and the second and third persons nearest to the final stop will be declared the second and third placers respectively.

What if I am not from Manila and I won the car?
In case you are non-Manila based and you won the car, then you have to cover for the shipping costs.

The first placer of the footrace wins the car. What will the second and third placers get?
The second placer wins a state of the art entertainment system including an Apple Ipod Touch, a Bose SoundDock, an Apple Macbook Air and a Sony Playstation 3 while the third placer brings home a Canon Digital SLR.

What about the rest of the Purple Hunter Footrace participants?
They each will get a Globe Broadband Tattoo Prepaid Kit for a consolation prize.

Click HERE to view the prizes.

What if I just joined the Purple Hunt during the latter phases? Am I still allowed to join the footrace?
Yes. Even if you did not make it to Phase 1 (the Purple Ticket), Phase 2 (the hunt for the Canon camera) or Phase 3 (the hunt for the Purple Crew and the Blackberry Smartphone), you may still join in the purple fun so long as you have correctly guessed the location of the finale and were able to send in an entry. Just don't forget the other requirements, okay?

What if I already won in either Phase 2 (the Canon digital camera) or 3 (the Blackberry Smartphone) and I was one of the top three (3) placers in the footrace? Will I have to give up my previous prize for the bigger prize?
If you won an item in either Phase 2 or 3 (camera or smartphone) and you won any item from Phase 4, then you still get to keep your prize from either Phase 2 or 3 and the prize from Phase 4 as well. It is only in Phase 2 and 3 that you cannot win both items.

Now I am very excited. What time do I need to be in the venue on Saturday?
The registration is from 9:00 –10:30 AM so please come on time as those who come in late will not be given the chance to register and will thus lose their chance of being in the footrace.

Let's say I have successfully registered on that day. What's the next step?
From 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM, those who have successfully registered will go through a skill-based test to shortlist the 40 people for the footrace.

Those who have been shortlisted will have a briefing at 1:00 PM.

The 40 participants will then engage on an actual footrace from 2:00 – 5:00 PM.

Again, other details of the footrace will be revealed on the day itself so if you could please content yourself with just this information for now. ***wink***

What if there are more than 40 people who were able to "Crack the Code?"
If this is the case, then the 40 slots will be raffled off among those who have successfully "cracked the code."

While the footrace is ongoing, what awaits others who do not wish to join the footrace or were unfortunately unable to be among those lucky 40 who got shortlisted?
From 12:00 NN to 6:00 PM, there will be plenty of activities at the venue such Purplescape Exhibition, Purplize Your World, Purple College, Project Purple Showcase, Purple Lounge and Interactive Games.

So let's say I won anything from this really cool and fun Purple Hunt. When is the awarding?
The awarding is on the finale day itself, from 5:30 to 6:30 PM so be sure to be there and be at your best!

I heard about a purple concert. When will that start? And who are performing?
The concert is from 7:30 to 9:30 PM. As to who are the artists, wouldn't it be more fun if such an information is kept as a surprise?

A lot of activities and surprises and purple fun are laid out at the finale so be sure to be there.

See you!

13 July, 2009

The Yahoo! Philippines Purple Hunt Phase 4

When: July 14, 2009

Specifications: The microsite will start falling apart to reveal the secret location of the Purple Hunt grand finale event. Users have to guess the location and input their answer on the microsite from July 14 – 24, 2009. Once they have successfully guessed the location, they will receive a confirmation email. Only Purple Hunters who received the confirmation email will have the chance to participate in the footrace.

The Prizes at Stake:
1st Prize: the Honda Jazz Car
2nd Prize: state of the art entertainment systemc including an Apple Ipod Touch, a Bose SoundDock, an Apple Macbook Air and a Sony Playstation 3.
3rd Prize: the Canon Digital SLR
Consolation prizes: Globe Broadband Tattoo Prepaid Kits

For the complete list with photos, please click HERE.

The Footrace
1. Purple Hunters must bring their respective confirmation emails and be at the location at 9:00 AM, wearing purple outfits. Please note that participants have to be at least 18 years of age to qualify.
2. Registration is from 9:00 –10:30 AM.
3. From 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM, those who have successfully registered will go through a skill-based test to shortlist the 40 people for the footrace.
4. Those who have been shortlisted will have a briefing at 1:00 PM.
5. The 40 participants will then engage on an actual footrace from 2:00 – 5:00 PM.

Meanwhile, from 12:00 NN to 6:00 PM, there will be plenty of activities at the venue such as the following:

· Purplescape Exhibition
· Purplize Your World
· Purple College
· Project Purple Showcase
· Purple Lounge
· Interactive Games

The event will start to wind down from 6:00 – 9:00 PM where there will be a prize presentation for the winners of Phases 2, 3 and 4, a finale programme and a Purple concert with local talents performing.

For questions or concerns, please feel free to contact your Purple Crew from various Yahoo! products like Answers, Flickr, Groups and Profiles or leave me a post or two.

Good luck and Happy Purple Hunting!

25 June, 2009

Watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen with the Y! Purple Crew

After our dinner at Trattoria Gourmet, we, the Yahoo! Philippines Purple Hunt Purple Crew members headed to the Shangri-la Plaza Cineplex to watch the blocked screening of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Yahoo! Philippines is one of the sponsors of this event thus we got tickets.

When Tamara gave us our tickets, I stared at it in wonder. It was in all black and there's a pop-up. Cool!

And yeah, I think the Yahoo! Client label added prestige to our tickets. LOL.

Since Kuya Jimmy had to dash off for another engagement, only the four of us made it to the movie. And while we were waiting to be admitted inside the theater, the four of us were sharing jokes and laughs. At one point, I was actually clutching my tummy in laughter while saying my jaws were already aching from laughing so hard. LOL.

Then we were inside the movie house and after a raffle was done by AXN (we did not win anything, dang!) and the sneak preview of upcoming movies was shown, Transformers: Revenge Revenge of the Fallen was finally unveiled to the eagerly waiting crowd.

The Plot:
Two years have passed since young Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeaouf) saved the universe from a decisive battle between warring races of robotic aliens. Despite his extreme heroics, Sam is still an average teenager with everyday anxieties about heading to college, leaving behind his girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox), and separating from his parents (Kevin Dunn and Julie White) for the first time. Of course there is the additional burden of trying to explain his departure to his newest friend and guardian robot, Bumblebee. For Sam the goal is to lead a normal university lifestyle, but to do that, he must ignore his destiny.

For more readings about the Transformers, click HERE for the movie's official website. You may also click HERE for the Wikipedia entry of the said movie.

My Verdict:
I have never been an ardent fan of the Transformers. I mean, as a child, I never really watched the show rigidly or collected any of its merchandise. I was more of a bookworm, is why. Truth be told, I came to remember the autobots' names only after I watched the first Transformers movie, which I liked, by the way.

Revenge of the Fallen is fast-paced. It is kind of noisy for me though. Or maybe it's just all those machines clashing. And boy, was it a long movie. It has amazing visual effects though as well as some funny banter among the characters so it's bearable.

As a whole, I like the movie. And I enjoyed watching it more as I was with really wacky people who punctuated our moments of viewing silence with funny comments or playful jokes.

To Yahoo! Philippines, thanks for the invite. And to my fellow Purple Crew members, thank you for your enjoyable company. I really had a great time. And oh, special thanks to Kuya Jobar for exchanging our tickets for snacks and drinks and for buying popcorn. Maybe next time your treat will extend to free meals and drinks, eh? He he he! :P

Dinner at Trattoria Gourmet with the Yahoo! Purple Crew

Last night, I had dinner with the Yahoo! Philippines Purple Crew at the Trattoria Gourmet.

The dinner's set at 6:00 PM so I left the office at 4:30 and took the MRT from the Ayala Station to the Shaw Boulevard Station. Wow. It was such an experience since after I transferred to my Makati condo, it's been months since I last took the MRT. The people were all jammed inside the train I actually had difficulty getting off at my designated stop. On top of that, one passenger sneezed that while I was huddled up in one corner, my mind automatically drifted to the ongoing Influenza AH1N1 scare. Ha!

I arrived early so I roamed around the nearby shops first. And oh, I am happy to report that this time, I did not give in to the impulsive shopper in me even when I found a really lovely pair of flats from Grendha. LOL.

When I came back to Trattoria Gourmet, Tamara and Dzurina from Yahoo! Singapore were already there so I chatted with them while munching on some appetizers.

When everybody arrived, we had our respective orders. I had the Penne with Three Cheeses and it was heavenly. Oh well, I love cheeses so anything cheesy be it pasta, chips and snacks will surely please my palate.

For my drinks, I had their really delicious ripe mango. It was good. Not too sweet and quite pulpy. Yummy. I so relished having it I actually forgot to take its picture. Ha ha!

All in all, the night was fun. There's really nothing like good food and good company. Thanks, guys. :)

Trattoria Gourmet is found in Shop Number 519, Level 5, Shangri-la Plaza, Mandaluyong. You may contact them through (+632) 637-2784.

17 June, 2009

Yahoo! Philippines Purple Hunt Phase 2 - Purple Cameras Up For Grabs!

Phase 2 of the Yahoo! Philippines Purple Hunt started yesterday and many Purple Hunters said that they have already guessed the answer to our clues. For those who are still groping in the dark, below are more clues for you.

Camera #1 - Clues - Yahoo! Purple Hunt Phase 2
Question: Where can I find the camera?
1. The location has a color in the name of the mall (not purple!)
2. The camera is in a mall owned by the Zobel de Ayala family.
3. There are new photos in Flickr that might give you more clues. Please click HERE for the link to the said pictures.
4. It is in an internet café that is one of the biggest Internet chains in the Philippines.

When you think you know where camera #1 is hidden, go to our microsite found at http://ph.yahoo.com/ and input your answer.

As we have been getting a lot of questions about how the microsite works and where the answer has to be placed, below is a step-by-step process, complete with screenshots.

Step 1. In the microsite, click on Hunt for Clues (found at the left side corner, under Shortcuts). This will direct you to the page below.

Step 2. Click on the squares (specifically, the puzzle pieces). Don’t fret when this message prompts up: Not so fast, Purple Hunter. This prize will be unlocked on _____, as shown below.

This is a treasure hunt so clues will not be given in one go. Some clues will be unlocked on certain dates and you have the option to click on Remind Me for a notification to be sent to you.

Step 3. Once you have clicked on the correct square, the clues will appear, as pictured below.

Clues will be given on a daily basis and getting the correct answer gets easier as the phase progresses. Clues also become easier to decipher. Yesterday, only three photos (pictured earlier) were given as clues. When I checked today, there are three additional photos (detailed below) to further help out our Purple Hunters.

You can guess as many times as possible. If you get the wrong answer, you will not be able to register and a prompt comes up for you to try again. The prompt says, "Sorry, your hunt has been unsuccessful this time (a)round. But keep that purple spirit alive and try again."

Remember too that the full address of the location is needed. Purple Hunters can give their answers to the clues in different variations, like 4th Level or Level 4 so long as it's the full address in the right order that we do it, which is building floor, building, street, barangay, city. It's not case sensitive so no worries about that. The format of the answer to the first clue is below:

Level, Mall Name, City

And when you are ready to give your answer, just input it in the space provided and click on Submit Answer Now (both fields are encircled in yellow).

If your guess is right, a prompt that says "Congratulations, Purple Hunter! You've found the exact location." will appear.

Once you click on "Claim your prize now!" a registration form will prompt up after your account has been verified.

The form will require you to to input your full email address, your first and last names and your mobile number. You also have the option to receive Yahoo! emails about the Purple Hunt. It is mandatory though that you click on agreeing to the Terms and Conditions and signifying your understanding of the nature of the contest.

Below is a screenshot of the Terms and Conditions for this phase. For details, please click HERE.

After clicking on the I Confirm button of the registration form, a "registration complete" message will then prompt up and inform you that a confirmation email has been sent to your email address.

The confirmation email looks like this.

For questions or concerns, please feel free to contact your Purple Crew. Just click on the specific Yahoo! product listed below and it will direct you to the Purple Crew's account in that product.

Yahoo! Answers
Yahoo! Groups
Yahoo! Profile

Happy hunting, everyone!