Earth Hour

Zero Hunger Challenge

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Things to See at the Nayon Filipino

Filipinos about my age would still remember the Nayon Filipino (Filipino Village) in what is now Terminal 2 of the international airport. The park was a showcase of the best tourist destinations in each region of the country.  It was a favorite place to go to during our school field trips.

Unfortunately it had to be dismantled when previous governments ago decided to build a new airport.  A new park was built in the former Clark Air Base and it was much smaller than its predecessor.

We visited the park last Thursday.  It is only an hour or less away from Manila.  It is easy to get there from the main gate of the base since there are directional signs along the way.

Here are some of the things one can see in the park.

The Heroes Park which features a replica of the Aguinaldo mansion.

Nayong Filipino

the Mabini house

Nayong Filipino

and the Barasoain Church where the first Congress of the Philippines met.

Nayon Filipino

There are also mini villages representing those from the Mountain Province.

Nayong Filipino

Nayong Filipino

Nayong Filipino

Nayong Filipino

There were also representations of characters from Filipino myths and legends like Mariang Sinukuan, Malakas and Maganda, and others

Nayong Filipino

Nayong Filipino

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There's a cultural show three times a day at the Teatro near the Heroes Park that features dances from the colonial times, Mindanao and of course during the barrio fiesta.  I only wish that they get more graceful dancers and they improve the seating arrangement.

While the new park does not evoke the same feelings as the old one, it's still worth to visit and show off to your visitors.

Nayong Filipino

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Rega Announces Planar 3 Turntable

While I was busy in February to March, something great slipped my attention. Rega announced an update of their award-winning turntable RP3 which they called the Planar 3 2016.

I guess by now you have guessed that I am actually looking for a new turntable to upgrade my Rega RP1 with.  I love my RP1 but I feel that I have outgrown it.  It still is running very well but I did give it the performance pack as a minor upgrade.

Rega explained on its website that it took them two years to develop the new Planar 3, rebuilding it practically from the ground up and with only two components being carried over.  The improvements promise to bring "improved ergonomics, usability and first and foremost, sonic performance"

So here are the details of the Rega Planar 3 2016 straight from the Rega website:

RB330 tonearm - Designed using the latest 3D CAD & CAM technology, the new RB330 is the culmination of more than 35 years of tonearm design experience.  Featuring a brand new bearing housing, and our latest tonearm tube designed using intelligent redistribution of mass ensure this arm will exhibit fewer points of possible resonance. Extreme stability with almost friction free movement from the new high precision bearing assemblies guarantees to gather more information from your vinyl than ever before.

  •  Featuring a new bias assembly, re-designed stiffer vertical bearing housing, integrated
  •  arm clip and an improved spring housing with easier to read numbers.
  •  Rega made, new low capacitance phono cable with Neutrik plugs,
  •  Improved lower friction, precision horizontal and vertical bearings
  •  New design 100g mild steel balance weight.

Plinth - High gloss acrylic, laminated plinth, stiffer and vastly improved appearance, ergonomically positioned power switch.Two plinth finishes at launch: gloss black & gloss white
Double braces - Improved thicker 3mm phenolic bottom brace and new metalised skin phenolic top brace.
Bearing housing – Re-designed brass main hub central bearing, improved fit and construction reducing stress on the bearing itself.
Sub platter - Re-designed sub platter, improved accuracy and improved stiffness.
Platter - New float glass ‘Optiwhite’ polished rim 12mm – Improved accuracy in manufacture and stunning looks.
Re-designed foot - New improved foot to increase stability and reduce vibration transfer.
24V motor - Improved new motor control PCB with integration for the addition of TT-PSU for electronic speed change and improved advanced anti-vibration circuit (sold separately).
Motor cover tray with integrated cooling.

There are still no details how much this baby will cost. I hope it will be within my budget so it can be my early bonus for myself.  As to when it will come to our shores, I asked a local dealer and he gave me a "probably by June" period.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Where Have You Been All My Life? by Villagers

This is not a review, just my impression of this album.  However, I have to confess that its title might as well be my initial reaction after hearing this album  from the Irish band, Villagers.

I didn't know anything about this band until Spotify recommended them - this particular album -  since I listened to Sufjan Stevens. I don't even know the kind of music they make until I listened to it and instantly liked them.

I found out later that the album is actually a re-work of materials from their first three albums.  Now what band would come out with a compilation of limited earlier works?  And they even completed the album in one day in London.

The 11 songs on this album are stripped down versions of the original release but they worked for me.  Besides, I am not particularly fond of music with too heavy production and overdubs.  Here, the voice of the singer, Conor J. O'Brian was pushed front and center with only a minimal number of acoustic instruments backing him up (although in some songs there were quiet electronic music),  The effect was a quiet, introspective album which makes its listeners focus on the lyrics.  It was as if O'Brian was confessing to his listeners.  In some songs, he openly talks about his sexuality.

As it is, I think this is a good introduction to the band. My copy is a green colored vinyl that came with a voucher to download its digital version with three bonus tracks. This is one album that I could listen through from start to finish.  The album closes with one of my favorite country songs, "Wichita Lineman" and I have no complains about their version.   

I will also listen to the records where these materials came from, though I already listened to Darling Arithmetic where I believe majority of the pieces came from.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Facebook Reactions Now Available Everywhere

Wow, I didn't know that the Philippines was among the few countries where Facebook tested its Reactions - those emoticons that appear when you press on the "Like" button long enough- since October last year.  But a few minutes ago, Facebook officially released the Reactions to everyone on their social network/

I actually enjoy using these emoticons because it gave me more flexibility in giving feedback to my friends's post. It was a bit constricting before when there was only the "Like" button. I mean how do you react to news about the passing of a friend's relative? "Like" doesn't do the job well, does it?

When they first released the Reactions last year, Facebook included a "Yay" button which was a smiling and blushing yellow orb.  Too bad they dropped it after a few months. Maybe it didn't have enough users to make the Facebook guys to keep it.

Anyway, "Wow" is good enough for me. But I hope I wouldn't get to use that "Angry" button too often.

To add a reaction, hold down the Like button on mobile or hover over the Like button on desktop to see the reaction image options, then tap either Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad or Angry.  For those looking for the "Dislike" button however, I don't think it will come anytime soon.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

You Now Need to Shop at Least $45 at Amazon to Avail of its Free Shipping Option

If you are someone like me who shops on Amazon,com and avails of their free shipping, you will now need to buy at least $45 worth of items before you can have your item shipped for free.  Let me make it clear though that this offer is available only in the US of A or when you ship your items to a U.S. address.

Add at least $25 of books in your cart and all other eligible items in the order also ship free, An eligible item has a "FREE Shipping" messaging on the product detail page, that is fulfilled and shipped by Amazon and contributes to your free shipping order minimum.  The site says the method takes about 5 to 8 business days but per my experience, most of my orders take only five days maximum.  

The online retail giant did not offer any explanation for the increase but many suspect that it's a way to lure more customers to their Prime service.  Amazon Prime offers a free two-day shipping for it's members. Aside from this, the $99 annual membership also comes with free music and video streaming.  Be warned however that again, the free streaming is only available for customers who are in the U.S.  

For more information on this, click here.