Earth Hour

Zero Hunger Challenge

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Harvest Chips

Out of curiosity, I tried Harvest Chips from Leslie's. the same company that gave us Clover Chips. What caught my attention was actually the flavor, Honey Sweet and Savoury Sour. I picked one without any idea what I'm in for.

I was surprised, pleasantly of course, that the chips actually tasted good. The sweetness is just right and the sour flavor acts as a good counterpoint to it. The chips are crunchy, thin and just the right size. Each one has speckles of real vegetable on it.

I think I will get another pack of this yummy treat the next time I go to the supermarket.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Beef Teridon


Beef Teridon
Originally uploaded by RVAsuncion
I had this for lunch two weeks ago at Kimono Ken in The Block, SM North. I was pleasantly surprised to find it really good. The teriyaki sauce was just the right taste, not too sweet and not too salty. The serving was very generous and the price just right. I recommend you try this when you go to Kimono Ken. In the background, you can see Kimono Ken's version of kani sticks and California Rolls, which I also found very good.

Their service was also very good, considering the place was full that day. The staff were very prompt in addressing our needs and requests. They were also ready with a smile, from the managers to the servers.

Overall, I say that I had a very pleasant experience at Kimono Ken and would go back there one day.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

NBA Finals Game 3

As I've expected, Orlando won game three by four points over LA Lakers. I was hardly surprised at all when I saw the final result on the Internet. What I didn't expect to know was that this is the first time that the Magic has won in a Finals game, in 20 years. The last time they were in an NBA finals, they were swept by their rivals.

No wonder that there was so much celebration in Orlando after Game 3. Not only that, the team even made an NBA Finals shooting record of 63 percent.

Many commentaries agree, LA lost its invincibility in this game and proved that Kobe Bryant is a mortal after all.

Monday, June 8, 2009

NBA Finals Game 2

I was in a seminar while Game 2 of the NBA Finals 2009 was being played. When I returned to the office for lunch, I asked my office mate who won and he had a big smile on his face.

"Lakers," he said, "by five points on overtime."

My initial reaction was "Whoa! Five points? It was a 25-points lead on game 1, powered by 40 points from Kobe Bryant. Did the Lakers cool down this time?

My office mate shrugged his shoulder. He said that the Lakers three stars namely, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom continued to produce points, especially Gasol who made 7 of the 13 points of his team on overtime. He added that Kobe started a bit slow in the first half, producing only 6 points in the first half. He only picked up his game in the second half when the Kobe of Game One came back.

I watched the replay of the game tonight and I think Orlando was sloppy throughout the game, even committing 20 turnovers! Dwight Howard's performance did not help his team either. The Magic was just, well, lazy throughout the game.

So Game 3 moves on to Orlando. I expect the Magic to win this game, considering the home court advantage and the strong support of their fans.

By the way, I am following the series this year because some of my office mates have placed bets on who'd be the Champion this year. I wasn't able to join them because I came in late. Losing bettors will treat the winners to an all-you-can-eat buffet lunch. Isn't that exciting?

Sunday, May 31, 2009

School's Back!

Tomorrow, some 18 million Filipino kids will troop to their schools as classes start for school year 2009-2010. I am just not sure how many of these kids will find a classroom to stay in, a chair to sit on and a desk to write on. I also wonder if all 18 million kids will have a book for each of their subjects and if these books even contain accurate and up to date information.

Of the 18 million boys and girls, 13.1 million are elementary students and 5.6 million are high school students. If you notice, there is a large disparity between the number of kids in elementary and high school. A 2008 study showed that of every 100 children who enter Grade 1, only 65 reach Grade 6, only 43 finish high school and only 2 enter college. (Manila Times)

In the meantime, the perennial problem of lack of classrooms continue to haunt the country. In spite government efforts, the current classroom to student ratio is 1:50. Daunting if you ask me because when I was in school, there were only 35 of us in a classroom. Even then, our teachers were complaining that there were too many of us in one class. I expect to see another photo of kids having classes under a tree on the front pages of newspapers the day after tomorrow.

Don't expect this problem to go away in the near future. The country has one of the highest birth rate in the region at 2.3 percent or some 1 million or more babies born in a year. Give or take seven years and these babies will also demand for classrooms.

The lack of teachers is still another problem that's been with the system for a long time. Some teachers are tasked to teach several grade levels at a time. With the low pay they receive, some leave the country to work as house helpers in other countries. Aside from the small number, the quality of some mentors are also questionable.

The children who will go back to school tomorrow have other problems to face. One is the high price of school supplies. Notebooks, school pads, pencils and ballpens have become more expensive in recent years. I looked around for school bags last Friday and I found out that the average price of each is 400 pesos. Parents with more than two children going back to school tomorrow will need at least a thousand pesos for school bags alone.

Then there's also the need to buy shoes and school uniforms. Even if the education department kept repeating that school uniforms are not compulsory. I think it would be more expensive in the long run to buy clothes for kids to wear to school. What parents would want their child to go to school in worn out or tattered clothes?

The most recent concern of course is the spread of the A H1N1 influenza virus. The weather bureau expects a rainy first week of classes. It would be damp and cold, a great environment for viruses to flourish. Putting 50 kids in one classroom does not help of course. There's also the lack of lavatories and toilets in most schools. This may not be a problem in private schools or even government schools in the city, but those in the far flung areas of the country may be in need of these facilities.

Government promises to eliminate most, if not all the usual school opening kinks in the future. Unless it gives education the attention and action it deserves, these problems will remain for future generation of school children.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Books for every Filipino

Our President has finally acted on the controversial import duty imposed on books by the Department of Finance and the Bureau of Customs. Yesterday, she ordered the department to to scrap the taxes imposed on imported books and reading materials. (I have a post on this here)

According to her spokesperson, "The President wants books to be within reach of the common man. She believes reading as an important value for intellectual formation, which is the foundation of a healthy public opinion necessary for a vibrant democracy.” (The Philippine Star)

Thank you Mrs. President for your concern for the Filipino people. Unlike your subordinates in the finance department who have limited or narrow appreciation of the importance of books in learning, you have shown your desire to make books within our reach. Still, many of us think twice before even buying a copy of a book we desire.

Even without the added tax the DOF wanted to impose, books are presently beyond reach of the common man. Most paperback books cost more than 300 pesos, hardbounds cost more. Even local publications are priced not lower than 200 pesos, a princely sum for many Filipinos who earn just 275 pesos a day. That is why in many cases, books are not even in the list of essential things to buy for many Filipinos. I for one has to save just to buy a book and pray that when I have enough money to get it, the book will still be there. Indeed, there is still a lot to do if you really want books to be "within reach of the common man."

One of the things you could do is to provide for public libraries. Local governments may set up libraries in their areas that could provide reading materials for their constituents. They do not necessarily need to buy new books since there are hundreds of ways to get stocks for their libraries.

I remember when I was small, this was at the height of the Martial Law years, our community has a small public library where one can come and freely read books. I don't know when this library was erected but before I got to college, it was gone. The old structure was torn down and in its place now stand a carwash,

While some communities continue to have public libraries, these are through efforts of private citizens who probably share the President's belief in the importance of reading in intellectual formation. These libraries receive little, if any at all, support from local governments.

Many of my fellow book lovers have come up of ingenious ways to spread the joy of reading, There's bookmooching where one gets credit for giving someone else his book. He could use this credit to ask for a book from other people who will in turn get credit for giving him the book.

Why can't government apply something like this and give individual book donors credit that they could use to buy new books for themselves? This will encourage many people to give away books they have read to those who cannot afford them and they could buy new books which they could donate again in the future.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Clowns in Forums?

I frequent several forums online to get connected with people who share my interests. Some of these are very good sources of information, especially those on technical and computer related topics since many experts of various fields also frequent these sites.

One of the advantages of these sites is I can get help on some technical problems almost swiftly and reliably because I am certain that those who answer my queries have encountered my problems or have information about them.

Lately though, I noticed that some members of my online groups have become dependent on this forum and became lazy to even do simple searches for their problems. In one computer related forum that I am in, answers to some of the problems raised were easily found in the user's manual or even in the Help option. I often wonder if these members are just too lazy to look for the solutions and rely on others to find it for them.

Another thing I noticed is the Off Topic option for many of these forums. Although it's okay to ask something like, where to get something for other things beside the topic on hand, other members actually ask mundane things.

In one forum, I was surprised to see a member asked where he could treat his son for his 1st birthday. Another member asked where he could find clowns. I think information for these things are found in classified ads or a simple Google search can give the member answers. To ask a forum that centers on computer related things about these mundane things is just too much for me. Of course I could choose not to read or respond to these queries but merely seeing them on that space is irritating. It muddles the forum and wastes bandwidth.

There are other "sins" committed on these online groups but one particular question that hits a raw nerve in me is "Please help me decide whether to buy this product." One time, I couldn't help it anymore, I responded by telling the person that other people cannot decide for him because only him knows what he needs. There were those who agreed with me and of course, some called me an a***ole.

I think some fora are made as  venues for sharing ideas and information of people who have a common interest. I would like my groups to remain that way. While some off-topics are permissible, I hope other people do not use it not because the information they need is not available elsewhere, but because they are just too lazy to look for it.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Books are Evil

Books are evil. They are very addictive. Once a person picks up and opens one, he is put under its spell. The moment he starts reading, he is powerless to stop and put it down until he finishes reading it.

Reading alters the mind, one will start imagining things, go to different places and meet new people. At times, one may even begin to ponder about life itself and develop new ideas and become aware of the world around us. Indeed, books are bad for everyone.

That is why our clever government, the Department of Finance in particular, decided to keep books away from you and me. Starting March this year, government imposed duties on imported books. No more free importation of books. Custom inspectors will now have the sole authority to determine whether books could contribute the education, cultural development and well-being of Filipinos. These type of books are charged 1% duties. If Mr. Inspector thinks a book does not belong to this category, the importer must pay higher duties to get his items. By the way, it takes time to do this sorting thing so Mr. Importer must also pay for the handling and storage fees of the books.

Thank you people in the finance department for this directive. You have single handedly saved Filipinos from the bad effects of books by making books potentially unavailable and unaffordable for them. Now, only the elite who could afford it and have the opportunity to read books. Books are bad for people like you because they could make a new generation of ordinary Filipinos who could question policies like this one.

Let those Filipinos who cannot buy imported books make do with those produced locally but contain factual errors and twisted point of views.

With people like you in government, do we even have to wonder why we continue to lag behind our neighbors in terms of education.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bananas!


I love bananas.  Here in the Philippines, we have several types of bananas.  Small and fat, long and thin, yellow, red, white and even green bananas.  I love bananas because they are easy to eat, just peel off the hygienic natural packaging and you’re ready to chomp on them.  They also contain lots of vitamins and minerals.  My meal is almost incomplete without it.
I bought a variety we call saba.  This one is often used for the banana que I kept on having as merienda.  But this type of banana can be cooked in different ways.  My father likes it fried in oil and usually eat this during breakfast. I cooked some in two of the most common methods:  boiled and sweetened.  
I boiled the bananas with the peel on and had them for my mid-morning snack.  I was happy as can be, of course.  I also ate some while surfing the Internet.  Though it’s gone cold for the length of time that lapsed since I cooked it, it still tasted good.  In fact it tasted refreshing on a warm morning we had today.
In some parts of the Philippines, particularly in the Visayas, saba is cooked before they are fully ripened.  Then they eat with bagoong, the smelly fish sauce that is uniquely Filipino.  I haven’t tried this one yet but maybe someday, when i get the courage to do it. 
The sweetened bananas were reserved for dessert after lunch.  I cooked the bananas by boiling them, peeled of course,  in a mixture of brown sugar and water.  For added flavor, I placed a couple of tablespoons of the preserved jackfruit I was keeping in the fridge.  It was so delicious I couldn’t stop myself from eating a few pieces even though they were still hot.  I usually put some shaved ice to make it cold.  Other people even put some milk to make it creamier.
I ate this while watching the TV news after lunch.  Then I had some more of both the boiled and sweetened ones for merienda.  Unfortunately, I ran out of ice to shave that I contented myself by eating eat just cold and not chilled.
I had more bananas after dinner and in fact, I plan to eat the rest of the boiled bananas during breakfast tomorrow.
You may say that I really love bananas but I do!  I go bananas over bananas!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me x43

Today's my 43rd birthday.  When I was younger, I thought 43 years was too old, ancient.  I imagined myself when I am 43 I would be weak and frail, wearing eyeglasses and taking everything in a relaxed manner.

Now that I am 43 years old, I still feel okay.  Not weak nor frail, though I feel some pains here and there which I attribute to normal wear and tear.  I am wearing glasses and taking everything in stride now, though.

So what happened on my 43rd birthday?  Summer was officially announced over by the weather bureau.  The first typhoon of the season has entered our country.  It was raining the whole day in the southern parts of Luzon, including Manila but it was dry here in Bulacan.  We had dark, cloudy skies the whole day though.  It rained only in the afternoon and only until early evening.

The World Health Organization also raised the pandemic phase of the Human-Swine Flu to level 5 which meant that we are getting close to confirmation of a human to human spread of the virus.  The organization also clarified that there were only 7 deaths confirmed due to the flu and not 150 deaths as earlier reported.  On the local front, the health department continue to assure the public that the disease has not reached our shores yet and advised those going to the affected areas like the US and Mexico to take the necessary precautions.

Later, I chanced upon an article in the Internet that said US President Obama's term is a presidency of crises.  He already has the financial crisis in his hands and when things start to perk up, this health issue arose.  No wonder his hair is getting gray and frazzled.

He's also beset by controversy over his decision of making public the methods used in interrogating inmates in Guantanamo Bay.  Pundits say that this would put Americans overseas in grave danger since their enemies now know how they deal with their prisoners and these people may use this methods on their American captives.  It's really a ghost that some of the American leaders created upon their people and it's quite sad.

I spent the whole day replying to the greetings sent to me by friends on Facebook and other networking site I am a member of.  My mother called me early in the morning, followed my father.  My sisters called me in the afternoon.  They all greeted me a happy birthday!  My nieces in the US even sang happy birthday to me, so sweet.

I asked the house helper to cook pansit, the traditional birthday fare to wish me a long life.  She also cooked menudo and mixed vegetables.

Over at the American Idol, there was a surprise bottom 3 dweller, Adam!  Everybody's favorite suddenly found himself in danger of getting eliminated and going the way of Daughtry.  But he was later declared safe and Matt finally gets the door.  I think this was a strategy by the producers to make fans to go on a voting frenzy next week.  Let's see if Adam goes home next week.

End of Summer 2009

Today marks the official end of the summer season. The Philippine weather bureau or PAG-ASA announced that this year's summer is quite short. I say short but terrible.

The two hottest days recorded in history occurred this year. I expect my electric bill to really go skyhigh this month because I couldn't stand the daytime heat and my air conditioner had to work full time. It was so hot this summer that I had a bout with my allergies several times this season.

As we say goodbye to summer 2009, we meet the rainy season with not one but two typhoons. As I write this, the weather bureau is already tracking two low pressure areas developing in the southern parts of the country. They are, most likely, going to develop into typhoons.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Small Wonder

Apple did it again. The wise guys at the Cupertino based company were able to cramp 4GB of memory in a capsule that's smaller and thinner than a thumb drive.



I'm talking about the new 4GB iPod Shuffle that I recently purchased online. It's so small that my initial reaction was that of fear, fear that I might lose it within a month or so. Thank goodness it has a clip that is sturdy enough to keep the iPod from falling off when I attach it like a lapel on my shirt.

The latest iPod, a third generation Shuffle, is packed with features that were recently unavailable to the line that one would wonder where these are packed inside a space that is just a few centimeters thick (or thin).

The new Shuffle, as mentioned earlier, has 4GB of disk space, twice the last space its last iteration had. That's the same size as my old but still working iPod Mini. It has a battery life of around 10 hours. And now, one can make multiple playlists and be prompted by a female speaker, known as the VoiceOver feature.

At first, I thought the voice would come up everytime a new song is about to be played. A female voice would tell the title and artist of the song currently playing when I click and hold on the remote control attached to the earphones. Hold on to the remote until a tone is heard and the VoiceOver will tell the playlists available and just click to select it. Two clicks would transfer to the next song and three clicks would go back to the previous song. The volume control is also found on the remote control.

There's also a switch on the body to turn the shuffle on and off. Use the same switch to tell the Shuffle how to play the songs, whether in sequence or in random order. There's a light indicator for the remaining battery power. To get a reading, turn off the shuffle and then on again. VoiceOver will tell the listener how much power is left (ex. Battery 75% full). Oh, when the shuffle is switched off, it will play for a few seconds, so there will be no disruption in listening while checking the battery.

I took a picture of the shuffle and found it even smaller than a favorite Filipino sweet, the Chocnut. See for yourself in the photo below.



A USB cable is included to charge the iPod through the computer. This is also the same cable used for syncing with iTunes. The user will be prompted to download the VoiceOver kit on the first connection. I have included around 5 playlists already, including the one I will use while I exercise. The iPod Shuffle is so light it did not affect my walking exercise when I tried it.

In spite its size, I am confident that this small wonder would last a long time. I know because I can attest to the quality of an Apple product. Thanks to my iPod Mini and iBook.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Vote Earth!



Let's switch off our lights for our beloved earth on March 28 at 830PM.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Goodbye Francis M.

Yesterday, the Philippine Music Scene lost one of its own. Francis Magalona, an artist who made rap music a relevant form of music in the country succumbed to leukemia at the age 44. He fought the disease since he was diagnosed with it in October last year. Except for an initial appeal for help from his colleagues, he battled the disease silently, offering information only through his blog by chronicling his fight.

Francis M, as he is more popularly known, burst into the scene as a teenage actor. Making teen-themed movies and appearing in television shows geared towards the teen crowd.

He would later come out with a hit rap music entitled, "Kababayan". The song became an anthem for Filipino pride and nationalism. While his contemporaries came out with inane rap music, Francis M made social commentaries through his music.

While his popularity waned a bit in later years due to the influx of bands and other new talents, he remained a moving force of Original Pilipino Music or OPM. He collaborated with new bands and produced other talents.

Goodbye Francis M. Rest in peace. Your music will live on.

Friday, February 13, 2009

30 Book Challenge

I entered a challenge in one of my Shelfari groups to read 30 or more books in 2009. To make the challenge even more exciting, I must read a number of books in the categories identified by the administrator.

This means that I do not only read books in economics or science fiction to meet the 30 book requirement. I must also read biographies, books by European and Filipino authors, non-fiction and other types of books.

At first I thought that I could complete the challenge by the middle of this year but due to unforeseen events (what a lame excuse I know) I am still stuck with my 3rd and 4th books for the year. And it is almost March! That means in the next nine months, I will have to finish some 26 books to complete this challenge.

So wish me luck everybody. I should be reading a book instead of doing this post!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Filipina Flower Expo 2009



We went to the Filipina Flora Expo 2009 at the Quezon City Hall grounds yesterday. The event featured a competition for the best floral arrangement and garden design. There was also a display of different species of orchids that were so pleasing to the eye

Here's one that really caught my eye because of the color of the specks in the white petals.



There were other displays in the grounds, including Ikebana arrangements. Here's my favorite.



I have other photos of the other plant species we saw in the expo. There's a link to my Flickr photos at the sidebar of this page. It's for everyone to see so just drop by and enjoy.

Of course it is still different to see and actually experience the flowers and plants in the expo which will run until February 16. Entrance fee is also cheap, 30 pesos for adults and 20 pesos for senior citizens.

Friday, February 6, 2009

It can only get worse...

Today's newscast was peppered with stories about price increases. The on-going shortage of supply of LPG caused its price to jump to 600 pesos per 11 kilograms cylinder. I bought mine 2 weeks ago at only 500 pesos and if things do not improve, my next cylinder might cost more than 600 pesos. Those LPG Suppliers are even predicting the price to increase every week until, they say, the problem eases or supply becomes normal again. In the meantime, our energy department secretary washes his hands off the problem and blames everybody else.

Another commodity that is about to have a price increase is water. The head of the agency in charge for water announced that it is inevitable, blaming the problem to the global financial crisis. What was even irritating with this news is that just last month, this same person proudly reported to the people that there was no need to increase the price of water until early next year. And confronted with this, he said that the law creating his agency stated that they could increase prices to match inflationary factors. Again, government just shrugged its shoulder and at the rate these people blame the global financial crisis for all our problems, expect the worst in the coming days.

The other commodity which will increase its price this month is rice, our staple food. The grains agency heady said that this will be temporary because of dwindling supplies but will ease as soon as the summer harvest arrives. However, the chief of the International Rice Research Institute painted a grimmer picture. He said there would be less rice for us because Filipino farmers did not produce enough of the grains and hence, they don't have enough money to plant for the next season. With this kind of statement, expect some unscrupulous traders to take advantage of the situation and get the prices of rice sky high as in the same period last year. In fact, prices of rice has already gone up. The one I'm buying used to sell for 34 pesos two months ago, now it is at 37 pesos. I wouldn't be surprised if it increases to up to 40 pesos again or even more.

The newscast also carried a report of how average Filipinos like me are coping up with these hard times. I echo the sentiment of one distraught lady, "We spend this much already, but how much do we earn?"

They say we Filipinos are as resilient as the bamboo plant. But sometimes, even the bamboo breaks.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Isolation

Our office was like an isolated island this day. We didn't have Internet connection the whole day. We were cut off from our email, our contacts, and out sources of data.

We were used to just calling our contacts and asking them to send the data we needed through email. But today, we were back to asking one of our clerks to leave the office and pick up the data. Talk about going back to basics.

While waiting for the ICT guys to get back our connection, my co-workers and I contemplated on our helplessness without an Internet connection. Some say that we have become too dependent on the technology that we are now slaves to it.

As usual, I disagreed. We are merely taking advantage of the technology because it is available and it makes our job easier. We may be dependent on it but we could, if needed be, always use the old ways.

Our day at the office ended and the connection was still out. The tech guys told us that the server conked out and it will take until tomorrow till they can get it running.

By the way, the messenger hasn't returned yet when we left the office.

Monday, January 19, 2009

SPORE

Last December, my brother installed a new game called Spore in our home PC. The game was created by MAXXIS, the same people behind the hugely popular "The Sims" and "The Sims2", two of my favorite computer games. I immediately immersed myself in the game and found it highly entertaining.

The object of the game is to help your creature evolve into a civilization that will ultimately conquer the universe. You begin as a single-cell organism, spored by a crashing asteroid, and go through a series of evolutionary processes. The creature's brain gets bigger at each milestone until it develops a civilization, conquer nations in the entire planet and so on.

I was so proud when I was able to evolve from a single-cell organism to a land dwelling creature in less than an hour. Before the week ended, I already had a tribe with creatures using weapons, fishing and killing off their rival tribes.

Then my nephews and niece came. It took them less than a day to evolve their creature into a tribe and in less than a week, they conquered other planets. Not only that, their creatures were so beautifully designed and made mine look like a work of a 5 year old kid. My 15-year old nephew even found tricks and shortcuts that I didn't even know existed.

Meanwhile, my creatures are still languishing in their tribal existence. They can't even neutralize the purple tribe which is so treacherous. Adding salt to injury, the inhabitants of my 10-year old nephew's planet came in a spaceship one day, abducted my tribe and summarily dumped them in a sea of lava.

Rudeness

Is rudeness now the norm than the exception in this country?

Last weekend, I went to take a walk in the nearby mall. It was packed with people of all sizes and yet there were some children running around and making a ruckus. One boy bumped into me and even tried to push me aside. I was taken aback and in reaction I looked for his adult companion who was nowhere to be seen. As I walked away, the same boy bumped into me again and this time I told him to stop running around as the place was not a park. Instead of listening to me, the boy tried to push me again, I repeated my request. A young woman approached me and pulled the boy away. No "sorry" or "excuse" and they left without even looking at me.

This led me to thinking: How many times have I been subjected to such rude behavior? Not once, but many times. I am not even sure if I were guilty myself.

Just recently, I went to attend a wedding in a Catholic church and there was this woman who works for the church giving instructions to the people. Being a church worker, you would expect that she would be patient and courteous but no. She was barking at people, treating us like we were some insignificant matters.

There was also this female salesclerk in a computer shop who wouldn't even answer your question about their product simply because she believes you will not buy. I did buy the product from the same store after somebody else assisted me. I overheard the first clerk told her co-worker that I was her client first. I smiled at her and told her that she didn't want to help me so how could I be her client.

I wonder where the boy got the idea that it is okay to bump other people and even try to push them aside when they want to. I just hope that the boy would learn someday how to say sorry or excuse me even if his adult companion do not think it's necessary.

Let's hope he won't grow up like that church woman or that salesclerk.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Update no. 1

A belated happy new year to everyone. I know 2009 is almost three weeks old but I've been quite busy during the holidays. The schedule was quite hectic but fun. Fun because our family got together again after a number of years. We celebrated the 50th anniversary of our parents wedding. Not only was it a reason to have a reunion but it was also a great excuse to dress up in formal wear.

For my sisters who came from different parts of the globe, it was also time for a grand vacation, and it was quite a vacation. For one we travelled 18 hours by road to Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, stopping along the way to visit Paoay, Batac, Laoag Bangui and Vigan. I hope the kids learned something about the country of birth of their parents.

The trip also confirmed my belief that the beauty of the Philippines is not in its cities but in the countryside. We were treated with scenes of green rice paddies, flying birds and happy people.

Speaking of people, it seemed that a lot of people from the cities flocked to the northern part of Luzon during the Christmas break. It was a long vacation for many folks so they must have taken the opportunity to pack their bags and go to the North. What happened was during our stay in Vigan, we had a hard time looking for a place to stay. Blame me for not making a reservation before making the trip. Luckily, we found a place to stay in a highway hotel!

After the trip, we promised ourselves that the next time we go to Ilocos, we'll take the plane.