Earth Hour

Zero Hunger Challenge

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hapadog: Japanese Style Hotdogs

There's a newly opened store at the SM North EDSA Sky Garden that offers Japanese style hotdogs.  It's called Hapadog.  I passed by it last night and decided to take out something from what they offer.  I was given the menu but since it is a new store, I didn't know what to get.

Finally, the server told me that their bestseller is the Temp-tation.  The menu described it as a hotdog cooked like a tempura -- covered in batter and deep fried.  It is then topped with tempura sauce and the trimmings that come with the food that inspired it.  

After giving my order, a girl sitting in one corner offered me a seat and asked me if I wanted something to drink.  I said I'm fine and I'll just sit and wait for my hotdog.

While waiting for  my order, I can't help but notice the sign at the counter that says something like, "Thank you for patiently waiting."  I prepared myself to wait really long for this and realized why the girl asked me if I wanted something to drink!

Thankfully, I didn't have to wait that long for my hotdog to arrive.  It was given to me in a small black rectangular box.  My first thought was whether that was their version of a bento box.  Written in green on the side was the word Hapadog and a definition of what Hapa is.  It was something like: Hapa (adj.) a pacific islander blah blah... 

Anyway after giving me the box, the server said, "That will be 175 pesos, sir." I paid for the hotdog and went home to eat my Temp-tation.

The Temp-tation hotdog fitted the description on the menu.  I took a bite of it and got the first taste of tempura sauce: sweet and tangy.  It was also crispy because of the batter that covered it.  After a few bites however, it tasted just like any hotdog in a bun.  Perhaps because the bun tasted ordinary and although the hotdog was firm and juicy, it still tasted like something I can buy from a deli.


While the concept of dressing up a hotdog "Japanese-style" is cool and unique, what will keep the crowds away from this are the prices.  I checked the prices in the menu and the lowest priced item was at 155.  One can buy a "hap-a-dog" or half bun at 85 pesos but I think it will be good for 2 to 3 bites only.

I only tried one item though.  So I will limit my post on the temp-tation.  Did I like it?  I like hotdogs but the Temp-tation is a very expensive hotdog.  It's a novelty but I am not sure what Hapadog's target market is.  As I've said earlier, their prices will be a big factor.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Was Humpty Dumpty Really an Egg?

Last night while sitting in the darkness during Earth Hour 2011, I suddenly remembered a segment on Sesame Street that I saw as a child (see bottom).  It featured Kermit the Frog as a newsman and he was reporting Humpty Dumpty's fall and the efforts of the king's men and horses to put him back together.

Then it struck me.  Why is it that illustrations accompanying the nursery rhyme show Humpty Dumpty as  an egg?  My first step was to check the rhyme and see what it says about Humpty Dumpty.  It goes
from picturebook.com
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.
 No where in the rhyme can we find that Humpty Dumpty was an egg.  One can only deduce that he was one because all the king's men and horses could not put him back together after he fell from the wall.  Therefore he was fragile and easily broken.  What could be more fragile than an egg?

Since I couldn't stop wondering what Humpty Dumpty really was, I tried to do some research online. (As an aside, I find it really strange to do this after telling you not to believe everything that is on the Internet.)

I found several theories being put forward as to what Humpty Dumpty really was.  One of these is that "Humpty Dumpty" was an old English slang for an obese person or a clumsy person who is prone to falling down.  Another theory said that the rhyme started out as a riddle in the the early 1800s.  Over time, everyone got the answer correctly (an egg) and the riddle was not asked anymore but became a popular children's rhyme.  

I also came upon a site which says that Humpty Dumpty was actually a powerful cannon used to defend a walled city called Colchester.  The cannon was placed on a wall adjacent to St. Mary's Church.  When the city was laid to siege, the wall was destroyed by a mortar and sent Humpty Dumpty falling to the ground.  The cannon broke into pieces and all the king's men (infantry) and horses (cavalry) tried to fix it in vain.  

The most famous depiction of Humpty Dumpty was an illustration in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass.  The picture, drawn by John Tenniel in 1871, shows Alice meeting Humpty Dumpty for the first time.  In the story, Alice found Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall with his legs crossed.  The girl wondered how the egg could keep his balance. Humpty Dumpty engaged Alice in a conversation about words and their meanings which left the girl more confused than enlightened.

In the Sesame Street segment, Humpty Dumpty was put together again.  An overjoyed Kermit the Frog gave him a rather strong pat on the back that sent him falling off the wall again.  The king's men and horses went back to work on fixing him, blaming the frog for the unfortunate incident.

So was Humpty Dumpty an egg, a cannon or a clumsy obese man?  Let's see what he has to say about it. In Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass"when Alice asked him what his name means, the cranky egg replied :
`My name means the shape I am -- and a good handsome shape it is, too. With a name like your, you might be any shape, almost.' 
Equally baffling is why an egg would want to sit on a wall.  That is, however, another good topic for discussion later.

Here's the video of the Sesame Street segment:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why I Don't Believe Everything That's on the Internet

This picture circulated in almost all social networks on the Internet this afternoon. It's supposed to be a sign at an entrance of an upscale mall at the central business district in Makati, Metro Manila.  It clearly said that no poor people are allowed inside the mall, perhaps to protect their patrons from having a not so pleasant stay in their mall because of the visible "disturbing realities."

It was also a bad joke. A prank by someone or a group of people who have so much time in their hands.  A dead give away was the name of the "Corporation".  There is no such entity as "Ayala Land Corporation". It is "Ayala Land Inc" or ALI. Also, the one managing the malls is Ayala Malls and not ALI.

What surprised me was the swiftness some people online passed judgement on the mall.  Without even verifying from authorities whether the poster was true or not, some Filipino netizens posted angry words on sites like Twitter and Facebook.  Some celebrities even joined in the fray, tweeting how they were offended by the poster.

I called the people I know who work with ALI and told them about the photo.  An explanation from the company came out later and also posted in the Internet.

This incident should be a lesson for many of us.  Although the Internet is a rich source of information, we should not believe everything we find there.  We should always be discerning of whatever we pick up from the web.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Koryo's Garlic Potato

I pass by the Koryo Garlic Potato stall at the SM City North Sky Garden often and it's always packed with people.  It made me really curious and I planned a number of times to try it.  I finally got the chance to try the product tonight.

I believe the Garlic Potato comes in one size only, a mini tub.  The diced potato is deep fried and then slathered in Korean barbecue sauce.  As a final touch, it is topped with some sesame seeds.  The resulting products is sweet with a little spicy taste and yes, garlicky.  The garlic flavor isn't overpowering and gives the potato a good punch.

I think it will go well with a can Coke.  However, I will not buy from the stall because they sell it for PhP40 per can.  If that is not overpriced, consider buying a small bottle of water from them at PhP30 each. This is even the SM branded bottled water which usually sells at PhP20 in the food court.

Without the over-priced soda and water, I still enjoyed the Garlic Potato because it is a tasty snack.  The mini tub size is good for one person.  But if you do not each that much, you can share it with a friend.  I will go back and have another go for this.  But I will definitely bring my own soda.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Fear Mongering

This afternoon, I received a frightening text message from a good friend. The message read:
BBC News Flash: japan gov't confirms radiation leak at fukushima nuclear plants. Asian countries should take necessary precautions. Remain indoors first 24 hours. Close doors n windows. Swab neck skin with betadine where thyroid is, radiation hits thyroid first. Take extra precaution radiation may hit phil at starting 4pm today. Pls send to your loved ones. 
At first glance, the message looked legitimate. It came from a friend, the source is a respectable international broadcasting firm, and indeed, at the time the nuclear plants in Fukushima were being monitored for possible radiation leak.  But I was already skeptical.  It looked like another one of those text hoaxes.

The researcher in me kicked in and I wanted to get the details and facts right where they came from.  A quick check on the BBC website proved me right. I didn't find any mention of the warning on the radiation from the damaged nuclear plants going to our direction.  

I quickly informed my friend and in a few minutes he replied through a text message that it was indeed a hoax and the health department has already released information that our country will not be affected by any radiation coming from Japan.

But what was even more surprising were the news reports earlier tonight.  A state university in Manila sent home their students and closed their buildings because of that text message.  The president of the university said that he declared the suspension of classes because he wanted to ease the worries of the parents of their 30,000 students.

At the same time, there was a mad rush among panicking people to buy Betadine, a brand of antiseptic made from 10% povidone-iodine in water.  A leading drugstore reported a surge in sales of the brand, with some of their branches running out of supplies.  The health department has also come out with a statement that Betadine is useless in preventing radiation illness.

A friend also told me that there's another text message that warned people to put on raincoats or use umbrellas in case it rained tonight.  The text alleged that people might get skin cancer and other diseases brought about by nuclear wastes in the air due to the radiation leak in Japan.

I am surprised that with all the information available literally at our fingertips, people still believe these hoaxes.  There are already ways to verify such reports either from the mass media or yes, the Internet.

I have forgotten who once said that highly stressful situations bring out the best and worst in people.  While the Japanese people  face the consequences of the disaster that befell them with dignity, here we have some Filipinos who are spreading false information to spread panic. I hope people would learn to discern what is true and avoid being victimized by these fear mongers. I hope they also learn to verify the information first before spreading it blindly to other people.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

WeFeedBack

I recently joined a social network with a purpose.  It's a project from the World Food Program that aims to fight hunger in a revolutionary way.

It's called WeFeedBackan innovative global initiative using the power of our favorite food - French fries, burgers, chicken, chocolate cake (we all have a favorite) - to provide meals to hungry schoolchildren worldwide, helping them grow strong minds and bodies.

So how does the program work? First, you use the Feedback Calculator.  Enter your favorite food, estimate the cost, and you’ll instantly see how many children will receive a hot meal if you donate it or ”feedback”!  For example, I entered my favorite pansit Malabon which I estimated at PhP45 or $1.  I entered it in my feedback calculator and found out that it could feed 4 kids.  The next step is to donate the same amount (which I haven't done yet, sorry) and then we could see its impact.

You may want to join my network and let's help feed the hungry children.  You may track our "network impact" or how many children we are feeding and what we're giving them.

WeFeedback is an innovative, global campaign building on the premise that if we all do a little, we can achieve a lot. To put it in a nutshell, it’s about sharing food and changing lives.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Japan Earthquake 2011

It was a scene straight from a disaster movie. A massive tsunami strikes and engulfs a city. It washes everything in its path, cars, farmhouses, silos and even trucks. Only this one is for real. 

Japan was struck by a powerful earthquake earlier today, measuring at 8.9 magnitude.  It caused heavy damages in the cities affected.  It also triggered a massive 10 meter tsunami that brought even more damage to the country's coastline.

So powerful was the tsunami that it sent thousands of people across the Pacific Rim to evacuate.  Here in the Philippines, a tsunami alert warning was issued minutes after the quake struck.  Residents along the coastline of the North Luzon region were asked to go to higher grounds.  Concerns were also raised for loved ones who are living in areas in the Pacific.  I have a sister in Hawaii where a tsunami warning was also declared.  

Thankfully, the waves that reached our shores were not even a meter high so there were no damages reported in those areas.

But the images we see online were scary and troubling.  It's proof that when it comes to natural disasters, there's little, or nothing, that we can do.  It also brought up the question on how well our government is prepared to address such calamities.

We cannot predict when it will be our turn to get hit by an earthquake that's a massive as the one that hit Japan.  The last real devastating tremor we had was 20 years ago.  Since we share the same area with Japan, it really pays that we all should be alert at all times.  

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Gutter Language

On my way to work this morning, the radio in the bus I was riding in was tuned to a station called Energy FM. The two program hosts of the live show were named Boni, a gay man, and Charos, a female trying to act and sound like a gay man.

The two were having a great time teasing each other about their lovers and their other relationships.  Then Boni brought up a question and asked the listeners to participate.  He asked Charos what foul smell coming from her lover does she like best.

It was downhill from there. Charos said she liked the smell of her lover's decaying tooth.  Boni said that he liked the smell of his lover's fart, especially when they're having sex.  They started teasing each other using language straight from the gutter.  All the while, there was canned laughter in the background, as if the ongoing exchange was totally hilarious.  The text messages from their listeners were even worse and the hosts didn't even edit them when they read it on air.

I don't know how the management of the radio station could allow those two hosts to use that kind of language on radio at a time when kids are going to school.  Isn't it that there's a body that supposed to regulate radio broadcasts and maintain radio etiquette?

I wanted to change the radio station baut since it was a public bus, I basically cannot do anything but hear the on-going gutter speech.  The bus driver and his conductor, along with the other passengers also don't seem to mind the trash being thrown at them.

Is this what these people consider free speech?  Or is this how low our broadcast industry has gone for the sake of profit.  I hope they realize that they also have a responsibility to ensure that what they air is fit for everyone.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Earth Hour+ 2011

On my way home this evening, I passed by the World Wildlife Foundation booth in Trinoma Mall.  a young woman approached me and asked if it's all right with me if she speak about Earth Hour.

I was surprised at first and then realized that it's already the month of March.  Earth Hour asks the whole world to switch off their lights for 60 minutes to support Mother Earth every last Saturday of March.  This year it will be on March 26.

I told the girl that I've been joining Earth Hour for two years now and I will do it again this year.  But then, there's something new with the event this year.

Earlier this month, Earth Hour Executive Director Andy Ridley announced a new dynamic online platform to mark the global launch of "Earth Hour, Beyond the Hour."

This year, Earth Hour asks people to commit to an action, big or small, that they will sustain for the future of the planet.  We can share our initiatives and plan of action on the platform at www.beyondthehour.org .

At the end of our chat, the girl asked me what I would commit for Mother Earth.  I told her that I've been doing little things already like composting  instead of throwing biodegradable materials.  I also bring my own bag when I go to the grocery.

I hope you join us on Saturday, March 26, 2011 when we once again switch off our lights for Mother Earth.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Savoring Savory

While in Trinoma Mall yesterday, I decided to try the Savory Chicken Stall at the Landmark Foodcourt.  I like Savory Chicken because it is oven roasted and it's gravy is different from those of other chicken food stores.  They have several restaurants around the city and some malls.  This is the first time I saw them as part of a food court.

I tried the 155-peso "solo meal", which included a quarter of a chicken, a choice of side dish and a choice of either plain rice or yang chow rice.  There were several choices for the side dish, including fish fillet in sweet and sour sauce, pansit canton, mixed vegetables, and others.   I chose their mixed vegetables and the yang chow rice.

The part I got was a lot bigger than those from other eateries.  It was also tender and yes, juicy.  The gravy which I like the most was sufficient for the part.  The mixed vegetables also tasted really good but I was disappointed with the yang chow rice.  It didn't taste like one at all and the only thing that makes it a yang chow rice is the yellow color.

I also ordered their spinach seafood soup, which cost only PhP10 per cup when bought with the meal.  All in all I spent PhP165 for the meal, excluding the drink.  You have to shell out an additional PhP20 for a 12-oz. cup of juice or iced tea.

Inspite the rice, I still enjoyed my meal.  I didn't finish the chicken though because the serving was really too big for me.  I will try the pansit canton next time.  Too bad I didn't have a camera yesterday.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The iPad 2 is coming next week!

I woke up yesterday with the news the Apple has finally announced the new iPad.  No less than Steve Jobs who is on medical leave,  introduced the second generation of their wonder tablet.

photo from apple.com

So what's new with this baby?  Cameras! Two of them, one each in the front and back of the device.  This only means one thing: Face Time!  But aside from Face Time, the front camera can also be used for Photo Booth, the fun way to take a snapshot of yourself and be playful with it.

iPad 2 is also thinner and lighter and comes in two colors - black and white!  However, if you think that the changes are all cosmetic, Apple made sure that the inside of this tablet is also ground breaking.  It comes with Dual Core A5 chip that will make multi-tasking smoother and the apps load faster.

Apple also gave it a more powerful video chip to accomodate a new app for the iPad, iMovie (to be sold on the app store at US$4.95).  A separate accessory for this new device is a cable that connects to a TV or a projector.  They call it video mirroring because the image on the iPad screen will be magnified on an HDTV as seen on the tablet.  This will be great for presentations, watching videos created with the iMovie App and even playing games.

Apple also created a great looking cover for this iPad.  It's a magnetic cover for the front of the device.  When this cover is pulled off , the unit automatically wakes up from sleep and when it is reattached, it puts the iPad to sleep.  It can also be folded so that it becomes a stand when you're typing or surfing the Internet.

photo from apple.com

Faster, lighter and thinner.  The updates are so substantial that reportedly, some of Apple's competitors are rethinking their tablets.  Will I buy the new iPad?  Well my iPad will be one year old in May.  Admittedly, the updates on the iPad 2 will help me a lot especially at work, especially that video mirroring and airplay printing.  I love FaceTime but I already have an iPod Touch for that.  So may be I will pass on this one for now.  If the rumors were true that an iPad 3 is coming later this year, then I'll just wait for that.   My options are still open though.  Besides, the iPad 2 is coming out on March 11 in the U.S.  If past experience is a gauge, then I expect it will come to our shore after 3 to 4 months like its older sibling.  Still plenty of time to think about it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Don't Get It


A friend showed me this picture recently.  He was laughing so hard like it's the funniest photo he's seen. I looked at the photo intently and all I could see were cans of NAN milk and a big BATMAAAN at the bottom.

I asked my friend what's the connection between the cans of milk and Batman. I also asked him what's so funny about the picture.

"Don't you see?" He asked. "What am I supposed to see that's really funny about the picture." I answered.

At this point, my friend stopped laughing and a look of bewilderment was on his face.

"I really don't get it." I said with finality.

He pointed out how the cans were arranged with only the "NA" part of the brand visible.  "So?" I told him. "Wow" he said while he shook his head.  Then he asked me to sing the theme song of the old Batman TV series.

"Nananananananaa... Batmaaan..." I finally got it.

It scared that I am getting old and I couldn't understand these things anymore, the way people the generation before ours couldn't understand what makes us tick.  Now I can relate to them and maybe I should be more patient with them when they just couldn't understand.  I can't imagine myself getting confused at something that I just couldn't catch.