Earth Hour

Monday, October 21, 2013

What people did to waste time before the Internet

I recently came across this funny comic strip fromNitrozac and Snoggy on the The Joy of Tech website and I'm sure you will also find it amusing.  I belong to the generation that did not have Internet when we were younger and many of the things that today's generation find commonplace were not available to us.

We didn't have email, YouTube, Google or even MMPORPG. But we did have snail mail, TV, the library and outdoor games with which we spend most of our idle time.  And as the comic underneath many of our activities involved thinking and physical exertion.  Enjoy and for more tech related cartoon, visit

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Nuffnang Philippines Takes You #Into The WILD in Blogpolis 2013

Get ready everyone. Nuffnang Philippines is taking you to the Information Jungle! Presenting Blogopolis 2013, a day-long event open to everyone – bloggers, social media influencers, students, digital marketing officers, and advertisers, and anyone who is interested in the world of digital, particularly social media. 

With the surge of social media, and other online platforms,  Nuffnang Philippines wants to help you make sense of the digital world..  The event will include plenary sessions in the afternoon, and a post-conference party at night where key influencers in the industry will be awarded. Key speakers will be discussing social media know-how and digital marketing and advertising trends. 

Here’s a list of speakers who will be sharing relevant digital marketing and social media insights:
  • Abe Olandres for The Cycle of Ads: How to Make Social Media Advertising Effective 
  • Aisa Ipac for Taking your Readers Offline: Successful Ways to Mount a Blog Event 
  • Christine Dychiao for Blog Fund: 10 Ways to Guide Back Traffic to Your Blog Using Social Media 
  • Googly Gooeys (Tippy and Pong Go) for The Media Kit: Creating a Compelling Blog and Social Media Proposal 
  • Jim Paredes for The New Nation 2.0
  • Josh Vilanueva for Youtube: The Next Frontier 
  • Lori Baltazar for Podcasting 2.0: The Podcast is Alive
  • Aris Olea (Creator of ConjuRain), Macky Lopez (Gwiyomi “Nasaan na si Mikay?”) for Going Viral 

Nuffnang will also hold its first Nuffie Awards to recognize the contributions of selected online influencers.  So if you're interested, come to Blogpolis 2013 #Into the Wild on November 16, 2013 at the Hotel Intercontinental Manila in Makati City.  Registration starts at 12:30PM.

For Blogopolis updates, visit Nuffnang’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. Or visit the official website:

Monday, October 14, 2013

What Reader Species Are You?

Hi everyone! I would like to share with you what I found on the Internet a while ago. Laura E. Kelly developed an infographic that shows classifications of book readers based on their habits and practices.  It follows the  Linnaean classification charts of living things, you know the domain, class, family, genus, species sort of thing for plants and animals.  I had fun using it that's why I also want you to check out what species of book reader you really are. I am what she calls a "cross-species mutt."

Please include attribution to Laura E. Kelly with this graphic. (Click to view at original large size.)
What Species of Reader Are You?--Infographic

Visit for more about books, reading, and authors.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New Food Items from Muji

Muji is known for their cool household products. I for one love their storage boxes and their bedroom and bath textiles. Another favorite is their Cedar Wood Bars.  But they also sell food products like green tea, marshmallows , and even sauces.

They recently announced some new products and I dropped by my favorite branch at Robinson's Magnolia to try them.

I bought a pack of Rice Snack in Soy Sauce flavor.. The rice balls are crispy and the soy sauce flavor is very apparent.  It's a bit salty for my taste but I have been limiting my salt intake so perhaps for some of you, it will just taste right.  It's a very light snack and will not make you feel guilty for indulging.

 Another new food product I've been wanting to try is the Mini Ramen.  Actually I planned to buy this one during the long weekend but thanks to the typhoon and heavy monsoon rains, I had to hold my plans until this weekend. 
This comes in three variants but I chose to try the Kimchi.  The sales clerk told me that there are three ways to enjoy this ramen.  You can eat it as it is like a crunchy snack or you can put it in a cup of hot water.  But you can also  cook it with vegetables and other stuff for the complete ramen experience.
I haven't tried it in any way but I will update this post once I get the chance to taste it.

Friday, August 16, 2013

My Starbucks Card

I finally got my Starbucks card last week. It's a prepaid/loyalty card that you can use to purchase your favorite drink at Starbucks and earn points to get rewards.  It was the last day of their promotion where you load PhP1,500 and you get an additional PhP300 load free.  I have to thank the girl at the counter for convincing me to do so. 

It took me awhile to get the card because I read a lot of rants online about how hard it was to register the card on their website,  True enough, the girl at the counter told me to wait for a few days before I register my card because their website has been experiencing, ahem, technical difficulties.  Oh yes, I told her, I read that your website crashed all the time,
 I took her advice and registered my card just last night.  It only took me some minutes to register since the website was still going crazy.  I just wonder why a big company like this launched a promo without totally preparing their system.  Like, didn't they know how many frequent customers they have that would want to avail of their card?
Anyway, after getting the confirmation for my registration I got the message that I am entitled to a free grande size of any handcrafted drink of my choice. All I need to do is show my Starbucks card to the cashier on my next visit.

I didn't waste time and went to my favorite Starbucks café this afternoon to redeem my gift. Guess what the cashier told me.  The guy at the counter told me that their system was still a little loopy and I need to wait a few more days for my card to appear in their system.
I really showed on my face my disgust with his comment.  Poor guy told me that he will still try to see if my card works.  Wonder of wonders it did and I got my free grande size drink.  I chose a hot café mocha and shared it with my tiny mustachioed friend below.

So I am off to a good start to get my first reward.  I only need 11 more stars to receive a complimentary grande drink.  Or I can buy 10 bags of Starbucks coffee beans using my card to receive a free bag of beans.

for more info visit This blog is not associated in anyway with Starbucks Philippines.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Muji Pens and Cat Clips

I love Muji products. I actually visit their store in Robinson's Magnolia every week.  I especially love their desk and stuff organizers.  I also bought some bedroom linen from them because of their simple, no-frills style.

Recently I bought a pen from the store and was surprised to see how smooth it writes on paper. I've heard about people who actually collect these pens and now I know why. I bought another set of three pens and might buy more. They cost more than ordinary pens but they actually are worth the price.


While buying the pens, I also discovered some paper clips shaped like cats.  I like cats and these clips are so cute.  I am not sure if they can hold some of the paper stuff I have at work but I think they will look nice on my table and in the Muji desk organizers I have on my desktop.

Muji Stuff

Next time I visit the store, I will get the dog clips too!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Video Comes to Instagram

I just finished downloading the update of Instagram, the hugely popular photo sharing/social network app. The biggest update of course is video.  Users can now post 15 seconds of video to share among their friends.
It's so easy to use. Open the app then tap on the camera icon.  You will get to another screen with a video camera icon.  Tap on it and you're ready to go.  Press the record button and record anything you want: your new puppy running around the house, the kids playing basketball or even your partner cooking your favorite food. You don't have to shoot everything in one take. Lift your finger and the recorder automatically stops.

You don't need to worry about camera shake since Instagram incorporated an image stabilizer feature they named Cinema.  For now, it only works with iPhone 4s and higher.  Don't worry Android fans, it's coming to you soon.
Instagram also created 13 new filters exclusively for the video feature.  You can choose one of these filter and instantly preview its effect during play before sharing you post the video. Sound is instantly on and all posts are in square format, just like the photos.  Also when you post a video you can chose a scene as a “cover shot” which will be displayed while the rest of your video plays.

Super Moon Rising Tonight

Weather permitting, tonight we will see the moon rise from the east and become 14 percent bigger than usual.   No, the moon will not grow bigger instead it will be at its closest point to Earth - what scientists call the perigree.  On the average the moon  is 383,024 kms away from the Earth. On Sunday, it will be just 356,991 kms away -- or 26,023 kms closer than usual.

from credit:Tim McCord says that supermoons occur about once annually, and this year, the supermoon is closer than it has been in a little while.  It added that the difference in size can mean as much as a 30 percent change in the brightness, so this will be a particularly bright supermoon.

If you want to see the largest full moon of the year, you just need to step outside and look up at the sky,  To take pictures of this event, offers the following tips: use a tripod, a zoom lens about 200mm and fast shutter speed.

As a final word, let me assure you folks that this event does not portend anything sinister.  It will not bring earthquakes or volcanic eruptions.  NASA says that the supermoon has very little effect on the tides, that even those who live in coastal areas will not notice any change in the height of water.  

UPDATE: As expected, it was a cloudy night so the super moon was not visible at all. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

What a 2ºC Warming Means to South East Asia

I want to share with you this infographic from the World Bank.  It says what would happen to the South East Asia region should the temperature rise due to climate change.  The report says that coastal areas and cities like Manila will be greatly affected by rising sea levels and heat extremes.  


Turn Down the Heat: Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts and the Case for Resilience, was prepared for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics.  The report paints a rather bleak scenario: if the world warms by 2°C – which may be reached in 20 to 30 years – there will be widespread food shortages, unprecedented heat-waves, and more intense cyclones. In the near-term, climate change, which is already happening, could greatly impact the lives of individuals who have done little or nothing in raising the Earth's temperature.

The report adds that countries in the South East Asia region are particularly vulnerable to the sea-level rise, increases in heat extremes, increased intensity of tropical cyclones, and ocean warming and acidification because many are archipelagoes located within a tropical cyclone belt and have relatively high coastal population densities.   

The degradation and loss of coral reefs will diminish tourism, reduce fish stocks, and leave coastal communities and cities more vulnerable to storms.  In the Philippines the report said that the biggest risks are due to more severe impacts storms will have on informal settlements and coastal communities.   

For more information and to download a copy of the report, go to:,

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Dan Brown's Inferno: More of the Usual Stuff

Dan Brown's latest book, Inferno, has everything his fans would expect from him: a nice setting, clues and codes hidden in works of art, conspiracy theories, you get the drift.  After all, this is another story centered on Robert Langdon, Harvard professor and symbologist.

The story begins with Langdon waking up in a hospital not knowing where he is and without any  recollection of the last two days.  He narrowly escapes an attempt on his life , thanks to a female doctor, Sienna Brooks.  But even with this memory loss, he was able to unlid a sinister plot by a mad scientist to unleash a virus (codenamed Inferno) that will "thin the herd", the herd being us humans.  How did he do it? By interpreting hidden codes and symbols in Inferno of the Divine Comedy by Dante. And yes,  with a little help from his eidetic memory.  

Just like any of Brown's novel, this one is filled with details like the height of the building, the make of a car, motorcycle or plane and even the brand of clothes Langdon was wearing.  For example, everybody he met thought that changing from a Harris Tweed to a Brioni suit made Langdon look more Italian.   If anything, the way he described Florence and Istanbul would make Brown a great TLC travel show host.  There is even a tour now of the Hagia Sophia in Turkey based on the book.

The book is quite a page turner, I stayed up until 1AM just to find out if the virus will be released.      However, somewhere in the last 14 chapters of the book, everything collapsed.  Just like the house of cards that one of the characters keeps on talking about (change one card and the entire thing will shift and fall).  The frenetic story telling came to a drag and twists after twists were revealed.  Personally, the revelations only confirmed what I have suspected since the first few chapters.  Maybe it was my desire to prove my self right that kept me reading up to this point. When they were confirmed, my reading energy just dropped.

Dan Brown wrote this book with his built-in audience (aka loyal readers) in mind.  Critics be damned, the book is a hit everywhere!  It even got a publicity boost right here in our country when a government official reacted on Sienna Brook's telling herself that her stay in Manila was like running through the gates of hell.  A minor twist in the story which at most,  is amusing.

Inferno by Dan Brown is available in Kindle edition from

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Kidrobot Reveals Dunny 2013 Designs on Facebook

The title of the blog says it all.  Kidrobot reveals the artists and their designs for the 2013 Dunny series on their Facebook fan page today.

Not only that, since the series is always in blind boxes, the illustration also showed the ratio of each design per case.  Unfortunately some of the ones I like are at 1/40 which means 1 for every two cases.   I will get one case and maybe try my luck pulling out the rest that are not in my case.

So who's your Dunny 2013? Take your pick from below.  The series will be released in the US on June 14.

Fall of Giants and Winter of the World: A Review

I just finished reading Ken Follet's works one after the other: "Fall of Giants" and "Winter of the World", which are part of the Century Trilogy.  Both books are massive. Kindle gives a reading time for each book at 16 hours.  It took me weeks to finish them.

The books are about five families in different parts of the world, Russia, Germany, Britain and the USA, which were intertwined by events of the last century.  Follet introduces them to us in Fall of Giants, which took place in the 20s and 30s and pretty much covered events leading to and during World War I, the Russian Revolution and political events that changed the course of history, including women's suffrage.

The second book, Winter of the World introduces us to the next generation and mostly offsprings of the characters in the first volume.  We also see changes in the lives and social standing of many of the characters.  For me, this is darker than the first book because it dealt about the atrocities of the Nazi Regime, the terror of World War II and the savagery of the Red Army which was supposed to liberate Berlin after the war.  Oh, and it also set the stage for the cold war with the introduction of the atomic bomb.

Follet described everything in vivid imagery.  He is a master of description: from the darkness of the coal mine pit, to the battlefields in France, the blitzkrieg, and the harsh Russian winter.  Follet described everything so well that you could almost even smell his characters when he says that they haven't bathed for weeks.  

I think this is why I got hooked with these books and kept me turning page after page.  Follet made me feel like I was part of the events as they unfold.  It felt like, I was sitting beside the Dewars while they were negotiating for the establishment of the United Nations or when the British Parliament was debating whether to unseat Chamberlain or not.  It does help that the reader knows basic modern history but it is not necessary.

This brings us to the next point I want to make.  Follet made the reader learn history and the behind the scenes stories about the events without the reader noticing it.  I learned a lot about the conditions of the miners in Wales and how the British women won their right to suffrage by reading this book.

Spending weeks reading these books also made me feel that I knew these families well enough that I am interested to what would happen to them. "Winter of the World" ended in a hopeful note, on Christmas Day, with Carla von Ulrich surrounded by her family singing a Christmas Carol.   

I am looking forward to the third and final installment of the trilogy.  

Fall of Giants and Winter of the World are both available for Kindle on

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Apple Introduces New iPod Touch Sans Back Camera

Apple quietly began selling in the US a new iPod Touch at US$229 yesterday.  At the same time, it stopped selling the fourth-generation 16GB iPod Touch which comes with a 3.5-inch screen and costs $199.

The new model does not come with a rear camera.  Although the front camera is still there, it does not offer 1080p video.    

The new 16GB iPod Touch features a 4-inch Retina Display and is powered by a dual-core A5 processor.  

It has only one color combination: black front and silver back.  It also does not have the loop wrist band that comes with its higher-cost sibling which were released 8 months ago.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dunny Series 2013: The Wait Begins

So it's that time again when Kidrobot  previews its Dunny series for the year.  Unlike before when it leaves us guessing the release date of the series, this year Kidrobot already announced the official date: June 14.

I'm not sure if I'm right but I believe this is the first regular series with a theme.  It's called the side show.  More like a carnival show as the site itself describes it:

Dunny series 2013 invites you to tour the tent, point & wonder, and behold a collection of freaks for the geek you didn’t know you were. Artists from off the beaten path and the road less travelled lure you to embrace the strange and scary. Featuring 20 designs across 14 artists, each artist applies his or her custom style to bring fantastic, eccentric and sometimes downright frightening designs to homes and shelves throughout the world.
And it's first teaser is obviously a Julie West:

I can't wait to see the rest of the designs, especially photos of the actual Dunny figures.

(all images from

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Flickr Gave Me 1TB Space for My Photos for Free!

I just noticed this afternoon that my Flickr account looked different. The photos that used to be arranged neatly in columns are now filling the pages.  No more empty white spaces, just photos in different sizes.  Then I opened my mail and discovered that Flickr has just introduced innovation to my favorite online photo sharing site.

Flickr has a new design that puts photos at the heart of its users' Flickr experience.  The homepage is now a gateway for everything the site has to offer. A new Activity Feed combines recent uploads with activity of photos of the users and their friends.  There is also a slideshow mode to allow users to flip through photos hands-free.

The biggest change of course is the amount of space allotted for the users to store their photos.  Flickr just gave each one of us a whopping 1 terabyte of space for free.  This is to encourage users to upload their photos in high resolution.  Here's what Flickr has to say:

At Flickr, we believe you should share all your images in full resolution, so life’s moments can be relived in their original quality. No limited pixels, no cramped formats, no memories that fall flat. We’re giving your photos room to breathe, and you the space to upload a dizzying number of photos and videos, for free. Just how big is a terabyte? Well, you could take a photo every hour for forty years without filling one. 
And yep, you heard us. It’s free.

Aside from more spaces for photographs, Flickr is now supporting up to a full 3 minutes per video of 1080p HD quality.

And there's another major change, a little kink for me.  Flickr Pro is not being offered anymore and in its place, the site introduced the Ad-Free and the Doublr accounts which basically have the same benefits as the free account except that subscribers can browse ad-free.  Doublr account holders also have up to 2 terabytes of space for their photos.  Ads-free accounts come at US$49.99 per year while the Doublr is offered at US$499.99 annually.  

By the way, if you have a pro account you can still renew it at US$24.99 per year and still have an ads-free and unlimited browsing experience.  However, the "pro" badge in your profile and buddy icon will not be there anymore.

Anyway, that's 1 terabyte of free space plus ALL your photos and videos are available for your visitors to see and watch.  Not bad for a free account.  I just hope it stays that way.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Viajeng Cusinang Matua - A Capampangan Food Trip Pt. 3

This is the third and final part of my account of our Viajeng Cusinang Matua trip to the old kitchens of Pampanga.

Our next stop was the Prado Farm in Lubao.  It's owned by the Gutierrez Family who are into arts and eco-management.  The first thing that you will see when you get there is the main gate made out of old LPG cylinders.  We went around the farm first before we had our afternoon merienda.

Viajeng Cusinang Matua

Everywhere you go inside the compound, you'll see things even buildings made from recycled materials.  Even the art installations around the farm were fashioned from old things

Viajeng Cusinang Matua

Viajeng Cusinang Matua

Viajeng Cusinang Matua

The farm has a chapel which also made from recycled materials.  It can be rented out for a wedding and could accomodate about 300 guests.

They also have an Ifugao House where guests may have a bonfire at night. It also looked like an amphitheater where anyone can do some performance.

Viajeng Cusinang Matua

Guests can also dip in the salt water pool.  We were told that the salinity of the water is monitored constantly and they add salt when it goes down.

Viajeng Cusinang Matua

We had our merienda at their main building, beside a lily pond.  They have a fountain coming straight from the roof of the building, giving the impression of rain on a warm summer afternoon.

Viajeng Cusinang Matua

Our merienda included another version of pisto topped with longganiza, pan de sal and kesong puti made from goat's milk, as well as tsokolate baterol with pinipig paired with crunchy fried suman.

Viajeng Cusinang Matua

Viajeng Cusinang Matua

We moved on to our final stop of our trip, the Gosioco Ancestral House in Sta. Rita.  It was a really old house made of wood with only the lower part or silong made of concrete.  It reminded me of the old house my father's family used to own in Paco, Manila.

Viajeng Cusinang Matua

The house was full of old stuff and what attracted my attention were the frames of cut out religious figures that were like 3D pictures.  Atching May who now lives in the house told me that the frames were made by the grandmother and grandaunts of her grandmother.  So those must be at least a hundred years old.

We ate outside, in the backyard beside an old kamalig where they used to keep their harvested rice.  Our dinner included food that were traditionally served to the guests of the Gosioco family.  Atching May explained that the recipes were handed down through generations.  

My favorite was the Asadong Matua, pork asado eaten with native atchara, which I also really liked.

Viajeng Cusinang Matua

Then there's the vegetable dish which I didn't get the name.  It's sautéed squash and patola. 

Viajeng Cusinang Matua

We were also given their own recipe of pocherong tilapia which was a traditional Gosioco family dish.

Viajeng Cusinang Matua

Another Gosioco Family recipe was the Native Chicken boiled and cooked in a soup with tanglad or lemongrass.  Atching May told us that it's like tinola, except that this one was dry and yes, has lemongrass in it instead of ginger.

For our drinks, we had a wonderful and refreshing buko sherbet.  It's actually fresh buko juice but I think it was mixed with some pandan leaves extract.  It was a great way to end a meal and a day long food trip of traditional Pampanga cuisine.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Viajeng Cusinang Matua - A Capampangan Food Trip Pt 2

This is the second part of my account of our Viajeng Cusinang Matua tour which brought us to the old kitchens of Pampanga.  You may read the first part here.

From Mexico, we went to Arayat for mid morning merienda.  We went to an eatery called Kabigting's which is known for its version of everybody's favorite summer snack - the halohalo.

Viajeng Cusinang Matua

The place was rather small and could fit about three to four tables.  The owner was there and told us that we should have gone to their branch in a mall in another city.  But of course Tracey, our guide wanted to show us where the business started.

What made their halohalo different were its ingredients.  The usual halohalo has a lot of contents like sweetened bananas, camote, beans, etc.  Their version has only three ingredients: pastillas made from carabao milk, the halayang white beans and sweet corn.  These were then combined with the usual ice and fresh milk.

Viajeng Cusinang Matua

Once you have mixed the concoction, the entire thing thickens, thanks to the pastillas.  The result was a really thick, sweet cold treat perfect for the heat that morning.  I just wish the staff were a lot friendlier because everyone seemed to be unhappy while we were there.  They just passed us by with out even a glance.  Finally a male staff member offered us drinking water to wash down the stuff we've just consumed.

From here, we did some pasalubong shopping.  I now think that it was placed on our schedule to give our tummies a break before we set out for our lunch.  The halohalo was quite heavy thanks to the pastillas and beans.

Lunch was at Everybody's Cafe in San Fernando City.  The restaurant was built in the 1950s and the structure sure looked like a 1950s building.  It was called Everybody's Cafe because at the time, just about anybody would go there to eat, including the American servicemen who were stationed at the Clark Air Base.  The cafe has turned into a landmark and a place to get authentic Capampangan cuisine.

Viajeng Cusinang Matua

Viajeng Cusinang Matua

They're well known for their stuffed betute or frogs.  Unfortunately, it is off season for frogs when we went there so we didn't get to taste the frogs.  Too bad because I was so looking forward to trying this exotic dish,  I've tried deep fried frog legs before though.

Their other specialty is the camaro salad.  It's main ingredient is cricket but unlike in other eateries, the legs and wings of the insects were removed by the staff during their free time.  What's left were the soft parts of the torso which was dried to crunchiness  I didn't get to take a picture of the dish because it was gone in an instant.  I have to admit that it was quite tasty and refreshing.  Unfortunately, the cricket population in the province has been dwindling due to the industrial development there.  

We also ordered their other specialty, the morcon baked with chorizos and quezo de bola.  It's so creamy with the melt in your mouth feel.  It should be eaten with it's own drippings which you have to mix with your rice.  But it looks like an embutido, though.

Viajeng Cusinang Matua

So what is a meal of Capampangan cuisine without the all-time favorite dish? Yup, I am referring to sisig!  We were told however that Everybody's  Cafe serves pork sisig the native way or not the sizzling sisig we all know.  It turns out that sisig is a method of cooking, not the name of the dish much like nilaga or paksiw.  So you have a sisig chicken, fish, etc.  The sizzling sisig is an innovation and it was a big hit, especially for beer drinkers.  The sisig we had looked like and tasted like another favorite, the tokwa't baboy but this one does not have the tokwa/tofu.

Viajeng Cusinang Matua

After having lunch, we were met by the owner of the business.  Actually Poch Jarolan is already the third generation owner and he showed us a mural inside the conference room.  The painting depicts major events in the history of the Philippines.  According to Poch, it was his father who commissioned a local painter to do the job in 1967.  It was repainted in 1979.  

Viajeng Cusinang Matua

The original painter happened to be someone who also make billboards for movies before there was the technology to print them.  So many of the historical figures in the mural bore resemblance to movie stars in the period.  We had fun identifying who looked like whom.  Try it for yourself from the pictures below.

We bid Everybody's Cafe goodbye and proceeded to our next stop in Lubao, which was some 45 minutes away.  We took the travel time to relax and snooze.