Saturday, 31 December 2011

Farewell, Eleven

The year is drawing to a close. In exactly one hour, we say goodbye to 2011. From my experiences this year, it couldn't have come sooner. Oh, this is also a scheduled post but I wrote it today.

Warning: Might be quite a read.

2011 has had many highlights for me. Several stand out from the rest, making the year a whole lot more bearable. Perhaps the most memorable moment of the year for me was PJ and I celebrating our first anniversary. It hasn't been a walk in the park, and I tripped a few times, but all in all this relationship seems to be going somewhere good. I also completed my first run this year, in my favorite place in the world (Davao) which led to four more races (Life Run, Run for Pasig River, RUNdividual, and Rescue Run, respectively). I thank God I have come to love running even as I slowly but surely lose touch with dancing. I'm also very proud and happy that my beloved Skittlez Crew was crowned Remix champion for the third time in our 5-year history. What a way we have come, and how far we will go! And of course, my first big family event with Pat's huge and boisterous relatives on noche buena was a major happening for me :)

On the flip side of the coin, I visited the hospital twice this year, due to a couple of illnesses that I shouldn't be having (both from work). My first year as a working individual could have gone so much better as well. I learned so much: from office power plays to department-specific etiquette, it has been a year of blood, sweat and tears. Some experiences will not soon be forgotten, and some pains may never go away, but I end the year with the knowledge that I didn't give up (even though opportunities were there for me to let go, which would have me fail myself). I made some good friends in my first working year, and I am sure this also comes with a baggage of 'not friends'. if you catch my drift :) It's all good; as one of my work mentors said to me during one of my lower moments, "Welcome to the real world. It's not just dog-eat-dog out here, it's dog-slaughter-dog." Nothing will quite ever prepare one for these types of experiences. I only pray for better (and kinder!) doors to open, and the ones that have given me bad memories, to close.

As I say goodbye to 2011, I wish to express my warmest appreciation to the people who carried me up when I was down. Thank you so much to these people who have made my year better for all its bumps and bruises (in no particular order): Pat, my rock when I'm being battered by the waves of life. My parents, who remain proud of me. My grandma and relatives, who will always be my only kin. Skittlez Crew, my brothers and sisters (and now, my 'children'!), for never leaving me in my darkest times of need. Atty. Lizada and Holyan, who have given me a new family to love and a new city to call my home. Sr. Aida Sabandal, who is my spiritual guide when my spirit is all but gone. My friends, who because of their existence, never allowed me to feel like an only child my whole life. My colleagues, who gave me more than enough lessons to face the year ahead armed to the teeth (so to speak). And finally, to YOU, my readers - this blog and The Gazette - who inspire me to write more and better.

It's been a rollercoaster-ride year for me. Fun and awesome at times, heart breaking at others, this may be the first year of my life where I actually have regrets. This is something to ponder over as I enter 2012, with fresh eyes opened wider, and a heart much more ready to face the unexpected.

Jay~

Rescue Run


5k in 31:27, bib #3905.
Thank you so much Pinoy Fitness and Greentennial for the very successful event! I hope we managed to raise a substantial amount for our fellow Filipinos who were greatly affected by Typhoon Sendong. Let us continue to pray for them, as they are suffering during the Christmas and New Year seasons.
 
And congratulations to me for my first 5k! No more threes from now on :)

Jay~

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Cav Wine Shop and Cafe

With 2011 ending, PJ and I decided to give ourselves our last splurge of the year. During my last run in Bonifacio Global City (BGC, or what used to be known as just 'The Fort'), I passed by an interesting looking cafe, and so we went there.

Let's get this out of the way early in this post: Cav is a pretty expensive place for dinner. There. To their credit, the wine selection was a list of an entire folder, and I had quite a conversation with our server, who more or less knows his wine. We had the three-course set (two appetizers, one entree, and one dessert) and a bottle of Taylor's Promised Land shiraz, '09 vintage.

Our wine and wholemeal rolls.

Mushroom shooters and foie gras.

Beautiful :)

Young Arugula Salad.

Duck Confit Ravioli.

Angus Beef Tenderloin, medium-well.

Creme Brulee.

Good night out :)
The menu was a little hard to understand, and we actually spent the first ten minutes listening to our waiter as he explained the various courses they have plus the wines that go well with those. We went for the 'prix fixe' course menu to keep things simple. Since PJ's a pesco vegetarian (that means seafood items are allowed, but still no red meat) she had the two appetizers while I had the beef to myself. Good choice, with the shiraz that I picked for us.
The ambiance was gorgeous, and the service excellent, but for all of Cav's finer points, it's very difficult to say with a straight face that it is a true value for money establishment. The wine - which is sold within their premises - is still slapped with a PHP 300 corkage fee, something that I find very illogical and unreasonable. However, with bottles priced above PHP 1,500, the corkage is 'waived'. I think this is a ridiculous system since they are selling their wines in the first place. Also, the Brussels sprout on my Angus beef? Four pieces of the small green things were considered a PHP 700 'add-on'. Yes. Four pieces. Seven hundred pesos. Go digest that for a minute.

It was a beautiful date, and we did leave the place very full, but it was not exactly a dinner justified by the final bill. We've eaten in some of BGC's and Green Belt 5's higher-end restaurants, but this has to be the most expensive one yet, and I'm not sure it was totally worth it. Don't be too shocked by the rating below, especially with Value for Money :)

Food: 8/10
Service: 10/10
Ambiance: 10/10
Value for Money: 2/10
Minimum Budget for Two: PHP 3,000.00 - PHP 5,000.00


Jay~

2012 Prep 2

5km in 33:36

Route:
CCP - Luneta - CCP

Jay~

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Best Christmas Ever!

Well, wasn't that quite the awesome Christmas this year! :)

Will blog the aftermath once I've relaxed a bit, and after I've cleaned up my place of gift wrappers. I hope you had a Merry Christmas 2011!

Jay~

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

I'll be spending tonight with PJ's family, both immediate and extended.

This should be fun. And very, very interesting :)
I gotta say, I'm real excited about this. So long!

Jay~

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Red and Yellow

Received a phone call earlier this afternoon.
Hopefully, it's a sign of better things and opportunities to come, as well as new doors to enter as I close some shut.

Dear Lord, 2012, please be kind to me.

Jay~

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Pre-Christmas Celebration

PJ and I wanted to start off Christmas a little early, so we had a simple celebration plus gift exchanges. Simplicity always brings out the best in us, and I am so happy we got to spend some nice, alone time with each other, having a couple of drinks over cake :)

Cake!

PJ, the cake, and some wine to go with it :)

With the tiny Christmas tree.

Lights and presents.

Cheers to a happy Christmas :)
Merry Christmas indeed! :)


Jay~

Apple iPhone 4S

This must be the phone of all phones, at least as far as 2011 is concerned.

Drool-worthy.

I initially thought that since the Apple iPhone 4 came out (what seemed to be a long time ago), Android phones like my Samsung Galaxy could perhaps catch up to the Apple monster. Alas, this is all wishful thinking.

The latest addition to the gorgeous iPhone line, the 4S boasts some serious hardware and software within its sleek exterior. The outside, while not at all different from the iPhone 4 with the naked eye, still features the minimalist single main button look of the iPhone family. The front and back glass (yes, glass) may be a bit of trouble to users with butterfingers, but with a good investment on one of the many iPhone 4S cases available online, this shouldn't be a problem at all. I personally prefer the Galaxy's screen (I find it a bit brighter) but the iPhone plays videos a tad bit better. Maybe this is due to the fact that it also boasts an 8MP camera with HD capabilities. Sick.

My favorite feature on the iPhone 4S has to be Siri, the voice-activated personal assistant built-in the 4S. Having witnessed first-hand the virtual omniscience of Siri, it's very difficult not to be impressed - even a long-time Apple critic like myself. I haven't been able to fully play around with the apps on the 4S (not many of my friends have it yet) but I've heard it has apps that allow for free voice calls-and-text to other countries provided there's wi-fi nearby. That's pretty amazing.

This is most definitely the must-get gadget of the year, maybe even well into the first two quarters of 2012. That's not too shabby considering how fast technology gets obsolete right now. I have, in fact, just registered my interest at Globe Telecom's iPhone 4S website. Check it out! :)

Jay~

More detailed information on specifications can be found in the Apple iPhone website.

Rescue Run - Race for Sendong

Let's help our countrymen suffering in the aftermath of Typhoon Sendong.

Rescue Run
5:30am, December 31, 2011
Organized by Greentennial Run

Distance: 5km
Venue: McKinley Hill, Taguig City

Registration Fee:
PHP 150 minimum, DONATIONS ONLY

Registration Venues:
A Runner's Circle
Aloha Hotel, Unit H, 2150 Roxas Boulevard
Cor. Quirino Ave., Malate, Manila, 1004 Philippines

R.O.X.
B1, Bonifacio High Street,
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, Philippines

Registration begins on December 26, 2011. Race proper is on December 31, 2011 at McKinley Hill, Taguig. Run begins at 0530H. 
There will be no timing chip, no singlets, no free race packages after. This is strictly a run-for-a-cause, and what a cause it is. Please join! Let's give Sendong victims a better 2012.

Jay~

For more information, check out Pinoy Fitness - Rescue Run.

The Mistress, The Flag

It's a generally accepted statement that having a mistress is a bad thing.

Having 'another woman' (or another man) is mostly never a good thing in any culture, and is frowned upon by most members of any society. This split in loyalties has been described in more colorful language than one can bear to hear, and has destroyed many a good relationship, far too many for counting.

Why then, do we Filipinos tolerate dual-citizenship?

In my opinion, having 'another flag' is far worse than having another woman.
This is not only a split in loyalties; I believe that this is tantamount to having no loyalties at all. One's flag must be the object of one's complete loyalty, one's perfect allegiance.

It pains me to see people renouncing their nationalities.. and worse, publicly swearing fealty to two nations. To fit in? To find better employment? To have benefits for one's children? What reason is so compelling and so potent as to make an individual turn his back on his flag? Only death should separate a person from his loyalties to his culture, traditions, and country. 

Whatever your nationality is, hundreds and thousands of people bled and died so that you may have that sense of belonging to a particular territory. It is identification redeemed in warm, red currency, and dual-citizenship makes a joke of this payment.

Jay~

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

2012 Prep 1

Slow and easy pace.

1 Lap = 1k

Lap 1 - 6:50
Lap 2 - 6:46
Lap 3 - 6:36
Lap 4 - 6:18
Lap 5 - 6:03

5k at 32:34

Jay~

iStudio High Street BGC

Repaired my old (read: antique) iPod video 80GB at iStudio, High Street, Bonifacio Global City and I must say the service is excellent. The technician cleaned the insides of my technologically-ancient sound machine, as well as replaced the click wheel for free. To think that I didn't even purchase my iPod from there, that was decent service if I ever had one (the problem I sought to fix was an outdated software problem - which was fixed in about 10 minutes). This is perhaps one of Apple's biggest selling points for me: good, hassle-free service. The technicians were all very friendly, and the sales associates were quite chatty with the people waiting in line at both the cashier and the service area.

Why do I have to blog this? Well, I'm not the biggest Apple fan, but this particular branch may sway me a little :) Just sayin'.

B3, Bonifacio High St., Bonifacio Global City,
Taguig, Metro Manila Philippines 1634

info@istudio.ph
Tel: (632) 8562395
Telefax: ( 632) 8562396

Store Hours:
Monday - Sunday : 11:00 am to 10:00 pm

Jay~

Monday, 19 December 2011

Out and About One Weekend

PJ and I decided to have some quality time together and we went out for a nice, quiet weekend evening. Hit up California Pizza Kitchen (GB5) for dinner and then we watched New Year's Eve, one of those seasonal films that are usually sub-par, but we actually enjoyed it.

Potato leek soup.
Thai crunch salad (chicken on the side because PJ's a vegan).
Spaghetti bolognese.
Spinach artichoke dip with tortillas.
Washing it all down with a glass of shiraz.
Haha.
This was my first time at CPK and it wasn't too bad at all. The servers were a little frazzled by the number of patrons (but that's a good thing, right? A full restaurant.) but otherwise, our orders were served well within the ten minutes promised. We've learned many lessons from our eat-out adventures so we usually just get a couple of appetizers and an entree and we're good. PJ's soup was her favorite, so she got that. I had a taste and it was okay, could have been a bit hotter. The Thai crunch salad was a winner for me, and with grilled chicken, it was pretty much a flavor- and texture party for the taste buds. Unique, is what I'm saying. Spinach dip was tasty as well, and it was fun eating colored tortilla chips. Haha.. My spaghetti was okay, though it could have been so much better.

Their wine was, in a word, delicious. One really gets what one pays for in places like this, and absolutely no regrets on the drinks :) The place was just a tad too noisy though, and it was a little warm. Other than that, another good dining experience :)

Food: 9/10
Service: 9/10
Ambiance: 7/10
Value for Money: 9/10
Minimum Budget for Two: PHP 1,200.00 - PHP 1,800.00

California Pizza Kitchen
Greenbelt 5, Makati, Philippines
(02) 401-7160

Then we went to our movie, but that's another post :)

Jay~

Sunday, 18 December 2011

7 Days To Christmas

It's exactly a week before Christmas!

I wasn't always a fan of Christmastime; I went through a phase when it was just 'another holiday celebration'. Of course, I am older and while the fantastical aspect of the season is long past me, I am rediscovering the magic that this celebration creates. At least for me.

For the next seven days then, I challenge you to join me in a journey of self-realization, thankfulness, and love. Here is a list of seven things I will do for the next seven days, perhaps to live during this once-a-year season the way we were meant to. Also, buy yourself something nice; it will come in handy on December 24.

December 18
Forgive, Forget: Food
There will always be that person (or even persons!) we've just really wanted to push towards in-coming traffic. Perhaps they have committed an offense that angered or insulted us, and it could be something petty or it could be something crazy big. The point is, identify that person and in the spirit of Christmas, forgive and forget by giving s/he a nice small item of food. I will personally get cupcakes. And of course, you don't have to explain what it's for ;)

December 19
Unseen Utility
We never notice the people that make our lives so much easier. The janitors at our workplaces, schools, and buildings; the guards that watch over us; the house help who prepare our clothes and food. Take this day and give them something thoughtful, like a Christmas card with a hand-written note in it, or something sweet to munch on during work. From experience, I have found that something so simple and plain like a card goes a LONG way to cementing relationships. My cards list this year was over 40 people!

December 20
Poor and Prejudiced
I'm personally not a fan of passive charity, such as giving money to beggars and street children. I've always believed that this is one of the reasons we cannot bring them out of poverty. Having said that, treats in life are rare but oft appreciated. Find that street kid you see all the time on your commute to work or school, and give him/her a nice slice of Christmas cake or sweet treat. Don't be stingy; that might possibly be a first-time (or at least very rare) experience, and you want the kid to enjoy his/her Christmas present from you :)

December 21
Friends Forever - Part 1
You know your acquaintances; the ones you 'know' but you don't really 'know'. Pick one from your hundreds and thousands of Facebook friends, send a private message (or chat, or tweet, or a text message - heck, even call) and just say "Merry Christmas!" Yes, s/he might be surprised, but I have never met a person who disliked a surprise Christmas greeting. Bonus challenge: Do this to ten (10) friends.

December 22
Friends Forever - Part 2
Every one has that special group of friends where one can just run to and talk anything. These are the people who would die for you, and they know you would do the same. They deserve at the very least a phone call (props for an actual Christmas card) from you wishing them "Merry Christmas!" These are friends for keeps, and forgetting to greet them spells you as a merry douchepacket. Massive hell-no for those ready-made-and-ready-to-send email Christmas greeting. You're cheap if you do that.

December 23
Familiar Family
Not all of us are close to our family members; heck, I cannot say with a straight face that I'm very close with some of my relatives. However, this is one time in the year when we can greet them at least, and when possible, actually visit them even just to say hi. A card is the very minimum in this one. If they appreciate it, all's well and good. If they don't, that's not a problem on your side at all. Blood is something we cannot and will never be able to change. 

December 24
I Love Me
It's Christmas eve! This is when we have dinner with our family, or join special people when family isn't available. Today though, I would like you to open a present you gave yourself (as per the instructions at the beginning of this post). Now thank yourself for being strong when you could have been weak, for being faithful when you could have lied, for being the best you could when no one would care anyway, and for giving your all even when you have pushed so hard already. For over three hundred days, you could have given up at any point and yet here you are. Celebrate life. Celebrate YOU.

December 25
Big Belief
I'm a big critic of labeling faiths. I don't really care if you call yourself a Catholic, a Muslim, a Buddhist, or a god (hopefully not a god though; you're not Tom Cruise). Whatever creed you follow, whichever prophet you listen to, take today and give thanks and acknowledge the greater power that must be out there. Especially for those times when you know you shouldn't have been able to, but you overcame. There are those times when things just go the way you want them to, and no credit to you. Yes, those days. Appreciate.

Merry Christmas! I wish you the best of luck in your next seven days!

Jay~

Friday, 16 December 2011

Step Up - The Run


I'm a newbie at running.

Having come from a hefty 176 lbs just a couple of years ago (and what seems to me an eternity ago), I'm regularly at a pretty trim 137 lbs now. For the past few months, since August, I've been religiously running 3km a few days a week, and I even have some experience in running at events, albeit a 3k as well.

From last week's conditioning, I can pretty much handle a 5k at under 30 minutes, so I suppose I should say bye-bye to the 3k and move up to the 5k :)

While this may not seem to be a big deal to other runners out there, it's a nice personal step up for me. Wish me luck, and hopefully I can move up to the 10k by February (in time for the Condura Skyway Marathon).

Jay~

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Abusive Caregiver Caught on Camera

There's something chilling when a caregiver - the person a family entrusts a helpless and frail member to - is capable of committing such despicable, repeated acts of mercilessness, cruelty, and sheer and absolute disrespect of the elderly.

WARNING: Graphic and violent content.


The caregiver's name is Carmen Pereira, 52, and this incident occurred in New Jersey, USA towards the end of October. As far as I know, the family of the 91-year old lady seen being abused in the video above installed a webcam when their matriarch began displaying suspicious bruising around her body. Mrs. Pereira is currently being charged with "aggravated assault with extreme indifference, endangering the welfare of an incompetent person, and neglect of an elderly/disabled person".

Jay~


Video recorded by victim's family (2011), retrieved on December 15, 2011 from ARCHIEzzle's YouTube channel.

Stereotyping the Planet


I hate to think of the reason why that sheep is upside-down.

I came across this thought-provoking picture, "The World as We Know" at Anis ART, and it struck something in me because I ended up looking at it for quite some time, reflecting on the narrow world-view the picture presented while at the same time offering a reasonably accurate portrayal of places. Places where the vast majority of us Earthly tenants may never set foot upon.

The sweeping generalizations presented in the picture have important implications to each and every one of us, especially with how we, as citizens of our own countries and belonging to specific groups of people, see ourselves and those around us. I personally see at least five major implications from the liberal assumptions taken in this picture.

Drop a note in the comments section if you think likewise :)

Jay~

Anis ART (2011), retrieved from Facebook on December 15, 2011.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Animo Christmas! Concert


Member of the Lasallian community? Come this Friday!

In line with De La Salle University's Centennial Year, the Lasallian Community is having the FIRST EVER Animo Christmas! Concert on Friday, December 16, 2011 from 5:00pm to 10:00pm at the De La Salle University Amphitheater.

Watch our very own Lasallian Bands and Singers, DLSU Alumni, representatives from the different sectors, De La Salle Brothers and many more as they render us Christmas Performances! Skittlez Crew will also be performing our Remix 2011 championship piece here :)

Guest singers and bands such as PUPIL, AKAFELLAS, KUNDIRANA, CLAYTON RISNER (International Youtube Singer) and others will be performing as well ;)

SEE YOU THERE!

Note:
Unfortunately, this event is only open to the Lasallian community (students, alumni, staff, and students from the other sixteen Lasallian schools).

Jay~

Monday, 12 December 2011

That Feeling..


..when it's Christmas time and you want so many things, some necessary, and some just nice to have.

One day :)

Jay~

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Dream Green on Facebook




Dream Green, the official green webpage of De La Salle University.

This is where you will find important and interesting information on the environment in general, as well as environmental efforts from the university, its community, the Philippine government, and the world in general.

Do you need to be a Lasallian to find the information here relevant?
Of course not! Just by liking this page on Facebook, you are already supporting the environment by choosing to stay informed and aware of the environmental situation not just in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, but the world at large.

So what are you waiting for? Support us and like us on Facebook! :)

Jay~

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Grandma's 76th at Ayala Triangle

Since it was my grandma's birthday this month, PJ and I decided to do something different for her this year and took her out. The place was Ayala Triangle, located in Ayala Avenue, Makati, and it was perfect timing as our dinner trip coincided with the famous Christmas light-show at Ayala Triangle. We celebrated my grandma's birthday at MOMO, which is turning out to be one of our favorite restaurants.

Pretty lights.

Pretty lights again.

My girl and my grandgirl :)

Calamari.

Mussels (I remember this one was marinated in beer or something)

Cappuccino soup.

Pumpkin soup.

Mussel pasta.

Us and the birthday cake.

The girls with the lights.

With grandma and the lights.

Happy birthday! :D I hope you enjoyed yourself. I wish my grandma health and happiness for many more years, as well as more awesome birthdays like the one she had this year. We love you!

Jay~

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Remix 2011 Animotion Aftermath


 My missed Remix turned out pretty well, after all.

Skittlez Crew was crowned champions last night :) The first back-to-back and three-time Lasallian champions. On that note, I believe many thanks are in order.

God
Thank you for the armor, and for joining us on the stage last night. 3x, and it would not have happened if You did not help us do the impossible. Thank You for keeping our hearts and our minds safe.

Skittlez Remix 2011 Team
All of you made me SO proud. An 11-person team with 9 first-timers as champions? Amazing. We won this last year with virtually full veterans, and we won this again with mostly newbies. I suppose this proves once and for all that our system works beautifully. I am so proud to have been your 'papi' once upon a time. More than the trophy and the bragging rights - which will be substantial - the real prize here is having proven to yourselves that anything and everything is possible when you set your eyes and your effort towards it. Papi Rocky said it best: "We're just going to party on stage." We cannot lose so long as we have our +1 up there as well ;) One love, forever chyeah :)

Skittlez Crew and Community
The Remix team would never have done it without each and every one of you. From the moral support, to the financial assistance, to the unwavering devotion and love you have given to them for the past two months or so, thank you. Non-compet members, alumni, camera-persons, video-persons, friends and family, I know you guys have given so much, because I've been with all of you for most of this journey this year. Non-compet and newbies, you will all be the next Remix team members, and I am so happy and confident to see that the family is in such skilled and capable hands. You have no idea how much gratitude and pride the older, alumni members such as myself feel towards all of you. One love! <3

La Salle Dance Company
What a job you guys have done. Because of the standards that you have set, both in your performances and in your competition pieces, the level and degree of Lasallian dance have vastly changed for the better. I look through Remix '07 videos, and having watched the competition last night, it is easy to conclude that the quality of dance that we have now in our Lasallian schools is so much richer and entertaining. You've pushed all the participants to higher limits whether they like it or not. Congratulations on the clean-sweep this year, and thank you for organizing an avenue for so many talented groups of individuals to express their God-given abilities.

Remix 2011 Participants
Thank you for the good fight. It is said that competition is the mother of innovation, and we have consistently produced new and exciting choreography and concepts because all of you drive us to better ourselves. For the 'old guard' crews such as ComOne Ground, Cadence Uprockin' Crew, Team Elite, Absolute Movement, and Vital Legaci, Remix would be so much more boring if all of you weren't in it. My heart beats a little faster with excitement and nerves when your respective crews take the stage. Together, our respective crews represent and build up the dance community of DLSU and DLS-CSB. Let us all continue producing entertaining and sick pieces for our audience to enjoy! For the new crews, please do NOT ever stop plying your trade. Dancing is an art form, and like any trade of skill, it takes time, patience, and diligence. I am sure that with the right combination of these, your crews will enjoy a long and fruitful life in the Lasallian dance scene.

Audience
Last but not least, thank you. The cheers lift spirits, and your continued patronage of the art of dance do not just make better dancers and performances, but better individuals as well.

Quite possibly, the best Remix ever :')

We were ten in 2007.


Jay~

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Meralco Business Hours



I had a terrible time looking for Meralco's business hours online (seems to be unavailable on their website) so please consider this a public service blog post. 

Weekdays:
8am - 5pm

Weekends (payments only):
8am - 12pm

Jay~

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Warhammer: 40,000 - Space Marine


Space Marine DVD Cover.

Two weeks with this game has been an interesting meld of monotony and heart-pounding action.

The game has two main modes of play, the typical single-player, and an online mode.

Single Player Campaign
While nothing new, a third-person perspective on a shooter is still not as good as a first-person in my opinion. The character, being a Space Marine, blocks a good percentage of the screen at times, especially during 'aim' mode. Still, it gave advantages, one being the ability to 'see' past corners with the right camera angle. The story is forgettable, and very linear, but in my opinion, not enough to disappoint the average gamer. Very good learning curve, and while some bosses would definitely require several restarts to beat, the skills learned during the campaign mode will serve one well in the online mode.

Online
Okay, I'm hooked. The online facet of this game, while no Call of Duty, is certainly enjoyable and interesting. Entering online mode without completing the campaign is, in my opinion, just madness. There is no regular jump button, and there are no 'stealth' or quiet modes as well. You are going to be in charge of a huge, hulking Space Marine and you will have to be very quick on the left hand (dodge/evade, roll, aim, etc.) to even hope for a 1:1 K/D ratio. My favorite component is perhaps the customize mode, where you can unleash all your W40k fantasies (on the design aspect, at least). You can only customize a Space Marine/Chaos Marine after reaching Level 4 online though, so you must really invest some time to unlock this. Also, you would start with a limited selection of armor, but the entire color palette is available from the get-go. Weapons are also unlockable as you progress. Maps are few but diverse enough that I was kill leader for several rounds, and suddenly a mid-level support in others (same map).

Game modes are also limited, but very fun. "Seize Ground" is the typical capture control point mode, while "Annihilation" is a first-to-41-kills" affair. 41 kills typically take only several minutes of play, creating a dynamic and fast-paced gameplay. Also, the "Exterminatus" mode is a great way to gain experience points; one teams up with other players and bear the brunt of wave after wave of AI-generated enemies. At the latter waves, they are virtually impossible to kill. Still, quite a fun way to spend an hour or two.

Overall, the beautiful graphics and environment, as well as reasonably well-made sound effects and voice acting make for a beautiful game, once you get past the numbing campaign :) Online mode also ensures you play this for a few more weeks (even months!) after you complete campaign.

Overall Score:
7/10

Recommended System Requirements:
Windows 7
Quad-core Processor
2GB RAM
20GB Hard Drive Space
512MB Video Card or better
DirectX 9.0c
Online Steam Account

I play the game on my custom rig which runs on a W7 Pro, i3-2400 quad-core, 4GB RAM, and 2GB Palit nVidia graphics card. Settings all on high, with Internet speed of 512kb/s (Globe Wimax).


Jay~

Remix 2011: Reminiscing


 With three days to go, it's all too real:
I am no longer competing with Skittlez in this year's Remix dance competition.

Remix has been something of a life "mile-marker" for me. This particular competition has brought out the best - and the worst - in me, as well as allowed me to discover a talent I never thought existed. For me, it has been more than a college dance competition. It has become a memory that will last my lifetime.

My beloved dance crew, Skittlez, was formed mid-2007. These ten students who comprised the founding members were all dancers who did not make the cut in our university's official dance team. They got to know one another, and formed a colorful and crazy crew which competed in Remix 2007. I missed this Remix; I did not know enough dance to save myself.

Fast-forward a year later and we grabbed our first championship.
In Remix 2008, a bunch of friends have grown to be inseparable winners, when just a little over a year prior, they "weren't good enough". How fortunes have changed!

In 2009, my crew suffered a loss (we placed second on the score-cards and fourth overall due to scoring technicalities) that I took personally. It was my first year as the crew's "Papi" - our leader - and losing the championship will ever be the black mark on my dancing life. It fired me up and drove me to instill discipline in the crew, teaching as many of these kids under me the value of never settling for 'good enough' and never ever resting on one's laurels.

We avenged this slight on our status as the premier dance group in 2010.
As I held that championship trophy on stage in front of a couple of thousand people, I felt the anger of loss dissipate into tears of joy and affirmation. We are the best.
Vindicated :')

This year, we will prove again that we are the best.
Whatever comes out on the judges' scorecards, one thing is for sure. Skittlez has left a true legacy in the Lasallian community, and we have created not just a dance group but an honest-to-goodness community and family. This is our fifth Remix and our second title defense; we will not give this so easily.
Remix 2011 Official Poster.

In the short history of Remix (and dance in De La Salle University in general), no crew has ever had the number of members that we have had (over 80 currently), no crew has ever produced dancers of such caliber as to be literally world-class, no crew has ever produced students of such academic esteem (22 Dean's List students last term), and no crew has ever shown as much love as we have to our beloved Green and White. We will continue to give shows and performances to all Lasallian groups and organizations for free, because we love dance so much that we refuse to put a price on it. We will continue to admit anyone and everyone in, because talent can develop from nothing. We will continue to share our philosophy and creed of One Love, Chyeah, because we are one in everything that we do.
Saying goodbye at his despedida to one of our most beloved supporters, Br. Armin Luistro, FSC.

This Saturday, I might go all teary-eyed because I won't be on stage defending the quirky, crazy family that is Skittlez. More than that, I know those tears will be for the legacy of winning, success, and love that we have created in the Lasallian community. I will miss dancing with Skittlez, but they are in good hands and will continue to be examples of faith, service, and communion to every one we encounter.

We love, we hate. We succeed, we fail. We win, we lose. We stand, we fall.
We have gone through everything, and still here we are.

Here we are.

Five Remixes on.
Here we are.

We will win. 
'Champion' is not a number.

Jay~

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Sunday, 13 November 2011

MoMo at Ayala Triangle


 Another food post!
We initially wanted to go to Ayala Triangle a couple of nights ago to see the Christmas lights, but unfortunately, the light show would only begin on the 16th of this month. We ate instead.
MoMo Cafe is a very interesting contemporary Italian restaurant serving seemingly strange but very homely dishes that taste pretty good. We sat outside, and with the light rain, had a casual albeit cold atmosphere.

Mushroom Soup "Cappuccino".

Making faces.

Melted Crab and Spinach Cheese Dip.

Close-up of the dip.

Hehehe :)

Blue Marlin Kebab = awesome.

Big fish stick!
I really, really like MoMo.

So much so, that instead of the restaurants in Serendra, I might just bring my grandma here for her birthday dinner. The serving sizes were really just right for a full meal (we finished our food!) and was served relatively quickly. I was very impressed with the soups (I ordered something else but wasn't able to snap a pic) and the exact not-too-hot temperature in which they were served. 
Our appetizer was very interesting, and it was easily one of the best starters I've had. The crab and spinach combo was good on sourdough bread (I tried) and even better on plain tortillas, which came with it. Not so with the vegetable sticks that it came with. Our entree, the fish, was absolutely humongous. It was four slabs of blue marlin, in two kebab skewers, and served with stir-fried rice (at least, I believe it's stir-fried). I paired it with a superb glass of Stamp Reisling, making for a pretty foodgasmic night. Haha.. Now if only it wasn't raining..

Food: 10/10
Service: 9/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Value for Money: 10/10
Minimum Budget for Two: PHP 1,200.00 - PHP 1,500.00

Jay~