Monday, 23 May 2011

23 on 23

I'm 23 today.

I think it's best to tell how I feel today with comparisons and observations as to who I was and what I was doing on a birthday month per year basis. Let's begin the story, a decade ago.

I was a few months into high school, obese and friendless, searching for group of friends to belong in and with. I wasn't into any sport (sure, I knew how to play football, but which kid from Malaysia didn't?) so I tried two "cool" things: skateboarding and bboy (breakdance).

I was a month off from being the youngest member of a debating team that beat the 10-year champions. On my birthday month of this year, I was barely home, training and practicing for the State Debates. Ended up winning that, marking the proudest moment of my life thus far.

I was fifteen, and preparing for my mid-secondary school examinations in Malaysia, the PMR. Pretty active in Christian youth circles at this time of my life. Quit debate, as I wanted to finish on top (high levels) but still active in intra- and inter-school debates. Still winning trophies :)

Sweet sixteen, and I spent birthday morning at Church. Went home and found out Mum had a huge feast laid out for me. One of the most unforgettable birthdays ever as my friends had a barbecue at my place and I really felt showered with love and attention.

Final year of high school, and I was also a Senior Prefect. It felt good celebrating my 17th on top - grades were good, played football regularly, and very active in the youth ministry.

First birthday in college! Still a little shocked from the Cambridge A-Levels, coming from high school, but a day out with some friends for my birthday cheered things up. Being 18 was fun and very exciting :)

Last birthday in Malaysia; I was moving to the Philippines (instead of the USA, as per my mother's wish) to study again in a month. One of the most memorable as well, as I tried to say some last goodbyes to many friends I know deep in my heart I will never see again.

Turning 20 was a strange feeling - no usual suspects in my birthdays, what with my moving to the Philippines. Still, it was a chance to celebrate my birthday with new-found friends, some of who will still be with me right now.

The birthday that gave me the right to drive, to vote, and to own property. 21 is a wonderful age to be: young enough to see the world as an adventure, yet seasoned enough to have let go of the childish things of the past.

Summer vibes, finishing university in a bit, as well as being in love made this birthday a contender for the best ever.

Hundreds and hundreds of birthday greetings really made me feel special. My first birthday as a working man with his own place (w00t) makes this one real awesome. I am also spending this birthday with the most wonderful person in the world <3

Ten birthdays. Ten stories.
23 on 23 = Unforgettable :)


Monday, 9 May 2011

Sakae Sushi

It was yet another disappointing reservation attempt at Yakimix (both branches!), so PJ and I decided to go with some other friends to another Japanese place at SM Mall of Asia, Sakae Sushi. The best part about the place was that it had this pretty decent sushi conveyor belt. We went for the sushi and maki buffet, and Good Lord, we left the place full :P

Here comes the food!

Yes, we love to eat :)

The supposed last plate.

The look that says "I committed the sin of gluttony.

PJ a little woozy from the food.

Our last plate! Note that we reached the top of the conveyor :P

Yes, we had fun.
The food at Sakae was never going to be of the same quality as Nanbantei or Kai, but for sheer value for money, it was really good. The buffet we availed of was only PHP 399.00 per adult (or about $10.00 only!) or PHP 199.00 for kids under 12 years of age. Choices were very unpredictable, with long stretches before anything new passes by (or others were simply taking them before reaching us, but I doubt it; we sat near the conveyor exit). Service was a tad slow, with requests for water and tea taking up to five minutes, and the place did not look understaffed at all. The sushi and maki selections were decent, though they could decrease the rice a little, since many of the sushi - the ika and tuna especially - had huge rice pairings. Other than that, it was quite the good experience.

The total sushi destruction - our table, two persons - we wrought was 21 plates of sushi and maki, with estimated savings of PHP 700.00 for the both of us :D A really good deal, if you think about it. If you will not be going for the buffet, the prices are thereabouts on the standard scale, roughly PHP 200.00 to PHP 300.00 per dish (roughly $5.00 to $7.00). There was also no service charge, so please leave a tip.

Food: 7/10
Service: 6/10
Ambiance: 7/10
Value for Money: 10/10
Minimum Budget for Two: PHP 400.00 - PHP 800.00

Sakae Sushi is located at the 2/F of the SM Mall of Asia (main mall), Pasay City. Landmarks would be Complink Computer Shop (across) and McDonald's (across and below on the G/F). You may reach them at +632 5560150 for reservations or inquiry, but walk-in was perfectly fine.

Oh, and Happy 11th Month to us :)
(Had this lunch 2 days ago, on the seventh.


Thursday, 5 May 2011

Sony Ericsson w100i Spiro

As the previous post would inform you, my phone, a Nokia C3, was recently stolen. Aside from being cured from spending a significant (more than $100) on a phone, I was fortunate enough to have someone who was willing to sell me a phone really cheap. One of my colleagues is about to enter the Christian Brothers, and so was obliged to relieve himself of worldly possession. His Sony Ericsson Spiro, just three weeks old, needed a new owner. I was happy to oblige :P

Slider open

Slider closed

The Spiro is a cute little phone. It is so small, it disappears in my clenched fist. It is also really lightweight, but despite of the lack of weight and heft, it does not feel too fragile. The slide-function is really solid as well, and very smooth. Features are similar to most of the other SE mobile phones out there, so anyone familiar with the SE setup would not be too lost with this phone. The music player is also really crisp and loud. The battery life? A few days at least. Also, it has the "conversation" feature that my previous C3 had, whereby your text messages are grouped/threaded like a conversation, IM-style.

However, the camera is very poor (2.0 MP max), and the phone memory is horrific for a phone in today's market, just 5MB. A micro-SD card is definitely necessary. There is only ONE game in the "Games" folder, and the themes are very basic and not very pretty. It is NOT a phone if you are looking for a lot, but for the price I got it for (roughly $50), it does its job (call and text message) very well.

A good solid budget phone. Pretty Spartan, but one of the prettier basic phones out there. Very good value for money, if you are not asking for too much.


Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Nanbantei of Tokyo

Recently, PJ and I have been trying our best to get seats in the Greenbelt 3 Japanese restaurant Yakimix but unfortunately, we'd always end up really far in the reservation line. What we did instead was to go to another Japanese restaurant, Nanbantei of Tokyo. We loved the food so much we ended up going there again, a week later :)

Nanbantei serves yakitori, or Japanese food served grilled and on skewers. It was a fun food adventure for the two of us. Also, it helped that the food was really good. Here are our pictures, Pt. I and Pt. II :)

Pt. I
Spicy tuna maki


Assortment of toriniku (chicken meat), atsuage tofu (bean curd), and ika (squid).

Pt. II
Salmon sashimi

PJ with our food. Bowls of udon have still not arrived.

Unagi sushi (eel sushi) and spicy tuna maki, fast becoming our favorite.

The place looks very good, and the service is pretty quick. The servers are also really polite and friendly. However, for us the best part about eating at Nanbantei is the appetizer served upon being seated. They have vegetable sticks (carrots, cucumbers, and radish) with this Japanese sauce that we haven't found anywhere else. It is delicious. The food, surprisingly, also goes well with beer :P However, the other than yakitori, the choices and the lack of variety won't make you think too much. Also, to really enjoy, make sure your wallet is, well, filled. LOL.

Food: 8/10
Service: 9/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Value for Money: 7.5/10
Minimum Budget for Two: PHP 700.00 - PHP 1200.00

Nanbantei of Tokyo is located at Greenbelt 3, Makati City. You may call for reservation at +632 7574130, but walk-in diners should have no problems.