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~

Friday, 11 November 2011

New Orleans at Resort's World


We seem to be eating out a lot lately :) Good company makes for good food, and good food makes for a happy blogger! Haha..
This time, we had dinner right before catching The Sound of Music (the theatrical play) at Resort's World's Newport Theater last night. We didn't know where to eat, and New Orleans looked like a good place, so we went there.

Sourdough Bread.

Crab and Corn Bisque.

Not very clear, but this was Pork Belly.

PJ with her massive Cajun fish (I forgot the proper name).
The place was quite crowded but we were lucky to get a nice table at the side. Food servings were huge and for the price, one of the most worth-spending-on we've ever had. The pork belly went okay with the house wine, though they could have had a better selection (the waiter only mentioned 3-4 bottles). Pretty decent, and the service is quick, if a tad hasty. Even though the servings were heavy, it left a little bit (not enough to stop me from going there again, mind you) of a greasy after-taste.

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

Jay~

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Run for Pasig River

See you there! I'll be doing my usual 3k.
Registrations end Nov 15!
Sign up now!
De La Salle University registration booth is located at the St. Joseph Hall lobby.
For more information, please visit Run for Pasig River 2011.

Jay~

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Monday, 7 November 2011

Balducci Dinner Date

Balducci Ristorante is a pretty Italian restaurant at Serendra, at The Fort, and it is currently my new favorite restaurant. Good food, good wine, very good service = recipe for a good experience.
Appetizer.

PJ with her seafood soup.

Minestra di Pesce alla Balducci, or as I like to call it, "seafood soup".

Spaghetti alla Pescatora, or "seafood pasta".

A glass of Chianti to cap the night off. But no liver, Mr. Lecter :)
I cannot stress enough how much I loved the food that night. It was really good, much better than the many (commercialized) Italian places around Manila. I could be going to too few places, but for now, Balducci is a decent place to have a meal. The ambiance was very nice as well, but the music choices were strange for the place (pop and some heavy R&B?). Well worth whatever you spend.
Balducci menu courtesy of munchpunch.com, if you're curious :)

Food: 9/10
Service: 9/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Value for Money: 10/10
Minimum Budget for Two: PHP 1,000.00 - PHP 1,500.00

Jay~

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Weekend Getaway

After what has turned out to be a very draining first ten months in the working world, a nice weekend break to my favorite place - Davao - was in order. Obviously, I cannot detail the trip here in its entirety but perhaps some pictures would help :)
I ran a race (Life Run 2010), joining in my usual 3k. I'm pretty fond of the 3k; the speed and competitiveness of the first kilometer is an adrenaline rush for me, and the mad dash at the last half a click gives a massive high for me later. I posted my best time so far in a run, at 13 minutes 55 seconds. I know it's not that fast (world record stands at a little over 7 minutes) but I am continuously improving :)


Julian, my Davao brother (blood couldn't make us any closer) also opened his mum's graduation gift for him. A massive 840W sound system. Holy crap LOL.
840W of sound muscle.
For Halloween, we spent it at Julian's uncle's place, which turned out to be the largest private residence I have ever been in. For comparison, the outdoors dining table where we had dinner on was a little less than the total length of my condo. WTF. I also had the opportunity (since it was Julian's graduation and all) to have had a couple of glasses of Cristal, definitely one of the most delicious drinks I've had. Also, a bottle of Cristal goes for something like $800. WTF Pt. 2.
Also known as the pimp of all champagne.
Spent the next couple of days with friends, and then a day with a Sister of the MIC (Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception) for the much needed spiritual R&R. I learned a lot about myself, and so much more about life and the challenges I have overcome and should expect.

Capped off my November Davao Retreat with an awesome Japanese dinner, but unfortunately, I was so famished I only managed to snap a picture of the appetizer.
Sashimi goodness.
All in all, one of the best retreats of my life, and needed so badly too.

Jay~