Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I didn't know this! well, until now of course

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Easy tweeting

Tweeting is my best friend, though I'm still a wannabe active blogger. I always thought I had to use a smartphone, along the lines of a Samsung-ish, Android-ish, QWERTY-ish, Blackberry-ish, Touch-y type of phone to tweet and facebook effectively. It turns out Globe charges an exorbitant amount just so I can tweet from a smartphone, and I don't want to buy a smart phone right now.

There are just some of the times when I love my race (LOL). Tweetitow.com, a 3rd party twitter app for Filipinos, is godsend! After a supposedly easy registration process, I should be able to tweet from any phone (like from my Sony Ericsson phone whose model name I forgot right now).

So this is what happened to me:

1. The registration process seemed easy enough at first, and I followed the instructions to type "OREG mytwitter name and a random code" to a number (as in a Globe number/0905...). But lo and behold, I couldn't even send the damn thing. It always turns out "message sending failed".

2. So I went to the HELP section and saw that their instructions were a bit different. It apparently needed me to compose a message with my username and password and send it to a totally different number. I did it and I think it was sent properly, but when I tried to test tweet, nothing came out.

So with sheer luck on my side, I followed instruction 1.,, THEN sent it to number 2., and after a few seconds, I was mentioned and I can tweet from my phone already! No need for a smartphone and I'm stoked!!! So the Filipino's taste for the easy way out comes in handy after all!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

facebook's a no-brainer

Let the heavens part! Apparently facebook's new gift for mankind is a revamped photo tagging feature and I'm definitely a believer!!!


Tagging gazillions of photos after I've uploaded them could be quite a bitch. At least before, I have good souls who help me do the tagging. Imagine the shock I got when I used facebook's uploader and my screen was filled with groups of pictures like the one above. Apparently, this groups faces together so you could tag with ease. It's amazing how now, more than ever, facebook thinks of our needs - like our need to be lazy and not think a lot.

There are a few hitches though. It can't group and recognize faces in odd positions so there's still some work to be done (Boo!!!!!) but at least now my pointing fingers (the one I exclusively use for typing) aren't worked up that much, so hallelujah for the no-brainer that is facebook!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mockingjay reviewed

I don't think I have to put up a disclaimer to read Mockingjay (and the first two books) to understand what I'm talking about, but here I am, doing it for my first real "review" for goodreads.com

Catching Fire, the Hunger Games trifecta's second book, ended with Gale telling Katniss, that her home, District 12, is no more.

Now Mockingjay opens with Katniss surrounded by the ashes of 12, she's surrounded by a wasteland where those who were doused with flames lie as burnt remains, and those who were not so lucky to be charred lie decomposing, covered with cloaks of flies and maggots.

The war against the Capitol has now begun, and Katniss, star of the Hunger Games and the Quarter Quell, rises from the ashes to become the face of the rebellion, literally becoming the subversive brand to rally on the Districts to rise against the formidable Capitol. She knows President Snow must be killed, and she must prepare for that moment.

The was floored with The Hunger Games and Catching Fire because Suzanne Collins masterfully created a "what-if" world torn by war, thrown backwards and ruled with an iron fist. The premise of Katniss Everdeen's world isn't too far from where we stand right now. It's just that Collins had the skill, imagination and the balls to push the envelope and actually expose and create a possibility.

Mockingjay was able to properly continue where Catching Fire left off: the long overdue rebellion against the Capitol. Though there wasn't a lot of action during the first few chapters, it was necessary to build not only the momentum but also Katniss' image as well.

I particularly enjoyed picturing out just how she transforms into the Mockingjay. It's like shooting a commercial, only instead of products you'd see Katniss being videoed infront of a burning hospital, angry, making threats and igniting anger throughout Panem. Looking back, it was amusing how despite the terror and chaos, the "marketing team" thought of it as great footage, how every body loves drama so they're sure to react. Katniss is magical infront of the camera when she's spontaneous and unscripted. There was black propaganda for sure.

The ensuing war has changed every body for sure, but the person/s that affected me the most was not Peeta (though I'll get to him in a while), but Gale and Prim. Simply put, I saw just how Gale can be as cut-throat as Snow, he admitted it himself. He's so fueled with rage against the Capitol that when he talks strategy, you could either do one of two things: be awed by his cunning, or be afraid. Prim somewhat a voice of reason throughout the series. Sometimes, she becomes Katniss' rock of strength. She has an ambition to become a doctor, and she inherits all the good traits of the Everdeen family. Not bad for a girl who was supposed to be the tribute, not her older sister.

Mockingjay isn't for the faint of heart. The whole book practically screams "body count!". Collins' gift for graphic exposition shines throughout the book. We get to see more of it towards the end of the book, where Katniss leads a group to the Capitol, to hopefully kill Snow and end the war once and for all. This is where things get ugly. This is where the real body count lies. And most of all, this is where I realized Mockingjay's backbone: deception and manipulation.

Katniss was supposed to kill President Snow. She was almost there. But the hitch was that there was a human shield made of children infront of the President's home. Before she could do anything to get through, the pivotal point of the story begins with small white parachutes dropping from a hovercraft. The children expect gifts along with the parachutes (since during the Hunger Games, a small parachute is usually the way where a tribute gets supplies for survival), but instead of gifts, the packages explode. Not all of them do, but it's enough to cause Rebel paramedics to rush to the scene.

I thought it was heartbreaking enough that children had to die like that, but imagine a moment when Katniss sees her sister, Prim, among the medics seconds before the second wave of explosions begin. Prim indeed grows up, and like everyone who grows up, she dies.

Now that is the pivotal point.

There is chaos, followed by order. But for Katniss (and myself), there was only confusion.

The scene was disgusting, especially since children had to die like that. The children were used as pawns and payed the price for victory, which apparently the rebels from District 13 got. This is where Mockingjay and the first two books are so much alike: all of them depict the youth being used in one way or the other.

Manipulation was apparently the name of the game. Now more than ever, I saw how President Coin used every one to lay the groundwork for her hold to power. The book left me wondering who the villain really is. As frustrating as it may sound, that's the beauty of Mockingjay. It's a complicated chain, a web, where every body has a hand at creating the chaos. These were people driven with the lust for revenge, retribution and vindication. Because of that, every body was a villain in one point or the other in the game of survival.

Towards the end of the book, I was already frustrated at how the momentum was crushed like that. I expected Katniss to rise as the hero of the hour, but that didn't happen. If ever, the last few pages depicted just how damaged Katniss has become. She didn't win anything. She lost everything. Her life after the drama was practically a hopeless one, until Peeta returned.

Ah, Peeta. Honestly I don't have a lot of say about him, only that now, I know why Katniss chose him. As much as Katniss began the epic and horrific story of retribution, Peeta ended it. She said it herself, when she likened Peeta to a dandelion in the spring. No matter how denuded, damaged and demoralized Katniss' life has become...life goes on and there will always be a chance to start over.

I guess the whole point of The Hunger Games trilogy was to ask an important question: Who wins a war? Time and time again, the answer will always be: No one. People do the most horrific things when they're consumed with self-serving needs. People likewise do horrific things when they're driven by the lust for revenge. No one benefits from that. More than anything else, I think that's what I got from reading Suzzane Collins.

She's a genius.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Born to Move

Ok something really funny happened to me a few minutes ago

I joined National Geographic Asia's Great Migrations photo contest. It's basically a contest where a person whose photo has the most number of likes AND is liked by a panel of judges wins a Canon 550d! It's an opportunity I wouldn't want to pass up, so I joined right away.

I was really caught up with the frenzy of 'likes', I messaged and commented on photos of people I don't know just so they can link my photo that I kind of annoyed Facebook and it BLOCKED ME!!!!!! I'm so pissed right now and I can't believe I won't be able to leave comments on photos indefinitely! I can still post status messages and send private messages though so all is not lost. But still, damn facebook.

Anyway, this is my first entry under the category "Born to Move", entitled "Deep"

no matter how uncertain of my path, I will paddle through life's ocean, because I believe there's hope even in the depths

This hullabaloo over a photo made me neglect some things I NEEDED to do today:

1. clean my room, since I haven't cleaned it since the my final exams three weeks ago.

2. write a review on The Red Pyramid, and my thoughts on Percy Jackson and the Olympians and the 39 Clues for goodreads.com

3. sleep early for once! it's already 10:30 and I'm exhausted. Good thing my first class is at 9am, so I have time to rest, I hope. :)

So I'm hoping I'd get the chance to do these things tomorrow, since I need to get my life on track again. Yeah, I'm exaggerating again. This is me signing off!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Let them eat cake

Yesterday, I received an SMS from Riez asking if she, MJ and Juneth could go and visit me since apparently they were house-hopping. That was probably the last time I would see Juneth until the holidays since she's leaving tomorrow. Anyway, after having lunch at my place, I decided to go with them to pasonanca, the City Health office, Lantaka for snacks, and Tat's barbeque for....wait for it....more food.

Anyway, I'm gonna talk about what we ate at Lantaka, since 1. that's the only time I took pictures of food, 2. Tat's can wait since I'll probably go back there again 3. A SLICE OF LANTAKA'S CAKE COSTS AN ARM AND A LEG! Let them eat cake indeed!


Neth and I had the sugar-free strawberry and blueberry cheescakes, respectively. Those were the most expensive of the bunch, and a slices were so TINY!!!! I could easily devour three of them in 5 minutes. I was pretty happy at first when I knew they were sugar-free since they didn't taste like yucky cardboard, but when I learned they cost 100+ a piece, well let's just say I learned that health comes with a price. I savored every mouthful.


At first I felt pretty bad about eating a teeny slice of cheesecake because I forgot my wallet so Riez and MJ had to pay for me. But oh well, the bad feeling's gone now that I think of it. At least it's free



These were the cakes Riez and MJ had. They were pretty good, though MJ's cake (the bottom) had too much liquor in it and it wasn't even a black forest cake!

So the reason I posted this was because I was pretty pleased with how I took the shots. At least I think I'm getting the hang of composition more. If it doesn't work out at Vogue, maybe I could settle for Food or Yummy magazine! Photography and food is one sentence sounds tempting already.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

passing on the Torch

I thought today would just be another random Berchmans (my high school class) get together every sembreak, but...NOOooo it wasn't!



Well, not in a really bad way. For one, there were only eight of us (Jam, Marko, Leonel, Neil, Juneth, Yana, Floyd and I) during the lunch out @ Mano-Mano, AND Floyd had to bail after since he had some major IT competition to train for. Afterward though, things got more interesting.

Yana told us that the high school would stage it's annual GreekFest today, so we decided to head on over to the Kreutz campus to see it.

The GreekFest is this annual presentation by each of the fourth year sections taking up World Literature. Blogfriend Dee, who's also a Berchmans from an earlier batch commented that Greekfest was actually an annual thing during their time, and yeah, theirs was the also the best. But apparently it was stopped and reintroduced during our time. Pardon the immodesty but I think the Berchmans diorama was the best. Yeah, it was a diorama during our time - where we dressed up a classroom to make it look like a museum with the statues of the gods suddenly coming alive.

I have no idea how the format has changed through the years but today was actually our lucky day. Apparently only one class was set to present today and we were fortunate enough to watch the Honors Class perform. Technically we were them, four years ago. I can't believe it's been that long!

Anyway, a lot of things have changed and for starters, THE VENUE ACTUALLY HAD DECENT AIR CONDITIONING, since they built a set in the AVR. When it was our time, we had to transform a classroom on the 5th floor into a set, and it was so hot with all the spotlights and the windows closed!


As for their storyline, it was more of a skit than a diorama, with the story of the Olympians as the focus, sans the Titans (we did Olympians and the Titans). Their story involved a lot of movement onstage, and the spacious set was to their advantage. The twist in the story was that they injected music in their performances, making it a semi-musical. Think Hera singing "I will Survive", Ares and Aphrodite doing "Iris", and Hades singing Rasputin's song from the Disney movie Anastasia. It was an eclectic mix of show tunes, adult contemporary and Disney.


The only hitch was the AVR's sound system - that was the horrible part. But as for the great singing, kudos to them. Most of them delivered their lines well, with enthusiasm and humor. They knew how to be funny, especially the witty one-liners. And the dialogue had some risque lines to them- stuff about losing your virginity and incest. My, have the kids grown.


Basically they knew how to tell the god's story with a beginning, a middle and an end, so props to them!!! (I know this part doesn't do justice to what I just saw but at least you have an idea of what happened - or not :)).

But still, I'd like to believe that our set was the best (of course, love your own) :) We even made a night sky. The costumes were no joke either!!!




there's me at the far left, with the glasses when I was still larger than life, appropriately cast under the Titans. I forgot who I played though.

Beyond the humor, looking at them gave me that poignant feeling I haven't really felt in a while. It's the fact that it's been four years and high school is a thing of the past. The proverbial Olympic torch (see? the imagery fits the post! :)) has been passed on so many times already. I felt....well, old. I know, I know, it'll happen eventually. But I didn't think it'll happen so soon. I'll graduate college in a few months and I don't want to look back with regrets. I know a few short months is well...short. But I'm determined to make the most of it and live it with all I got. I don't want to look back one day and regret not doing this and that. So saying "Yes" to every opportunity is a good, albeit late start.

(like just now. I won't spoil it since I don't know if it will push through but I'll post any developments! *fingers crossed! )

Parting shot:

I know "right now", my skills aren't exactly worthy of a magazine, but I'm having fun with my camera, and this shot is definitely a favorite of mine. I smell a photoshoot in the next couple of days...

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Chicken with pesto

A week ago I was surprised to find out that the local grocery carried chicken breast fillets. I know, it's supposed to be like, a staple in the meat section but Zamboanga (where I live) is at the most, 5 years behind every city when it comes to things like malls and...chicken breasts. Case in point: the local grocery CARRIED breast fillets, BUT they don't bring it outside for display.

So it's been a week and the fillets have been resting in the freezer since I have no idea what to do with them. I wanted to make chicken galantina, but I remembered something: we don't have a proper oven! What do I do with chicken breasts that doesn't involve stuffing it with bacon, holding it with butcher's twine (not that we have it here), and baking it?

Then I remembered that although the grocery hides its chicken breasts from the world, they do put pesto on display. Thanks to Yummy.ph I found a recipe for pasta that only needed noodles, chicken and pesto.


I was halfway through mixing my chicken with the marinade ingredients when I realized I didn't have the time and the energy to cook pasta, so thinking on my feet, I decided that the chicken would be a stand alone dish.


The modification seems easy enough, since I really didn't have to alter the whole recipe. I just did away with the pasta part. I was pretty nervous mixing the marinade ingredients, since it's my first time to work with pesto and without a recipe, I just relied on gut feel to flavor my chicken with salt and pepper.

It really didn't take long for the chicken to cook, and I was lucky enough to avoid any cooking mishaps, like the chicken burning or turning out raw.


So I cut the first piece of meat that was done and saw the juices running clear: a good sign and a pat on the back for me! I grabbed a fork and impaled a small piece. I put it in my mouth. It was still hot, so a little back and forth motion with my tongue. When I got to really taste it, I was impressed! I never thought the chicken would taste like my favorite chicken my mom used to bring home from Manila.


The pesto really came through for me. It gave the chicken the fresh, sweet slightly nutty and aromatic tang that only basil could deliver. Pesto is my friend now. I was relieved that rubbing the fillet with salt and pepper and other spices did their trick as well.

I'm not sure if they (family members who subsist on regular food. lol) would appreciate it since the flavor is definitely not in our run-of-the-mill dinner. I wouldn't go as far as saying it's snooty. Maybe they just need to appreciate gourmet dishes more. Which I don't think they will but it's a work in progress!


I know, I still have to work on my food styling. But at least it's a start. I have Jaden's Steamy Kitchen to thank for the inspiration.


Chicken with Pesto
serves 3 - 5

1 kg chicken breast fillets, cleaned
salt and pepper to taste
1 - 2 tbsp bottled pesto (I have no idea how this dish would fare with freshly made pesto so don't ask!!!)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp anise seeds
2 tsp rosemary
1 - 2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1. Clean the chicken breasts and pat dry with a paper towel.
2. Rub the chicken with salt and pepper until thoroughly distributed
3. In a bowl, mix the remaining ingredients to form a paste.
4. Add the chicken and evenly mix and coat with the pesto paste.
5. Let the chicken and pesto rest for at least 30 minutes
6. Heat olive oil or corn oil in a nonstick pan before adding the chicken.
7. Once the pan is heated enough, add the chicken skin side down. Do not overcrowd the pan.
8. Cook each side on medium heat until golden brown, with slight charring (this is normal since the chicken is coated with basil).
9. Test if the meat is cooked thoroughly by slicing a piece in half and the juices run clear.
10. Serve with rice and or pasta.(I ate it without rice though. still tasted great)

I love Roti

I keep on finding myself blogging more about food lately!

My best friend Jam, who went on a little trip to Cebu, brought home Roti buns from Kopi Roti!!!! This is definitely an indulgence on both our parts, since these buns don't come cheap and it's a hypertensive's worst nightmare: bread generously glazed with coffee and inside is a generous serving of......wait for it.....butter. But it's soooooooo good when it's toasted and warm that a few years off your life is worth it. I think.


Horror boot camp

I always have this deep-seated fascination with horror media - movies, books, TV shows. Out of the three, I am almost always scared more with what I read than what I watch. I remember when I was in Cagayan de Oro a few years ago, a National Bookstore trip found me buying my first True Philippine Ghost Stories book. The funny thing is I never finished it because it creeped me out so much I couldn't stand being alone in a room, especially at night.

What's weird about me is that I'm a wuss when it comes to horror. True, I said I had a fascination with it but I almost always crawl back to my 'safe mode' everytime I watch a scary movie - my eyes semi-closed with my hands on my ears since I think a scary movie banks on its sound effects more than its' visuals. I did that with Ghost Whisperer, Nginiiigg, Phobia and even that Gabby Concepcion movie.

So where am I going with this?

s Pictures, Images and Photos

Today, in broad daylight, I'll watch Paranormal Activity (the first one, not the sequel) from my laptop, WITH MY EARPHONES GLUED TO ME. You get the picture? I'm thinking this is a way to desensitize myself the hard way - through horror boot camp. Wish me luck and I'll post the experience when I'm done!

Monday, November 01, 2010

What I have for breakfast


I love taho and it would definitely be in my top 5 breakfast staples. It's a yummy mix of bland yet silky tofu/soy curd (the white stuff), heavy sugar syrup (arnibal) and little tapioca pearls served in a cup; either slurped with a spoon or drunk straight on. I used to think the mangtataho/taho vendors put too much syrup, but the sweetness really offsets the blandness of the curd. The sago pearls add texture and it's really the icing on the cake.

I don't get to catch the mangtataho every early morning because of school, but since i'm on break, I won't pass up the chance.