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Hello All, Just a quick note to say that I haven't been blogging here for a while because Peter and I decided to get our own doma...

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Archive for September 2010

Just Do It.

I was just reading on some of my favourite blogs, trying to catch up with posts that would inspire me to travel, read, or basically experience life more. With a full-time day job that roughly eats up around 14 hours of my free time everyday, and each minute on that full time job is being measured and tracked by this weird sort of Microsoft Excel timer sheet, I am getting more and more frustrated.

Anyway, I realize that even though I may slack off a few minutes off work trying to blog or read up on things, it doesn't matter. At the end of the day, the job is just a job to bring food on the table, to pay the bills, to have luxuries in life like buying books and travel.

And so I type this, wondering, what the hell was stopping me from blogging and doing things that I really want to do? Is it work? Nope! Is it being busy? Not really. My time is mine, and I can do whatever I want with it! Hah. Now, I'm not saying that I will quit my job [far from it, really], but I'll just enjoy whatever perks I can have while being chained to the 9-6 stable job. harhar. It's all about working smart, and not hard, because the more you work hard, the more you stress yourself out. And we all know stress kills.

So, my advise to everyone reading? Just do it. Life is too short. The truth of the matter is, you'll never know when you're going to go. Now is the time to be impulsive. Whee.

Actually I am writing this blog for myself, for inspiration. Hopefully it would inspire you guys to.
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Review: Bridget Jones's Diary

Meet Bridget Jones. She's 30-something, has a dead-end career, no boyfriend, and seriously thinks she's overweight [although she's not]. We peek into her diary with this book, as she reveals what a day in the life of Bridget Jones is like.

Thoughts: Funny, funny, funny book. I was depressed one day and was in a bit of a book rut. I wanted to read something light that would cheer me up, and I found bridget!

I've read the debut novel of Fielding, Cause Celeb, and managed to watch the Bridget Jones's movie, but the book is a breath of fresh air. Whilst the movie portrayed Daniel as a jerk, in the book, he was a bit tamer, and there was no fight scene as per the movie! Hah! I really thought that was true.

Anyhow, what fascinated me about this book is about how Bridget seems so normal and ordinary, like me and you, really, and I totally can relate to her. From her feelings about not having a boyfriend, her parents trying to set her up with someone whom she doesn't even like [at first], and her struggle with her self-esteem, her weight, and diets! I loved her kooky friends, they are all eccentric and eclectic in their own way. I guess they all brought something to the table within Bridget's story.

A quick, fun, and definitely uplifting read, this book makes you feel like you're reading a past journal you had, or reading a blog or journal of one of your closest friends. You feel that every entry is from the heart, and however embarassing, sad, or funny each entry was, it's a part of her life.

Oh yes, I am part Bridget Jones and I'm happy to have read this book. I can't wait to read the sequel, the Edge of Reason!

Published: 1996

Publisher: Picador
Available from: Everywhere!
Read it if: You're feeling down and want a little pick me up. And of course, some light reading done too.
Book was acquired from: Bought from a bookstore.
Rating: LOVES

Review: Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter numero cinco! Even if the world has read the books, i'm slowly but surely catching up. Hah. I realiZe that I havrn't been reading all that much lately and it took me forever to finish this book. After all, this is the longest book i've ever managed to read. All 870 pages of it. World record! Hurrah! Hurrah!

Anyway, enough of the introduction, lets move on to a brief sypnosis of the book. Please note this review will have spoilers! So, its harry's fifth year and he has been mysteriously attacked by a dementor. He nearly gets kicked out of school but he also learns that Dumbledore has a group dedicated to gather intelligence to eventually defeat Voldemort. Exciting. Problem is, nobody wants to believe harry or dumbledore when they say Lord Voldy is back. Huh. There's also a new defense against the dark arts teacher who works under Fudge, who wants to take over the school from Dumbledore. And.. as you all know, someone will die in this book.

Thoughts: Such a thick, thick book! But.... it's full of action, drama, and angst. Harry is by now a teen who's angsty ways could get annoying, but you'll get used to it as he has a bazillion questions and no direct answer is being given to him. This book is so... dark. I guess that's the best way to describe it. Loved the back story, hey, I am a sucker for back stories and would always end up giving plus points to a book that provides a decent back story for their main characters, and of course, the fight scenes and action!

Although I've watched the movie before reading the book, I would say the book is very much different! I love the book more [as with most cases of books vs movies that I've read and watched. What else do I like about this book? Luna Lovegood! She's awesome. Weird, but awesome. I could totally relate to her! [Maybe I'm weird too?]. Loving the new magical creatures and spells. Hah. If only there was an exams on spells I'm sure I could do good on it.

And Hagrid, poor, poor Hagrid. Loving Dumbledore more, and also Tonks!! She's fun!

So, final verdict and closing notes?

Published: 2003

Publisher: Scholastic
Available from: everywhere!
Read it if: You want an action-packed fantasy book or if you just want to dwell on teenage angst or if you just want to continue reading Harry Potter or if you want to compare the movie with the book.
Book was acquired from: Powerbooks.

The 2010 manila intl book fair


I'm live blogging from sm mall of asia as i wait for a friend who wants me to accompany her yk the book fair. I've already been with another friend of mine and i can say i was quite disappointed. Gone are the quirky stalls of powerbooks and a different bookstore from lady year, and i didnt end up with lots of buys as i thought i would. Tried to check out the anvil publication booth but again, nothing. Only notable thing for me is the national bookstore booth. They have an almost complete series of the guardians if gahoole (except for book 2- which totally annoyed me). There's also some new books up for sale at 20% off. Although, if you dont like to pay the p20 admission to the book fair, mall of asia vranches of national amd powerbooks are on sale. 20% off also on selected imported books. And my favourite bookstore, booksale has great finds.

So i left the bookfair with nothing, except for a used copy of wolf hall, by hilary mantel from booksale. Its quite expensive at p225 but its a 1st edition trade paperback, i think.

Have fun at the book fair and hipeully you guys going there will have better luck with your book buys than me!!

The Saturdays 24/7

It's a Sunday as I type this and I'm supposed to be in my bed, in my room, watching the travel channel and/or Nat Geo Adventure. But... my mum has took control of my room and is watching some home videos sent from America by our relatives, leaving me in her room, in front of the PC, trying to figure out what to do.

Good thing one of my favourite bands, the Saturdays, have a new telly show out. It's called the Saturdays 24/7. I tried to find a torrent I could download [darn, living outside the UK is tough, tough, tough, esp if you have a billion bands that are sooo huge in the UK but not so big in Asia. Darnit]. Good thing there's Youtube. Ahhh.. a saviour.

And so, for my sake, behold! The Saturdays 24/7 episode 1... in four parts.. from Youtube. Woot Woot.

What a great Sunday....=)

A Day out at the Ayala Museum Part One: The Talk.

It was a lovely Saturday afternoon last August 14th when I left the house for the Ayala Museum. I was there to attend their History Comes Alive talk about what Andres Bonifacio might have said when he was leading the revolution. It was slated at 3pm and when I arrived at 245pm and paid the entrance fee [P300], I found myself seated at the leftmost side chairs, as apparently the centre chairs have been reserved for those who had reservations. *shrug* It was a last minute thing, with me thinking that I would definitely go to this talk so as not to waste a Saturday and see the museum at the same time. [Entrance to the museum comes with the entrance fee].

I noticed that Mr. Ocampo was milling around with the audience, waiting for his lecture to begin, so I hastily bought his newest book, Dirty Dancing 2 for P95, a collection of his newspaper articles and got him to sign it [see photo on the side, taken by my trusty camera phone! wheee]

Anyhoo, at around 3pm, the lecture started, with quite a long introduction on where the statues of Andres Bonifacio were, and how his students graphically differentiate Andres Bonifacio from Jose Rizal. Naturally, Rizal would often be drawn wearing the coat and tie and holding a pen [err.. a feather quill], whilst Bonifacio would be drawn wearing his cropped red pants, and wearing a v-necked white shirt with his signature bolo, of course. Rizal would also be portrayed as a scrawny, skinny guy, whilst Bonifacio would be drawn as a muscular dude.

What followed was a brief interactive talk on why people perceive both national icons in that way, and in reality, how Bonifacio could not have possibly fought the revolution using only a bolo whilst the Spanish were using guns. So duh, Bonifacio and his group could have used guns too. But with their resources, one would guess that they would only have one round of bullets to use on their enemies before they ran back to the cover of their hideout. Hmm.. At that rate, Bonifacio would have only killed around 6 enemies on a very good shot!

Discussed in the talk also - a photo of Bonifacio. There was only one photo of him, a teeny, tiny one, compared to Rizal's numerous portraits. I took photos of this from the event but it's in my big camera, which is with my mom right now so can't upload at the moment.

And the final question was: What could possibly have been the words Bonifacio used to motivate his people to move forward and continue fighting the revolution? Ambeth Ocampo thinks it is a rather naughty, bad word. Filipinos would understand even the initials: "PI!"

Overall, the talk has been very entertaining, and never a dull moment. It opened my eyes more to the history of the Philippines, and our heroes, and a plus side is that you could see some of these historical events on the 2nd floor of the museum, with the dioramas! Love Ambeth Ocampo, he is sooo hilarious, I can't stop laughing at some of his jokes and comments throughout the whole talk!

More about the exhibitions of the Ayala Museum on the Part Two post!

There's an upcoming talk about the Malolos Congress this September 18th, Saturday at 3pm. Still at the ground floor of the Ayala Museum, entrance fee is P300 [includes the talk + entrance to all parts of the museum]. Better reserve your slot if you intend to go! Visit the Ayala Museum at their website: http://www.ayalamuseum.org/ for more information.

Travel: Reasons why you should fly PAL.

Last August 21st, I had a scheduled trip to Boracay via Kalibo. It was my first time to go to Boracay [yeah, what a loser], and my first time to fly via Philippine Airlines.

Now, don't go on hating me, I have traveled to other places but I've used other airline carriers [Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, and Cebu Pacific], never PAL. Why? Well, I got used to the budget lifestyle, and the older trips were booked by my mum so I never had a say which airline to take. Anyway, my first time to fly PAL happened when they had a sale going to domestic destinations last February.My friends and I jumped at the chance since it means roundtrip plane tickets to Kalibo would cost P1800. Not bad considering that I'm flying by PAL [which is quite expensive, in my opinion].

On to the reasons why I would love to fly PAL, should the budget permits ;)

1. They've got more choices and better flight times for international flights.
 - Think of it this way, if you chose Cebu Pacific going to Taiwan, chances are you're gonna get a late night flight. Arriving in Taipei in the evening certainly isn't the best option since yo'ure going to have to splurget at the hotel. on to the hotel and an extra night at the hotel.

2. More comfortable seats
- PAL has the most comfortable seats, ever!!! Well, nothing compared to the business class seats of Emirates, of course, but hey, for economy class tickets compared to the budget carriers, I am indeed comfortable. I'm not saying that PAL is a budget carrier [oh no no no!] but I looooooove their seats.

3. Snacks and free water/tea/coffee on the plane.
-Without paying for a hefty price! ha ha ha. Drink all the tea or coffee or water that you can!

4. Bigger planes.
- Loving the 747s of PAL [not that I ever rode in them yet, of course]

5. Mabuhay Miles.
- Free flights once you accumulate a certain number of miles, isn't that great???

6. Customer Service is a plus.
 - When PAL cancelled their flights from HK during typhoon Basyang, they immediately booked all the people in a comfy hotel!! Jeez, whilst I was stuck in an airport in Cebu for a harrowing 10 hours, and experieced the worst turbulence ever whilst the pilot tried to land the plane in MNL [still, kudos to the pilot for trying to land us safely in MNL though, can totally understand why you had to divert us to Cebu]. But grrr!! The least CebuPac could have done was provide us lots of food at the airport terminal. The foreigners I was chatting with were very disappointed [they were Brit nationals, mind you -- hmm... I often find myself chatting randomly to Brit or Aussie locals when I'm traveling], they actually missed their connecting flight to Coron the next day! *sigh* Not sure if they would still come back to MNL or the PH in general. Anyhooo, again, budget vs higher fare airlines. I got what I paid for. Oh well, not that I am complaining much anyway.

7. More international destinations.
- Tokyo, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Los Angeles, Honolulu, and so much more. Well, although they are a bit far out and require more moolah to travel to, they are in my must-travel list. [Hmm actually every major city in the world is probably in my must-travel list! ha ha. And that includes trying to explore all the historic cities of the UK and Italy. Good luck to me... and my dreams.. and my budget].

And so the list goes. I can't really think of anything more right now. Hmmm.. gotta work to earn more and travel more. Toodles!
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The move from books to travel.

I admit it, I am obsessed. I am now obsessed with travel. *sigh* It has hit me, and it has hit me hard.
I look now at the bookshelves that I have and realize that while these books have helped me learn a lot of things in my life, and taken me to places far and wide through my imagination, I realize that I need to get out there and experience these places on my own and not just through pages of a hardbound, trade paperback or a mass market paperback.

Back in 2008, I met some of my Western colleagues when I was sent to London for work. At their teens, they have already seen several places for their holidays, been to several countries. My trainer, who is now in his mid 30s is now pushing for the 72nd country to visit. 72 countries in 30 something years. That's an average of nearly 2 countries a year. That is astounding. That is amazing. That is inspiring.

And although these western counterparts do make a lot more money than myself as a Filipino [hey, at the moment, the pound is pounding at around 1GBP to 70-80PHP. Way back in 2008 it was 1GBP to nearly 100PHP. Could you imagine that?? A pound for them, a simple coin, is worth a lot of money for us Filipinos] I will do my best to curb all spending and just place it in travel. It's for myself, it's for my growth, for realizing that the world is huge, it's out there. To live curious [National Geographic], to realize that the world is just awesome [Discovery Channel], to get lost [National Geographic Adventure].

Oh yes, the travel bug caught me when I recently changed my cable subscription and subscribed to additional channels called Discovery Travel and Living [which I think is called TLC now], Nat Geo Adventure, Discovery Science, Discovery Channel and National Geographic. Oh gosh, I am on overload of places to visit.

But that doesn't mean I've given up on reading books. I will still continue to read and review, although admittedly, my notebooks about travel are filling up faster than the book reviews. *cringe*

I am about to finish the longest book I've ever read in my entire life [Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, a staggering 870 pages long for the hardbound version], and yes, that is also a milestone for me. I still can't live without my books, without bringing one in my bag whenever I go to work every morning or whenever I leave the house, and bringing one special book as well whenever I go out of town or on my holidays.

They both will have special places in my hearts, its just a matter of priority, and the priority is to get out there and live, oh gosh, does that mean I'm not a nerd anymore?? =)

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