Archive for the 'WISH LIST' Category

27
Jul
13

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE : MASTERPIECE

nepal, lonely planet

My family and I will soon discover a place that’s absolutely new to us.

Where heritage and tradition run deep.

Where multi-ethnic cultures seem frozen in time.

A valley where finest MASTERPIECES of religious, and ancient Newari architecture

are considered treasures for the whole world to appreciate. 

We’re hoping to meet people and make new friends along the journey.

Most of all, we’re grateful and excited to experience remarkable moments together!

 

07
May
13

COUNTING BLESSINGS ON MY 6TH BLOGGING YEAR

08 May 2013. Wednesday.

Beyond Toxicity @ docgelo.com officially turns 6 years old today!

*applause! applause! bow!*

I’m not throwing any blog contest or giveaways but simply celebrating it with sincerest gratitude to my few loyal readers particularly those who have been writing comments on my posts through the years unconditionally.

Thank you very much! Maraming salamat po! Terima Kasih! Xie xie!

Ushering this blog’s 7th year is a list of exciting BLESSINGS this May 2013 and more pleasant ones to come!

*drum roll, please!*

  • Nomination in the 2013 Singapore Blog Awards in 4 blog categories (Best Lifestyle Blog, Best Individual Blog, Best Family Blog & Best Travel Blog). Thank you very much! List of finalists to be announced in mid-June. Awarding ceremony on July 6, 2013. At stake along with recognition, prizes and freebies is a fully sponsored trip to Northern Territories, Australia! I want to win! I want to win!!! However, as 30 % of the judging criteria will be coming from public votes, will you support and vote for my blog if and when it gets in the finalists’ list?  *crossed fingers* :)

singapore blog awards

  • Nomination in 2013 Tatt Awards, Globe Tattoo, Philippines (Best Photo Blog or Microblog).  List of finalists to be announced mid-June. At stake is recognition and PhP 50,000 cash prize for the Regular Blog Category. Just like in 2013 Singapore Blog Awards, I’m very thankful for the nomination and I’m hoping for the best to be in the finalists’ roll. Once in, your votes will be needed for this blog to win.  I want to win! I want to win!!! :) But if it’s not for me, I’ll still take pride in being nominated this year. To God be the Glory!

tatt awards 2013

  • Invitation for Tina, Gabby and I to a sponsored 3D2N accomodation at one of the five 123sqm-Corner Suites at the newest Victory Annexe Wing of the luxury-5-star-hotel, E&O Hotel Penang for hotel review and blog feature, May 2013

e&0

  • Invitation for Tina, Gabby and I to a sponsored dinner at 1885 fine dining restaurant in E&O Hotel Penang for restaurant review & blog feature, May 2013

1885

  • Invitation for Tina, Gabby and I to a sponsored 3D2N accomodation in Hotel Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen, Singaprore, May 2013

ibis on bencoolen

  • Invitation for Tina, Gabby and I to a sponsored 2 day-access to theme parks of choice by iVenture Card, Singapore, May 2013

iventure card

  • Last year, one of my photos landed on the pages of Postcards on Lonely Planet Asia magazine…

July 2012 LP

  • And for this year, the Associate Editor of Lonely Planet Asia emailed me recently that one of my photos of the Long Neck Women from Padaung Tribe in Myanmar who are currently refugees in Chiang Mai (blog post HERE!will grace one of the Postcard pages of Lonely Planet Asia on its July/August issue. Big deal enough for the non-pro/amateur photo-enthusiast in me! :)
  • And of course, I am still euphoric for winning the 2013 and 2012 Best Expat Blog Award from Ministry of Tourism Malaysia and all that happened concerning this blog last year (blog post HERE!)

2013 best expat blog awards docgelo

Thank you so much to those people who are happy when we are happy!

My greatest appreciation goes out to those who nominated this site to those blog awards, to our few but very generous sponsors, to those who tirelessly recommend me and my family to our sponsors and of course, to those who continously express love and support, I cannot thank you enough. God bless all of us more!  Mabuhay po kayo! Maraming salamat! :)

14
Sep
12

LEGO LOVE

Here are some of Gabby’s treasures…
lego 3
He got most of them as gifts. Those Lego Star Wars came from his maternal grandfather and that Buzz Light Year Lego watch was given by a generous travel buddy in Hong Kong, February of this year while some pieces were bought by his loving parents. :)
lego 4

Lego reminds me of childhood; I grew up with those colored bricks. And now that my son’s also into it, the fascination continues!

lego 2

Apparently, Lego toys nowadays are more fancy and edgy. They don’t come inexpensive too. From only simple building bricks of my wonder years, Lego has creatively evolved into various themed pieces, mostly from movies and TV series. Talking of which, Gabby’s into Ninjago Lego, Master of Spinjitsu. Have you heard of it? He watches the series chronologically per season both online and on cable TV every Friday night! He began collecting toys from Lego Ninjago; the toys that he has now are the villains from that computer game and animated series; he still has to look  for and collect those good Ninja-go.
lego 1
lego 6
lego 5
Imagine my excitement when I received this from Legoland Malaysia via facebook and yahoo mail.
legoland sept 1

Gabby, Tina and I became extremely thrilled when they graciously included my name in the list of media and bloggers to be invited to attend the Legoland Malaysia Media and Family day last September 1st, 2012. We’re all psyched up to troop to Johor Bahru to experience Legoland Malaysia weeks prior to its official public opening.
legoland invitation

But our attendance to the said event never happened due to unforseen and unfortunate circumstances. Nonetheless, Legoland Malaysia’s PR managers have been continuously emailing me of updates about the opening. They even invited me again for the exclusive Media event on Sept 14, Friday and to witness the public opening the following day. However, due to work commitments, I had to deny my attendance again.

Tina and I saw some maturity in our soon-to-be-8-year old son. Gabby didn’t show tantrums nor obvious upset when we had to cancel our trip to Legoland in Johor Bahru. Despite everything, he remained hopeful. He constantly says his wish outloud in  his prayers nightly, for our visit to this newest kiddie paradise-theme park that’s a first in Asia to push through.

Will Gabby’s wish be granted?

ABANGAN. ;)

07
Jun
12

KAPANAPANABIK!

Can I just shout out that this email made me so thrilled to look forward to the next issue of Lonely Planet ASIA magazine July/August issue? (click screen capture to enlarge)

I am one of the avid readers of Lonely Planet Asia magazine; in fact, I was just reading their May/June issue that features London, NYC and other best spots in the globe yesterday when I received this email and it certainly put an ear-to-ear smile on my face!  And to have one of my non-professional photos to be published soon and to be invited to contribute something to this esteemed travel magazine is such overwhelming!

*My photo that I called, The Floating Duo taken from Hat Yai, Southern Thailand was first posted in this blog entry : http://docgelo.com/2011/08/04/discovering-hat-yai-thailand-crossing-borders-floating-market-more/

01
Jun
12

RANDOM THOUGHTS : FIRST OF JUNE

En route to one part of the island, I captured this advertisement mounted on grab handles in a commuter bus that Tina and I ride daily, the Rapid Penang Bus. It says EAT. PLAY. LOVE. For a moment, it made me wonder whatever happend to PRAY? I answered my own query in thinking that Straits Quay is one of those premiere residences in Penang with luxurious restaurants fronting the sea and not a place of worship. Although, for most of us, we can pray regardless where we are, still it’s a mall and hangout place. We’ve been there once; savored coffee and pastries at Charlie Brown Cafe and we wish to go back whenever we find a chance. I digress.  The tagline of the ad (as well as the title of the movie-novel where it was inspired) made me think if anyone could still complain of a routinary life when all you do is EAT PLAY PRAY LOVE?  One must be so content with life with such limited verbs to do and must be so happy to forget about WORK, PAY BILLS, WORK.

As a young family man in the middle of his 30s, I want to devote more quality time with my family, I still need to do more things, I aspire to go to places I’ve never been to, I need to find a more fertile ground where I and my family could grow best and where better opportunity awaits.

When I’m not satisfied with how things are, it doesn’t follow that I am ungrateful to whatever blessings I receive. It only means I yearn for better things.

When I don’t want to settle for something mediocre, it doesn’t follow that I am arrogant and hard to please. It only means I understand that quality should never be compromised at all times.

Whenever I am anticipating something that’s life-changing and the opposite happens, I remind myself not to dwell in despair.

Now that there are chances to improve life again, I’m constantly keeping my spirit up and hopes high.

My family and I lift everything to the Lord! He knows best for all of us.

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” ~Romans 5:5.

I deserve need something greater.

And I know best things happen in His time.

“For I know the plans   I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper   you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11.

07
Mar
12

OUR HONG KONG DISNEYLAND TRIP 2012 : GLORIOUS DAY 2

18 February 2012, Saturday.  Tina, Gabby and I woke up early from one of our restful sleeps in Disney’s Hollywood Hotel and excitedly prepared for our Day 2 in the Happiest Place on Earth! 

It turned out to be  glorious! :)

From Disney’s Hollywood Hotel, we hopped on the resort’s shuttle bus and headed to Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. We had a table reserved under our names at Enchanted Garden Restaurant for our breakfast buffet and Meet and Greet with the Disney characters! Everything seemed so thrilling particularly for Gabby!

As we went down directly to the  basement of the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel where the Enchanted Garden Restaurant is housed, this beautiful space greeted us…

Enchanting, indeed!

We came in too early at 8AM (read : apparently excited!) and found from the Cast Member at the door of the restaurant that our table would be ready at around 9:30AM (so that’s the time that was reserved to us!). Without a hint of worry, we went out the door from the restaurant and spent time almost unnoticed in this perfectly manicured garden at the back of Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel.

The gazebo looks inviting as a perfect venue for couples to exchange “I dos”.  Imagine a wedding with all your favorite Disney characters led by no less than Mickey Mouse! Amazing!

A more interesting part of the garden is the hedge maze that Gabby, Tina and I tried finishing…

This is called, “Mickey Maze!” :)

Our kid totally enjoyed every second inside the maze…

Spot us in the Mickey Maze…

Let’s play “Hide and Seek!”

More cheesy but priceless bonding moments in Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel…

Must be so happy? You bet!

After almost an hour at the garden, it’s time to freshen up and hit the tables and the spread. On way to Enchanted Garden Restaurant, we spotted super cool and nice things.

Exhibit #1 : Wooden high chairs for kiddos. They made me smile.

Exhibit # 2 : A room near the Enchanted Garden Restaurant will surely entice parents and their little daughters…

In “My Little Princess”, little ladies may be transformed into a Disney Princess of their choice.

This was just a “one proud daddy scene.”  The moment reminded me of our wish (I and Tina’s) to give Gabby a little sister. (read :If it will come, it will in His time.) :)

Exhibit # 3 : Spotted Cinderella at the lobby of Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel with Alyanna and Mika (the beautiful daughters of Dennis and Thammie who were with our group in this HKDL trip).

Finally, a walk under those trellis! Splendid!

Being ushered to our reserved tables and seats felt surreal! Not that we’re excited to binge eat, hehe! but the ambiance exceeded our expectations!

The spread had Asian and Continental breakfast favorites. Everything looked tasteful and a must-try. There was more than enough for us to savor and be energized for another whole day at the park!

And then a thought popped out…

You don’t go to Hong Kong without sampling good bowl of noodles

and some tasteful dim sum and dumplings.

You just dont.

I just wished they had toyomansi (soy sauce + lime/calamansi) for the dim sums.

And because it’s Disneyland, Enchanted Garden boasts of Mickey Mouse figures in their waffles and pancakes! These made me stare at my plate for several minutes before I dunk my fork and knife at them. :)  I had some of the goodies in pair, yum, yum!!! :D  One of my plates had waffles, pancakes, hash browns and french toasts. Appreciate if you won’t calculate the calories! This is when my weakness in Math comes to be most useful! hehe!

The next set was mostly Tina’s and my plates. I had no chance to take photos of Gabby’s because he’s preoccuppied with excitement and huge appetite. ;)

Known in local Filipino TV series, “My Binondo Girl as”Amethyst” that Tina religiously followed online (Malaysia has no TFC!) and more popular as a fashion blogger-celebrity and sister to Liz Uy, we met the charming and beautiful, Laureen Uy.

One Stellar Moment

More stunning episodes happened as some of the best loved Disney characters went to our table for us to take photo-ops! Diners of Enchanted Garden need not to queue to have memorable pictures with Mickey, Pluto and Goofy (and other characters). It’s another VIP treatment that we enjoyed in Hong Kong Disneyland!

Widest and sweetest smiles from my family as we posed with Pluto and Mickey…

Must have one more shot with Pluto…

After that one-of-a-kind-breakfast experience at Disneyland Hotel’s Enchanted Garden, it was time to explore and enjoy Hong Kong Disneyland Park again!

To those who are planning to experience HKDL for the very first time and have doubts if you can enjoy it in one whole day, actually, you can! But would you not wish to double the fun if you can be there on 2 consecutive days?

Weather forecast checked : 14 to 16 degree Celcius. We loved the climate; we didn’t have a downpour! God is truly great!

We wore various hats : A Cast Member volunteered to take our family pic just before a quaint door in one of the pastel-colored structures at Main Street, U.S.A..

Hot. Fresh. Delicious!

Then our feet brought us to Tomorrowland!

As Tomorrowland intends to give park goers a creative experience of being in the future, the moments became nostalgic to us. :)

Here’s how we looked five years ago…I guess only pounds and kilos of happiness were added! ;)

Inside the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters ride, we have been warned. :)

We had FAST PASSES to this awesome ride!  It was so cool when Buzz Lightyear himself introduced us to Astro Blasters!

Emperor Zurg! :P

Shooting robots. robots and more robots! We liked it here!

After that exhilarating Astro Blaster ride, we trooped to the largest restaurant in the theme park with over 800 seats, the Starliner Diner and grabbed a lip-smackingly good fried chicken and fries for lunch!

Over and beyond the food, what Tina and I liked was the fact that Hong Kong Disneyland’s Starliner Diner prioritizes sanitation and cleanliness by providing plastic gloves given inclusive of the food tray. You’ll find them folded and pack neatly with your tray. So eating chicken with hands was no-worries at all!

One more time on this car, Gabby! :D

2007 on the left ; 2012 on the right –Take a look at Gabby’s Then and Now photos and appreciate what 5 years have done!

Another ride within Tomorrowland available with Fast Passes is Space Mountain. We gave our Fast Passes to Laureen and her friends as we’re not fond of rollercoaster rides (read : Tina has Vertigo, Gabby’s still uncomfortable and cannot ride alone and I might throw up!). But if you’re adventurous and somewhat fearless, by all means, Space Mountain will surely give you the thrill!

We bid goodbye to Tomorrowland and strolled our way in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle to watch the Flights of Fantasy Parade for the second time! That 30 minute Hong Kong Disneyland parade really left us in awe!

Just before the parade started, Tina thought of a clever strategy. Since we didn’t have priority pass to the musical, The Festival of the Lion King, she suggested that together with Gabby while I am still drowned capturing the parade on photos, they will head to Adventureland just before the parade ends. In that way, while people are still busy watching the parade, they’ll be the first on the queue to that another must-see-musical..And true enough, it was a wise move.

The Festival of The Lion King at Adventureland

The scene became more fascinating after the stage lights were turned off. Let the show begin!

“It’s the Circle of Life

And it moves us all

Through despair and hope

Through faith and love

Till we find our place

On the path unwinding

In the Circle,

The Circle of Life….”

It’s visually stunning! The songs and their voices are overwhelming too. We have seen this musical at HKDL more than a couple of times already and performance gets better and better! My particular favorite was the gorgeous air stunt of this lady-bird character; the act was so graceful; almost breathtaking!

These live musical shows (The Golden Mickeys and The Festival of the Lion King) make Hong Kong Disneyland specially different from the other Disney Theme Parks!

Then, it’s Gabby’s time for some Mickey Mouse ice cream! Sarap!

Few more steps, we found oursleves in Liki Tiki…
These “leaky” tiki jungle poles squirts water like fountains; look how our little one enjoys the drizzling effects…

Playing with tribal percussion instruments entertained Gabby to the fullest!

Tina and I are the happiest when he’s happy.

OK, so we left Adventureland with a smile and moved on to Fantasyland with even wider smiles!

This Pixie Dust area where Tinker Bell usually drop by for photo-ops wasn’t existing yet way back in 2007 (Gabby’s first trip to HKDL).

Time for some Mickey’s PhilharMagic! This colorful 3D movie adventure about how Mickey Mouse lost his wizard hat and what Donald Duck has to do with it never fails to amuse us. You never get tired of great attractions in Hong Kong Disneyland!

3D glasses on!

Our last Fast Passes on our hands were for the The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh...Gabby was only 2 years old when he first rode the track to the story of Winnie.

Cinderella’s Carousel has 60 graceful, prancing horses!

I learned that last year’s celebration of the 5th Anniversary of Hong Kong Disneyland, Tink had showered Sleeping Beauty Castle with her pixie dust… The effect is even more magical at dusk!

After Winter Must Come Spring… Is it Spring yet? :)

Smiles and blooms perfectly blend…

Ahhhhh… another stupendous day at Hong Kong Disneyland is about to end…

Thank You, Lord for another magical day!

We made sure we remember this trip not only through photos and video but mementos and souvenirs from HKDL shops itself. Other than the Disney character-hats that we bought, Gabby got himself a rubber Mickey Mouse wrist watch (When we got into the hotel room, he received a gift from one of our new friends in our group–a lego writs watch with Buzz Lightyear design! Thank You, Ms. Elizabeth for such generous gift!).

Before exiting the shop, Gabby called my attention, “Daddy, picture!” hence, this…

Before 7PM, we left Hong Kong Disneyland Park with almost a heavy heart. It’s our last day in the park and surely we’ll miss all the fun!

Thank you for the memories, HKDL!

We had our last dinner in Hong Kong at Disneyland Hotel’s WALT’S CAFE. I’m almost lost for superlatives to describe how great the overall gastronomic experience we had. First thing came to mind : The dinner was EXCELLENT!

I think diners of Walt’s Cafe can opt to enjoy their meals at the lobby…

I checked the reservation and we’re instantly led toward the end of the restaurant where everything seemed perfect.

This is the beautiful corner reserved to our group. Isn’t it divine?

Looking at my photos after the trip made me wish I have sampled a bottle of their wine…

The view from our table… The ambiance and the look of that by-gone era was almost ethereal!

The smiles to live for….

Now, let’s get down to business. We loved everything we chowed down; starting with this crusty bread that looked like a hot air balloon when you work your imagination; it’s baked to perfection and can be enjoyed sans butter.

Gabby favored one of Mickey’s Kid’s Meal -Oven Baked Ham and Cheese Macaroni with carrots and green peas, fresh fruit salad and a choice of drink; our kiddo got himself a hot chocolate.

For Tina, she savored, Grilled US Beef Tenderloin and Simmered Beef Short Ribs with Mushroom and Pinot Noir Sauce, HK$ 268.

Let me tell you, I had a great time from browsing the menu to having a taste of everything my family had. Here’s my preferences and recommendations from Walt’s Cafe..

Chicken Breast Fillet with Poached Crab Meat with Papaya and Mango Salad served with Honey Lime Scented Dressing, HK$ 128.

My palate was satisfied with its texture and flavors. The fusion of  freshest and sweetest fruits complemented well the crunchiness of the greens. And the Chicken Breast Fillet? Heavenly!

I requested the wait staff to provide extra small plates so I can share my order with Tina and Gabby. I also sampled one Walt’s Cafe’s soups -

Double Boiled Black Mushroom with Kam Ha Wam Soup, HK$ 78.

The soup’s tasteful. I like the flavor of the Chinese ham and the black mushroom. Beautiful combo! The mushroom was shaped into Mickey Mouse’s head too! Amazing!

Then for my main entree, a huge plate was served first with one of the prettiest veggie side dishes I ever had…

To people who think amusement parks and their resorts only offer fast food junkies, think again!  Hong Kong Disneyland’s Corner Cafe and Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel’s Walt’s Cafe proved it otherwise. Their menus are beyond sumptuous! The ambience, sublime!

Seafood Platter for Two. (Grilled or Poached. I wanted it grilled). Lobster, Scallops, King Crab Legs, Squid, Salmon, and Cod Fish with Lemon Dill “Beurreblanc” and Crustacean Sauce, Assorted Garden Vegetables, and Boiled Potatoes. HK$ 538.

One word : Outstanding!

Just take a look at that lime gorgeously wrapped with golden tulle and ribbon; wonderful!

The entree, Tina, Gabby and I shared….

We cannot be grateful enough! :)

Moving on to desserts…

My choice : Penny’s Bay Mango Pudding with Mango Puree.

Tina’s sweet preference : White Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Coulis

Gabby’s dessert plate was the most divine!

Oreo Cheesecake never tasted this great! :D

It’s one FUNtastic dinner to end one glorious day of everything that this blog gives reverence for :

FAMILY. FOOD. and FUN!

———————

I cannot help but marvel at the immense scale of blissful experiences we had in Hong Kong Disneyland! That 3-day-2-night vacation extremely gave us unforgettable memories that Tina, Gabby and I will cherish forever.

Hong Kong Disneyland spells H-A-P-P-I-N-E-S-S! :D

Thank you so much, Hong Kong Disneyland!

*Up Next : The concluding post of this Hong Kong Disneyland Series! Stay Tuned!

———————————

This Blog Series Includes :

 

05
Feb
12

REVISITING HONG KONG DISNEYLAND VERY SOON!

Excited is an understatement to describe how Tina, Gabby and I actually feel about our upcoming trip to HONG KONG DISNEYLAND!  The wonderful anticipation to revisit the whimsical kiddie’s paradise heightens as days go by! Who would not be thrilled to return to the “Happiest place on Earth” with no less than the most important people in your life? :D  It will be a some sort of Post-Valentine celebration for the three of us but with or without occasion, just being there, leaving all our worries and stress behind makes any day definitely lovely and special!

HONG KONG DISNEYLAND, January 01, 2007

Gabby was only 2 years and 3 months old when we first brought him to Hong Kong Disneyland and that young experience gave him an early positive impression of how a life full of dreams looks like!

I’ve been to HONG KONG DISNEYLAND thrice in the past and had been to other Disneyland as well (Tokyo and Anaheim, California) but admittedly, my first trip outside the Philippines with my parents and siblings to Hong Kong Disneyland was the most memorable of them all! Meeting Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in person back then was absolutely surreal for someone who remains a kid at heart.

I was blessed to bring Tina and Gabby to Hong Kong Disneyland back in 2007 to celebrate New Year at the theme park.  Five years after, we’re so geared to go back and relive that magical experience! We can’t wait to see the newest attraction in HKDL that is dedicated to one of our favorite Disney animations of all time: TOYSTORY LAND!

It's PLAYTIME, baby! ;-)

We’re ready to see Mickey and Minnie again, together with Goofy, Pluto, Donald and Daisy, the gorgeous Disney Princesses and of course, my personal favorites, Woody and Buzz Lightyear and a whole lot more in HONG KONG DISNEYLAND!

I am sure it’ll be an extraordinary weekend full of FUN and FAMILY BONDING!

Have you been to HONG KONG DISNEYLAND? I’m sure! What are your most unforgettable memories about this fantastic theme park?

04
Feb
11

4 BUDDHIST TEMPLES AND A DAM IN 1 DAY

There’s no perfect day to visit Buddhist temples but on Chinese New Year. Why?

  • “Let the smoke from the burning incense cleanse away the old bad luck.
  • Let Budda and Quan Yin Bodhisattva bless you with the new good luck.
  • Let your heart open for new friends and happiness.
  • Let yourself meet the people, whom you care, and wish them “A Happy New Year.”
  • Let the beauty of the new blossoms in the garden of the temple color your new year.
  • Let the fresh sense of the Spring flower carry you to paradise.” (Sourced from here).
  • And so we did.  Together with 8 Pinoy colleague-friends, we trooped to the island via rented van and paid these wonderful places at Pulau Pinang a visit.

    First stop : SNAKE TEMPLE

    “Built in 1850, the Snake Temple also known as the Temple of Azure Cloud is dedicated to Chor Soo Kong, a priest who was believed to have extraordinary healing powers. However, according to local folklore, a religious man offered the venomous pit vipers shelter from danger and since then, they have stayed in safety of the temple.

    It isn’t called Snake Temple without those creatures I feared the most. (Now, you know my phobia!). Believe me, other than the small Snake Farm beside the temple, they’re scattered at few plants and branches!  

     Kiapo or water cabbage (where the name of Quiapo in Manila was rooted from) never fails to catch my attention. I don’t know, it’s only green and seems to be ordinary to some but everytime I see one, the sight makes me smile.  

    Another object of my fascination are these candles in Buddhist temples; mostly we’ve seen were pineapple and lotus-shaped ones. 

     

    It was almost high noon when we left Snake Temple and moved on to our next destination…

    We took our lunch before asceding to the next temple; most of us came with baon (homecooked foods) from Kare-Kare complete with sweet and spicy bagoong, Pita with tomato salsa, Glass noodles with mushrooms, ponkan and some slices of apples. We also ordered Roast Pork rice toppings from the restaurant that made the meal complete.  After our hearty lunch, we began walking the streets toward Kek Lok Si Temple. Enroute, we bought few things we fancied…

    Iced Sugar Cane juice.  Note how Malaysians serve takeaway beverages (in plastic with tie and straw)…

    Then one of my senior colleagues spotted a nice and affordable hat with the name of the country we’re serving. The four of us (Dr. Carlo’s not in photo) bought each of different colors lah!

    Second stop :  KEK LOK SI TEMPLE

    If you’re from Pinas and have been to its Summer Capital, then you’re familiar with Mines View Park.  Remember those stalls that sell all kinds of souvenirs from key chains to T-shirts and others, that’s the same scene you’ll see as you go up from the street to the main Kek Lok Si Temple itself.  Useful tip : Hold on to your wallets, heads up for a great chance of shopping!

    After passing those venue for haggling, this sight of tranquility welcomed us.

    Set amidst the lush greens of the mountain, the temple looks spectacular!

    “Kek Lok Si Temple means, “Temple of Supreme Bliss”. Construction began in 1890, with the completion of its seven-storey handcrafted “Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas” in 1930.  The pagoda is considered one of Penang’s most beautiful architectural wonders with its Chinese octagonal base, Thai middle tier and a Burmese crown. A 30.2  Kuan Yin bronze statue was completed in 2002.”

    It was indeed a blissful experience at least for me who was awed by the beauty of this temple…

    Those were WISHING RIBBONS available at RM1 (PhP 14) each. I bought 5 and hang it on the tree for offering…

    I chose Everlasting Relationship in Marriage, Success in Career (of course, what am I here in Penang for?)

    ……Health, Safety for Entire Family

    and of course, how could I forget the classic, World Peace, FTW! :P

    (Seriously, Egypt’s current unrest and all disputes elsewhere should be settled, so help us God!)

    Inside Kek Lok Si Temple, I saw this Happy Buddha that I’d like to buy; but asking for discount inside the shrine wasn’t allowed for proceeds go to the temple itself. It charmed me extremely that I wish when I get the chance to bring Gabby and Tina here when they arrive in Penang on late March, it’s still available.

    Some more scenes from Kek Lok Si Temple…

    photo taken by our senior-colleague, the insipiring (yeeha!) Dr. Yambao via his D7000.

    The visit to the two temples led us to another two more. If you’ve been following my adventures in Penang, you know that I’ve been to Thai and Burmese Buddhist Temples in Burma Road, Georgetown already August last year. 

    The stunning facade of Thai Buddhist Temple…

     

    where one of biggest images of the Reclining or Sleeping Buddha is enshrined..

    Immediately across the road, you’ll find Burmese Buddhist Temple…

    where one of the tallest standing Buddha statues is venerated…

    “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”-Buddha.

    Then we met our foreign colleagues at the Burmese temple, they were also enjoying the holiday of course.

    Photo taken by the amazing, Dr. Manuel Yambao!

    But just after Kek Lok Si Temple and prior to going to Thai and Burmese Temples, we requested our Indian driver to take us to Air Itam uphill the Kek Lok Si Temple…

    Photo-op by the dam taken by Dr. Yambao with his D7000…(I’m inspired to get one and be under his tutelage!)

    Taken using Dr. Yambao's D7000...

     It was where we experienced breathtaking view of Ayer Itam Dam…

    Without a doubt, God’s presence was felt as we appreciated Mother Nature’s simplicity…

    The place is SURREAL! It’s absolutely perfect if you want to escape from the stressful life even for a heart beat. It’s a great place to lay down on the grass under the shade of a tree and do nothing but breathe.

    One of my friend-housemates gave in to the place’s temptation to doze off…

    Our last stop was at Fort Cornwallis located just before the Jetty port in Georgetown, Penang…

    We decided not to enter this walled battery of Georgetown anymore.  I’m sure, with due respect to Penang’s history, our Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila and Corregidor Island in between Cavite and Bataan are far better. And so we just sat and had lazy moments watching the crows at the baywalk in front of the fort.

    Did I had fun?

    You bet.

    To my fellow colleague-friends, Drs. Yambao, Beeboo, Naomi (and her Ole), Carlo, Dante (and his Laine) and Roy, thank you!  Sa uulitn, ha! :D

    The celebration of CNY here in Penang isn’t over yet.  More things to enjoy over the weekend…

    I’ll try to chase dancing lions and dragons tomorrow…

    ————————————-o

    17
    Jan
    11

    10 THINGS I HAVE NOT DONE BEFORE

    One of my friends of 18 years and counting, and the same person who introduced me to the world of blogging, Rob of Sensory Replays (to quote his verb-) urged his fellow bloggers to do a post similar with his.  He even required everyone who will follow suit to name the entry “10 things I have not done before.”  So obedient as I am, here goes my own boring list…*drum roll, please!* 

    1. VIOLIN.  I want to learn how to play it, seriously. The thought didn’t come suddenly but a childhood dream. I cannot put into words how fascinated I am with this string instrument; each time I get to watch an orchestra play, my ears are always biased to its sound. 

    You can just imagine my extreme excitement last Saturday, when my senior colleague told me that she and another MD-lecturer-friend are already scheduled to start violin and voice classes respectively in a Chinese-own Music School here in Penang. I immediately asked the rate per hour, and it’s reasonably affordable, RM 60/4 sessions in a month (that’s exactly RM 15 per hour x 4 sessions or PhP 210/session).  The instrument can be purchased from the Music School too.  Let’s wait and see…soon!

    2. GO BALD. I wanted to sport a skin head for the longest time but Tina doesn’t allow me.

    Admittedly, at 34 I have thinning locks. Thanks to my dad who unfortunately inherited me with hair attributes of poor quality (thin strands in less volume, got used to it already, so no worries).  Now, I can sense that the time is near to sport a new look but not too soon. *bagay kaya? vote now!*

    3. ORGANIZE A CHARITY EVENT.  Another blog buddy, Chyng of No Spam, No Virus, No Kiddin’   inspired me after she successfully put up a Christmas party and gift-giving and more for the kids of a certain orphanage in Bulacan recently.  I think everyone who knows her should follow her footsteps in doing such generous endeavor.  At her young age, hats off ako kay Chyng!

    I am not promising to do it this year but with a goal and plans in mind, I know things will spring soon.

    4.  SLEEP ALL DAY and DO NOTHING.  I used to sleep less and wake up early.  Like even weekends, I have my body clock set with such schedule. I want to experience how it is to be narcoleptic and lazy for a day.  

    5. SERIOUSLY SAVE, SAVE and SAVE.  *enough said*

    6. SINGAPORE, INDIA and other parts of ASIA.  I could have included countries in Europe but with our personal 2011 financial outlook, a lifelong dream for a European trip shall have to be frozen until that time comes.  For now, traveling to neighboring Asian countries might be feasible but still subject for budget approval. *wink*

    7.  GET MY OWN DOMAIN.  How does docgelo.com sounds like?  Honestly, I don’t have any idea of getting my own domain. Help! Only heard that it’s cheap per yearly rate and that’s it. On the second thought, I don’t want to have separation anxiety with wordpress.

    8. SOLITARY BACKPACKING.  This one’s a challenge. For a traveler no, but for  a family man like me, it is. After Tina and I had Gabby, most if not all of our trips were done with him and I am not complaining. 

    9.  SEND OUR SON to SCHOOL in FOREIGN LANDSo help us, God!

    10.  BE A STUDENT AGAIN and PURSUE OTHER POST GRADUATE STUDIES.  I hope this happens soon. I cannot wait.

    Do you have your own list or at least ideas in mind of the things you have not done before?

    ————————————————————–o

    02
    Dec
    10

    A PIECE OF MYANMAR

    Tis the season of gift-giving!

    And I just got my first present from a colleague the other day.

    I was so surprised to received one of those handwoven-souvenirs brought by our young friend from Myanmar.

    I think it’s more of an ornament-display because my friends hang it in front of their work desks while I brought them home and hang it along side with a mini-Malaysian flag that I got from an event we attended after Ramadan.

    Thank you, Dr. Phoo!

    I wish we could save and travel to your place of birth someday.

    ———————————————<@

    Don’t you just like receiving a piece of another country? 

    Let me ask you, what would you give to someone as a souvenir from your country?  Sige nga… :D

    14
    Oct
    10

    DO YOU DIG FERRARI?

    OK, I have to admit that for few minutes last Sunday morning, my world ceased revolving as my entire attention was focused only on that prancing horse logo.

    Never had I’ve seen several Ferrari cars parked on a mall and a hotel before; there were at least 30 of them according to the event’s poster on the mall but we’re still lucky to see 4 at Plaza Gurney’s facade and another few near the lobby of a hotel in Batu Ferringhi here in Penang Island.  There was a festival to promote this drool-worthy sports cars.

    With aura of luxury and boasting of elegance and style, this Italian car never fails to fascinate people from all walks of life.  Agree?

    Now, can anyone educate me about Ferrari ? How much a unit costs so I can start saving now ?

    ….for a ferrari matchbox that is, he he he! :)

    26
    Nov
    09

    FREE MASSAGE, ANYONE?

    My wife, Tina has been stressed these days, not because I am her stressor, LOL :D but due to inevitable daily hassles -both at work and at home.  Primarily, we don’t have a housemaid for more than a month now!  Our maid got pregnant, so she and her husband left to their province down south to give birth next month with uncertainty of reporting back to work. God knows how difficult it is to find another trustworthy housemaid.  

    Other than people living independently abroad or solitaries in dormitories, I am not sure if you have experienced a life without a maid or at least to have ideas  how hard it is to juggle work and household chores.  I, myself do some laundry especially on my days off at work; thanks to the fact that our ‘jurrasic’ washing machine with spin-dryer is still functioning!  Tina and I also take turns in accompanying and fetching our son, Gabby to and from his preschool and whenever we’re both unavailable, we can always import my dad from my folks’ place in Pasig to pitch in for us.

    I want to give Tina a break from all those loads she usually get from her job as an Operating Room nurse-Clinical Instructor, and from fatigue-inducing roles she does at home.  

    Unlike most women, she hates shopping (How lucky I am to be her husband, right?).  She will only buy clothes and shoes whenever there’s a need or an urgency to do so, say for an event or an occasion that we have to attend. She’s like my mom when it comes to prudence and  practicality and admittedly, I am  their total opposite. :D  We compliment each other and we like it that way :D   Tina prefers to eat out with us rather than buy herself a new pair of shoes or jewelries. She  hates spending too much and wouldn’t want anything illogically priced.  

    Certainly, my wife deserves pampering. I would like to take her to a spa and treat her to a massage. Then again, if I get to spend more than our domestic budget, she might not enjoy the entire experience.  Good thing that few days ago, Doc Grace of   Doctor is vaIN, the 2009 Philippine Blog Award Best Beauty Blog, wrote a comment on one of my recent posts, inviting me to participate in her blog contest in which she’s giving a lucky winner a chance to experience  Terra Wellness Spa in Discovery Suites, Ortigas, Pasig City. 

    What’s up for grab from this contest?  

    Terra’s Signature Massagethis deeply relaxing massage combines slow and graceful gliding strokes that are applied to the different key pressure points of the body to relieve tension and aid blood circulation. The experience is enhanced with the use of specially blended therapeutic oil.

    Take a peek into Terra Spa…

    Note : All photos were sourced here.

    I do wish I could win this for Tina for I know she’ll definitely appreciate it; not only because it’ll give her the full-75 minute sublime relaxation (worth PhP 1,700) from Terra Wellness Spa but even affordable as it is, she loves anything FREE!  Who does not want freebies? :)

    If you want to join this blog contest too and would like to know more details and mechanics, click here.    And to Doc Grace, thanks for the invite and more power to your site, Doctor is vaIN. :D

    If luck won’t be on my side, I’ll just do the massaging for my wifey, but it might lead to something else, hehehe “evil grin”... :D

    Excuse me, I need to go to ‘work’. :D

    21
    Jun
    09

    I WANT THAT FORK

    We went to Greenbelt in Makati last Saturday and one of the shops my wife Tina, our son Gabby and I explored was Powerbooks at G4.  We went around, shelves after shelves, scanned books, browsed other reading materials and just didn’t mind the ticking of the clock. 

    Our 4-year-old son Gabby held our hands and pulled us toward his interests- what else but children’s books, ofcourse.  How can you say no to your own child’s request especially on a day before Father’s day?  So Tina & I eagerly gave in to Gabby’s and sat down in the carpeted floor at the upper level of Powerbooks just as what other readers were doing there (there were also some couch and seats too nice for comfortable reading).  

                            IMG_2349IMG_2348IMG_2350

    We didn’t buy any for him because he has a number of preschool and activity books at home.  Most of his books, other than from his school, were mostly sent by his grandparents from California and Missouri or given as gifts by his godparents. 

    After few minutes of fun for him, we further explored other shelves for good stuffs.  I liked few paperback titles but I don’t think I can find time to read them now.  And for the nth time, there it was again!  I browsed this coffee-table book that I long to own.   This hard-bound book is affodable at almost PhP 2,000 a copy but I resist the temptation to buy it every time I see on bookstores for I know it’ll be sweetest to receive it as a gift, do you agree?  (paging friends who would like to surprise me with present/s, ehem…)  

    If you have the copy already, it must have been a joy for you to scan it regularly. I can only sigh burp with envy, LOL.  

     

     

    10pvrls

    10
    Jun
    09

    BATO-BALANI

    I digress from political issues. 

    Allow me to show you some kiddie stuffs that we’re fond of collecting…

    Our family loves traveling. Who doesn’t?  But we’ve only traveled a few countries so far, we haven’t explored the rest of the globe yet;  life is short, and there are so much to see and experience and eat and whatnot.  Except for my youngest brother who worked as a crew in Costa Atlantica that got him into 30 countries across Europe, no one in our huge clan has explored that part of the universe yet.   I promise to make a post about his 5-month-cruise-work/trip soon.   For now, settle for our few fun collectibles from our own travels and some pasalubong…    

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    Yes, we collect fridge magnets  from most places we’ve been to.  Do you?  It’s fun,  it never misses to unleash the kid in me, try it some time, LOL.  Just a caution : it’s habit-forming!  

    Fridge magnets from our travel tell stories, or at least remind us of  good memories.  I just regret  not to start this “hobby” earlier when we went to California and Las Vegas years ago.  We’ve been to LA, San Pedro, Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, Malibu, 17-mile-drive, Carmel, San Francisco, Yosemite, Fresno and San Diego in California for more than 2 weeks, and explored the themed hotels in Las Vegas Strip for 3 days (stayed in MGM and the then Stardust).   Man, those were the days of glory! 

    When I married my wife back in 2004, we to Bangkok, Thailand via Lufthansa in a package tour for our honeymoon. We stayed in Amarri Watergate Hotel for a couple of days and we also forgot to buy fridge magnets!  We’ve been to one of the biggest weekend markets in the world – Jatuchak in Bangkok but all we bought were T-shirts, slippers and no fridge magnet.  We have to go back there one day not only to buy what we collect but to enjoy more of Thailand.  

    Moving on…

    IMG_2205This place has pure gold-24-hour-air-conditioned mosques. They have a water village where natives are living in air-conditioned-electricity-supplied houses on stilts in a river! Amazing! Trees are abundant in the city so despite the tropical weather, there are lots of sources of oxygen (and oil, and gold, and oil, and gold, LOL).  Other than the mosques that we toured, we liked the Royal Regalia Museum where treasures of the sultanate of Brunei are enthralled including the golden (yes, another golden!) chariot that was used in Royal Parades.  We’ve been to Empire Hotel in Brunei, but only as part of the city tour package we availed at the hotel, how I wished we can afford a room in the “golden” hotel.  We flew via Royal Brunei Airlines where foods were overflowing for the rest of the flight from Manila-to-Brunei-(had an overnight and a half-day city tour there)-to Bisbane,Australia-to our final destination then here…IMG_2215We’ve been to Auckland, New Zealand for 7 week-vacation back in 2005.  We visited our relatives there who are now in Melbourne, Australia.  It’s good that few of the friends and distant relatives we met stayed there met in NZ; it’s nice to keep in touch with someone living where New Year always comes earliest.

    Auckland or the City of Sails wasn’t that bad, we love it there! Peace- the abstract thing that can’t be easily found somewhere else, was all over the city.   We initially thought that NZ was so primitive with only cows and sheeps, but we’re so wrong. It was one of the British colonies just like Oz so it’s more urbanized than we thought.  However, malls and other establishments usually close at FIVE PM except on Thursdays – Kiwi’s night out until NINE PM.  Entertainment was not that adequate with only 4 channels on our cousins’ plasma TV.   But Mother Nature is at her best at NZ.  Entrance to Botanical garden was free.  Museum’s fee was so minimal.  Culture of Maoris remained to be intact.  The weather was fantastic!  I love it.  Given a chance, we’ll explore it again. I want to go to its capital – Wellington via long train ride from Downtown Auckland.   I also wanted to go to the southernmost area of NZ – Invercargill where the weather is always single digit in Celsius, LOL.  I just love cool weather. I rather go layered dressing than sweat my exocrine glands off.  IMG_2207Hong Kong… Been there twice -1993 and 2006 and if I have the means, I’ll go back there, bring my family as soon as tomorrow, LOL. 

    I like Repulse Bay, The Tram to Victoria Peak, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and the Chinese restaurants (in sidestreets), night market shopping, cable cars in Ocean Park etc…IMG_2201We spent our New Year of 2007 in HK Disneyland.  It was whole lot of fun.  That Donald Duck fridge magnet on the right was a pasalubong from my sister-in-law after they got back from HK recently.  Talking about pasalubong, here are some….IMG_2211Given by a friend of sixteen long years and counting, these are two wooden lady-fridge magnets in their national costumes from BAHRAIN.  Our friend, Rob , who works as a paramedic-nurse at an oil rig in the middle of nowhere in K.S.A. gave me those.

    My brother next to me (as I’m the eldest of 4 men) is a private pilot to a local businessman. Being an aviator, he’s usually sent to US for flight simulator trainings at least once a year. He had been to Missouri twice (where my dad-in-law is) and to Orlando, Florida once where he got me this…IMG_2204

    My parents love traveling too. My mom, who recently flew to UAE to continue her work, celebrated her last year’s birthday with my dad in Macau, they got me a huge Starbucks Coffee -Macau mug and this…IMG_2209They also have been to Vietnam for a job-related trip of 10 days but weren’t able to brought home some you know what..

    My folks and my youngest brother have been to this part of the US  for a tour about 2 years ago…  

    8

    Then locally, we used to go to Enchanted Kingdom for a weekend at the outdoor carnival there that’s close to  only 1/8 of the lot area of Disneyland in Anaheim. Nonetheless, it’s good enough to while away time and transiently forget hassles of daily living.  IMG_2216And since we’re into this,  my wife and I decided to have custom-made fridge magnets from PAPEMELROTI for our son’s baptismal giveaways…IMG_2217

    IMG_2212

    I hope to add more fridge magnets to our collection…

    I’ll feature my brother’s European tour collection soon.

    My wife started her snow globe collection.. those will be for another post…

    What do you collect other than memories?

    31
    May
    09

    LIFE’S SIMPLE PLEASURES

    My Sunday morning routine includes a short walk to our street to buy 3 leading broadsheets and sometimes, a supot or  pack of freshly baked pan de sal.  As I observed my weekly habit this morning, I brought along my point and shoot cam to capture the stillness of our place. 

    IMG_1610

    I’m always in awe whenever I see beautiful photos of nature, people and whatnot captured by pure visual talent and good quality-digicams of most photographers. I wish I’ll get to own one good camera soon but domestic budget and school enrolment of our preschooler son, monthly bills are our present top most priority, so purchasing a nicer cam would have to wait for the moment.  I’m just grateful to have virtual-friends who own personal sites dedicated to photography (Check out my sidebar here and visit also their photoblogs).  They don’t have idea how my daily visits to their sites continuously inspire and motivate me as a photographer-wannabe, LOL. 

    IMG_1611

    Going back to our place in Quezon City – it may not be Ayala Alabang Village where streets are huge and houses are far from the executive village’s main entrance (I know these things because we celebrate Christmas and New Year’s eves at my wife’s relatives living in a 2000-square meter- lot in Ayala Alabang Village whenever my dad-in-law from Missouri is in town),  it may not have 24-hour roving guards but baranggay tanod , LOL, the streets near where we live are peaceful and quiet and the coolest for having century-old trees.

    IMG_1646

    Imagine walking under these huge trees on a bright cool Sunday morning, it’s one of  life’s simple pleasures.

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    Then seeing these flora on the sidestreets and on my neighbors’ gutters is really something… 

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    10

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    Do you know that Bougainvilleas have bright colored leaves in varied forms and the only considered flowers are the smallest bloom at its center?  This atypical plant trait can also be found in poinsettias that bloom their red or white leaves mostly during winter months or at least here in our country, every Christmas season until early March…  

     IMG_1644IMG_1645

    More than those colorful petals, I always like walking through a street near our place with bamboos. I like bamboo so much, not only because of its physical attributes as the tallest grass, but perhaps figuratively and literally, its ability to withstand any weather is such a character that can’t be found even in some tall trees. After bamboo grass grew its tallest, it bows and that for me is a metaphor of humility. 

    IMG_1638

    Seeing all those before reading my broadsheets, drinking my coffee and starting another week is indeed a blessing!

    30
    May
    09

    SENTI

    My family and closest friends and ofcourse my lovely wife know me by heart that my mood swings are erratic.   I don’t know what got into me now that I’m having few minutes of sentimental mood and eventually thought of posting one of my old-time-favorite love songs and it’s not Careless Whispher, LOL.  Perhaps it’s because of the weather.  The rain began to pour here in our place and I just love the drizzle. Some people say it’s being pessimistic to like the rain but  to each his own.  I usually feel inspired, motivated, recharged (mushy!LOL) when it rains (but not, ofcourse when there’s storm).  

    My father-in-law in Missouri also likes this song so much. I fell in love with the song too even without watching the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s where it was used decades ago.  I’d like to find time one day to see it.   

    One of my frustrations is to learn how to play the violin or cello. I’d like to learn either of them and play with an orchestra in a stage.  Violin for me is so romantic. I don’t know, some people like guitars, drums or for one of my colleagues, he and his dad play trumpets, but I like strings of violin.  I wish I could also find time in the soonest future to learn how to play it.

    You can just imagine how smiley I was when I stumble upon this video on youtube of a three-piece orchestra, young Asian musicians at that, playing one of my favorite love songs on my favorite string instruments on a rainy day!  

    Let’s get mushy : What’s your favorite love song?

    30
    Mar
    09

    CIRQUE DU SOLEIL’s KA : I WANT !

    I’ve been to Las Vegas before & fell in love with it.
    I’ve seen Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Paris & Venetian hotels;
    was amazed with Luxor, Mirage, NY NY, Excalibur, Mandalay bay & Treasure Island…
    I’ve slept in Stardust & MGM Grand
    but never got a chance to see any show =(

    LIFE IS SHORT. Aww!
    I need to see this CIRQUE DU SOLEIL entitled “KA” at the MGM.
    This one goes to my wish list…
    If I ONLY have the bucks & the chance to fly to somewhere, next to PARIS
    (God knows how desperately I want to be in the City of Lights &
    take countless photos of the Eiffel Tower & breathe inside the Louvre
    but that’s off topic for now),

    I WANT TO BRING TINA & GABBY to MGM GRAND for us to watch Cirque du Soleil’s “KA”.

    Show tickets at USD 150 exclusive of taxes & charges..
    But hell, one can experience the most lavish, breathtaking, stylish show in the planet!

    This is what I found in their website :

    EMBARK ON AN ADVENTUROUS JOURNEY
    YOU CAN SEE IT. YOU CAN EXPERIENCE IT. BUT, YOU WON’T BELIEVE IT!

    The KÀ Universe
    KÀ transcends place and time, with a theatrical landscape, scenic elements and costumes inspired by an array of diverse cultures.

    Brought to life by 80 artists from around the world, KÀ is a gravity-defying production featuring a powerfully emotive soundtrack that enhances the innovative blend of acrobatic feats, Capoeira dance, puppetry, projections and martial arts.

    And these are the photos enough for me to drool in awe!

    wall_climb_800x600

    The scenes :
    The PAGEANT
    img_acts_pageant

    The STORM
    img_acts_storm

    The ARCHER’S DEN
    img_acts_archers

    The WASH-UP ON THE SHORE
    img_acts_shore

    The BLIZZARD
    img_acts_blizzard

    The FOREST PEOPLE
    img_acts_forest

    The SLAVE CAGE
    img_acts_slavecage

    AFTERMATH
    img_acts_aftermath

    The CAST…

    img_characters_counselorson img_characters_chiefdaughter
    img_characters_forest
    img_characters_nursemaid img_characters_courtjester
    img_characters_spear img_characters_mountain img_characters_twins img_characters_valets

    Now, what are you waiting for?
    click the button & be ready to be amaze with Cirque du Soleil’s KA…
    Enjoy !

    BRAVO !!!

    Photos & Brief synopsis were sourced from http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/
    Video from youtube.com

    26
    Mar
    09

    SUNSHINE ON MY PILLOW

    I don’t know with you but here’s one for my wish list…
    Eye so like this glo pillow!
    Don’t you?
    I think it’s edgy and innovative.

    inuse
    Natural waking process – The glo pillow uses light instead of sound to wake the user.

    During my lunch break at work in Allgen Review Center today, I browsed some magazines from the shelf of the mini library and found an article about fascinating inventions of 2007. From an old page of Time magazine, I found this glo pillow, it caught my interest so I noted its website and am sharing it with you…

    And I quote :
    “The glo Pillow is an alternative to the traditional alarm clock. It was designed with teammate Eoin McNally in response to a brief to create a product which helps to combat the pressures of a “24 hour” lifestyle.

    The pillow uses an LED fabric substrate below the surface to wake the user using light. This substrate also functions as a display, showing the time on the pillows surface using the grid of LEDs below.

    40 minutes before the pre-set alarm time the pillow begins to glow and gently brings the user out of sleep. This natural waking process helps to set the circadian rhythm or “body clock” and results in more healthy sleep/wake patterns.”

    Don’t you wish to wake up with “happy sunshine” from your pillow?

    Sourced from: embryo.ie/glo/index.html

    23
    Feb
    09

    ENVIOUS

    spl70144_006_thumbnail3 The Oscars is over and watching it on cable few hours back, made me realize how much my wife adores Hugh Jackman who hosted the 81st Academy awards. She admitted long before her admiration to this 40-year-old Australian actor among other celebrities & I think nothing’s wrong with it (?) but seeing her eyes glued to the TV every time he occupies the screen made me NOT jealous, or insecure but a bit ENVIOUS . (oops, that reminds me that envy is one of those deadly sins, tsk tsk tsk…) lol!
    What can I do? He’s really my wife’s eye-candy.

    l23316592277_1431 I admit he did a great job as the host of the Academy awards as he gave the show a new kick by spicing it up with his Broadway & Tony awards-like moves & tunes. I liked his engaging opening number that introduced the Best Picture nominees and ofcourse the broadway-inspired stint with Beyonce Knowles and the stars of High School Musical, Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron was indeed something. Jackman is the first Oscars host who is non-comedian compared to those who already hosted it. Nonetheless, he did well and really pulled off the show.

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    Who would not want to be in Hugh Jackman’s shoes? He was voted as 2008 sexiest man alive by People magazine, one of the bankable lead male stars in Hollywood who recently starred in the movie Australia with the beautiful & sexy Nicole Kidman, and most importantly Jackman’s the one who immortalized Wolverine in cinemas worldwide. I remember reading an article that featured an interview with Keannu Reeves when he starred in the movie The Day The Earth Stood Still, that even Keannu confessed he was envious of Hugh Jackman for portraying the role of the X-men lead Wolverine though everyone knows he got the Neo role in Matrix trilogy to his name. SO IT WAS NOT ONLY ME WHO’S ENVIOUS OF HUGH! Another thing that I envy of Hugh is his weight loss. He apparently did lose some pounds with his new diet according to some articles on the web, perhaps in preparation for his Oscar hosting job.

    wolverine_jackman_scenar_1Most of my date movies with Tina before starred her crush which include Van Helsing where Hugh Jackman played a vampire-buster, the helplessly romantic movie Kate & Leopold opposite Meg Ryan, Someone Like You with the pretty Ashley Judd, the flopped movie Scoop & even the cartoon movie Flushed Away where he lent his voice to the main mouse-character, & ofcourse, my personal favorites Swordfish and X-men movies.

    Hugh Jackman’s next movie scheduled to be release on May 1st is X-Men Origins : Wolverine.
    l39042667313_61
    n39042667313_1188384_1226
    For sure I’ll accompany Tina to watch this movie as I am a fanatic of X-men movies too.
    Here’s the trailer…

    18
    Feb
    09

    TGI FRIDAY’S KIDDIE LEAGUE

    We revisited TGI Fridays at Trinoma last Sunday, Feb15 for quick lunch before hitting the grocery in Landmark. It was our 4th time to eat in TGIF, Trinoma; also had previous visits in their Glorietta3 branch. The one in Trinoma is more spacious and has more modern interiors, their tables don’t have the usual red & white striped mantles seen in other branches.

    img_4015

    I so like the walls!
    … wish I had these walls in my room when I was a kid… Look at those snow ski boards made in Spain, a skateboard & a blue bike, traffic sign boards among other interesting things. How cool is that?!

    img_4019_1

    img_4014

    Tina ordered Tortilla crusted fish and requested for honey mustard dip…

    img_4023

    while I decided to eat sizzling chicken and shrimp in mozzarella cheese that was served with 2 scoops of creamy mashed potatoes… sinfully delicious!

    img_4026

    Our visit became more special when we enlisted Gabby in TGI Friday’s Trinoma Kiddie League after we were invited by the staff. As a member of TGIF kiddie league, Gabby will get the following perks as stated on their temporary membership card:

    1. Free Kiddie Meal & drink every visit for 1 year (wow!!!)
    2. Free Birthday Package good for 30 kids with PhP 1,000 accumulated receipts within 1 month after card
    issuance (the bday package for 30 kids is only offered as delivery within Quezon City; good enough!).
    3. to attend a KICK-OFF PARTY with other members as an official launching of the league; ID will be issued.
    4. Restrictions : Only valid at TGIF Trinoma, Non-transferrable, must be presented upon dine-in.

    As I fill out the form for my son, I found out that almost all members of the Kiddie League are studying in reputable schools which I think will give Gabby MORE oppotunitieS to interact with cultured kids, get social exposures and be engaged with fun-filled activities which are all essentials in growing up.

    Wish they also have FREEBIES for parents, hehehe =)

    img_4017img_4025img_4022

    T.G.I. Friday’s Trinoma Kiddie League Membership : PhP 500.
    For querries, please contact TGIF Trinoma General Manager @ 0917-5092601.

    T.G.I. Friday’s Trinoma Bistro Americano Corp.,
    Space 4009 Level M4, Trinoma, North Avenue corner EDSA,
    Pag-asa, Quezon City.
    Tel # 943-2163.

    25
    Jan
    09

    UNLEASH the CHINESE in ME…

    Kung hei fat choi!  It’s Chinese New Year again!  

    I’m a 100% Pinoy but sometimes I do wish to be born as a Tsinoy (Filipino-chinese).

                                                 

    215173148_b694dd3cfb1

    I’m always fascinated with anything chinese; from oriental crafts to architecture,  to culture and yes, chinese FOOD!  I always tell my wife that I can probably live & thrive in Hong Kong and other parts of China because of my  “chinese inclinations”.  

    1_827950096l1

                                                                      

    2142460281_87ddae835d3I & my wife simply love eating chinese (besides italian & some jap) -from those steamed or fried dimsum & dumplings, noodles, szechuan and lemon chicken, sweet and sour whatever, thick richly flavored soups, to hopia and tikoy, black chinese jellies and other gustatory chinese cravings.  hmmm, makes me want to rush to a nearest favorite chinese resto…   My list of favorite local chinese eateries includes Mann Hann, Superbowl of China / Big Buddha, Flavors of China, Le Ching (in Greenhills & Trinoma; love their shrimp cheon fan that is to-die-for, LOL!).   I’ve also blogged before the cheapest chinese buffet in Tramway Garden Buffet located at Timog Ave, Q.C.   ( I & my wife’s next target is to taste the chinese delights from one of the cuisines offered in the buffet of Sprial in Sofitel Philippine Plaza which I heard is one of the best in the buffet around the metro).

     

    371382155_0930146adc3

    I also like Chinese Astrology but did not become that religious fanatic of what the stars say about a day or the year ahead.  I remember growing up with my mom who used to scan her daily horoscope from the broadsheets and learning from her that being born on the year of the dragon and under the sign of virgo explains the reason why I’m a bit perfectionist at most things. Like my mom, I do not allow horoscope or anything from chinese astrology run my life nor depend on them solely.  It’s only as interesting as chinese cuisine.

    My interest in anything chinese was noticeable during our wedding.  I’m not that superstitious but I knew then that choosing an 8th day as our wedding day won’t hurt for in fact chinese belief says that the number 8 means INFINITY.   So we selected the 1st month of the year and it’s 8th day 5 years ago as our anniversary date.  My wife & I had something oriental on the menu at the reception and had changed into chinese shirt & cheongsam before our 1st dance as an official couple.

    20783892819650l

        1_105880848l6  

          longevity, wealth, love & happines 

    Tina & I also wish to build our dream house hopefully in the near future  in contemporary oriental / asian theme with those chinese lanterns all over and chopsticks and nice sets of porcelain in the cupboards.       sigh  (*o*)

    17
    Jan
    09

    CONFESSIONS OF A COFFEE-ADDICT

     

    16012009806My 2009 Starbucks Coffee planner, enjoyed with Cappuccino and Corned beef pan de sal.  The planner came with a free cup promo stub (to be claimed on the next visit) to compromise to its delay.  Good enough!

    As early as November, there’s always a mad rush of caffeine binges for Starbucks Coffee drinkers here in Manila.  We get excited every holidays as Starbucks traditionally introduces its exclusive Christmas blends in red cups that are only offerred during the season.  And as everyone knows, those coffee blends come with the promotional sticker cards that once completed with every cup, entitles the bearer to avail of the planner and to help the coffee store send 3000 students to school in their charity called Sparkle of Hope.  So being a Starbucks addict gives you a reason to enjoy doses of caffeine while reaching out to to the needy.

    img_33871

    Yesterday I already claimed my 2009 Starbucks Coffee planner from Starbucks Gateway Mall branch in Quezon City.  My wife claimed her planner 3 weeks before I completed my stickers on the promo card.  She had it in red,  I chose the blue one.   It took around 2 weeks to wait since Rustan’s Coffee (the company that runs Starbucks Coffee in the Philippines) had a delay in the issuance of those planners as posted in their shops.  Most Starbucks patrons, including myself,  were a little disappointed with the obvious austerity they observed, evident in the design of the planner for 2009 here in Manila.  I did not expect that their planner will be that simple & commonly-looking, its appearance if far from their planner last year which I also had and became so useful in jotting down schedules and what-have-yous.

    2008 Starbucks Coffee planner came with a pencil & looked stylish as this …

    starbucks-2008-planner-2

    starbucks-03 

    It’s not that easy to get a planner.   One needs to complete a promo-sticker card after drinking 8 cups of regular blend coffee and another 8 cups of  Starbucks Christmas blend (Toffee nut latte, Praline Mocha & Dark Cherry Mocha). 

    140b_1

    The requirements are down to 16 cups compared to 24 cup-stickers for last year’s planner.  For some it’s too pricey, but the planners are just a  thank-you gift of Starbucks to its loyal patrons.  I personally enjoy sipping coffee from their stores so completing the promo card stickers was not a pressure to me nor a requirement but some sort of a bonus on my end.   

    starbucksI say bye-bye to those red cups!  See you again on the next holiday season…

    11
    Jan
    09

    of yoda & yin & yang…

    What do Brad Pitt, hollywood productions, American and European markets and I have in common?  Well, we all adore Kenneth Cobonpue’s creations.  

    This Cebuano’s works have earned reconition worldwide because of his ingenuity and talent when it comes to furniture making.  I just love his designs; makes me proud of being a Filipino.  He makes use of rattan vines & poles, abaca,  natural walnut or dark mahogany with stainless steel to name a few of his materials.  He calls his works amaya, la luna, balou, chiquita, croissant, matilda, kawayan,  kabuki, voyager (bed design purchased by brad pitt)  and my favorite pieces : yin and yang, dragnet, lolah and yoda.

    I strongly declare that I won’t die until I travel the globe and build our dream house for my family with at least a piece of Cobonpue’s.  It will definitely match my inclinations toward oriental/asian contemporary interiors.

    It is always nice to dream BIG. . .*sigh*

    Below are photos of some of Cobonpue’s.  Aren’t they an eye-candy?  Well at least for me.

    LOLAH  (the seats inspired by crushed coca-cola can) :imgfiche-lolah-fauteuil-exterieur-kenneth-cobonpue-refkc5128odba

    YIN & YANG :

     imgfiche-yin-yang-fauteuil-exterieur-kenneth-cobonpue-refkc3628odb

    imgfiche-yin-yang-canape-2-places-exterieur-kenneth-cobonpue-refkc5928odb

    the seats called YODA  (i prefer YODA in green or in red) :

    imgfiche-yoda-interieur-kenneth-cobonpue-refkc2852nimgfiche-yoda-exterieur-kenneth-cobonpue-refkc2852odr 

    MATILDA :

    l42287636533_65885

    the lovely,  DRAGNET :

    imgzoom-dragnet-interieur-kenneth-cobonpue-refkc4153r1

    and the VOYAGE bed that Brad Pitt bought for his santuary…

    voyagebed01

    voyagebed021

    20
    Sep
    08

    TREINTA Y DOS : how i celebrated my 32nd bday

     

                                          

    I thought I won’t have a happy birthday last Thurday for I started the day with anxiety.  I was caught in traffic on my way to Allgen Review in Kalaw, Manila.  I initially planned to take a cab ( just like every Mondays-Wednesdays going to & from UDMC-SACI- my other workplace)  from our place in Quezon City to Kalaw Ave but the pathetic thrifty commuter in me kicked in and decided to take the LRT instead forgetting that I deserved to be comfortable that day.  I had to squeezed myself in the LRT train from Anonas to Legarda station with other people on the rush just to be on time as I am always punctual and never late in any of my commitments. As I dropped off Legarda station, there was no taxi cab for 30 minutes of waiting under the scorching heat so I decided to take the bus. Unfortunately again, I stood up in the bus from Legarda to Taft Avenue with my notebook and heavy stuffs on my back pack.  I thought I won’t be able to last the whole day for I am already dead-tired and exhausted early on the day when I was supposed to be enjoying. 

            

    I went first to Times Plaza in UN avenue to buy breakfast stuff for my Allgen family and reviewees.  Since I didn’t have a birthday blowout for them, I thought of buying them muffins & pastries from Le Coeur de France. Afterwhich,  I went straight to Allgen.

           

    Thank God I was not late for the 9AM review.  The staff greeted me with smiles.    As I enter the review room, there was a  birthday greetings on powerpoint slide flashed on the screen.  Then I saw a literally huge birthday card and an Allgen printed shirt on the desk. 

    I love the card.  All staff including my bosses- the owners of Allgen and one of my co-instructors took time in writing their wishes for me.  

    The reviewees came one at a time.  One of them, Doc Cheryl, who is a practicing dentist and a nurse taking her Masters, gave me a gift she personally made- a rosary of transparent beads.  Then my anxiety that morning was replaced with smiles.

                                   

    I did the Musculoskeletal lecture review until around 12:30pm then I told everyone to be back after 1 hour lunch break. It was already around 2pm when 2 of the reviewees were still missing.  l thought they went around to see someone or were trapped somewhere.  Then I received another surprise when the 2 missing reviewees (Kristal and Jen) came back and brought a cake for me.

      

     

                         

    I did the second part of the lecture and thanked the reviewees for taking efforts to brighten my day. But surprises were not over yet. The entire Allgen staff  came to the room with another cake, and ice cream.  I was struck by the moment when I saw the owners of Allgen also dropped by to greet me and sat in the mini-party.  I really appreciate it.

    I am deeply honored to be working with these people who know how to value people by being so appreciative, so approachable, friendly and easy to deal with.  Not all employers and colleagues are grateful of one’s humble contribution.

    Then I rode a cab from Kalaw, Manila to Trinoma in Quezon City to meet my wife and my kid and my 2 friends of 15 years.  We had dinner at TGIF and capped the day with smiles.

        

    Rob, thanks for the gift and the photos!

                           

                              

    The TGIF crew gave a cheer &  scoops of ice cream with a candle for me which  I gave to my son Gabby for him to enjoy.

     

    To those who greeted me and took time to say their wishes,

    THANK YOU SO MUCH. GOD BLESS YOU MORE.

    18
    Dec
    07

    WRAPPED by GMASK!

    It has been months since I first saw a kiosk of GMASK in Gateway Mall & took a piece of their flyers. I surfed their website and found out that a lot of people already had their gadgets wrapped with GMASK’s colorful, interesting ultra-thin films. Being intuitive as others, I read about it and learned that having gadgets covered with Japan-made thin films does not only render a new image to those gadgets (laptops, cellphones,  iPod, etc.) but more importantly, protection from scratches, sweat, stains and the like. Since I use laptop daily especially at work when I conduct lectures, I think it would be great to have it covered with GMASK.

    So last Sunday, Dec 16, I went to their branch at the BLOCK in SM City but the design that I want for my laptop was not available. Luckily, the client-friendly GMASK staff immediately phoned another staff from another branch and asked if they got the wrap that I want. She referred me to Robinson’s Galleria and in less than 20 minutes, I already entrusted my laptop to the very accomodating GMASK staff. The price I paid for was P2995 for the laptop cover and for the laptop wrist pad. And since I wanted my laptop to be hip & funky less the rigid-formal look it has before, I opted to wrapped it with

    POP ART.   Here are photos of its new stylish look… plus my own photo with my laptop taken by the staff immediately after the GMASK experience ( and it’s posted in their web page too ! )

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    18
    Sep
    07

    POST BDAY

                            Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

                               Gabby smiles beside my bday cake given by my students.

    To everyone who texted and emailed me and greeted me personally on my birthday,

    to those who gave me presents : Rob thanks for the tie from Marks & Spencer,   

                                                   to my students, thanks for the cakes, parker pen

                                                   & mooncake. 

                                                 THANK YOU SO MUCH !…

    And may the GOOD LORD continuously BLESS us all and our families with

    HEALTH, HAPPINESS & SUCCESS in all our endeavors.  CHEERS !

    22
    Jul
    07

    GOT TO HAVE A SCHENGEN VISA SOMEDAY…

    SCHIPPOL AIRPORT, AMSTERDAM

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    AMSTERDAM, HOLLAND

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    V E N I C E

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    BASILICA DI SAN MARCO, PIAZZA SAN MARCO, VENEZIA, ITALIA

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    LISBON, PORTUGAL

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    G R E E C E

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    DUOMO

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