Saturday, March 31, 2007

Revenge is shoe-weet!


After last weekend's disappointing shoe hunt, I had a sweet taste of revenge last night. My colleagues and I planned a wild night of cuisine and commercialism, so in between dinner and drinks, we passed by H&M, and of course, our favorite shoe store. And it was a trip that yielded these!

A decent haul of 8 pairs of shoes for my two sisters. Whilst it's not Imeldiffic in scale, it also isn't as disappointing as going home with 2 pairs, or worse, none. I guess they stocked up really well this week, because we were spoilt for choice. While my other colleague snapped up around 10 pairs (and this is just for her own use), my 8 pairs (which are for my sisters so they count as good deeds. Harhar) consisted of the following.

Perfect Peep-toes.

Yup, every major magazine and brand has this type of shoe in their S/S 2007 collection, so might as well stock up on a couple. Most of it was in black patent (which is the easiest to dress up and dress down), and a beauty in caramel leather.

Funky flats. These babies are in patent faux croc and a black loafer-ish pair with velvet trim.

Bondage Beauty. The corset look might be out in clothes, but it'll always have a place in funky shoes.

Sassy Silver. There was an entire rack of shoes in silver -both matte and glossy- and it reminded me of Mark's tip. Found this matte silver shoe with perforated details, and it fits perfectly with Ate Lissa's current wardrobe.

I had the usual "big smile after shopping" look on my face as we exited the store. It was a very fruitful shopping session (i'll write about the jeans and more baby clothes later.) So after this successful act of revenge, my shoes and I decided to chill a bit.

After all, there was more to come.

Friday, March 30, 2007

The man behind the name

The first email I opened today was from a friend in Europe who sent me the meaning of my name. Apparently, he found a site that analyzes the meanings of names and typed mine in. (Thankfully, he remembered that my name is Edgard with a "d.") Now why he wanted to analyze my name... that's another question. Hahaha.

Surprisingly, the results of the test were accurate. It was able to pinpoint the fact that i'm drawn to teaching, and that I sell stuff for a living. Sometimes I'm amazed at how these tests come out results that are really in tune with my personality. Makes me think that my Mom might be in cahoots with these people.

Now this is an interesting way to start the day.


You entered: Lester Edgard Regalado Morales
There are 27 letters in your name.
Those 27 letters total to 120
There are 11 vowels and 16 consonants in your name.

What your first name means:
Latin Male From the Legion's camp.
English Male Fortified place. Derived from the place name, Leicester
Famous Bearer: Canadian statesman Lester B. Pearson (1897-1972).

Your number is: 3

The characteristics of #3 are: Expression, verbalization, socialization, the arts, the joy of living.

The expression or destiny for #3:
An Expression of 3 produces a quest for destiny with words along a variety of lines that may include writing, speaking, singing, acting or teaching; our entertainers, writers, litigators, teachers, salesmen, and composers. You also have the destiny to sell yourself or sell just about any product that comes along. You are imaginative in your presentation, and you may have creative talents in the arts, although these are more likely to be latent. You are an optimistic person that seems ever enthusiastic about life and living. You are friendly, loving and social, and people like you because you are charming and such a good conversationalist. Your ability to communicate may often inspire others. It is your role in life to inspire and motivate; to raise the spirits of those around you.

The negative side of number 3 Expression is superficiality. You may tend to scatter your forces and simply be too easygoing. It is advisable for the negative 3 to avoid dwelling on trivial matters, especially gossip.

Your Soul Urge number is: 5

A Soul Urge number of 5 means:
The 5 soul urge or motivation would like to follow a life of freedom, excitement, adventure and unexpected happening. The idea of travel and freedom to roam intrigues you. You are very much the adventurer at heart. Not particularly concerned about your future or about getting ahead, you can seem superficial and unmotivated.

In a positive sense, the energies of the number 5 make you very adaptable and versatile. You have a natural resourcefulness and enthusiasm that may mark you as a progressive with a good mind and active imagination. You seem to have a natural inclination to be a pace-setter. You are attracted to the unusual and the fast paced.

You may be overly restless and impatient at times. You may dislike the routine work that you are engaged in, and tend to jump from activity to activity, without ever finishing anything. You may have difficulty with responsibility.

Your Inner Dream number is: 7

An Inner Dream number of 7 means:
You dream of having the opportunity to read, study, and shut yourself off from worldly distractions. You can see yourself as a teacher, mystic, or ecclesiastic, spending your life in the pursuit of knowledge and learning.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Punch Drunk Love

True to their tag line, I'm lovin' McDonald's new drink offering here in HK.

It's called Sprite Pineapple Punch, and i've already had 2 big glasses of the drink this afternoon. The punch starts out with one part Sprite, then they add one part Pineapple juice, then a scoop of syrup. They mix it all together then they top it with a mound of crushed Pineapple.

There's so much of it that theyy even have a special straw created for the punch. The end is shaped like a teaspoon which lets me scoop out all the Pineapple bits that get left behind after some serious slurping. At the risk of sounding like a hack for the McDonald's company (which I wouldn't mind doing - as long as they pay me in Happy Meal toys. Hahaha) the Sprite Pineapple Punch is more than just a drink -- it's an experience!

Honestly, this is a heavenly tropical concoction that transports me to some sandy beach with blue waters in a tropical Island somewhere.

Ah yes, that's the magic of McDonald's. And Pineapples!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hit me with Pat!

Heard this song playing from my colleagues office and suddenly remembered how much I loved, loved, LOVED listening to this song when I was a little boy. It was one of those songs that everybody knew how to sing and whenever an 80s band would do a cover of it, or whenever they'd show it at Video Hit Parade, practically everyone would stand up, clap and sing-along.

Just like what i'm doing right now...

Pat Benatar

You're a real tough cookie with a long history
Of breaking little hearts like the one in me
That's okay, let's see how you do it
Put up you dukes, let's get down to it

Hit me with your best shot
Why don't you hit me with your best shot
Hit me with your best shot
Fire away

You come on with it, come on
You don't fight fair
That's okay, see if I care
Knock me down, it's all in vain
I get right back on my feet again

Hit me with your best shot
Why don't you hit me with your best shot
Hit me with your best shot
Fire away


You're a real tough cookie with a long history
Of breaking little hearts like the one in me
Before I put another notch in my lipstick case
You better make sure you put me in my place

Hit me with your best shot
Hit me with your best shot
Hit me with your best shot
Fire away

Hit me with your best shot
Why don't you hit me with your best shot
Hit me with your best shot
Fire away!

In between dreams and reality

I had a very peculiar sleeping pattern last night. It involved a dream and snapping back to reality.

What happened was I had this dream, then just as something pivotal was going to happen, I'd wake up.

Then when I fell back to sleep, the dream would continue and pick up where it left off. Then just as another pivotal thing was about to happen, I'd wake up again.

This happened about 4 times the entire night. Now the funny thing was, I can't even remember what the dream was about now. There were too many "commercial breaks" in the dream that it completely escaped me.

Sheesh. If it isn't enough that I spend my days doing commercials, now it's taking over my night life, too.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Dali... Dali...

Today I decided to hie off to Central and have lunch there. It was a nice, sunny day - the perfect weather for walking outside and catching a few rays. During my last visit to Manila, people have been pointing out that my skin is a bit fairer than the usual, so I'm doing the European thing and soaking up the sun whenever it decides to make an appearance.

Being a habitue of IFC, I usually notice if there's something out-of-the-ordinary in the vicinity. Today, there was something new in the area, something scarily new:

Yup, there was a huge and eerie statue at the front of Two Exchange Square. It looked like a reject from the Hell Raiser movie, and upon closer scrutiny, everything became clear. This statue was the work of the master of the macabre, the sultan of surrealism - Salvador Dali.

I was first exposed to the work of Dali by a cousin who was also a surrealist painter. It started with me asking him why all his subjects were distorted, and he explained the history of the style and the artist who inspired him. This resulted in a sudden interest in surrealism as an artform, and soon after, I dabbled in surreal art as well. But since I was very young then, my fascination waned, but my appreciation of Dali's darkness remained. And if you look at the details of this particular sculpture - entitled "Woman Aflame" - you see how dark he was.

The sudden presence of Dali's sculptures at Central is courtesy of an exhibit of his work that coincides with a charity event. His work, along with some other famous - and dead - artists, are strewn all over the area. I'm not sure how many there are, because I only saw two. First was "Woman Aflame" and second is this:

Though not as disturbing as the first one, this piece of steel is still a bit different. Interestingly, it has Dali's "Melting Watch" by the woman's neck. There was also and egg over her dismembered waist, and an ant crawling somewhere around her torso. If I were to give a title to this piece, i'd call it: "Chicken Lays an Egg on a hot & sweet Manananggal." It's a bit long for a title, but at least, every bit of the sculpture is acknowledged.

It's a weird title, I know. But then again, Dali's work is weird anyway.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Gosh, a word play. My former colleague hates using word plays in headlines, so I can imagine him tearing out his hair after reading this.

The shopping-powers-that-be must be in cahoots against me today. My shopping plan was simple: buy brown and black shoes for my sisters. They liked the last pairs I brought, so I thought of getting some similar pairs - but this time, in black patent and chocolate brown.

When I got to the shoe store, there were so many wonderful looking pairs and this would've made my job easy. I gathered round-toe patent heels in cream, black, tan and metallic gray. Then I picked up a pointed faux croc shoe in chocolate brown and burgundy. Then some peep toes in black and red. After the harvest, I quickly went to the sales girl who immediately recognized me and asked: Size 38 or 39? (Yup, they know me so well.)

Unfortunately, only 2 out of the 6 pairs I asked for were available - and they weren't even my favorites. The brown croc heels were in the wrong size, the black peep toes were the last pair, and the laser cut cream shoe with the wooden heel was also out of stock.

Whenever I shop, I have an all-or-nothing attitude. So since the other 4 pairs I wanted weren't available, I decided not to buy anything.

This is one of the few times I left that shop empty-handed and disappointed. Heck, I've prided this place as THE shoe store to shop in. When Mona was here last week, she was so delighted to buy 3 super nice pairs of shoes there. Now, even the shoe she wants is not available. It's SO disappointing.

Hopefully, they'll have new stocks next weekend and they can redeem themselves.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Back at the Bat

Good batting average today. Out of 4 concepts, 3 have been approved and will be sent to the higher ups.

And the reason they witheld the last one? It's too good and too creative that they're saving it for last.

Not bad for a rush job and a day's work.

Le Fami

I was arranging files in my computer when I stumbled onto this photo. This was taken more than a year ago during my parents' surprise 40th anniversary party. That means it's been more than a year since I last saw Biboy and almost 9 months since we were with our parents.

Hopefully, they'll ALL be able to come home this Christmas so we can have a reunion again. I miss being with everyone.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Thai-ed up

I've seen the edits of the two commercials I did for Thailand. The first one is going on air this week, while the other one is coming out this April.

They're both really nice! And hopefully, they'll be as well-received as the first ads I made for them.

Monday, March 19, 2007

To a Tea

It's hard to believe that after 2 years as a Hong Kong resident, this is the first time I tried this staple of a drink.

Vita Lemon Tea is almost a part of the local culture. Everyday, I see gajillions of people holding either a bottle or a carton of this tea. Even my colleagues drink this like water, and that always perplexed me. Being a big fan of Nestea, I've never felt the need to try any other product. Nestea - particularly Nestea Ice Rush - is good enough for me.

Then, I tried Vita Lemon Tea last week.

Gosh! Now I know why HK is crazy about this drink. It's just DEEEEE-LICIOUS! It's like the usual "old-school" brewed ice tea that they serve in tea houses, but with a bit more sweetness. So, it doesn't just deliver the kick of tea, it also has enough sweetness to satisfy my sugar craving. I tried drinking it when it was uber cold, and it was simply the pinnacle of refreshment!

Ok, i'm gushing. But really, this tea is SOOO gush-worthy! I do not believe it took me so long to discover Vita. And now, i'm making up for lost time by chugging it like there's no tomorrow!

I'm exaggerating, of course.

Finally trying this tea out is one of the best decisions I made. Maybe tonight, I'll just chuck out the Nestea in my fridge and replace it with a chocfull of Vita Lemon Tea.

And i'm not exaggerating.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Frendz on a weekend

Finally, a member of D'Frendz has finally reached HK and stayed with me. After missing her the last time she was in the territory, Mona and I finally met up and she stayed with me for 2 days.

I spent the whole day of yesterday and a part of Friday and Sunday with 6 lawyers. It was such a welcome break from being surrounded by Advertising people for days no end. One of them was the Philippine representative to the Humanitarian Law contest in France. How cool is that.

I hope I was able to put some order in the house this weekend. Lawyers sure know a thing or two about that.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Back on Top

It's been more than a year since I last bought jeans from TopMan. After discovering D Squared and Energie, their designs suddenly felt too plain. Their cuts - Minder, Charger, etc. - looked too ordinary.

But today, I saw this pair - two actually - of TopMan jeans that had really funky details. The fit - the Worker type - never really did it for me because it was too loose. Thanks to the extra pockets and stitches, though, I ended up falling in love with these Worker Jeans. Aside from the cut, the washes of both denims were equally interesting in different ways. Needless to say, it was jean-love at first sight again.

I can't wait to wear them.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

First Foray

Despite the dauntingly long queue and the fact that I had to wait 20 minutes just to get in the store, I decided to check out the new H&M store in Central last night. Yup, I gave in to hype and went there to join the throngs of fast-fashion hungry Hong Kongers who are bent on getting a piece of H&M on their hands.

Compared to the H&M stores I visited in Europe, the one here is huge. It has 4 floors: 2 dedicated to women's wear, 1 for men and the last 1 is for kids and maternity wear. Despite the size, there were still a lot of people elbowing each other over an M by Madonna dress or a bejeweled caftan. Cashier queues were also long, but that's always the case in all "just opened" stores here.

Their men's line is much cheaper than Zara or FCUK, but then again, the quality is a bit different. As Arnie mentioned in her blog, H&M = Halatang Mura. Which should be no problem because it really is cheap. The basic pair of jeans at Zara costs HK$459, while at H&M, it's only HK$200. Their shirts are nice, but nothing spectacular. I still prefer the designs of Zara, or even Uniqlo.

There wasn't anything interesting for men, and the women's area was in an advanced state of disarray that discouraged me from even going there. So where did I end up? The kids section! And what did I end up buying? Clothes for Javier!

It would've been uber easy to go loco over all the funky kids clothes, but I had to choose just 4 pieces. I got a pair of jeans, a pair of cargo pants, and 3 shirts. (One of them was a 2 pack, so I counted it as one piece.) There was a polo shirt that was so cute, but I was already in the cashier when I saw it, and I didn't want to queue up all over again.

Well, there's always Saturday.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Match made in Hong Kong

A few days after attending my first Christening in Hong Kong and getting my first "imported" godson, there was another big event that was another first for me:

I attended my first wedding here!

Ginger, an uber good friend and co-member of the Marvelous Mexican Mafia, got married to Dave in the TST wedding registry, just a few minutes away from where I live. Hong Kong holds a special place in both their hearts, and early this year, they decided to make their vows here. The entire ceremony was very intimate, with only 11 people in attendance. I feel so fortunate to have been one of them. I wouldn't miss Ginger's special day for anything.

The weather that morning was a bit cold, and i've always found cold weather a bit romantic. It also drizzled a bit that morning, and they say that's a sign of blessings from above. Thankfully, we were already inside the Intercon when the heavens decided to really pour on all the blessings. It happened just a few minutes after this fun moment.

Here's the bride with her brides' men. Jaime and I were the only two people who didn't fly in for the event. Both Ginger and Dave's family all arrived a day before, and were able to enjoy the HK atmosphere. It would've been great if Beng and Beth were here as well, that way the Mafia would be complete. It would be a "Married to the Mob" kind of celebration.

After seeing hundreds of big weddings, I must say that the charm and solemnity of a small, intimate one makes it feel as grand. This wedding will definitely hold a special place in my heart, not only because it was my first wedding in Hong Kong, but also because its a wonderful story of love and friendship that i'm glad to be a part of.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Behind the Seen...

Countless hours of not doing anything + bored boy with a camera = scenes that aren't seen once the commercial goes on-air.

Pre-Fabric-Cated. A few rolls of fabric among the plethora of concoctions that flooded the set.

Eye in the sky. The camera guy going way up high to capture the right angle.

Sketchy personalities. Something straight out of Project Runway. All we need now is Heidi Klum.

Talk to the hand. Entertaining myself while everyone is busily mulling around.

The long wait. My 6-year old Chucks enduring a 6-hour wait.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sinful Sunday

After mass, there was a piece of sin waiting for me at Unitel. This hard-to-resist-temptation had 4 layers and was really a recipe for (diet) disaster. Just one slice of it is enough to channel envy, jealousy, gluttony and - after eating it - sloth. Here's the slice of sin:

KC, being the wonderfully sweet girl she is, gave me this equally wonderfully sweet creation. It was a cross between an ice box cake and a brazo de mercedes. The first layer was a graham cracker crust with nuts, the second layer was mango ice cream, on the third one was a pastillas/yema layer, and there was an soft meringue on the top most layer. Just a small forkful was enough to send a sugar rush so intense, I think I needed to be tied down or else i'd be bouncing off walls!

...hmmm... being tied... sounds familiar...

But really, being a dessert connoisseur, this cake is unbelievably and utterly fabulous - maybe even a little slice of heaven. But it really has to be eaten in moderation, or else the sugar overload just might send him or her to heaven. Harharhar.

Through the eyes of a child

Today I heard my first Children's mass at Sacred Heart Church. When I went to church at 4pm, the huge amount of kids were noticeable. The lector was a little boy, the readers were kids, even the choir was composed of very young, and very gregarious singers who were less than 12 years old. (Which explains the uber high pitched voices - castrata choir, anyone?)

Admittedly, it was a bit disconcerting for me. The most obvious difference between a regular mass and a children's mass was the absence of a homily from the priest. In lieu of that, there was a stage play - led by kids, of course - that explained the essence of that Sunday's gospel. For an adult, it was really odd hearing the gospel being interpreted using the words: "mga berks," "sobrang hindi cool" at "doncha forget that."

The couple seated beside me - also greenhorns in this "children's mass" biz - were equally perplexed. But they obviously had less patience than I did. In the middle of the homily, they both decided to leave, and the husband said that he'd rather have a priest explaining the essence of the gospel rather than trying to decipher kids' speak.

It just goes to show how different adults and kids think. What's simple for adults can be difficult for kids, and what seems easy and entertaining for kids turns out to be difficult for adults. And while the children's mass really might really be more engaging and enlightening for kids, I'm way beyond the age limit of 12. In advertising parlance - i'm no longer their target market.

Next time, i'll wait for the 5pm mass.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Oh shoot!

It's been more than a year since I last attended a photo shoot here in Manila. Compared to a TV shoot, a photo one is much more relaxed and people are more laid back and a bit off-kilter.

After sitting through today's long-ish session, i'm definitely glad that I decided to drop by the studio and join in. There were a number of things that - as Dunkin' Donuts used to say in their old slogan - made it worth the trip.

- Seeing Trisha and Harvey again after a long time. It felt so good to lounge around the empty space beside the studio talking about old friends in DY&R - their quirks and what made them such memorable characters.

- Hearing Harvey deliver jokes with expert precision. I thought my lungs were going to burst because of laughing to hard at his Mang Ness jokes. Mang Ness was the "oldest" art director in our agency that time, and Harvey had a plethora of Mang Ness that time. My favorites are:

"Mang Ness, ang galing niyo naman mag-layout. Saan kayo nag-train? Sa La Solidaridad?"

"Huwag niyong gagalitin si Mang Ness. Baka isumbong niya kayo sa mga close friends niya na sikat. Dati nga, nung nagalit siya, nagsumbong siya kay Moses."

- Meeting someone who I've always wanted to meet. Patrick is a wedding photographer whose name I've heard for ages, thanks to my sister and brother-in-law and their involvement in weddings. I've always admired Patrick's work because he's so good in capturing candid moments. While in the studio this afternoon, I found out that the place we're using belonged to Patrick, and he was there! I had to meet him!

Louie introduced me to Patrick, and we spent a few hours taking about things ranging from weddings, coordinators from hell, things that go wrong duing the big day, travel, and of course, how wonderful the Philippines is. My impression about Patrick is correct, he really is a fascinating person.

- Being mistaken for a foreigner over and over again. It felt like Groundhog Day.

- Hearing someone call Vanessa a "Mahaderang Nanay."

All these fun things in less than 10 hours. Moments like these make me happy that i'm in advertising. And it's moments like these that make me wish I can attend more photo shoots here in Manila.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Kindred Children

"It's hard to improve yourself if you don't even know who you are."

This phrase started our long-ish conversation between breaks during the shoot. She said this in a recent interview for a magazine and it was the line that hit me the first time I read it. Thanks to this line, plus the spirited conversation, it dawned on me how much we have in common.

It's a realization that's a bit Johnny-come-lately considering that we've been working together for more than 3 years. Maybe it's because those 3 years came in little bits and pieces, and the stories and information came in small, unrelated links. It's only now that i've started to connect this little links and pulled back to see the bigger picture.

Through the course of our many conversations, it's only now that i've noticed how we have some quirky little similarities - in the way we think, we live, and up to a certain extend - in the way we love.

We both live away from home, and away from the people and places that we hold dear. We similarly feel the longing each time we step in our parallel life, but at the same time, we find excitement in being a different place as a different person. We also have that same fervent wish to come back home and pick up where we left off in this wonderful life that we left here in Manila.

The good news is, she'll be getting her wish very, very soon. She's due to come back home in August, and she said that the thought of starting her life anew is both an exciting and intimidating proposition. Intimidating because after more than 3 years of independence and anonymity, it's back to the familiar comforts (and setbacks) of home. Exciting because she has so much to look forward to when she comes home.

I'm looking forward to the day that i'll be in the same position - back here at home, being together with the people I love, and starting our lives together forever. For me, it would definitely be more exciting than intimidating.

And when we're both continuing our lives here, we'll have another thing to talk about during the break of our next shoot.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Feliz Cumpleano, Abuelo

Happy Birthday, Lolo Iking!

Thank you for always looking after us from up there.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Face Value

While waiting for the LRT-3 train to arrive, I decided to sit indian-style on the station floor. The train was due to arrive in 6 minutes, and I saw it as opportunity to rest my knee.

A minute had passed and a guard walked up and stood beside me. Thinking that what I'm doing might be against station policies, I asked him if there was a problem.

HIM: Good afternoon, sir.
ME: Good afternoon. Bawal po ba na maupo dito?
HIM: Hindi. Dahil guwapo ka, puwede mong gawin kahit anong gusto mo.

Gosh! How superficial can you get? It was more insulting than anything because it just goes to show how other people value appearances and that people really stereotype others based on how they look.

Now, on hindisight, maybe I should've told the guard:

ME: Talaga ho, kahit ano? Bigyan ko kaya kayo ng flying kick in your face. Puwede yon, diba? Sabi mo kasi, kahit ano.

I should've. I really should've.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Suddenly Stranded Signals Surreal Saturday

It's the schedule I follow almost everytime I go home to Manila. Take the last CX flight which departs at 10:00pm, arrive in NAIA around midnight, then get home before 1 am. Since it's something i've been doing once a month for about 2 years, it's almost like a routine.

Well, the routine was disrupted last night.

The pilot announced that we were about to begin our descent to NAIA in 5 minutes. Twenty minutes had passed, and I couldn't feel the plane descend one bit. A few minutes after this observation of mine, the pilot's voice went on air once again.

It turns out that a Cessna 2-engine plane made an uber sloppy landing in NAIA. It was so sloppy, the plane wrecked its wheels and was stranded in the middle of the runway. Airport personnel have to do two things: one: tow the plane, and two: clean the debris that the Cessna left. Now these two little things will take more than an hour to accomplish. Until then, we couldn't land in NAIA.

So, we were diverted, then we landed in Mactan International Airport in Cebu.

Yes, we landed in Cebu at 12:30 am.

Yes, it was surreal. We landed in Cebu at 12:30 am.

To add to the surreal-ness of the situation, the Mactan International Airport was already closed. We had to stay inside the plane until they can call a skeleton crew to open and operate it. So there we were, 500 sleepy people inside a plane on a tarmac of a closed airport.

Thank goodness Martin was just beside me, so we entertained each other with stories, as well as entertained the thought of jumping ship in Cebu and spending the weekend at Shangri-La Mactan

Cathay Pacific - ever the gracious "host" - gave out free soda, beer and wine to all the passengers. And by 12:45, the plane felt like a huge open bar. People were standing on the aisles - beer and wine on hand - and happily chatting away. The plane became one big soiree as people interacted like they knew each other.

Most of my interaction was with a group of Koreans who were worried that they'd miss their connecting flights to Iloilo and Bacolod. They were supposed to arrive in Manila at 12 midnight, check in a nearby hotel, and fly out again at 5:50 am. Now it was already 2:30 am and we were still stranded in Cebu. Needless to say, they were worried.

My inner Mr. Helpful went into action and talked to one of the flight attendants about the Korean group's problem. The FA said that she'll talk to the ground staff about it. A few minutes later, the pilot announced that the airport was open and that we could disembark and stretch our legs. Suddenly, the "soiree" moved to the airport.

That was when I was able to talk to one of the ground personnel. He explained to me that if the flight leaves on or before 3:30 am, the Koreans can catch their connecting flights. If not, they'll be asked to stay in Cebu and go to Iloilo and Bacolod from there. (Personally, I thought this was the better option since those two provinces are closer to Cebu.) After giving me the "scenario", I gathered the Korean contingent and explained to them both Plan A and Plan B. After talking to them, one Korean lady came up to me and said: "Are you from the army? You're very good at this."


At 3:15 am, we all heard the words we wanted to hear. The NAIA runway is open, everyone should board and we're about to take off as soon as possible. And we did.

We arrived in Manila at 4:30 am. Thankfully, we were the first of the 4 diverted planes to arrive. Ergo, the airport wasn't crowded and everything went smoothly. Amazingly, it took me less than 15 minutes from disembarking to exiting immigration. I guess the immigration people knew that everyone was already harassed, so they were easy on everyone. It took about 30 seconds to 1 minute to process our passports. If only it were like this everyday, i'd be a happy man.

I thought the surreal situations would end there.

But no!

Just as I was about to leave, the Korean contingent chased after me and asked me why I was leaving them. Apparently, they were under the impression that since I talked to the ground staff on their behalf, I'd also bring them to the domestic airport. One of the Koreans even held my arm to keep me from leaving.

Ground staff to the rescue! He lassoed the Korean posse and asked them to follow him so they can be ushered to their connecting flight. The relieved bunch went with the ground staff after saying their goodbyes to me.

I got home at 5:30 am, 5 and a half hours delayed from my usual routine. By that time, Javier was already awake and I spent the next hour just playing with him. At 7 am, the bed finally beckoned and off to slumberland I went.

Yup, it was indeed a Surreal Saturday today. But there was one good thing that came out of this surreal situation. I told Martin that it has been 4 years since my last visit to Cebu. At least I was able to go there again. Albeit by accident.

Now that's surreal, but nice.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Dars the way... *uhuh-uhuh* I like it... *uhuh-uhuh*

Yup, today is definitely a sweet day because i've been noshing on sweets the whole afternoon.

After Mike and Ike, it was time to get my fill of chocolates. And we're not talking about regular chocolates, but an uber special one, like this:

This is special chocolate from Mark who sent it from Japan. This is the first time i've tried Dars chocolate, and it turned out to be an uber, uber yummy experience. The white chocolate is rich and creamy, but it isn't too sweet. It's got that predominantly milky taste, but with a hint of vanilla embedded inside. The combination isn't overwhelming, so you could finish one bar in one sitting.

And that's what I did. Well, almost.

Before I finished the last piece, I remembered to take a photo of another cool quality of Dars. Unlike the usual full bars that you have to break up with your hand, this one is already pre-cut and comes in neat little bars. So you just need to pop open the foil, sit back, and enjoy. Ah yes, the Japanese are good at making life more convenient, eh.

My favorite white Chocolate used to be Nestle's Milky White. Stress on the "used to be." Thanks to Mark, Dars is now my white chocolate of choice. (As well as bitter chocolate and milk chocolate, too.) Dars the best!

I like...

Mike and Ike was an indispensible part of my diet during my stay in the U.S. some years back. I'd pop them in my mouth as often as my anfitrion in Mexico popped Prozac. Mike and Ike is somewhere between Jelly Belly and Skittles - the texture being that of jelly beans, but the flavors are richer and more distinct. With a combination like that, it's no wonder I was addicted to it.

Unfortunately, Mike and Ike wasn't available in Manila, so once I got back, my interest for it immediately waned. And strangely, I never craved for Mike and Ike again.

Until today...

Yup, they have it at City Super and I bought a pack this afternoon. The taste and experience was the same, and the pack was gone in 5 minutes.

Looks like i'm going to like Mike and Ike all over again.