Friday, June 29, 2007

In today's news...

Yes, it is good news indeed!


It's Kin's birthday today. Happy Birthday, Kin!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

When Hammy met Gingy

The Happy Meal toys' meet and greet on my desk.

Gingy is part of the Shrek Happy Meal they have at McDonald's. The toy is cute - it talks! Downside is, it talks in Cantonese, and we've been trying to figure out what he's saying the entire afternoon. Even my Cantonese speaking colleagues can't make out what he's saying. I guess the V.O. announcer really didn't do a good job.

A few more of these toys and my desk will look just like how my cubicle at Adformatix looked like. Too bad there aren't any kids here who'll appreciate a table full of toys.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Daddy's Boy

Gosh! I look just like my Dad in this shot.

And I am in DIRE NEED of a haircut.

(taken by Melvin yesterday while we were having lunch at Pizza Hut)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Gang's all here!

It's been a long time since I've last been to Horizon Plaza - more than a year in fact. Today, I had to go back because of a travel piece I'm working on. So after lunch, Melvin and I hopped on the bus and made our way there.

And why do people go to Horizon Plaza? For name brand shopping, of course! This is the perfect place to buy your Stella, Alberta, Dolce & Gabbana, Reem, Barney, and Diane. After all, it's where Joyce and Lane Crawford send their off-season clothes. To dispose of them, they mark down the price down to about 80% off, and getting a Lanvin gown for 20% of the price is enough to get people trekking to this off-the-map area. (But still, 20% of a $50,000 gown is still $10,000!)

Strangely, I've never bought anything there in my previous visits. And the reason why is stated above in italics. Being a consummate bargain hunter, I know that there are better buys out there - and I find them most of the time. ($200 for a Marc Jacobs. Duh!)

Today proved to be different, though. The moment Melvin and I parted ways, this surge of shopping energy flowed through my body. Soon enough, I was swiftly scouring the racks for the names that my sisters like, and surprisingly, they had the perfect style, the perfect size, and most importantly, the perfect price! In less than an hour, I had the gang along with me at the cash register.

Yup, I went home with Catherine, Roland, Diane and Tracy.

Yup, I went home in good company today. And by the looks of it, I might find myself going back there really soon. Have to get together with Narciso, Nanette, Paul & Joe, Emilio, Vera, Olivier...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Turning Japan-eats

I just love Okashi! Whenever i'm in Japan, I'm often in some supa or Family Mart checking out boxes and boxes of goodies from Meiji and Glico. My all-time faves would be Pocky and Toppo, but there are a couple brands more that I like.

Thankfully, I find more and more of them in Hong Kong, particularly in this shop aptly called "Okashi Land." Dropped by a couple of minutes ago, and got these!

Caplico is like "Puffy Cone" (if anyone remembers that) and the centre has this peculiar texture. It feels like ice cream, but dry and crumbly. There are three cones per box, coming in vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. (My favourite! Yum!)

Then I also found this Bourbon Gelatin. This was the exact same brand that Mark and I bought at 7-11 and ate at that impromptu picnic near the Muikamachi Sports Centre. The only difference is, this one is the mixed fruit variant - the one we bought was pure orange. And I prefer the pure orange one, but this was the only one available. ("Bangaws can't be choosers" as my secretary would say...)

Now it's time to eat!!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Surprise shopping, Surprise savings

Had dinner at Times Square tonight, and as it's customary after a big dinner (or on any given day) I decided to roam around the mall and do some browsing.

I reached Royal Sporting House and remembered that they sold Ipanema. It's the other Brazilian sandal/slipper brand made popular by Gisele Bundchen. I've been meaning to buy my niece a pair of these uber nice footwear and decided to do it tonight. After all, I was there already.

Two designs caught my eye, and they both had her size. (By the way, she has gigantonormous feet! She's only 15 years old and she's a size 10!) Since I found it difficult to choose, I decided to buy both.

Each pair costs HK$89, so both would be HK$178 - which isn't bad. When I paid for it at the counter, that's when they sprang the surprise. The green and white pair was on sale, and instead of $89, it now cost only $45! Now the violet one was part of a special promotion. With any purchase of any Ipanema sandal, I'd only have to pay $29 for it! So that's two times the savings, all at one go.

So instead of paying $178, I ended up paying $76!!! Of course, I left the store with a huge smile on my face. Pleasant surprises are the best!


Then there's this other scene that would probably make Arnie and Happy hyperventilate and palpitate. I dropped by Mango and saw that the sales clerks were now putting the sale price tags on their regular items.

Those neon orange sale tags were scattered all over the floor, just waiting to be stuck on all those racks of clothes. And this can only mean one thing:

Mango is already on sale!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Wedding Banquet

I've been invited to a Chinese Wedding Banquet next month, and this will be my first time to attend one in HK. The last Chinese wedding I attended was way back in 1997 in Shunde. That was an unforgettable wedding because of the strong wine, and the very, VERY exotic food they served. (Snake, Boar and Eel, anyone?)

Their invite is simple and classic, which often results in something elegant. The silver stamping goes well with the matte silver paper. The envelope has their initials embossed. It's a good example of restraint that a lot of couples should practice.

When I opened the invite, there was something familiar and peculiar. There was a small envelope inside, which reminded me of a lai see. And as it turns out, IT WAS a lai-see.

My colleague explained to me that it was customary for the couple to give the guest a small token. This is their way of sharing all the blessings that were given to them as a couple. While talking to Mark, it turns out that this is also a common practice in Manila. His Kuya Patrick attended one such wedding where they were given money as token, too.

We then got into a discussion on how I could get a job as a "professional wedding guest" and live off all the tokens that come with the wedding invite. Then again, the token might just be enough to cover transportation, so that really won't be a profitable venture. Hahaha.

It would've been uber interesting to attend this wedding banquet. But it falls on the same day as Friendster Maya's wedding, so I'll be in Manila attending that.

I hope someone gets married again sometime soon.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day!

When you have a Dad who's as cool as he's strict, as funny as he's serious, as crazy as he's level-headed, then you have good reason to have fun and celebrate (Just like we're all having fun in this old photo. And yes, it was Dad who asked us to pose that way.)

So from Hong Kong, Manila, Bicol and Atlanta, here's a big shout out to Dad who's now in Atlanta:

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

What's cheesier than a Quattro Formaggio Pizza?

The Fantastic Four. That's what!

Cheesy. Cheesy. Cheesy. Cheesy. Cheesy!

Not only was it cheesy to the point of lactose intolerance. The plot was as flat as a thin crust pizza. The characters and sub-stories were like heaps of toppings that didn't go together. (Think anchovies, lettuce, pineapple, parma ham and the occasional lap cheong. Yup, the mix was that bad.) And yes, the ending was as soggy as a 3-day left over slice.

Initially, I thought the effects would save the film, but alas, it didn't. Silver Surfer looked too CG-ed, and what did they do with Jessica Alba? Her make-up made her look draggish.

There were three saving graces, though. First was the uber cool ride that Reed Richards created. (Better than the X-men's jet.) Second was that little "sacrifice" that Sue Storm made near the end of the film. (Although it felt a bit too Jean Grey-ish.) And third, Stan Lee made a funny cameo role. (Snaps to Stan!!!)

But even with those three, I don't think I can bear to watch this film again - even if it's on TV or the only inflight film available. One slice is definitely enough.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Seeing Green

Feeling a bit famished and quite intrepid this Thursday, I finally decided to go down to the McDonald's store nearby and try this!

Yup, I've mustered enough guts to try the Green Tea and Red Bean Sundae. Since it's a "Shrek" related product, the topping was really Shrek Green. While I was examining it, part of my was expecting the goo to jump out of the cup and crawl around the table. Thankfully, it didn't.

The sundae isn't as bad as it looks. The topping does have a hint of green tea taste, but it's been overpowered a vanilla flavour, which I reckon comes from both the ice cream and the topping's sweetener. The red beans add an interesting texture in the mix, and I like how it disintegrates in my mouth leaving that thick, bean-paste taste.

Well, at least I've ticked that off the "to-try" list. Yes it's good, but I prefer the Haagen-Dazs Green Tea ice cream better.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Here fishy-fishy...

Two factors determined today's choice for a lunch venue. One, it was still raining and going anywhere far would result in sloshing back to the office. Two, my meeting extended well beyond lunch time, so I should buy something fast and filling. And the best option that's near, fast and filling was:


They have a special Shrek meal to celebrate the opening of the movie on the last week of June. (And to think it's been showing in Manila since May. Talk about late.) The meal had a medium drink, a corn cup, and the main dish is:

Double Filet O' Fish!

Filet O' Fish is my all-time favourite sandwich. (Besides, one of the few things I can eat at McDonald's.) So having a double dose of Filet doubles my lunch enjoyment. Yup, some people get excited over Big Mac's two-all-beef-patties-special-sauce
-lettuce-cheese-pickles-onions-on-a-sesame-seed-bun, while others get excited over Double Cheeseburger. I, on the other hand, get excited over this:

Yum! Two servings of fish in one sandwich. What's not to love about that. I'm sure Mark will love this sandwich, too, because he's also a big Filet-O-Fish fan. (That's what he had during our first lunch.)

Another part of the Shrek Meal offering was a green tea and red bean sundae. It looked very appealing on the photo, so I was going to order one.

Good thing the girl beside me at the counter ordered it before me. When I caught a glimpse of it, the sundae looked like something that Linda Blair puked on while she was still possessed. The green had this slimy colour, and I immediately ricocheted. Maybe I'll save that order until I'm really, really, really hungry.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Original Pilipino Monday

Tomorrow is Philippine Independence Day! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! Ever since the celebration of the Philippine Independence Centennial in 1998, I've been watching the parades, pomp and pageantry that usually accompanies this day. (Albeit vicariously since I only watch it on TV. Although I did go to Luneta during the Centennial - now THAT was a celebration.) Last week, I asked Ron if there were any programs or parades in Hong Kong, and he said that there was one last June 2.

How's that for an early celebration.

Anyway, I decided to do my own celebration by indulging in all things Pinoy today. And that included lunch at my favourite Pinoy fast food icon - Jollibee!

So it was off to Central this lunch time so I could "Bee Happy" this afternoon. Thankfully, Jollibee wasn't as full today, and getting a seat was easy. Lunch consisted of Palabok, Choco-Mallow Pie and Iced Tea. I must say, Choco-Mallow Pie is the all-time, best ever, super duper perfect dessert that they've come up with. I just hope it'll stay in their menu forever and ever.

But there's one product in the Manila menu that hasn't reached our shores yet - Nacho Cheesy Fries! Gosh, just looking at the poster made my mouth water. I'm definitely going to try this on my next trip to Manila. I just remembered that during my last trip home 2 weeks ago, I wasn't able to eat even one meal at Jollibee! Mom is in town and she was never a big fan of fast food. It's always "proper dining" with her, and all my meals during that trip consisted of sitting down in a "proper" restaurant with real plates and silverware. *Sigh* I miss the plastic basket, spoon and fork at Jollibee. Hahaha.

(Oh. While I was eating, I overheard the two ladies beside me talking about me. They said: "Ok din itong puting ito, mahilig sa Palabok...")

Another Pinoy thing that I've been indulging myself in today is music. Thanks to Mark, I discovered this site that has loads and loads and loads and loads of Filipino music from both past and present. As I was going through the play list, I was amazed at how they were able to compile songs from as far back as the 70s!

They had everything in that site. From the camp classics like "Bituing Walang Ningning" and "Sayang na Sayang" to jukebox favourites like "Suwerte Suwerte Lang" and "Magsimula Ka."

But this is what amazed me. When I was younger, there was this song I loved listening to, but never remembered the title nor the artist. All I could remember was part of the lyrics:

Hello Joe, Goodbye. I never thought I'd see you go, Hello, Goodbye. It wasn't really hard to know, we'd have to throw our memories behind and start anew. Until then, will I say Goodbye Joe, Hello.

This song was in their selection!!! And now I finally know the title. It's "Desire." Getting to listen to it after a decade makes poring through the 1000+ long play list well worth it.

Another song that I had fun listening to again was the original version of "Umagang Kay Ganda." This song is one of the best written songs in my book. Listening and analyzing the lyrics, its theme is similar to "Happy Together." Maybe that's why I like it so much. Plus, this song is memorable because I had to sing it in one of our high school programs. After all, singing is very much part of being a Filipino.

Ah yes, the joys of being Pinoy.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Details of a Saturday

Despite the rainy weather that inspires me to just lie in bed and read magazines the whole day, I managed to haul myself out of the flat yesterday and do something productive. Then again, compared to vegging out in bed the whole day, counting the number of windows at BP International Hotel is productive.

Not that I counted windows the entire day.

First, I was able to meet up with Ovvian and Romina for lunch. Looks like Ovvian is fast becoming part of the fashionable society landscape of Manila as she appeared in 2 fashion magazines last May. First was Preview, and the other was Mega. We met up for lunch, and I brought them to my favorite kebab place in TST - Ebeneezer's!

Ovvian ordered the Margherita pizza with extra feta cheese and Romina ordered the Moussaka with salad. They both loved the food, which was a relief because I've been raving about it before we got there. There's nothing worse than over-hype. Good thing the hype I did lived up to its promise. My favourite in this restaurant is their Greek Salad pita - and Mark is calling me a goat for liking it. (Me-e-e-e-, Me-e-e-e-e. Hehehe.)

But I eschewed being a goat today and ordered the fish tikka kebab. Here's the detail of my kebab - the red bits are fish fillet - yum! We stayed a bit longer at Ebeneezer's since it began to pour outside. Good thing the place was airconditioned, making it a perfect place to shield ourselves from the humid and wet weather outside.

Then the three of us hied off to Uniqlo. Romina liked their t-shirts and the design details that were on them. Ovvian liked this frilly blouse because of the detailed cut and shape. And I liked last afternoon's visit because of this little detail.

Hmmm... Ballon skirt. Maybe it's shaped like a well.

Then, the three of us went our separate ways and I had to pass by Jordan to buy some provisions. En route there, I saw one of my favourite shopping haunts just so see if there's anything interesting and new. And indeed, there was. Ate Bullet is liking black and white these days, and I found a perfect black and white dress. Nope, it wasn't the colour that made it perfect - it was the detail that made it so.

This is the hem of the dress. It had this intricate morrocan-style embroidery in black thread, which popped out against the white cloth. The craftmanship of this dress was impeccable. Plus the fabric is cotton and linen, which makes it go well for both day and night events.

Here's another detail, the bodice. It still has that same embroidery, but the pattern now is more chain-like. The black thing on top is the bustier type top.

When I checked out the size, VOILA! It was Ate Bullet's size. It was a sign. It was fate. It was me trying to justify yet another purchase. Hahaha.

But really, the dress was uber cheap. Considering it was made by one of the top labels in New York, and the attention to detail is remarkable - the dress was actually a steal. I showed it to Arnie this morning, and her reaction was: "Ay p@#* first prize ka na. Ang ganda!"

Yup, that detailed comment from my uber fashion forward friend is proof enough that it was indeed an excellent buy.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Haven't I seen you before?

While I was browsing through Bluefly in search of interesting jeans, I spotted something in the "best sellers" section that sent me deja vu-ing. They featured a green dress by Vera Wang and it was supposedly flying off the on-line racks. This was the dress:

A few seconds after I clicked the "enlarge image" button, I remembered why the dress was so familiar. It was this dress:

Yup, it's the same Vera Wang dress I bought on sale in Hong Kong last January. I was able to buy it sans the velvet ribbon belt, but that's really a non-issue since velvet trims are uber cheap at Carolina's and it won't be difficult buying a yard, or three.

The great thing is, Bluefly prides itself of selling designer clothes at rock bottom prices. I checked the price of this dress on the website, and I compared it with how much I bought the dress here for. And what was the price difference? I got the same dress for only 5% of the price they're selling it for.

Yup, bargains abound in Hong Kong. You just have to look for them.


Thanks to Arnie, I discovered how to maximize the features of this blog.

I've been accessing it through Safari, and noticed that not all command buttons on top are available. When I update my blog using IE, I see the b, i, link, block quote, spell check and add photo buttons. When I use Safari, it's only the add photo button that's available. So she asked me to try opening blogger through another program, so I did.

Now, I'm using Firefox, and yes, everything works! Note to self: beginning today, use Firefox to update blog.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

O Sole Mio

I already had lunch planned in my mind. I'm supposed to have Vietnamese Shrimp noodles at Food Republic because it has been more than a month since my last meal there and my taste buds were craving for something light and has hints of lemongrass. But when I got there, the lunch crowd was thicker than usual. The queue at the Vietnamese place was around 20+ people, and my stomach couldn't muster the wait.

But as my former secretary says: "It's a blessing in the skies." My search for another place to grab a meal led me to Munch - an Italian fast food that also has a branch in TST. And Munch led me to this:

The Grilled Sole set. According to the poster, this is very new in their menu, like 6 days new. It's part of a new "grilled set" offering which also offers sirloin, grilled chicken, and a mixed set which includes pork, bacon and sausage. (Cholesterol-mania!) The Grilled Sole looked promising, so I went for that.

I'm glad I did. The sole is very fresh, with just a hint of sweetness. The serving was big and thick, and they had this light, cream sauce over it. The sauce complemented not only the fish, but the veggies as well. The beans were uber crunchy and the corn was... well... corn.

The set also came with a salad! While I was digging in, my mind was saying: "well, this is something healthy for a change." Hahaha.

This was an excellent meal for the price I paid. But whilst it's very satisfying, my mind is still asking me: "Where's my Vietnamese Shrimp noodles?"

Oh well, maybe tomorrow.

Dial M for Milk

Cool beans! One of my favourite milk brands is now available in Hong Kong!

I first discovered Big M at Shopwise Pasong Tamo during one of the shoots we had at Unitel, and I immediately became addicted to it. What I like about it is the texture - it's smooth, velvety yet thin, which is unusual because the taste is very, very creamy. After that, I'd make it a point to buy a few bottles each time I hie off to Shopwise.

It comes in three flavours: Chocolate, Coffee and Strawberry. Needless to say, this is my numero uno choice - strawberry! I'm not big on coffee and the chocolate one falls flat in comparison with Magnolia Chocolait. So this is definitely the best of the lot.

Of course, since this is Hong Kong, the price is double that of its SRP in Manila. Here, it's about P80 a bottle, while it's just P50 in Manila. But hey, what's an additional P30 if what I get is a taste of home.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Eye for Detail

While I was browsing my nephew Carl's website, I stumbled upon some of his artwork. He posted some of his current doodles, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how good he is at art. Before he flew to the US, he was more inclined to pursue music and so I didn't know he was in anyway interested in art and graphic design. But judging by these pieces he did, he's definitely got an artistic inclination.

This is a piece that takes elements from the Philippine flag and he abstracts them a bit. The entire piece has this surreal abstraction, but it also has flow and form. I can almost imagine the figures below as people carrying the flags during a parade. The details are impressive for someone his age.

Another piece he did was this play on shapes and colours. More than the shape, I like how he combines colours in this artwork. Carl plays with dark shades like black and gray, and integrates vivid colours like purple and ochre. The combination is so easy on the eye.

I've always been a fan of geometric shapes formed into emblems, and like to stare at design elements that combine these shapes. That's why I'm a big fan of hotel lobbies as they usually have a big design focal point on the floor or ceiling. This artwork that Carl did can easily be translated into a tile and put in as part of a house or hotel. Not only does the shape attract me, the colours captured my eyes again.

This is really good work for a 15-year old. Ate Lissa tells me that Carl's art teacher in Georgia wrote Biboy commending Carl's work. It's good to know that his work is appreciated, because it's really, really good. Design and art is all about details, and he has a good eye for that.

Looks like Carl will be the next advertising person in the family.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Eagle has landed... sort of...

A month after I placed my order on-line, the package from American Eagle finally arrived. It was strange how long it took them to deliver it, considering my last order came a week after I made my purchase. Maybe it's the crazy sale season and multitudes have been on-line shopping in the U.S. But as they say, better late than never.

Looking at the package, I knew something was amiss. My order was for 7 t-shirts and 2 pairs of jeans. And what I got was a small, thin plastic bag.

Yup, upon closer scrutiny, my order was incomplete. After checking out the order slip attached, the delivery only consisted of 4 t-shirts. Nothing more, nothing less.

First thing that came to mind was: WHAT?!?! NO JEANS!!! Dang! I saw and placed an order for 2 low rise, straight fit jeans and none of them was in the package? The inhumanity! The pain! The injustice! The nerd! (As my former secretary would say.) I immediately called their 24-hour toll free number (and no, they didn't sound like they were Filipinos) to ask what happened. It turns out that the 2 jeans I ordered in my size were already out of stock the week before they posted it on the site. Ergo, it was back ordered, they tried to wait for the jeans to be back in stock. Ergo, my order came later than it should. But why were the jeans not there? It wouldn't be available anytime soon, so they just shipped whatever was available.

It's uber frustrating! I really wanted those jeans.

Aside from that, the 3 other shirts I ordered were also out of stock. I would've been major league disappointed if not for the fact that my favourite shirt - the one that I eyed and ordered first - was available.

But I still want those jeans. Oh well, back to the website...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Always something new to see

Spent the entire day yesterday in Macau. It's my Nth visit to the former Portuguese colony since settling here in Hong Kong. This time, I was joined by three Macau newbies: Adam, Grace and Donna, plus Alex, a 2nd timer.

The great thing about Macau is that no matter how often I come back and visit, there's always something new to see. Like these:

This part of Macau reminds me of the old houses we'd visit in San Luis Potosi in Mexico. I guess that's the reason why I feel an affinity with it.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Good enough

Just a week ago, Mark and I were talking about this 80s film entitled: "The Goonies." As it turns out, it was one of the films he liked as a kid. Initially, he couldn't remember the title, only the characters and situations. His recollections were quite specific: a group of kids, pirates, hidden treasure, and a Spanish nanny. Given those 4 clues, I immediately knew that it was indeed "The Goonies."

Like Mark, this was also a favourite film of mine as a kid. (Despite his insistence that we're very different people, we have the same favourite film.) I've always been drawn to adventure films: ones involving pirates, booby traps, hidden treasures and an old dilapitated map. In fact, when we were kids, we'd play "Treasure Hunt" at home. I'd hide candies and toys in one of the rooms in our old house in Morato, then make maps with clues as to where the treasure was. Then, my siblings would be the treasure hunters and try to get as much loot as they could.

Biboy would often be the winner. He was really good at this game. Maybe he was a pirate in his past life.

Aside from the film's genre, another reason why I loved "The Goonies" was because of Cyndi Lauper. She was my all-time favourite 80s female singer and she sang the film's theme song: "The Goonies R Good Enough." I'm trying to remember if she made a cameo appearance in the film. From what I remember, she did. But when Mark and I googled the film's cast, she wasn't there. Maybe it was an uncredited appearance.

Thanks to the magic of youtube, I was able to find the video of "The Goonies R Good Enough." I've forgotten how fun the video was until I saw this. Aside from Cyndi, it featured her posse of WWF wrestlers. (Cyndi and Captain Lou Albano were tight.) This sketch features Rowdy Roddy Piper, Captain Lou among others. I'm sure Erwin would have a blast watching this clip, it's really a blast from the past.

Here's to pirates, hidden treasures, Cyndi Lauper, and things I share with Mark.