Wednesday, October 31, 2007

And I think...

I've been listening to Nora Aunor's rendition of "I'm going out of my head" for the nth time today. It's actually been looped in my head and I've been humming and silently singing the song while i'm walking down the street.

"And I think I'm going out of my head... yes I think I'm going out of my head... over youuuuuu... over youuuuuuu...."

Gosh, my fascination for the song is starting to get scary.

Oh well, it's Halloween today anyway.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Early for a blackout

As scheduled, Britney Spears' new album hit the stores today. Without the usual fanfare that HMV is known for, "Blackout" hit the shelves to the delight of the pop princess' followers. And yes, that includes me. I've never been ashamed of my fascination with Britney, and since her 2nd album, "Oops I did it again," I've always gotten a copy of her CDs. (Originals, and not the bootlegged ones. She's totally worth the money. Harhar.)

And like "Oops I did it again," "Britney," "In the Zone," and "My Prerogative," I bought "Blackout" as early as today.

The critics are right about this album. It rocks! The tracks are all techno-infused dance tracks that make your dance muscles move involuntarily. "Gimme More" - a song that I've been hooked on for a month now - opens the selection, and the tracks just get better and better. This would make a great party staple if you ask me.

And yes, there is a special mention of our dear country in one of her songs. The 2nd track, "Piece of Me" talks about how the media obsesses on her, following her every move and chronicling her every fall from grace. In the first stanza of the song, she croons:

"Don't matter if I step in the scene,
Or sneak away to the Philippines,
they'll still take pictures of my derriere."

Nothing derogatory there, eh.

The songs are really cool, and she's still uber hot! And as it turns out, I'm not the only one waiting for the CD to be released. There was a good number of people - kids and adults alike - holding a CD by the time I got to the counter. Yup, she still has that magic despite her being tabloid fodder and despite that uninspired performance at VMA.

Now if only she could stage a concert here in Hong Kong, then everything would be perfect.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sounds great!

Inspired by my constant visits to and Je's playlist at Multiply, I went to Music One yesterday to look for old OPM CDs. Listening to them via streaming was nice, but having a personal copy of cool, old songs is much, much better. So, with "Lupa" playing in my head, I hied off to Greenbelt 3 to start my quest. And it didn't turn out as easy as I thought it would.

First, the CDs aren't arranged well. After being used to HMV's almost anal arrangement, M1's was chaotic. Looking for a place to start was a bit difficult. Second, I didn't know how to start searching. Should I search based on the era? Or the artist? Or the genre? With these questions in mind, I started poring through the bins and after an hour, I found the "OPM Selection" category and found 4 glittering gems!

The first CD has a selection that's exactly the same as the one on Je's site. It's a compilation of Hard to Find hits from the 60s and 70s.

Gosh! This is a camp classic! Imagine, it has Nora Aunor singing "Going out of my Head" and Tirso Cruz III singing "Rock the Boat." Plus there's Dondon Nakar singing "Love will keep us together" and I just realized that he sounds like a little girl. Harhar. Listening to this is like experiencing an acid trip.

Then I got 2 MetroPop CDs. Having a memorable (albeit weird) brush with the MetroPop experience, I thought it would be nice to get a copy. This was the era when the contest came up with brilliant, brilliant songs. The lyrics, the arrangement - perfect! Among the famous songs that came out of MetroPop are APO's "Ewan", Rico J. Puno's "Lupa", "Umagang Kay Ganda" by Ray-Ann Fuentes and Tillie Moreno, and the iconic "Isang Mundo, Isang Awit" by Leah Navarro and "Ako ang Nagwagi, Ako ang Nasawi" by Dulce.

Listening to these songs make me wonder why they don't make music like this anymore.

Finally, I got a CD entitled "Best of 80s OPM" which has the early hits of Martin Nievera, Ric Segreto, Jam Morales and Regine Velazquez. But the biggest reason why I got the CD was this:

Chona Cruz! Blast from the past!

Hearing her sing: "I'm feeling zzekzee tooonight... (zzekzee), I'm feeling gooood, I'm feeling very quite alright" made all the hardwork worth it.

Really, really, really worth it.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Dayuhan sa sariling bayan

My family and friends all know that I've got a soft spot for weird looking jeans. Whether it's an odd detail, or a far-out wash, or rips that go from top to bottom - these little things attract me to a pair and the stranger they look, the more likely i'll end up buying them. This has led a stylist-friend of mine to say that my taste in jeans isn't very Pinoy.

Today, I was wearing one of those strange jeans - a pair that my friends christened "The Kangaroo Jean" because it has a pouch looking thing in front and at the back. It's a pair that always gets a double take whenever I wear it. Sometimes, it even gets some strange remark or side comment - it'll either be about what I'm wearing, or it can be about me.

Like what happened today.

While walking along Greenbelt, I heard a pair of girls behind me talking. Their conversation went like this:

GIRL 1: Ang daming dayuhan sa atin ngayon, no?
GIRL 2: Oo nga, nakakatuwa nga silang panoorin. Iba kasi hitsura nila, tsaka yung damit nila.
GIRL 1: Gaya niyang nasa harap mo, astig ang pantalon, no?
GIRL 2: Alam mo naman ang mga Koreano, kakaiba manamit...

Hmmmm... now I'm a Korean. That's new. Harhar. Well at least I know that my stylist friend is right about my taste in clothes being dayuhan.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Back and Forth and Forth and Back

If my apartment hasn't been cleaned thoroughly the past month, it's because I haven't been there in a bit. The month of October has now broken the "most trips to Manila I've had in a month" record. It's my 4th trip this month, and it's bizaare how I find myself at the airport so often.

So far, this has been my schedule the past 3 weeks:

Flew in to Manila on a Friday and flew back to HK on Tuesday.
Flew back to Manila on Thursday and flew back to HK on Monday.
Flew back to Manila on Wednesday and flying back to HK on Sunday.

Was planning to fly back again this weekend, and it's a trip I've been planning for quite sometime now. That would mean another round of back and forth and forth and backs, though.

Maybe i'll pay attention to the apartment first this weekend.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

And the best publication title goes to...

When I first saw this, I had to do a double take to make sure I was reading it correctly. And yes, I did. This is a real title of a real publication.

I found this magazine when Mark and I had dinner at Friday's in Shibuya about a month back. Among the plethora of free publications on the waiting area, this easily stood out among the clutter. After all, the title alone is enough to make you stop, squish your eyes to see if you're reading it correctly, then pick it up if only for the amusement factor.

Creatively, the title is spot on, after all, it is a publication for foreign women living in Japan. The articles talk about being a woman living in Japan as well. Ergo, the title is a play of words. "Being abroad" pertains to living in a foreign country, then if you separate the A from broad, the title now pertains to being a woman. Clever, eh.

Then again, being called "a broad" isn't the most flattering thing. If I remember all the American movies I've seen, being called a "broad" is almost derogatory. It probably goes with the other B words like bimbo and beee-yotch. This makes me wonder if the subscribers and readers are cool with being referred to using that term. Hmmm... I wonder.

When I showed it to my colleagues, they were telling me that it feels like it came straight out one of those "Inggrish" sites. Of course, my reaction was: "This doesn't deserve to be there. This is way, way, WAY above that." This deserves to be right beside my favorite brands and titles such as: "Victor Woodworks", "Anita Bakery", "Where Angels Fear to Thread and Needle Shop", and of course, "Mercy Buko Pie."

Now those are titles really worth remembering.

LU-ANN!!! Why can't we come up with publication titles like this. Harhar.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

That's Tough

For the 3rd straight day, I'm wearing my very loose, Tough acid-washed jeans. (It's SO loose, it was falling off when I wore it last Friday. Good thing I was able to find a ribbon in Elsie's cabinet and turned that into a makeshift belt.) I really, really love these jeans. The cut is straight and roomy, and the hem falls perfectly on the base of my shoes. The pockets are odd shaped yet spacious. The wash is very light but keeps the blue-ness of the denim. Plus, there are a lot of interesting cuts on the back. These jeans are just SOOO Tough.

It's one of the 4 pairs I bought last week when I had dinner at Tanya's place in Tung Chung. While waiting for her to pick me up, I meandered into the bauhaus store and pored through the neatly arranged racks. Among the lot, these were the ones that really popped out.

The thing I like about Tough jeans is that it's peppered with details that make it interesting. This is over and above the kind of denim they use which is already eye catching on its own. Aside from cutting their jeans differently, which makes them fall better on the body, they also hide some details that add so much texture and makes it look... uhm... Tough. Hahaha.

Like chains that are attached to denim.

Or Chinese silk juxtaposed with big, brass zippers.

Or twill integrated into the jean design. Along with a patch of suede on the inner thigh. This particular jean is another favorite of mine because the back has all these criss-crossed stitches that pull everything together. Making it one of those pairs that I have that look as nice from the back as it is from the front.

Eversince I discovered Tough Jeans in the 90s, I've fallen in love with the brand. Recently, I found out that they opened two stores in Manila - which is excellent news. But because it's already imported when it gets there, the price is a bit more expensive. (Social Sin, anyone?)

But what's a few more bucks if you're going to get Tough after.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Road Trip

Yesterday, I did something that I haven't done in a long, long time. (In Manila, at least.) I went on a long bus trip!

At around 7:30 in the morning, I hied off to the Victory Liner bus terminal to catch a bus going to Olongapo. With Ivy's wedding coming up in less than 2 months, we had to go to Subic Bay Yacht Club to meet the florist and familiarize ourselves with the venues. It's been 3 years since I last went to on a road trip like this, so it was one big field trip for me.

The trip alone was a great experience. While the bus was traversing the much-improved NLEX through Bulacan, I remembered our weekly trips to Marilao for Vitarich's "V-Day" and our Pigrolac presentations in their plant that smelled like piggy poop. When we passed by San Fernando, memories of our frequent plant visits to the San Miguel Brewery in that town also came flooding back.

Olongapo and Subic have changed a lot since my last visit there. Hotels have sprouted all over SBMA, and it looks like developments of that sort will continue the next few years. There are also more restaurants, which is great. But there are less Duty Free stores, which is a damper. Good thing the usual suspects are still there: Royal Subic Duty Free, Freeport Duty Free and the Brands for Less store. Despite all that temptation around me, I didn't shop! (I deserve a medal for that! Harharhar.)

SBMA always brings back a lot of memories. The earliest being our visits there as kids when Dad was assigned in that area. Then there's the first Ad Congress that I attended. And our Rotary events. And the Adformatix outing where Xtine and I bonded with Ira. And our Duty Free shopping sprees with Xtine, Fiesta, Shash and the rest of the Zambales team. I'm glad that even if Subic has changed, the places where memories were built haven't.

Road trips are one thing I miss about living in Manila. I remember how I'd just hop on a bus to go to Baguio, Vigan and La Union on a whim. The familiar feeling of passing through the Philippine countryside and see the sights that inspired Amorsolo and Francisco. How we'd always make these stopovers at these pseudo-restaurants selling overpriced meals and where you pay P1 if you're going to pee and P2 if you're going to poop. Ah yes, the joys of bus travel.

Yesterday's road trip actually inspired me to start planning for this Christmas holiday. Maybe i'll use my vacation time to hop on buses and familiarize myself with North Luzon all over again. Go back to vigan and eat empanada by the town square in front of the cathedral. Go up to Baguio and look for another Marc Jacobs at the Ukay Ukay. Pass by Subic and check out the Zoofari and Ocean Adventure. With Victory Liner's help, I'm sure I can cover all these in a matter of days.

That would be one awesome trip!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Starting to Fall

Compared to previous years, it looks like Fall is arriving a bit later this year in Hong Kong. Last year, the weather was beginning to get crisp and cool starting September. This year, September was characterized by humidity and temperatures within the mid-30s.

But this morning, the air was colder than usual. And when I took my usual lunchtime walk along Queen Victoria Park, the breeze was much, much cooler. It's this type of weather that makes walking such a wonderful thing to do. (It reminds me of that walk in the cold air that Mark and I took from The Winery to IUJ.)

Hopefully, this weather holds up and the mercury continues to drop. If it does, it's time to bring out the wool sweaters and leather jackets again.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Irritants and Elements

While I was in the CX lounge at the NAIA this morning, there was this fellow who was irritating everyone within his vicinity. In the hour and a half he was there, he kept on calling his friends and telling them that he was "at the business class lounge of Cathay Pacific." Personally, I found it amusing how he kept on interjecting that line in all of his conversations. Example:

"Good morning. Nasa house ka pa ba? Ako? Nandito ako sa business class lounge ng Cathay Pacific."
"Wala, nangungumusta lang. Kumusta ka na? Ako, ok lang. Naghihintay ng flight ko sa business class lounge ng Cathay Pacific."
"Ang aga ko nga dumating ng airport. Kanina pa nga ako dito sa business class lounge ng Cathay Pacific."

The lady sitting across me was amused and miffed at the same time. When he made his nth call, she mumbled: "Yes, we all know where you are..."

I was just too happy when they announced the flight was boarding and the guy hurried to the plane.

When I arrived in Hong Kong, I alighted at the Kowloon Station and was finally able to see the newest mall in the area - Elements! The mall is named as such because it's divided into 5 areas which represent the different Chinese elements such as wood, water, earth, fire and metal.

Based on HK standards, it's pretty huge in terms of floor area, but it's only 2 or 3 floors high. In terms of merchandise, they have the 2 fast fashion obsessions here - Zara and H&M. There's HMV, threesixty, and an area devoted to high end brands like LV, Versace, Gucci and their ilk.

On the whole, the mall is spacious, spanking new, and it has a lot of interesting "element" details. There are sculptured wooden sofas and metal installations. I particularly like the fountain near Zara and H&M. The best part is, there's a free shuttle bus that passes by my house and goes to the mall.

Looks like i'll be laying off IFC for a while. I think I've found my element.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Herve weight

You need more than just style to wear an Herve Leger. You'll also need shape - a very good one, too. Herve Leger's dresses are like janitor fishes on the side of the aquarium - they cling like their lives depended on it. The material that he uses for his dresses are elastic, which not only contours a woman's body, but also contains it. And it's a style philosophy that he's been using ever since he started his fashion career.

I first learned about Herve Leger during one of my CX flights. One of the in-flight TV programs - methinks it was an E! channel special - featured his dresses and design principles. It was then I learned that he started creating his signature look, one that can be characterized as part-bandage, part-bondage, in the mid-80s. His fashion forward designs soon became the uniform du jour of supermodels like Jerry Hall. Being consistent with his look, it was easy to spot a Herve Leger dress in any catwalk, runway or red carpet. The unmistakable bands and inimitable shape was definitely his trademark. It's something that is present in his dresses even today. Despite him not changing his "signature look", what's nice is that his clothes don't look old or dated. An Herve from 1987 can be worn in 2007 and won't look out of place - and vice versa. Sometimes, it's even difficult to tell a vintage Herve Leger from a new one.

While I was passing through one of the designer outlets near the office, I saw this little black dress that was unmistakably Herve. Immediately, I took a closer look and it WAS one of his creations. Checking the price tag, it was definitely a steal! (After all, this is Asia's shopping mecca.) My sisters are both style savvy and shapely, so i'm sure the dress can be worn by both of them. (They like swapping dresses since they're almost the same size.)

And with that, the Herve Leger dress tucked away in a small shop in Tin Hau finally found a home.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Childhood memories

Someone sent me these very old sketches from Sesame Street and The Electric Company.

The Sesame Street sketch features this caveman type character singing "Mahna, Mahna" with two "Prarie Dawn" looking characters. I remember watching this on the telly when I was a wee little boy and remember bobbing my head to it. Listening to it again, my head can't help but bob some more.

Electric Company had this "Menu song" that my classmates and I would sing when we were in high school. Even upto now I can still remember the phrases:

"you've got sandwiches?
we've got sandwiches!
what kind of sandwiches?
all kinds of sandwiches!
We've got ham sandwich
or a jam sandwich, like a lamb sandwich
or a clam sandwich...."

Of course, this features a very young Morgan Freeman who I'll always remember as the guy from The Electric Company!

Oh, this restaurant has "Gorilla Ice Cream." Now that's a flavor that you won't get in Lemoncello or even Yummy.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A well-photographed affair

Before the San Miguel gang flew back to Manila last night, Luann and I were downloading photos from everyone's cameras and collating them in her MacBook. Thanks to her very fast and efficient piece of machinery, we were able to gather photos from 3 cameras in less than 15 minutes. Once the downloading was done, we were both surprised to see how many pictures we had.

In 2 and half days, we were able to take 491 photos! That's 491 photos with 3 cameras in 60 hours. That's a whole lot of clicking and snapping going on. And to think that we weren't able to download pictures from Jingjing's camera yet. That might be another hundred photos or so. Gosh! This was really a well-photographed vacation.

Now, I'm doing the fun job of sorting out the photos in my computer. It's amazing how each image brings back so many stories and how each person really has a unique point of view. Rummaging through the images from 3 different photographers made me realize that.

Among the hundreds of photos i've catalogued (and hundreds upon hundreds more to come), these photos are clearly my favorites:

The St. Xavier Church at dawn.

Maricar and Gary's "Argentinian Victory" wave.

Luann and Maricar's jump shot.

Details of the Leal Senado Building.

Enjoying the best gelato i've tasted.

Caught up in the middle.

I can't wait for Luann to send me the photos from Jingjing's camera. (Paging Luann! Harhar!) But before that, I should really finish sorting the photos I have first.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

A whole lot of crazy going on...

We were the crazy bunch when we were all colleagues in San Miguel. We'd turn plant tours into instant excursions. Lunches would be long, to the chagrin of AAM and RBA. Every birthday would be an impromptu yet still well planned affairs. Work became a lot of fun and even after I left SMC, this "crazy bunch" remained and we'd still get together quite often.

It's no surprise then that our first get together as a group in HK is full of crazy things.
- Taking photos in crazy places
- Riding crazy rides
- Running around like crazy people (with Amazing Race Asia as our peg)
- Making crazy poses for photos

And we must not forget:
- Shopping like crazy. (More them and not me, surprisingly. Harharhar.)

The craziness began on the night the bunch arrived. And it just went crazier and crazier.

Just arrived, and already we're crazy:

The Mine Train at Ocean Park. One of the crazy rides that we took. (Yes, Mark. Maricar, Luann, Gary and I rode this monstrosity. And we have pictures to prove it.)

Getting a high of the Ocean Park tower and the Ferris Wheel.

Maricar and Jing-jing go shop crazy in Mongkok:

Madness in Macau:

Here's to a weekend of craziness!

Thursday, October 04, 2007


This is strange. It turns out that the reason why I couldn't upload photos was the photo itself rather than blogger.

I tried uploading the same photo again and again and again, to no avail. But when I tried uploading more photos from Osaka, they all appeared!

These are snaps from my earlier visit to Osaka. I've almost forgotten about them until I saw this other disc of photos I took in Japan the year before:

The Castle in the morning.

A different view of the most popular spot in Osaka.

Kids rushing to school.

The view near Umeda. The ferris wheel is on top of a mall.

The main gate of the Osaka Castle.

Since these photos appeared and the other one didn't, there's one explanation to this oddity. Maybe the computer didn't like the photo I was uploading. Harharhar.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Her Royal Highness

Cate the great is back!

Watching the trailer of "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" reminded me of why Cate Blanchett deserved to win the Oscar for "Elizabeth" back in 1998. Her performance was flawless. She transformed from a naive young girl to a hardened monarch in front of our very eyes. She was able to convey so many emotions by the way she talked and her eyes moved. (I remember my friend telling me: "Para siyang si Nora Aunor. Mata pa lang, may acting na." Harharhar.)

Looking at the second installment of the movie, I think she brings as much passion and intensity just like the first film. And hopefully, the Oscar voters see that again and give her the award she truly, truly deserved.

I can't wait to watch this movie!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Blogger down... Blogger down...

Looks like Blogger's photo uploading capability is on the blink. I've been trying to upload a photo since last night, and an error message always appears. Initially, I thought it was just my computer or our connection. But I found out from Mark that he can't upload photos as well. That means it's a system-wide problem.

Looks like I have to paint pictures with words in the meantime.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Getting into the holiday spirit

Today is a public holiday in Hong Kong, and it's one of the few holidays that I'm actually in Hong Kong. In fact, this is the first time to spend the holiday here this year. Normally, when a 3-day weekend comes around, I'd book a flight back to Manila and spend those 3 precious days there.

Initially, I was planning to go back to Manila. But I realized that I was just there 2 weeks ago and will likely be there again soon. So, even if most of my friends are in Bangkok, Ho Chi Min, and Manila, I've decided to stay put and spend the day lazing around and meandering aimlessly.

And lazed around I did. The only time I left the house today was when I had lunch and dinner. Other than that, I was at home playing handyman, changing light bulbs, fixing hinges, and trying to fix up the place to make it more presentable for Friday. I was also able to write an article, revise an invitation design and do some "administrative" work. It's not how a lot of people would spend their holidays, but then again, I'm not like a lot of people.

Another thing I was able to do today was start my Holiday shopping. After fixing my Christmas list this weekend, I found time today to go around Lane Crawford, Uniqlo and Maple to get gifts. I'm hoping that by shopping early, I'll avoid the "last minute gift panic" I experience every year. (And chances are, I'll still experience that.)

That alone has made today's holiday productive, albeit in a lazy kind of way.