Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Vampire Diaries Season 3 Finale

Claus is finally dead...well, his physical body died and gets resurrected in the body of Tyler.  Apparently, there's going to be a twist in the list of antagonist in the next season.  But that's just me.  Good thing is Caroline will no longer be tangled in terms of his feelings for Claus.  Admit it girl!  You've got a thing for the guy!

Elena finally chooses between the Salvatore brothers only to get killed in the end.  Yeah...she dies in the finale and the vampire nation celebrated the concurrent demise of Alaric who was created by the Original Matriarch to annihilate all vampires.  Oh but don't worry, in the final sequence Elena makes an Eclipse-like revival.  Can't have a fourth season without Elena there can we?  At least she won't be the weakling she used to be in the last three seasons.

Season 4 will air in October 2012.

House M.D. Season 8 Finale

After eight seasons, House M.D. aired its last episode last May 21.  In that episode we were almost led to believe that Gregory House M.D. died in a burning building forced by his own egomaniacal need for the "interesting".  But guys, this is House!  He's James Bond in a doctor's suit!  We've watched him hatch season after season of Houdini-like cunning it's no longer a surprise that he came out of that building alive!  Besides, no fun closing this series with a dead character!  

Goodbye House!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day

I just finished watching the HBO mini-series The Pacific and realized that today happens to be the celebration of Memorial Day in the United States.

America have had its share of wars and Memorial Day is the time of remembering those who have sacrificed their lives for liberty and the American way.  I am no soldier and I have not experience being in a time of war but I have read a lot about wars to say that it is no walk in the park.  Those who have fought in them and survived are scarred physically, mentally, and spiritually.  I do believe that those who died fighting are more fortunate than those who lived because they bring with them all the traumatic experience through their remaining lives.

I pray that the world leaders embrace peace more than war and should their be conflicts between nations let the words of the philosopher Sun Tzu prevail:
"The supreme general is he who defeats his enemy without fighting."

NCIS and NCIS Los Angeles Season Finale

Talk about cliffhangers!  After the season finale of NCIS and NCIS Los Angeles, viewers were left with their mouths hanging and heart thumping as Agent Gibbs and his crew's explosive end and Agent Callen's arrest put to rest their respective seasons.  Super bitin talaga!

Now I'm raring to watch NCIS Season 10 and NCIS Los Angeles Season 4.

The Corona Impeachment Trial

"He who has no sin cast the first stone."  That was what Jesus said to the mob who was about to stone a woman accused of adultery.  

Justice Renato Corona basically appealed to his accusers using this bible verse when he challenged the senators and congressmen to sign a similar waiver to open their dollar accounts.  As expected, the request was downplayed and "duly noted" by the senator judges.  That in itself tells us that the same people who are judging the Chief Justice are themselves with their own dark secrets to keep.

The Corona trial established a precedent and if PNoy is serious about his desire to have a transparent and decent government he will use this to pursue the corrupt the same way he lobbied to have the Chief Justice answer for his "crimes".  But before he does this PNoy himself should subject himself to the same scrutiny.  Unless PNoy clears himself first he will remain to be the same as his predecessors who vowed the same fight against government corruption.

Let us not dwell too much on his lovelife because it does not have anything to do with his job.  Let us scrutinize him for what he needs to do and push him to make good his promise for a better Philippines.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Stand-off at the Panatag Shoal

The Philippines and China stand-off at the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal has been hogging the news since last month and it has put Filipinos on edge.  Can the Philippines stand up to China's bullying?  Does the Philippines ready to escalate this to the next level?

Legally, the Panatag Shoal is within the Philippines' territorial boundaries.  China's claim is based on historical account dating back to 1279.

Panatag Shoal is within the Philippines' Exclusive Economic Zone which extends to 200 nautical miles from the territorial baseline.  With the shoal 137 nautical mile from the baseline of Palauig, Zambales means that the Philippines have legal rights.

The Philippine government already recommended that the matter be elevated to the International Tribunal for the Laws of the Seas as provided in Article XV of the United Nations Convention of the Laws of the Sea but the Chinese government rejected this in favor of bilateral discussions---where China can bully the Philippines.  The rejection of the Philippines' banana export to China claiming quality control issues is one such power play.  

The Philippines has no real navy to provoke a military confrontation but if push comes to shove they can always invoke the mutual protection treaty with the United States.  Just like calling your big brother to put the bully in place.

I don't like this deal either but with the lack of Philippine military resources to protect against foreign aggression the Philippine government can only swallow their pride and hide behind an ally's protection.  

Mooon Cafe-SM Fairview

I'm a burritos guy so when this Mexican inspired cafe opened at SM Fairview a couple of weeks back I had this itching feeling to try on their menu.  The opportunity finally came last May 23.  

The place is located at the lower ground floor of the annex side.  The front door is manned by a senorita dressed up like she's ready to do the rumba.  The joint was predominantly in tangerine and yellow which complemented the  blue colored table tops.    

According to the lovely senorita who took our order, Mooon Cafe is a Cebu-based restaurant and is in the process of expansion here in Metro Manila.  Further Google inquiry told me that most of their outlets are in the Visayas area and SM Fairview is their 2nd store in Metro Manila.

I was with my wife and daughter that time and we ordered chimichanga, bacon flavored pizza, and to drain them down---a large Suncooler.  Personally I did not like their version of the chimichanga and burrito mainly because of the thin toasted wrap they used which reminds me of "pritong lumpia".  I prefer my burrito in thick pita.  However, the Suncooler was something special.  It's an orange juice mixed with freshly sliced oranges, calamansi and watermelon.   Perfect drink in the heat of summer!

Beef Burrito 
Well, I may not have liked their burrito but Mooon Cafe still has a lot on their menu that I need to try and I just heard from a friend that they have good steaks here so I guess I'll be back for more.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

American Chopper: Senior Vs. Junior Season Finale

Other than the great choppers built by both OCC and PJD, viewers are also keen on the latest development in the relationship between Senior and his siblings.

In the season finale which aired last May 21, Mikey finally decided to quit the show in the hope of mending his ties with his father.  Many were saddened by his decision especially the crew of PJD.  Viewers such as myself also felt the same way.  Mikey has been part of the show for 10 years and his decision meant losing the comic relief that he provides.  Oh no, no, no!  Jason's antics are not funny!  He tries to be funny but it only results in irritating scenes worthy of being edited out!  

In episode 9, Junior reaches out to his father in an off camera meeting to achieve what he hopes to be a "genuine" conversation with his father.  Unfortunately, the interview after the meeting showed two different versions of what went down.  Personally, I'm more inclined to believe Junior's version.  Senior has been the one dishing out verbal assaults at his sons since the start of the Senior vs. Junior spin off and his version of the off cam meeting again puts Junior in a bad light.

In order to break the impasse, Junior again offers another meeting---this time with cameras rolling---and offers the OCC shop as the venue.  You can feel the awkwardness of the situation as father and son meet at the OCC showroom and walks the distance to the conference room intermittently filled with small talk to dissipate the unbearable silence.  

It was three years since we last saw father and son in a man to man conversation (which as you may recall did not end well and eventually resulted to the break-up).  It almost got heated as both again butted heads about who's at fault. I would like to commend Senior for averting further aggravation and always steered the conversation to a more civil atmosphere which showed a hint that he truly wanted to make peace with his son. 

Although we did not see father and son hug and make up, Senior placed on the table a collaboration option that he thinks would move their relationship in a more personal level---a joint bike build for charity.  Junior's response is something to look forward to in the next season.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Men in Black 3: Movie Review

Like the past two installements of this franchise, Men in Black 3 again delivered the entertainment value of a block buster movie!  

Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) and Agent J (Will Smith) return to battle Boris the Animal, who escapes an alien maximum facility prison in the Moon after being incarcerated there for 14 years.  

Boris was apprehended by Agent K in 1969 and is bent on finishing what he failed to do before his capture---destroy the Earth.  However, in order for him to do this is to reverse the outcome of his duel with Agent K in 1969.  Having accomplished this, Agent K disappears from the present time and here begins the time travel adventure of Agent J.

Josh Brolin stars as the 1969 version of Agent K and I must say that aside form the close physical resemblance he surely did justice in impersonating the deadpan acting of Tommy Lee Jones.  

Will Smith remains to be his zany self and still hilarious to a fault!

Men in Black 3 is a highly recommended movie to watch to decompress after an arduous week!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Jessica Sanchez Will Win the AI Finale

America is in need of a new singing diva.  With the untimely death of two of its greatest vocal legends, Whitney Houston and Donna Summers, the country is now in a demand for a new sensation. Other than that, the American Idol production of star quality singers is in question having failed to deliver in the last three seasons.  How the last one will affect the voting cannot be quantified and is only up to speculation of hocus-pocus.

Sex as a Cure for Headaches

According to Yahoo News, headache should not be a reason to abstain from sex---it actually gives you more reason to have sex.  

When engaging in sex a woman releases endomorphins which is the body's natural analgesic.  So the next time your lady begs off on your sexual innuendos due to a headache, PERSIST.  After all, you are offering her a cure.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Beware the BOSO Dude!

Found this picture in one of the forums I frequent (religious stuff mostly---NOT!).  I must say that this guy has balls to pull this one off!  Sadly, he's stupid enough not to consider that there might be a CCTV camera installed in that convenience store!  Captured!

Monday, May 21, 2012

POOR SERVICE at True Value Hardware Store-Shangri-la Mall

Why is it that when celebrities go into a place, service people tend to lose sight of the essence of SERVICE?

I was at the True Value Hardware Store this afternoon located at the 6th floor of Shangri-la Mall to buy a "boquilla".  I don't usually buy hardware accessories in this place but since I don't want to go to SM Fairview anymore, this was the most accessible hardware on my way home.

There was only one cashier open and when I got it there was already a queue around three persons deep.  There was not much customers around so I reckoned that by the time I got my item there would be no more line when I pay.  NOT!  

I don't know what the problem of that customer but her troubles affected the next customers after her---me included.  Fortunately, I'm a patient man so I waited my turn.  The guy in front of me was not and left the store without buying anything.  So there I was from third to second in line.  This should be easy I told myself.  NOT!  

5:30pm:  Enter Regine Velasquez, Ogie Alcasid, together with their son Nate.  At least I'll have someone to ogle while I wait my turn.  15 minutes pass.  This lady only bought a couple of items but the credit card terminal was having trouble reading that small card she was using.  I'm a patient man, so I just continue to watch the Alcasids thinking of an intro to get a snapshot to give my aunt who is a die hard Regine fan.  Another 5 minute pass and Ogie lines up to pay for their purchase.  

I continue to think of my strategy to get a photo when another cashier readies to open another terminal.  Oh goody!  I was ready to transfer to that terminal when this cashier calls on Ogie.  What the...?!  He was in line only a few minutes and this cashier opens a terminal to service him first!  My goodness!  What were you thinking?!  Is this the kind of service quality that True Value imbibes in their staff?!  Favoring the famous over other customers like myself!  I almost blew my top.  Fortunately better judgement told me to just zip it.  I eventually finished my transaction and I got out of the store before I change my mind and make a scene.

Well, I'm not going back to this place!  I have nothing against the Alcasids but this store can service all the celebrities they want for all I care!  

Sunday, May 20, 2012

My New Favorite Starbucks Frappuccino Fix

In this hot summer day hot java ain't really a first option.  So dropping by the nearest Starbucks coffee shop would mean getting myself a Venti Frappuccino Beverage!  

Before, I used to order the Java Chip Frappuccino but one day I saw the barista fixing a green concoction which caught my attention.  As it turn out it was their Green Tea Frappuccino Blended Creme.  I was suppose to try this out in my previous trips but I just kept on ordering the usual Java Chip Frappuccino---old habits, what else can I say!  Anyway, I finally got myself to break from my infatuation with Java Chip and was finally able to try the Green Tea Frappuccino.  

It has less caffeine at 70mg but it sure satisfies my sweet fix!  In a nutshell it tastes like Yema with a slightly fruity taste.  I can't believe I only discovered this just recently!  I guess it's because I was actually ordering for a caffeine fix, something to wake me up during sleepy afternoons in the office.  

The Japanese Tea Ceremony or the Way of the Tea is a ceremonial preparation of green tea which is influenced by Zen Buddhism.  With the influx of work that needs to be done I guess it with be time for me to shift ordering a TRANQUILITY FIX to keep me sane.

Green Tea Frappuccino with Oreo Cheesecake.  I like my frappuccino
with blended whip creme.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Leylam Shawarma Rice

I've been fantasizing about going back to Boracay and while I was scanning my old photos I chanced upon this shot which I took during my birthday dinner at the island.

I first got a taste of Leylam Shawarma in May 2011 when I was vacationing in Boracay.  Me and my wife were looking for something to eat for dinner and came across this shawarma booth along the pathway of Station 2.  It was rice topped with sliced beef, mixed veggies, barbecue and garlic sauce topped with a sunny side up egg.    I'm a shawarma lover I must say that this is the best shawarma rice that I've ever tasted!  It has great value for money at Php 55 and definitely worth the queuing time!  

At first I thought that Leylam Shawarma was generic to Boracay but lo and behold---there's one at SM Fairview food court!   The thought of this immediately got my gastronomical craving into over-drive and I trekked to SM Fairview to get me a dose of Shawarma Rice with Egg!

However, the price is not as I remember it in Boracay.  Mall price of a Shawarma Rice with Egg is Php 69.  Another significant difference is that in place of the barbecue sauce is now mayoed hot sauce which took away the barbecue sweet taste.  Masarap pa rin naman but I like the original recipe better.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Robert Downey Jr.-The Highest Paid Avenger

Yahoo OMG revealed that Robert Downey Jr. was bankrolled by Marvel with a $50M salary to play the iron clad hero Iron-Man in the Avengers movie.  So?  What's the fuzz about?  Isn't it obvious who'll get the highest pay among the group?  Robert Downey Jr. after all is the most bankable actor in the lot. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bonchon Chicken Manila: Hit or Bust?

Bonchon Chicken is a Korea-based company which started in 2002.  In 2006, after much domestic success, Jin Duk Seh, owner of Bonchon decided to export the concept to the United States. Needless to say,   the spicy-sweet and crispy chicken brought a different twist to the chicken loving customers and became an instant hit in the U.S.  This is in this same logic that Scottland Inc., the master franchise owner of Bonchon in the Philippines had in mind when they opened their first store at the Ayala Triangle Gardens in November 16, 2010.

When they opened in Shangri-la, SM Mega Mall, and Robinson's Galleria there was a lot of buzz as to how delicious their chicken was.  Naturally, being a chicken lover, I was intrigued.  Unfortunately, it took a while for me to get a chance to validate what the buzz was all about.  

Last May 2, me and my wife celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary at Robinson's Galleria.  I wanted to treat her to something new and like an act of God we were face to face with a Bonchon branch.  Like Pavlov's dog we salivated only to be turned off by the full capacity dining area.  We ended up eating lunch somewhere else.   

We had a late and heavy lunch so after movies we were still not in the mood for dinner.  But on our way back to Holiday Inn we once again passed the Bonchon outlet and it had no queue this time so we decided "why the hell not" and ordered.  Chicken was the obvious choice and got ourselves a 6 pc. Thigh and Leg Combo (half soy and half spicy-Php 185) and an order of Bulgogi Wrap (Php 125) which the cashier mistook for Bulgogi Rice.  

We order TO GO for what was meant to be our midnight snack but as soon as I placed it on the hotel room counter top went on unwrapping what I thought was a Bulgogi Wrap.  Well, there goes my diet as the one provided me was a serving of soy beef rice topping.  Me and my wife dove right away on the chicken and finally rid ourselves of the curiosity.  It was different alright---sweet, crispy, and spicy!  The sweetness and crispiness tasted like caramelized sugar in soy.  It was of delectable foreign taste to me but I doubt I'll be able to eat more than my usual capacity.  It was...what's the term...NAKAKAUMAY.  This maybe the reason why their chicken size seems...small.   

Bulgogi Rice
Compared to the chicken of other fastfood chains Bonchon's drumstick was smaller and found the thigh part disappointingly lacking in size.

Just this morning, we my wife and I again pursued our Bonchon exploration.  This time it was at SM Fairview and we ordered for the Bulgogi Wrap (and made sure that the cashier heard me right this time) and 6 pcs Chicken Wings (Php 185).  

The Bulgogi Wrap (Php 125), while filling, did not satisfy my taste buds.  It was supposed to be made up of sirloin beef, Korean coleslaw and kimchi; however, it seemed like it lacked in beef with the coleslaw dominating the taste coupled by the spiciness of the kimchi.

Bulgogi Wrap sliced in two
If I was disappointed with the size of the thigh part, seeing the wings served to us, I felt ripped off!  There seem to be a disconnect with how a PIECE of wing is defined.  If you have tried Yellow Cab's Spicy Chicken Wings, imagine that cut in two (but smaller).  If we're to follow Yellow Cab's definition of a PIECE of wing, what was called 6 pcs was actually only 3 pcs.  

Bonchon Chiken Wings
Yellow Cab's 4 pcs Spicy Chicken Wing order is more expensive at Php 225 but it's definitely bigger and has a higher value for money impression.

So, will I go back and eat at Bonchon after these experiences?  Well, I still need to check out their Chicken Sandwich (Php 125)so I guess the answer is YES.  Unless I'm WOWed by the taste of this sandwich I'd say that will be the last time I'd eat at Bonchon.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Comic Book Legend Tony de Zuniga Passes Away

Tony de Zuniga's entry into the highly competitive field of comic book illustrators paved the way for other Filipino illustrators to penetrate the international market.  He co-created the western comic character Jonah Hex for DC comics in the 1960's.

In the 1970's de Zuniga became an illustrator for the comic industry leader Marvel and dipped his artistry in the X-Men and Spider-man series.

His last notable work was for DC comics in the graphic novel Jonah Hex:  No Way Back which was done to coincide with the release of the Jonah Hex movie starring Josh Brollin and Megan Fox.

Tony de Zuniga passed away in May 11, 2012.  He was 71. 

Dark Shadows Movie Review

Dark Shadows is the 8th corroboration from Johnny Depp and Tim Burton.  It was a film adaptation of a Gothic soap opera of the same title which was aired by ABC from 1966 to 1971---a series that Johnny Depp was a fan of.   

Dark Shadows tells the story of Barnabas Collins, a wealthy 19th century fish canary magnate who found himself cursed to become a vampire by a scorned lover who happened to be a witch.   Barnabas' real adventure begins when the casket, where he was supposed to be kept to live his vampire life, was accidentally dug-ed out by construction workers 196 years later in 1972.  There he finds that the family canary business has been shut down and his family influence usurped by the very same witch who turned him to a vampire.

The film is vintage Tim Burton reminiscent of Sweeney Todd in terms of the use of light and dark and with characters heavily made up.  

I found it a nice date movie to watch.

The movie also stars Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, and Eva Green.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Rumble in NAIA 3

It was the hot item yesterday and I'm sure it will be so for the next couple of days!  

Mon Tulfo vs. Raymart Santiago, Claudine Barretto, and a pink shirted dude who seemed to have thought himself an MMA fighter.  End result:  Mon Tulfo was black and blue and the Santiago group a picture of notoriety given the cam phone footage of the event.  

Contrary to what we saw on the YouTube video, Santiago and company said that it was Tulfo who initiated the fisticuffs.  Unfortunately for them the CCTV camera in that area of the airport was not working (apparently, there were a lot of CCTV camera in the airport premises not working).  

Mon Tulfo has his own share of notoriety.  Actually, he and the other Tulfo brothers, Raffy, Ben, and Erwin have had their share of headliners.  However, theirs is more on the side of justice---headbutting with the powers that be.  This is also the case why Mon Tulfo's attention was diverted to a commotion at the arrival area when he saw a Cebu Pacific ground crew being berated by a young lady (who happened to be Claudine Barretto).  

The siblings are tightly knit and with their eldest brother accosted the other three are fuming and retaliatory remarks has been issued during the T3 broadcast yesterday in the direction of Raymart and his gang.  Mon Tulfo already filed a case against Santiago, Barretto, and his companions for grave coercion and physical injury and cautioned  his brothers in such an action since "public sympathy" is on his side.

Abangan ang susunod na kabanata!

Tulfo Brother's Reaction to the Mon Tulfo vs Raymart Santiago incident:

Tulfo and Santiago brawl at NAIA 3:

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Top 12 Fastest Cars

This was one of the Yahoo headlines this morning which leads me to the question, "Why do we need fast cars?"

Well, I know of speed junkies but unless you're living in Germany and traversing the autobahn --- we do have speed limits to follow.  So what's the point of buying a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport  or a Koenigsegg Agera R if you can't floor it to its top speed of 430 and 418 kmph, respectively? 

Anyway, here's to round off the Top 12 fastest cars in the planet.

Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, 430kmph

Koenigsegg Agera R, 418 kmph
SS Ultimate Aero, 414 kmph
Saleen S7, 400 kmph
McLaren F1, 386 kmph
Koenigsegg CCX, 395 kmph

Gumpert Apollo, 362 kmph

Noble M600
Aston Martin One-77, 354 kmph
Ascari A10, 350 kmph
Lamborghini Aventador, 350 kmph
Pagani Zonda Cinque Roadster, 348 kmph

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Holiday Inn Galleria: Luxury and Comfort

I have stayed in this hotel twice already and I just realized that I haven't blogged about it yet.  I guess it's time that I do.

My wife and I stayed at Holiday Inn Galleria to celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary and had a grand time! Other than it's five star accommodations another cool thing about this hotel is its proximity to Robinson's Galleria.  Actually they are conjoined.  Really convenient to go mall tripping and then relax in the convenience of a luxurious room!

Based on online booking, room rates range from Php 7,000 ($ 175) to Php 9,000       ($ 225).  Normally, I wouldn't be able to book a room in this place but since I have a corporate discount, it's an occasional perk I reserve for special occasions.

I booked for a Deluxe Room and it was spacious and very comfortable.  It had a 32-inch LCD TV with cable.  Wi-fi is also available but this comes with a premium. So I suggest that you bring along your  stick DSL if you don't want to pay the Php 200 per hour internet charge. This room also have a bath with tub that fit my 5"11 frame and hot and cold shower.  The only downside was that it had no bidet and the toilet flush had a low water pressure, meaning, what goes out doesn't go down in a single flush.  

Accommodation also includes a buffet breakfast for two.