Thursday, August 30, 2012

Philippines Day 14, August 30th 2012

With the final night of my vacation here to the Philippines, the night beckons and the excitement of being back home brings near. The day was not lost. I started from SM Megamall in Manduluyong and took a taxi all the way to Makati's Greenbelt Complex. As soon as I stepped out of the taxi, I was flabbergasted. It was so unlike what I've visited in my two week stay (mind you, I have visited Philippines many times before, but I like taking things anew). Lush greenery, scenic sculptures and proper landscaping has made it into an amazing sight to the eyes. It's as luxurious in the only way Makati can offer. The restaurants choices are diverse , enough to sooth your taste and thirst for the different, while the shops are high class and watering to any devout fashion follower. It had given me what I was looking for in my vacation. That need to feel pampered and see Manila's finest. The photos of this little trip will soon be followed. 

After meeting up with my cousin, we shifted to our dinner reservations at Village Tavern in High Bonifacio Street Central. Our irate taxi driver had scammed us into taking us somewhere else by 'mistake' and raised our taxi fees to a hefty amount. The unexpected long taxi drive had gotten my motion sickness into overdrive and drove me to a painful nausea. But that all came away as we closed in our destination. It was beautiful, outright lavish and spectacular. It was Greenbelt's grandness merged into a whole locale. The entire area had the vibe of modern luxury and did not disappoint with every walking step. Even Starbucks was over the par, with a very cordial and funny employee named Derrick who when upon taking my name, I mentioned my name as 'K' to avoid confusion of my real name. He had then smiled and asked if it was short for Kale, Kate, or Katie, and when telling him my real name, he apologized and thank me for making it easier for him. Hah! 

Upon reaching Village Tavern, it was 'class' written all over it. The waitresses were clad in red and very courteous as they should be. When seated, we were rounded with other food bloggers (my cousin is one of them, we were invited to do food tasting and reviews, I was just a plus one invite). It was awkward at first, being out of place and especially when the food came around with everyone grabbing their high end cameras and dishing out photos when all I wanted was to eat the food. Everyone was amazing to say at the table. Well cultured and educated, fun and talkative, and well known lovers of food. From Teddy, to Spanky, to Mitsy and even the head Chef Josh Boutwood (who at only 25, is strapping and amazing with his food). The food on the other hand, was on an equal level. Down right damn amazing. I started off with some blackened shrimp which tasted simply divine. Followed by the pork sliders, flat bread pizzas, crispy chicken tacos and the cowboy burger. Every step in the course was tasty, appealing and jaw dropping wow. There was an interesting mix of black beans mix which was mixed with chocolate. It was odd at first, but it really does go well together. Then came the deserts, which involved St. Bard's Cake, carrot cake, banana crepes and a double decker cheese cake. All I can say, is that we were stuffed to our limits. And let's not forget what was drunk, haha, signature cocktails of snowberry cooler (champagne based) and mojito. Both were strong, and well flavored, unlike most that was around Manila. I would really like to give a more in depth review of the food, but that, after careful decision will be included in my new blog, dedicated to food reviews. Haha, guess they got to me. 

So all in all, it was a great nice. Lavish, fun, and extravagant. Just how I like my Philippines!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Philippines Day 11, August 27 2012

Today, I traveled to Manila's bargain shopping haven, Divisoryia. An enormous place containing a multitude of shopping complexes and street vendors to make it into one shopping hell extravaganza. Since today was apparently a holiday, it was jam packed. The streets and alleys were filled with whatever Manila could throw at it. It was if the paths were the veins, and us, the blood. It's an impressive sight. Though as much of a shopping showcase as it turns out to be, honestly, it really favors the female sex. For every 10 shops, you get one for the male individual. With me being a picky shopper, you can imagine what my feelings were (I managed to score a pair of shoes after 4-5 hours of searching). All in all, a great experience if ever in the Philippines.

But you know what? There was a recent controversy made by the director of the Bourne Legacy film, Tony Gilroy about his choice of filming in Manila. Apparently the choice was made because Manila was "so colorful and ugly and gritty, raw and stinky and crowded" It had made the news. People grew mad of the statement, showing the strong Filipino pride and patriotism. Others stated that it was just one aspect and should not be labelled as a whole. In my opinion...I think it does ring true. It's a fact that Filipinos should not hide because its so blatantly out there. Walk out the streets and you see the fine contrast of rich and the poor. Drive on the roads and you'll see unpainted patches of buildings, highway pillars, columns all in that plain drab grey. It's depressing. See the squatter areas, and how their homes are compared to the ever rising condos that are constantly built. Walk in Divisoryia and smell a whole combination of smells hitting you at once, be it fruits, sweat, piss or who knows what else. Ride the jeepneys and taxis and see how its pieced together, barely finding something that's kept on tip-top condition. As you read this, maybe you'll flare up and say that I'm over-exaggerating, or whatever words that can be associated with it. But honestly, that is what Philippines is. Despite the poverty, and stark contrasts to poverty and many other things, we LIVE on. We show our colors and show our ingenuity in making due with what we have. No matter how people are impoverished, we keep a smile and find a way, to live for the sake of living. That's why its more fun in the Philippines. It's because we strive to enjoy life, despite the drawbacks.

On my bus ride back home to the condo, a multitude of thoughts ran across my mind on how to better lives just a little bit. These of course, are not well thought out and not fool proof, but hey, a man can dream right?

  • Employ and ensure a stricter clean up system, make it a whole nation drive rather than keep it to the corporate areas. Laws to implement them, like how Davao does it time to time. Educate on it.
  • Paint. Honestly, Filipinos are colorful. Let our surroundings be so. Leave no place with that drab gray. It's depressing.
  • Set higher standards for many things, like transportation and god heavens, public toilets, be it in malls, restaurants (please keep them stocked, or have appropriate alternatives). 
Ah, well these are just ramblings of a bored man. Maybe they ring true, and I'd like to think and wish that these words would build into something great for the Philippines. But one can dream right?

That's my Filipino patriotism right there. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Information Processing?

Another not so uneventful night here in the Philippines. As expected, since living in with the family and not friends has hindered my ability to go out and enjoy the nightlife. That, and living here where I am currently, is so devoid of any interesting nightspots. If there were, doubt it'd be safe. I'll try my hand at tomorrow, to sleep over a cousin's place to enjoy a good one or two night fun I suppose. It's all in the fates. Only upside to  having failed that path, is the obvious savings from a huge expenditure, as my now-in-the-Philippines cousin is seeing the hard life and has no money to splurge along side with me (i.e. no share in the expenses).

So having a night in again, I'm reduced to browsing the online virtual world as is normal in my every day life. Though, the constant boredom that I am currently under, has forced me to look up my entire normal feeds of  Facebook, Twitter, IGN, Cracked, 9gag and my other usual haunts. It's a sad pity that I exhaust all that and can't find more to bide my time. I'm always constantly in need for odd tidbits of information, be it relevant to my likes or not, just in order to store and update my cultural know-how or whatever one calls it. It's an asset. To be constantly updated, able to associate or de-associate yourself (if you know what I mean). But the bad side, it's an addiction. Now that I've exhausted my feeds of any new info, I'm in dire need of something of interest to read up on. Nothing finding any, would leave to state of slight depression and dissatisfaction. Go figure.

So what do I do to rid myself of this? Blog it. What else is there to do?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Philippines Day 7, August 23 2012

Today was a very much unproductive day. Poor brother had fallen sick to some bad case of the flu (I suppose, doctor's still analyzing a sample of his blood for an appropriate diagnosis) so most of the day was stayed in at home. The day before was an interesting sort, commuted myself alone to get to SM Megamall to meet an old friend, Reniel Tengco, which was a blast. Talked over at Starbucks and went over to Metrowalk for dinner and drinks. All that we talked about was general people we used to meet, the problems we had, and all that sort. All in all, the dinner cost 1,700 Pesos which is around BD 17. This included, 6 beers, a pitcher of cocktail called Last Gas, 3 courses of food. Not bad right?

So the current day, like mentioned, was unproductive. Sat around, watched Battleship, which was a so and so film. Went over to this place called Ever Gotesco, which is a crappy shopping complex compared to most I've been to, but I did manage to buy some nice things for my car!

So what's in store for tonight? Maybe more posts, gaming or whatever that comes across! So see you till then!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Philippine Bread?

Having breakfast at home in the Philippines is a blast. Why? The bread's so soft and surprisingly, long lasting. I wonder how they make it so, and if its actually healthy enough to eat. I'm no health freak, but after tasting what you can have in Bahrain, you've honestly got to question it right?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Philippines Day 3, August 20 2012

I currently reside here at the Oasis One Condominiums, on Ortigas Avenue in Pasig City, Manila. So far so great,  the place is wonderful. There's great security, it's clean and has a nice lot of amenities including pool, gym and clubhouse. It's not that far off from my usual haunts like SM MegaMall, Metrowalk nor Makati, probably only a 10 minute taxi drive. Only downside is probably hailing a taxi from the place. It's not as abundant as when i.e., staying in Malate, but it's alright. I'm not so privy to using the local jeepneys, call me spoiled, but at the moment, taxi costs are the least worrisome for me.

After a mind grumbling bore of two days, of sitting about on my laptop and playing whatever gaming remnants remained, I finally got the chance to go out on my own and visit SM MegaMall to meet a friend of my girlfriend's (Najla Qamber) sister, Michelle Salvatierra. First, enjoyed a nice pork, fish and chips lunch at Chef's Quarters which was nicely done, but nothing purely amazing. When my guest arrived, we had a hoot talking about whatever oddness could come out in from the green minded puns that we could muster. Went around the shops, did some light shopping (which included two marvel shirts and a nice formal shirt).

Visited some awesome art galleries which has some modern contemporary art which I seemed to get surprisingly. Pictures to come out soon!

After that, headed home, and found out family was still out. So had to wait in the pouring rain for half an hour or so, which wasn't bad, except for the sore feet for walking around for a good 4-5 hours.

So now, I'm at home contemplating the events for the day, which was a good one after all. My only nuisance was with a certain someone who could not make it due to being tired and cancelling till tomorrow, after agreements were made. And then, he has to bring someone who I'm not exactly fond of. Oh well. If I mattered, he should be able to meet me without any complaints or hindrances. Oh well, must be the 'city life' sapping the energy out of people.

So true believers, that's all I've got. Till tomorrow.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Remembering The Past

Currently, I stand 22 years old. From the day I turned 18, things were different. My life was catapulted into overdrive, meeting all new kinds of people, sharing all kinds of experiences. In Bahrain, people tend to complain that it'd be too boring, too mundane for those who want to live, but in my opinion? Sights, history, culture, food, nightlife, they're not important. In between the years, the memories I've experienced and shared were those that mattered. Those are what made life worth living and worth remembering.

So I thought, when if I grow old, I'd like to remember those who helped create them. They are:

  • Najla Qamber
  • Roberto Carrillo
  • Faisal Mohammed
  • Nada Qamber
  • Farrel Ryde
  • Shan Yan
  • Mauree Celi
  • Mona Alvarado
  • Yasmeen Abdulla
  • Sawsan Abdulla
  • Nasreen Qamber
  • Nasser Qamber
  • Katherine Lao
  • Kevin Brent
  • Yusaku Mishima
  • Eiichi Sone
  • Nelson Buendia
  • Mahmood Baqer
  • Basheer Al Salabi
  • Ray Abbas
  • My Family
There could be probably much more I haven't yet included, but as I write this at 3:40 AM, please know the sentiments are heart-felt and sound. 

So in all, I thank God and you for being around, and as I grow older... I'm eager to see what the future memories bring.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

An MUN resolution

On August 2nd 2012, a group of friends and myself were scheduled to have a movie night. As per the shocker, we ended up forgetting the movies altogether and ended up in a much heated debate in an model united nations format. Our topic, approving abortion.

As is, this the excerpts of the resolutions made and those which have passed or failed:

Ismaeli Caliphate and Monan Empire (Resolution Passed)

That, the local governments will evaluate mothers who apply forabortion and bestow the right upon the mother basing upon these evaluations;

A woman of sound mind will be given the license to abort their child as long as, (1) She will be given an educat
ional course educating her about the different points of view for or against abortion, (2) The woman’s identity must be held in confidentiality, (3) The well being of the mother must be held of the highest considerations wherein the mother will be informed of all the implications of her proposed abortion. 

Kingdom of Farrell (Resolution Failed)

That a mother of free will and sound mind will be given the right to allow abortion satisfying two situations: 

a. Before birth, (1) the infant has to has to have: intelligence measured through an active electrical impulses or, (2) the infant clearly is not provided an opportunity, wherein the criteria will be set by the local governments.

b. After birth, the infant has to satisfy two out of three of these criteria: (1) Talent, (2) Opportunity or (3) Intelligence measured through IQ tests.

c. Should the mother not be of free will and sound mind the decision will fall to the father, then the next of kin, or the relevant governmental agency, by order of precedence.

That was a resultant of drinking too much bourbon and leaving the mind idle for a couple of months. I look forward to the next one, don't you think?

The Orcs Must Die Too?

Another post for something new. A game review!

I have recently purchased a game off the Steam store called "Orcs Must Die 2" by Robot Entertainment. The game's premise follows the defense tower theme, but with a twist ... You are also a character on the battlefield. So it's all up close action to see you towers (or traps in what they call here) cut, slash, burn, freeze, melt, catapult the orcs to their zany doom. It's all mind boggling fun to try and set the perfect defense on a choke point and yell... "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" 
And don't worry, you can bring a friend! There's online co-op! You actually need to bring in a friend sometimes to survive the horde. It's quite beautiful to set up the perfect one-two punch :) 
The graphics are colorful and detailed enough to see your carnage (but not gory ) and audio is excellent. The music and quips are just as excellent. 

In short, get it and have a blast! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Now that I'm free from my heavily procrastinated speech for Toastmasters, I'm able to write and post again! It's indeed a bit of fresh air. I was initially planning to write another chapter of Manama Dead, but since it's already late and the fact I have work tomorrow, means it'll have to be delayed yet again. Oh well, it's not as if anyone's yearning for it!

So till then, await!

Kill Scene: Benjamin Reeves (Book Review)

As a humble request, I was asked to see if I was interested enough to do a book review. Follow the link for the results:

My Book Review on Unputdownable Bookies!