Friday, December 21, 2007

Manila Ocean Park at Kilometer Zero

The opening of Manila Ocean Park was moved from December 2007 to February 2008.

Manila Ocean Park 1

I'm excited to go there to visit the oceanarium and walk inside the underwater tunnel to see the diversity of marine life from all over the Philippines - sharks, dolphins, stingrays, wow! Kahit wala pa yong mall at hotel na second phase ng project, ok lang. Me and my wife enjoyed visiting Sea World (separately when we were younger and haven't met yet). It would be great to share this experience with Hannah right here in Manila, near Luneta, near the Philippine Kilometer Zero mark where all kilometer posts refer to (the big flag pole near Rizal's monument).

Manila Ocean Park 2


Visit, there are awesome computer generated pictures of Manila Ocean Park there like the photo below. See the bigger pictures there.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bibingka ang Puto Bumbong

After almost a year since I had one, I had a sudden craving for Bibingka yesterday at the office. A friend told me to try the Bibingka of Via Mare. So I left work quickly after the 5pm bell then headed straight for the nearest Via Mare. From Laguna Technopark, the nearest Via Mare is in Total gas station in South Superhighway, between ABI/Greenfield Exit and Santa Rosa Exit.


Bibingka is prepared just as you order them so you have to wait around 12 minutes for them to make your order.


Then this is what you'll have.


They have two kinds of bibingka. This one has itlog na pula (salted duck egg) and quesong puti (local white cheese) then topped with butter - PhP 100 each.


This one has quesong puti and queso de bola then topped with butter - PhP 110 each.


You can also order a super special bibingka that would have all the toppings above. All bibingka are served with fresh grated coconut on the side.

While there I also bought puto bumbong. You'll get two pieces with grated coconut, cheese and panutsa.


Yummy treats for a Pinoy Christmas.
Merry Christmas!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

EncounterS with MMDA Traffic Officers

My wife and I went to Mandaluyong to settle some stuffs. With the mushrooming of SM Malls and other gimik places down South (Alabang, Paranaque, Laguna and Cavite), we found little need to go to Metro Manila except for trips to MOA and in this case, buying the property rights of a house and lot that we want to convert into a five star apartment (apartment na may limang parol sa harap, hehe). So off to Mandaluyong we went.

Careful no to be caught violating traffic rules, I drove along the middle lane of EDSA all the way from Magallanes interchange to Shaw Boulevard. I want to turn left in Shaw but left turn is not allowed there so the plan was to turn right in the intersection of ESDA and Shaw then use a U-turn slot not far ahead. I continued driving along the middle lane of EDSA so that when I make a right turn in Shaw I would not be caught swerving. But driving in the middle lane near the intersection of Edsa and Shaw spelled disaster (for me at least). Apparently two of the three EDSA lanes there (67% of EDSA) are only for buses, taxis, etc. so all private vehicles should merge and squeeze in the leftmost lane (sadly, the remaining 33%) - which I did not know due to the lack of signs to guide promdi motorists like me. After a long discussiong with an MMDA officer, he gave me a 500 PhP fine for driving in the bus lanes. Then I asked his about my plan to turn right in Shaw then make a U-turn and he said it was OK.

But after the u-turn and while crossing EDSA along Shaw, another MMDA officer flagged me down. "Now what!?" I asked. He told me that all vehicles in the left lane should turn left and I did not so now I'm in trouble - again. With my blood pressure rising, my ears red and my nostrils fuming I showed him my "mainit-init pang violation ticket" and told him, how can I not take the left lane after the U-turn when traffic is at a standstill and the middle and right lane are full of cars. He even advised me indirectly to just cut into those lanes (which if I did I need to do rudely and quickly because the U-turn slot is very near the intersection). And if I am a driver in the other lane I won't be happy when a car cuts in. But apparently its the right thing to do. With my ears red I asked the officer to get in the car so I can "demonstrate" how bad it is to make a U-turn and immediately cut into the middle lane where my car's length would easily stop the traffic in 2 lanes. He then would have to back me up if the drivers in those lanes get angry. But he did not get in the car and just let me drove by with my ears still red. Grrr!

I hope you learn from my experience and take the correct lane near the intersection of EDSA and Shaw. And if you get caught, pay your fine in any Metrobank branch anywhere in the Philippines within a week from when your ticket was issued. You have to go personally to the MMDA office in Manila if you want to pay later than that.

Huli Ka

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Nokia 6630 to Nokia 6120c

Two years have passed since I upgraded my phone to a Nokia 6630 under the retention program of Smart Communications Inc. A few years back, Charlie (the nickname that Nokia gave to the 6630) was a groundbreaking smartphone. It ran under Symbian OS 8.0a S60 2nd Edition with Feature Pack 2, the first Nokia phone to have 3G, the first to have good stereo digital sound and the first to have a megapixel camera. It also has bluetooth, memory expansion slot and a 2.1" display. Being an S60 smarphone meant there are tons of software that you can download off the internet (freeware, shareware and commercial apps) like Excel/Word/Powerpoint viewers/editors, PDF viewer, e-book reader, dictionary, portable encyclopedia, translators, bible, Koran, scientific calculator, motion activated camera recorders, health guides, Nintendo Family Computer and Gameboy emulators and a lot of Java and S60 games. It's still a capable phone today.

Now its again time to renew my contract with Smart. Their retention plan states that if I promise to keep my post paid subscription with them for another two years, they will give me a free phone or give me a big discount on any of the other phones listed on their retention plan. The free phone can either be any of the two below

  • Nokia 2630 (0.3MP camera, bluetooth, audio/music/video player, FM radio, dictaphone, no front camera, no 3G connectivity, weighs 66 grams only)
  • LG KU250 (1.3MP camera with flash, front camera for video calls, 3G, bluetooth, dictaphone, audio/music/video player, weighs 73 grams only).

I was impressed by the features and small size of these phones but... these free phones are not smart... not smartphones to be more specific.

So I paid extra to get myself this: a Nokia 6120.

Oooops! not that oldie, but a Nokia 6120 Classic.


The mall price of this phone is around 12,000+ PhP but with the retention plan it costs only 4,300 PhP. This Nokia model sounds like a normal phone without the usual "N" or "E" in its model name like the N95, N82 or the E90. It is also quite tiny when compared to the N95 or my old 6630 - but it is a full fledged smartphone. A tiny phone that is very smart and very light - it is actually the lightest smartphone from Nokia to date.


  • The 6120 Classic is running under Symbian OS 9.2 S60 3rd Edition with Feature Pack 1. The same OS used in N95 and N82.
  • 240 x 320 TFT display with 16 million colors. Same resolution and color depth as the N95 and N82.
  • quad band so you can go anywhere in the world and stay connected
  • support for 3G networks & the faster and newer 3.5 network (HSDPA)
  • 2MP main camera with LED flash


  • 320x240 front camera for video calls and for taking self portrait shots


  • image editor
  • MP4 video recording at 320x240 15 FPS with sound
  • video editor
  • stereo FM radio
  • audio/music player
  • video player
  • VoIP telephony support
  • loudspeaker
  • voice commands
  • text to speech to let you phone read out aloud your text messages or e-books
  • sound recorder (one hour max. per recording)
  • instant messenger support
  • Safari-based web browser with mini-map to help you see where you are in the page
  • no more proprietary Pop Port connector
  • common miniUSB port similar to what is used for digital cameras
  • 2.5mm audio jack; can also use common headphones if you attach a 3.5mm to 2.5mm adapter that you can buy for less than 50 pesos


  • bluetooth
  • supports external bluetooth GPS devices
  • can function as a USB mass storage device (flash drive) for storing data or a modem to connect your laptop to the internet anywhere there is a phone signal or a portable music player to sync with your PC
  • expandable to 2GB (micro SD)
  • pre-installed Excel/Word/Powerpoint viewer which is upgradeable to allow editing and saving
  • PDF viewer
  • e-book reader
  • tons of downloadable S60 softwares similar to what I mentioned above for the 6630
all of this in a nakaw-proof looking phone weighing only 89 grams.

Two years from now, when I again renew my phone subscription with Smart, I hope the following features will be available in a phone that would cost less than 10,000 pesos under the retention program.

  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • built-in GPS with localized Philippine road maps and points of interest
  • bigger physical screen size
  • 3D graphics accelerator chip for gaming
  • stereo loudspeakers
  • TV out
  • higher resolution camera with optical zoom, Xenon flash and image stabilization
  • video recording at near DVD quality (640x480 at 30fps)
  • expandable to 8GB or more
  • the iPhone's multitouch interface

  • built-in TV tuner like the Chinese mobile phones offered by Babiken. You can actually buy in some of our local shops these imported Chinese phones with TV tuner, touch screen, bluetooth and allows two SIM active simultaneously and with one year warranty for less than 10,000 pesos. I would skip on the telescope attachment though :)

Monday, November 05, 2007

New Kia Picanto

Kia Motors Philippines just announced the availability of the new Picanto here in the Philippines.

Picanto front

Picanto rear

The new look includes a new set of headlights, new radiator grill, new tail lights, side mirrors with turn signal repeaters and a new dashboard.

Picanto dash

It is powered by the same engine of the 1st generation Picanto.

The center console has a built-in USB port and audio jack input for iPod and other portable media players so that you can use the car's audio system.

Picanto aux

A little car for daily home-office travel and errands to nearby stores.

There will be a new Mitsubishi Lancer, Lancer Evo X and Toyota Altis in 2008. I wonder if there will also be a facelift for the Toyota Innova in 2008.
Sana meron din.

One tiny car for work and a people carrier for weekends is a good car combination for me.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Pinoy Blogopedia

Pinoy Bloggers now have a lutong bahay blog encyclopedia - Pinoy Blogopedia. Here you'll find how blogging started in the Philippines, timeline of Philippine blogs, directory and profile of Pinoy bloggers, Pinoy celebrity blogs, Pinoy blogger ID Numbers and many more. It is powered by Media Wiki, the same engine that runs Wikipedia. Me and my wife got Pinoy Blogger ID Numbers 00034 & 00039.
Kung Pinoy blogger ka, sali na!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sizzling Garden, Bonsai Haus

I mixed up the title intentionally just as how the owner of this new establishment mixed a Bonsai garden and a sizzling house. It started out as a garden selling Bonsai plants then evolved into an al fresco restaurant within a Bonsai garden.



You can dine in small bamboo tables surrounding the bar or in one of the bamboo huts.


They still sell Bonsai plants so you can walk around while you wait for your food to be served.


Tuna belly, sinigang sa miso


Sizzling sisig


Their Lechon Kawali is a must try. The meat is crunchy ouside and tender inside. The skin is incredibly thin and crunchy in a way where you won't have to worry that your teeth would crack sometime soon. Sinfully yummy.


Sac-i Sizzling Haus in Bonsai Garden is located along Governor's Drive just before you drive uphill the zigzag road to GMA, Cavite. You can take SLEX Carmona Exit then turn right heading to Cavite and you'll see it on the right side of the road a minute after you pass Walter Mart, Carmona. You can also take SLEX Southwoods Exit and see it immediately on the left side after the turn left upon reaching Governor's Drive.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Wooden Furnitures in Tagaytay

Somewhere along Aguinaldo Highway between SM Dasmarinas and Taal Volcano you will find Recuerdo's where you will find lots of furnitures.


If you're looking for furnitures near Tagaytay, pass by their compound and explore the stuffs they offer. The furnitures are grouped together and housed in bungalows giving you an impression of being in a small village where you can hop from house to house to look for something to buy. You'll even find large wooden doors with intricate carvings for mansions or chapels.


A Transformers inspired table/trolley.


Native stuffs sold in one of the bungalows.


You can also dine in Tita Boots Chicken Inasal which is located inside the compound.


You will dine inside a hut with screens on all sides so you enjoy the fresh air while keeping insects out.


Paa, sisig, batchoy and buko pandan. I love their buko pandan.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Say Cheese!

On the wedding of my officemate, Hannah had the best seat in the house. Even the official wedding photographers were all behind her.


Practicing her photography skills as she framed and took picture after picture of everybody around her.


Sitting side by side with official photographers who are carrying DVD video cameras and high end Canon digital SLR cameras with various lenses for dramatic depth of field. Meanwhile, my little girl carries a point and shoot 7 megapixel Canon digital camera.


Waiting for the right moment to take that one of a kind shot.


She can't go wrong with her posture for taking perfect shots.


A future photoblogger growing up.
That's my girl !!!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Tlaquepaque, Mexico

Tlaquepaque is a highly fashionable suburb less than 10 kilometers from Mexico's second largest city, Guadalajara, with a hip, up market colonial center with a character and style of its own. A must on any Pinoy tourist agenda. The street of the main shopping area is closed to traffic so that people can stroll and shop at a leisurely pace. The colonial-style streets that remind me of the streets of Intramuros are lined with shops and restaurants.


Shops specialize in arts and crafts from all over Mexico with particular emphasis on up-market ceramics, bronze sculpture, blown glass and embroidered cloth. You'll find skillful painters that use spatula who sells their work of art in the streets.


Beads and bags sold by natives.

beads n bags

The art gallery of Sergio Bustamante offers excellent pieces there are finely crafted and out of this world.


The paint jobs on his work is stunning. The transition between colors is very smooth even up close and you'll not see abrupt changes in color where there shouldn't be.


I love this big mermaid sculpture. Notice the intricate tail made of small finely detailed fishes. Bravo!


Cafes and restaurants have tables on the sidewalks where you can watch busy shoppers pass by. Casa Fuerte is one of them.


The floor of the entrance is covered with pine leaves to remove dirt from shoes. This also releases the fragrance from the leaves that spreads to the restaurant.


There's an indoor and outdoor dining area. The outdoor dining area is airy, colorful and relaxing.


Special melted cheese Mxn 75 (Mexican Peso). A Generous chunk of Oaxaca cheese, breaded and melted in a molcajete (stone mortar) which contains simmering green ranchero sauce.


The big chunk of Oaxaca cheese is sliced into cubes after dumping it in the stone mortar. The cheese melts and blends with the green ranchero sauce which you then place in soft taco. This is yummy.


Tamarindo shrimp Mxn 180. Delicious pacific blue shrimp saute with the exotic tamarind sauce and chile chipotle sauce, served with rice and vegetables.


Garlic shrimp Mxn 170. Tender shrimp delicately seasoned with garlic and mild chile guajillo.


Sole filet with mussels and fennel sauce Mxn 149. Fresh grilled fish fillet, bathed in a fine fennel sauce. Garnished with mussels in their shell and appetizing rice.


Heart of fillet "El Dorado" Mxn 138. The house specialty. Golden crust outside and very tender inside, exquisitely cooked in garlic butter, garnished with vegetables in zucchini blossoms sauce.