Friday, October 31, 2008

Welcoming the new Nokia N96...

Went to the Nokia N96 launch party early this week at the Silver City in Pasig. Tey had a bunch of tickets to give away, and so even if it was a bit too early to party for the week, I decided to go. Haha! I dragged John and colleague Faith to go as well. When we got to the venue, the party was already in full swing. I looked for Tey, and my first question was, "Where is the food?" Hehe! Didin't get to eat before going to the party and I was feeling really hungry.

Uhm, what I enjoyed the most was seeing Suki, who was with Richmond and friends from Lifestyle Asia. I haven't seen Suki for the longest time, so it was really great to see him. Highlights of the night included a fashion show where the models carried the new Nokia phone and a raffle of Nokia phones.

Good party.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Missed LOS at Gateway... Argh...

Look what was screening at Gateway Cineplex just recently. When I went to Gateway last Sunday to catch HSM 3 with Grace, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Love of Siam was one of the films featured for the festival. Wooohooo! I immediately told Carlo about it, and we agreed to watch the film later during the week.

Later during the week is tonight. And the reason that I'm blogging and not enjoying Love of Siam is because I read the schedule wrong. When I called Gateway this afternoon to check if there were still tickets, the lady said, "Sir, yesterday was the last day of showing for Love of Siam." What the?! Hmm, obviously I read the schedule incorrectly. Bop Angelo!!!

Hay, I was really looking forward to seeing the film on the big screen. Oh well.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Big day with the YWCA kiddies...

This afternoon was the real birthday celebration. Hehe!

For the past couple of birthdays, I've been spending my special day with kids from YWCA in Manila. It started when Xochi and I volunteered to prepare them for this cultural contest that Pahinungod was organizing. We didn't get to become the champion (second place though... hehe!) and when we had a victory get-together for the kids, it coincided with my birthday. Hehe! Since then, it's sort of been a tradition.

This year, I wasn't so sure if I was going to push through with the party for the kiddies because of the amount of work. But when I visited the DENR office last Monday, I saw a birthday party at a daycare center inside the compound. I took that as a sign, and as soon as I got back to the office, I made some phone calls and the date was set.

Next was to mobilize the people, I knew I could rely on Tey and Magsaysay friends to join the activity so they were the first ones I got in touch with. Tey volunteered to take care of the drinks. Monet, another colleague from work, donated some goodies for the loot bags. Shy, Cathy and Lenly volunteered to notify people and to take care of the loot bags. Former Magsaysay colleague Weng volunteered her husband Berlin to perform for the kids. Haha! The kids loved Berlin's antics last year, and I was sure that they're all looking forward to it again this year. Sharon brought her nice camera and took wonderful photos (though I still ahve to see them. The ones above are from another camera.) My brother Raymond volunteered to buy the ingredients for the food, since I was in Banahaw. My Mom and Dad took care of preparing and packing the meals, while my other brother Andre went with me to YWCA to bring the food.

This is why I love and believe in volunteerism. Things get done when people volunteer. And when you combine it with friendship, (almost always) the mission will be successful.

Anyway, I'm happy, really happy, with how things turned out. The kids had fun. My friends looked like they had fun. And everybody left with a nice, sweet smile on their faces. That should be a good sign. I wish my other friends could have joined but I know that since this was all so last minute, not everyone could go.

Big, big, big THANKS to everyone!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Back to Banahaw and a visit to Ugu Bigyan...

I returned to Mt. Banahaw, but this time it was more for work.

Some employees from our sister company in Japan are in the country to join the tree planting, and it was my responsibility to document their short visit.

This second return I must say is much more adventurous. Needed to take a 20-30 minute hike from the dropoff point to get to the tree planting area. Thank god that I still have the energy for these activities, but really I should hit the gym again and get back into shape. Hay!

Anyway, it seemed like Sachiko, Shimojo, Yushi and Suzuki had a great time. On the way back to the barrio, it was raining so that added more fun. How many times did I slip?! Ouch! Hehe!

From Banahaw, we went to neighboring town Tiaong, Quezon and brought our Japanese friends to the home of artist Ugu Bigyan. You know how much Filipinos like to be hospitable and to show the beauty of this country, hence, the side trip to Ugu Bigyan's.

It was also my first time to go to the place, although I've heard and read about it. Wow! That was my first reaction, when I saw his home. It was really an artist's home because the architecture of the house - from the pillars to the smallest wall decor - was a conversation piece. Every piece of furniture and home accent seemed to fit with the entire concept of the home, whatever concept he was going for.

Ugu was there to personally welcome us, and like most of the real artists that I've met, he was very warm and nice. I was in heaven just going around his place and seeing all the works crafted from clay. I remember that I once wanted to take up pottery classes, so that I can make my own plates for my home. That would be really cool, right? There were so many fantastic pieces to be bought at his shop, and it was cheaper compared to Manila prices. Uhm, since I'm saving for another trip, all I bought were small doves that were attached to some kind of twig. It was nice. Could be placed as accent on a table.

The other enjoyable part of the trip was the Very Pinoy merienda prepared by Ugu himself. He cooked ginataan, pancit habhab and suman. For drinks, there was sago't gulaman. After the exhausting day in Banahaw, the trip to Ugu was very, very much welcomed. Haha!

We headed back to Manila by 430PM. I was back at the office before 8PM. Met up with Tey, AJ, Engel and Mich at Giligan's and then headed to OT for our Friday gimik.

Talk about one long day. Haha!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

One more birthday surprise...

Today was pretty eventful.

In the morning, we had the press conference at PAGASA for the new PAGASA Infoboard service. Through the service, subscribers may now receive weather updates directly from PAGASA. All you have to do is text... hahaha... just read the newspapers.

In the afternoon, we had a meeting with some employees from our sister company in Japan. They were visiting the country to join a tree planting activity, and early this evening was their briefing and welcome dinner.

Moving on, yesterday I got another nice surprise in the evening. After office, I met up with my usual CS Wednesday group - Anj, Dawnie, Monette, and Archie plus Jacob and Arnold - at nearby Ponticello. Uhm, I've been trying to keep mum about my birthday, which is difficult to do when you have a million profiles on social networking sites. Hehe!

While I was chatting with Jacob about his stay in the country, I didn't know that the others were already preparing "something." They brought out a cake with a candle from out of nowhere. Hahaha!

What a nice, sweet surprise, huh? Thanks, guys. You're really good! Hehe! The cake also served as Jacob's despedida cake and Arnold's welcome cake. Haha! It was also Jacob's last night in Manila before going back to China, while for Arnold, it was his first CS meet.

From Ponti, we went to Music21 for a little (okay, a LOT of) videoke. Woohoo! And Filipinos that we truly are, we spent hours and hours singing our hearts out. It was great hearing everyone sing. Even Jacob joined the singing. It's a good thing that Music21 has a repertoire of Chinese songs in the videoke machines. Around midnight, Faye joined us. So did Karla (yay!) and Felix (who recently arrived from Germany).

Anj and I left by 1AM. Augh! I wish I could have stayed a little longer, but like what I wrote earlier, Thursday was packed with events and I needed the sleep and the energy. The sleep I didn't get so much because I had to be early at the office, but the energy was up there thanks to the really wonderful CS people.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, again!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

And then the clock struck 12...

Today I turn a year older. Whoopppeee! To be honest, I have no issues with getting old(er). In fact, I welcome it very much because I have this thinking that with age comes greater wisdom and authority. Hahaha!!! And more responsibility. Augh! Haha!

Speaking of responsibility, I welcomed my 29th at the office. Needed to finish a simple AVP about the company's tree planting program, and I wanted to finish it asap so that my birthday wouldn't be that "toxic." Not! Hehe!

There was a very, very nice surprise though. As the clock neared 12, I was bugging colleague Engel who went home already to bring beer to the office, just so we (Reena, Nova, me and him) could say hello 29 with a round of drinks. Eeep!

He did a very good act in saying that he'll just bring breakfast for me, instead. Around midnight, Reena came in the room and started turning off some lights saying that we should conserve energy, especially since we're pushing for environment-friendly measures. Haha! Gullible person that I am, I bought her reason. Hehe!

While still working on the AVP with the editor guy, Reena, Engel and Nova came in bringing a birthday cake while singing Happy Birthday. There was also some beer. Woohooo! It was really a nice, nice surprise.

After blowing the candles and making my wish, we all had a slice of cake (Polly's!!! Yum!) and drank some beer. Hehe! I finished work around before 2AM and I was home by 3AM.

Today was pretty okay. I'm still not feeling the celebration mood, although I'm looking forward to meeting some CS Manila people tonight. The real birthday celebration would happen on Saturday afternoon with the YWCA kids. Woohoo!

Hello 29!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Runner 2275...

Yesterday morning, I had my first taste of a race. To support officemate Rhyz who was organizing the contingent from the company, I signed up for the Botak Paabilisan run at the Fort. Hehe!

So by 5AM, I met up with Rhyz and Kuya Manny at the office and from there, we headed to the Fort to meet the other runners.

By 6AM, Rhyz, Luz and I were already running side by side. Since none of us trained for this, I did a run-walk-run. Haha! At one point, I felt that my legs were about to go into cramps so I really had to stop to catch my breath and walk slowly.

The good thing is I finished the whole thing.

I think I'm going to sign up for another race. Hehe!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Martelino-Evangelista nuptials...

Yesterday was the church wedding of two friends from college - Ella and Gino.
Around this time last year, Ella surprised us all with a text message saying that she and Gino were off to Paris to tie the knot. While we didn't get to be part of that really special occasion, I'm really happy that the two decided to do a church wedding as well so that friends and family may celebrate with them.

What's nice about these special moments is that friends who rarely see each other get to hang out and relive the old days. Haha! For Ella's wedding, Tey and I got to hang out with John.

Facebook is really to be thanked for this. A couple of days before the wedding, I asked Ella who else she wanted to invite. She mentioned she couldn't get in touch with John, so after putting the phone down, I checked John's last log in on his Friendster account and also checked if he had a Facebook account.

He did. I left him a message and the following day, I already got a text message from him. I really love the Internet!!! Hahaha!

Anyway, going back to the wedding. It was a bit non-traditional. The two wanted to do away with the usual stuff, and although their parents seemed to have been alarmed by this decision, everyone was happy upon seeing the two together.

The wedding was held at Aquinas Church in San Juan, where Gino spent his elementary and high school days. Reception was at beautiful Cafe Ysabel.
Food was also really good. I enjoyed everything. Hehehe!

The nice thing about working for a TV network is that entertainment is never a problem. Most of Ella's guests were seasoned TV people. The only difference is that some appeared in front of the camera, while others were behind it. So throughout the entire evening, there was much singing, dancing, laughter and plugging of TV shows. Hehehe!

Although we wanted to stay til the party ended, we couldn't. I had to get home early because of a very early Sunday morning commitment. Haha!

Congratulations, Ella and Gino!!! We love you super!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

UPCAT the movie...

Came across this while Multiply site hopping. Hehe!

From what I read, the plot is really simple - a bunch of senior high school students who are dreaming of passing the entrance exams to UP, believing that a UP diploma will get them to places one day.

I can already imagine alumni of the beloved university arranging get-togethers with long lost classmates to watch the movie. Hehe! (And since I mentioned it already, UP Manila Orcom peeps?!)

The movie will surely bring back so many memories of the dreaded entrance exams. Hahaha! Because each UP student probably has his or her own UPCAT story.

What's my story? It's quite simple.

Not too many of my friends know this though I think. Since I practically grew up in church, everyone in the family kind of expected that I was going to take the road to priesthood. Hehehe! Hard to believe, I know, but once upon a time... and if not for the Church's condemnation, I... am not going to finish this sentence. Haha!

In my senior year, the only college entrance exam was the UPCAT. Just to see if I would get in. My Dad went to the university. There was pressure to pass because several older cousins got in. I hadn't really thought much about college. Finances were a bit tight, so the Taft, Katipunan and Ortigas schools were out of the question.

I took the exam. I passed. I thought, "Yey, but what about the other option?!" My father put his foot down. And the following academic year, I saw walls of academic freedom instead of a Benedictine abbey.

I took the Sunday AM session of the UPCAT in August 1995. Haha! It was that long ago already. I went by myself. I knew my way around UP Diliman, since I had a Lolo who lived nearby and our family business was, at that time, in the university. While almost all the other examinees were accompanied by their anxious parents, siblings, guardians, I was with some classmates. They needed me to tell them where to go. Hehe! We were there way early because I knew how bad the traffic gets.

By 7AM, I was already in some room in Palma Hall taking the exam. I don't remember much of the exam, but for sure, it was difficult. I don't remember being that nervous because I prepared well for it. And my attitude back then was (and until now), "Whatever happens will happen for a reason."

After the exam, I hung out with some friends. And then I forgot about it, until the results came out. But that's another story, isn't it?

What's your UPCAT (or college entrance exam) story?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Walang Iwanan sa Gawad Kalinga...

The entire Saturday was spent at the Fort. It was the annual Gawad Kalinga 1World Expo. We were participating in the huge event, and since it was one of the programs I support, I had to be there.

Actually, I was at the Fort the night before setting up our small area. I was supposed to have dinner with Sam and Grace, but I should have known better. What I thought would finish at 6PM ended at 12 midnight. Hehehe!

This is the second time I've attended a GK Expo and I must say that once again, I'm blown away by how fantastic the event turned out to be. Attendance was really good, and the activities prepared for the GK partners, volunteers, beneficiaries, supporters were all awesome.

The concert in the evening was probably my favorite. Rivermaya, Spongecola, 6Cyclemind were some of the bands that made the crowd go wild. The event concluded with a mini-Fellowship and the fireworks, the confetti and the sparklers onstage undoubtedly made the crowd leave with tremendously high spirits.

I watched the concert from our booth. I was too tired, after spending the entire day under the scorching heat of the sun walking around and checking out the activities, I was dead beat already in the evening. Hehe!

It was also great seeing old and new people. I bumped into Paolo, who worked before with GK and was our counterpart. Then, I saw former colleague Dana, who I think didn't recognize me because she gave me an awkward smile when I waved at her. And then I saw Emily, Xochi's college barkada. Of course, her first sentence was, "How are you?" which means more than just "How are you?" Hehehe!

I have mixed feelings for GK (don't ask), but I do strongly support the organization and its mission. I've enjoyed every house build I joined. And I really had a great time and several learnings from the Bayani Challenge last April in Bukidnon. So just like the Expo's theme this year "Walang Iwanan," I shall continue supporting the group in my own little way.

In fact, can't wait for the Bayani Challenge in Sulu next week. That's something to look forward to.

Congrats to GK! Mabuhay ang mga bayani!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Early big day present... thank you, Yousif (and Tey)

Watched the TNT vs. Air21Express game last night at the Ynares Center in Pasig. Things didn't go well for TNT for the first three quarters. At one point, Express had a 13 point lead. It was scary, because there was a team photo shoot after the game and I can only imagine how difficult it would be to make the boys smile in front of the camera, even if it was Erik Liongoren doing the photos.

But the nice thing about basketball is that you don't really know who will win until the buzzer at the end of the 4th quarter. So TNT surprised the crowd when major players Alapag, Cardona, Carey and rookie Dillinger started to change the team's course in the final period.

Final score 110-101, in favor of TNT, of course. Wooohoo!

After the game, Erik and his guys set up their equipment at the court. People approached the guys for photos and autographs. I waited until their photo shoot concluded before approaching them.

And I'm happy that I got to accomplish my mission - photo with Yousif A. Hehe! It's weird because I sort of got tongue tied. Man, this was worse compared to the Piolo interview. I think I congratulated the guy for the team win, but that's it. I froze. I didn't get to mention that I cheered loudly for him and his team mates, and that I thought he's a great player, or that it's my big day in a couple of days, and would he be nice enough to write a signed birthday greeting for a fan? Hay. Stupid Angelo. Or I guess it's because I was surrounded by other bball stars that I ended up being overwhelmed. Hehe!

Anyway, Yousif seemed to be a really, really nice guy. He was warm and accommodating. He may have been tired from the game, but he was still all smiles when I asked for a photo op. Most of the TNT guys were actually nice. Except for *** or *** who were a bit arrogant. For what reason? I don't know. And *** who I thought to be an open-minded guy but made a nasty remark about something. (Which I guess is forgivable because he's only human. I just thought he'd be, uhm, nicer.) Still, I love TNT as a team.

Back to Yousif, I doubt if he would stumble upon this, but if by some trick of fate, you do see this, "You play well, Mr. Aljamal. You play well."