Friday, October 29, 2010

Airports

I love hanging around airports, so I usually go at least 2 hours earlier before a scheduled flight (it's the requirement anyway). Some people hate the wait, but I spend that time being productive (like doing this blog post right now).

Here's five things I do while waiting to board the plane:

1. I go online. I always make sure my laptop/phone is fully charged so I can: (a) check my mail and do some work; (b) check-in Foursquare; (c) say hello to friends on Twitter and Plurk and give traffic information in case I have friends going to the airport as well (traffic was quite heavy today).

2. I write/blog. So I'm doing this post because I kept getting disconnected from mobile internet. I knew I should've loaded up my other dongle. Sometimes I get so busy with work I'm unable to post as much as I used to in my blogs. This blog is the only one I've been updating in the past 2 months.

3. I eat. I always try to drink a glass of my favorite iced milk tea at Kopi Roti, but I fly PAL most of the time so I usually end up eating at Delifrance (I wonder when they're going to add more restos at NAIA 2). There are more food choices though at NAIA 3, especially at the boarding gate area.

4. I read. I catch up on my reading whenever I travel. My companion for this trip are Bo Sanchez and Malcolm Gladwell. Serious stuff, haha.

5. I people watch. There are days when I give my brain a rest, so I'm just happy to observe other travelers. There's definitely a difference between those who travel via PAL and Cebu Pacific. Most people who travel via PAL are either foreigners or business people. Those who travel via Cebu Pac in my observation (and well assumption) travel for fun.

Well it's almost time for me to head to the boarding area and I have to finish my Kopi Roti iced tea with milk and siewmai (yes that's how they spell it). My next post will likely be about my first trip to Zamboanga!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Derailed Political Career and the Barangay Elections

Once upon a time I dreamt of becoming mayor of my city. That was many, many years ago when I was a Political Science and Legal Management student. I had grand ambitions and was invited to run as Sangguniang Kabataang chair for my barangay.

I was confident that I could do it since I was quite active in my community and I had just finished my thesis about the SK. I understood the nooks and crannies and had a good idea on how to make things work. I was gung-ho until my Mom put a wrench on my political ambition.

She didn't want me to get into politics.

My Dad was the first barangay chairman in our barangay. I wasn't even born yet then, but my Mom explained that things were really crazy. People flocked to our home and would knock at the oddest hours. Safety was also a huge concern. My Dad loved it and was constantly invited to run for office, but my Mom didn't. My Dad's love for my Mom bore more weight than his political ambition so he never ran for office ever again.

I guess that was one of the times I had to choose a path. Had I taken that path I would've likely worked for the Senate and I would be leading a totally different life now. The reason why my Mom didn't want me to get into politics wasn't because of the security risks, but she wanted to protect my values. And based on the in-depth study we (my thesismates) did about the Sangguniang Kabataan, my values would've likely been compromised again and again.

So I remain an ordinary citizen, helping people with my work through a different way. And I bear the mark -- my forefinger looks like it was hammered again. I am hopeful, because I have bottomless optimism, that the newly elected barangay officials would carry out my dream of having a better life for everyone.

Cheers!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Our Wedding's on Kasal.com

We got several requests to have our wedding featured and it's only with my Kasal.com family* that I said yes to.


Relive the kilig and read about our story, here's the link -
http://www.kasal.com/html/rr/realwedd/dejesus-apolo-wedding.html

*My wedding blog "Twisted Wedding Planner" is one of the features in Kasal.com.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Moved!

This is the reason why I have been amiss with blogging.

We have just moved to a new home. After our house hunting mishap an opportunity to move back to the street where I grew up presented itself (just 7 houses away!).

We wanted to move for 2 reasons: (1) to be nearer to my parents (my Dad's 78 and Mom's turning 75); and (2) the house we were living at was showing signs of old age. We originally targetted moving my summer of 2011, but reason number one needed to be immediately answered.

It was a Monday when we saw the “house for rent” sign. Mom called up the number to check who owned the house and to ask if we could check it out. Two days later we checked out the house and immediately liked it. It had enough space to accommodate my work stuff and a nice little garden. Honestly though the magic feature was “walk-in closet”. Haha. The landlord sweetened up to the idea of having us as tenants because he knew that I was born and bred in our village. Thirty six hours later we signified out commitment.

What was tricky though was breaking our commitment with our very nice 80-year old landly. Good thing though she's my Mom's friend, so my Mom took care of breaking the news to her. She understood that I needed to be near my Dad at this time and knew that we have fixed her house to the best of our ability (see what happened here).

We could've moved in immediately, but I had to go out of town for work. We scheduled our move on Wordcamp day, so we were left just a few days to pack. We only managed to pack in the evenings since Sweetie and I both had work. One thing to remember: HAVE BOXES MORE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE (or count). We didn't have enough and ended up placing some of our stuff in trash bags (unlabelled).

We finished moving in one day. I had to take a half-day because I had a commitment for Wordcamp, but I'm proud to say my boys managed the move perfectly. So Jay, Miguel, me, Pork, And, Beans, together with my lovely plants are in a new home. It's all still very messy and I'm just working on SmartBro for now, but in a couple of weeks I'm sure things will be fall in proper order.

Special thanks to our parents (Mom and Dad, Mom and Dad), Titay for the help and boxes; and Duty Free Philippines for the free boxes (it helped A LOT); and our moving team, Lito, Rommel and nephew, Manong Junior and Joshua; and thank you Google and Derek Callow for the Maria Makiling Google Chrome theme on canvass. It's now installed near my workstation and it's providing really great inspiration.

Whew! Another day in the de Jesus household.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Donations for Typhoon Juan

According to the Philippine Red Cross as of 9 a.m. today there are 2,409 families (9,634 persons) have been reported staying at 63evacuation centers in Cagayan, Kalinga, Isabela and La Union. One (1) was reported injured and six (6) dead. There were 13 provinces affected, 61 municipalities and 42 barangays.

Gawad Kalinga and the Philippine Red Cross has started relief operations and you can send help for the following:

1. Monetary - US$350/PhP15,000 for roof repairs
2. Food - rice, easy to open canned goods, sardines, noodles and other non-perishable food items
3. Hygiene kit - toothbrush and toothpaste, bath soap, sanitary napkin, shampoo, towel and alcohol
4. Non-food items - mats, blankets, mosquito nets, jerry cans, and tents

Gawad Kalinga: Rice, easy to open canned goods and noodles. PhP15,000 (US$350) per house. Direct donations to PRO Friends Bldg. 55 Tinio St., Barangay Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City.

The Philippine Red Cross: Monetary donations can be sent through bank deposit (details at http://www.redcross.org.ph/donatenow) and in-kind donations should be brought to the PRC headquarters (you can also make arrangement with them for pick-up).

If you need help or would like to report something, you can get in touch with the following:

    • Philippine National Red Cross (143), +(632) 527-0000
      • Isabela Chapter operations center hotline: +(6378) 622-3248
      • La Union Chapter operations center hotline: +(6372) 700-5161
    • Go to GMA News TV and post complete addresses and names of people in need of immediate help.
    • Go to ABS-CBN News and post updates and safety tips, including photos and video. You may also email at ireport@abs-cbn.com or post at bmpm.abs-cbnnews.com, or at the BMPM Facebook page or Twitter account.

Working in the Walk-in Closet, my Unique Workplace

Earlier today a dear friend, Chelle, pinged me to say that I should blog about my unique work place. (Here it is Chelle!).

It's been almost five years since I vacated my enviable corner office which had a grand view of the Manila Bay horizon and the Skyway. At the end of the day I'd always sit back on my huge executive swivel chair and watch the beautiful Manila Bay sunset. It was perfect almost everyday.

I manage to work anywhere because when I was a kid I never had a study table. I did most of my homework on the floor. Typed my research papers on my Mom's Olympus typewriter on the floor. Did my science and home eco projects in the garden or kitchen. And it hasn't been any different now that I work at home (well, most of the time).

In the past five years I have been moving from one nook to another at home to complete my tasks and here are some of them:

1. The Walk-in Closet - I have been working in my walk-in closet in the past 16 days because this is where mobile internet works best in my new home. PLDT's plan to do simultaneous transfer of my line has been an utter failure because their system keeps hanging (I don't know why). Mind you I don't have any clothes in this room, but have transformed it into my craft room. No boys allowed, haha.

2. The Dining/Kitchen - the house where I used to live is quite tiny so the dining room and kitchen are interconnected. I spent most of my time working on our dining table because it was cooler in that area. The ref was conveniently located just a few feet away. This arrangement also allowed me to multi-task -- cooking or doing the laundry.

3. The Basement - I had three work areas in my basement: (1) the Greenwich room (because I had the walls painted apple green); (2) the sala; and (3) my bedroom. I spent a lot of time in the Greenwich room and this is where I blogged a lot. Number 2 and 3 were quite boring and I was eventually forced to evacuate my basement because of Typhoon Ondoy.

4. Miguel's Room - I set up shop in Miguel's second floor bedroom after Typhoon Ondoy. The only thing I managed to save from the flood was my desktop PC, Theodore! After staying in his room for 2 months I eventually went back to the basement and moved out when I got married.

5. The Computer Room/Den - I do have a proper office (after 4 years). When I got married, Jay and I agreed that we would set-up a proper work area and we did. Our new den has been freshly painted with apple green paint (it makes me more creative) and in it hangs the "Maria Makiling Google Chrome theme artwork".

But despite having a proper office (complete with desk and executive chair), I find myself working more in my non-conventional work places. What about you? What is your work place like?

Monday, October 18, 2010

How I Learned to Cook

I never really participated in our cooking classes back in high school. I always volunteered to either be the dishwasher or marketer and I can say my skill level for both is pretty high and I love doing both. Preparing and cooking food were two things I didn't want to do and there were days I was assigned to be the cook. We were graded based on what we produced so my group mates found ways to cook the food while our teacher was busy with other groups.

I was a diligent note-taker though and have kept all my recipes from my high school class. Fast forward to year 2010. Jay and I survived our first few weeks of marriage by getting a lot of free food from all the parties we had to attend. Both our parents also sent us food. And, of course, there was delivery. Our most frequently used appliance back then was the microwave.

After about two weeks we got sick of eating left-overs and fast food delivery, so we attempted to fry some eggs. It was almost a disaster (read about it here), but eventually I got the courage to try cooking again. The very first thing I successfully fried was Ma-ling and this was followed by other canned goods. Eventually I realized I had to really learn how to cook. It was that or sentence ourselves to eating fast food or canned goods forever.

I come from a family of great cooks. My Dad learned how to cook at Moderna Bakery (now Casa Moderna) in Naga and I have never seen him use a recipe. My sister was a natural as well. My aunts - Tita Olive, Titay, Tita Josie etc. are all good cooks and most of them just learned on their own and each have their own specialty.

Anyway, here's how I learned how to cook:
1. Spaghetti. Bugging friends and colleagues - I learned how to cook spaghetti but bugging my seatmate at work. I'm glad though that she was patient because she had to explain things to me several times. I also learned how to make my Dad's secret Mustasa dish and kangkong atsara by following him around the kitchen.

2. Adobo. Watching Youtube vids. I did have some introductory lessons from a friend's BF, but I can attribute my adobo-cooking skills to the Komikero and his famous adobo Youtube video. I also learned most of my basic cooking skills (chopping/slicing etc.) by watching Youtube vids.

3. Baked Potatoes. Online cooking mentors. The reason I stick around at Plurk is because I get lots of cooking advise especially when I'm in a bind for alternative ingredients! I also get help from my online friends whenever I don't understand a cooking term (i.e. poaching).

4. Spanish Adobo. Watching TV. I learned how to cook adobo on the fly. I was watching Simply KC and wrote down the recipe. I didn't realize that it would be one of my specialties. 


5. Pasta Pinanganat. Talking with an entrepreneur. I had a hard time looking for the recipe of Pasta Pinanganat which I sampled at Small Talk Cafe in Legaspi City. I learned how to cook some from an entrepreneur in Naga City and my friends have been raving about it.

One of my 2009 goals was to learn 12 new dishes. I didn't complete that goal last year, but I think I have surpassed the mark this year. I still have a lot to learn though and will continue to go through my cooking channels in the coming months.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cherry Mobile Launches Android Phones and Tablet

Last night I had the privilege of attending the launch of the first local branded line of Android phones. Cherry Mobile showcased last night their own set of Android phones and tablet.

Yes, you read it right TABLET. The very first locally branded Android tablet available in the Philippines.

When I tweeted about this bit of news I got a lot of questions about it. And thanks to Reggie of Cherry Mobile, I got a personalized demo of the Android tablet which I managed to upload via mobile internet! Here's the video -



Here are a couple of things why I am interested to buy an Android tablet:

1. The OS. I have gotten used to my Android phone and it definitely made my life easier since I don't need to lug around my laptop that much when I go out.

2. The camera. I am very much interested to use the tablet to blog! I wasn't so active in uploading photos on Facebook before I got my Android phone. Things changed after I got my phone and I have since been sharing photos on Facebook and Twitter regularly.

3. E-book reader. A colleague of mine introduced me to Kindle last year and I wanted to get one, but found it quite expensive. I actually still bring books whenever I go out (and that's why I have huge bags!). This means I don't need to lug around books anymore!

4. Docs and spreadsheets. Most (if not all) of my documents are on the cloud. One of the things I liked about Reggie's demo was when he started typing rapidly on the tablet. I oftentimes need a pad or notebook to write down stuff whenever my muse bugs me and then I end up re-typing it. With the tablet I won't need to do any re-typing!

5. And it's a phone too! You can connect to the internet not only via wifi, but also thru 3G! Awesome.

Now I have to save up to buy this thing. For more information, price and specs about Cherry Mobile's line of Android phones, please visit YouGotTech.com.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Google Chrome for Filipinos


What is a browser? Watch this -



I remember watching this video when it came out back in 2009 and it helped me explain to my 75-year old Mom what a browser is. When I was teaching her how to go online I told her, "Mom, this is what you click to go to the internet (referring to the Google Chrome icon on her desktop). To make things easy for her her favorite sites automatically open as tabs for her. But if you ask her what a browser is, she wouldn't know what it is. The same as 92% in the video.

I have been using Google Chrome since it came out back in 2008. I use it because it's fast, simple to use and secure! I get quite impatient whenever a site takes time to load and security is a big concern for me since I loath viruses.


Philippine Google Chrome Themes

I have been wishing for localized themes for Google Chrome for sometime now and I was really excited when Google showcased a number of themes made by Filipino artists. My favorite theme is "Maria Makiling" made by artist, Arnold Arre. I was hoping to have a photo with him, but I was unable to catch him after the event. Here's a photo of the theme on canvass:


Also loved the one by Team Manila -


There are a lot of other cool themes made by local artists. Check out the Space Manananggal, Electrolychee, Carlos Celdran (surprisingly became controversial today!) and a whole lot more. The themes are quite interesting and show different flavors of local artistry.

Check out the other themes at the Google Chrome Philippines theme page. If you go to the Google Chrome Philippines page you have to select Filipino to see the local themes.

Philippine Google Chrome Extensions


Local companies also showcased their Google Chrome Extensions. Some of the companies that presented include GMA New Media, Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines and PEP.ph. It was quite awesome to see CebuPac and PAL presenting their extensions side by side! But seriously since I travel quite a lot their extensions would really help me whenever I plan trips. Other local extensions include those of ABS-CBN, Smart, AyosDito.ph etc.

Check out the Filipino Google Chrome extensions here.

Smart Bro - Google Chrome Dongle Coming Soon!


Gio Bacareza of Smart Communications, Inc., showed Smart's innovation of including Google Chrome in its Smart Bro dongle. Hoping to see this soon out in the market!


Thank you Google (especially to Emmanuel, Derek, Andrew, Charif and Therese)!