Saturday, December 17, 2011

Help for Typhoon Sendong Victims

As you may have probably heard, flash floods has killed 133 Filipinos in Iligan and Cagayan de Oro this morning and more than 200 are still missing. Local organizations are requesting for help in cash and kind. 

Hoping for your kind generosity.


Here's how you can help:

Philippine Red Cross
Cash or Check Donations
Account Name: Philippine Red Cross
Bank Name: Banco De Oro
Peso Account: 453-0018647
Type of Account: Savings

SMS Donations
Text RED<space>AMOUNT to 2899 (Globe) or 4143 (Smart)

Cebuana Lhuillier Pawnshops
Make a donation at any of the 1,500 Cebuana Lhuillier pawnshops nationwide.

In kind, through ABS-CBN

 SAGIP KAPAMILYA ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. Mother Ignacia cor. Eugenio Lopez St. Diliman, QC

Directly send through Iligan through the Iligan Bloggers Society (they are my friends)

One For Iligan

Donate $1 for the ILIGAN FLOOD VICTIMS OF TYPHOON SENDONG DONATIONS: Paypal ID: BDO Account: Revilla N. Carbonell-Noel - 109451077611 Maayong Iligan in this season of giving. Iligan Bloggers Society, Inc. is humbly requesting your generous help for the victims Bagyong Sendong of Iligan City. Iligan Bloggers Society, Inc. is accepting donations in kind for the victims of Typhoon Sendong in the city. We encourage the following items for donations: canned goods, noodles, bath and laundry soaps, toothpaste, rice, used clothings, slippers, and cash donations. SENDONG DONATION DROP You can contact the following point persons for your donations and other inquiries. ILIGAN BLOGGERS SOCIETY, Inc. SITE: http// EMAIL: FB Fanpage: LISA (LAI) MARIE MIRASOL | Pinay Travelista, @pinaytravelista (IBS, Inc. Web Content Manager) 09062558863; (+63) 222-2117 ALEXANDER SINGCOL | iligan Inquisitor, @lexuzinquisitor (IBS, Inc Board of Trustee Member) 09053117925, (+63) 8360272 REVILLA CARBONELL-NOEL | Adventures in Life (IBS, Inc Board of Trustee Member) 092193209944, 09427009788 For more Updates on Iligan City status after Typhoon Sendong:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Musee D'Orsay Paris

I have not been really doing any sight-seeing in Singapore since I want to experience seeing more of Singapore with my family when they visit. I grabbed the chance to see the Musee D'Orsay Paris exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore during our company's holiday party. I just looked at the paintings in awe most especially since I only encountered the paintings of masters like Henri Rousseau, Claude Monet, Paul Cezanne, Vincent van Goh and many more in books when I was still in school.

Photos of the masterpieces does not do any justice to their artwork. I can probably spend hours wandering around the gallery admiring the paintings. I must have been absent when God showered people with artistic talents. I cannot draw and I really have high regard for people who can. Anyway, I was really ecstatic to have the chance to see works of the masters. Here's a few of the paintings I really liked.

More photos here.

The exhibit at the National Museum of Singapore is open until February 5, 2012.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Movie Review: No Other Woman

I'm still up coz I just finished watching "No Other Woman". This is one must watch Filipino movie. I should've watched this on the big screen when it came out, but I was terribly busy that time. Anyway, I shelled out 3x more than what it would've cost had I watched it back in Manila, but it was worth it!


This movie was a big hit in the Philippines. Adultery isn't a common movie topic and I was really curious at the ending (I'm not going to spoil it for you in case you have not watched it). I must say that this very delicate topic was well-played out in the movie. Both sides were shown, the grief-stricken wife vs. the seductive mistress. I loved how the writer played with words - one sample is the mother-daughter dialogue and watch out for the wife vs. mistress scenes. It was very Filipino and I'm sure it resonated well with those who could relate to the characters.

Casting for this movie was also superb. Anne Curtis has proven once again that she has evolved into a serious actress and Christine Reyes' play as the wife was believable. And Derek, wow, the abs! Oh sorry, I liked his acting too. I also hope to see more of Carmi Martin in more movies. I was hoping though that they would've picked a more appropriate song although I guess it's quite hard to find a song other than "Hiram" to measure up.

You can watch this movie via TFC Now, but it's available only until December 4. I heard though that it's out on DVD already (not sure if those have subtitles, I'll ask).

Friday, December 2, 2011

Watch. Be Happy. And Weep.

Why is it we are moved to tears when we are happy?

Watch. Be happy. And weep.

Tears welled up in my eyes half-way through the video, which was a bummer since I was at work when I took a break to watch this video which has gone viral on G+, Twitter and Plurk. I hurriedly wiped away my tears when they started to trickle down and I had to pause the video so I could compose myself (my seatmate would've probably asked why I was crying!).

Anyway, I guess the video moved me to tears because I am now an OFW too. It's really hard to be far away from your family and all you can do is hope and pray everyday that everything is doing well back at home. I'm still lucky though coz I think I can manage to go home monthly (crossing my fingers) so I could be with my family. I could not help but cry for the others working abroad who could not visit their family as often.

Dear Coca-Cola, you made me cry with this video!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

BlogFest Soccsksargen, Experiencing the Funnest Bloggers in Mindanao

It seems just like yesterday when I joined DigitalFilipino's Women in Web, Wireless and Outsourcing roadshow in 2006. It was a trip where we went to Cagayan de Oro, Davao and Cebu to talk about what businesses could do on the internet. It was during that trip that I met with the Davao internet community, organized by Andrew. I was still finding my way around my job back then so I just made a suggestion that they come together as a community. They did and that community has grown throughout Mindanao.

I'm really happy that the local internet community in Mindanao thrived and flourished and I try to come and attend their events whenever they send me an invitation. And this year I was invited again to speak at the BlogFest Soccskargen. I thought I would not be able to go in person and was just planning to join them via Google Hangout, so I surprised them and told Avel that I was flying in.

True enough, the Sox Bloggers, known to be the funnest bloggers in Mindanao, put together 2 awesome events. BlogFest Soccskargen had a line-up of bigatin speakers. I hope I was able to convey a couple of opportunities for the Mindanao bloggers through my talk.

In the evening, I got to attend the Philippine Blog Awards - Mindanao leg. The ceremonies outside of the awards night in Manila are usually straightforward. We all got a big surprise though when Donna, the host, introduced each award category in the most fashionable and entertaining manner. Everyone in the room was laughing and I must say that the fatigue I was feeling was wiped away (I was already up at 3 in the morning so I could make it to the 5 am flight).

Well, I'd like to make a correction to the Sox Bloggers slogan (if I may) because they are the funnest bloggers in the Philippines!

Congratulations Sox Bloggers, especially to Avel and Orman, for another very successful event!  (I hope someone would upload Donna's fabulous performance!).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hello Mr. Bird

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I was surprised to see a bird hang out outside of my window yesterday morning while I was having breakfast. It sat there for awhile that's why I was able to sneak up and take a photo. In Manila I am always awakened by birds chirping on the window beside our bed. They like hanging out there too. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

At the DevFest Singapore

Today was my first time to attend a Devfest outside of Manila! As usual the talks were awesome! I loved the demos especially for HTML5 and the samples Amanda showed for YouTube. I'm not a developer, but I'm certainly looking forward to new apps/sites that would utilize all the fabulous technologies the Google developer advocates presented today.

Photos from the awesome day!

If you are a Filipino developer based in Singapore you might want to join the Google Developer Group Philippines - Singapore chapter! They're planning a fun meet-up next weekend!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sleepless in Singapore

I'm back in Singapore for work and it's a good thing all of us (me, Sweetie and Miguel) are busy. We haven't had the time to be sad about being apart. I must admit though I was messing up a bit at the airport the other day while waiting to board my flight. Good thing I bumped into one of my Mom's friends who was also bound for Singapore.

I grew up with a lot of "aunts" because my Mom had a lot of friends and they like hanging out at our home. Tita Maris, who I always thought looks like an angel, was the perfect companion for me that day. She's very chatty like my Mom and shared to me that she and her husband has been commuting to and fro the Philippines and wherever he was assigned for many years now. That kinda reassured me that things would be okay and that my family will survive from my move. Singapore anyway is just 3 hours away from Manila and there are a lot of inexpensive flights (now I have to watch out for those piso fare promos!).

I've been in Singapore for a couple of days now and I gave myself  three challenges. One, I have to spend no more than SG$10 per day for food and anything else I want to buy. I'm lucky though because I don't have to worry about breakfast and lunch, so I just need to scout for dinner. I ruled out cooking for myself when I realized that the ingredients here are way too expensive. But I still want to cook because I know I would start craving for a home-cooked meal. My second challenge is to find stores where I could buy inexpensive items. My last challenge to myself is not to buy anything not needed, I have to survive on the resources that I have for now (until my boxes arrive!).

I'm happy to share that I have so far been meeting expectations and have discovered quite a few things in the past few days.

(1) If there's no hawker's center near your place, the malls may have a hidden food court either at their basement or at the top floor. A complete meal usually just costs $5 to 6. Skip the beverage coz it's expensive.

(2) My workplace is near Lau Pa Sat and a friend told me that Tapa King has a branch there. I almost cried when I saw it (sorry emo much!) because I was really hungry that time and I wanted Filipino food.

(3) A couple of friends and colleagues told me that the humanized (makataong!) groceries/supermarkets are outside the city and I should check out Value $, NTUC and Sheng Siong. I'm glad that all their branches are mapped! Also discovered "Katipunan" at Lau Pa Sat. It's a small grocery selling all-Filipino items! I bought 3 important items -- suka, toyo and Jufran banana ketchup. I almost hugged the cashier earlier when I paid for the items. Haha.

We take a lot of things for granted when we are home. I realized that aside from your loved ones you'd also look for things you can't live without and being Filipino, local cuisine is something you'd really long for. I know there's a lot of stuff at Lucky Plaza, but I'm staying away for now because I think I'll end up buying a lot of stuff there. I hope to stick to buying Filipino grocery items though so I can help the economy back home too.

And yes, I've been sleepless the past few days because I'm used to having my boys around.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Meeting Joshua

Joshua is the 7-year old little boy who sent in a question for President Aquino on the YouTube World View channel. His question got quite a lot of votes and was asked during the interview. I received a call from his Mom last Friday night and she said that Joshua wanted to see me before I left for Singapore. Of course, who could say no to a charming 7-year old?

I was surprised as well when he handed me this card (which I'll be sharing with my colleagues when I get back).

He even drew the YouTube logo. So cute!

Thanks Chelle and Joshua! You guys made PNoy smile when the questions was asked :)
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Friday, November 4, 2011

The YouTube World View Interview with President Aquino

I wish my Dad was still around to witness this historic day.

Today President Benigno Aquino III is the first Asian leader to go live on YouTube World View. I'm really happy that it's the Philippines who came first for this endeavor because it shows that we are truly a democracy and that our government is open, transparent and keen on reaching out to its citizens. There were thousands of questions submitted on YouTube World View, but the top ones were answered by the President. I must say that I was truly impressed because the way he answered showed that this government is really working hard and I am hopeful that our country will soon move forward full steam ahead.

Here's the full interview:

And more photos:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

YouTube Philippines Launch Party

Had an awesome time at the launch party of YouTube Philippines last night at White Space. Just wanted to share some photos:

Entrance decor.

It won't be Pinoy without a jeepney! (I wonder if the jeepney owner will repaint his jeepney).

YouTube-d dumplings.

A karaoke nook!

White Space was pretty filled up.

Youtube sensations, Moymoy Palaboy.

I got officially deaf after listening to the Greyhoundz, but they were awesome.

Rivermaya performed as well. <3

The Googlers.

More photos here.
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lost in the City

The past few days I've been trying out different modes of transportation to and from work. The only time I have the energy to walk is when I'm in the mall (haha) and that's why I'm really motivated to find a way to and from work. Anyway, I went to far today since I thought I'd try to take the bus from work to the event venue. Did some research online and found a bus that would bring me to the event venue. Good thing Sweetie went to visit me at the office.

We originally planned to go to Chinatown to get some mee-goreng, so we took a bus to Vivo City so we can take the MRT to Chinatown from there. But we changed our plans when we got there and grabbed a quick bite. After having dinner we headed back to bus stop to go to the event. Hopped on the bus that was supposed to pass the street we were going to.

A few minutes into the ride we noticed the landscape change and that's when we realized our mistake. We took the right bus but it was going the opposite direction. I knew Sweetie was uncomfortable about the fact that we were "lost", but because I'm used to getting lost I told him we should just get off the next stop with a MRT station on it.

I knew we were going to miss the event already so I just said we should just go back "home". To lessen travel time we ended up riding the yellow, purple, green and red lines. Haha. My best friend and I used to get lost a lot in Manila, but we eventually always found our way back.

Lesson learned: for the first 3 months, always be OC when getting directions and write everything down if you don't have access to the internet. So much for lessening walking time!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Start of a New Adventure

I never really thought that I would someday live in another country. The only time that I moved out of my parents' house was when I got married. Take note, we moved seven streets away from where I grew up. Eventually I thought it was too far from my parents so we moved back to the same street, just a hundred meters away from them. Moving back near my parents allowed me to visit my Dad everyday when he was sick. Everyone assumes that the youngest child takes care of his/her parents so I never entertained the idea of moving far away from home.

An irresistible opportunity came along and after the exciting event I attended this week I packed my bags and moved to another country! It took me awhile though to figure out how to manage my boys and household, I'm still working out a few things, but so far everything's just falling into place. And for me that means it's meant to be!

I'm really glad my family, especially Sweetie and Miguel, have been very supportive. Sweetie managed to take a one week leave to accompany me for a week. I had wanted to take my usual airline  (PAL), but their rates were quite expensive so I decided to just take JetStar. I haven't been to NAIA Terminal 1 for a few years now so I was a bit disappointed that things are the same (good thing we went to the airport 3 hours before our flight because of the long lines!).

The flight felt very long and I unfortunately forgot to bring a book to read. After going through immigration and customs we immediately looked for a place to eat and found Quiznos, a sandwich place. Their menu kinda reminded me of Chipotle in Washington DC. I got a beef sandwich and a bowl of broccoli and cheese soup. Both were surprisingly yummy! (Now I have more reason to fly Jetstar haha).

After eating late lunch we proceeded to my temporary home to check-in and rest. I just brought some clothes so unpacking was easy.

Dinner was at Tarbush Restaurant, a Syrian-Lebanese place. We both had some kebabs! Yum!

So after walking back to the apartment I thought I'd make a blog post about the start of my new adventure. Half-way through though I conked out. Haha.

I'm so excited for my first day at work tomorrow!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Youtube Launch in the Philippines

So this is kinda the reason why I have been unable to blog in the past few weeks, haha. I've been so crazy busy!

Today Google launched Youtube in the Philippines (the 34th globally!), we are the first country to do this in Southeast Asia. I was really surprised when Adam Smith (head of Youtube for Asia Pacific) shared that Filipinos watch over 1 million hours of Youtube videos everyday. (I do contribute a lot to that too!).

I was really excited about the launch today and I could not help but feel teary eyed after watching Charice share her Youtube story. Watch this -

The launch included the announcement of President Aquino's two Youtube channels, the Official Gazette and Radio, TV Malacanang (check out this channel and watch the speeches of former presidents too!). I'm looking forward to watching President Aquino's World View interview on November 4. And would have thought that the President's team would be game for a souvenir photo -

Of course together in the launch were equally important Youtube partners, ABS-CBN, GMA, TV5, Viva Records, Vicor Records, Star Records, FILSCAP, Pinoytuner and Procter & Gamble.

One of the things that I've always wanted to do is find a way to help out the indie music community and I'm really excited that Youtube has partnered with Pinoytuner because it would definitely help more artists to be discovered and get proper recognition on Youtube. I never imagined that I would get to know and work with rockstars!

And, of course, also wanted to thank my Google family for making this happen.

Weeeee! This is truly a great end to my current role. It's been 5 long years and I'm finally moving on to a new adventure beginning next week.

Also wanted to say a special thank you to my family (Mom, Sweetie and Miguel) for keeping me sane and for being patient; and to my Mom's driver, Kuya Lito who drove me around rain or shine, typhoon or no typhoon to get things done. Dad, I know you're watching up there!

And more photos!

Posts about the event:

GMA News
Official Gazette
Gadgets Magazine
MovePH Video Coverage
An Apple a Day
ABS-CBN News (Youtube Gives Front Row Seats to Aquino Government)
Aquino Launches Local Youtube Channels

Friday, October 7, 2011

An Evening Reception

Last week I had the privilege of attending the reception to welcome the new officers of the US Embassy's Public Affairs Office. It's always a pleasure to attend embassy events not only because it's where my husband works but because their parties are fun and you get to meet a lot of interesting people.

(L to R) Ms. Robin D. Diallo, Ms. Bettina A. Malone, 
Mr. William B. Cocks & Ms. Lisa K. Harshbarger

The reception was held to welcome the following: Ms. Robin D. Diallo, Counselor for Public Affairs; Ms. Bettina A. Malone, Information Officer; Mr. William B. Cocks, Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer; and Ms. Lisa K. Harshbarger, Regional English Language Officer. Each of them shared a little about what they do (that was during the serious part of the program) and later on they were all dancing to 80s music (and hubby refused to dance even though I wanted to, bummer).

Added bonus to the evening, I got to get to know Jay's colleagues and spend time with our godmother, Jane, and blogger-friend Bernie.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

5 Years of An Apple a Day

Wow! How time flies! It's been exactly five years since I set up this blog right after I met the Blogger team in Mountain View, California. (Yes, this blog was born in the premises of Google!). When I set it up I actually had no idea what to do with this blog. I started off with a post which I originally made on Friendster. The post was titled, "30 things I did at 30". I was feeling brazen during that time and thought that I had finally come out of my shell. 

Looking back at that post I had just began the joys of traveling, gaining weight and coordinating weddings! But like any girl I had a lot of love related problems and if you've been reading my blog for 5 years I wrote a lot about love and relationships (those posts surprisingly still get a lot of views!). 

I would like to believe that I evolved in the last 5 years. From someone really scared of committing I got lucky, found the right one (thank you St. Jude!) and settled down. I also never imagined living elsewhere, but have since moved twice and I'm moving to another country in a few weeks! I hated public speaking, but I got over it (was forced to!). I was Mom to a sixth grader 5 years ago, now I'm Mom to a college student taking up robotics engineering. The farthest places in the Philippines I visited then were Banawe (north) and Cebu (south), now it's Ilocos and Zamboanga and I have friends all over the country now. 

I think I can attribute my growth to two things: love and opportunity. I have been blessed by very loving, supportive parents, siblings, son, husband and friends. I know I oftentimes made crazy decisions, but they never stopped me from doing what I wanted to do. I have also been really lucky in work and the opportunity to experience, learn more and acquire new skills has been abundant in the last 5 years (here's a sample of what I do). 

I was anxious about a lot of things in my life when I started this blog, but through prayer, de-stressing through writing and taking things one day at a time, things just fell into place. I'm about to start a new adventure in a few weeks and I'm really, really excited about it!

I guess it's time to change my favorite slogan, "Do not take life seriously. After all, no one has ever come out of it alive. - Bugs Bunny"

Now changing it to -

"To infinity and beyond!"


Oh, happy 4 years Sweetie!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An App a Day: Pedring Crowd Map

My good friend Brian Tan-Seng, the genius behind one of the elections projects I supported ( created this crowd map to allow people to send in reports and tie it on a map. This would certainly help authorities to find out areas that are severely affected, very much like how the Google Typhoon Ondoy Disaster map helped two years ago.

Here's a screenshot of the map:

You may access it here.

Other disaster-related/weather apps made in the Philippines:


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Help for Typhoon Pedring

Posting for the Philippine Red Cross

As Typhoon Pedring (international name: Nesat) continues to slam the Philippines, authorities have ordered more than 100,000 people to shelter from rains and winds of up to 170 kilometers per hour, which prompted the closure of schools and government offices. Electric power has been cut in many parts of Luzon, flights have been cancelled, inter-island ferries have been grounded as thousands of civilians are stranded and more than 50,000 have moved to evacuation centers or relatives’ homes nationwide.

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has deployed 2 rubber boats and a 6x 6 truck to Baseco, Manila where a mass evacuation of an estimated 800 to 1,000 persons was conducted. Approximately 200-300 individuals were evacuated and moved temporarily to a covered basketball court. 469 families who were moved to the Delpan Sports Complex earlier were transferred to the P.Guevara Elementary School in Manila. PRC also deployed 2 rubber boats a 6x6 truck to assist 100 individuals being evacuated to the Dagat-Dagatan Elementary School. The PRC also responded to Payatas where a structure collapsed. A 6 x 6 truck, amphibian and 3,000 watt generator have been deployed to the Ospital ng Maynila to assist in the evacuation of 300 persons. 115 bags of blood from Ospital ng Maynila have been temporarily moved to the PRC National Blood Center for proper storage during the power outage.

PRC maintains strict 24-hour monitoring of all situations throughout the country, while conducting detailed assessments in close coordination with the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council. Evacuation centers in Nueva Ecija, Manila, Marikina, Rizal West and La Union are temporarily housing a total of 3,098 persons. Hot meals have been prepared for distribution in evacuation centers. 3 welfare desks have been situated in Metro Manila. 36 PRC search and rescue teams and more than 1,056 staff and volunteers have been mobilized or on standby for further intervention.

Pedring has claimed the life of one year-old baby Shawn who drowned in Catanduanes after falling into a river. Four fishermen have been reported missing. 45 passengers were stranded in Tabaco Port in Albay. In Camarines Sur, 6 small fishing vessels manned by 27 fishermen were found in Butawanan, Siruma. In Sorsogon, 150 passengers were stranded in the Pilar Port. A tornado hit the town of Maconacon, Isabela yesterday that lasted 4 minutes, destroying properties along its path and ripping the roofs off of 5 houses, injuring at least two people.

Pedring is the 16th cyclone to lash the Philippines this year. As we continue to wage this battle against disasters, we are in need of cash assistance to provide ongoing relief and recovery efforts for all affected communities. We are appealing for your support to be able to continue to provide food, non-food items and our services to the most vulnerable in the hardest hit cities and provinces. Through your generosity, we can stand prepared for the onslaught of disasters. We appreciate your continued support to the Philippine Red Cross. Thank you!

Cash or Check Donations
Account Name: Philippine Red Cross
Bank Name: Banco De Oro
Peso Account: 453-0018647
Type of Account: Savings

SMS Donations
Text RED<space>AMOUNT to 2899 (Globe) or 4143 (Smart)

Two Years After Ondoy

How time flies. It's been 2 years already since Typhoon Ondoy struck our country. I remember when it happened Sweetie and I had to decide whether to push through with our wedding or move it to a later date. Both our parents said that we should proceed with the wedding since it was exactly 3 months away, plus they thought that we should have a joyous occasion after going through the disaster.

I still get antsy whenever it rains hard. Sweetie and I made sure to find a place that doesn't flood, but it doesn't take away the worry we have for our parents who both live in places that flood. We're just thankful that in the past two the typhoons have been less fierce and I guess the work Maynilad did in our village has helped alleviate the flooding.

One thing I really kept to heart since Typhoon Ondoy is living simply. I used to be like Imelda with tons of shoes and bags, but I have since just narrowed down my collection to the basics (I haven't even replaced my sneakers yet!). Everytime I buy clothing I force myself to retire some clothes which I don't wear often and I have since learned the joy of donating stuff to Caritas. This was reinforced when my Dad passed away and we realized that he didn't really have that much material things, just books and a couple of clothes.

And so it took me 2 days to write this post (that's how little time I have for myself these days!) and there's another typhoon ravaging the country. We don't have electricity at home so I can just hope and pray that this would be the worst experience for everyone else (no flooding and flying roofs!). Just stay home and be safe!

Friday, September 9, 2011

For AJ

I woke up today to the news that my dear friend, AJ, has gone to heaven. Juned said that despite the pain that all of us, especially his family, is going through it should be a joyous occasion because he is now with our Creator. I am just telling myself that at least AJ is now relieved from all the pain that he has gone through in the past year.

The first time I read AJ's blog in 2007 I became an instant fan. I kinda stalked him by leaving comments on his posts and eventually got the chance to meet him at the Taste Asia bloggers event in July 2007. He was all suited up because he said he just dropped by before heading for work. I was ecstatic to finally meet him and had the chance to get to know him better in the last four years. We always updated each other about our love life and cute boys.

AJ was full of life and I was envious on how he was always full of energy and always all over town. He's just like a rainbow, colorful, glowing and you'd definitely not miss him in the crowd because he always stood out. Through AJ I understood my best friend better. AJ is one of the glittering gems in my life and I will forever cherish the times we've spent together.

It's been months since I last saw AJ, but I've been texting him just to say hello and see how he's doing. He had grand plans and one of them was building a church for his hometown. I told him that he should sync with my Mom on how to do it. He was very excited about it and I would pray every night that he would be able to fulfill his dream.

AJ visited me through a dream early Monday morning. He told me, "Ate okay na ako, tara lakwatsa tayo! Rampa na!" It was a very brief dream but it felt real. I'm sure AJ's now strutting around heaven. Creating rainbows in another dimension.

Thank you AJ. Thank you for sharing your life with me. You certainly brought color to my life. Do not worry about your family, as I told you, kami na bahala. Love you friend, please say hi to my Dad when you meet him :)

Help Needed

The Philippine blogosphere is coming together to help AJ's family in this time of grief and need. For more info please visit the FB page.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

An Evening of Pinoy Music

I am a big fan of Filipino music, it's what brought me and Sweetie together since he owns the oldest Filipino music website ( I oftentimes work alone so music is my companion during the day.

I discovered one day at home. I don't have a radio so I had to look for other means to find new Filipino music (so thank you Google!). I've always been curious so I grabbed the chance to experience the indie music scene together with some friends last Monday evening at Guijo.

Guijo Street in Makati is known to be the hub of independent music artists. My friends, Karla and Sha, go there oftentimes and have been telling us we should spend some time there. Sweetie and I arrived at Shift Restobar first and I noticed that the neighborhood was quiet. founders Norman, Vin and Ali explained that Mondays are usually their day off, so our visit was really a special treat. My friends arrived one after another, Nina, Sha, Karla, Anne, Harry, Markku, Hana, Juned, Winston, Coy, Gail and Marc.

The first thing we did was try out the cherry beer. I haven't drank beer in years! So, I was a bit hesitant at first, but it smelled so yummy I just had to try it. I ended up drinking a glass and a half (Harry's fault!) because it tasted just like juice (that's what my Mom used to tell me to be careful about hehe). And then we tried an assortment of pika-pika, burger, steak sandwich, tacos, bacon-wrapped cheese (heaven!), the La Sallian sisig (it surely tastes like Kaibigan's!) and the chocolate siomai (not sure what they call it). Yum! (more about Shift Restobar here).

The best treat was listening to live music. First was Boogie Romero who sang "Wag Mag-alala", "Photos" and "I'll Carry You". I absolutely loved Boogie's soothing voice and he mentioned that he's launching his album on Wednesday evening. Next was Nino Avenido (Greyhounds) who sang a couple of alluring (nang-aakit!) songs. His music had a different flavor and charm and I felt the kilig he was feeling while singing the song (perhaps because he was inspired!).

Jazz legend, Johnny Alegre, followed Nino's performance. I remember attending his album launch a few years back. Sweetie reminded me that he used my photo for his post on his site. Johnny's a very, very talented jazz artist and I look forward to hearing his contributions on Pinoy Tuner once the jazz section is up. He graciously shared a Stevie Wonder song with us and then did a couple of songs with Mayo Baluyut.

Mayo Baluyut traveled all the way from Tarlac just to be able to share his music with us. That's what I call passion! He sang a couple of songs for us, "Visions of Missiles", "The Girl Who Spoke In Songs", "Me & Mr. D.", "I Fell In Love With You", "Nearness of You", and "Conspiracy Theorist".

With Francis Reyes (rockstar, legend, musician).

Funny, I met Vin Dancel as a lawyer first before I realized that he is a rockstar legend (and brother of Ebe Dancel). Which I think is a good thing because I would've probably been too starstruck to talk to him (check out my Toblerone post to get an idea). Anyway, he rocked the place last night with a couple of songs which he performed with the legend Francis Reyes. Vin shared the story behind each song (unbloggable sorry!) and yeah Francis was right in saying that you'd feel like there's a frog stuck in your throat when listening to Vin. Anyway, I took vids so I can share the experience with you. Check them out at my Youtube channel. Here's my favorite:

Anyway, I don't think I was able to capture on my post how much fun I had and how excited I am to share my discovery. Please do check out Pinoy Tuner and Dig Radio!

I love, love, love Pinoy music! Hope you do too :)

Thank you Norman, Vin, Ali and Francis for the awesome evening!
My other vids:
"Ispelling", "Isandaang Araw", "Agawan Base", "Tayo", "Bakasyon"

Sunday, September 4, 2011