Friday, July 30, 2010

Odd even

Come semi-finals in any given contest or sporting event, there are 4 contenders. 2 of the teams battle each other, and the other 2 compete against each other. What are the usual reactions of the losers of these rounds? They are devastated, depressed, sad or what have you.

Then here comes the battle for 3rd place. The winner of this round celebrates, while the losing team who landed in 4th place is heartbroken. At the finals, the winner or champion rejoices, while the 2nd placer is miserable.

But why are the odd placers (1st and 3rd) the only ones having a good time? Why are the even placers (2nd and 4th) cheerless? They all managed to reach the final 4 spot of the competition, they all got their places, they all deserve an applause; yet some are unhappy - the evens: they are odd.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


After wasting time, money and expectations on several (or should I say many) films, I’m happy that Inception came into the picture. I’m sure many would agree that it’s been a while since a movie as good as this blows audiences’ minds away.

Inception is a film about a group of people who have the technology to break into other people’s minds through their dreams. The movie tells of their journey from reality into dreams and back in order to make a living, or perhaps reach their dreams. It shows how outstanding this capability can be and how terrifying this could get too.

The pace of the story is so fast yet it never failed to bring all the right details in order not to lose the viewers along the way. It may seem vague at the start, but everything becomes clear as the film progresses. In the end, it leaves a very intriguing question whether everything is back to reality, or if everything was just a dream in the first place. The story and the script are truly fascinating.

Superb acting contributed also to the movie’s perfection. I must commend Christopher Nolan for his good choice in casting. I’ve always admired DiCaprio from his childhood films to Shutter Island and to his role as Cobb in Inception. Ken Watanabe truly fit his role as the dark Saito. Ellen Page’s career from Juno to this will never be the same again. Marion Cotillard’s acting as Mal proves that she deserved her Oscar for Best Actress back in 2008. All the actors were so incredible that I couldn’t say anything dire about their performances.

The scenes were full of suspense, thrill, action, drama and horror that it almost drove me crazy after the film. The special effects tied everything together to make the film a masterpiece, or should I say – a classic. Just as I thought The Dark Knight was Nolan’s strongest film in recent times, I can say that he finally outdid himself with this work of genius. Inception is a movie not to be missed – it is worth way more that how much you’ll pay for to see it.


My rating: 95%

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

On number coding and traffic violations

I got this email from a colleague and I was so surprised to realize that my knowledge on these things really sucks. Read on and learn!


1. No window hours: Makati , Malabon and Las Pinas. Number Coding is in effect from 7am to 7pm!
2. No number coding: Taguig, Marikina and Paranaque . So, feel free to roam around these cities anytime.
3. Pasig City has window hours of 9am to 4pm (note the 1 hour additional to the normal 10-3pm window).
4. San Juan has window hours now according to MMDA website.
5. Pasay City is implementing Number Coding except on the following roads: Ninoy Aquino Avenue, MIA Road , Domestic Road , Portions of Airport Road , Sales Road , Tramo.
6. EDSA, C5, Pres. Diosdado Macapagal Avenue, Roxas Blvd (Pasay) have window hours regardless of the city (meaning one can drive via EDSA in Makati any day).
7. For the rest of Metro Manila (Caloocan, Mandaluyong, Manila, Muntinlupa, Navotas, parts of Pasay, Pateros, Quezon City, Taguig, and Valenzuela) number coding is in effect (window hours of 10am-3pm is also observed).


If any of these abuses seem familiar to you, Mr. Antonio Pagulayan (Personnel Officer) has asked that you call either the MMDA hotline (136) or call the METRO BASE at 0920 9389861 or 0920 9389875 and ask for an Inspectorate. They will send inspectors to the place where these MMDA officers are extorting, even while you are arguing out of your apprehension.

1. MMDA officers are not allowed to group together in order to apprehend. They are not even allowed to stand together in groups of 2 or more. The only time they are allowed to work together is for special operations (probably when they apprehend groups of buses for smoke belching)

2. Swerving IS NOT a traffic violation. Moving one lane to the left or right is not swerving, no matter where on the road you do it. And it is even less of a violation when you do it with a signal. Swerving is defined as shifting 2 or more lanes very quickly. So you can argue your way out of this, and call the Metro Base for help.

3. Sadly, using the yellow lane is a traffic violation and will get you a ticket. However, buses are really not allowed to go out of the yellow lane, so if you see selective apprehension of private cars only, you may complain.

4. MMDA has confirmed that your license MAY NOT BE CONFISCATED at a traffic apprehension. The only time they can do so is if you are part of an accident, or it is your third violation and you have not settled your fines yet. They are only allowed to give you a ticket, which you can contest. He recommends actually receiving the ticket in some instances, so that you can report the officer who did it.

5. Also, you are free to ask any of these officers for their "mission order", which is written by their supervisor. If they apprehend you for a violation that is not in their mission order for the day, you can report them and they will receive disciplinary action.

Monday, July 12, 2010


I was so hooked up with the FIFA World Cup finals that I totally forgot that I watched Predators before watching the football championship match. I've seen the trailer weeks ago and I was pretty convinced that this is a promising suspense thriller film. So I decided to catch this with a friend and I should say, I had mixed emotions with the film.

Okay, it was horrifying, full of gore - good enough for the type of movie that it purports to be, but it lacks in story and reason. Yes, it is a science-fiction film, but there needs to be a background on how things came up to be as they are. For me, the movie seemed to be mere entertainment rather than a form of art.

The story tells of "chosen men" who were sent to another planet by dropping them from the sky. The common attribute present in these people is that they are "hunters" (army soldier, drug cartel enforcer, sniper, Yakuza assassin, deathrow inmate, a psycho killer pretending to be a doctor, among others). Soon enough, these people realized that they are in another planet and other creatures (predators) are in the same planet to hunt them down, kill them and learn their fighting skills to use it for their own kind's improvement.

The basic questions (that would provide the foundation for the movie's storyline) that were left unanswered are:
  • Who abducted these humans and sent them to this planet?
  • Who sent the predators? Where did they come from?
  • Where is this planet that was used as their experiment ground? (although this is not so relevant)
  • What is the higher purpose of all these? Domination of the earth?

What I liked about the movie is it's ability to send a scary feel as the plot develops and actions rise. There was no anti-climax and it ended pretty fairly - no overkills, no deus-ex-machina. Though (sorry but I always notice this) I find it very racist that an American (Royce) and an Israeli (American ally/fan as we all know) sniper (Isabelle) survived the film in the end, while all the other characters (Russian, Mexican, Japanese and American villains) died brutally.

Overall, I give this film a so-so rating for lacking substance but still being able to provide a thrilling entertainment. The R-13 rating for me was kind of lenient, as there were too much violence, killing, gore and "blood" for minors to see. For me, this film is good for DVD/home viewing only.

My rating: 60%

Spain wins the 2010 World Cup

For the first time, Spain wins the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, against Netherlands after an overtime goal (1-0). I believe it is destined, not because I am a fan, but because it is high time for Spain to be united in victory. Known to many, this country is currently torn by recession and a high unemployment rate. Winning a sporting event this massive revives a low spirit into a highly positive one.

I almost thought the game would end through penalty kicks (just like last 2006 between Italy and France where the former won 5-3), as there were so many missed shots and opportunities. This was quite disappointing. On the other hand, I would just like to give the credit to the goal keepers.

I always believe that the extra time is always the best time. This is the period of the game where the players would do their best to score a goal to avoid ending the game in a penalty shoot out. And I was right. The victorious kick came.

Throughout the game, there arose several favorites from both the Spanish and Dutch teams. But it was quite a surprise that out of nowhere, Andres Iniesta came to be the hero of the game for Spain. It was a clean goal, even when viewed from any angle.

Kudos to Iniesta, Casillas, Spain, Netherlands, everyone especially to South Africa for organizing this event and putting the spotlight on Africa for the world to see. FIFA World Cup is such an amazing sporting event no doubt, and I hope one day I'd be able to watch it live from the bleachers.

Viva Espana! Long live for the better. The world stands divided to become united once again.

Friday, July 9, 2010

FIFA makes the world go round

No sporting event in the world is as celebrated as the FIFA World Cup, other than the Olympics, I suppose. I believe the NBA wouldn't even come close. This is a proof that football is the world's most favorite sport in the world.

Very few Filipinos could relate to this, as we have always been full of colonial mentality that we only like what the Americans like. Admit it. There are far more NBA fans than football fans in this country. No doubt we suck at football - bigtime. Most of us even call it "soccer", which is nowadays a not-so widely acceptable term for football.

It is just so amazing to see people stand united to support their own countries. They are so tied to the magic that they even shed tears for their teams - whether for victory or defeat. No matter where the fans are - on the bleachers, at home, at clubs or pubs, or on the streets, they still find a way of showing a very special way to support their teams.

This Sunday, Netherlands will be on the field for their 3rd championship match with Spain, a first-time finalist. It will be a European win-win in the African home court. Nonetheless, the world will again be divided on whom they will place their bet into - whether monetary or otherwise. I have chosen my bet between these 2 teams and I hope this team will win.

"Every 4 years, countries come together to stand apart." - VISA FIFA World Cup 2010 sponsorship ad.



I believe that no one can predict the future. What might happen could be written in the stars, but I guess no one could decipher those writings. Even sophisticated scientific methods and devices couldn't accurately tell when earthquakes or volcanic eruptions will occur. These couldn't even measure the extent of damage a huge typhoon will bring.

Just like events, people are unpredictable too. They can be consistently behaving in a certain manner, but you might be surprised to see their other side when induced or provoked. Never judge a person, as you may never know what they can do - to you.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Instead of taking a picture of myself through the mirror, I realized, why not take a picture of my shadow?

Monday, July 5, 2010


It might be a surprise to you, but I am a rockstar.


As I was browsing through my multiply account which I haven't updated for so long, I suddenly bumped into these two pictures that I find really fascinating. This was not from a photoshoot of some sort. A friend and former colleague of mine (Felix Angue, who is a really good photographer BTW) just passed by my workstation and asked to take a picture of me wearing a shawl on my face. And behold...

My 2006 Madagascar trip

I was lucky enough to be sent by my first employer (KPMG Philippines) to Madagascar for a business trip last December 2006 with a senior and a firm partner. I was just an associate then. I was so happy that all the other seniors turned down the offer for this trip because they were scared of going to Africa. I wasn't. So the managers chose from the associates. And I gladly accepted. Besides, not everyone can (afford to) go to Africa - with a stopover at Johannesburg international airport!

The trip was so tiring: Manila - Bangkok, Bangkok - Johannesburg, Johannesburg - Antananarivo (Madagascar's capital) and then Antananarivo - Tamatave (a province in Madagascar). Good thing we were on business class so there were unlimited food, drinks and booze (champagne, that is) to sleep our way through the Indian Ocean air turbulence.

We stayed in a 4-star hotel at the province of Tamatave during our 3-week engagement. So many things happened during the stay - my night-outs alone traveling via non-aircon cab to clubs miles from the hotel, female prostitutes chasing me, rickshaw pullers (yes, humans pull rickshaws here) taking all my money and how could I forget, the HR staff (woman) stalking me at my hotel because she thought I am straight!

The trek back home felt so much better. We stayed overnight at the capital, Antananarivo. The city may lack tall buildings, international fast food stores and shops, but it is cleaner and classier than Manila. And way colder too (much like Baguio, but higher in altitude). The flight from Antananarivo to Reunion Island to Bangkok to Osaka to Manila took almost a day.

I lost most of the pictures that I took because my sister's old digital camera got jammed in my hand-carry bag and poof, everything was gone! All the photos that I am sharing below were taken from my camera-phones.

 A view of the clouds from the plane window

A glimpse of Johannesburg international airport during our connecting flight stopover

The harbor view from our client's office

Antananarivo city before Christmas

Facade of Hotel de France, where we stayed overnight in Antananarivo

A monument in the middle of a lake in Madagascar's capital

Views from the airport and plane


Knight and Day

Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise are two actors that I really like seeing in the movies, and I can say that they didn't fail me again this time. The characters that they portrayed in this film are kind of typical for them, but they were good in delivering the personality, the actions, the gestures, the dialogues and the little things out of June Havens (Diaz) and Roy Miller (Cruise).

Knight and Day tells the story of a simple country girl (June) who is off to attend her sister's wedding in Boston. She "accidentally" bumps into Roy at the airport, who is a secret agent in a very complicated mission that later proved to be full of double crosses, betrayal, and lots of killing. June was trapped into choosing whether to submit Roy to the authorities or to stick to his mission until the end.

The development of the story was entertaining as comedic lines and scenes were incorporated throughout. There were some lines that left an impression (whether funny or serious) like:
  • Someday is a very dangerous word, because it almost means never.
  • Tomorrow, we'll transfer you to a safe and secure facility.
  • Did you buy that again from the internet? You don't know what you're typing on that keyboard!
  • What am I wearing? How did I get in here?
  • The pilots are dead!?
Weird? You better see it to understand.

Diaz was really good in portraying an innocent-more-like-blonde-bimbo character while Cruise was at his best doing the routinary action star (who is funny and crush-able) stint. Here, Diaz and Cruise reminded me again of why they make the blockbuster hits in the past until today. I still had this awe for Cruise ever since I saw him in "The interview with the vampire" when I was young, well except for his changing body which now looks like an old-dad-hitting-the-gym type.

Overall, the film was thrilling, funny and heartwarming. I guess it leaves a lesson that everything happens for a reason, and that you may not expect to meet certain kinds of people, but someday you'll realize that these people are the ones you can count on until the end.

My rating: 75%
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