Saturday, October 27, 2007

The long and winding road that leads to ... a new PC
Each time my PC develops a problem like say it won't start or the operating system won't load, my usual reaction would be to fester, fester and fester some more. I go through a period of being so indecisive, I give myself headaches pondering on the next step. I spend sleeping nights worrying:
( 1) should I just have it fixed?
( 2) where do I have it fixed?
( 3) do I pay cash or by credit card?
( 4) check my dwindling bank account online countless times
( 5) how much do I pay monthly if I use the Pay Lite 0% interest pay scheme?
( 6) do I buy a new one?
( 7) where and which brand?
( 8) how do I dispose of the old one?
( 9) how do I get rid of the broken ones I've accumulated which are gathering dust?
(10) do I buy a desktop or a laptop?

Then after I've obsessed over the above issues, I go through a period where I hog my sister's laptop to research online the different brands available, the specs and features of each unit - ergo further confusing my already cluttered mind. As if I didn't have enough worries to give me pimples, I had film festivals to attend, film reviews to write, dates with D to plan and pictures from my trips to upload aside from the chores I have to deal with on a daily basis.

My next phase would be nonchalance wherein I simply shrug, sigh loudly and wean myself from my obsession by sleeping it off. I would take naps midday for no apparent reason even if I wasn't even sleepy! Until one day, my sister, my parents and even D asks me the procrastinator - the 64 Million (dollars ha not pesos!) question: WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT YOUR PC???


I eventually snap out of my lazy phase then go full gear into my malling phase. The period where I drag my sister to accompany me to all the malls in the metropolis (well almost all, ok?) so I can have a look see on the different options available at my disposal. So we went to SM Megamall, Robinsons Galleria, Shangri-la Plaza, Glorietta even as far as SM North Cybermall and Trinoma wasting precious gasoline. I was deeply disappointed to learn that I only have 2 options desktop wise: Acer and HP. I know, I know there are other brands like those made in China or worst those brand less ones which are assembled in some warehouse. But I refuse to give myself more headaches once they start breaking down on the exact day their warranty expires! Surely you would say well there you go! How hard can it get silly girl you only have to choose among 2 brands. Well, I like to complicate things just for the heck of it. I'm strange that way! For example, I wanted a desktop without an operating system because I refuse to use Windows Vista. My sister has enough troubles dealing with tech support each time her Acer laptop hanged due to this very faulty OEM. Then I wanted freebies like an upgrade to a higher memory, a free printer or a USB drive or all of the above if I'm lucky enough!

You still with me?
Read on, I am going to wrap this entry up shortly, I promise!

So after agonizing for almost 3 weeks and numerous follow up phone calls to my contact in Complink at Trinoma Mall (of all places), I finally bought myself a HP Pavilion Desktop. Slick black CPU, Intel Dual Core E2140 1.6 Ghz, 17 inch LCD monitor, with a memory upgrade to 1 GB and the best part is my operating system is Windows XP.

HP Pavilion g3037

Now comes the hard part - where on earth do I find the funds to pay for my exorbitant credit card bill?!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Linden Suites pictures
We stayed in a very spacious 2 bedroom suite (Room 1114) located in the Linden Suites Tower 2 on the 11th floor. A new wing of the hotel which recently opened and is still undergoing some construction. It was a refreshing change of scenery even though it was merely an overnight stay. =)

Living Room

Dining Area

Second Bedroom

Master Bedroom

Home Theater system

Office area

Room service dinner

SM MegamallView of SM Megamall

Ortigas AreaView of Ortigas area

Ortigas Skyline

Monday, October 22, 2007

Surprise Treat
I was still in dreamland yesterday when my sister woke me up at 11 am and told me to pack up for an overnight stay at my favorite hotel in the metropolis - Linden Suites. I didn't believe her and just chuckled "yeah right, I'm still sleepy go away".
Well it wasn't a joke!
I'm here blogging live (using broadband) from room 1114, a beautiful 2 bedroom suite at the Linden Suites Tower 2.
I'm having coffee typing away on the keyboard of my sister's Acer laptop with a panoramic view of the Ortigas area.
I have Josh Groban (in concert DVD - another birthday gift) serenading me with his rendition of the Don Mclean song "Vincent" or is it "Starry Starry Night?" I'm still half awake so pardon the memory lapse!
I had a refreshing soak at the jacuzzi located on the 9th floor, yesterday.
We ordered room service for dinner last night. We had mussel & clam chowder, pumpkin soup, margherita pizza, poached chicken linguine carbonara, philly cheese steak burger and a plate containing a combination of mini desserts of panna cotta, bread pudding and blueberry cheesecake. Yes we were hungry!
I had a very good night sleep on a pristine clean white bed with just the right kind of pillow covered with a fluffy duvet.
I'm overwhelmed, I'm grateful for having such a generous sister and boy was I surprised with this post birthday treat. But I enjoyed every second of this experience! =) Now excuse me as I take a relaxing bubble bath before we check out at noon.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Dangling Earrings (Batch 1)
It is 4:50 in the morning and I'm suddenly in an artistic and creative mood, go figure! I'm weird that way. It is probably due to lack of sleep or my maniacally insomniac tendencies. So I decided to take pictures of my (growing) collection of dangling earrings. This is the first batch because my digicam battery supply ran low. I reckon it would since I clicked several times to perfect each shot at a good angle. By the way, that glass cup contains a scented candle gift from the Shangri-la Mactan and not a glass of warm milk! Just in case you were wondering. Heh! So enjoy the pictures while I drag my large derriere into my cosy lil bed.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Birthday recap
Birthdays in my family have always been special occasions more so than Christmas. It is during birthdays when we splurge and shower each other (well we are only four anyway) with gifts. The usual practice is to eat cake once the clock strikes midnight followed by the opening of gifts. This year I had mocha walnut cake and received 2 books, 3 vcds, a gorgeous Lady Rustan's brown leather bag + gift certificates to my favorite stores all courtesy of my very generous family.

Lady Rustan leather bag

my birthday gifts

Our original plan was to have Chinese fare (I've been craving for fried rice for days now) at Shanghai Bistro at Eastwood City in Libis, then proceed to the Greenbelt/Glorietta area for some shopping where D would eventually join us for dinner at Cabalen. As fate would have it, my sister's brand new Acer laptop developed a technical glitch so our lunch was delayed while she berated the technical support guy over the phone for coming up with a product that chose to use the very faulty Windows Vista for its operating system. (More on this topic when I post about my brand new PC!). It was already 2pm when we finally shoved off to Libis totally unaware about the unfortunate incident which occurred in Makati. I received several frantic text messages from D who asked if we were already in Glorietta. I believe that if we didn't get delayed by the software glitch on my sister's laptop, we would have been in Glorietta around the same time the explosion went off. A blessing in disguise, indeed. By the time we reached Libis, Shanghai Bistro was already closed so we ended up having something known as the Manila Bay boodle feast at Blackbeard's Seafood Island. A complete meal for 4 people which consists of bagooong rice, sisig, fish, crab, squid, fishballs along with a serving of bulalo soup.

After shopping at the shops located in the Cybermall at Eastwood City where I was able to buy 2 blouses which don't make me look like a stuffed squid, we made our way to the Trinoma branch of Cabalen for dinner. The Ayala Land Corp. owned mall in the Quezon City area which is conveniently located just 10 minutes away from D's residence. We all had a great time bonding together over the buffet fare of local dishes that I totally forgot to take a picture of the food. But now I finally have a picture of me and D (together with my family) which sorry na lang won't be posted on this blog. :D

This was definitely one of my most cherished birthday celebrations ever not to mention the fact that this MIGHT be my last birthday as a single person. I was happy beyond belief surrounded by the most significant people in my life who shower me with so much unconditional love and overwhelming support, I can't ask for more, really!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Today I turn 39!
The mosaic maker only accepts 36 so let it not be said that I lied about my age. "Wala na nga ako sa kalendaryo pero pwede pa itaya sa Lotto!" A joke I got from my beloved D who makes me laugh like crazy all the time! =)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Day 5 - Last minute sightseeing and shopping for pasalubongs (September 28)

Our last day in Cebu was pretty laid back. We woke up late and just ordered room service for brunch. By 1 pm, we again hired a car with William the same driver who drove us around the previous day. A funny thing - he told us given our foreign sounding surname, he assumed we were Westerners, so when he first came to pick us up from the Shangri-la Mactan, he approached every Caucasian guests who were seated at the lobby only to find out we were Filipinos. Heh!

First we dropped by the Abaca Resort for another ocular inspection. Then we headed over to the Casa Gorordo in the heart of Cebu City. The ancestral house of the first Filipino bishop of Cebu was to my surprise very well maintained and in good condition. Afterwards, it was time to go buy pasalubongs like Otaps, Hojaldres, Cebu longganisa and chorizos, dried mangoes and my current obsession - dangling earrings (this deserves a separate post).
I forgot to mention that the previous day, my sister bought herself (as her birthday gift) an Alegre guitar. Never mind that she doesn't know how to play but she has been meaning to learn ever since she was still in high school. Now it is just gathering dust in her office and I wonder if and when I will ever hear it being strummed. Heh! By 4:30pm, we checked out of the hotel then dashed off to the airport to catch our 6:05pm flight back to home sweet home.

**Sorry this entry is haphazardly composed, you see Neo my computer finally went to PC heaven ergo I am pretty much in an agitated state, my files are all stored in several USB drives but Thank God I was already able to upload most of my pictures to my Flickr and Multiply accounts! **

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Day 4 (part 2) - My 5 star hotel indulgences (September 27)
My favorite activities when I stay at hotel suites are (1) ordering room service and (2) bubble baths. The evening of September 27, my sister booked herself a Barako body scrub and aromatherapy body massage at the famous Chi Spa at the Shangri-la Mactan Resort. I didn't join her because (1) it is way too expensive and (2) I'm not really keen on massages. So I had the whole suite to my giddy self. I ordered Nasi Goreng with cream of veggie soup and Diet Coke. During dinner, I watched TV in relative comfort clad in an oversized white fluffy bathrobe while at the same time I was texting D about the city tour earlier that day.

Nasi Goreng

Then it was time to head over to the gorgeous bathroom to set my bubble bath. Blending hot and cold water with the right amount of bath salts and body gel to make it foamy. It was an enjoyable experience just relaxing my weary bones while contemplating on my thoughts, my fears, my hopes, my aspirations and my whole life in general. I guess you could call it a defining moment while being soaked in lukewarm soapy bubbles, I suddenly realized this sinking feeling about something that has been bothering me for some time now. I'm afraid and I'm saddened to say it isn't a pleasant thought so I fervently pray it is merely temporary jitters. Yes I forgot to take a picture of the bubble bath but believe me it was oh so delightful and pure bliss! =)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Day 4 - Historic Cebu City (September 27)

We slept like babies in the above pictured luxurious bed in an elegantly furnished suite (Room 3001) at the Shangri-la Mactan Resort in Cebu. We had a hearty breakfast at the lavishly spread buffet in Acqua restaurant. My sister went to interview the people that run that beautiful resort so I hopped over to the business center to check my emails. Yes even when I'm on holiday, I still check my emails besides I had to send D a birthday e-card. Never mind that it cost me P175 for merely 15 minutes online. We feasted on delicious Chinese fare at the Tea of Spring restaurant at the hotel. Lo and behold it was already 2pm and William, the driver of our hired car was waiting to take us on a tour. It was raining heavily but that didn't stop us from enjoying the different sights of Cebu. I'm too lazy and too sick (got a really bad case of intestinal flu) to give a running commentary on the historical significance of these places so if you are curious just google them, ok? Thanks! =)

1. Painting at Mactan Shrine 2. Statue of Lapu Lapu 3. Alegre guitar factory, Cebu City 4. Alegre guitars 5. Santo Nino Basilica, Cebu City 6. Santo Nino adoration chapel, Basilica Minore de Santo Nino 7. Basilica Minore del Santo Nino, Cebu 8. The Cross of Magellan marker 9. The Cross of Magellan 10. Ceiling at the Cross of Magellan shrine 11. Magellan's Cross 12. Fort San Pedro

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Day 3 - Ocular inspections in the lap of luxury, Panglao Island Bohol (September 26)
Traveling with a travel trade writer has its perks, we get to do ocular inspections of beach resorts/hotels which we can never afford but still get a glimpse into the lifestyle of the obscenely affluent. Tell me would you pay US$250 to US$500 per night for a villa with its own swimming pool and butler services? But anyways here's a look see at what big bucks can get you at the beautiful island of Panglao, Bohol. Here are shots from the insanely expensive Eskaya Beach Resort.

This is the equally expensive Amorita Resort located in the Alona Beach area in Panglao Island, Bohol.

After lunch, we headed back to Tagbilaran City to check out of the MetroCentre Hotel so we would board the 4:20 pm Ocean Jet ferry to Cebu City. We made a quick stop at the BQ Mall for some last minute shopping for some native Bohol delicacies like peanut kisses, peanut cookies and ube brosas.

Bohol was a charm to experience - its friendly God fearing populace who deeply value their traditions and customs - its numerous tourist attractions like the Chocolate Hills, the Loboc River Cruise and the tarsiers - its secluded yet beautiful white sand beaches which are a serene haven for some quiet relaxation time.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Day 2 - Bohol Country Side Tour (September 25)
8:30 am - we were off with our bubbly guide, Cathy and Mang Rudy our driver for our Bohol tour. First stop was the famous Chocolate Hills. These limestone hills now number roughly 1,700 and are scattered through 3 municipalities. The zigzag road leading to the viewing deck of the hills located in Carmen winded through towns with picturesque scenery. We also passed through a stretch of rain forest peppered with very tall mahogany trees. It was an enchanting sight!

My sister (who incidentally celebrates her birthday today, the 2nd of October) needed to write an article about an ecotourism destination so we proceeded to Simply Butterflies. It is described as Bohol's first butterfly conservation garden and educational center. A sanctuary where they breed and study the different species of butterflies in Bohol as well as in the Philippines.

It was very serene and I felt like we were intruding because our guide, Alan told us it was mating season for the butterflies so everywhere we looked we saw pairs fluttering about.

We had lunch aboard the floating restaurant on the Loboc River Cruise. The cruise lasts an hour passing by the scenic towns of Loay and Loboc while being serenaded by a guitar strumming singer.

A short drive from the Loboc River Cruise is the most anticipated part of one's trip to Bohol - the Tarsier in captivity locale. These furry tiny nocturnal animals can rotate their heads 180 degrees and grow up to only 6 inches. They have really big eyes, long tails and special elongated tarsal bones which form their ankles. These help them leap distances of 10 feet high from tree to tree.

They are also very territorial and the loner types. Cathy told us some tarsiers commit suicide especially when they are held captive by drowning themselves or banging their heads against their cages. They are prone to depression and usually are stressed from the attention of gawking tourists as well as the flashing of the camera bulbs. We were instructed NOT to touch them and merely admire them from afar. But there were some Japanese tourists who stubbornly kept pinching them. Ugh!

I was so giddy with excitement upon seeing them for real. They were so tiny and oh so very cute!!! I kept texting D about how cute they were even though I knew he couldn't reply back because he was at work.

The next stop in our tour was the Baclayon Church. The Church of our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is one of the oldest stone churches in the Philippines. It was built from coral stones so the interior walls have this greenish hue from the algae formation (in Tagalog, "lumot"). The main altar is adorned with statues and relics dating back to the 16th century.

We then headed to the Blood Compact Commemorative Shrine in Barangay Bool. This marker identifies the spot where Datu Sikatuna, a native chieftain forged a blood compact with Don Miguel Lopez de Legazpi the representative of the King of Spain. The sculpture was made by National Artist Napoleon Abueva, a Boholano.

But did you know that the original blood compact occurred on a Spanish galleon ship somewhere in the middle of the ocean near Bohol? Yes that's right. The National Historical Institute is in the process of rectifying this fact and there are plans to put up a marker in the real spot. I know this trivia courtesy of D who is my source of historical tidbits. I guess dating a historian does have its advantages! =)

Our last stop was the Bohol Bee Farm located in Panglao Island. A sanctuary where they grow organic vegetables as well as harvest honey from the numerous bee hives. After a tour of the different organic plants in their greenhouse, we were treated to a gastronomic delight. It consisted of an organic garden salad, kamote herbed bread, squash cupcakes, dips (pesto, honey and cheese) and lemongrass ice tea. Their homegrown mustard honey was perfect as salad dressing.

Yes those are flowers, the gumamela and ternate sunflower to be exact which served as garnish for the garden salad. So I can truly say I ate flowers in Bohol. It was a nice way to cap the long day after enjoying the sights and sounds of Bohol - by eating healthy organic food in a serenely luscious enclave in Panglao island as we watched the sun set over the ocean. Pure bliss!