Sunday, November 30, 2008

ALESSI: when art meets kitchen

I first discovered ALESSI during one of our get-together dinners here in Taiwan... Sue & Cecilia gifted us with what I came to know later as part of the Chin Family Collection of ALESSI products... I instantly fell for them and had to google more about ALESSI.... hence, I came to know that they are on the pricey side...

On one of my shopping adventures in Manila though, accompanied by Juliana, we happen upon the FLAGSHIP store of ALESSI... for the very first time, I got to see/admire/and study their selections -- including the complete Chin Family Collection... and instantly, my initial love for the products was rekindled -- I broke down and bought the salt & pepper shaker from the Chin Family collection, of course!!! And one more purchase later, the newly released XMas candle holder - AM A CONVERT, A COLLECTOR!!! Needless to say that it helped plenty seeing Juliana purchase quite a few items, too!

The shop showcased a wide array of products... from cookware, kitchen wares, and just about anything you can think of to make decorating your homes fun... and pricewise, they are comparable to the shops in Europe and US -- so you know you are not paying anymore that others. For me, the best thing about ALESSI products are the design twists added on each and every item they make -- clocks, bathroom plunger, juicers, etc -- all are just so whimsically delightful without losing the design edge.

"Architecturally inspired pieces, carefully crafted, pushes the boundaries of creativity. Each piece really do combine great aesthetics with functionality."

ALESSI products, to date, are available from to a number of countries worldwide. In Manila, the flagship store is located here:
ALESSI - High St.
Bldg. 5, Unit 1E10-1E11 Bonifacio High St.
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila
(632) 8564452

Saturday, November 29, 2008

TrAvElInG fUn WiTh JuLiANa...

Just last week, Juliana got adventurous and decided to travel off her beaten path, come with me, and give Manila a shot -- for 5 days!!!

As much as I was looking forward to this trip with Juliana, I was also getting anxiety attacks, as I do when I am playing tour guide... No matter where we might be heading... and it did not help that most of her friends are asking her: "Why Manila?" I guess these days, when people think of traveling to Manila, not for business, they go for the beaches: Boracay, Palawan, Davao... not too much the city -- which can be quite overwhelming to most... I remember traveling there with a friend from San Francisco back in the early 90's - this being his first time in Asia, he totally suffered CULTURE SHOCK!
Am so relieved that all turned out well, more than well to be exact... Juliana was such a perfect traveling companion... not demanding at all... and just as "happy go lucky" as I am.... we filled our days with just about anything... no real schedule and plans.... we roamed where the day took us.... shopped and window shopped... enjoyed the XMas decor - which really is a MUST SEE as the Filipinos go all out for this Holiday.... and ate here and there....

Each day we got back home around 9 or 10 pm... settled in and relax for a bit, shower and chat about the people we saw, people we wished were with us in the trip, the things we bought and did not buy, and life in general -- till 1AM!!! Overall, it was a GREAT TRIP... one for the memories, indeed... and we are already talking about the next one.... here's a bit of the ITINERARY:

Nov. 22nd: First stop was my FAVE place in Manila, Shangrila - Edsa Mall... ate at Sumosam Japanese restaurant, walked about, shopped, and then met up with my family for dinner at Barrio Fiesta, a typical Filipino Restaurant.

Nov. 23rd: Met with Filipino artist, Jose Guillermo Naval @ Artina Resto & Gallery to pick up one of his works; lunch at Jollibbee; DVD shopping at Makati Square; then HIGH St @ The Fort to meet Juliana's Taiwanese friends living in Manila, the Chens, and dinner at Abe Restaurant.

Nov. 24th: Gave Juliana a TRUE Pinoy experience... made her take a tricycle, then the MRT to go North to hang out at one of the biggest and most crowded shopping malls, TRINOMA; lunch @ 5 Cows; saw the movie PASSENGERS; and the double whammy - coffee from STARBUCKS & desserts from Krispy Kreme;

Nov. 25th: Daytime was spent discovering the SPANISH influenced area of INTRAMUROS; lunch @ ILLUSTRADO & antique shopping at SILAHIS; In the evening we headed to The Podium to relax @ The Spa, a bit of shopping, and then dinner at KIMONO KEN.

Friday, November 28, 2008

L.E.G.O., who knew???

It has been so long since I walked down the LEGO aisle of any Toy Shops - I was soooo AMAZED to see how much they have really evolved!!! Really Cool LEGO Exhibition at High Street, The Fort... I was told by the exhibitioners that it should be running through the end of DEC -- so it will be AMAZING more XMAS shoppers, for sure.... Go See it if you have the chance guys... and Enjoy!!!

We happened upon this LEGO exhibition, when my friend, Juliana and I, went to meet a few of her family friends at High St. in the Fort Bonifacio District on Nov. 24th...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Jose Guillermo Naval @ ARTINA

Walking about A.Venue on the nite of the 22nd, before meeting my family for dinner at Barrio Fiesta - we happen upon this Artina - a gallery restaurant which is really nicely done. What really drew us though,as we were not looking for a restaurant were the paintings on the wall... in particular, the one of the boy facing the wall - the painting spoke to both Juliana and I.... for different reasons am sure....

It reminded me so much of being punished by my step-father growing up.... i was always sent to face the corner walls... for one reason or another - little did I know it was more because I looked like my DAD so much and he did not want to be reminded... LOLs....

Anyway, we went in and met with the Ms. Geraldine David, the Manager of the place and she was kind and sweet and very accommodating... we had a few questions about the paintings and the painter which she answered graciously... then she contacted the artist, with answers to a few more queries from us.... Now that is service!!! Juliana and I both loved the painting and decided to get it... since she is the GUEST and it is her first time in MANILA, I graciously let her have the painting....

The following day, we went back to pick it up and found Mr Naval, the artist himself, packing the painting for travel. It was such a pleasure to talk with him... get some insight to his ideas and inspirations... and even got to utter a few words in Spanish with him... AM A FAN, now... and am awaiting to take one of his paintings for my Condo wall, too!
ARTINA is on the Ground Floor of A.Venue. The change their art displays every month and starting the 26th of this month they have another big exhibition going on with a few artists, including Mr. Naval's works. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED place to visit -- to dine and admire the artworks. Ms Geraldine David is very pleasant and sweet to talk with.


I see myself as basically a nice guy.... simple.... friendly... helping in anyway I can, here and there.... and most of all, I ALWAYS TRY SEE see something GOOD & BEAUTIFUL in anything and everything.... no matter where I am... who am dealing with in life.... and with all the things that happens, not just to me but in this world we LIVE in....

Recently, we have SUFFERED a GREAT LOSS.... no one DYING - mind you... more like MONETARY LOSS.... a little over US$20,000 to be exact.... in these trying times, losing this amount is enough to drive anyone crazy or into a deep depression.... It would have been OK, I SUPPOSE, if it was just due to the flailing economy happening all the world.... but it was more DUE to TRUSTING TOO MUCH and being TAKEN by the EVIL PEOPLE of the world....

We have been PONDERING and yes, I CRIED over this for weeks.... and we are basically just now regaining our FOCUS ONCE AGAIN -- DRIVE and DETERMINATION.... Thanks to FAMILY, FRIENDS & LOVE ONES -- we are able to LOOK BEYOND all of this and GAIN BACK OUR POSITIVE OUTLOOK in LIFE...

As friends lovingly reminded me.... there is such a THING as KARMA... and $$$ can be gained once again with hard work and perseverance.... I do still have my HEALTH, my FRIENDS, & FAMILY -- and for this am very THANKFUL.... they are what MATTERS most in LIFE!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

with FRIENDS like these....

Okay, with Thanksgiving just around the corner - I got to thinking about some of the TRADITIONS I had back in San Francisco... family & friends get-together; touch football with friends; pigging out; and the BEST of all, watching the Thanksgiving Episode of FRIENDS! Each and every season, it is the one episode I try not to miss -- they always come up with something really fun and funny... Thank GOD for youtube - one can always catch them, anytime of the year...

Here's the one that started it all for me, "The One With The Football":

and the HILARIOUS one where, "Rachel Makes Dessert"

Friday, November 21, 2008

7 Weeks To Equality

We call on all supporters of equality to sustain and intensify the nationwide campaign of mass protests and non-violent civil disobedience, for seven weeks, starting on November 27, 2008, the thirtieth anniversary of the assassination of Harvey Milk, and to then gather together in mass, from all corners of our country, in Washington, DC on the morning of Tuesday, January 20, 2009, to honor the inauguration of our President, Barack Obama.
We cannot all be there -- but we can take part by endorsing the Petition - pls click below for more INFO and to Do Your Share:
Seven Weeks to Equality

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bernardo Bertulucci's Little Buddha

Little Buddha, inspired by a TRUE STORY, is moving drama from Academy Award-winning director Bernardo Bertolucci. It tells the story of a Tibetan monk known as Lama Norbu (Ying Ruocheng), living in exile in Bhutan, and is searching for the reincarnation of his teacher, Lama Dorje. His quest takes him to Seattle, where signs indicate that a boy named Jesse may be the lama. Cultures collide when we meet the boy's American parents (Bridget Fonda and actor/singer Chris Isaak), who are understandably skeptical about Lama Norbu's excitement. Ultimately, Jesse and his father are curious enough to travel to Nepal and Bhutan (as did Bertolucci's crew), where other candidates have been identified. Throughout the film, Bertolucci cuts to episodes in the life of Siddhartha (Keanu Reeves), whose voyage of discovery 2,500 years ago led to his enlightenment as the Buddha. Bertolucci shoots Siddhartha's journey in rich reds and golds, while the scenes in Seattle--where the Americans seem morose and lost--are muted in cool blue. LITTLE BUDDHA is an intimate story in which an ancient system of belief holds its own in the modern world.

This beautifully filmed, little movie filmed mostly in Thailand, is sooooo moving - and such a cinematic experience for me especially seeing the SIDDHARTHA story line come to life in the big screen... Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse is one of my all time FAVE books...

So this movie is really a story within a story of a movie... subtlely and beautifully told -- on all counts. And as an added BONUS, Siddhartha is played by a very young Keanu Reeves.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Could He really Be???

As reported by the Associated Press: People from all over the world are flocking to Nepal to worship a teenage boy who many believe is the reincarnation of Buddha. Followers say Ram Bahadur Bamjan, 18, re-emerged from the Ratanpur jungle, about 160km south of Kathmandu, after meditating without food and water for more than three years.

It is said that he was last spotted in the jungles of southern Nepal in 2005, and is believed to have spent months without moving, sitting with his eyes closed beneath a tree For those who worship such a feat, Ram's appearance was a chance to witness the miracle in the flesh.
So, is it something to BELIEVE IN??? I would like to, as am sure a lot of people would... I even wish I could trek to Nepal now and see him in person, myself.... It would be GREAT to personally witness him surrounded by a line of Buddhist monks, blessing followers with what the devotees call, the "divine touch", from a podium. I would even try to get blessed -- no matter what religion you follow, one should never refuse blessings.

Ram Bahadur Bamjan, has never claimed to be Buddha, he is expected to address his followers today, Nov. 18, then retreat again into the jungle for meditation.

Monday, November 17, 2008

World AIDS Day!!! Mark Your Calendars...

December 1st is World AIDS Day!!!
Join to promote this important day!
Worldwide the estimated number of people living with HIV is over 33 million. An estimated one million Americans are living with HIV.
Join the “Facing AIDS: World AIDS Day 2008” Campaign

In four easy steps, you can help reduce the stigma around HIV/AIDS:

1. Take a picture of yourself wearing a red ribbon. Be creative!
2. Add the photo to your social network profiles, Twitter, blog, and/or website before December 1. Leave it up for at least a week.
3. Add your photo to the “World AIDS Day 08” Flickr Group!
4. Encourage your friends to do the same and to promote HIV testing!

Find Out More... CLICK HERE!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

who says he is NO GOOD anymore???

One day as I was walking from my home to run a few errands, I happen upon this dirty snowman on the side of the street... not too sure is he is being thrown away... or put out to dry to get cleaned up??? I can only hope that it is the latter as he is still pretty much in good shape... with just a bit of washing and scrubbing - he would be as good as new... and will display nicely for the Holidays...

Anyway, seeing this snowman made me think of one of my favorite Children's Book ever, The Velveteen Rabbit. The tale of a stuffed bunny rabbit that was given to a boy one Christmas, loved, and then over shadowed by other fancier toys, and eventually thrown to the side and forgotten. In the end of course, the stuffed rabbit was granted by a magical fairy his wish - to become real.

The book was written and originally published in 1922, written by Margery Williams and illustrated by William Nicholson. I did not become aware of it though till the mid 80's when, for Christmas one year, I was given the Video recording version of the book, narrated by Meryl Streep. I remember loving the story so much that, not only did I play the recording over and over, I also made it a tradition to read the book every XMas from then on.

To this date, I do still have the book, and I do still re-read it each and every Holiday season. It still gives me that same warm & fuzzy feeling each time -- just as all toys of mine will always have a place in my heart... even after I have passed some of them on to friends and loved ones, or donated to children's charities... I can only hope they do love them and take good care of them -- as much as I did....

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bike-A-Thon in TaiBay!!!

Saturday, Nov. 15th: After a whole week of basically NON-STOP rain - starting last Sat. - we finally got to see the sun today... It was blue skies and just the right amount of breeze in the air... Of course it is a NO BRAINER! Right away, after a cup of coffee, we got ready and hopped on our bikes to ride around the DaJia River, same area where we run all the time... Today, we decided to go as far as we can -- and ENJOY a leisurely ride with occasional stops for some photo ops...

The ride, for the most part, is pretty easy as most of the way it was flat... and the bicycle lanes are wide enough for both going and coming back, plus for passing others... and on days like these, you will be needing to pass up a lot of riders, as soooo many families love to ride together in close proximity of each other.... and too leisurely for our speed...

The Route was just beautiful!!! We rode for miles and miles -- reaching Guandu Temple in less than an hour - which would normally take us an hour or so by car!!! Right around the area is a little TOURISTY area where you can get some local delicacies... and that WE DID, of course!!! After getting some food in our tummy, we continued on with our trip... Rode for another hour to reach the end of our destination, Bali Township. Here one can enjoy the Bali Left Bank Park with all types of Cafe's lined up overlooking the water; the Bali Boat Club (where they happen to have a Wind Sailing Event going on); & Shisanhang Shell Mound - the end of the road, where one can reach the waters - too bad it is not a swimming area but fishing is allowed.

Again, such a beautiful route to ride, and it made us realized by looking at the various maps en route, that Taipei is really a BIKE-FRIENDLY place! We got back home after 2PM - it was basically a 6 hour ride - with stops here and there... Our legs are tired... my hands are sun burnt (talk to me about that later!)... but we are two happy campers, bikers really... what a GREAT way to take advantage of a Beautiful Day! This I can do every other week, even once a week if not too sunny... But what is this I see??? Yikes, David is already planning our next route... WAAAAAH!!!!

Quantum of Solace : Movie Review

We went and saw Quantum of Solace last weekend when it Premiered here in Taiwan, am just now getting to write about it as I was feeling very much indifferent about Bond's Latest outing. Yes, Daniel Craig is by far, the Best and most Human of all Bonds over the years. And Yes, the movie was still jam packed with unbelievable action sequences. Somehow though, the whole package to me was a bit underwhelming -- something a Bond movie should never, ever be.

The movie is filled with Great performances: Daniel Craig continues to impress, showing raw emotions without losing an ounce of manliness. He is TRULY the EPITOME of a MODERN BOND, one that is keeping with the times - Metro-sexual & not afraid to let his emotions show. A Bond that more people(young, old, woman, man, straight, or gay) can relate and look up to. The new lead Bond babe, Ukrainian Super Model Olga Kurylenko, is pretty cool too - gritty and tough, even though her emotions get the best of her most of the time. The other Bond babe, Gemma Arterton, brought just the right amount of quirkiness to infuse the movie a bit of a breather, a bit of humour - i liked her a lot - too bad she will not be making any more future appearances (if you get my meaning). And Dame Judi Dench, getting a bit more screen time, as always Superb.

My biggest beef lies in the script -- or what seems like lack of it. Definitely does not live up to the promise and tone set by the first one, Casino Royale. I know that it was supposed to be a continuation of the storyline, and with Bond trying so hard to get the closure he needed in regards to his love, Vesper -- which he did -- but somehow we never really get to see what he was really up against. But the director did really keep the film moving despite having no plot momentum on his side - through stylish and adrenaline pumping action sequences.

Friday, November 14, 2008

...last nite I cried....

...over the news of this Taiwanese girl committing suicide at the age of 23... it is SAD enough when one hears or reads about this kind of thing -- even if you do not know the person formally or informally... but when it is someone you feel you kinda' know - it can truly affect you... and that is just what it did to me yesterday...

Ivy Li (Lee) was the 2nd runner up in the 3rd year of the Popular Taiwanese Show, >One Million Star, and she was my FAVORITE from the get go.... This show has become a favorite of ours and would watch religiously every Friday nite... None more so for me, than in the year that Ivy was on.. Week after week, I look forward to hearing her sing be it Chinese, English, or Taiwanese... She was not a Great Looker, but she had style and charm -- and just the right amount of sweetness when she spoke. Real, not trying... and boy, can she sing!!! I actually wished for her to have been the winner but alas, it was not in the cards... and she came in third. I recall being IRATE each week with a judge or two for faulting her for one thing or another - usually for singing in ENGLISH one week, then being told that she was better the week prior singing in English... Lols... it is just really a matter of taste... and one's personal opinion... so I just watched it to enjoy her performances.. and just knew, that she had a promising career ahead of her...

So it pained me to hear that she killed herself just yesterday... and that it had something to do with Love Gone Bad. Truly upsetting and incomprehensible for me... I understand loving someone too much, being sooo hurt that you feel empty and alone... but to actually kill myself - that is just something I cannot see... But it is different for all of us -- and only we can truly battle our own devils... and we deal with them the way we know how... and for some it is this way...

Am just really sorry and was affected by this LOSS of LIFE... One Million Star shines one less with her passing...

Ivy Li singing (IRONICALLY) "If I Ain't Got You"

Here she sings a Mandarin song from one of her own Idol, A-Lin.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tori, Tori, Tori

Since we are on the subject of Heroes, I got to thinking about one of my current Heroes: Tori Ewing

Tori is Mary's daughter - first met her at IFDC a few years back.... she was still in High School and doing sooo well academically... I remember during the course of the week, both David and I, felt that she is one of the most mature, most focused, people we have ever met. She did not talk much in crowds, but you can tell she listens and absorbs everything... we also thought how cool it was that she can hang out with her Mom, and her Mom's kooky friends -- US!!! Over the years we get to know her more - through what Mary updates us with, as well as, talking with her in CyberSpace, or other conventions we are both in attendance... At one of the last ones in Vegas, I recall how much fun it was to watch her do the DANCE REVOLUTION that I was coaxed into doing so, too.. I figured, with her next to me, doing it at the same time, am in great hands... it was one of the most fun times I have ever had at a convention. I admire so much in her that she can hold on to her youth, in the midst of all the growing up she has to do -- after all, the transition between girly to a young woman can be very awkward... if she did feel such pressures, she surely did not show it.

Then, suddenly she is in College -- only a year finished so far and already she has accomplished sooo much.... in the coarse of a year, she managed to excel in her classes... take so many electives.... joined and performed on stage with a Modern Dance Company... etc... and seeing her in a couple of her performances with the company gave us such a thrill -- it was as if we were also in the audience, proud as can be.. proud to tell everyone around us that: "That is Tori up there... our firend, our family!"
(FEET OF FLAMES : Tori & Company)

(Modern Dance)
So far, having just started her 2nd year, she has already joined the Girl's Hockey Team and is contemplating now on becoming a Lawyer.... we are sooo excited for her... and know that there is nothing that she cannot do -- from sewing her dollies little dresses to battling it out in the courtroom -- if she sets her mind to it.
(Tori as Speed Racer for Halloween '08 and trying on her Hockey Uniform)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

HEROES : Season 3

Just caught the 2 Hour Premiere Episode of Season 3 here in Taiwan last Thursday... on STAR WORLD... Can it be any cooler??? If I was not HOOKED then, am totally or even more HOOKED now.... so many things going on.... so glad I got to see the rest of SEASON 2 via DVD during my last stay in Manila....

The Season looks really promising so far... major Villains... more DRAMA.... lots of new twists - cool (Dr Suresh gets powers!) & sick (Sylar is brother to the Petrelli Brothers!)... aaaah... I cannot wait for the next few episode - that will be tomorrow nite... Sadly, it is way behind here in Taiwan... I see it is already Episode 8 in the US... but it is OK, am more than willing to wait and savour it all....

My only complain from the Premiere Ep is that Elle was let go which made me sad as Kristen Bell is sooo good and funny in her role... but I see from the LINK below that she comes back biiig time later on.... can't wait for that!!!
Episode Guides: Beware - Lots of SPOILERS

Tuesday, November 11, 2008's raining -- little gifts...

Met up with Juliana today -- 4th consecutive rainy day that it is here in Taipei -- to help her get a quickie VISA.... then a lite meal at MOS Burger and while waiting for our food, she surprised me with a few things she had gotten me from her recent trip to TOKYO.... Nice Surprises on this otherwise GLOOMY & WET DAY!!!

The two Kewpie dolls dress as Disney characters are just the cutest... they are vinyl and their heads wobbles... there are 8 different ones in the series: I got a Mickey Mouse and a Daisy Duck ones... others are Pooh, Donald, Minnie, Piglet, 101 Dalmatian Dog and there is a BLIND ITEM... Not sure if they are sold here in Taiwan or if they will come here, but am pretty POSITIVE I will be hunting down the rest to complete this collection.
(Counter Clockwise: Daisy & Mickey Wobblies; my friend, Juliana; Juliana's cute Blythe Pen; & Me--the HAPPY recipient of the gifts.)
Cute Poster Art @ MOS for their 2009 Calendar

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Gary V X 3

It AMAZES me that it has been 25 years (and counting) that I have been a BIG FAN of the very talented, Mr Gary Valenciano!!! He is one of the very first PINOY ARTIST I ever really liked!! As we all know, artists come and go... our tastes changes, as we grow older... but am very HAPPY to say that my admiration for Gary and his beautiful voice has never waned....

First discovered him back in the late 80's ... growing up in San Francisco, Calif... "Di Na Natuto" I heard playing from a friend's car and it was an instant LOVE for the artist and the song.... had to go to Daly City and get my own copy of the CD right away.... THANK GOD for the big Filipino Community in that part of the BAY AREA - there were shops that carried his CDs... From then on I was hooked... each and every album I had to get -- either purchased on my own or sent to me by friends and family from Manila....

"Sana Maulit Muli" hits close to home with me --as it was the song dedicated to me by a former love one. A Love Lost but nevertheless, still felt. ..and my third most FAVE by Mr V is, "Ikaw Lamang" -- this was chosen by the family to be played/sung (twice in fact!) during my Dad's funeral back in 2006... so it is very close to my heart.

Certainly the list of FAVES does not stop there.... each and everyone of his songs recorded has been overplayed by me -- and will continue to be played on for many more years to come....

Of course, the admiration runs much more deeper -- not only is his voice one of the BEST I have ever heard... his music has also been such an inspiration -- each and everyone of them.... and to read more about him: his devotion to his craft, his family & love ones, and of course, to GOD - is simply INSPIRATIONAL...

Music Playlist at

LINKS of Interests:
-Gary V. Live @ 25
Am so SAD I will nto be able to attend this concert celebrating his 25 years in the BIZ... here's hoping the a DVD of it will come out! Not to mention a LIVE RECORDING CD!
-Official Website
-Gary in Wikipedia
-Gary on IMDB

Saturday, November 8, 2008

So What If It's A Rainy Saturday?

Rain, Rain, & lots more of rain all day and all nite long on this Saturday... still, we did not let that stop us from making the most of the day -- it is the weekend after all... and don't we all love and look forward to weekends...

Started the day by going to the GYM...we wanted to get a bit of exercise out of the way so as to not feel to GUILTY from all the eating and vegetating we will be doing on this day... Came home and rushed to get ready to see "Quantum of Solace, the new BOND movie.... right after, we had Japanese food for lunch... and then walked around a bit at the BREEZE Center, where most of our time was spent inside the KINOKUNIYA Bookstore... taking refuge from the rain.... when it let up a bit - we rode home... got a bit wet but still was satisfied with our first half of the day.... Came back home and did some work... answered lots of emails and worked on a few more things that needed looking after....
Around 5:30PM, we decided to walk over to the Roahe Night Market for din-din... it is still raining and actually, is pouring even harder now... the walk was less than half an hour so it was nice, though wet.... The usually bustling Roahe Night Market was anything but this evening... due to the rain, most people stayed away... which was a pleasant change for us... we did not have to navigate at a snail pace through hoards of people just to get to the food... so we were two happy, wet, campers.... besides, as an added bonus the street was lined with lite up trees, all set for XMas...Got our fill and walked back home... did a bit more of work and now we are awaiting for our FAVE shoe, SUPER IDOL... one of Taiwan's equivalent to AMERICAN IDOL... we watch it religiously...well, whenever we are in Taiwan anyway... Perfect way to end the nite... and dream of what tomorrow will bring...

Hope you are all having a nice weekend -- wet or dry....d

Friday, November 7, 2008's beginning to look a lot like XMas...

Okay, even before Halloween it was already starting to look a lot like XMAS' And I could not be HAPPIER - after all, those of you who know me well, knows that this is my MOST FAVE Holiday of all!!!

Department stores & Shopping malls, both in Taiwan & The Philippines, have already made ways for their XMAS shops: started putting up their XMAS decors.... lining up major streets with XMas lights... and even started playing XMAS carols... Heck, even Nanay was playing Jackson 5's XMas music over and over, throughout our ride to see my MOM...

So getting into the SPIRIT of things - I made my first XMAS purchase for the year... this Paper Mache' Holy Family done in Green -- as XMas will be all green for me this year...

How is it in your neck of the XMas woods???

Music Playlist at

3 on L.O.V.E.

"We can live
In a world so free
Be true to your heart
And let love just take you there"

"True Love is not just Figthing for someone you love... but also LETTING GO"

"Love Means Never Ever Having To Say You're Sorry"

tokidoki in San Francisco!!!!

Yep, Simone Legno, creator of one of my OBSESSIONS, tokidoki, makes an appearance in the Bay Area on the 15th of November, 2008. It will be held at Macy's in Union Square....

Haaays, wish I could be there & attend!!! I MISS MY HOMETOWN!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"It's Really Not the Size That Matters...'s what you do with it... REALLY!!"

Taiwan was once the world's leading manufacturer and exporter of bicycles but in the mid-1990s due to dumping charges and relocations of factories to China where production costs are much lower - business basically tumbled down. Though China now is the world's major supplier of low-cost bicycles -- according to the economics ministry, Taiwan retains its edge in high-end products such as racing-style, mountain and folding bikes.

Yep, you READ that right... Folding Bikes!!! The folding bike, otherwise known as "xiao che" in Mandarin or "little foldable", weighs around 10 kilograms (22 pounds).

Pacific Cycles, a Taoyuan-based exporter, began selling its signature folding bikes at home in 2005, and since then they have become popular with city dwellers for their lightweight and convenient features. According to a recent interview with marketing manager Max Yeh, despite a 66 percent price hike to 50,000 Taiwan dollars (about US$1500.00 each) per bike, domestic sales are estimated to increase by 100 percent this year.

Could it be the failing economy -- domestically and worldwide??? People trying to reduce their expenses by not driving - what with the high rising costs of Petrol. Or maybe the growing environmental awareness of the Taiwanese people -- the wish for less traffic jams and cleaner air. Even the Taiwanese government has promised to expand cycling routes and facilities, in a bid to promote cycling as part of its "green policy" aimed at saving energy and reducing carbon emissions. The latter I totally LOVE and AGREE with WHOLEHEARTEDLY.

I can only hope that, like in so many North American & European cities, cycling will become a way of life -- and not just another passing TRENDY fad. And since am already in a wishful thinking mode - I hope also that the trend will spill over to other Metropolitan Asian cities like Manila, Bangkok, etc....

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Blood Is Thicker Than Water, Indeed...

I thought I had LOST this email from my brother... he sent me this email back in the SUMMER of 2007.... am sooo HAPPY to have found it filed in one of my folders.... and not LOST after all... the email included something he had written and was published a month prior to me getting the email, during the annual Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month...

I remember feeling back then, after reading this, how though we could be as different as Night & Day -- we still hold the same feelings for our childhood memories, family & friends, and the country we were both born in.... This feelings of longing is even more intense and rekindled now that I have been going back a lot, to look into our MOM....

We left The Philippines together at a young age and moved to the USA to be with our father... like all siblings, we had our fun times... our quarrels... our differences... and the last time we were really together, prior to our DAD's Funeral in 2006, was before he left for the US Air Force -- many, many years ago....

I am soooo PROUD of him for this article and thought I would share it with you all..
My Kuya Benjie: Taken back in late 2007 during the last weeks of his stint in Iraq.

Stranger In My Own Country

By: SMSgt Reuben P. Teruel
United States Air Force
51st Logistics Readiness Squadron

So many memories…

I miss my country, where everything is so different yet so familiar at the same time. I miss my relatives, the people who taught me never to forget where I came from, because it is a part of who I am and always will be. It is this fierce pride in my heritage, my culture, that has kept me devoted to my motherland.
I know that I do not belong in America. I do not belong in a place where I am supposed to be obsessing over superficialities while people in my country are struggling to survive. Nor can I ignore the yearning inside of me to go back home, to the people and places I love and miss so much. I cannot simply go on with my life and pretend that I am still the carefree person I once was, because nothing is the same.
It has been so many years since I left. There are some things I can still remember, having thumbed through the same old pictures many times in my attempts to hold on to days gone by, but other memories have been lost in the dark recesses of my mind. Images of what I have left behind greet me at every turn, making the wait seem even longer and the longing even stronger. Though it was only last year that I was talking and laughing and mourned with my relatives, it’s really been more than 30 years that my life is filled with tears and the sorrow of goodbye. The dull ache of homesickness still remains and it never goes away.
I want to go back. Back to the chorus of the roosters at dawn, the sound of jeepneys and tricycles rushing by on the street and the familiar ring of a vendor's bell as they pass by. All of that is gone now and there is nothing more to do but go on with my life here in America and wait for the years to pass until I can return once again.
I have already missed so much.
I wonder how different my life would have been if I had grown up in the Philippines. Sure, I would not possess most of the things that I have now, but would any of that matter? Time has passed by so quickly and going back, I felt like I was a stranger in my own country. I have been away another year but what is a single year after so many have already come and gone?

Nothing can ever replace what I have lost.
There are times when I have to remind myself how blessed I am to be here. I carelessly spend money on trivial items and proceed to whine about not having enough. I do not want to forget all that I have seen and yet it is starting to form a hazy picture in the back of my mind.
And so I sit here helplessly and watch as my country slowly deteriorates. Unlike so many others, I need not worry about where my next meal will come from or have any fears about my future, simply because I grew up in the United States. Yes, I have greater opportunity than many can ever hope to have but there is no escaping the irony and the guilt that comes with it.
People tell me that it is hopeless, that I should follow the example of the millions of others who stayed abroad and send money back home. Help the economy, they say. But if everyone were to leave, who would be left to help the others that have no choice but to stay? For the simple reason that I can, I must go back. Do I think that I as an individual can make a difference? Not only do I believe I can…but I must make a difference. I have had more than enough ease and comfort in my life and there are others who will never know what it is like.
I speak for Filipinos everywhere, whose lives and families have been torn apart by distance and time. I speak for those whose dreams have been smothered by the weight of reality and for others who have left in search of an illusion and who may never return.
I weep for my dying country, where hope itself has grown weary from hunger. I’m longing to one day return home for good in the land of my parents…the land of my birth. To live amongst my people once again. I know life maybe harder but there is no denying…home is where my heart is. After all, you can take a Filipino out of the Philippines…but you can never take the Philippines out of a Filipinos heart.
One day I shall return. Someday…I will be home…

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sacrifice Valley Trek

Oct 27th, 2008 : Paid our respects to my Dad & Grandmother by visiting their moseleums in Sacrifice Valley - Bataan, Philippines....

it was PERFECT time to visit, as Ace did not have to go to school and Nicole is on a sem break from school... and actually better doing so than on All Soul's Day -- as it would have been CHAOS - since a lot of people do come up to Sacrifice Valley for prayers and festivities during that Holiday....
We even got to take some fun shots as the place is just full of SAINTLY and ANGELIC statues.... including the 16 Marian Images representing the Beloved Virgin Mary's
16 major apparitions throughout the world -- all in LIFE SIZE form!!!!

November Rain

Back In Taipei once again... and the RAIN is back along with me... my flight got in at past 1PM yesterday afternoon... it was sunny when we were landing but lo and behold, as soon as I step off the bus, closer to my home, the rain started.... must have brought it back from Manila as I heard it was nice and sunny here when I was away.... and in Manila, it was raining off and on, the whole week I was there... 2nd day back today, Monday the 3rd and it has been raining heavily.... LOLs... RAINY SEASON here we come... good thing I have a lot of work to catch up to which will keep me indoors for the next few days....

Mom & Angel: Photo Above

The TRIP was, as always, HURRIED and TIRING... still it is always worth it to see my family - especially my MOM.... she is doing quite well -- HAPPY and ENERGETIC.... it was GREAT bringing a 2 year old girl, Angel (a cousin's daughter), with us to keep her laughing as she loves kids... The only bad thing is finding a LUMP on her chest that seems to be getting bigger -- so we need to get that checked out right away... and as with most older people, she does not want to deal with it nor even think about it... which can be frustrating...

So it is scary to think about these things... how my MOM is really getting old... I only wish I can make things more comfortable for her... give her a bit more HAPPINESS... if there is one thing that she is wanting - that is to get to see my Brother Benjie... I do hope I can make this come true for her... sometime soon...