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15 posts from February 2007

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February 24, 2007

Aidanacio.us

Me Giant Baby.

Aidanacious
1. Aidan's life in Photos -- anything and everything about Aidan.
2. A photoblog of Aidan's first times, fun moments and blessings in life.
3. A blogger hosted blog (http://aidanacio.us)
4. An ongoing online biography of the life of Baby Aidan.
5. More Cute Photos of Aidan

We've been maintaining two blogs ever since 2005. Aidanacious is not as popular as Our Awesome Planet, but we continue to passionately update it because it serves as an online biography of Aidan's life. My wife updates it these days and it is getting funnier each day. I just want to share it with you in case, you just want to see cute photos of Aidan.

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February 23, 2007

Jatujak in Mall of Asia!

Jatujak - 3

Jatujak Menu: Click for a bigger Version

Before heading off to watch the Chinese Acrobats, Korean Paper Doll Lanterns, and the Italian Light Display, I would recommend to eat in this no-non sense Thai place called Jatujak in Mall of Asia. It is located in the second floor , entertainment mall near the center. It is named after the famous Chatuchak weekend market in Thailand and owned by a Filipino. This is what a filipino thai food should taste like and you can order your sukho thai favorites and fulfill your thai craving. We think that it is decently priced and the food is good.

Notsolillulu actually raved about Jatujak in her foodie review:

"Up until yesterday, I could only think of Muang Thai in QC to recommend...but now I've found another satisfying resto in Jatujak. Named after the world's biggest weekend market, found outside Bangkok, this restaurant presents old Thai reliables in a modern setting. Prices are reasonable and servings are more than adequate. We started with the shrimp tom yum. Although we asked for spicy (mild and medium being the other choices), we found it not unbearably hot. What we liked about the soup was that it didn't heavily rely on the spicy tom yum paste to flavor it, so you could still taste the other aromatics like galanggal and coriander. This is probably the best tom yum around here, according to my hubby, the tom yum connoisseur. We also had their fried spring rolls filled with sotanghon noodles ("glass noodles"), wood ear mushrooms and meat; they were substantial and not too oily. The pad thai boasted of nicely cooked al dente noodles, topped with loads of peanuts, beansprouts, spring onions and a couple of prawns."


Overall, Pinoy Thai Food at its bests! A little on the sweet side and you need to put kalamansi to balance it out. That is the way we like it sometimes...

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February 22, 2007

World Light Expo 2007

World Light Expo - 13
Dragon made of Porcelain Plates

The World Light Expo 2007 is the latest entertainment complex which is a combination of luminary spectacles, live entertainment and infotainment that is never seen before locally. I wanted to post this review of the WLE 2007 to share with you what to really expect in this exhibition and don't just believe the marketing materials that you see.

The Grand Opening is on Friday, February 23 and all the attractions will be open until April 22, 2007 (4pm to 12mn). We visited last Wednesday night and there were two special attractions that are not open yet:
1. The Harbin Ice & Light Festival, an Ice World of minus 18 degrees centrigrade (to be completed on the 1st wk of March).
2. The 1st Qin Emperor's Terracotta Army Exhibition (w/c should be ready by now).

The entrance fee is P300/ adult and P200/child age 3 & up. The question in everybody's mind: " Is it worth it?" For me, P300 was not worth it for its entertainment value, maybe when they add the two other exhibitions it might make up for it. Although if you decide to go, you should see the loooong dragon made out of plates and cups (pictured above) ! -- Amazing :) Also, there is indeed a fantastic water screen laser show that I have never seen before here in Manila.

World Light Expo - 30
I really came to take shots of the colorful lanterns and I know Aidan would love to see these huge lantern displays. (at least, he is still free of charge). In a sense, the place is nice to take portrait shots with the colorful lanterns as the background. I intentionally went on a weekday so that there is less people and you can get some good shots.

Some tips:
1. The place is super dusty from the parking up to the exhibition grounds. Everything is displayed on open air and it would be a problem if it would rain. Also, it is windy at night so the dust might pose a problem for you.
2. Don't expect good food inside and drinks are P60 for a San Mig light beer. It is best if you have dinner at MOA or around the area before heading over to the World Light Expo. Bring your own water.
3. There were tourist traps like the crappy train for P20/head, and the P150 wear-a-korean-costume-and-take-a-photo trap. Don't fall for these.
4. The lanterns were colorful and good to see from afar but the workmanship, if you look up close, was mediocre.
5. The acrobat performance is decent but the World Top Korean B-Boy Group is a joke. Don't waste your time watching this.
6. It is best if you arrive before 7pm or 9pm which is usually the start of the circus.

Check out the rest of the photos on the World Light Expo....

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February 21, 2007

Top 10 Pinay Celebrity Bloggers

*** Updated 2/22/07 ***

I admire celebrities who blog and don't let their celebrity status get in the way of self expression. Most of the time I find the celebrities who blog are smart, witty and able to convey what they think clearly without being afraid of what others would think. It is also entertaining to read their blogs and let readers/ fans have a sneak peek at their lives.

1. The Diary of a Supergirl Wannabe by SuperBianca also known as Bianca Gonzalez. (http://superbianca.blogspot.com/) She has been on blogging hiatus for a year ever since she entered Pinoy Big Brother around Nov 2005. Recently, she started to post again to the delight of her readers/ fans last Feb.7. She wrote:

" what a year 2006 has been for me. what a year, i tell you. lahat ng posibleng maramdaman ng isang tao sa buhay, naramdaman ko lahat sa loob ng isang taon.extreme happiness, extreme sadness, love, extreme love, fear, guilt, excitement, peace, uncertainty, certainty, denial, longing, comfort, security, satisfaction, embarrassment, pride, confidence, strength, anxiety, jealousy, helplessness, reassurance, courage, faith, hope.. and the list goes on."

I admire Bianca for blogging ever since September 2003 way before she became famous. Remember, most of the known bloggers in the Philippines only started in 2005. Blog on, Bianca.

2. Lemon.Chamomile by Kooki also known as KC Concepcion. (http://kooki.multiply.com/journal) There are a lot of fake celebrity blogs out there hoping to get accidental traffic and earn a few bucks. KC wrote in her multiply:

"This is my ONLY online journal, meaning I have NO Friendster, NO MySpace, NO OTHER BLOG ACCOUNT out there. Just this one."

It is hard not to fall in love with KC after reading her blog. She is very witty, smart and cute. No wonder, FHM, Maxim and Manual agrees that KC is one of their dream covers for their magazine. Her Europe adventures are colorful and her love for languages is infectious.

3. DaphneOP by Daphne Osena. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/daphneosena/) It is refreshing to see a celebrity having an online photo blog like Daphne. It is great to see her family pictures with her kids and she takes time to post the photos and put caption on them. Her Flickr account also serves as a showroom for her necklace business and my wife loves to look at them. It is fun to see the photos of Daphne as if watching a reality F show using photos. She often interacts with ka-flickrs and I admire her openness in sharing her lives in the photos of her family.

4. indie · boys · are · neurotic by sugarcandypop also known as Mitch Dulce (http://sugarcandypop.livejournal.com/). I've known Mitch blog because she is one of the designers and owners of the Store for All Season (SFAS) along Mandaluyong. To refresh your memory, Mitch was part of the Pinoy Big Brother Celebrity Edition and she was the up and coming Fashion Designer in that batch. She was one of those more popular LJ bloggers who is not afraid to speak her mind out. I love her stories on Mich Dulce school of passion.

5. Ala-ism by VJ Ala. (http://ala-ism.pansitan.net/) Daughter of Apo Hiking Society's Jim Paredes who regularly blogs also at Writing on Air (http://haringliwanag.pansitan.net/). I love her cute valentines posts on: How to make Ala Paredes fall in love with you. She wrote:

"1) Feed me well. Take me to really good places to eat. Give me unforgettable gastronomic experiences. Overeat with me. I will love you to pieces.
2) Indulge my geekiness. Ask me about my Mac. Engage in heated debates with me over the advantages of OS X versus Windows. Gift me with flashdrives instead of flowers. Be able to understand the humor behind 'Dilbert'. Compose a love letter in binary... you have to be able to tell when I'm kidding, ok?
....
8) Be able to make me laugh. You have no license to kiss me until you've proven that you can.
....
12) And now that you know all the rules, surprise me totally."

I am definitely hooked. She has been blogging ever since July of 2003 (can you imagine?)

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February 19, 2007

Binondo Chinese New Year

Celebrating Chinese New Year in Binondo - 3

Kung Hei Fat Choi! Happy New Year to all of You!

This is the first time I really felt the Chinese New Year Celebrations. My wife's family celebrates it and this is the only time that I appreciate it. We treated it like the Jan. 1 New Year and celebrating it in Binondo makes it more special. It was my first time in Binondo during this celebration and I avoided it in the past because I don't know what to do in Binondo or what to expect. There is that occasional fear of pick pockets and feeling of being an outsider trying-hard-to-celebrate-the-New-Year that prevented me from experiencing the Binondo Chinese New Year!

We had fun chasing the dragons/lions all around China Town. The photo opportunity is quite different because there is no organized schedules and the happenings are organized by the shop owners. What happens is, each store prepares something for the lions --- it could be candies or lucky coins to eat and sometimes beer to drink. They court the lions to dance and bring good luck to the store. The end of the dance is usually culminated by fireworks. Before the lion leaves, they get the angpao containing cash usually hooked high above the store's entrance. It is quite an experience to see these dragons and lions do this ritual all over China Town.

Celebrating Chinese New Year in Binondo - 14

Tips in celebrating Chinese New Year in Binondo. (I'm putting this as a mental note for next year)

1. Bring Ear Plugs! The fireworks are so loud that it can damage your ear drums specially if you are near taking the photos.
2. Follow the dragons/lions. There is no set schedule on when the dragons/lions appear so the best way to find out is to follow the group of dragons/lions.
3. 10am and 4pm festivities on the eve of Chinese New Year. Usually most of the lions appear during this time. I'm glad that this year's CNY falls on a saturday.
4. Go on a Food Trip. You should bring someone with you who would know where to eat in Binondo. After joining Ivan's Big Binondo Food Wok, somehow I can say that I know my way around Binondo's culinary secrets.
5. Celebrate it with friends and family. Binondo will remain a mystery to most of us and it is quite an experience to explore it with family and friends. I'll try to organize something next year.

It was nice bumping into Sidney of Sari Sari Store, Ivan Henares of IvanAboutTown, and SenorEnrique of WishYouWereHere. Check out their post on the Chinese New Year @ Binondo:

Here are some postcards from the Binondo Chinese New Year...

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February 17, 2007

Fun Ranch Happiness

Fun Ranch Happiness - 21

Kids these days are very lucky. Imagine an entire compound built for them where they can play, shop, eat and have a spa massage. This place is called Fun Ranch Center (beside Tiendesitas) where kids definitely rule! It is fast becoming the cool place to spend family time with your kids or celebrate your kids birthday.

We celebrated valentines with Aidan at Fun Ranch and you can definitely see the happiness on his face after the trip. It is best to visit here during the weekdays to avoid the kids crowd on weekends. It is 50% operational and the best places are the Active Fun play area and Little Lambs Spa. Of course, every kids center have the usual kiddie traps in the form of the fun rides such as the merry go round and carousel rides, game centers, and junk foods which we usually avoid to give our kids. Also, there's a Big Red Barn restaurant which was built with kids and family in mind and I'm glad they did not put the usual Jollibee/ Mcdonalds food.

Overall, wonderful place for kids and I do hope they are able to maintain it. Thanks to Leslie/ Helena for the tip on this place. I do hope to meet you in Fun Ranch one of these days :)

8 Tips for the best Fun Ranch Experience
1. Play with your kids @ Active Fun. For kids less than 3 years old, it should be accompanied by a yaya/ a parent (for free).
2. Socks are a must! (for the kids and the parent :)
3. Schedule a Kiddie Massage Spa before you play. This is definitely a must! All kids love this.
4. Go on a Weekday. Little Lambs have a promo discount during weekdays. Avoid the Kids crowd.
5. Bring Extra Shirts. (for the kids and the parent :)
6. Spend 3 hours in this order: Active Fun Play Center -- Little Lambs Spa -- Big Red Barn Resto
7. Prepare a budget of P500/ kid for the entire experience.
8. Don't forget to bring your camera and take fun shots :)

Check out this Fun Ranch Happiness experience....

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February 15, 2007

Big Binondo Food Wok - Chinese New Year Special Edition

bigbinondowok

I missed this last year and I won't miss this Chinese New Year special edition the second time around. I'm joining the Saturday wok but I'm afraid it is fully booked. Ivan opened a Sunday walk at 2pm in the afternoon, you might want to try that. For me, this is the only time I can bring out my SLR camera without fear in the heart of Binondo area and discover the culinary secrets of Binondo.

Big Binondo Food Wok -
Chinese New Year Special Edition

Telephone no.: (632) 7113823
Mobile no.: +63917-329-16-22
Email: oldmanilawalks@gmail.com
Contact person: Ivan or Cherry

a BULANtines Day!

Happy BULANtines Day! - 40

"Imagine an old colonial house made of solid wood and stone, cathedral ceiling and adorned with exquisite carvings by skilled Filipino artisans. This old mansion located in the quaint neighborhood of Little Baguio in San Juan has been carefully renovated and restored to become the beautiful setting for a unique restaurant called Bulan. It offers the finest European cuisine, the first of its kind in the Philippines and more likely the first in Southeast Asia. " *

Happy BULANtines Day! - 3

Happy Valentines Day! I must admit that I'm not as harassed by V-day than before. I remember planning for a surprise Tagaytay picnic for lunch during office hours. Of course, you need to have everything in place: the red roses, the valentines gift, chocolates, love cards, and I have to buy a picnic basket (the ones you see in the movies). As they say -- what counts is the effort. These days, I realized that Valentines is a marketing hype and an excuse to increase prices on this love day. For me, every moment that you are together should be a Valentines day and the 14th of February simply becomes an occasion for us to try out those expensive new restaurants.

On V-day, we decided to try out Bulan (meaning Moon in Indonesia). This European Cuisine cum Antique and Arts Place in Little Baguio, San Juan just recently opened last Feb. 5 and will have its grand opening on March 15. "The restaurant features exotic Asian decor and furnishing. Hardwood flooring along with stone walls and magnificent chandeliers from India supply the warm setting that showcases the finest, most exquisite Asian art and furniture."* The restaurant is owned by Marlene Aquilar (sister of the Freddie Aguilar and multi-awarded art book publisher). The Master Chef, Antonio P. Aguilar, is a "Filipino who lived and worked as a master chef in Europe for over 15 years. He holds European culinary awards and has taught European cuisine in Sweden. "*

I must admit that we were intimidated by the beauty of the place and its nice ambiance amidst the antiques. The restaurant setting is in a 3 storey mansion in San Juan that used to be a showroom for Jo-Liza's Arts and Antiques. The food was ridiculously expensive and my wife was not happy about the food. Imagine P1,000 for a main course and everything else was around P500/ soup/ salad or pasta and the food was not even close to Antonio's in Tagaytay. Although, they admitted that this is the first time that they served a huge group and they are still fine tuning their kitchen operation.

It also has a snobbish oldies crowd ambiance -- or you could say old rich. Marlene Aguilar was there entertaining her guests and did not even bother to welcome other patrons. You would feel that if you complain about the food and how expensive it is, they would tell you that you're a sour grape and you're not rich enough to be their target market. Their P1,000+ seabass tasted like grilled hard tanguingue, and it was replaced by cod that was also mushy raw -- (I'm glad that they did not let us pay for it). The service people were very nice (thank you!). Sometimes, you might see Freddie Aguilar dining with his friends, as we did last night.

Overall, this was a good place to impress your special someone. I wouldn't go back in Bulan not unless OAP readers would rave about their food.

Checkout this BULANtines Day experience...

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