19
Apr

Filipino to Spanish

This week has not been merciful on my wallet. And diet. :/

Aside from spending a significant amount of money on bills (pfft), the Expense Manager app on my phone says I spent too much on food as well. Yay?

Last Wednesday afternoon/night was spent with former officemates eating at Kanin Club in Ayala Triangle. It’s been almost a year since I last visited Kanin Club, and it was nice to be back to taste the old favorites.

The original plan was to go to this bagnet place at Makati, but since the weather made the stay outside like being in a sauna, we decided to just eat at Ayala Triangle. While walking, everyone was saying “I know where we’ll end up.”

We ended up at Kanin Club.

Upon being seated, I checked in at Foursquare, and only then I noticed there’s a Poco Deli nearby. If I had only known, we might have eaten there. Funny thing was, you will pass by Poco Deli before getting to Kanin Club (if you’re coming from Ayala Avenue/Makati Stock Exchange building). It’s either we’re really hungry not to notice, or our unconscious had already decided to eat at Kanin Club.

Crispy Liempo

Anyway, we started with the old faithful crispy liempo. I totally avoided this tried avoiding this but there and then I decided “What the hell, today is cheat day!” so I had a few. Promise.

Pochero

My all time Kanin Club favorite – Pocherong Tinomas. Kanin Club’s take on pochero is interesting: it’s more like stew rather than soup, the saba was fried, and they added fried camote. They used beef, and added some ham. My friends totally avoided this, I dunno why. At least I had something to bring home.

We also ordered Bistek Pinoy (I took a photo but it was blurry; it’s in my Instagram – pls to follow me kthx), Crispy Dinuguan (I forgot to take a photo), and Tinapa Rice (I also forgot to take a photo). The rice was completely consumed, the bistek almost all of it, the dinuguan only a few of it left.

Total damage for everyone is Php 285 (rounded off and including service charge). Not bad for a sumptuous Filipino meal. For bachelors, you should eat there with friends; eating by yourself is expensive and lonely.

Today I had lunch with an officemate and her friend at Barcino Wine Resto Bar. The original plan (decided yesterday) was to try Wrong Ramen at Burgos Circle in The Fort. Before we went there I asked another officemate who had eaten there for feedback, and we were discouraged because (1) they open at 12nn, (2) the place is small, and (3) there might be a long queue.

We thought of going to Wildflour Bakery + Cafe, but even before I could begin contemplating on their prices the officemate suddenly craved for paella. So off we went to Barcino.

It was my first time there. I thought it was a classy, high society place for cheese and wine. Well, it is a classy place for cheese and wine. But they do have something for those not into cheese (I can eat cheese but I don’t crave for it) and wine (teetotaler). Basically they carry Spanish fare. As I was a Barcino newbie, I let my officemate order the food.

Sopa de ajo

We started with the classic Spanish sopa de ajo or garlic soup – basically a simple soup with garlic, bread, egg. This one has small strips of jamon Serrano. Surprisingly, the taste of garlic was not that strong, which I find I liked. I should probably try making this at home, the recipe looks simple enough.

Paella Negra

We ordered this Paella Negra. They put in squid ink in there, hence the color (and the name – but apparently it is not really a paella but arros negre). There are five squid rings on top, some mayo, and a slice of lemon. I tend to avoid squid because most of the time I find them rubbery and unchewable. The squid here was surprisingly chewable, and I was kinda sad there were only five pieces. Paella negra looked icky at first but I liked it.

The officemate was tempted to order wine, but as we had to go back to work, we wisely did not order. (The reality was that we can’t find the prices per glass in the menu hehe).

Total damage was… secret. Let’s just say Php200 each, which is not bad. Also, they have a lunch promo ongoing, 20% off on your bill.

Again, for bachelors, not for eating by yourself – unless you have a large appetite and can wolf down the entire content of the paellera. Or if you just want to get drunk. But better to get drunk with friends over a platter or two of cheese. If you invite me I’d let you have the wine and I’d have the cheese and tapas.

I did say before that this category will just archive the past entries, but I need a place for my food (mis)adventures, so here it is. I dunno if my co-writers could read this, but if they are interested to write again, just let me know. 😀

17
Apr

Let It Be on violin and cello

Wow. Let It Be never sounded so cool. I like this very much. I just find the shifting between the two awkward. But yeah.

16
Apr

Just show us the numbers, CBCP

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(image from here)

In a recent SWS survey, 9% of the respondents said they sometimes think of leaving the Catholic Church; that means 1 out of 11 Filipino Catholics thought of leaving. Of course, the Catholic hierarchy is scandalized. The survey result is questionable! The churches are always full! The government is behind this survey!

Funny thing is, the survey statement that the respondents were asked to react to is “Sometimes I think I might leave the Catholic Church.” But then again, in the eyes of a pastor, 1 out of 11 is large enough number to cause worry.

A true pastor would ask why, investigate, talk to parishioners, and implement programs so that people won’t leave. Unfortunately, the hierarchy has chosen to live in denial.

The best way to refute the survey result is to bring out data. Unfortunately, what Peachy Yamsuan said were generalized information, like:

“The Diocese of Imus has more new parishes created in the past 10 years or so… which begs the question, why create parishes if the number of Mass-goers is dwindling?”

How many parishes were created in the Diocese of Imus in the past 10 years? We don’t know.

There is a way to rebut the statement that the Churches are full.

Let’s take the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan. According to its web site, there are around 900,000 inhabitants in the archdiocese, 90% of whom are Catholics (around 810,000). There are 30 parish churches, and around 67 priests (including retired ones). Assuming all parishes have equal number of parishioners, that means in Lingayen-Dagupan, there are around 27,000 parishioners to a parish. A priest has to minister to around 12,000 parishioners.

No wonder the churches are full. (And the hierarchy being disingenuous.)

Nine percent of 810,000 is 72,900; assume that 72,900 is equally spread in the diocese, that makes 2,430 parishioners who have thoughts of leaving the Church. Assuming that all of the 2,430 decided to leave, it’s a negligible amount.

No wonder the bishops are in disbelief.

How many parishes will be created in the near future? How many seminarians will be ordained as priests in the future? These numbers are important, but the Church will not give us these information. And these official, verifiable numbers will help the Church show that it is going strong. Just show us the numbers, dear bishops.

Solita Monsod is right – the Church should stop playing ostrich (BTW read it for she has better numbers than I do). Instead of trumpeting numbers, the Church has to address the fact that members of its flock are thinking of leaving.

As for me, the reason people are thinking of leaving is that the clergy has become politicized. I know someone who has decided to leave the Church. The straw that broke the camel’s back? The Church’s use of the pulpit to denounce the RH law and its proponents. God knows how many Catholics like her have already made the decision to leave. Reports of dioceses calling pro-RH candidates as Team Patay, and a lay group forming the so called White Vote, will not help the Church retain its followers.

There are more reasons, and they deserve a separate discussion. Just to name a few: disgust over liturgical decay; resistance to top-down, centralized governance; Church doctrine that are out of touch with reality (contraception, divorce, same-sex marriage, ordination of women, optional celibacy).

15
Apr

Why I am not voting for Nancy Binay

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No one questions Nancy Binay’s qualification to run as a senator. The question is whether Binay is qualified to be a senator. That single question must have hurt Nancy Binay so badly that her only retort is for her critics to file a disqualification case against her in Comelec. If this is the quality of thinking that she is bringing to the table, then as voters it is our duty to refuse her offering by not voting for her this May.

An employer, in seeking a new employee, conducts due diligence by investigating the background of the prospective employee. It is the same for us voters.

Her resume is unimpressive. She has no experience in private and public enterprise that can show she can handle the job of a senator. Her only exposure in government is being her father, Jejomar Binay’s, personal assistant. In terms of experience, it would have been logical if Binay fielded his other, more experienced children Junjun and Abigail. (Then again, as I have said before, Nancy’s campaign is dry run for her father’s 2016 bid for the presidency.) Heck, a three-term councilor would have been more than qualified compared to Nancy.

If an employer considers a candidate even if the resume is unimpressive, the employer may interview the applicant. For us voters, one way we can learn about a candidate’s thoughts, plans, and vision is by watching him speak in a debate or a forum. Unfortunately, Nancy Binay would not indulge us. Risa Hontiveros, one of the better candidates with something to show in her government work, said she is ready to exchange opinions with Binay in a debate; Binay chose to campaign instead, she just doesn’t have time, she said. Yes, it is like a job applicant telling the employer to shove it up his ass.

Her obstinate refusal to debate and her ominous absence in TV forums are, for me, signs that she is afraid that her unfitness to be a senator would show. The irony here is that a senator must be ready to engage in a debate in the Senate floor, and here we have a candidate who wants to be a senator but is afraid of engaging in a debate! It’s like a cadet aspiring to be a soldier but afraid to shoot a gun.

Why I am not voting for Nancy Binay? One, she is not qualified to be a senator since she doesn’t have the experience that will show she can handle the task. Two, she refuses to share to us her platform and vision, and refuses to engage with other candidates in a debate.

Third, her stand on some issues are not compatible with mine:

* She is against the RH law, her objection being of budgetary concerns:

“I have an issue with the budgetary requirements of the bill, the budget to buy contraceptives. A 4-year-old child died of meningococcemia which is preventable through immunization. Why can’t we allot a bigger budget for immunization, day care centers?”

Which only shows her ignorance of law making, because if that’s her concern, the answer to her question is to increase the Department of Health’s budget on immunization. Besides, most of the functions of the DOH are already devolved to the local government units. She should ask her brother Junjun and her sister Abigail – they should know.

* She sees nothing wrong with political dynasties. But of course. No.

* She is for the anti cybercrime law.

* She is against same sex marriage.

But the ultimate reason why I am not voting for her: arrogance. She is relying on the name, popularity, and extensive campaign network of his father, thereby excusing her (she thinks) from telling us voters why she deserves our vote. She is qualified to be a senator because not only she is a Binay (it’s a birth right, and it’s her edge against the other candidates, says the daddy), her father tells us so. Jojo Binay even compared Nancy to Margaret Thatcher, so his daughter is very much qualified. All these show that the Binays are too sure and too full of themselves.

And that, my friends, is why I am not voting for her.

P.S.
She’ll dance, she’ll wave, she’ll throw Binay candies and t-shirts and fans; she won’t talk because if she opens her mouth her ignorance will be discovered.

15
Apr

Kristell Lim at Ozinefest 2013

Kristell Lim is one of the well known cosplayers in the Philippines. She’s been declared recently by dolldelight as their model for the Philippines, as voted by Facebook fans. If you ask me, it shouldn’t be a surprise. Just look at her!

15
Apr

Expense Manager for Android

Yes, I know it’s too much expenses for less than 15 days. That’s why I installed this app in the first place, to monitor my expenses and cut down if needed.

This simple app for Android lets you monitor your expenses. Whenever I purchase something, I open the app and add this latest expense (you can instead add a home screen widget so that you don’t have to open the app when recording an expense).

When you open Expense Manager, it shows you a graph of expenses grouped according to categories. There are predefined categories but you can create your own and assign a color for your category. In my case, I added the category Toys, since it’s inevitable that I’d buy at least one a month. (Yeah, I know, don’t tell me.)

You can even view a history of your purchases for a month, and you can show entries for a category. There are two premium features (meaning you have to purchase the Pro version to unlock these two): Distribution and Statistics.

You can even export your data as a CSV file. This means you can load your data on MS Excel, for example, and do loads of geeky things with the data, like create charts to remind you that you probably need to spend less. Yeah, yeah I get the message.

I have been using this app for less than a month, and I like it. It is very unforgiving – when I open the app, it reminds me without blinking that I need to cut on spending. The UI is clean by using the Android Holo UI. It is a good expense monitoring app and I highly recommend it.

Get it here.

14
Apr

How do you explain Nancy Binay?

Many are perplexed by the consistency of Nancy Binay’s popularity as evidenced by several survey results. A virtual unknown prior to the start of the campaign, she was in the top 12 of SWS and Pulse Asia (PDF) surveys way before the start of filing of candidacies. Why?

Is it because she is a Binay? Partly, but how do you explain Jackie Enrile’s sliding survey numbers? Enrile used to rate highly but during the campaign his numbers slid. I think the people thought before the campaign started that it was the senior Enrile who’s going to run. It is also possible that Jackie’s numbers were affected by his father’s drop in satisfaction survey ratings in the aftermath of the MOEE issue in the Senate.

On the other hand, the elder Binay’s survey numbers are impressive, and in fact, even better than the President’s. These figures surely won’t hurt Nancy’s chances, and may even help come May 13. So her being a Binay is plausible.

Jejomar Binay’s extensive network must be a factor as well. Just look at the number of Makati’s sister cities in the Philippines. Also, the position of Vice President is perfect for campaigning, and anecdotes like Binay helping other municipalities when he was stil mayor of Makati are not uncommon. I believe this extensive network is now working, as evidenced by the survey results. This network is just a test and a dry run to Jojo Binay’s eventual run for the presidency in 2016.

13
Apr

Usagi Drop

usagi-drop1

(image from here)
Manly tears were shed after watching this movie.

This movie has been sitting in my hard drive for half a year now, and mainly I was bored tonight, so I decided to watch something. I had nothing particular in mind, so I just browsed the folder where Japanese TV shows and movies are stored, and on a whim decided to watch this.

It was a mistake of sorts.

This movie is based on the manga of the same title. I won’t give a synopsis, I’ll just link the Wikipedia entry.

I just want to write about thoughts that came into my mind during and after watching the movie.

I don’t see myself having children in the near future. That might change, but right now I don’t think I will have children of my own. I see them as kawaii when they are not throwing fits or crying like it’s their nature. I had seen a lot of parents whose patience ran out when dealing with the terrible twos.

I still remember my youngest brother when he was born. We woke up in a stormy night, only to find my parents gone. My cousin acted as our guardian; she told us that my mom’s about to give birth.

The night after, a bundle of joy that was a baby arrived home. He was so cute and fat and adorable, we forgot the anxieties of our mom not coming home with the baby. I was happy he arrived safely, but later on I thought he was a pest because from time to time I had to keep watch, feed him, or change the diapers.

I saw how hard it was to be a parent and to take care of children. As I grew up and became a cantankerous and snobby adult, I thought about children and having to take care of them and their future, and I decided that it is not for me. I don’t think I can take the responsibility of caring for a child.

It is a source of anxiety from relatives. They keep on telling me who would take care of me when I get old. I always joke that I have to be super rich by then.

I wanted to argue that it is not the right reason to have children. I’d like to quote Gibran but they won’t understand (I keep on kidding my mom that children have no obligation of taking care of their parents, but filial piety always takes hold).

This movie made me rethink of this. It made me ask a lot of questions. Am I capable of love? Am I capable of having a child, taking care of it, preparing for its future? Am I being selfish in my decision not to have a child? Is not having a child a sign of my own weakness? Is adoption an option?

I said earlier that watching this movie was a mistake of sorts. Mistake because it made me think of things that I’d rather not think of. It made me rethink my decision and position. It made me think of my future and what I would miss with this decision. It made me think whether I am being selfish or I made a decision out of love by not bringing forth a life that might be a disaster because of my shortcomings and fault. I’d rather not have a child than have a child then ruin its future because I might not be a good parent.

Manly tears were shed (manly tears being imaginary tears) because this movie has shown me what will I miss if I stick with this decision. But mostly tears were shed because I am too much a coward to even contemplate a life of a father taking care of his child.

4
Mar

Looking at the window in front of me

There’s a wooden bench lying on the roof, sideways, its four feet pointing to the west. A maya bird perches on one of the foot, chirping, then flies away.

This has been a regular scene ever since I started working at home Mondays. Around 7am, you can hear them on the roofs, chirping. I once tried taking a picture, but the window screen’s too dusty. I really have to find time to clean it.

I wanted to put a water bath for them at the roof, and a small container of food for them. I don’t know what’s stopping me from doing so. I guess laziness.

I cherish these times. I dread the day when the cats are back to their jump-on-walls-and-roofs-and-wail-and-have-sex routine. They usually do so in the middle of the night.

Now listening to vinyl. Currently playing: Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. Birds have flown away. Back to work.

29
Sep

Lacierda should know better

I rarely blog about current events and politics nowadays, for I thought that with friends and acquaintances on the administration, the country is in good hands. I still think that we are in the right track, but it can be expected that there will be goof ups, and there will be times when we have to correct the course if we go astray.

I actually dread the day when I have to call out people I know, and what I dread most is the day I have to part ways with friends over differences in opinion. But if I am to be a good friend and a good citizen, it is my duty to point and to dissent.

I’ve known Atty. Edwin Lacierda during the last three years of the Arroyo regime. I’ve been reading his blog back in 2005, back when Arroyo’s been pushing the limits of her powers and burning government institutions to the ground. I’d met him one time at a rally along Ayala Avenue; the last time I met him was at the Palace by the Pasig. I’d like to consider him as a friend but I won’t presume as such – I don’t even know his email address.

Anyway, yesterday, he was quoted as saying the following:

“It won’t win them brownie points … The better venue for them is to really show their protests in a proper forum.” (Emphasis mine.)

I find it ironic that he has to use a phrase that is synonymous with the Arroyo regime. For those who had forgotten: every time there was a complaint/protest against Arroyo, her allies would always tell the opposition (not necessarily those elected officials who were against her) to bring/prove them in the proper forum. As someone who pointed out the mistakes of the Arroyo regime, and to be told that phrase, I find it ironic for Lacierda to tell the anonymous hackers to go to the proper forum.

As a lawyer, he should know that the proper forum is still not an accessible one for people of little means. Hiring a lawyer is like gambling all of your resources to an uncertain outcome. Pro-bono lawyers are very few, and they have a lot of cases to deal with. Docket fees are prohibitive. And government officials can always sit on complaints or use the tyranny of numbers to quash them, as we had seen in the House of Representatives of the years 2006-2009.

The only way common folks can air their grievances is to go to the streets and protest – and we all know how effective it can be. Arroyo invented the calibrated preemptive response (CPR) to deal with street protests. While a legitimate form of dissent, a lot of people would rather do something else than go to the street.

And now, with the cybercrime law, the government is armed with other means of shutting out another avenue for dissent and airing of grievances – the Internet. Some government officials and lawmakers are asking the citizenry to give the law a chance. Yet, by reading the law, you’d see that giving it a chance means giving up this last space for free exchange of information and opinion.

I find it sad that Atty. Lacierda had to say that phrase. It brings back bad memories of a lost decade, years of frustration and of lost chances. He should know better.