Taal Volcano brouhaha..

Social networking sites are very much alive again not because of the Piolo-KC’s continuing love-hate saga, or Manny Pacquiao’s supposed attendance in the baptismal of his lovechild as a Godfather or P.Noy’s latest lovelife. The buzz these days is about the proposal from the Provincial board of Batangas about erecting a sign ala-Hollywood in Taal Volcano showing B-A-T-A-N-G-A-S.

This proposal according to them would make everyone know that this popular natural attraction is in the territory of Batangas and not Tagaytay City. What the!

So what if the whole world will know that Taal Volcano is in Batangas? Will it bring millions of Pesos in the country’s coffers bec. bus loads of tourists will come upon finally knowing that Taal Volcano is located in Batangas and not Tagaytay City as they had thought all their lives? Is this matter a cause for a national or international concern like the Spratly Islands claim the reason why our beloved country decided to call South China Sea to be West Philippine Sea to claim sovereignty of the disputed area?

Gov. Vilma through the media said people should not over react because this is just a proposal.

So why are many people still reacting?

Personally, I am writing this blog post because as a Filipino (not necessarily a Batangueno or Caviteno) I feel our elected politicians should focus on projects that would benefit the critical masses not just selected or privileged few. They are spending tax payers money in deliberation sessions about a project which should not be thought of in the first place. Don’t they have better things to do or discuss? Letting the people know that Taal Volcano is part of Batangas province should be made through other initiatives not erecting a giant signage “sa isang nananahimik ngayong Bulkan”! They could spread this information through media, Dep Ed by emphasizing in textbooks and educational materials about the correct geographic location of the place, etc.

I read a news article in ABS-CBN website about this topic and I totally agree with the comments:

“Paano pag sumabog ang bulkan, e di sira na rin yan agad. Sayang ang pondo ng gobyerno, mas marami pa sanang mas kapakipakinabang na proyektong puedeng paggamitan,” Theresa Enriquez- De Asis said.

Johans Lucena said: “The Hollywood sign was put up to add character to an utterly boring hill….the taal volcano by itself has its own character, no need to put up a sign coz everyone knows right away that it is The Taal Volcano.

“Why doesn’t ms Santos use the money in improving the environment in that area instead of adding an eyesore that not only will cost so much money but will also ruin the look of the place.

The millions she’ll use for that sign can be used in planting more trees, plants, improving road works, etc. That would leave a better mark than something she merely copied from somewhere.”

The comments above is a very very big CHECK. Few months ago there were massive fish kills in various parts of the country due to water pollution and over crowding of fish pens. Taal lake is not spared of this dilemma. So why can’t these intelligent and dignified officials just spend their energy and resources in preventing said phenomena.

Gov. Vi, there is still time to scrap this useless project and do something better. The country has enough of the eyesore called giant Billboards. Pls. do not plant one in a naturally beautiful place.

I have been checking the Facebook page showing various altered pictures about spots wherein names were erected. It’s really funny and shows Philippine humor. See for yourself and enjoy!

Kala ng Batangas sila lang..Kaya din ng Cavite yan! (woahh this may likely to happen cos there are a lot of actor-politicians from both province).

Belat! Kami din.

Now this looks like a waiting shed donated by a politician

To commemorate Gov. Vi’s success as a Darna.

Funny TV Commercials (Part 2)

I first posted a set of funny TV commercials of the world in Year 2009. It’s about time to update the list of the funniest TV commercials I saw either in the boob tube or YouTube.

So here are the 2nd Honor Roll (not necessarily in order of level of humor)

1. Cafe Nature Gift (Thailand)-


2. Oishi Slim Green Tea Commercial (Thailand)-



3. Pepsi Pinas (Sa akin ang Pinas FULL Version) (Philippines)-

4. Biolink VCO Hot Oil (Philippines)-

Pumasyal sa Pilipinas kahit puno na ang Jeep…

Many Tourism promotions always highlight that the Philippines has 7,107 islands…Too many islands to explore right? But the million peso question is “Where are all the Tourist gone?”  According to a tourism report, tourist arrival grew to 5.2 million. This is actually a positive sign if compared to the past years but I believe this figure includes Balikbayans or Overseas Filipinos visiting Philippines for Holidays. So even with the positive figure, why does it sound like I am whining?

Thailand enjoys over 14 Million visitors a year, Singapore in March alone enjoyed a brisk arrival of 928,000 and projects tourist arrival to 12.5 million at the end of this year especially with the opening of new Integrated resorts like Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands. Malaysia tops the list of SEA countries in terms of visitor’s arrival at about 21.5 Million in 2009.

Figures don’t  lie ayt?

Why am I highlighting these facts? Simply because the Philippines has all the factors to be the Tourism Haven in Southeast Asia (perhaps even whole Asia).

1.) We are the 2nd largest English-speaking nation in Asia (2nd to India). Everywhere you go even on the boondocks, locals can more or less communicate or understand English. Very Tourist friendly. In Thailand, some of those working in the hotels or restaurants cannot converse fluently in English. But Tourist still flock.

2.) We have the Sun, Sea, Sand and smiles. Activities and attractions are endless. Boracay still remains a big draw to tourist with its talcum powder-like sand and party atmosphere all day and night. Palawan is simply the best and so is Bohol, and Batanes, and Camiguin and Cebu and Davao..the list goes on and on.

3.) We are a melting pot of cultures. It’s true some countries have very strong and easily recognizable culture and heritage like that of China, India, Japan, Thailand. However our uniqueness lies on so many cultures and traditions to explore and experience at such a smaller place than the former mentioned places.

4.) We have several of the biggest shopping malls in the World. The newly renovated SM City North EDSA is the 3rd biggest mall in the world. SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall and many others are also included in the biggest mall list.  Why simply can’t we be the Shopping Haven of Asia? Why are so many Pinoy businessmen into retail business buy clothes and accessories in Bangkok, Hong Kong or mainland China?

5.) Our country has the geographic advantage.  We are in the heart of Asia and the Pacific. Easily accessible to the rest of the world.

On the other hand, there are also critical reasons why we do not get the numbers that we want:

1.) Lack of infrastructure- our Airports and sea ports cannot compete with our neighbors. Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Incheon Airports are highly recognized for efficient service, cleanliness and all the awards you can think of. Not to mention the size of these airport are simply humongous. Our road network also needs face lift. Few years ago, I was on the way to the Underground River in Puerto Princesa. The scenery is simply breath taking if not out of this world. Imagine a river traversing under a mountain and tourist is underneath this mountain for about 45 minutes going in and another 45 minutes going out. Really awesome. But to reach that spot, you have to travel by land for about 2 hours from the city and an hour of which is on a very bumpy road. The tour guide would always joke it is a natural body massage cos you are literally shaken and twisted by the rough road. Even thousands of tourist flock the Underground River, the road badly needs cementing or even asphalt for many years now.

Our public transport like MRT, LRT and even Bus or Jeepney transport are not tourist friendly. Either it is too crowded, or needs to be pulled to the garage especially a lot of public Buses and taxis.

2.) Lack of Promotion. Some months ago, I was dining in a Seafood Restaurant in Bangkok with a friend and beside our table are a couple of Hong Kong citizens. We tried to be friendly and asked if it is their first time in Bangkok and what is the purpose of their trip. We were surprised on their answer. They said it was not their first time and the purpose of their trip is just to eat Seafoods! WTF! Eating seafoods but you have to spend on airfare, hotel and travel 3 hours? But it is understandable because seafood in Hong Kong is very expensive. They can enjoy seafood dinner ever day or night while they are in Bangkok but the price is nothing compared to having just one full seafood meal in their country. And Thailand is actually earning a lot on Culinary Tourism. Cooking schools in Chiang Mai are very popular. Thai cuisine has been one of the factors why tourist visit this country.

Malaysia is very good in their PR campaigns to promote their tourist spots. Every time I meet a foreigner and I told them I am from Philippines or Manila, they usually ask me, what can you do in Manila or Philippines? Is Manila in an Island or near the beach? Many other questions. It is due to the fact that our Tourism related campaign is either insufficient or lacking of magnets to lure the tourists.

3.) Traveling in the Philippines is expensive. It is good now that Cebu Pacific has started the trend of budget airfare across the country which paved the way for the healthy growth of Domestic Tourism. Hotel accommodations in tourist spots in the Philippines are very expensive and so are foods and souvenirs in these areas. Going back to my story earlier about the couple traveling to Bangkok just to eat, I believe many of our fresh sea foods are being exported to Hong Kong, Japan, China and nearby countries wherein the prices if served on the table are triple or quadruple than the local price before being sent overseas. If we can only find a way for these seafoods or even fruits to be enjoyed here in the Philippines and no need to be sent for export, not only will the prices be cheaper but everyone will be able to enjoy (tourist and locals alike). If tourist go to the Philippines, airlines will be full, hotels will be occupied, restaurants can cook. Many establishments will benefit.

There are many more advantage and disadvantages. Maybe my blog is not enough. However, I still believe our country is great and we can show it to the world. The Aquino administration is coming in and there was a recent controversy about a rumor that President-elect Noynoy Aquino is considering Talent Manager, Boy Abunda to become the next Department of Tourism Secretary which got some nods and some flak from supporters and critics alike. But come to think of it, why not put former DOT Secretary Richard Gordon in this post again? Not so familiar if the law would allow it, but if this is possible then he is the best man for this post since he is outgoing Senator anyway and I believe he performed well during his stint in the DOT or even at Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. Btw, He was my Presidential bet. Unfortunately, he lost.

Tourism is very important. Tourism creates business. Tourism brings money to our coffers and contributes to our GDP. I just wish the time would come that tourist arrivals will full our sights to the rafters similar to the picture above..and so us OFW will not have to work abroad cos many jobs are waiting for us.

So bring in the millions (of tourists).  🙂

Ask me anything…

My friends posted something in their Facebook giving their friends the opportunity to ask them anything random either anonymous or their profile known (if they are registered). The website providing this service is called Formspring.

I got curious and find it amusing to be able to ask someone anything. In addition, you get to know them more with the way they answer questions..usual questions I see are from funny or cute to personal or naughty questions and even question about politics or business..the list goes on and on..

So anyone out there…I’m giving you the opportunity to ask me questions…I will try to answer as boldly as possible (if it is not damaging to my so-called reputation..lol).

Here is the link to my formspring: http://www.formspring.me/kikomatching

Ask me anything…

Kiko’s Kitchen is now open…

Wow, another post before 2009 comes to an end..Well, what a great way to start the New Year with the opening of Kiko’s Kitchen my 2nd blog which is basically a food blog. Lately, I’ve been trying to prepare foods I’ve never cooked before be it Pinoy recipe or even Thai foods. With the opening of Kiko’s Kitchen, I will be able to share it with you through my blog posts.

Have you seen the logo of Kiko’s Kitchen? Cool isn’t it? I’m proud to create it myself..I have not used Photoshop for such a long time and I think whatever skills I have (if there is!) is almost rusting now…so it’s about time to refresh my photoshop talent..lol.

In Kiko’s Kitchen, you will be virtually served foods I personally prepare which sometime I may be able to share with my friends for Lunch or Dinner. Moreover, suggestions are welcome as to what foods you, my good (and considerate) readers would like to see and i’ll try my very best to prepare it as soon as I can. Better yet, generosity is always welcome if someone can send ingredients to the food I’m about to cook. He he he!

The good thing about Kiko’s Kitchen is that it’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The bad side is that you are not able to taste it for real but just salivate seeing the pictures..(am I being rude here?). LOL. But seriously, if you happen to be in Bangkok, I’d be glad to offer you a serving or two. 🙂

So all you food lovers out there, please take a chance to visit Kiko’s Kitchen. Surely, I will always have a seat available for you!

Facebook Resolution for New Year

In a few days (or should I say hours), we will be celebrating the New Year and bade 2009 goodbye. 2009 has been very challenging for many with lots of natural disasters, economic problems, health risks and the like. Since 2009 was also the year I got hooked up in Facebook, I will be posting my Facebook Resolution for the incoming year. No pun intended, and just enjoy reading. 🙂

Funny and apps-related resolutions:
1. I will help my Mafia win wars as often as I can and rally for help every time I participate even if the opponent is level 1 Mafia. 🙂
2. I will not expect to get hired to harvest or plow if I cannot reciprocate the job in Farm Town and I expect the same thing from my neighbors.
3. I will take good care of my close Mafia by giving them Energy packs and gifts often. But please be considerate and reciprocate the generosity..
4. I will not let my customers feel bored with my cafe for I will continuously have variety in my menu and not only 1 dish.
5. I will give excitement to the visitors of my Roller Coaster Theme Park with various rides to choose from.
6. If I steal some crops in Barn Buddy, I will replace it with Bugs and Weeds as long as the dog won’t bite me so my neighbor can have coins or chance for level up.

Real resolutions:
7. I will not overly publish activities in my wall just to gain attention. In short, I will avoid SPAMMING.
8. I will not flood my friends with numerous requests like neighbor request, group add request, hug request, cool pet request. Their interest may be different from me and vice-versa so I will be considerate.
9. I will not let Facebook control my activities or schedule especially even at night or during weekends. There will not be an incident that I worry that my crops will be gone to waste while watching a movie or dining out with friends.
10. I will not tag a picture of a friend if they will be in trouble or put on the spot.
11. I will not be engaged or hooked in some more apps. I had enough this year.
12. Lastly but probably the most difficult, I will limit my Facebook usage per day to 2 hours!

Enjoy the New Year ahead!

Merry Christmas to all!

Yesterday, the world celebrated Christmas Day- Christiamdom’s biggest and happiest celebration of all. Filipinos traditionally celebrate it the longest, generally starting when the calendar announced the coming of the BER month (September, October, November then finally December).  Many houses starts putting decor like Christmas Tree, Lanterns and Christmas lights as early as September. Kids starts singing Christmas carols in the street when December comes. Truly, it is such a joyous season.

It is just too bad that I am unable to attend the Christmas Eve or Christmas Day mass here in Bangkok because the English mass is too limited and the timing doesn’t match. You see, I had to work on Christmas Day because it is not considered a holiday in Thailand.

Last Christmas Eve, we trooped to one of my friends’ Condo to celebrate the day and have Noche Buena with friends. We decided to do pot-luck instead of just one or two persons cooking the food. I think it is better since we are able to taste the specialty recipe of each. I decided to share Spaghetti and Beef steak. We prepared our favorite foods like Kare-Kare, Adobo, Grilled Pork, Grilled Squid, Fried Chicken, Macaroni Salad and a secret recipe of spicy squid from one of them.

We started dinner early, around 8:30 PM then we had Karaoke and sang to our heart’s content while sharing a glass of liquor.

It was a truly enjoyable night….

When the clock ticked midnight, we greeted each other Merry Christmas and exchanged gifts then continued eating, singing, drinking and chatting..the party lasted till the wee hours of the morning.

Finally, I arrived home quarter before 6AM. After 2 hours of sleep, rushed to work. What a memorable day it really was! Surely, I missed home cos this is the 2nd year I am celebrating Christmas and New Year away from them but I was able to call them early on before the network gets busy that day so it’s good enough for now.

We haven’t finalized our New Year’s Eve plans as there are many propositions. Hopefully soon we are able to decide the right venue and activity for that day.

I am sharing the pictures of our food taken during Christmas Eve. Sorry, I had to skip our own face pictures cos it will be very evident that we eat a lot! Ha ha ha! I think I am able to post our latest pictures after the holidays when the big eating is over..LOL.

A Blessed Christmas and bountiful New Year to all. May the season bring us peace, good health and contentment. Let us not forget the reason for the season..our Lord Almighty!

The Phenomenon of Mafia Wars

Mafia Wars

I have been into Facebook for many months now and what keeps me glued to this social networking site is the fact that it has been a constant source of information about my friends, former colleagues, family and relatives. In fact, during the time of the Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) wherein my home got affected and some of our relatives as well, Facebook has been the source of Free and instant communication between me and some of my relatives staying in the US and Canada. Since we cannot contact most of our family members back home, if we get any news or if someone managed to receive any SMS or are able to call any member back home, we just messasge through Facebook.  Really convenient. I even see many people trying to encourage others to extend help or give donations to the victims sent through Facebook. This is a very effective means of communication and conveying our message across the globe.

Another reason why I don’t mind spending late weekday nights and most especially weekend nights even renting computer in a net cafe is because of the very interesting and unique games which is popularly known as “Apps” short for applications. Currently, I am playing Farm Town, Farm Ville, Barn Buddy, Fish World, My City, Restaurant City, Roller Coaster World, Cafe World, Island Paradise and of course Mafia Wars..too many apps for me to be called a real app “addict” you may say. Well yes, I spend at least 2 hours a night just for me to do usual rounds of these games. Apart from going to fitness, I guess this is just my way of getting past my boredom especially since I am living alone and communication back home is limited. Sometimes if I finished work then heading to the gym and taking a quick dinner, either the folks are already sleeping or about to sleep so most of the time, I have been talking to them during weekends. At least this kind of addiction doesn’t do any harm to other people and is quite entertaining if I may say. Only thing is that of course instead of me sleeping longer, I had to cut at least 2 hours of my nightly sleeping time but just like any other fad, I am sure this will come to pass soon.

Actually even I am playing many of these apps, it doesn’t mean I have to visit them all everyday. It’s just a matter of time management and effective scheduling. Ha ha ha! For example, in Farm Town if you plant a crop for 3 days, then you don’t need to visit in the next 3 days until the crops are ready for harvest. Unless you are really hot to gain XP to level up faster then you need to visit neighbors often, work for others etc. But for my case, I am not taking it too seriously and am not in so much of a rush to level up fast. Besides, I have other “more important” things to do on other times of the day. Of course these activities doesn’t have to coincide with work or family affairs for that matter. Well, lucky for me, even I sleep past midnight every day, I don’t feel sleepy or not alert in the office or trying to do something silly because of lack of sleep. I am confident even my boss would read this post can say my work is not affected at all so everything should be ok I guess.. Ha ha ha!

Ok going back to the games..I had been hooked up in Farm Town for quite a long time and in fact the post I made here in my blog about Farm Town has been one of the most popular topics in my blog in terms of searches and visits. Truly, Facebook is a global phenomenon and many people have been trying to get information about these apps thru blogs. Lately, I have been spending more time with Mafia Wars which is one of the most popular if not the most popular app in Facebook. Wikipedia listed that as of October 2009, Mafia Wars have 25.9 million monthly active accounts.  It means, it has even more people using this app than the registered population of the whole city of New York!

But what makes Mafia Wars quite exciting if not interesting considering it is not even an arcade type game? Well for one, you gain power, money and influence every time you accomplish any job or have had successful fights. You can even grow your mafia family every so often.

You can select a character type. You can choose to become a Mogul (which means you earn money faster) or fearless (meaning you can recover energy faster so you can do more jobs) or become a maniac (to recover stamina faster so you fight more often). I actually chose the Mogul character. As of this writing, my cash which I have not deposited in the bank is more than 200 million already and I believe I have over 100 million in the bank which I have deposited earlier. Wow, if those are real money, I can take the place of Warren Buffet or Bill Gates very soon especially with the very fast inflow of money into my coffers.

I continuously am trying to improve my Top Mafia based on their profile and level so every job or fights I take, I can get more Experience Points or money. I am currently at level 60 playing less than a month. So if anyone wants to be part of my Mafia family, please feel free to let me know so we can level up together!

That’s all for now folks…I need to read John Grisham’s The Associate. Really very interesting..cannot drop the book even late at night. As soon as I finished the book, will make a post about it.

Marge Simpson in the cover of Playboy

Marge Simpson in Playboy

Move over all sexy Playboy bunnies…the throne for November’s Playboy Magazine cover belongs to a lady, every inch a celebrity, a Mom of 3 and a wife of Homie..She is no other than Marge Simpson..

Whoa, a cartoon character in the front cover of the hugely popular Playboy Mag? Am I seeing things incorrectly? Marge is actually making history as the first ever cartoon character to be feted as such in the Publication’s History.

Surely Hugh Hefner, the Playboy owner sees opportunity in this somewhat comical way of selecting the featured model for their mag. For one, “The Simpsons” dubbed as America’s most popular disfunctional family is celebrating its 20’th Anniversary and being a Simpsons fan, Hugh (who also appeared in an episode of the cartoon in the 90’s) probably viewed this as his own way of giving tribute to The Simpsons’s success.

This move would also strengthen their direction to tap more of the 20-something crowd since the Cartoon would definitely appeal to this age-group.

What I am very interested is to see the various poses or interview of Marge in the magazine’s inside pages and to know how creative the people of Playboy can get. Surely, this issue would be a collector’s item of sort.

I will not be surprised to hear that FHM is negotiating for Lisa Simpson’s appearance in their mag once she comes of age or Homer will be featured in an instructional video on how to lose belly fat. Now, that would be more interesting since his waistline has been as big as Central Park ever since we saw them in the Boob tube.

What about Sponge Bob in GQ Magazine? Seems not only the climate is going crazy these days..LOL.

Back to Basics

 

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Earlier before I go online, I was trying to tie the shoe laces in my sneakers since I removed it when I cleaned it few weeks ago. I tried doing it the Converse style, meaning parallel style and not criss crossing. Apparently, what should be an easy task which I had been doing since I was a kid became very complicated it actually made me sweat so I had to turn on my air con. A task that should be finished in less than 5 minutes took me more than 15 minutes and I was only able to finish when my friends come to my place. Actually, it was my teen friend who finished the job for me.

This incident actually strucked me. How can an adult like me is not able to do a very simple task which most children could definitely do effortlessly. Is it a sign of aging or stupidity? Am I being an Adult baby? I hope not.

Indeed in this age of modern technology wherein complexity is already a thing of the past since we are able to do most of our tasks as easy as counting 1-2-3 with all those gadgets, tools and even modern processes in business introduced by intelligent gurus.

But even so, it still boils down to one principle– that is being back to the basics no matter how advanced we may be.

I heard of a good story about going back to the basics though I am not sure if this is a true story…This is how the story goes:

The Americans were successful in being able to land in the moon first. However, with this great accomplishment, there is one thing they cannot do in space– that is writing in a space shuttle using a ballpoint pen.

No matter how hard they try the ink won’t simply give them the opportunity to write a single letter. Many years of research and huge amount of money were spent but everything seems futile.

Finally, the Russians did a space exploration and where Americans fail, they succeeded. They were able to write a full note in outer space…

The Americans wondered how come the Russians can do it. They are America, supposedly the greatest and most advanced nation. Later on they found out why the Russians were able to write in outer space…

The Russians used an ordinary wooden pencil..