Monday, July 31, 2006

three days in edinburgh

it may have been a blessing in disguise that my original plan to go to paris to meet up with T did not prosper. god had other plans.

i was in edinburgh since friday. we took the GNER train ride from london to aberdeen and got off in edinburgh. by we, i mean, r and myself. i stayed at the premier travel inn (£77 per night!!!) while r and her aunt-in-law stayed at the holiday inn.

i love edinburgh. it's very beautiful, very quaint and very rich in history. won't bore you with details but whatever bitterness i have against the french has been transformed into love, to all the scottish people we met in all of scotland.

one of the highlights of this sidetrip to this very pretty country was a quick trip to the now-famous rosslyn chapel where r and i spent a good part of our sunday before our trip back to london. too bad, we only spent three days in ediburgh. we could have spent more. the festivals are ongoing but the best ones will be happening in the next few days.

i can't wait to go back...


Thursday, July 27, 2006

blogging in the uk

it's thursday and it seems like i have lost a few days already. wow.

arrived safely in london late last night (very late!). i was in a (supposed to be) direct flight from loas angeles to london but unfortunately, our flight was diverted to new york city because of engine troubles.

i was in deep slumber when i heard the captain announce that we were already landing. i even made a comment to myself, 'that was fast!'. well, apparently not. something went wrong with the engines, they did not specify. it's good they didn't, or i would have panicked like crazy.

we landed at the jfk airport around 6 am, and our flight was re-arranged to leave at 9:00 am. that's three hours of my time wasted. so instead of arriving at the london heathrow airport at 2:40 pm, we arrived 7 hours late!

i took the heathrow express to paddington, and followed my friend's advice, to take the train to west ham, transfer to another line and alight at canning town. since it was already late (i cleared immigration around 10 something) some of the train lines weren't running anymore. boo-hoo. i ended up getting off at east aldgate. that's where i spent a lot of moolah calling my friend through their coin-eating parasites here (public phones). hate t-mobile for not activating my roaming service. hate their public phone system here for swallowing my pounds without even letting me make a freaking call. and who knew that public phones do not give change? hah. sigh.

bottomline, i took a cab from east aldgate to my friend's place on barking road. it took me around 15 minutes and 15 pounds. nice. the cabbie was kind, he was very chatty. i didn't mind chatting up with him. he kinda looked like beckham. hee.

staayed way up late chatting with charl and her p. slept around 3ish and woke up around 9 am. the masochist that i was, went to the waterloo international station (yes, the eurostar) to ask if they can do anything about my train ticket from london to paris and back.

since the french consulate was so efficient, my schengen visa would be released in the states on the 31st, while i have booked my train tickets for today, july 28! i still cannot get over this, even if i have been trying my darn best, just to be happy and excited with london, and probably edinburgh, glasgow, and belfast.

bottomline: they cannot refund my fare (almost £200), priceline refuses to refund the more than $300 i paid for my hotel accommodations in paris, and the french consulate had the gall toc harge me $44 for visa fees for that freaking visa i'll never have the chance to use in the first place. le sigh. charge to experience.

i've been going around london since this morning. i've been to the house of parliament, big ben, westminster abbey, buckingham palace and now i am inside an internet cafe in south kensington. nice. internet access is £1 for half an hour. gee. more updates soon.


Monday, July 24, 2006


i am off to london in less than 24 hours to meet up with some friends i haven't seen in awhile.

it all started with a small, a really small plan between my friends r and e. r is based in manila and works for an international foundation. she'll be in london for a conference during the last week of july. e is our friend who is now based in switzerland. they decided to meet up.

a, our friend who is based in hong kong found out about this planned meeting and wondered why it was not made public. he wanted to join. he won't be busy during this time since he would be in dubai, then greece with his family. then he's flying to iran for work, then he'll fly to london.

then they realized that they would all be in london during the first week of august. they remembered me. they asked if i wanted to celebrate my birthday with them in london. actually, they need not ask. i was about to ask them if they could squeeze in one more hefty body.

that, in a nutshell, is the reason why i am going to london. hee. i am so excited.


japan was robbed!

only 3 asians made it to the final 20 semi-finalists at the miss universe competition last night. only 1 made it to the top 10, miss japan. philippine flag-waving fanatics at the auditorium channeled all their energy and focused it on miss japan. she made it far, up to the top 5. in fact, she was as close to the crown as miriam quiambao was in 1999. like miriam, many think that her answer during the q and a did it for her.

in the end, [uerto rico won. bitchy fans behind us said, "ano ba yan, kamukha ni michael jackson'! my friend j was more diplomatic, "kamukha niya si janet jackson..."

oh well. now it's over and done with. i had fun covering the events and getting to know miss philippines lia andrea ramos a bit more personal. it's just too bad she didn't even make it to the top 20.

we stayed for a few minutes after the show at the shrine and we witnessed some stuff. like miss guatemala posing for photos with fans at the car park (with a ginormous truck as a background. nice!) and miss venezuela sobbing like crazy along jefferson blvd., with her luggage and two other people in tow. my friend j called her name, 'jicxtad!' and she waved back. and started crying again.

personal favorites didn't make it. philippines (of course), sri lanka, indonesia & australia. boo-hoo. i don't like the winner. i think other latin american beauties deserve the crown more. japan deserved the crown more. ask the crowd.


Friday, July 21, 2006

miss universe fever

it has been more than a week since my last post.

i hate starting my posts with 'it has been x days since my last post' but i cannot do anything about it. it has, indeed, been more than a week since my last post.

so i had zankou overload two weeks ago. what happened after that?

wednesday night last week - had dinner at picanha in burbank with two of my friends, r and j. had fun, although we didn't get to eat a lot because i had to be at the universal citywalk to meet up with the mother of lia andrea ramos, miss philippines 2006. this year's miss universe is being held here in los angeles, at the shrine auditorium to be exact.

so i met up with lian's mom in front of hard rock and i took that opportunity to interview her for a story i was going to write for the paper. i saw miss philippines in person for the first time today and i think she's pretty. saw most of the candidates up close. miss ghana even hugged me. maybe she thought i am a long lost relative? hah! me and my dark mocha skin.

thursday night - miss universe welcome party at the wilshire grand. what do you know, i get a couple of exclusive invites passed on to me by my publisher. not one who says no to a great party, i said yes, yes, yes. little did i know that this was going to be a memorably wonderful night.

it was an exclusive gathering. we had laminated name tags with our table numbers printed at the bottom part. i was seated at table 21. before entering the grand ballroom, i had the chance to mingle with the candidates and talk to them. i was like, is this really happening? it seemed to good to be true. then i had the chance to strike up a conversation with miss philippines and i asked her if i can do an ambush interview. she said yes. and i had my exclusive. woohoo! had photos taken with her and some of the other candidates. i was ready to go home. but we still had dinner.

upon entering the ballroom, i prayed hard that i'd be near the table of miss philippines so i could go and talk with her some more and get to know her better. as i approached table 21, i saw her. miss philippines, table 21. she recognized me and waved. four pretty ladies (one of them a really bitchy ass) were there -- misses peru, paraguay, philippines and poland. i sat beside miss poland.

i had a grand time.

saturday morning - mikimoto event at the south coast plaza in costa mesa. met more filipinos supporters of miss philippines. yay! the support is really snowballing. i hope this support translates into warm bodies during the presentation night and actual pageant night, i kept telling myself.

monday morning - an exclusive one-on-one with lian at the wilshire grand. at an unholy 7:00 am. my goodness. she told me she was nervous. i told her it didn't show. she smiled and said, she was trying to be calm and collected. deep inside, i was hoping and praying that this girl -- not only because she's filipino -- be blessed to take the crown home. she deserves it. she's not only beautiful in the outside but i could sense the sincerity in the way she communicated with me over the past meetings we've had.

tuesday night - presentation night at the shrine auditorium - also known as the night when hundreds of pinoy pageant enthusiasts trooped to the shrine to show their support to miss philippines. the crowd was very noisy - mexico had noisy fans, usa of course, thailand had noisy followers but the pinoys didn't just sit there, they made noise as well. flags of various sizes were being waved from the different corners of the auditorium; banners proclaiming support to the filipina candidate were also unfurled. i could see lian's confidence boosted from all these show of love, affection and support coming not only from her family and friends, but also from kababayans.

thursday afternoon - rehearsals at the shrine. wow. i've spent quite a lot of time following this year's miss universe proceedings. everything will culminate with the coronation night this sunday.

thursday night - pops fernandez and martin nievera presscon for their wilshire ebell concert tomorrow (friday). event happened at the edwards cinemas in alhambra. i'm quite surprised why they scheduled the presscon on a thursday when the concert was going to be held the next day. what's the use? i can't find the logic. as in.

and then, this is how my weekend looks like --

friday night - drive to las vegas with friends to attend c and d's wedding on saturday

saturday - c and d's wedding at bali hai in mandalay resort.

sunday - drive back to los angeles, miss universe pageant night at 6 pm (pst).

monday - fil-am night at the dodger stadium

tuesday night - start of my leave.

yep. i am up for a leave. i'll be celebrating my birthday somewhere, and in line with that, i requested for a two-week leave (actually, it's just 9 work days). needless to say, i am quite excited with this trip. in fact, i've been dreaming about this trip for years! more details about this trip in my next update.


Monday, July 10, 2006


*extreme fixation for zankou chicken

last friday, my friend j and i were on the fence as to where to eat. then suddenly, i remembered that i have not eaten at zankou for the longest time. so i recommended zankou chicken, or ono hawaiian barbecue. we settled at zankou.

zankou is the home of the best rotisserie-chicken this side of town. add their garlic sauce and it's some chicken to die for. yum. the big guys that we are, we decided to split a whole chicken (which came with two pita bread and the requisite garlic sauce) and bought a side of rice. yumyum. and i was satiated.

early saturday morning, i got a call from another friend j, who was driving from san francisco to los angeles. we were attending a wedding at 2:00 pm, so we had to eat lunch first. 'i'm craving for some chicken,' he said. i said to myself, 'oh no!' then he asked, 'can we eat at zankou? we don't have it in san francisco and i miss their chicken.' the good friend that i was, i said, 'sure, why not?'

why not indeed. up to this day, i can still feel/smell the garlic sauce. back to back in zankou (different branches though). i've filled my craving, so it would probably take me months for another zankou run.


Sunday, July 09, 2006

viva italia!

thanks to zinedine zidane, italy went on to win its 4th world cup victory! kudos to cannavaro who did a good job in leading his men (unlike zidane, who got red carded because of that nasty headbutt on matarazzi).

the last of the 64 games all boiled down to penalty kicks and if zidane did not let his emotion take over, he would have been there, leading his country and doing what he does well -- penalty kicking. it's academic at this point but it was not trezeguet who caused france to lose, it was zidane's immaturity. and boy, what an ugly last act he committed in his last game. bitter much? yes, i wanted france to win.

viva! also to roger federer for winning against rafael nadal. their own version of 'thrilla in manila' will happen this august/september at the us open. personally, i have not made my choice as to who will take over my idolatry for pete sampras. my liking of federer and nadal combined does not even reach half of my sampras fanaticism. oh well. roddick's good but he's not great. henman's a goner. blake has promise but i think he's quite late. agassi bade wimbledon adieu when nadal whipped his ass.


Saturday, July 08, 2006


jessica zafra is one brilliant writer and my day's not complete without dropping by her blog.

it has been awhile since i had a really laugh out loud moment but a few moments ago, i had a good one while reading her blog. she attended the bench fashion show at the araneta coliseum last week and blogged about it.

my favorite part:

The models who got the loudest applause: Zanjo of Big Brother, Sam Milby of same, Keanna Reeves, and the Gutierrez twins. Remember when they were the Nestle Twins? Richard went shirtless to display the musculature while Raymond wore a fitted shirt with cleavage. Work it, sister! our section cheered. Richard Gomez ended the show, walking onstage in a native American headdress and pants with cutouts while they played Do You Believe in Love—nobody told him he was dressed as Cher.
hah! [insert evil laughter here]


Friday, July 07, 2006

big brother 7

this summer's guilty pleasure premiered earlier and i can't believe it's the 7th season already. they shook it up a bit and came up with an all-stars edition. well, not stars but previous housemates from the past six seasons.

and since season 6 just ended less than a year ago, they're still kinda famous and that gave them an edge over the other all-stars. edge, because the producers called 20 of the 75 previous housemates and let america decide on who could be in bb7.

so this season, we have 14 housemates, 4 of whom come from season 6: james, kaysar (my fave last season), janelle & howie. this makes them quite 'vulnerable'. this is what makes big brother here different from the version they have in the philippines, aka pinoy big brother.

the housemates compete to become HOH, or head of household. the HOH then nominates two housemates for eviction. the rest of the housemates then vote to evict. but wait, before they vote to evict a housemate, there's a Power of Veto game where the housemates (except the HOH) compete for a chance to veto the HOH nomination. yay!

viewers such as moi don't get the chance to vote to evict someone from the house. the only time that viewers are allowed to 'participate' in the whole thing is when the producers ask the viewers to reward the housemates. which is precisely the reason why i don't remember half of the housemates (some of them are really forgettable, and unless you have an obnoxious personality such as dr. will, you will be drowned in a sea of conflicting egos).

so very different from the treatment of pinoy big brother housemates. somewhere along the way, the producers of pbb found a way to make this reality show a talent search. need further proof? even the celebrity edition housemates are getting projects left and right (hello keanna reeves!) and the recent teen edition winner is probably one of the busiest teen stars in abs right now.

i am just wondering about what could have happened if the local producers stuck with the way other big brother shows do it.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

four movies in four days

and i am not counting.

superman returns. click. the devil wears prada. the lake house.

i liked superman. left me a couple of questions, but over-all, i like how bryan singer steered clear of the usual stuff and delivered a bunch of twists i didn't even think of. thank god, i was not 'spoiled' by people who have seen it ahead of me. i wish i saw it on imax though. i heard it was hella fun.4 out of 5 popcorns.

click. what can i say. it's an adam sandler movie. i watched it mainly because i wanted to live life vicariously through his character, who got hold of this magical universal remote control. the film had its moments but in the end, it boils down to one fact: it is an adam sandler movie. 2 and a half out of 5 popcorns.

the devil wears prada was comical, hilarious even. ann hathaway is good. meryl streep just rocks. the lines are funny and they were all delivered with aplomb. it was a surprise to see some familiar faces here: adrian grenier (from entourage) as nate, tracie thoms (from rent) as lilly, daniel sunjata (from recue me) as james holt, simon baker as christian thompson. there were major characters from the book that were not in the film and the main character's relationship with her best friend was not as highlighted as it was in the book. 3 and a half out of 5 popcorns.

the lake house. i saw il mare a couple of months ago and i was impressed. then i found out that there was a hollywood version of this film, and this was it, the lake house. i fell in love with the house in il mare and the beautiful cinematography, something that i can not say about the lake house. the hollywood version has its moments but i think i prefer the korean version better. they omitted some crucial (for me) portions and the scene where sandra bullock's character tried to save someone who was hit by a bus, i already knew the twist. and surprise, surprise, it was it. yes, the surprise twist. oh well. 3 popcorns out of 5.


Saturday, July 01, 2006

samu't sari part two

wow. i can't believe that it has been a week since my last posting.

it was indeed a very, very hectic week. what happened after my last post? well, quite a lot. spent a few more days in new york city trying to find the meaning of life. hah. kidding. we got rained on really hard during our last four days there. as of two days ago, these heavy rains have been hampering parts of upstate new york, reaching as far up as philadelphia.

went to atlantic city (at least i did something for the first time. in this case, well, visiting atlantic city) and woodbury premium outlet in upstate new york, where i got to see one of the biggest outlet stores (and believe me, the bargain-hunter that i am, i have seen a number of outlets). unfortch, i did not get to buy a thing. i was quite worried since i bought some stuff from the walk (atlantic city's third street promenade or universal citywalk), i figured i'd be overweight (pun intended) when i go back. so there. in one of the biggest outlets in this country and not a single item purchased.

unless you count in my latest addiction. introducing, the snapple white tea drink (green apple flavor). snapple just launched this product officially this week, which means that they probably did a test-run a few days before (when i started to get addicted to their drink). new york times has a report on their marketing blitz.