Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The one where you can bless my Blog of the Year 2004

Bene Diction, whose blog was my Blog of the Year at the Superblessed Christian Blog Awards two out of three years, superblessing me more than any other blog online today, has wished me the best of luck at the Philippine Blog Awards, where Superblessed is a pleased-as-punch semifinalist.

It's my pleasure to turn the tables on Bene as the blog is a finalist as well at the annual Canadian Blog Awards, standing tall amongst other nominees in the Best Religious Blog category.

Now's your chance to show Canada that Canuck Christians have what it takes to win at one of these shindigs! Hie on over to the Canadian Blog Awards and vote for Bene Diction, please! This blog deserves to win.

God bless your chances, BD! Go, God-blogs!

Which reminds me, I should post the nominees for the Superblessed Christian Blog Awards 2005 soon!

The one where God blesses my music that glorifies His name

Last week, I submitted a demo CD of 17 original compositions (14 praise and worship, 3 secular) to some musical directors and influential people in the industry with one main intention: try to get some of my original praise and worship songs into their hands for possible inclusion in the albums of any artist in their roster.

This morning, I got a text message from one particular person who I shall call The Dreamer, who handed my CD to one musical director, and a portion of the message sent to him from this director said this:

"Track 17 I Desire has d most potential! :) ganda ng melody! :)"

Glory to God! My songs have potential! My love song for God has a beautiful melody! It's music to my ears!

I honestly hope they decide to take I Desire, as well as other tracks, because, well, as a lyric in I Desire goes, This is my desire: proclaim You awesome in this place. That by my music, His name may be glorified.

Praise God! I have so much joy in my heart, it'll carry me through the rest of this week!

The one with Miss Cyber Press World 2005

Initial disclaimer: no, there are no closet queens on this website. LOL We just like rooting for Filipino candidates, no matter which competition.

That being said in all defensiveness and tongue-in-cheek, let's move on to the point of this post. Ms. Philippines Carlene Aguilar, the Philippine candidate to the Miss World 2005 beauty pageant and one of the early favorites in Miss World, is in the running for another competition on Global Beauties.

Miss Cyber Press World 2005 is a mini-competition, a fantasy competition, if you will, that has adopted FIFA'S dispute system (in tribute to the World Cup). After two qualifying rounds of voting with the participation of over 20 webmasters, 32 candidates from Miss World 2005 made it to the next round. Eight groups of four make up the first round of competition.

Bb. Pilipinas-World and Miss World Philippine candidate Aguilar is in Group D, pit against three strong contenders: Miss Albania Suada Sherifaj, a towering beauty at 6"1; Colombian beauty Erika Queribin, and fellow early favorite Sofia Bruscoli. A strong group, this Group D. It's a shame only one will make it to the next round in the fantasy pageant Miss Cyber Press World 2005. Here's hoping Carlene Aguilar makes it through!

Don't forget to vote for her for Miss World 2005 by sending SMS "MW 114" to 2441 (Smart) or 2345 (Globe)!

In related news, it appears that Miss Philippines Carlene Aguilar's odds in Miss World are now very, very strong. All bookmakers listed on now have her unanimous as #1, save for Intertops, which tie her at #1 with Italy and Namibia, and Sportsbook, which ties her at #1 with Italy! Praise God! Go, Carlene!

Update: Noelle says "Star World is also showing commercials for Vote for Me, and they have another number you can text votes to. Type "MW 114" and send to 2929. This is a service provided by You can also download wallpapers by sending "MW MMS114" to 2929 (and this adds 10 votes to Carlene's total)." All you people with MMS phones, you know what to do!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Superblessed Guide to the Philippine Blog Awards Semifinalists Part 3

There are 35 nominees in the Best Blog Site of the Year category, a veritable buffet of blogs to suit your taste and preferences! Your run-through of the semifinalists, in alphabetical order:

1. A Gelay Log. Angela Solis' blog is a witty and informative blog that deals with her issues. Charming!

2. Louie's charm lies in his own high school meanderings and ever-playful design. Youth rocks!

3. Beauty in Balance. Lizbeth's classic romantic design goes very well with her thoughtful nature and fine, upstanding Atenean demeanor. Intoxicating!

4. I've known Boris as a blogger for a long time now, and he's a fine, upstanding young man. His blog is equally interesting. Madaug ka na gid!

5. Cluttered Thoughts. Daniel is thrilled to be a finalist - and I'm not surprised that he is. Cute layout, honest thoughts, and a quality about him make this blog a joy to read.

6. Crammer. Abi claims to be a crammer - but it doesn't show on this colorfully green (she's Atenean!), creatively jampacked blog. Yum!

7. Crazy World of Ayan. Ayan Deato, model/host/writer. The site's all about him, and I think the world should get a chance to know about him. Cheers!

8. Crimson Freak. Arianne's visually arresting blog provides stimulating and relevant content. Fun!

9. DearDiarya. Mr_D writes with the heart on the sleeve, and in Filipino, too! It makes me proud to be Pinoy. Mabuhay!

10. DesignLabProject. Michael Belleca's site is a frontrunner for sheer visual pleasure. A winner in every sense of the world. Must-visit-asap.

11. Digital Distraction. I'm glad Aaron made this category too, proof that this blog is definitely world-class quality. Great photos, great content, great site.

12. Dzune Online. Dzune is wonderfully honest, and there's nothing more refreshing. Swing on by and encourage him, especially now, since his sister's moved into Jesus' home.

13. Guttervomit. The site is about less than nothing, in author Luis' words. I think it's about a lot of things, and there's always something new to be learned from this site.

14. is offline.

15. I am such a fan. This site is one of my favorites - awesome photography, awesome site design, excellent blog. Wow!

16. Jem. Unabashed Christian Jem, Queen and Mestisa, is such a pleasure to read for her faith and her love of life! Yay for Christian teens!

17. features an irresistibly unique design and attention-grabbing photos that combine for a great blog experience. Mmm-mm!

18. Just a Smile. Benildean Lai Reyes makes us proud with this girly, heartfelt, painstakingly honest blog. One of the better younger bloggers out today.

19. Lucaret. Also known as Rhetorics of the Hopeless Lunatic, this site is visually arresting, content-rich, and, well, quite addictive. You've been forewarned.

20. Me Dot Inside. Me Dot Inside is beautiful on both the dot outside and dot inside. Take a look!

21. Memoirs of a Neophyte. I love NiƱo's blog - it's witty and sarcastic with touches of soul and sentiment. Must-read.

22. Munimuni. Jary is both contemplative and thought-provoking. The title gives it all away. Hmm!

23. Panibugho. Tauffer Ng maintains a stunning, classic blog with something for everybody. Mesmerizing!

24. is offline.

25. PinayExpat. AnP is another blogger I've known from way back - and she's back and better than ever! MeinGotten!

26. Pink Pillows. Mary Sue's anime design underscores a bemusement with the world. Fluffy!

27. Manuel L. Quezon III maintains this astute political blog. Absolutely riveting!

28. Salt and Pepper. Yoj and Seph make a cute couple. Engrossing!

29. Sedricke/Skyscraper. Sedricke's photoblog is a semifinalist, and his blog is as well. The man is talented, talented, talented. Check it out!

30. Myke's dark and brooding design stands out for its uniquel surreal feel. Chilling!

31. Solastralune. Jet/Sheila maintains a deeply introspective, classy blog with much to learn from. Thought-provoking!

32. Special Education Teacher in Washington, D.C.. Teacher Sol's blog is both informative and heartwarming. Awww!

33. To think a young priest is behind this simple site that glows with superblessings that come from a great God! Be blessed by this site1

34. Sweet Soul's Dream Ball. Lily is grace personified, and her blog just radiates with cheer and joy. Go, go, go!

God bless all semifinalists!

Update: Special thanks to MLQIII, who says this post contains "the nicest capsule reviews ever blogged." Thank you, Sir!

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Superblessed Guide to the Philippine Blog Awards Semifinalists Part 2

There are 24 nominees in the Best PhotoBlog of the Year category, every one of which is visually pleasing and absolutely delightful! Your run-through of the semifinalists, in alphabetical order:

1. All About Us. Cess Ong's blog features some head-on shots that display human emotion at its most raw. Oh and she's a Benildean, too. Must-visit!

2. Along Came TserYAH! TserYAH publishes one of the most refreshingly honest blogs I've visited in a long time. The images are pretty honest, too. A fresh blog to visit!

3. AJ Jusay's photographs are taken with a keen eye for detail and with a mother's love. You have got to give credit to that potent combination. Yum!

4. Byahilo. A dizzying araw of sights (and virtual sounds!), this blog takes you all over the Philippines. As the author says, your journey begins here. Sakay na!

5. Dubai Chronicles. Jeff's adventures in the Middle Eastern peninsula provide him much fodder for exceptionally professional photographs. Expertly taken. Drop by!

6. Digital Distraction. Aaron's blog features photographs provide a visually delicious range of colors and images. Fun fun fun!

7. Erik's Adventures. "Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time." Beautiful!

8. Eye Focus. Each stunning photograph comes with informative blurbs about the circumstance and topic. Breathtaking!

9. The Honeyspot. Wry and satiric, with some shocking photographs in there. Verrrry interesting!

10. This blog's design and photographs take my breath away. In my opinion, one of the strongest contenders. You must visit this blog.

11. NocturnalAngel2. I envy Pam Pastor. She's a brilliant writer with the dream job (2BU Ed-in-Chief). She's beautiful and she takes great photos. Visit this blog immediately!

12. Photos from Sedricke. Stark in design, stunning in visual imagery. Photographs and not much else. If you're a minimalist all about the pictures, this is the blog for you.

13. Photoseko. Daday da Makulay lives up to the name, all right. All colors of the rainbow, photographs that stand out for beauty and vision... this blog has it all. Do drop by!

14. Pixel Pimp. "pixelpimp is all about graphic designs, photography pursuits, and their subtleties combined (with emphasis on this personal mantra: share something spiffy!)." Inspiring!

15. Psylocke's Paradise. Psylocke is still stunned by making the PhilBlogAwards' semifinals. I'm not surprised - each photograph is lovingly taken with the eye of an expert. Magical!

16. Puto ni Mimi. "Provinces, forests, beaches, the sands, shells, trees', grass', the wind and heat of the sun... hang sarap mag unwind." She's witty and sharp. Very impressive!

17. Retrospection. Cruise, as the author calls himself, does literally that, cruising along and snapping shots whenever he can. It helps to be quite thoughtful, as his accompanying blurbs show. Cool!

18. Rhodyl accompanies each photograph with his own commentary that is often humorous and introspective as well. I enjoy his fresh outlook. Do visit!

19. Rhyme With Ralph. A razor-sharp sense of humor and a good eye for detail are the strongest reasons to visit this balikbayan's blog. Visit asap!

20. The Shadowkeeper is a Chick. Becky's shots are humorous and detailed - she has one shot with a bus passenger picking her nose! Ew! A laugh and a half, daan na!

21. Sightseer. Dr. Emer's photoblog is unique and thoughtful. Large photographs enable you to see the beauty of each individual shot. Glorious.

22. Son of Soy. Introspective and thoughtful, Son of Soy takes pictures with a precise eye and a child's wonder. Delightful!

23. Time Out! AL Bjornstad's Eurofocused blog is serene, with photographs that belong in a coffee table book. Divine!

God bless all semifinalists!

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Superblessed Guide to the Philippine Blog Awards Semifinalists Part 1

There are 14 nominees in the Most Informative Blog category, every one of which is definitely worth visiting on a regular basis. Here's a quick run-through of the semifinalists, in alphabetical order.

1. Captain's Log. Jepoy's blog reads like a personal blog highlighting his interests, often crossing the boundaries and crisscrossing topics, although science fiction is obviously a priority. Interesting!

2. The Daily Prophet. Y.B. Masdal's alias Major Tom operates one of two blogs nominated in this category (the other being Where is the Citizen on Mars?). This particular blog deals with prophecies from the author spanning a wide variety of topics. A fascinating read!

3. DiaryngIsangPogi has disappeared.

4. Filipino Librarian. Updates on librarian-related news and information, but with plenty more tidbits on scientific discoveries, pop culture, and Philippine interest topics. Focused and professional!

5. Follow the Process. In blog author Jomar's words, this blog "reveals how I follow the process of becoming financially free. Stories of how opportunities come and go, get analysed (complete with charts!) How I look for them (sometimes) and the steps I will do to obtain passive income as well as wrong turns too!"

6. Kuwento Kuwento. Benjamin Pimentel's political blog features interviews with Filipinos from all over the world including Sheila Coronel of PCIJ. It's also featured the folk group Asin, Apl De Ap of Black Eyed Peas, and Newsbreak's Glenda Gloria. Kuwento Kuwento will give you the story story. Enjoy this blog every day!

7. ManofMars. A pop culture blog, this music and cinema-focused blog keeps one updated on the local indie scene as well as on certain movies and pop culture undercurrents. Worth the regular visit, although by his own admission, he doesn't update as much as he'd like. Rockin'!

8. NewsRoom Barkada. Run by Glenn Omanios, this blog posts Philippine-relevant news and information. It sure saves you time running through! Daily read requirement!

9. Parallel Universes. Doc Emer's an online acquaintance, thanks to Wifely Steps, the one blog that should have made the semis but didn't. Luckily, Doc Emer's did, and rightly so! With useful, timely information on science and health from a Filipino perspective, this is one blog that is relevant and worthwhile. Visit it daily!

10. Pinoy Big Brother Philippines. The author of this page, Pinoy Idol, provides regular updates on the comings and goings of the housemates of season 1 of Pinoy Big Brother, the reality show that's sweeping the Philippines. Engrossing!

11. The Professional Heckler. The Professional Heckler provides a wry and biting commentary on Philippine politics. Always enjoyable and well-informed, the Heckler's sarcastic tirades on the current administration's idiosyncracies always make for a truly enjoyable experience. Must-read!

12. The Rocket Boy Chronicles. Another pop culture blog, The Rocketboy Chronicles updates one on pop culture in general, with movies an obvious focus. Lot of links to good movie posters and shots. Satisfying!

13. Where is the Citizen on Mars? Y.B. Masdal's alias Major Tom has two blogs nominated in this category (the other being The Daily Prophet). This particular blog, in his own words, is "envisioned to present socio-political issues in a manner that clarifies rather than complicates matters. At the same time, this blog also presents personal and other leisurely subjects thus broadening the scope of its subjects." Captivating!

That's only 13, you might say. Who's the 14th? Well, praise God. ;)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The one with how to vote for Miss World 2005

Image courtesy of

If you want to vote for Carlene Aguilar, Miss Philippines at the Miss World 2005, here's how:

Smart Subscribers may vote by texting "MW 114" and sending to 2441. P2.50 per text. Send at least 20 times!

Globe Subscribers may vote by texting "MW 114" and sending to 2345. P2.50 per text. Send at least 20 times.

So don't hesitate and start voting for Miss Philippines at the 2005 Miss World! Vote for Carlene Aguilar! Vote for the best Asian contestant in years to become the first Far East candidate to win Miss World! Thanks to Noelle for the help.

Update: is holding its own Miss World poll. Vote for Carlene Aguilar, Miss Philippines

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The one with Jennifer Hudson beating Fantasia Barrino

Image courtesy of Ultimate Idol Home.

In news I can only deem appropriate and well-deserved, Yahoo! Entertainment reports season three American Idol finalist Jennifer Hudson has edged out Season Three champ Fantasia Barrino in the race to the big screen, bagging a crucial supporting role in the upcoming DreamWorks release Dreamgirls opposite Destiny's Child chanteuse Beyonce Knowles, Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx, Grammy Award winner Raymond Usher (yes, that Usher), and popular comedian Eddie Murphy.

According to the Yahoo! report, as well as news from USA Today, Hudson, Knowles and Tony Award-winning stage actress Anika Noni Rose have been cast to portray the three members of the Dreamettes, a a girl group whose story is somewhat based on the true goings-on behind Motown supergroup The Supremes. The film, set in the late 1960s and early 1970s, will feature the music from the Broadway smash, including One Night Only and And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going. It will be directed by Academy Award winner Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Best Original Screenplay, nominated for Chicago).

The role of Effie, originally played on Broadway by Jennifer Holliday, whose show-stopping version of And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going made her a bona fide star, landed in Hudson's hands. Even after Foxx had publicly endorsed Barrino for the part, Hudson bagged the role - and, hopefully, with it, stardom.

She deserves it. Hudson was my American Idol.

The one with Carlene's lead

Philippine bet to Miss World 2005 Ms. Carlene Aguilar appears to have increased her lead over the other candidates, praise God!

According to, which maintains strong and healthy coverage of the Miss World 2005 beauty pageant, Ms. Philippines Carlene Aguilar is the runaway favorite with online betting houses, leading the rest of the 100+ delegates on 10 out of 12 online betting houses (specifically, Centrebet 9-1 odds; Ladbrokes 10-1 odds; Skybet at 9-1 odds with Italy, England, and Albania; Bet365 9-1 odds; Bluesquare 8-1 odds, Betfair 9-1 odds, PaddyPower 9-1 odds, GameBookers 10-1 odds, SportingOdds 9-1 odds, and Sportsbet at 11-1 odds).

The two dissenting websites have her in the Top 3 (Intertops at #2 with 8-1 odds behind Ms. Namibia and CariBet at #3 with 8-1 odds behind Iceland and Costa Rica, tied with Italy).

Continue to pray for Carlene Aguilar as the coronation night draws near, and once we get news on how to vote (Noelle says ABC-5 has info - people with televisions, feed me news!!), flood the SMS lines, Philippines! Send Carlene Aguilar to the finals!

Monday, November 21, 2005

The one with the huge literary loss

The home of NVM Gonzalez, one of the greatest English writers ever produced by the Philippines, burned down last Friday, with it all his literary works, including his essays, fiction, poetry, and books, his certificates, medals, and entries to the NVM Gonzalez Award.

Having Professor Gonzalez as a fiction teacher was one of the greatest experiences of my life. He taught simply, inspired greatly, and had a passion for the written word that I had never seen to date. When he died, I traveled from my home in Paranaque to where he lay in state in the University of the Philippines, and as I sat at the back, remembering what he taught me, I knew I was privileged to have known him and been in his presence, if only for a semester.

I am no great writer. NVM Gonzalez was a great writer. And now all his work - gone.

My heart weeps for the loss. It is a tragedy - more of the Philippines' than anyone else's. When your nation is blessed with brilliance and genius, to have it all taken away - all, being the operative word, now that both writer and works are gone - is simply too much, too much.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The one with Mongolian Stop

There are a lot of good things to say about the Mongolian eat-all-you-can. Cathy and I are big fans of the Mongolian buffet. And why not? You prepare the ingredients yourself, choosing whatever you'd like to add to the mix, all the way up to the spices and condiments, and voila! You've got yourself a relatively healthy meal right there on your plate (or in this case, bowl).

When it comes to Mongolian eat-all-you-can's, Cathy and I love Mongolian Stop at the 2nd floor of Robinson's Place Ermita. The selection there is quite decent, but what we like about it is the fast service and the crowd - not too many to overpower, but not too few to make it strange to eat there alone.

This bowl is my standard Mongolian Stop bowl. Cabbage, lettuce, peanuts, bean sprouts, red and green bell peppers, chicken, beef, and pork, with six teaspoons of Mongolian sauce, four teaspoons of garlic water, three teaspoons of sesame oil. Trust me - it's delicious, and leaves a great sauce.

The best part? Only P199, eat all you can! Great deal, seriously. There's a Mongolian Stop at Robinson's Galleria, too, at the Food Court. Go, little ones, go!

This would be tofu. Mmm!

Cathy strikes a pose. My wife is truly beautiful!

Here she is again, looking all introspective.

The one with Carlene charming everyone into the homestretch

Global Beauties has released an update on the Miss World 2005 favorites, and Miss Philippines World 2005 Carlene Aguilar is still the odds-on favorite. I have to admit, I'm getting a little concerned, especially as more and more of the Miss World 2005 candidates seem to get their A-Game on, but I'm confident Bb. Pilipinas Carlene Aguilar will do us proud.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The one where the Deens are immensely grateful

The Philippine Blog Awards, an independent and non-corporate dotcom, has promoted and recognized Filipino Blog sites and bloggers for the past three years. I first heard of them in 2003, when my good Christian buddy Rick Manzano's old site, StarbucksCoffeeForFree, helped him secure a nomination for Filipino Blogger of the Year. I campaigned extensively for him with the Philippine community, and he won that year's Philippine Blog Award, praise God!, joining My Party Journal, which won Most Informative Blog of the Year, and, Filipino Blog of the Year.

The Philippine Blog Awards' selections were topnotch: in 2004, the Philippine Blog Awards' Blogger of the Year was Mga Kuwentong Tambay ng Siraulo sa Timog Kalipornya, an engineer blogging of his life in Singapore. Technobiography, Most Informative Blog of the Year, focused on science and technology, and the Filipino Blog of the Year,, was operated by a grandmother with a green thumb.

Today, in its third installment, the most prestigious national blog recognition body has released its list of semifinalists, trimming the selection down from an initial 667 entries to an impressive 110 entries for four categories:

Filipino Blogger of the Year
Most Informative Blog Site of the Year
Photoblog of the Year
Best Blog Site of the Year

May God be praised for His goodness, because Superblessed is a semifinalist in three of these four categories! The Philippine Blog Awards organizers apparently think we're good enough for Most Informative Blog Site of the Year, Photoblog of the Year (!), and Best Blog Site of the Year.

Nathan, Catherine, and I thank the organizers of the Philippine Blog Awards, for giving us "a place in the sun." Maraming salamat po!

Now, while it has always been our intention to blog about what is important to us, we've never made it a secret that we try to focus this blog and everything we do on bringing glory to Jesus Christ. Being a Philippine Blog Awards semifinalist is another blessing, a testament of God's goodness and how He works in our lives. Everything brings us joy, one way or another, even the occasional opportunity to rant (God forgive us).

For me, that's what blogging is about. End of day, it's about bringing some kind of emotion you feel to the international community. We're representatives of our nation (and our faith). For the most part, we choose to spread joy. [Except when we blog about GMA, who can go fly a kite, but that's another story.]

So, thanks you, organizers of the Philippine Blog Awards! While a Superblessed win is highly unlikely, given the extreme quality of the blogs we're up against, we thank you because, at least in your eyes, you've counted us among the best blogs in the Philippines. It's truly a humbling experience, nakatataba ng puso. Praise God, and thank you so much, Philippine Blog Awards!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Oddsmakers predict Ms Philippines will win Miss World 2005

Miss Philippines 2005 Carlene Aguilar is the odds-on favorite to win Miss World 2005, if online bettors are to have their way.

Carlene Aguilar, Miss Philippines , is solid with at least four online betting sites, including Paddy Power, which places Carlene Aguilar winning at 8-1 odds,, which has Miss Philippines winning at 9-1 odds,, which says Bb. Pilipinas Carlene Aguilar will take it home at 11-1 odds, and, which predicts a Miss World-Philippines victory at 12-1 odds.

The only site that doesn't have Ms. Philippines as the front runner is, which places Carlene Aguilar winning at 10-1 odds, good enough for Top 5.

Don't forget to vote!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The one with "Times are Hard"

Last week, I went to SM Makati to find a dress for a wedding I am hosting. While waiting for my turn to use the dressing room, I commented to the saleslady: "Siguro ang daming tao ngayon. Pasko na eh." ("Since it is Christmas, there's probably a lot of people coming."). The saleslady politely answered: "Hindi nga po eh. Mahina po ngayong taon. Noon, kapag Biyernes, maraming tao. Ngayon, ganito na lang." ("Not really. It is quite slow this year. In the past years, many people come on Fridays. Now, it's just this number.")

This exchange made me realize that in general, Filipinos have very little disposable income nowadays. With skyrocketing prices and low peso power, Filipinos can barely survive. I realized that if it were any other year, I would be planning and completing my Christmas shopping by now. However, this year Ganns and I decided to limit our list to family and very close friends. Multiply us to the number of (lower) middle class young professionals and you'll realize how big a difference our "budget Christmas shopping intentions" will have for the industry.

Indeed, times are hard. We need to learn to use our resources wisely. 168, baby!

Vote for Carlene Aguilar!

You can now vote online for Miss Philippines Carlene Aguilar in the 2005 Miss World beauty pageant. Each vote costs USD1, so please tell your kababayan friends in the US to vote for Miss Philippines Carlene Aguilar!

Hey, Smart, Globe, Talk & Text, Sun Cellular, Touch Mobile, all y'all SMS providers, hurry your infrastructure so we can text Carlene into the finals!


Monday, November 14, 2005

The one with Jo Frost's Supernanny

Ganns and I recently bought Jo Frost's book, Supernanny.

We are very happy with this purchase since it contains practical advice on common parenting challenges such as toilet training, tantrums, feeding, naptime, aggression and others.

Supernanny's techniques are very practical and does not involve shouting or spanking. Aside from the valuable content, the layout of the book is absolutely beautiful. The book retails for P699 at Fully Booked, Rockwell. Worth every cent, I'd say.

The one with Mabuhay Rotonda

This morning, Ganns and I passed by the Mabuhay Rotonda, formerly Welcome Rotonda, in Quezon City. Since it was a "Rotonda" (in English, a circular road), we were hoping to use it to get to E. Rodriguez. What a surprise for us to discover that the city government or the MMDA had permanently blocked off the Rotonda. It seems ironic that the landmark is called "Mabuhay Rotonda" when there is no more Rotonda. The city should probably consider renaming the landmark to Mabuhay Monument.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The one with Carlene Aguilar's Miss World photos

I'm sorry, but damn! Carlene Aguilar is FINE! I'm telling you, Carlene Aguilar, the Philippines' bet to the Miss World 2005 pageant in Sanya, China, is really one of the odds-on ladies to beat. Come on, look at these pics!

Tall and statuesque!

Awesome profile!

Here's praying she doesn't choke like Miriam Quiambao at the Miss Universe pageant a few years ago. Tsk tsk.

We can help Carlene by voting. I'll post soon on how to vote for this year's pageant. Meanwhile, I think - as one of the two things that unites Filipinos, aside from boxing champions - we can help raise our national pride out of its doldrums by praying for Carlene. Come on, folks, show this country's superblessed in this regard.

Update 1: Paddy Power has Carlene winning at 8-1 odds.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The one with why Carlene Aguilar could win Miss World 2005

The Philippine Daily Inquirer published a press release on Bb. Pilipinas-World candidate Carlene Aguilar, who will leave November 11 for Sanya Hainan, China, to participate in the Miss World 2005. Will Carlene Aguilar, Bb. Pilipinas-World, take home the Miss World crown and become the first candidate from the Far East to win (with five Misses India and one Miss Guam, who took over from a dethroned Miss Germany, technically not counting)?

I was talking to Cathy and everything seems ripe for Carlene Aguilar's victory (although, yes, Miss World is terribly unpredictable in that regard. Remember how Sharmaine "Ruffa" Gutierrez was obviously cheated out of her rightful throne back in 1993!).

Here are some reasons, some my own and some from Global Beauties, which places her as the one to beat, that make a strong argument for Bb. Pilipinas-World candidate Carlene Aguilar to be throned as Ms. World 2005:

1) The pageant is being hosted for the third year in a row in China. Carlene was 2nd runner-up Miss Chinese International 2004, so you can imagine the hometown crowd supporting her loyally after their own candidate, Miss China, ting Ting Zhao. It also seems appropriate that a candidate from Asia's Far East finally win while the pageant is held in Asia.

2) The past three years, only the Philippine candidates have entered the Top 5 (Mafae Yunon, Karla Bautista, and Katherine Manalo - who, I might add, used to sing with us in our band, ha ha ha), primarily through the strength of SMS voting, which is part of the selection process. The Philippines is the SMS capital of the world - you can imagine how many votes Carlene Aguilar will log, especially in the wake of Precious Lara Quigaman's victory at the Miss International 2005 and Filipina Mara Morelli's triumph at the minor pageant Italia Nel Mondo.

3) Carlene Aguilar is a pageant veteran. Aside from placing 2nd at the Miss Chinese International 2004 pageant, she also represented the Philippines at the Miss Earth 2001 pageant and entered the semifinals. She was also Miss Chinatown Manila and won several awards during her Bb. Pilipinas tenure, including Miss Philippine Airlines and Miss Avon.

4) Carlene is 5"9, weighs 129 lbs. and measures 35 ½ -24 – 35 ½. She's tall enough to make an impression (Precious Lara Quigaman, by comparison, stands 5"5 1/2).

5) Ms. World president Julia Morley apparently loves girls with a squeaky clean image. Carlene Aguilar has supported many environmental causes, reads inspirational books, and loves her family. What do you think? Lesser women have won on lesser chances. I say this year, Carlene Aguilar could be Miss World 2005!

Supplementary links:
Carlene Aguilar's Miss World bio

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The one that complains more about Faux Pres. Arroyo

Faux Philippine President Gloria "Ate Glue" Macapagal Arroyo has backtracked on proposed minimum wage increases, shortly after meeting with top local and foreign businessmen.

In her speech, the President decried the way the media had been presenting the news, saying “the headline of the day can be unsettling and discouraging.” “Every molehill is treated like a mountain. Every accusation is treated as truth. Every piece of good news is stepped on by the bad,” Ms Arroyo said.


What good news can you possibly give us, Ate Glue? Think of it in practical ways. The common tao doesn't care how much money the government makes through E-VAT, nor does the common tao care about foreign debt, which, to their knowledge, they really didn't do anything to acquire.

What good news can we possibly fathom if the common tao can't bring food to their tables? How happy will a father of three be when he has to pull out his kids from the (tuition-free) public schools because he can't pay for their books and allowance? Do you think a mother can sleep well when she can't cook any of the food her husband brings home because she can't afford to buy gasul?

Food and access to education are just two basic rights that the majority of the Filipino people have to struggle to attain. Basic rights!

“The easy manipulation of this issue by the destabilizers and the media who further their agenda is a case of Chicken Little screaming that the sky is falling,” she said. “Well, the sky is not falling.”

Tell that to the starving people, Ate Glue. I understand businesses have to survive, but if we don't have money to even get to work, I can tell you businesses will not survive.

In practical terms, food is more expensive, gas prices are soaring, the middle class and the poor are getting poorer, and much of the middle class is leaving the country.

Ouch! A piece of sky just landed on my head! Dear Lord!

The President insisted that her administration’s decision to raise taxes through the VAT “has already strengthened this nation and will provide more economic opportunity and job creation than any other single initiative we could have done.”

Really? The only thing I see strengthened is my resolve to pray for a chance to leave this country.

“I reject extremists’ calls to isolate our nation from our friends and allies in the world. I reject extremists’ calls that will junk the market system and create a controlled economy. I reject extremists’ calls to overthrow our duly constituted government and entrust our fortunes to an un-elected anti-capitalist dictator,” she said.

I reject a President who has yet to prove her rightful place in office. You got to the Presidency when the people overthrowing the duly constituted, elected President, Mrs. Arroyo. Don't ever forget that. When dangerous precedents are set, you must raise the bar and earn the country's respect, and instead of doing that, you've done virtually nothing.

I reject a President whose actions have only served to isolate her from the rest of the nation. [Do you really think Cebu and Davao care about you, Mrs. Arroyo?]

I reject a President whose see-saw behavior and decision-making processes belies her true feelings about her service to the people. I reject a President who says one thing, but does another. Build an ethanol plant! Chuchu! It still belongs to you, the land is yours, ang labas lang n'yan, the Philippine government that operates the plant will have to pay land rent to you. Kumita pa kayo!

She said she had put in place three strategies to realize “the vision of a modern Philippines” where in 20 years it will join the ranks of First World nations:

• Building strong macro-economic fundamentals and strict fiscal discipline so the government can balance the budget, improve the country’s credit ratings, attract investments and have money to invest in infrastructure and people.

The corrupt cannot discipline the corrupt.

• Taking an aggressive campaign to reengage the country with the world through trade agreements and to ensure the people protection from terrorism.

What's our main source of trade? People. In effect, aggressively campaigning for better laws for our OCWs so the middle class will be even more tempted to leave the nation. We don't have doctors, nurses, and teachers. You know what kind of nation doesn't have that?

The indebted to the military cannot dictate to the military. [Oh, by the way, most soldiers don't have food either.]

• Fulfilling her 10-point pro-poor agenda.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The one with the last call for the Perfect Proposals book

Calling all engaged and married men (and women)!, the Philippine pioneer in wedding proposal planning, is in its final stages
of text and layout for Perfect Proposals: Popping the Question the Pinoy Way, a unique Filipino wedding proposal collection scheduled for release before Valentines 2006.

A call was issued at last year, and we're issuing the call again to allow other couples to participate in the book. Your unique, romantic proposals deserve space in this book! Share the love! We're inviting all engaged and married men and women to submit their unique proposal stories for inclusion in Perfect Proposals.

Its your story, so how you choose to tell it is up to you! Please try to keep it as detailed as
possible, though: include dates and places, food choices, and whatever additional information you feel appropriate.

Submissions may be sent to ganns at Each text-only (no Word documents, please) submission should be 500words or less, subject to editing. Accompany the submission with your name, email address, landline contact number (daytime and nighttime), and mobile number.

The senders of selected proposals will be informed via email of their proposals inclusion in the
book. A picture of the couple may be required for publishing as well. Senders of selected proposals will be invited to the booklaunch, where each sender gets a free copy of the book.

Please feel free to pass this information around to people who you know have had fantastic
proposals. Share the love!

The one on my superblessing for November 3

Bene Diction's back!


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The one with Greenpeace Philippines

My heart bleeds for Greenpeace.

Greenpeace found itself portrayed somewhat unfavorable in the news recently when its flagship Rainbow Warrior 2 ran through more than 1,000 feet of coral reef. While news coverage of the incident has been generally fair, it highlighted the irony of environmental org Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior 2's ramming through the coral reef and downplayed the fact that the ancient coral reef maps given them by the Philippine government were woefully inadequate.

Look at how well Greenpeace handles the accident, claiming responsibility and promising to pay almost USD7,000 in fines to the Philippine government for the damage done to the reef. Greenpeace may have been at partial fault for not seeing the reef in time, but the fact also remains: if the maps were updated, they wouldn't have run into the reef. Plain and simple. This wouldn't have happened if the Philippine government did its job and updated its maps.

My immediate concern is this: sure, Greenpeace will more than gladly pay for the damages, but who is to assure us that this money will go towards the reef's rehabilitation? This is the horrifically corrupt Philippine government we're talking about, and even the purest of intentions, when put into the hands of those proven immoral, can go awry and misdirected.

I would much rather have seen Greenpeace Philippines oversee the rehabilitation themselves.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace Philippines is now doing the rounds of malls and schools, trying to shore up its numbers and membership. I signed up at the Ayala Glorietta 4, and I hear they'll be going to Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall and other malls soon enough. Greenpeace Philippines is one organization doing its best to increase environmental awareness and I can't thank them enough for their work.

Greenpeace Philippines membership is simple: for only P150 a month for a year, you can support Greenpeace Philippines' many projects and activities to help make a difference and save the planet. There are few greater gifts from God than that of this beautiful world in which we live. Joining and supporting Greenpeace Philippines may be one of the best decisions you'll ever make. I strongly, strongly encourage y'all to do it.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The one with what arguably is Disney's best animated film

You can't blame Disney for wanting to stick to formula. The pioneers of animation, after all, have a lot to live up to - Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Cinderella, Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast... it would behoove them to create something whimsical, witty, and devoid of moral lessons and characters bursting into song.

Which may explain why the woefully underappreciated The Emperor's New Groove may just be their best animated film of all time. Here are ten reasons why:

5. The animation is topnotch. No pixels, just cartoons in all their hand-drawn beauty. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. Set

4. The plot is uncomplicated. A spoiled teenage emperor, Kuzco, wreaks havoc on everyone in the course of obeying his every whim. He fires his advisor, Yzma, who then plots to kill him with the help of her of the month, an idiot named Kronk. Things go awry, and he's turned into a llama instead, who manages to escape into the foothills, where he runs into a peasant named Pacha, who he has just told to vacate his pastoral home. That's it - the rest of the film is spent trying to get Kuzco home where he can become a human again. Simple but deliriously funny.

3. The film is fast-paced! No music to complicate matters (save for over-the-top Tom Jones as "The Theme Song Guy"), everything fast and snappy, with humor and wit at every corner.

2. The voices are perfectly cast. David Spade as the Emperor Kuzco virtually reprises his role as Finch in Just Shoot Me, and his whininess is ingratiating at first, but you end up rooting for him near the end. John Goodman (a favorite with Disney - he also voiced Sullivan in and Baloo the Bear in Monsters Inc. in Jungle Book 2) does a great Pacha. Wendie Malick (again of Just Shoot Me) as Pacha's wife, Chicha, acerbic and funny. Stealing the show? Eartha Kitt in all her glory as Yzma, and Patrick Wharburton as her bungling sidekick Kronk; the two "villains" are definitely strong arguments to want to see this film.

1. I've never seen a funnier film. Think Looney Tunes circa Chuck Jones. Cathy and I are constantly quoting from this film. Here are some great quotes:

Yzma and Kronk are at the door of their "secret lab."
Yzma: Pull the lever, Kronk.
Kronk pulls the lever, dropping Yzma into an alligator pit. She exits, slapping the alligator.
Yzma: Why do we even have that lever?
- - -
Kuzco: This is Yzma, the emperor's advisor. Living proof that dinosaurs once roamed the Earth.
- - -
[on Kuzco]
Yzma: Why, I practically raised him.
Kronk: Yeah, you'd think he would've turned out better.
Yzma: Yeah, go figure.
- - -
Yzma: Tell us where the talking llama is, and we'll burn your house to the ground.
Kronk: Uh, don't you mean "or"?
Yzma: [sighs] Tell us where the talking llama is, *or* we'll burn your house to the ground.
Chaca: Well, which one is it? That seems like a pretty crucial conjunction.
- - -
[plotting ways to kill Kuzco]
Yzma: Ah, how shall I do it? Oh, I know. I'll turn him into a flea, a harmless, little flea, and then I'll put that flea in a box, and then I'll put that box inside of another box, and then I'll mail that box to myself, and when it arrives...
Yzma: [laughs]
Yzma: ...I'll smash it with a hammer! It's brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, I tell you! Genius, I say!
Yzma: [knocks over bottle of poison on flower, which shrivels up and dies]
Yzma: Or, to save on postage, I'll just poison him with this.
- - -
Yzma: Take him out of town and finish the job now!
Kronk: What about dinner?
Yzma: Kronk, this is kind of important.
Kronk: How about dessert?
Yzma: Well, I suppose there's time for dessert.
Kronk: And coffee?
Yzma: All right. A quick cup of coffee. Then take him out of town and finish the job!
- - -
[the palace guards have been transformed into animals]
Yzma: Get them!
Cow Guard: Hey, I've been turned into a cow. Can I go home?
Yzma: You're excused. Anybody else?
Other Guards: No, no. We're good.
- - -
Kuzco: I can't believe this is happening!
Yzma: Then I bet you weren't expecting *this*.
[Yzma pulls up her dress. Kuzco and Pacha scream]
Yzma: [Yzma revealing a knife attatched to her leg] Aha!
[Kuzco and Pacha sigh with relief]
Kuzco: Oh, okay.
- - -
Yzma: [squeaky voice] Looking for this?
[clutching her throat]
Yzma: Is that my voice?
Yzma: Is that *my* voice? Oh, well.

The one with Tea Square iced teas

If you like frequenting the Manila malls as much as I do, you may have noticed a kiosk franchise sprouting up around the metropolis that sells what may be the most refreshing beverage you'll ever get under P35. I'm referring to Tea Square, and with branches in Robinson's Manila, Market! Market!, and the Glorietta Food Court, as far as I know, you are never too far from the best budget teas you'll ever get your hands on. Trust me - I like tea.

Unlike other iced teas, you literally get to see the Tea Square's tea in front of you because the tea bag is put inside your glass (makes for a great refill!). The iced tea varieties from Tea Square include Mint, as well as Apple and Cinnamon, but my favorite by far is their Four Red Berries iced tea, which has raspberry, strawberry, cranberry, and that other red berry I can never seem to remember. Delicious, incredibly refreshing, and not too sweet (their sweetener comes from a simple sugar syrup, so if you'd rather have your tea straight up, you can ask the barista not to put the syrup in).

Other items in stock at Tea Square include hot tea varieties and some kind of filled bread sticks in flavors like Chicken a la King and Mushroom and Pesto.

Trust me on this: if you're looking for iced tea, go to Tea Square. You won't be disappointed.

The one specifically on Cello's Donuts

A post I made August 15, 2005 talked about some yummy finds, including Cello's Donuts on Taft Avenue, Cherry Hill bakeshop chicken pie, and Tazza Kahluea Walnut Cake. This is what I wrote about Cello's.

Cello's Donuts. Mmm. Mmm. Mmm! These donuts make Go Nuts, Hot Loops, Dunkin Donuts and Mister Donuts taste like deep fried flour nuts off the street. We're talking delicious, mouth-watering, greaseless confections that melt in your mouth with just the right amount of sweetness without being overpowering.

With at least two locations I know of - De La Salle Manila and Ateneo de Manila, hm, I wonder why? - selling these incredible sweet treats, I can be anywhere in Manila and not be too far from a Cello's. The best one off the selection is, believe it or not, cheese; I never thought I would ever enjoy a cheese donut, but then again, Cello's uses a different kind of powdery cheese that pulls the trick off delightfully. Among their other truly yummy offerings: chocnut (ooh!), M&Ms (ooh ooh!), and dark chocolate (OOH!) with a Toblerone dip! God, there goes my diet!

Apparently, not too many people have heard about the amazing donuts that are Cello's, including 90% of my officemates at work. So I bought a dozen donuts from Cello's (six cheese, two peanut butter, two chocolate frost, and two sugar frost) to share with them. The Cello's donuts disappeared in less than 30 minutes - given that I made one announcement, this was truly an indication of how delicious these little babies are.

Cello's Donuts. In this humble blogger's opinion, the best donuts in the world.

The two boxes containing six donuts each, cut onto morsels so people could share.

A closeup of the sugar frost, chocolate frost, and peanut butter frost donuts.

Cheese cheese cheese! I think these are the bestsellers, and if you could taste these, you'd see why.