Tuesday, October 30, 2012


I really haven't tried successfully capturing the beauty of fireworks with my camera so when the opportunity presented itself last October 28, I made it sure that (1) I consult my previous photography teacher/sensei and (2) look at YouTube for tutorials on how to do it right.  So for this installment of my blog (and it has been quite a while since I really posted an article), I will try on presenting them in a photo-blog format.

I would definitely appreciate comments especially from those who are also photo-enthusiasts.  I am no expert to this field, so please bear with me should you not be pleased. But for me, well it was quite an experience.  

The event was held at the parking lot of SM Clark.  According to an article I read from SunStar 
Taytay town, Rizal (Number 7) emerged as winner followed by Bulacan (Number 2), 2nd place; and Oroquieta City (Number 6), 3rd place.  An estimate of 20,000 people gathered to view this event which also happend to be the culminating event for the annual Fiestang Kuliat.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Coffee Tasting 101

It's raining heavily outside, whether you are at the comforts of your home or busy with work, the nicest companion would be that warm cup of beverage that will complement the mood.  For many, it will be 'coffee'.  So for non-coffee drinkers, you may opt to continue reading or not (but I hope you do, eheee).  I was able to gather bits in pieces of nice-to-know things about coffee and memories of my previous stint to judge a coffee making competition came.

The peg was 1598 when the word in reference to coffee was used in the English language.  The word is derived from the Ottoman Turkish 'kahve' also related to the Italian word 'caffe'.

COFFEE HISTORY (captured from coffee review.com)
The favorite bedtime story about the origin of coffee goes like this: Once upon a time in the land of Arabia Felix (or in Ethiopia, if an Ethiopian is telling the story), there lived a goatherd named Kaldi. Kaldi was a sober, responsible goatherd whose goats were also sober, if not responsible. One night, Kaldi's goats failed to come home, and in the morning he found them dancing with abandoned glee near a shiny, dark-leafed shrub with red berries. Kaldi soon determined that it was the red berries on the shiny, dark-leafed shrub that caused the goats' eccentric behavior, and soon he was dancing too.
Finally, a learned imam from a local monastery came by, sleepily, no doubt, on his way to prayer. He saw the goats dancing, Kaldi dancing, and the shiny, dark-leafed shrub with the red berries. Being of a more systematic turn of mind than the goats or Kaldi, the learned imam subjected the red berries to various experimental examinations, one of which involved parching and boiling. Soon, neither the imam nor his fellows fell asleep at prayers, and the use of coffee spread from monastery to monastery, throughout Arabia Felix (or Ethiopia), and from there to the rest of the world.

As I mentioned, I am not expert.  My weekly limit for coffee is one (1) cup in a week since I am battling an acid bout ehe... but Knowing a good coffee taste need not come from an addict. I was able to get this quick guide.  So next time you take that cup of coffee, do it like an expert and check for the following:
Taste those high, thin notes, the dryness the coffee leaves at the back of your palate and under the edges of your tongue? This pleasant tartness, snap, or twist, combined with an underlying sweetness, is what coffee people call acidity. It should be distinguished from sour or astringent, which in coffee terminology means an unpleasant sharpness.

Body or mouth-feel is the sense of heaviness, tactile richness, or thickness when you swish the coffee around your mouth. It also describes texture: oily, buttery, thin, etc.

Strictly speaking, aroma cannot be separated from acidity and flavor. Acidy coffees smell acidy, and richly flavored coffees smell richly flavored. Nevertheless, certain high, fleeting notes are reflected most clearly before the coffee is actually tasted. There is frequently a subtle floral note to some coffee that is experienced most clearly in the aroma, particularly at the moment the crust is broken in the traditional tasting ritual. 
If aroma is the overture of the coffee, then finish is the resonant silence at the end of the piece. Finish is a term relatively recently brought over into coffee tasting from wine connoisseurship. It describes the immediate sensation after the coffee is spit out or swallowed. Some coffees develop in the finish -- they change in pleasurable ways.  

Flavor is a catch-all term for everything we do not experience in terms of the categories of acidity, aroma and body. In another sense, it is a synthesis of them all. Some coffees simply display a fuller, richer flavor than others, are more complex, or more balanced, whereas other coffees have an acidy tang, for instance, that tends to dominate everything else. Some are flat, some are lifeless, some are strong but mono-toned. We also can speak of a distinctively flavored coffee, a coffee whose flavor characteristics clearly distinguish it from others.

Now that coffee drinking (tasting) has become more complicated for you, ehe... Do you know of the most expensive coffee in the world?
It's the Civet Coffee variety and glad to know that a variety can be found here in the Philippines.  To the local dialect, it is more popularly known as the 'Alamid' coffee coming from the name of the 'cat' (actually a weasel) where this coffee comes from. 

Yep, go visit the net for information on this rather exotic drink, or better yet get the chance to taste one!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Spice... It Up!

Love food?  For what?  Apart from texture, I am a person who is big on flavors, lots of them. As much as possible, I want every bit to be exploding with assortments of tastes.  I am however not a technical expert.  I just know what food I like and the taste that satisfies me.

Writing this blog for almost seven (7) months now, It dawned to me that the type of food I have featured here so far have one thing in common --- they pack heavy flavors.  So an idea came to me to gather some information about these sources of flavors and share it with my readers.

Spices have been part of our lives since time immemorial (ehe, it was nice writing that word). Yet man continuously search for combinations and uses for these natural wonders.  Some even view and revered them for their medicinal and 'magical' enhancements.  For me, I am already in awe for the wonders they do in flavoring food.

Research from the internet defined a spice as: a dried seed, fruit, root, bark or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as food additive for flavor, color or as a preservative that kills harmful bacteria or prevents their growth.  It may also be used to flavor a dish or to hide other flavors.  In the kitchen, spices are distinguished from herbs which are leafy, green plant parts used for flavoring and garnish.  Many spices are used for other purposes:
  1. Medicine
  2. Religious rituals
  3. Cosmetics
  4. Perfumery
  5. Preservative
For me specifically, I like the wonders dry spices do on meats.  Sorry for those non-meat eaters but 'spice rubs' make miracles on meats used for grilling.
Spices are also good for stews and as a partner to tomato-based dishes.

Our kitchen has a few spice selections since my mom is very fond of experimenting and serving international cuisine.  She has also traveled in the middle eastern countries which are known to be the seat of these spices too.

I am also reminded of having spices mentioned in our World history class wherein humanity's history was largely because of the spice route that made the power struggle more exciting.  There is this famous line: "He who controls the spice, controls the universe".

CINNAMON ROUTE - began somewhere in the Malay Archipelago, romantically known as the “East Indies,” and crossed the Indian Ocean to the southeastern coast of Africa. (spice route).

CLOVE ROUTE - from Southeast Asia is the trail of cloves from Maluku and the southern Philippines north to South China and Indochina and then south again along the coast to the Strait of Malacca. From there the cloves went to India spice markets and points further west. (spice route) This is the same route where we belong!

Below is the world map for the spice route.

I was also able to gather a useful spice chart which may be handy for those who want to try:

Sunday, July 29, 2012


I recently came across this nice craft/art site featuring a very popular (yep, I would say I was left behind this one)hobby.  Dubbed as 'CUBEE CRAFT', it was a surprise for me to see hundreds of dedicated sites on this craft.  I have been seeing these things before on some hobby shops and toy stores.  I often referred to them as 'toys' before.

This post intends to open up the opportunity also to my readers of this nice craft.  As of this writing, I am already planning on choosing the right paper/board to print my downloaded characters so i can start making one.  I will add these up to my growing collection on my desk at work and intends to give away also some as gifts to friends.

One nice thing also about this craft is that most of the sites showcasing this art too always refer back to the main site featuring an exhaustive library of cubee characters.  I find this very professional and indeed every artist owes it to the 'originator' and real respect for the craft, I would say is present.

The main site, cubeecraft.com features hundreds of various crafts which people can download and use to create their own items.  I really like the concept that people can freely download characters and objects.  It goes to say that the people behind this movement really want to share and spread the appreciation of this form of art.

On my next post, I will be trying to document/chronicle my making of my first cubee...  One dilemma I am having also is having to decide which character to do first (teheee).  Here are some of the choices I have downloaded:

My top contender so far...

A Mario classic.. 1up Mushroom

From Adventure Time, Finn

Adventure Time character, Jake

Batman of the Future

Black Spiderman... Symbiote mode!

Domo kun ofkors!!!

TMNT Donatello -- Classic!

Doreamon!!! Nuff said

Another Classic, Kermit the Frog

Super Mario!!!

From the Real Ghostbusters, the Marshmallow Man

Below are samples of finished cubee artworks:

And to officially end this post, I would like to ask you readers, which character are you interested to be rendered in 'cube'? My next post shall be my showcase of my finished arts.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My First Gundam Toy

It has been a while now that I have been browsing facebook accounts as well as various online references pertaining to Gundam action figures.  I have been contemplating to get one to put in my office desk (to add that much needed 'life')but somehow, every trip to the toy and hobby shops leaves me disappointed.

For one, the Gundam Deathscythe that I so adore is almost always not available, or during that time that I found the Endless Waltz version 1, it was less than 3k pesos!  Too much for my discriminating wallet.
So finally, July 5, it was my nephew's birthday and I was buying him a gift and it dawned to me to get my first ever Gundam.  For some reason, the 'white' Gundams did not appeal to me so I got the only 'dark' colored one... It was named Gundam Strike Noir...  I honestly do not have an idea who the heck was this robot so after 2 hours of gruelingly building the toy... I browsed the internet for any information on it.

Here are just some of the 'technical' specs of my newest office mate.

Model number: GAT-X105E+AQM/E-X09S
Code name: Strike Noir Gundam
Unit type: prototype all-purpose multi-mode mobile suit
Manufacturer: Actaeon Industries
Operator: Earth Alliance
First deployment: unknown
Accommodation: pilot only, in standard cockpit in torso
Dimensions: head height 17.72 meters
Weight: max gross weight 90.51 metric tons
Armor materials: unknown
Powerplant: ultracompact energy battery, power output rating unknown
Propulsion: unknown
Equipment and design features: sensors, range unknown; Variable Phase Shift (VPS) armor; enhanced power unit; hardpoints for mounting Striker packs
Fixed armaments: 2 x M2M5 "Todesschrecken" 12.5mm automatic CIWS, fire-linked, mounted in head; 4 x EQS1358 rocket anchor, mounted in hands and feet; 2 x M8F-SB1 "Shorty" beam rifle, mounted on hips, hand-carried in use; 2 x MR-Q10 "Fragarach" 3 beam blade, mounted on Noir, hand-carried in use; EQS1358T rocket anchor, mounted on Noir Striker; 2 x MAU-M3E42 linked linear gun, mounted on Noir Striker
Optional hand armaments: 2 x 57mm high-energy beam rifle w/175mm grenade launcher x 2

Like the original GAT-X105 Strike Gundam, the upgraded GAT-X105E Strike Gundam E is designed to use several interchangeable Striker packs. It most commonly uses the AQM/E-X09S Noir Striker, which combines various armaments. The Noir Striker's wings house a pair of linked linear guns, as well as a pair of beam blades and a rocket anchor. The Strike Noir is assigned to Phantom Pain pilot Sven Cal Bayang and serves as his personal unit during the Second Bloody Valentine War that begins in late C.E. 73 with the "Break the World" incident. Separated from the regular Earth Alliance command structure, Sven's Phantom Pain unit includes Mudie Holcroft's GAT-X1022 Blu Duel Gundam and Shams Couza's GAT-X103AP Verde Buster Gundam. During the course of the war, Sven is assigned to lead a group of Orb pilots using GAT-01A2R Slaughter Daggers in the hunt for the Martian ship Acidalium and Ergnes Brahe's GSF-YAM01 Δ Astray. In early C.E. 74, Sven's unit is assigned to protect Phantom Pain's land carrier Bonaparte, as well as the massive GFAS-X1 Destroy Gundam. The Bonaparte comes under attack from ZAFT forces, resulting in Mudie's death. Soon after, Sven and Shams are sent to space as part of an attack on the Deep Space Survey and Development Organization (DSSD) to seize control of the AI-equipped GSX-401FW Stargazer Gundam. During that battle, the Strike Noir is damaged by the Stargazer Gundam. In a last-ditch effort to defeat Sven, Stargazer Gundam pilot Selene MacGriff uses the Stargazer Gundam's "Voiture Lumiere" interplanetary propulsion system to send both suits out to near Venus. Afterward, Selene rescues Sven and uses the Strike Noir's remaining energy to recharge the Stargazer Gundam for its long journey back to Earth, leaving the crippled Strike Noir behind.

So here are some of the shots I had while I was building my toy... please bear with the narcissistic treatment... It's my first time after all..

Unboxing... it's been a while since I did something like this
I was overwhelmed by the numerous parts....
Read the instructions carefully and aligned them based on the guide
Set 1 - Check, here's the head
Set 2 - Check, now torso up is completed
Whole body is completed plus the preliminary wing parts
After two hours... viola!
Full front profile guns and wing guns in full glory
Side profile... those stickers were difficult to put...
Back profile... You got to love the details
The other side profile
I am looking forward to finally building a full pledged Gundam kit, preferably the Deathscythe or Heavy Arms!