Beach bumming in Cancun

Spending a day at Cancun's amazing beaches - miles of white sand bordered by the azure Caribbean sea

Cenote Jumping in the Yucatan

Cenotes are naturally occurring sinkholes that dot the almost barren landscape of the Yucatan Peninsula. Jumping on it in a rope swim is one of the most exciting things I did in Mexico

Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago

Being in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago is like stumbling inside Hangar 51 in Indiana Jones. The museum has everything that can be possibly dug up from the ground, including Aztec artifacts, gems and minerals and dinosaurs!

Coron, Palawan

The municipality of Coron is part of the Calamian group of islands north of Palawan. It is about an hour away by plane from Manila via Busuanga. Aside from the azure seas, white beaches and islets fenced with limestone cliffs, Coron has several magnificent wreck diving sites.

Flyboarding in Subic

Flyboarding is a new sport invented by Zapata Sports, where you have a contraption is attached to your feet your arms. You ride the watr jets like Tony Stark with his repulsor jets

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

So much for technology

The Luddites were right this time. At least for today, as I fell victim to technology that went awry and caused my blood pressure to go up a notch.

On my way to work this morning I was horrified to see that the chip readers of the G-Pass, the much-vaunted contactless payment system for MRT, was out of order. Both of them. Which means that I have to fall in line to purchase a single-journey card for me to be able to board the train.

Later I went to the bank (Bank of Philippine Islands in Julia Vargas) to withdraw money over the counter (I can no longer withdraw from the ATMs because of the 20 thousand-peso limit). After waiting in line for almost two hours the bank's computers went offline and nobody can withdraw money. So again I have to bitch a little and "compelled" the teller to make an exception. Fortunately (maybe she was just trying to avoid a tongue lashing), she consented and accepted my ATM receipt as proof that I still have some money in the bank and allowed me to withdraw some.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Cheesy Customer Service

I just went ballistic at customer service this afternoon over a chunk of cheese. Literally.

Well it started last Saturday when I bought a block of vintage cheddar at Berkeley Square, a mini-mall just a stone's throw away from my apartment. It turned out that the expiration date on the package was torn off and there is no way of knowing whether the thing is still edible or is itself a thriving new ecosystem already. It read 10-##-##, and I assumed that the sell-by date was October. The cheese itself was aged for 18 months anyway and it probably would not matter since aged cheeses have stick around for so long already, but still I wouldn't want to take my chances.

So this afternoon I dropped by the supermarket to have the cheese returned or replaced, but as expected I got unsympathetic response from the crew. Being a power-whiner, I demanded to see the store manager ASAP, and after a few minutes of bitching, got a new package of cheese.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Boom Goes the Dynamite

This is not how to give a newscast. I pity the guy.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Zune is Butt-Ugly

Many hacks tech reviewers are raving (mad?) about the Microsoft Zune, the supposedly iPod-killer from Redmond - tauting the much-vaunted WiFi capabilities and its larger screen. Yeah, yeah, but WTF - brown? I know design is not really a strong point for Microsoft, but how ugly can the Zune get? Carrying one would be like lugging an adobe brick around (considering the heft of that thing, this is not far from reality).

Maybe Microsoft should learn from history, such as the following list of supposedly iPod-killers who met their untimely demise after duking it out with the gods of Cupertino. I sure am going to stick with my iPod.

Sony Beans - February 13, 2006
Dell DJ - February 4, 2006
iRiver - February 1,2006 (in Europe)
Thomson - December 12, 2005
BenQ - November 28, 2005
Olympus - November 9, 2005
Rio - August 26, 2005
Virgin - March 8, 2005

Even CNN dissed the Zune at this video:

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Do I Hear "Douchebag?"

I think this person would eventually personify the term "loser" and "douchebag."

Commute at the MRT

One of my least favorite part (as if I even enjoy it) of my commute to work is the MRT leg. MRT is one of the three light-rail transit system in Metro Manila, stretching from North EDSA to Baclaran in Pasay, passing through EDSA, the main thoroughfare.

MRT itself is not half-bad, aside from the Lilliputian size of the coaches, but rather what catches my ire is the Cubao leg of the journey. You see, once the train reaches the Cubao station, almost all of the waiting passengers there lose all sense of civility and manners - shoving and elbowing everyone just to get inside. Not to mention that almost 90% of them smell really bad (much like over-riped guavas crossed with month-old cheese). Because they are in close proximity with you, their smell and icky sweat would also permeate and rub off on your clothes.

Another chief complaint is the escalator in Quezon Avenue station, which doesn't work most of the time, making me walk up four flights of stairs just to get to the platform.