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Christmas at Ayala Triangle Garden

Blogger’s Note: This post is written by Midori the Beagle.

Our Cousin Aliyah paid us a visit at the House of Queens.  We were so excited since she was joined by the rest of the family.  Yes – Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle, and Aunties were with Cousin Aliyah.

We all decided to trek towards the Ayala Triangle Garden where they have a musical light show every half hour starting at 6:00.  All of them were amazed by the light show.  There were a lot of people at the Garden and apart from the lights – Char Siew and I became an attraction.  Kids just find us adorable and seeing that we were kid friendly and can play even with such a young kid as Aliyah – they became more comfortable playing with us.

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Scrabble Does not Recognize “Rape”

I was playing Scrabble on my iPad. It was one of my favorite games growing up and playing it on my iPad is such a treat.  However – for the past couple of days – I have not picked up the game.  It really started when I had all the words to  tiles to form the word DEAR and E appended to the word RAP to form the word RAPE.  I was surprised that Scrabble does not recognize the word RAPE.

I understand that Scrabble can be played by minors.  However – RAPE is a word and as much as we would not want minors to be able to use the word – it is a word.  Having it omitted from the “DICTIONARY” of the game is wrong in so many levels.

For those playing Scrabble on the iPad – have you encountered another word that is CENSORED by Scrabble?

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FaceTime on the iPod Touch

facetime_hero20101116One of the Queens is away for a work assignment in Hong Kong.  We keep in touch through many electronic means – but the coolest so far is FaceTime on our iPod Touch.  We both own iPod Touch 4.0.  We both have access to a WiFi network.  With these prerequisites – we are able to call each other and have face to face chat using FaceTime.  The technology works really well.  Apple is not the first to think of Video Calling on mobile devices.  Nokia, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson had this capability when the 3G network was introduced outside of Japan.   However – if you have tried that before – you will know that the 3G network in places like the Philippines does not have the capacity to give a seamless experience for Video Callers.   I think Apple realized this limitation and therefore introduced it in the iPhone ( and iPod Touch and soon the Mac ) but limited to just a WiFi connection.    How is the experience?  Wonderful.   Apple – once again hit a home run with FaceTime on an idea that has been there in the past but not executed well.   Now – we can spend hours chatting face to face on our iPod Touch.   The best thing about it – is that it’s free.

Note: Image was taken from the Apple Website ( )

Marc by Marc Jacobs for the iPad

I make fun of people who own designer cases for their gadgets.  I guess it’s time to for me to poke fun at myself.  One of the gifts I received from the Queens’ household is an iPad case from Marc by Marc Jacobs.  It’s beautiful, it’s handy, and it’s pink.  What more can a fun-loving, fashion conscious man like me have to look for?

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Portrait of Mr. Temple Guy

Remember the Temple Guy figurine I bought from the Meiji Shrine?  Now that I have the close up Filters,  I tried to give him a much closer look.  Sharing with you his portrait.  I think his head is less than 2 cms. big.  Open-mouthed smile

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Merry Christmas

I am writing this post as I sit in the living room of my Parents’ place.  My two dogs: Char Siew and Midori are with me.  Their Nanny took time off and visited her sister.  The two other queens are with their respective families.  So the House of Queens is empty tonight – Christmas Eve.  We will all come back tomorrow in the afternoon – so we’ll still be able to spend Christmas day together even for just a few hours.

How is your Christmas Day?  I hope you’re having a blast.   I’m sure my Christmas will be fantastic.

Here are some of the fantastic Christmas decorations in our house.

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The Hong Kong Convention Center

One of the Queens just came back from Hong Kong.  While she was there, she had time to go around the city beyond the neighborhood of Wan Chai.  in fact – she actually crossed over to Kowloon Island.  This allowed her to to take a picture of the Hong Kong Convention Center from the Ferry.  I’m sharing the picture with y’all as it is now one of my favorite pictures of the Hong Kong lights.

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Close up Filter

I did almost no shopping in my last business trip to Hong Kong.  The only thing that I bought were Close Up Filters for my NEX 5.  It’s a set of 3 filters which has progressive “strengths”.  They allow someone to take Close up Photos beyond what their camera lens’ capability.  You can use each filter separately or stack them all together.  For most people – they refer to this type of pictures of MACRO photography.  Technically – the pictures one take using these lenses do not qualify to be called Macro pictures – so I will continue to refer to them as Close-Up pictures.

These are the different filters and the pictures that were taken using them.

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Arroz Caldo

Literally translated – this actually means hot rice.   Of course – the more accurate translation is rice soup.  For us Filipinos,  we distinguish Arroz Caldo ( rice porridge with Chicken ), goto ( rice porridge with cow intestines ), the common man’s lugaw ( rice porridge – plain ), and congee ( the Chinese rice porridge ).

For me – I like lugaw and Arroz Caldo.  While I was in bed with a temperature of 39 degree Celsius,  I craved for lugaw.  I asked one of the queens to run to the nearest KFC and get Arroz Caldo.  Yes – in the Philippines, KFC serves Arroz Caldo.  Makes sense because it’s a chicken dish.

The Arroz Caldo was great – but I couldn’t tell because for the past three days, everything tasted like cardboard. 


The Lion King

I lived in Minnesota for two years.  At the tail end of those two years, I started seeing promotions for a new Disney Musical which was going to Debut at the Twin Cities.  The title of the musical is Lion King.   I never got to see the Musical because I came home a month before it showed.  My friends who stayed in the city saw the musical and they agree with the critics – it was a fantastic show.

It’s been years since the Lion King moved from Minnesota to Broadway where it has been sold out almost every night.  It has also shown in other cities and the latest venue will be Singapore.  While we were at the Marina Bay Sands – we saw the promotional material for it.  I swear – this time – I’m willing to fly to Singapore to watch it.  I’ve been waiting for over ten years to watch this show.

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Comfort Food

One moment I can’t seem to eat anything without the fear of ending up in the bathroom throwing it all up.   The next minute, I’m craving for all sorts of food.  I am craving for arroz caldo ( chicken porridge ), ice cream, mangoes.   I ended up with ice cream.  The sad thing about being sick is that the best tasting food can taste like crap.

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iPod Touch 077For two straight days now,  getting up had been a real ordeal.  It started with symptoms of the common cold then progressed to cough – and today I realized I’ve had fever.  The latter accounts for the chills that I’ve been feeling.  I can’t even switch the air-conditioning on.

I did see a doctor at Patient First.  I’ve been to Patient First so many times this year that I’m actually mayor of that site in Foursquare.  They gave me cough medicine and advised me to rest.  Just rest.  If the fever does not break in the next couple of days, I have to come back.

Victoria City Seafood Restaurant

On a business trip to Hong Kong once again.  In previous visits, my local staff take me to the restaurants around our office and on all occasions, the dimsum that I have been served was outstanding.  This time – I looked for one of the restaurants which I remember well.  It’s the Victoria City Seafood Restaurant which serves the crispy Char Siew Pao.   In my opinion – this is the best Char Siew Pao ever.

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Char Siew Pao

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Egg Tarts

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Char Siew ( yes – this is the dish after which my Shar Pei was named )

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Hakao (Shrimp Dumpling )

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Chung Fan ( Rice Rolls )

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Crispy Milk Fish Fillet

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Victoria City Seafood restaurant in Wan Chai

Internet Superspeed

I am used to internet speed of 512 kbps.  So getting a consistent 1 Mbps download and 8 Mbps upload blows my mind.  This is the internet speed we get in our Hotel Room in Hong Kong.

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Hong Kong Traffic

Hong Kong is a big metropolis.  It approximately has over 7 Million residents.  It has one of the most efficient public transport system in the region.  Therefore – traffic is actually not much of a problem.  Even foot traffic is managed by having elevated bridge ways for people working in the city.  This is similar to the bridge ways found in the Twin Cities in Minnesota.  Walking along the bridge way last night provided a good perspective for a photo.  It’s amazing how you can just see straight lines of lights from the cars.  The Philippine roads do not look like that as staying in one’s lane seems to be optional for Filipino drivers.


Hairspray Christmas

For our company Christmas party, the different departments had to present Musical numbers.  This is not unusual since Filipinos are known for our love of Musical Variety shows.  This is why Glee is a big hit in the Philippines – breaking out into song while doing one’s daily chores is normal.  Well – maybe for me and my family – and a lot of my friends from High School.

My team was assigned the Hairspray musical.  We didn’t win. We didn’t even place.  However – I do think the team did a spectacular job – from the performers to the people who created the props. 

Here is my favorite shot of the team’s performance.

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Flying on Philippine Airlines

I am Hong Kong bound again.  This time – I chose to fly on Philippine Airlines.  I love flying on Cathay Pacific but I really wish they were on another terminal in the Philippines.  The Philippine Government should seriously stop the bickering about Terminal three and just shut down terminal one.  It’s the first structure that visitors to our country see – and it doesn’t leave a very good first impression.


The Personal Entertainment Console – even on Coach

Anyways – I digress.  On flying Philippine Airlines – it was wonderful.  This time, I was able to ride their new Boeing 777.  I remember being on this plane last year from Cebu to Manila.  I remember enjoying that ride and I still enjoy it.  I think this PAL flight is the most comfortable coach seat that one can be on.  Other airlines say they have a reclining seat but the angle of those reclined chairs are pathetic.  PAL’s coach seat gives you a comfortable angle to rest.


Look! It’s a cup holder.

The triple seven also has the personal entertainment screens.  What I found amazing is that the seat has a LAN port and a USB port.  The USB port can be used to play media files from a USB drive ( not sure if it will recognize iPod ).


A LAN port and a USB Port 

The meal is also good.  You will notice in this picture that they even serve dessert from Bizu – I wish though that they had the famous Macarons from Bizu.



They don’t Carry Coca Cola products.

So I guess – from now on – I will request for PAL on my business trips.  It was surely a pleasant ride on Asia’s first airline.


Asia’s First – Philippine Airlines.