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Hobbes and Landes - January Pet of the Month

My picture kissing Mr. Monkey won the first place in Hobbes and Landes' - January pet of the month contest.  We missed the actual announcement during the January walk your pet event - but we got the following e-mail from Hobbes and Landes.

Midori and her Ribbon

Picture from the Hobbes and Landes Fan Page
Hi Lord,


We would like to inform you that Midori, your dog’s photo entry at Hobbes and Landes January Pet of the Month contest was chosen to be the 1st place to won the title. We have announce the grand winner yesterday during our “Walk your Pet” event.

Midori, as the 1st place winner won Royal Canin package and a ribbon. Kindly claim your price at Hobbes and Landes Bonifacio High Street and look for Marissa or Cesar.

Thank you for joining!

Hobbes and Landes

BTW - I didn't bag the actual pet of the month title.  It was won by Skye - the Jack Russel Terrier.   

I got a Canon Powershot SX220 HS

I just bought the Canon Powershot SX220 HS.  It's a point and shoot camera but it has manual controls ( as in manual settings for Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO, White Balance and even Manual Focus ).  Moreover - it can zoom 14 x.  According to reviews I read, that's equivalent to 28 to 392 mm.

Canon is endorsed by Papa Piolo.
I wasn't planning on getting a new camera.  My original plan was to get myself a 55 to 210 E-mount end for my Sony Nex-5.  I've been in a number of occasions lately where I could not take the pictures that I wanted to take because I was too far away from my subject.  This was when I was at the Sinulog festival - taking pictures from the grand stand and the other one was during the Chinese New Year celebration at Mandarin Oriental.  What worked to my advantage during that time is the fact that I can manually focus the NEX-5 so I was able to crop the pictures at a later stage so I can see the faces of my subjects.   I digress - what I wanted to say was I wanted to get a new tele-zoom lens but they were not available.   The Sony stores could not tell me when it was going to be available.  Please take note that my alternative was to buy the 18 to 200 mm E-mount lens - which was 50,000 pesos.   I am not yet ready to make that hefty investment on a camera lens.  The 55 to 210 lens would just cost me 19,000 pesos. 

Original Photo of SONY NEX 5
Cropped Photo - Uploaded to my Blog Entry
Since I wasn't able to get the lens I want - I started browsing for other camera products.  What caught my attention was the Powershot SX220.  I told the store clerk I was going to come back as I was going to do a quick research on the camera.  From what I read - it got good reviews and the features that I need worked, zoom and manual control.

14 X Zoom 
Full Manual Controls

So I bought the camera and I plan to use it as my secondary camera.  I like it because it's compact.  I also tested the zoom lens - and I was able to get very close-up pictures of the building that is being constructed in front of us.

No Zoom - Pay Attention to the Crane
Full Zoom ( 14x ) - Look at how close that Crane is in this picture
BTW - my brother is getting married this weekend.  I'm planning to take pictures during the wedding and the reception.  This new camera will come in handy.  It's magnification is strong enough for me to take pictures of the couple while I'm seated at the pews and it's small enough to fit my tuxedo's pocket.

Oh before I forget  - the camera came with free sunglasses from Lacoste.   The price of the camera after carh discount is 18,500 pesos.  I think it's the right camera for the right price point.

NOTE: For other picture samples for this camera - please see pictures on this blog post: XO 46.  Note that it's a dimly lit restaurant but photos came out properly exposed even without flash.  

XO 46 The New Visayan Room

Filipino food has many different types depending on the region that you live in.  Most famous are the kapampangan cooks ( from Central Luzon ) but all around the archipelago, you can find traditional dishes that are unique to that region.  For example, the lechon in Cebu is different form the lechon in the Tagalog region.  Talk to any Cebuano and they will tell you that their lechon is the best.  You don't even need sauce to eat it.

It is therefore fitting for one of the better Filipino restaurants to open it's adjacent room and focus on Visayan dishes.  I'm talking about XO 46's New Visayan room.  Looking at the menu - not all are from Visayas.  For example - Laing is actually from the Bicol region.  I would have also wanted to see Balamban liempo which you can also find in Cebu.

Even though the menu is not purely Visayan - the overall experience is still wonderful.   Each dish is traditional and yet modern - like it's next door neighbor XO 46 Bistro Filipino.

These are the highlights of our meal.

Complimentary Spicy Kropek

Complimentary Piyaya with Quezo de Bola Spread.  I love this.  Piyaya is not the sweet kind but still tastes good with the spread.

You can opt to dine at the corner setting.

Overall decor is more modern than the adjacent XO 46 Bistro Filipino

The staff will address you as Senorito and Señorita

Filipiniana Theme for the Staff Uniforms

The best drink to go with Filipino Food - Cold Cerveza San Miguel

I didn't care much for the Pancit Molo.  I think it has too much ingredients.  I want my Molo to have a lot of Broth

Their Cebu Lechon with Truffle rice is a great combination.  I already had Cebu Lechon for lunch but I wanted to try their version.  I wasn't disappointed.  Warning to the Cebuanos - this is not your grandmother's lechon.  It is less seasoned than the ones found in Cebu - but still flavorful in my opinion.

Rabo de Toro Hiligayon ( that's Ox tail for you - also on Truffle Rice )

Mango Mabuhay ( or Mango Jubillee ).  It's got cheese cake which makes this more special than the one you usually get from other restaurants 
Seard Queson Puti with Laling Bruschetta - You must try this!

For Dessert - I ordered the Champorado Eh.  Think of your Champorado turned into Biko.  If you are a fan of those two delicacies ( kakanin ) - I strongly suggest you order this for your dessert.

I'm happy to try a new restaurant in our neighborhood.  I was telling one of the queens that they should do a better job of promoting their restaurant.  I think they get a lot of people from the nearby offices - but I think that a lot of Filipinos ( and even their foreigner guests ) will find this restaurant interesting.

For more information on the restaurant - visit their Facebook page.

Cotton Candy from Salcedo Market

I grabbed two pints of cotton candy from Salcedo Market.  One in blue and one in pink.  Both were delicious - but I wish they were fluffier.

I also got two mini bibingka ( rice cake ).  I didn't care much for these - they didn't give me niyog ( coconut ) and butter.  They were too dry for my taste.

Each of these are worth 25 pesos.   That's a good price to satisfy my cravings for sweet treats this weekend.   

Cafe de France Cebu

We were famished when we landed in Cebu.  We found Cafe de France which is one of the very few restaurants which were open.  It was Sinulog - so a lot of restaurants were either closed or were operating in limited hours.

Cafe de France confused us a bit.  There is a popular chain in Manila called Cafe France.  When we got inside the cafe - we realized that it was a different chain.

For my meal - I ordered pumpkin soup and Ham and Cheese croissant.  They were good. I know where to grab a quick bite the next time I'm back in Cebu.

Whodunnit? Part 2

Today,  the monkey was found in the living room limp and seemingly lifeless.

According to evidence that we got hold of - a picture was taken with the suspect for this incident.  Look closely at this picture at the lower right hand corner.

You don't see it?  Let me help you out by zooming in.

Do you recognize that shape?  It seems like someone has been caught red eared.

Stay tuned for developments into this gripping story in the house of queens.

Marvel Characters on F&H Tees

Finally!  I was able to check out Folded and Hung to grab their limited edition Marvel Comic Tees.  I got my Spiderman T-Shirt and my Iron Man V-Neck T-shirt.  Can't wait to wear them.

While I was at the F&H shop - I also grabbed three shirts in this year's luck colors: red, orange and purple.

I can't believe that I now have to buy X-large t-shirts?  I used to buy T-Shirts from the Teens section.  What happened?



There was a crime committed at the House of Queens.  Whodunnit?

The suspects

The victim: Pedro

The Prosecutor

Kung Hei Fat Choi

Today, we welcome the year of the Water Dragon.  Kung Hei Fat Choi!  Happy New Year!

The dragon leading the prosperity parade.
Master Joseph Chau Kam Shing presiding over the Paai-Shan Ceremony (prosperity and energizing ritual) 
Master Joseph Chau blessing the crowd.

He encourages everyone to shout Kung Hei Fat Choi while he blesses them.

We were lucky that we were close to a platform. So we were touched by Master Joseph Chau's blessings for the year.

Since it's the year of the dragon - there were two fire-breathing dragons featured behind the stage.

Mandarin Oriental General Manager Mr. Mark Bradford,  Vice President Binay, and Master Joseph Chau dotting the eye of the dragon.

The Lions

Manila's Socialites ( including Ms. Baby Arenas ) were there to celebrate the new year.  She was one of those who dotted the eye of the lions.

Tim Yap and Tessa Prieto hosted the event.

Purple Dragon doing the prosperity dance.

Mandarin Oriental has been celebrating the CNY for the past 16 years.

A lot of Chinese ( and Filipinos ) are looking forward to the year of the Dragon.  It is said to bring people good luck.  This element sign for this year is water - so the luck colors are those which can be seen in fire ( which counteracts water ).  For example the colors red and orange are considered lucky for this year.  

I was born on the year of the Water Ox.  Oxens are known to be steady workers - which makes us very resilient to bad fortune. We can always rely on our hard work to get us through anything.

I wish all of you, my dear readers the best in money, love, and health for this year.  Kung Hei Fat Choi!