Friday, November 24, 2006

My Travel Therapy

*also known as Ivy's In The Clear album review

The travel bug bit me (together with the karma police), so to ease my pain, I maximised my business trips and did a Lonely Planet trekking and just knocked myself out.

First pit stop was the lovely island of Palawan. It's my first time here, and I must say, Puerto Princesa is a fantastic city - the streets were immaculately clean, and should the mayor catch you littering, he would immediately alight from his vehicle and slap you himself.

A minty, wispy addition to your CD collectionA perfect match to the flight to Palawan (or soundtrack to boat rides) would be Ivy's 2005 release, In The Clear. They may not be mainstream, but they've been quite around sometime (check out their 1999 single Edge Of The Ocean, performed in the TV series Roswell). They can be pegged as a DSound prototype, sans the smoky-jazzy sound, replaced with an airy, citrus-y feel.

The hazy clouds dancing around velveteen mountains, is a dreamy visual, and the song Thinking About You enhances that. There is a certain sense from flight coming from the album, whether its a drifting sensation, or just the mere phrasing of the songs. Other songs that provide this undulating vibe include Nothing But The Sky, Ocean City Girl, and Feel So Free.

Lest I forget that this was meant primarily to be a travelogue, I'll just end with In The Clear is one of the best finds I've found this year. Ivy definitely outshines the other "not-so-known" artists I've adopted for my collection. Like a lemon-infused air mist, this CD will definitely refresh your ears in a surprising way.

To listen more on In The Clear, check out my new Multiply site. I've uploaded the mp3s there.


Sorry, I got carried away.

I didn't have much time to do all the Palawan-y things to do, so I was asked to choose: Will it be the nature-lover's Underground River, or the beachcomber's special, hopping islands at Honda Bay. Since I was advised that the quintessential Palawan experience would be the former, I decided to go spelunking instead. Besides, I left my sun block at home.

The road to Sabang was hideous, and Mr. Minnesota riding with me in the tour van couldn't stop himself from getting carsick and eventually hurling. After two and a half hours of traveling, we winded down the port of Sabang and took a boat to the Subterranean River National Park fifteen minutes away. The view of limestones were just amazing, and the cliffs were not to be seen anywhere else in the country.

Underground River entrance

Inside the caves were mostly bat droppings, but the mineral formations were a geological wonder to behold. Stalactites and what-have-you formed figures that represented The Nativity, various fruits and vegetables, lions, snakes, even crispy-fried bacon. There were narrow passages, winding curves, and ceilings varying from 3m to 600 meters tall. Sadly, my brother’s camera (which is much better than mine) couldn’t share the precious pictures taken, so this picture of the cave entrance will have to suffice.

We had lunch at the national park, where park keepers warned us of monitor lizards and wily monkeys stealing away your food. They were not wrong. All I have here is me braving (if you call it that) a monitor lizard, conspicuously in front of its name tag. What you’re not seeing here is me wrestling with a monkey for a fried chicken thigh. You will also not see me panting my lungs while going up the 2-hour jungle trail. My lower torso ached from the steep stairs – Mr Minnesota was worried that the wooden planks were made from sturdy teak, instead, I told him that it was actually antique. Suffice to say, he was not amused. Tsk!

Taunting reptiles at the nature park

There was a mini city tour after Sabang, and it included a drop to the Vietnamese Village. It’s really strange that the first house simply plays Viet music, but nothing else. Mostly everyone had migrated to the United States, and those that stayed were the ones denied a visa. Hmm.

A shrine at the Viet Village

There, you have to forgive me, these blog entries of mine are reallllllly long. Perhaps next time, I’ll provide a brief narrative.
Thursday, November 23, 2006

You Know It's Christmas When...

No, this will not be a hearwarming post, no fuzzy-warmness here.

You know it's christmas when crimes start going up. At the very onset of the "-ber" months, two of my friends got nabbed of their phones. Last week, my brother got mugged and shot, a mere 10 minutes away from our house. That is crap.

Just a note to everyone. Though it may be the perfect reason and time to be inebriated, party like dogs, and perhaps shop all night, there are a lot of people there planning to get their "Christmas Bonus" in a not-so-nice way. Just be careful.

ps. My brother is recovering in a hospital. And hopefully, will be out in two week's time.
Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Sony Ericsson Advert

Anybody seen the new Sony Ericsson Walkman Phone ad? The moment that they released the walkman phones, I knew I found the right gadget for me, and now that they released the heartwarming (at least for me) video, it further affirms their battlecry, I love music.

The video shows the following affirmations, along with images of people loving their music.

I love the rain.
I love my long commute.
I love the company.
I love it loud.
I love shopping.
I love to unwind.
I love being a substitute.
I love working late.
I love losing myself.
I love missing the last bus home.

For me, I fully appreciate 'it loud', 'losing myself' and 'missing the last bus home'.

Lose yourself!

The image of the guy alone on a sand dune, with music plugs on, dancing, is a wonderful idea, of living life. My version? The hell with the security camera, it's fun to do this inside an elevator.

Walking with my Walkman!

How many times have I missed a commute, said "the hell with it, I'll just walk", and just strapped my earphones on? Countless, starting from high school. Still do, by the way. Along the crowded streets of Quiapo, crossing borders in Thailand, sliding up escalators in Makati, basically anywhere.

I love their advert, I love my music. To see the video in its entirety, see here:
Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I Got Tagged Part 2

I couldn't resist. Sorry! Normally, I've been sleeping like a log, whether it's from sheer exhaustion or whatnot, I get a normal load of snores in order to muster enough energy to drag my sorry little ass to work on a daily basis. Well, lkooking at the time of this post, today, I'm a couple of Zs short.

So I've decide yo do another round of that post I did earlier this afternoon. A total change of playlist that I'm loading to my newly-acquired FM transmitter-connected phone.

1. Two Star by Everything But The Girl
2. Colorblind by Counting Crows
3. Never Is A Promise
4. Breathe by Michelle Branch
5. We Never Change by Coldplay

There. That's just five, but it's all mine - I'm keeping this all to myself. No tags whatsooever, ha.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Seven Songs Tag

Thanks Ina, but 7000 seems awfully a lot - but soon. Ha.

The instructions are:
List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now. Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to.

1. In The Sun - Joseph Arthur
May God's love be with you. Not to sound too preachy, but this song is just so great. There's also a version of this song sung by Chris Martin and Michael Stipe.

2. Thinking About You - Ivy
They're an old band, and I owe them a decent/fulll album review, but really, I haven the time. So I'll just part with saying that they're like DSound, minus the jazz, but with citrus-y feel.

3. Exit To Exit - Ryan Cabrera
Who would've thought that his album would be great? Not too much bubblegum right there.

4. On Fire - Modjo
Too bad they split up, they made really great music. There's a similar note on them below.

5. New Agenda - Janet Jackson
After years of searching I finally found a copy of the janet. album. It's timeless and a vivid vision of how Janet was in her prime.

6. Time Of Year - Better Than Ezra
Saw a BTE song in Ina's list, and well, loved this one. I wish I could find their old CDs somewhere....

7. Over My Head - The Fray
Must. Get. Album. Any reviews?

I'm coming up with a list of my favorite songs for 2006, I'm just waiting for November to end so I can accommodate late entries. Previous "Song of the Year" winners include Ace of Base, New Radicals, Michelle Branch, Yellowcard and Hard-Fi. Watch out for it.

I'm going to tag the following for this:
1. Jam
2. Lex
3. pay_see (dude, where's your blog?)
4. Mayller (where's your blog too?)
5. PJ
6. my sister Michelle
7. Benj
Thursday, November 02, 2006

Where's My Squeaky Floor

I love beach houses but...

I think I've posted some pictures of these before, but the beaches just look great. The basic pet peeve I have for them is not the potential sunburn you might have, nor is it the salt stinging your eyes, but the sand coating the bottom of your feet - causing you to frisk it off, while never really getting a totally clean sensation on your soles. I really hate that feeling, that's why I love the squeaky feeling of our marble floor. That's been long gone, my feet have been coasting through millimeters of dust continuously settling inside our house.

The good news is, our house is being expanded, adding a new wing at the back end of our lot. Ever since I moved back, we never really fit that well in our 2-bedroom domicile (who uses this word, other than lawyers, really?). The kitchen wall has been knocked down, the roofing laid out, and right now, I'm just waiting for the tiles to be planted, the walls to be painted, and the ceiling to be installed. Then we can do with the furnishing.

I have plans, like having a really nice bookcase, a larger closet space, and a really funky lava lamp. But right now, all I want is the squeaky floor back.