Friday, March 23, 2007

CouchSurfing In Manila

While I've already mentioned pieces of my Couchsurfing experiences, I've never really expounded on what it was. It's an internet-based volunteer program that offers couches all over the world as accommodation. If you're ever travelling anywhere across the globe and you'd want to skip the whole tourist trap parade (complete with flags, lisping tour guides, and sticker IDs the size of China), then I'd surely recommend this one. You'd have to be a member of course, and but worry not, it's definitely free.

I've had successful surfings in Southeast Asia, and already pseudo-hosted in Manila. It's definitely a great experience, as you share stories of how different cultures vary around the world. A few days back, Phil, a nomadic ambassador dropped over and was warmly welcomed by Team CouchSurfing Manila. I'll just post a few pictures (click on My Flickr Gallery), and fast forward to the message, lest I risk being Society page fodder.

There was a book that was recently published about the 12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country - and while some of them are extremely difficult (like respecting your politicians/public servants) or heartbreaking (paying your taxes), most are just downright simple (follow traffic rules, do not litter, vote). How does CouchSurfing come into the picture? Item #4 - Talk positively about our race and our country. Filipino hospitality is something we pride ourselves excessively with, and what a greater venue to showcase this when we host travellers from around the world.

Look at the joy on their faces!
Yes, the main what's-in-it-for-me is not shelling out precious euros while backpacking Spain, Italy and Germany, but while you're enjoying the chat and scenery, do share great things about country. Amid the airport paranoia, liquid ban in planes, a stranger is about to welcome you into their homes - it is time to channel the inner ironist in you, that despite rabid politicking and hellish traffic jams in our country, there is still a lot of things beautiful in our 7,107 islands.
Thursday, March 22, 2007

Drat! My PC broke down again

*looks at title above*

Duh, second time in a month and a half.
Monday, March 12, 2007

New Guns On Tour

Flashback first: it's Y2K and I'm flipping between the New Balls Please campaign, and seeing the Backstreet Boys on MTV. Seven years later, Britney Spears is expecting a third child, Lleyton Hewitt is already a has-been, and Jennifer Capriati is retired again.

As I go through the latest issue of TENNIS magazine, there is a streak of young athletes making waves on the ATP and WTA. Gasquet, Berdych, Monfils, Murray, Almagro, Ivanovic, Chakvetadze, Jankovic, Vaidisova and Baghdatis.

None of them have won a Grand Slam, but I see several Tier I/Master Series winners. Aside from playing the First To Win A Slam Derby, I would have to choose my favorites as well.

Clearly head and shoulders above my men's pick is Andy Murray. Greatest asset? That change of pace. I'm terribly impressed at the way he plays the point by mixing a slow ball, then firing forehands. Killer shot? Crosscourt double-handed backhand, not as brute as Nadal's, but the way it veers away from the opponent is a feat.
Brad Gilbert does wonders...

A throwback to Mary Pierce?
The women's side is definitely a harder choice - Miss Consistent would be Ana Ivanovic, Best Performance in a Grand Slam goes to Nicole Vaidisova, Toughest Girl On The Block would be Jelena Jankovic and Miss Quiet Performer would be Anna Chakvetadze. Still, I'm rooting for Anna, version 3.
Saturday, March 10, 2007

Blog Awards

In light of my recent woe in the article below, to which our ever-reliable IT Helpdesk was able to restore my Nov 2006 files, not my March 2007 files (rendering it all useless), I still have good news to share.

Quelle bon surprise! My blog is nominated for the Philippine Blog Awards in not one, but two categories (Travel and Personal). Thanks to those who nominated my site, I'm not even aware that there was an nomination season.

Given this wonderful news, I promise to do the following:

1. I promise to write more in the blog, and be more conscious of the typographical errors. Watch me hack away at night, in complete graphomaniac mode.
2. I promise to post better pictures. (Which is a fancy way of saying that I shall reward myself with a really nice camera next month.)
3. I promise not to do a Sally Field should I win an award. However, if the presentor is totally hot, I promise to do an Adrien Brody.
4. I promise to treat those who nominated me for a drink. Haha.
5. I promise to have my travelogues share really useful tips. However, I cannot promise to not colorfully describe (ie. mock) the tourists I meet.

Edited to add: If you want to go to the event, just drop by here: Philippine Blog Awards: How to get your tickets


There. Just an update, I finally saw a movie at the cinemas, - first since well, I got single again. To repeat an earlier statement, not just 1, but 2 movies, even!

Frank Miller got it perfectly right in 300, a dazzling mix of art direction, and story telling. I always loved stylized violence, but throw in a lot of story, it distracts you from the texture of the film (Can you hear me Sin City?). Not enough story and you get all dressed up paper dolls in a diorama (Sky Captain and World of Tomorrow). In 300, they stuck to their guns, or should I say spears and swords. It was the Battle of a Place I can't spell, and kept the momentum going. Well done right there.

The other movie I saw was Notes On A Scandal. Cate Blanchett, have an affair with me!

Seriously speaking, the movie was tight, and utterly delectable. Now, I have the confidence of taking the TOEFL - it felt like an English class right there. Crush ko din kasi si Judi Dench. Hehe.
Sunday, March 04, 2007

My PC is broken!

My 2-month old laptop just crashed Thursday - I hope nothing fatal happened. So I'm remotely blogging here.

Just to remember what I'm supposed to be writing about, it's Heart 1035, and this weekend's CouchSurfing community.