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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Blue Christmas

The family decided to spend our Christmas at my brother's house.  Our kids were so excited they went there early, I think their kiddie pool had something to do with it.  It was a "win,win" situation, they enjoyed the whole day, and we were able to prepare the food and other stuff without any distractions in our place.  Then, as evening came, we joined them, brought with us what we prepared and our gifts for the kids.

After our supper, we asked the kids to sleep, but they were just so curious and excited to open their gifts, that some of them were not able to sleep.  Since the kids won't, I unconditionally volunteered myself to doze off.

As my wife woke me up a quarter before Christmas eve, the kids had already segregated their gifts.  Everything turned out well, everyone finally opened their presents (happily, especially the kids).  But something was off... I heard the sad news when my brother told us that he will be fetching a relative to a nearby funeral.  Just minutes before midnight, her husband died.  We were all left speechless for a while thinking about the tragedy.  Barely touched our "noche buena"...

Before we went home, we passed by the funeral home and gave our condolences.  No one really knows when will our life end but our Lord.  We just could only pray for strength to accept and move on for those who were left.  It may not be easy, but if we think of it that he is now with our Lord in heaven, it will be an ease.

James 4:14 - Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
Merry Christmas (still).  Yahweh bless.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Santa Joins Temple Run

As the Christmas season is fast approaching, some of our favorite past time phone games also made a timely update.  And yes, Santa is now one of the Temple Run’s players.  Maybe, he’s making it a sideline to have additional budget for the growing population of kid’s around the world (kidding).  You will find a thinner and fit Santa, as he needs to run for his life from the demon guarding the idol.  One needs to have 60 gems in order to unlock Santa Claus... simple as that.
Along with the update, additional set of artifacts can now be found, for the masks and for Christmas.  The masks are to complete an objective and collecting all the Christmas artifacts will unlock Santa’s hat for the other players.  Also a new obstacle was added, the water slide.  It is somewhat played same as that of the tunnel obstacle.  So there’s really no need to upgrade your playing skill.

The new updates bring spice to the game as well as a feel for the holiday season.  Happy playing, everyone, and advance "ho ho ho" Christmas... . Yahweh bless.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Experiencing Vikings

If not for the exchange gifts, I won't be having these expensive slippers that I'm wearing today.  Every December, we always have a simple departmental party, and we usually have a wishlist for what we want to receive.  Coincidentally, my indoor slippers already gave up on me (he he he), and since we agreed that the gift should be 750 and above, so I took the chance and requested for a "Havaianas" (got the brand from others' requests).

Well, eating in Vikings (a buffet restaurant) was also part of our group's idea.  It wasn't a cheap place to dine, but we all agreed to it considering a lot of us haven't tried the place yet and it's sort of our treat to ourselves... and besides, our company had already given to us something which (let's just say) was enough to spend for the holidays.  So after work, we went to the place, which by the way is located at SM Lanang Premier, just a walking distance from our office.

So, how's the place and food?  For a start, this is so far the grandest buffet restaurant I had been... and for sure, the biggest of its kind in Davao.  The food...we enjoyed the varied cuisine that they offered, from pastas and pizzas to grilled dishes of all kinds.  Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Western, Filipino cooking, I think they all have it. They had native delicacies for dessert, as well as other pastries, candies, yoghurt, ice creams, a do-it-yourself "halo halo" and a lot more.  Cold and hot beverages were overflowing, but I think the best seller was their beer since it got the longest line of people.

As to their service, they have a lot of crews to attend to their customer's needs.  Foods were always replenished, finished plates were immediately removed in the table, and though one needs to get their own food (being a buffet), they serve orders that take a little while to cook.  Also, birthday celebrants were recognized and treated with a free meal (provided that the celebrant is accompanied by at least  1 full paying adult).  More, they had a group that serenades each celebrant, in a fun way.

And the thing we can't forgo to ask,  how much?  Below are the current prices and are, by the way, inclusive of government taxes and are subject to 5% service charge. 

Weekday Lunch:
Children below 3ft – free
Children between 3ft to 4ft – 188+ each
Children between 4ft to 4ft-6in – 388+ each
Adults – 688+ each
75 years old and above – 50% discount

Weekday Dinner:
Children below 3ft – free
Children between 3ft to 4ft – 288+ each
Children between 4ft to 4ft-6in – 588+ each
Adults – 888+ each
75 years old and above – 50% discount

Weekend and Holiday Lunch and Dinner:
Children below 3ft – free
Children between 3ft to 4ft – 288+ each
Children between 4ft to 4ft-6in – 588+ each
Adults – 888+ each
75 years old and above – 50% discount

We paid lesser though, since we availed of their group promo, for 10 full paying adults, we got to have 2 more adults eating for free.

Overall, although I can't deny that I enjoyed the place for the abundance of their food and good service, still the cost was too much for me.  It's a must-try though, and a good place to treat important friends and visitors.  But to eat there even in normal days, well, I can already buy a lot for my ₱700 (more for ₱900) of my family's needs.  That's just me, I can't say the same for all those "mucho dineros" he he he.  Yahweh bless.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Whew, It's Finally Over

It's my son's birthday today and at the same time our Christmas party.  Good thing our company declared it a half day, so I didn't need to apply for leave to attend my son's special day.  I got to divert my anxiousness (couldn't help think about our dance presentation) in blowing balloons and setting up the area for my son's party.  And before we knew it, everything was set and ready.

Even if I wanted to, I told my son, that I had to attend our Christmas party because daddy has an important part.  I knew he understood when he said okay.  And with all his cousins, friends and the rest of the family... I knew, everything will be fine when I leave.  Hey, sometimes things just happen.

As expected, I came late to the party (not worried though, since I was permitted for a valid reason).  I was just really there because of my part to the presentation of our group.  And as the time came for us to be in the limelight, I just can't figure out how I was able to walk with all the butterflies in my stomach... but guess what, though I may not have moved smoothly as a dancer, I did the routine correctly.  Dancing with modern music in front of an audience is not really my forte.  But I think for now, I get to live another day.  It was such a relief that it was finally over.

The whole group was so happy that we successfully finished the dance, and so with the other groups.  The owners and their family seemed to enjoy all the performances and the active participation of all their employees, that besides the raffle prices, they decided to give everyone an additional cash gift.

I thank the Lord for all the blessings received by my family.  Most of all, for my son's birthday, for occasions like this always reminds me that life is good...  that I'm truly lucky to my family in my life.  And I will forever thank Him for every moment I spend with them.  To Yahweh be the glory always.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Busy December Days

There are just a lot of preparations and things to do this December.  First and foremost, my son's birthday, then there is our Christmas party dance presentation (which is really not my thing), have to buy gifts and we are having this sports fest in which I'm one of the participant.  And that's just for the start of the holidays...

Been going home late for a couple of weeks now... we've been practicing for our dance and games.  Just glad I have an understanding wife, though there were really days that she's on duty, and had to go home early to take care of the kids and their needs.  Especially, that we still have a baby.  So, I just make an extra effort to compensate with the practices I missed by doing it at home after all chores is done.

Special session for those having a hard time getting the steps... me. LOL!!!

Good thing our company is generous enough not only to compensate us but also for the Christmas gift it gave us, something we could use for the coming holidays and other family needs.  I may say, it wiped out all weariness and provided the needed boost to all employees... LOL.  But seriously, it's already a big blessing to our family, helps a lot with the expenses.

I think, we just can't forgo some extracurricular stuffs in our workplace.  I just think of it as part of my social growth or if it can't be helped, the pay I received.  I guess, I'm just not comfortable doing such stuffs now because of my responsibilities to my kids.  Maybe later things, like my priorities, will change as my kids would grow up.  Family first, that won't change... but at the same time, in order to support them, need to do well with my job and with the people around it.  Time management, easily said than done... hahaha.  Yahweh bless.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Instant Caricature

Seen a couple of friends with profile pics in Facebook in caricature or sketched drawings.  Got curious, I asked a cousin using such application.  She told me, it was a phone application called "MomentCam".  It was applicable on iPhones or any android phones. So I installed and tried using it. 

It is a simple application.  Here's how to use it:

1. Opening the application will automatically make use of your phone camera.  Either take a photo of yourself or choose a previous photo saved on your phone.

2. If the face is not clear in the photo, the program will provide movable indicators for the eyes and mouth.

Here's what I got...
3. After choosing if your a boy or girl, you will then be shown a suggested caricature.

4. Editing tabs are found at the bottom of the screen.  You can edit your face features, select a preferred background and put a signature on the drawing.

5. Then, when your done, save button can be found at the top right corner of your screen.  The finished product can be found along with your phone photos.

That's it.  Hope you also enjoy the application. Yahweh bless.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Little Help For Typhoon Yolanda's Victims

Although I get attached to my things, it would be a lot better if someone will use and benefit them, rather than being stocked uselessly in our closet...  

As my wife brought out the things in our closet, she asked me what were the things I'm no longer wearing.  She told me that it will be donated to the Yolanda victims... and there were actually a couple that I kept being my past faves.  But since fashion changed and new ones came, I don't use them anymore.  Though I put sentiments on things, it's time to let go... after all, it was intended to help others in need.

And just today, we were assigned by our company to pack relief goods.  Every employee had a shift to follow.  It was tiring in my part since I just traveled more or less forty kilometers from my assignment to our office.  But the thought that what we were doing was for the those badly affected by the typhoon, just made me pumped up.  Adrenaline rushed that we all did the works one after the other.  You could really feel the people enthusiasm to help, that the tasks were finished even before the estimated time.  Felt proud of my company for all the help it send.

Now, I just fervently hope that all the donations will be received by those intended... not to be used by those with political motives... and that our government will do its best to bring it to them the soonest possible, distribute fairly and with the attitude that you are in service for your country.  There is nothing impossible with our Lord, and so I pray.  Yahweh bless.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Temple Run's Ring Artifacts

Just a month ago, I updated my fave past time game in my phone... Temple Run.  Included in the update was these ring artifacts that need to be collected in order to accomplish the game's mission.  In the game, finding and getting the artifacts were just the same as that of the power ups.  Just find floating treasure chests that represent them.

There are 10 rings one need to find in order to complete a game's objective.  Me and my daughter just finished finding them all.  She was really happy to see all rings. 

When do they pop out?  There is no pattern as to when the treasure chest (artifact) will appear.  It can show after a few kilometers or it can also be as if infinity.  But one things for sure, in every game, there will always be one.  I'm not sure however if you can get 2 artifacts in a game, we haven't tried it yet.

As to use, for now, basically there was none for these artifacts (aside of course for completing a game objective).  Though, I don't know if there will be any in the future.  Looking forward for more updates to enjoy the game more.  Yahweh bless.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

1 In A Minion

Just celebrated the 1st birthday of our youngest.  Although I find it hard to think that our baby is growing up so fast (being our "bunso" and last child), it's at the same time fulfilling as a parent that we've grown another fine child.

Truly, 1 in a minion... LOL.

It was quite a busy day for all of us with all the preparations, but we had all the time since it fell on a holiday(All Saint's Day).  We received all the help we needed from our family, from the party decoration up to the transportation... it was all made easy.  More, we were really glad to have sis-in-laws having talented sisters, the party theme and program were well taken care of.

...and the awesome result.
"Minions" that's our theme.  My wife thought that it's cute and it was indeed.  They had this lively color of blue and yellow that brightened the whole room.  And not to mention, the kids love these cute minions, they just could not get enough of the minion items we had for the prices and giveaways.  The theme also blended pretty well with the games and magic show we had, more than anything, to see the happy faces of the kids were worth all the troubles.

Our family is really thankful to all our guests who spared their time to celebrate the birthday of our son with us.  Though it was a holiday, still they came, and it's much appreciated.  We hope that each and everyone enjoyed the party, the kids and their parents as well.  One things for sure, we'll truly treasure the experience.  Yahweh bless.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Video That Works

You know how frustrating it feels when you thought you finished something correctly... then you found out that it's not working as it should be.  I found myself stuck with my laptop, downloading video converters suggested by forums just to have the correct format that our DVD player would accept.

It'll be just a couple of days to our son's first birthday.  My wife and I planned to have a photo slideshow of his pictures from the day he was born to present.  Everything was really smooth sailing, from the choosing of the pics and the music to play with it until converting to to a video format.  The challenging part was when we found out that it should be playable with a DVD player since it was the only available media in the restaurant where the party will be held.

Unlike in laptops and other computers, where almost all video formats are playable, some dvd players are a little bit choosy.  Using Windows Live Movie Maker, I was quite hesitant that it's default video output [WMV file (.wmv)] would be compatible in our DVD player.  So after a bit of surfing the net, I downloaded a video converter.

I started with an MP4 format but it was rejected by our player.  Then, an AVI format as most of DVDs were but failed again.  After several minutes to an hour, I was hoping the MPEG2 format would play, but like the rest, it didn't.  Good thing we purchased a rewritable DVD, I just erased and replaced its contents.

And just when I was about to give up and ask others to do it for me, I read about the VOB video format.  No harm in giving it one last try, and what do you know, it finally worked.  Success at last... one down and a lot to go.  Good luck to us.  Yahweh bless.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Hafa Adai, Guam - Third Day: Going Home

We had our simple breakfast inside our room, instant noodles cup we bought from a convenience store near our place.  It was sort of a brunch since we woke up late, recuperating from the whole day of tour around Guam yesterday.  Then after a while, I went to McDonald's and ordered for our lunch "to go" (termed "take-out" in our place).  Included in our accommodation package was our ride to the airport, so even if our flight was still in the evening, we checked-in way ahead of our schedule. 

After we checked-in our baggage, we had our lunch and then roamed around A.B.Won Pat International Airport.  There were actually a lot of shops inside selling signature items and goodies (and the prices? hmmmm...), and one can actually try them (especially the chocolates). There were a lot of Filipinos working as sales representative, so there's really no need to speak a lot of English there.  We then settled on the benches and watched an animated movie over and over again (I think 3 times before our flight schedule came).

Our plane departed at around 7 p.m. Guam time and expected to arrive at 9 p.m. Philippine time.  Our flight was fully occupied and I had to endure more or less 4 hours of being seated away from my family.  We had an uncomfortable flight, there were a lot of turbulence along the way, wasn't able to relate with the food they served me (sorry...), and the kids were not feeling well (did I mention we all had cough) which made me worry a lot, thinking my wife was left alone with our kids.  Still, everything turned out well, we arrived safe and sound in Manila... and we thanked the Lord for a safe trip.

From NAIA Terminal 1, we rode a shuttle provided by the airport to Terminal 3.  And since our flight to Davao was at 3:45 a.m. the following day, we decided to wait inside the airport terminal.  We had a midnight snack with the kids (good to see prices to be lower and in pesos... LOL).  The only downfall was, even if we are known for our hospitality, a lot of passengers (both locals and foreigners) were sleeping on the airport floor.  Good thing we brought a lot of blankets for the kids.  Our airports should install or at least provide more benches for their passengers especially for those staying for an early morning flight schedule.  It would definitely show their concern to passengers and more making the world know that our hospitality isn't only limited in books.

Good thing we're seated together during our flight to Davao.  We arrived safely in Davao on a beautiful Saturday morning.  When we arrived home, it seemed like we had not rested for days, so we slept the whole day.

Thank you Lord for the great experience, You gave our family, to visit another wonderful country.  For providing safety and guidance in the whole duration of our trip.  We are truly grateful for your kindness and we bring back all the praises and glory to You... 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hafa Adai, Guam - Second Day: Visiting Landmarks

We woke up late in the morning, it was almost 11:00 am when the kids woke up.  There was not much we could do, as we were losing our chance to roam around Guam.  And the only way that fitted our budget was to contact the hotel service driver and ask if he could drive us to a popular beach resort near the place.  He agreed but we had to pay him $10 for the one way trip.  

The driver then brought us to Tumon beach.  It was indeed a popular location for tourists like us, as we've seen different nationalities there.  The white sand and warm water were just perfect for a swim.  And surrounded by famous hotels, made it very accessible to visitors.  We took a couple of pics and decided to find a place to eat and maybe we could walk after to roam around the places nearby... that was our plan.  But just as when we're ready to accept our fate, that it'll be the only place we'll get to visit in Guam, a blessing came... we met a "kababayan", Ray.

Ray was eating his lunch alone when we met him.  So, it was easy for us to ask him where we could find a good place to eat.  He suggested a couple of restaurants thinking we had a ride, when we told him we didn't have any, he nicely offered to accompany us.  We were hesitant at first, but considering the kids, we took the offer.  And after a short introduction, he then asked us if where do we want to eat... He offered Ross or Kmart, and we chose to visit Kmart.

We asked Ray to eat with us at Kmart's food court to at least return the favor.  The place was just typical but it was where I first enjoyed refilling your soda cup to whatever you like and to your heart's desire until you can't take no more.  After we roamed around and bought some groceries and goodies to bring home, Ray decided to tour us around, which we first denied, but he insisted... he said, it's Filipino hospitality.  We're not in the position to argue, I guess, we were just in luck.

He then took us to Guam Premier Outlets to see Ross.  Ross, focuses on discounted RTW's, shoes, accessories and alike... as it's tag line says,"dress for less".  We were able to find good buys as a treat and remembrance for our visit.  We didn't stay long as there were still a couple of places we were going to.

Next stop was Paseo de Susana where  a smaller version of the Statue of Liberty stands.  We saw some Chamorros fishing nearby and tourists parasailing in the deeper sea were also visible in the place.  It was a cool location to enjoy the sea breeze and the sights of the sea.

A famous church in Guam was our next destination: Dolce Nombre De Maria Cathedral - Basilica.  Ray said the church is air-conditioned when there is a mass, but having a high ceiling compensated the temperature inside at that moment.  The feeling of serenity and calmness as we entered the church also added to our ease.  We were the only people during that time, so it was just perfect to pray.  They say, when you visit a church for the first time, you pray and you get to have one wish.  I say, the Lord is listening all the time.

More, the church is located within the perimeter of Plaza de España, another tourist destination.  We enjoyed relaxing there for a while... under the shades of the trees and the cool breeze, just perfect.  Also in the area were the Guam Insular Force Guard monument, Chocolate house and Pope John Paul II statue.

It was getting late, so we then hurried to Two Lovers Point before it closes.  Talking about saving the best for last. The place offered a breathtaking view of Guam's shoreline from a cliff.  The place is famous for lovers who want to tie the knot, stone after stone of engraved names of couples who married in the place served as evidence.  They also had what they call "wish or love lock", its a padlock with a heart where you can write a wish or dedication.  It is then attached to the wire fence in the place.  We also tried their machine that converts a penny to a souvenir piece.  Well, there's practically a lot of things to do there... truly, a must see.

We had our well-deserved meal at Mc Donalds, the one near our place.  We treated Ray for a meal, though we know, it wasn't enough to return all the favors he had done for our family for the day... it was a gesture that we were truly grateful for touring us around Guam.  So after, we returned the favor by accompanying him to watch his favorite game, we watched a friendly game of soccer nearby.  Then he gave us a ride to our hotel and bid our farewells afterwards.

We thank the Lord for using people like Ray in making our stay in Guam memorable and meaningful.  And most of all, for the gift of friendship.  We felt accomplished and satisfied as we rest the night off.  To Him be all the glory.  Yahweh bless.