Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Taste of Silicon Valley

My cousin brought me to The Tech museum in San Jose. We watched an IMAX movie about sea monsters (dinosaurs) for free! A kid cried in the middle of the film when the rocks began crumbling and felt like they're falling right to your face. It was pretty intense for an animation.


The coolest part was this thermal camera they set up on the ceiling. That's me with the glasses.


It was nice to see all those science stuff where children can start their journey in the technology world. For now, I cannot be in Silicon Valley as often as I want to. But since I use the internet and I work in the technology field, I'm sure I'm helping keep the silicon business alive!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Biggest Little City

The next stop after the snow trip was Reno, Nevada.


We checked in at Circus Circus. The good thing about the place was that it was interconnected with other hotels/casinos. It snows in Reno so it was a good idea to keep people inside buildings during the cold season.

We had buffet dinner at one of the restaurants but I couldn't remember the name of the place. One thing's for sure, they served crabs because everyone craved for a crustacean after the long drive.

I didn't gamble that night. We spent most of our time in Circus Circus. The place reminded me of our own version of a carnival called "peryahan."

In the morning, we headed to another hotel-casino called Peppermill. There we had brunch except for my uncle. He played big money on the table 'til sunrise so he had to doze off.

They issued me an ID so I could play. It was my first time gambling and boy it was fun and easy. Easy because we only played on the 25 cents slot machines and fun because I won many times.

They call Reno the biggest little city maybe because it's like a mini Las Vegas. Even if those machines took away a few bucks from me, I still feel like a winner!


Reno in the morning:

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Crystal Dreams

It's springtime in the US and it's summer time here in the Philippines but I'm dreaming of snow.

I live in a tropical country and when I was a kid, I often dreamed about snow. I grew up thinking that I might never see snow.

But just last winter, I happened to stop over CA before heading back home from my company training. My family were so thoughtful that they brought me to Boreal in Northern California.

I wore my heavy boots and played like a kid.
Built a snowman with my niece's help and tried so hard climbing up the slope so I could see the top of the mountains.


I didn't witness snow falling from the sky and that's something I have to see. Some dreams remain dreams. But for this one, I'm glad it turned into reality.


Thanks to my family:

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

One, Two, Three, Release!

We didn't want the short vacation to be boring so my cousins and I headed to Maa Road in Davao City and looked for the big Outland Adventure sign:


We were so excited! We trekked and trekked until we eeked when we saw the raft that we were about to use to cross the river! We thought of the crocs for a moment but immediately forgot about it. The thought of zip lining was too overwhelming.


Then there was more trail. I thought it was never gonna end.


The guide left us where he thought we could manage. We were panting and catching our breaths. We took a break and drank some soda. It wasn't easy for a bunch of nonathletic people. :)

We finally reached the start of the line but the previous group wasn't done zip lining. Ahh, good. At last we could relax and digest what we've gotten ourselves into. One of my cousins was already freakin' out and she'd been like that even before we signed the disclaimer (OOPS!).

I heard them say that the line is 200 ft from the ground but I also heard them say that it can carry a max of two tons. That was relieving. I was number 40, last in our group.


Everyone had a solo except for the photographer (me!). They tightened my harness, I put on my helmet, spread my arms and heard them count: One, two, three, release!

I emerged from the foliage, scanned the ground from left to right like a hawk, looked down and saw the river with tiny people sitting by it.

I reached the end of the 1-kilometer line after about 20s. It was the shortest but the most exhilarating ride of my life.



THE GANG:

Keir, Peach, Diane, Dione, me and Jaja.

Monday, April 13, 2009

My Holy Week Birthday

Most of the time, my birthday falls on a Holy Week. This time it's a Wednesday. Sometimes I fast but sometimes I celebrate!

My sister was home last week and we thought a casual dinner at Jack's Ridge with family and friends would be a great idea to bond. A view of the city lights and fresh air was a bonus.


We digged into fried chicken, barbeque, Sinigang soup, calamares and a lot more. I was busy chewing when suddenly everyone started singing... "Happy Birthday to you!" I turned around and saw the restaurant staff holding a cake in her hand. I wasn't used to this kind of attention and so felt a bit embarrassed but in a good way. Everyone's eyes was on me waiting for me to blow the candle. I love surprises and at that moment I was on cloud 9.

The waiter was ready to slice the cake but I decided to do it. After all, they did a lot of preparing for me. We chatted the night away and took tons of photos. It's been more than a year since I last saw my sister and the whole family was together. The dinner had a lot of meaning to it.

Little did I know that I had another cake. They left it with the guards since the restaurant charge for food brought from outside. When we got home, I opened my second cake and another surprise! It was a four-sided cake.


It was one of the best days of my life. Thank you sis! :)


Here's my brother Keir, sister Karen, our dear friend Sean and me:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Eggs and Angels


It's raining outside. Today's still easter even if the sun has set. I like the priest who held mass today. It was the first time in years since I last heard his sermon.

This morning I wasn't quite sure what to do. I woke up confused with all these clutter in my room that I need to tidy up. Then my cousin pm me and reminded me of some stuff to do. I got up and went to the mall.

I thought I was never gonna see an Easter bunny today but I did though it was just a big blown-up photo on a cardboard. Though it was just a picture, the kids seem to have fun posing and having their pictures taken. I had those moments too.

When I was a kid, I was an angel. I'm sure you're a bit confused here. It's our tradition every dawn of Easter Sunday that the church delivers a play depicting Christ's resurrection. The children take part in the play as angels. We all get to dress up and I can still remember my mom and aunties staying up late at night just to finish sewing our white gowns and delicately crafting our cute little wings.

After the play was the mass but the children mostly didn't quite understand what it was all about so I didn't remember exactly what I did until the mass ended. We were all too excited about the Easter egg hunt. We hunted eggs in the church ground or even at my grandparents' home.

My grandfather thought us how to empty the eggs without breaking the shell. He then showed us how to paint them. We painted so many eggs that we ate too much egg too.

I miss those Easter Sundays. I'm sure they still have those plays but Easter seems to be more than just watching plays or acting now that I am older. It's a time to reflect and a time to renew hopes. Writing about it is already giving me new hope.

Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Apple Tree in Cagayan de Oro

I boarded this small plane to my first vacation stop - Cagayan de Oro City. I realized only after the flight took off that the propeller was right outside my window! I'm not afraid of heights but imagining the blades going out of control and spinning right into my seat was nerve-wracking. I recomposed myself and took my camera out for a simple remembrance of this memorable flight.

I landed in the City of Golden Friendship (that's what the city is known for) about 20 minutes earlier than expected. That's good for an airline giving out cheap fares. It was probably the second shortest flight of my life. The shortest was a 20-min direct flight from Cagayan de Oro City to Davao City. They used to have that route when I was still a kid.

Food tripping never goes out of style so we checked this place called Apple Tree. They have a restaurant that serves native dishes. We had:

Tinola na Tangigue (blue marlin served in soup with green leafy vegetables),
[I love the way the steam created a dreamy effect on this shot!]

Kinilaw na Malasugue (citrus-marinated Spanish mackerel)


and Banana a la mode (your plain old banana and ice cream dessert).


All the food was good. They reminded me of home.

Through the restaurants' windows was a relaxing view of the sea. It had this soothing aura that made me feel like I was in a beach house in some remote province. It was good for somebody who needs a break from the busy city life.

Aside from good food, the hotel boasts of its clean dark-sand beachfront and a pool.

I've been around the city so many times but it was my first time to visit this place. I'd consider visiting it or something like it again.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Breeze Through Airport Security


Sometimes it causes havoc in the airport when someone stuffs liquids in a carry-on bag and tries to get it past security. I myself caused trouble. I was exiting Atlanta airport when security put all my carry-on bags into quarantine just because I forgot to consume my bottled H20. I had to patiently wait until they confirmed that I was harmless and had to throw away my bottle because I didn't want to go back outside to consume it.

I've been flying more frequently than usual since January this year and will be flying again tomorrow. I just want to remind myself and everyone of the 3-1-1 rule:
Liquids in carry-ons must not exceed 3.4-ounce (approximately 100ml) bottle each and must be placed into a 1-quart clear resealable or ziploc bag. So that's about 1000ml in total.
This is an international rule and it really does make traveling a breeze. If you are still doubtful, just put all your liquids or gels in the check-in bag.

Reference: http://www.tsa.gov/311/

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

CADIE: Google April Fools' Joke

The same day last year my colleague sent me an email about Virgle, a joint-project involving Google whose objective is human settlement on Mars. I was so intrigued that I continued reading until I realized it was April 1. Good joke I thought. But this wasn't the first April fools joke I got from Google. There was also this Gmail Paper that was introduced in 2007.

This morning I anticipated for Google's prank to come to me and this time it came in the form of CADIE, symbolized as a panda. (The photo here is not CADIE but a keychain my friend brought me from Shanghai. I thought she could be CADIE just for today. ) The fun part is she even has a blog. Here's the link:

http://cadiesingularity.blogspot.com

I commented on her blog and followed her just to join the fun. What a great way to increase traffic. Some comments were too serious though.

I also noticed I had an Autopilot link appearing in my Google inbox when I accessed it through my office server but I forgot to take a screenshot.

Every year on April 1, I look forward to getting pranks from Google. To some people these may be just a bunch of trash but to me it's something that makes my day. Just always remember though that you are well protected before you surf.

Happy April Fools' Day everyone!


NOTE: There are several links in this post.