#Yolanda #Haiyan #ReliefPH (How You Might Be Able to Help)

Our thesis adviser, Dr. Reese Macabebe, is gathering monetary donations to fund deployments of solar photovoltaic systems for cellphone charging, lighting, water filtration, etc. in Typhoon-affected areas in Estancia, Concepcion, Ajuy and nearby towns in Iloilo. To anyone who can, your help in raising funds will really be appreciated, and will help a lot of people. 

If interested, you can send a message to Dr. Reese Macabebe or I can refer you to her. Also,you can help us by sharing this message to people who might be able to help raise the amount needed.

Thank you!

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I have purposely restrained myself from posting on this blog since the landfall of Yolanda. I have shared a few articles and photos over Facebook. But I have not really published my thoughts about the devastation. One conversation I had with a friend made me realize that instead of spending time to write a blog that week when relief operations were still on going here in the Ateneo, it is best to spend time helping out in the relief operations — packing relief goods, unloading goods from the truck, loading the vehicles with family packs, loading vehicles with family packs ready to be deployed.

Tonight, I have decided to break my hiatus. I hope to help our mentor/thesis adviser raise funds to help in the recovery of the areas hit by Yolanda.

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Last Day @ Ito-Lab, NAIST

Leaving is never easy. It comes with the burden of saying farewell and not knowing when you will be able to meet again. I spent two weeks here in Japan as an intern in the Foundations of Software Laboratory under the Graduate School of Information Science (IS). Professor Minoru Ito and Assoc. Prof. Naoki Shibata were my mentors.

I was working on a traffic simulation project. I started out clueless about Simulation of Urban Mobility (SUMO). One of the students, Jiaxing Xu helped me out with my project. I was able to present my progress during last Thursday. All IS interns also presented about what they did in the laboratory. Prior to my presentation I was able to take photos with the other students in the laboratory. From left to right:  Ojetunde Babatunde, Alyssa Vintola (Me!), Prof. Ito, Tomoyuki Ueda & Takuya Tominaga.

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These were the people I interacted with during my internship at the laboratory. It was nice to meet these senpai. I will never forget our late dinners in shokudo (university cafeteria), the time I surprised Ueda-senpai and asked him to explain his research in English, the time they taught me how to order small serving of rice at the cafeteria, how to say “See you tomorrow!” and other simple Japanese phrases. Although my stay was very brief, I really enjoyed it. 🙂

Yesterday was my last official laboratory day in Ito-Lab at Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST). Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take a photo together with Xu-senpai and Prof. Shibata. They were not around. But I was able to take another photo with Prof. Ito. (The pics are not with me yet. I will update this post as soon as I get them.) Also, I got to take pictures with the two “TOMs” I got confused with —- TOMoyuki and TOMinaga : >

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Before leaving the laboratory, the two of them gave me souvenirs and gifts as a farewell treat :”>

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I was indeed an honor to be part of the Foundations of Software Laboratory even for a while. :> Hope to see you all soon in the future! But for now, I say farewell to my spot in the laboratory…

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Along the River Seine

After all the hard work we put into our presentations, Schneider Electric took us to Paris for dinner. Michel Orlhac, SE’s VP for Marketing, acted as our tour guide as we drove along the Champs-Élysées. We were along the Champs-Élysées when I caught my first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower.  We also passed by the Arc de Triomphe. But what took my breath away was the sight of the Eiffel Tower as we drove by. Someday, I will be back to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. But for now, it shall have to wait.

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Once we got to the docks the riverboat was not there yet. We took the time to get to know more about the other participants and the people from Schneider Electric. We could not mask the excitement that we have while we marvel at the scenic  view.

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The riverboat finally arrived and we found ourselves aboard Le bateau-mouche Capitaine Fracasse. We wined and dined while we cruised along River Seine. The sun sets really late in Paris but when sun did set and the moonlight shone, Paris was simply a breathtaking sight to behold.

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We passed by Eiffel Tower, Le Louvre, Notre Dame and many more interesting architectural structures. But perhaps one interesting thing that I noticed were the young Parisians who were sitting by the river, holding a bottle of beer, enjoying chatting with friends and just having a good time. It must be good to be young and feel young in Paris. One thing I wish I could do is just blend in and get lost at the heart of Paris. But nevertheless, I feel blessed to have been given the chance to cruise along the Seine.

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Throwback Thursday: Friends, Birthdays and that Sophomore Year

The Aegis (yearbook) write-up is due soon and I am trying to dish out all the best memories I have in the Ateneo to date. I to realize how throughout the years, my decisions have become more calculated; how they have become decisions that would constitute the future. But there was a time when I did the most random things even before the term YOLO (You Only Live Once) existed.

I must have been very lucky to have met people in the dorm, especially my roommates,  that are as crazy and random as I am. Going back through the things that compose my list of randomness, most of them occurred in my sophomore year.

The time Gem and I were bored in our new room, UDS 207.

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The times when we had picnics on the Cervini cliff.

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The times when we celebrated birthdays.

We used to organize birthday surprises and eat out to celebrate a roommate or a friend’s birthday. Topping my list would have to be Joey’s 18th birthday. We gathered at midnight on the cliff and  surprised her with a cake and 18 paper roses.
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Later that day, we had dinner at Pizza Hut Katipunan.

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P.S. Belated happy birthday, Joey! I was supposed to post this on your birthday. Sorry I didn’t make it on time.

 

Smash(ing) Glee

Funny how there was a scene on Glee that made a reference to Smash. After all, Rachel’s character is still in the constant search for stardom in the Broadway scene. But that Smash reference was just a low blow considering that the show was cancelled. I really wanted Smash to return for a third season. If Glee is getting a run at it, why can’t Smash? The first two episodes of Glee have been terribly disappointing. Not that I don’t like them doing covers of The Beatles songs. It is just that the plain old high school drama is not cutting it anymore.

If given a chance to pick between the two shows, I would have picked Smash over Glee.  (I am sorry to all Gleeks.) I really used to love Glee when it was just starting out. But it kills me to see what’s happening to the show. As someone who is part of a choir, I still appreciate the music that the show has to offer. And as someone who loves to watch musical shows, production or what not. Smash’s plot had got me interested. Even if it was only focused on producing a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe, I liked how the intricacies in creating the whole production was highlighted in the episodes of Smash’s first season. The second season of Smash was also able to show the interplay of competition in running a show on Broadway. But what I loved most about the second season was the fact that it also focused on making dreams come true on Broadway – from the perspective of a producer, writer, actress, director. Another reason why I would give it to Smash would be the soundtrack. While Glee does covers of songs already popularized, most of the songs feature on Smash were original and were written for that specific scene/episode.

Here are some of the songs on Smash that I love:

1. Love I Meant To Say

2. I Can’t Let Go

3. Broadway, Here I Come!
4. Don’t Forget Me

5. Heart Shaped Wreckage

Whoooops and Whips!

I hereby declare that today, September 30, 2013, is a day dedicated to finish all tasks related to my History 166: Philippine History class. Apart from a comprehensive final exam scheduled next week, we are required to be part of a historical debate and come up with a photo project. These requirements are to be done by group. I am in a group with Ghe Munar, Jigs Sevilla, Jon Mariano, Justine Esguerra and Issa Naguid. Our home departments, Electronics, Computer and Communications Engineering (ECCE) and Department of Information Systems and Computer Science (DISCS) are located in Faura Hall. Hence, we call ourselves Faura Friends.

Ghe, Issa and I were initially set to debate in the first week of September, before Ghe left for France. Unfortunately, there was an error in coming up with the groupings and schedule. There is an odd number of groups and there was not available group to go against us. We were supposed to debate as Government with the motion: “The American annexation of the Philippines was justified over the colonial rule.” Since we had no opponent, our professor decided to let Ghe read her speech. Then Issa and I will be debating on the same topic against a team composed of volunteers from different classes handled by the same professor.

BUT that didn’t happen. Our professor decided that it would be easier if we signed up twice for the second round of debates and just debate on the new motion. (Tsk! Preparation for the first debate went down the drain). But our professor believed that we could pull it off. He was even kind enough to put our whole team in the opposition side. Earlier today, we had to debate as part of the second rounds of debates. Jigs, Justine and Jon battled it out against Team Historectomy. Issa and I went against Team Verbal Conquistadors. We were opposition for both debates on the motion: “This house believes that the Marcos regime was an economic success.”

For both debates, Government skewed the debate to their side by defining economics as macroeconomics. We challenged the definition so as to tackle aspects concerning microeconomics during the regime. We almost bagged the two debates. As our professor put it, we had the right facts, the right arguments but lack the push. But at least we managed to win one out of the two debates.

Having witnessed the first debate where Jigs, Justine and Jon debated, we had an edge in terms of anticipating the arguments of government. But we actually had a good grasp on the matter even during the first debate. But I have to say that I officially suck as the Leader of the Opposition. Although I tried to redeem myself as the Opposition Whip (someone had to speak twice from our team). Jigs and I (as the whip) won as best debaters. Woohoo! Btw, thanks for the photo, Jigs! 🙂

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But we have one more group project to finish which is due on Thursday. I was supposed to finish the write-up tonight. But the American Historical Collection closes early so I wasn’t able to finish jotting down the facts I needed for the Philippine Census in 1945.  As a preview of our photo project, here are the photos we have so far. Disclaimer: These are not the photos to be submitted as part of the photo project. These are the ones who did not make the cut. 

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Throwback Thursday: Singapore Grand Prix 2011

The struggle to live in the present is evident when nostalgia hovers above us. It is Thursday and people are most likely posting a throwback post or something related to it. I have to admit that I actually appreciate throwback posts because they give me a reason to think of the things that happened, changes that occurred and memories that are forever etched as photos. It has become a way for us to juxtapose our current selves to who we were. But more often than not, a throwback post is simply a way for us to refresh our memories so that we may not forget moments that made us smile, cry, laugh, scream, jump — memories that made us. I may not have those “We are infinite” moments similar to those in Perks of Being a Wallflower. But there are moments that I always want to remember and I would like to share them with you through my throwback posts. 🙂
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One of the most memorable things during my stay in Singapore was the time we went to the SG Grand Prix 2011. Steffi Chua and I were not particularly into the race. We were after the Linkin Park concert that followed the event. Nevertheless, we made the most out of our time in the Zone 4 walk about area. We got to try on some suits and helmets. It was extremely hot inside the suit. I don’t know how the racers manage to wear them the entire time.
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Singtel set up a simulator of the F1 race in SG. We were able to test the simulators. I discovered that would never have a career that is related to driving. I seriously had trouble maneuvering the car. 😐

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We witnessed the race by the fence. We can attest that the slabs they put as railings are strong enough. Schumacher slammed his car on the curb near where we were viewing the race. Although I am not sure if the picture below shows Sebastian Vettel or the other Red Bull racer.

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But still, the best part was seeing Linkin Park play in Padang. We were in the mosh pit/fan zone. We screamed with other fans and sang our hearts out as Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda sang their greatest hits.

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Surviving the last stretch of the semester

Surviving the last stretch of the semester

Crunch time! With less than three weeks till the semester ends, my blockmates and I are faced with the last set of requirements for the different subjects we are taking. Two things that are not helpful: cold weather that is making me lazy and Candy Crush that just promotes procrastination. Hope we get through this! 😀 *fingers crossed*

Tip: To those who want to organize their to-do-lists, bucket lists or any lists for that matter, you can check out http://todo.ly/ . It is a nifty app to use for organizing lists 🙂

P.S.
The tasks related to our final year project are in a separate file in my todo.ly list. So as other things like preparing for my internship on October and preparing the files to have my internship in PLDT credited for that 1-unit subject in my curriculum.

Les macarons, les fleurs et les les préparations (Macarons, Flowers and the Preparations)

I got to “explore” the neighborhood in Reuil-Malmaison when we walked to and from the Le Hive. On our way back to the hotel after the welcoming event, we walked as a pack. When we got to the point near the metro station, I knew that we would pass by the pâtisserie I saw earlier. I have to admit that I was really looking forward to go inside that pâtisserie and munch on French macarons, tarte Tatin and other pastries. I was really happy that Dongfang, Junduo and Enzo agreed to stop by pâtisserie.
The place is called Boulangerie Deprez-Impala it is located in 2 Avenue Édouard Belin 92500 Rueil-Malmaison, France.  It is just a few steps away from the Rueil-Malmaison RER station. On display
were a variety of pastries , desserts, etc. I ordered a box of macarons. The set cost me around €10.

Fun thing about my experience in buying stuff. I really try to speak even a little French just for them to hear that I am trying. Plus, they know I’m a tourist so they would pardon my wrong grammar and pronunciation. Plus, I had a thing about counting the words/phrases that I spoke in French. So when I bought the box of macarons, I said (at the same time pointing at the macarons): “Un macaron s’il vous plaît.” The woman behind the counter smiled and confirmed if I wanted the whole box. I replied, “Oui.” I paid for the macarons and said “merci beaucoup” when she handed the package. She smiled and said “de rien!” (Success! My basic French skills worked! Hahaha!)
After we all bought what we wanted from the pâtisserie we headed back to the hotel. We  were staying in Novotel which is located in the same avenue. We bumped into our friends from Indonesia, Mita and Adam who were headed to the pâtisserie where we have been. Along the same avenue, we spotted a flower shop. I just couldn’t help but appreciate the beauty of the flowers. We decided to do the most touristy thing – take pictures in front of the flower shop, Fleurs de Reuil. (Side note: One of the pictures taken outside the flower shop was used for a tarpaulin displayed in Cervini Hall and the University dorm  in the Ateneo Residence Halls Complex, where Enzo and I reside.)

After all the touristy stuff, we were finally back in the hotel. I shared the room with Elizaveta Cherkashina while Enzo shared a room with Kirill Abrosimov, both from Team Russia. We all had to prepare for our respective presentations so we decided that Team Russia will work in the girls’ room and Team Philippines will prepare in the other room. While Enzo was soldering parts of our prototype, I was munching on the macarons I bought and also helped in improving the aesthetics of  the prototype. (JSYK, I shared the macarons and did not finish them by myself. ;P ) 

Apparently, the sun sets really late in France. It was already past 10 in the evening yet it seemed like it was still 5 PM in the Philippine setting. Once Enzo was done fixing our prototype, we ran through our presentation. Prior to leaving for France, we had trouble meeting the time limit considering that we had new material added to the stack of slides. It was just a 10-slide presentation, yet we had so much to say that 15 minutes seemed like a really short time. We decided to run through the slides and we were within the  time limit. We ran through it again just to make sure that we were within the specified time limit and we were. We decided to call it a night for us to get some decent sleep. And so as to avoid getting groggy and cranky! >:D So with that, I say: Bonne nuit!


Go Green in the City 2013 – Paris: The Welcoming Event

Go Green in the City Paris kicked off with a welcoming event at Le Hive, Schneider Electric’s Headquarters in France. It was a 5-10 minute stroll from the hotel.  We got to initially meet the other participants from other countries while we walked in a pack towards Le Hive.

The organizers had prepared a short program for us to get to know the other participants, some of the judges and the organizers. They had this human bingo activity as an ice breaker. We had pieces of paper with descriptions that matches participants in the room. So apparently, Team Singapore (Junduo and Dongfang)  and Team Philippines (Enzo and I) got to sign as the people who traveled the longest to get to Paris, more than 20 hours of flight and transits.  Natalia Weber  from Team Brazil perhaps had to sign all sheets of paper for she had the most unique description. Due to some unforeseen circumstances she had to present their project one her own and her partner would be joining her via a video stream. (Woohoo! Girl power!) I found out who had pets, who loved reading books, who spoke a lot of languages, etc. With finger food  and drinks, that was a great way to start the event. 

Here’s our mini debacle, it apparently said in one of the e-mails prior to the event that we have to wear something that says something about our culture (i.e. a traditional attire). My teammate and I both overlooked this part of the e-mail. Although it would have been better if I got to wear a Filipiniana attire and he got to wear a barong Tagalog, we managed to pull off a smart casual outfit accentuated by Philippine flag pins. (What better symbol to use to represent a country than a flag? Hahaha… Excuses!)

Greg Yeutter and Alexa Forney from Team USA had represented USA through their apparel in different ways. Alexa dressed up as someone from the early 1900s. On the other hand, Greg explained that the aviator glasses that he had was the same model that American soldiers had during the World War II. (This earned Greg his instant fame for photo ops .:)) Ashta Sinha from Team Germany wore a dress to represent Germany. Mahefa Manitra and Volahasina Rasendramalala wore clothes that represented Madagascar, their home country. While Team Indonesia, Adam and Mita, wore clothes that bore traditional Indonesian pattern Their clothes were made from batik fabric. Team China also wore traditional Chinese attire. Teams from  India also wore their colorful outfit that I found really pretty! 🙂

                      

But I got to give the Award for Best Attire to Team Poland, Marta Walendzewicz and Tomasz Mądry!
 

But just to give everyone an idea on how we would have looked like if I was in Filipiniana and Enzo was in a barong Tagalog. © 2012  during the Dorm Fiesta and © 2009 During the Awarding for Pambansang Gawad sa Ulirang Kabataan. 

 

Touchdown Paris! (With a mini trip to La Défense)

It was a 13-hour flight to Paris from Guangzhou but I felt ready for whatever was in store for that day. (Yes, that’s how excited I was to be in France!) We landed in Charles de Gaulle Airport. It was a good thing the Schneider Electric already organized transfers from the airport to the hotel in Reuil-Malmaison.

Notes: 

• There is no harm in trying to ask if you feel that you are starting to get lost in the big airport. But where people are headed is generally the exit. 


• Sortie is the French for exit. This comes in handy also when you try to get around the city via the metro train. 

The first bunch of people we got to meet were the team from India (Ujjwala Godavarthi and  Abhishek Mishra) and from China (Yu Wufei). They were apparently on the same flight from Bangalore, India. In our effort to keep track of every moment we took a series of photos using my camera (which I propped up on a tripod) during our ride to the hotel. 

We finally arrived in our hotel, Novotel which was located in  Rueil-Malmaison (somewhere in the suburbs of France but quite near the city central). Since the rooms weren’t ready yet, we just deposited our luggage. We rode the RER A  and headed to La Défense to grab some lunch. 

Tips: 

• Have a map with you or at least now how to read the maps in the stations. 

• When you buy a ticket (billet), it will be obvious that you are a tourist because you are speaking English. But at least try to speak French. They would appreciate it! (Seriously!) Even a “Bonjour!” at the start of the sentence would make a difference.  

• Be polite and say, please (S’il vous plaît!) and thank you (Merci!) . 

La Défense 
La Défense  is a business district located near Paris. It was the nearest place where we could actually buy stuff we needed, have our money changed and grab some lunch. When you get off at La Défense station, you can exit and arrive at a mall called Quatre Temps. 

• If you are looking for a money changer, you wont find any inside Quatre Temps. You have to go our and go to a different building called CNIT. There is a money changer located at the ground floor. 

• If you are looking for electronic stuff like an adapter for your devices, you can also find a store called FNAC inside CNIT. 

Since we had to take the RER again and head back to Rueil-Malmaison, we decided to go back to Quatre Temps. We had our lunch in Quatre Temps at a place called Bla bla bar. I am not kidding the restaurant was really called bla bla :))) I had a seafood sandwhich which I wasn’t able to  finish. The serving was just too big.  After lunch, we headed back to the hotel. 

And oh! I got to take a photo with French guys in their French outfit! 🙂 

Guangzhou: The Stopover before Paris

Our flight to Paris included a stopover in Guangzhou, China which was a 3-hour flight from Manila. On board China Southern Airlines, they actually served dried mangoes for desert. (Yay! A little bit of home before setting foot on a foreign country.)We were originally set to stay in Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport for only 3 hours. But due to a delay, we had to spend 5-6 hours in Baiyunport.  Allow me to share my experience and tips if ever you drop by Baiyunport.

Things to know about Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport

>> Can’t speak Chinese like me? Worry not! The airport staff can speak English. They even wear a badge to indicate that they can speak English. The badge also shows a certain number of stars to indicate how well they can speak in English.

>> They have tablets attached to trolleys which can be a source of entertainment (music videos, trailers, etc.) and information (flight details, boarding gate, map of the airport, current events, news, etc.). Although most of the entertainment were in Chinese, I had fun watching the videos and trailers.  It was also through the tablets that we found out that our flight was delayed. Another good thing about the tablets is that they have USB ports. We used these ports to connect our gadgets and charge them while we were waiting for our flight.

>> NO FREE WI-FI unless you are a subscriber of a Chinese telecommunications company. This kind of sucked because I wanted to check my e-mail, Facebook, etc. (Tip: An airport staff told us that you can look for a person who is a subscriber of a Chinese telecommunications company and hope that this person is kind enough to share his/her account with you. Multiple devices can be used for one account.)

>> Stores ONLY ACCEPT YUAN. Since we had ample time, we  strolled and checkout the shops. I wanted to buy something but they didn’t accept US dollars. So if ever you do stay for a long time and might need to buy water, a meal or something bring some YUAN with you. 




Nostalgia in Guangzhou

>> The time I dropped by a convenience store and I hear the one of the few Chinese song I knew. Blaring from the store’s speakers was the ” Mei (Beautiful) by Wang Lee Hom. Enzo (my teammate for Go Green in the City) was surprised that I knew the song. I actually listened to Wang Lee Hom’s The 18 Martial Ats album. The songs were featured in his movie “Love in Disguised that I watched more than five times. This instance made me nostalgic. I remember that it was my former roommate, Joey, who actually shared the movie with me. We used to have a couch in S207 and we used to watch movies together in that couch. One of the movies we watched together on that couch was Love in Disguise with Noreen screaming “Ang gwapo niya talaga! (He is so handsome.)” every five minutes or so. 

>> I have mentioned that the tablets had trailers. It actually featured a trailer of You are the Apple of My Eye. This brought back memories of the time I watched the movie in Singapore. You are the Apple of My Eye is a Taiwanese movie that my friends from Hong Kong strongly recommended (and I strongly recommend you watch, too). I got to watch this with my roommate in SG, Gloria Tsang. We went to the Golden village cinemas in Jurong Point near Nanyang Technological University, where I spent a semester in 2011.

Off to Paris


It was a good thing that we were flying out on a late flight because I just had to sleep most of the time. It

was also a good way for me to adapt to the different time zone. (Tip: Midnight flights are usually cheaper.) I was knocked out most of the part of the 13-hour flight to Paris.

For the time I was awake, I was either eating the food that they served or listening to music while also thinking about the slides we have to present. (Yes! I was thinking of ways on how to improve the presentation while on board the plane!) Although I had my own playlist, I didn’t want to drain the battery of my phone because I might need to get in touch with the people from Schneider Electric Paris. So I stuck with the given entertainment on board China Southern Airlines which was not that bad. But I find it weird that Justin Beiber is listed under Western Classics and Super Junior is on the Asian Classics list. But nevertheless, I found a bunch of songs I like and created my own playlist on the entertainment system.
My playlist on board China Souther Airlines (at least those I can remember)
  • All I Ask of you (Phantom of the Opera)
  • Think of Me (Phantom of the Opera)
  • Learn to be Lonely (Phantom of the Opera)
  • Angel (Jay Chou)
  • First Kiss (Jay Chou)
  • Father and Son (Jay Chou)
  • Secret (Jay Chou)
  • Les Miserables OST

The Indonesian Vibe

http://youtu.be/MI4F-O8aF1c ??????????????????????????????? Nothing beats good company, good food and good music. Schneider Electric Indonesia organized an appreciation dinner to culminate the Go Green in the City East Asia. We got the opportunity to converse with Zeljko Kosanovic, East Asia Zone President at Schneider Electric. We know a bit about his background and work at Schneider Electric. But more than that we are able to know a little bit about the Indonesian culture through music.  The dinner featured an interactive entertainment. The band played familiar tunes using traditional Indonesian instruments. Each of us got a chance to play a note using an angklung. The angklung is a musical instrument made of two bamboo tubes attached to a frame. One hand holds the middle of the frame and the other hand holds the end of the bottom frame and shakes the instrument to produce a certain note.

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I got to use an angklung that produces a higher C note. Other participants held angklungs that produce different pitch to complete the octave. The anklungs were numbered and the conductor used hand gestures to indicate which angklung should be played. To add to that, we all got to keep the angklung as a souvenir. ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? P.S. The video on this blog was originally uploaded by a fellow participant from Malaysia, Ong Chun Keat on his Facebook page. 🙂

My grandma taught me…

I fondly called my grandma, Mama Ko. It comes from Mama Dako which literally means Big Mama. (Although she wasn’t big.) It was my grandma who named me Alyssa. (My mom wanted to call me Joanna.) We would have been celebrating my grandmother’s birthday yesterday, if she was still with us. This post is in memory of my grandma who taught me to appreciate a number of things I take interest in until now — books & travelling.

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Mama Ko taught me the value of travelling in her own little ways. She used to bring me along in her trips to Cebu and Manila. My summers were never dull because of those trips. I enjoyed shopping for clothes in a shop called Red Circle. But above all, I just loved being in another city. I enjoyed the boat and plane rides to the unfamiliar cities.

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I remember tagging along with her to Tagaytay and see the Taal Volcano. A vague memory is still with me of the time I saw dolphins while on board a ship to Cagayan de Oro.

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I even got my passport at a very young age because she brought me, my mom and Mama Des to Hong Kong in the summer of 1998.

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The following summer we traveled to Bangkok, Thailand. I was with Mama Ko, Mama and Tita Christine in Bangkok. I remember crying and having a fit just because I couldn’t ride the elephants. Hahaha! I really did like to ride that elephant. So, I rode a wooden elephant in Singapore Zoo more than a decade after. :))) But that’s beside my point.

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Summer of 2000 was the last summer I had with my grandma. That summer, my mom and my grandma allowed me to join a book seminar that was hosted in National Book Store, Shangri-la. They let me be part of the Book Circle Club, a sort of club for kids who are supposed to like reading books. I don’t recall much of the book seminar. But I remember my mom and grandma buying me new storybooks – Strega Nona and Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. That summer they also got me my very first novel – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

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I really don’t think I got my interest in books from me mom. (Sorry, Ma! Hahahaha!) I remember my mom dozing off after reading a few pages of the first book of the Harry Potter series. On the other hand, I remember my grandma reading monthly issues of Reader’s Digest.

I was blessed to have a grandmother who took me to different places, sparked that enthusiasm for travelling and taught me to appreciate reading books.  😀

No cakes, no presents, just great company

When I got my Starbucks planner last December. First thing I did was mark “important” days (i.e. my birthday, mom’s and sisters’ birthdays, crush’s birthday, close friends’ birthday, ect.) The planner had tasks printed on random days. It just so happened that for my birthday weekend the Starbucks’ planner said: “Spend quality time with your family this weekend.” I seriously wished I could have gone home. I haven’t celebrated my birthday with my family in five years now. But I did spend my day with my family in the dorm — former roommates (Gem, Joey and Noreen) and current roommate (Angela).

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Gem happened to drop by the dorm. We had lunch at Fresh Selections and she bought me ice cream from Dairy Queen.

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Joey called to greet me. Yay! Birthday greeting all the way from Zamboanga! 😀 Enzo, Gab, Kayvee and Boc (C114 boys) called and greeted me over the phone, too!

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Noreen and I had some fries and wicked oreos in Flaming Wings.

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Angela and I were supposed to watch Despicable Me 2 in Eastwood but we weren’t able to get seats. So we decided to have dinner at Bigoli and walk around for a bit. We took pictures with the mimes and stopped by the Candy Corner. Ange bought me a bag of Candies. Hurrah! 😀  We also bumped into my foster brothers, Jeff and Paul.

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So, nothing fancy for my birthday. Just a day to enjoy the company of friends. 😀

P.S. One of the greetings moved me so much that it made me cry :’)

My Southeast Asian Bucket List Entry

A few years ago, I took Hi 16: Asian History, a class taught by Ms. Isabel Nazareno. I chose to learn about history that is about countries that are geographically near. Aside from the geographical location, I also considered the fact that early interactions with other Asians gave birth to what we now know as the Filipino culture. I had my apprehensions when I took the class — the names are difficult to remember and I just hated memorization in general!

Please do not ask me about the details I learned about the Chinese Dynasties, Shoguns in Japan and Indian civilization. I have forgotten most of them after the exams. (Hahaha! I only got a B in that class.) But what my professor was able to do is spark my curiosity to explore the Asia and learn more through travelling.

The last part of the course covered Southeast Asia as a general topic. We didn’t have the time to delve into the history and culture of each country. This is the reason I choose to add to my bucket list:

“Travel to all ASEAN countries.”

What do you think? Want to explore Asia with me? Or perhaps, add this to your own bucket list?

I am not in a hurry to complete this now but I do home I get to explore Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in next few years. But I do not limit myself to travelling around Asia. I would love to travel around Europe as well. 🙂Image

Jakarta: The Competition (a.k.a. the “nerve-racking” part)

In my previous post, I have allowed myself to indulge in my tendency to be a “girly girl” by posting an OOTD for the event in Jakarta. (Outfit of the Day – Jakarta: May 16, 2013) Now, allow me to share my experience after being all dolled up for the event.

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I was already expecting a long day ahead considering that we were set to be the 13th presenter. The competition was set to simultaneously take place with the Xperience Efficiency Jakarta 2013 at The Hall, Senayan City.

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We had to set up and test our prototype so we can detect if there are glitches.

???????????????????????????????             The Indonesia version of the prototype

One funny story that I would have to share is how my head was aching so bad because I was already hungry. I really wasn’t able to stand it so I asked Ms. Geri if there was food. She asked some one from SE Indonesia if I can get some food. They gave me a bowl of soup :)))) I was so nervous because we are supposed to present in a few hours and my head was aching. Thank God I felt a little better before we presented. On another note, when I was presenting, that was the first time I was literally shaking because I was too nervous! >.<

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When the winners were announced, I was just really speechless and I was about to cry when they announced that we won. It has been my long time dream to go to Paris!