I won a trip around the Philippines at my first presscon with Microsoft Philippines. It has been twenty-four hours since we first sorted out the details, and I’m still in shock and awe over it.

After announcing the success of the rousing feedback from the windows7ako facebook page, the presscon attendees were put into groups and challenged to put together a Philippine travel itinerary with a budget of P100,000 in about 45 minutes. I was grouped with friend and fellow writer, Pepper Laforteza, and Mirage writer, September (yes, her real name, remember). We put together a Philippine-wide trip from Old Manila to Mindanao, exploring over land, air, seas, and our stomachs.

The original itinerary was:

MANILA (1 day): Breakfast at Hizons, trip to National Museum, Carlos Celdran Intramuros Tour, Dinner in Binondo, then a bus to Baguio for a connecting bus ride to Sagada.

Sagada (4 days): Lodgings in Rock Inn, foodtrip around town, hiking, spelunking (including the epic 1 hour cave tour connecting the small cave with the big cave). Take bus to Baguio on last day, catch a flight to Cebu.

Cebu: (3 days): Airwalk at Crown Regency, more foodtripping on lechon and other delicacies, with a daytrip to Bohol. We take the superferry to Davao.

Davao (4 days) : Lodging at Pearl Farm, snorkeling around the resort, tour of Mr. Apo, etc.

When we were done, I worried that we might lose because it was a bit much. We had the longest itinerary (2 weeks) so we could max out P100,000, and we knew that it was more than enough to go around (rule of thumb: costs outside the capital are significantly lower) The other teams kept their travel itineraries to a particular region, which made them look a lot more organized.

Ours was adventurous, but is it too adventurous?

Then when the time came for the judges to announce the winners, Jojo kicked it off with, “Well the winners will have to take two weeks off—”



So it’s confirmed, from May 24 to June 6, 2010, Pepper, September, and I will be doing our crazy trip throughout the Philippines.

Stay tuned, we’re in for quite the ride! Thank you Microsoft and sponsors!

For the first of many pics chronicling this journey, this is a pic from my FIRST Microsoft event with BlueRep from back in 2005.

Photo by Ren Robles

I wrote the show and ended up starring as Clippy the MSWord Helper. It was also my very first corporate event.


A Brand New Day

Say hello to my little friend…


I have been reconnecting with an old, dear friend on AOL, who referred me to Madi Ju’s photography and her “e-famous” Love Diary. I was so moved by the honesty and intimacy of the diary, I got inspired to start my own. To start, I got myself a new digital camera, the Nikon L10 you see above. I committed myself to the 365 Days project, except I’m not big on self-portraiture. You can see my “drabbles” in photography over at Kapilas at Tula (translated: Image and Poetry).

Also, a plug for my photography friend, the lovely Didang Alvarez, if you have any debuts or occasions that you’d like captured on camera, she’s your girl.

Life of the Party, or not

JM writes about having his wallet snatched at the recent Fete de la Musique.

Sorry to hear about your wallet, JM. I feel your pain.

I’ve been lucky not to have my wallet snatched in the last several years. Since the last time I got picked in high school, I haven’t put much personal possessions in my wallet. It feels sparse and dull, but it’s those trinkets that hurt the most in the event of loss. Among the trinkets floating somewhere out there is the only group picture of #pinoy_otaku, a letter from Sammi, old but rare Sailormoon trading cards I got from my best friend, and my Red Cross ID card.

While the Fete is one of the biggest musical events in the country, I wasn’t especially itching to go out that evening. Last time I went to fete was a few years ago when it was a real festival with one day for every musical genre. My BlueRep friends I went to Rocker Day, where a wave of sweaty rakistas catcalled and bowed before me as I passed. I am not exagerrating, Ren can vouch for this.

So last Saturday instead of Fete, I attended a quiet little gathering for the birthday of one my ye olde college roommates, followed by drinks with Lauren and Marco. Maybe it’s my age, or my growing hermitage, but I enjoyed those more and didn’t feel like I missed out on much from Fete.

What’s Up, Coconut?

Summer raket season is over. The Worlds and Words class of Pocketful of Kids ended with a bang. Congratulations to the class of Summer 2009! I’m very proud of you!

My article on XBX Katipunan is out on the latest issue of Playground Magazine, pick that up at your nearest bookstore!

Harana wrapped a successful run in Manila and Amsterdam. Congratulations!

As term ends for a bulk of my ESL classes, I’m looking and praying for more paying projects. Some short projects have come up, I should stop procrastinating and start working on them.

Playground Magazine March 2008 and Mii as Ancient Geek


I have an article in March’s issue of Playground magazine!


I reviewed Persona: Trinity Soul the anime. For my thoughts on that, read the article on page 90!



This is actually part of an answer to the ‘5 things you associate with me’ meme that’s been going around. This is from Ren‘s list where he remembers me as a ‘geek’.

Geekiness is a pretty big part of my life, though I’m admittedly not big a geek as I’m made out to be. I button mash, I don’t torrent like crazy, and my days of spending money on those must-have toys and trinkets are over. I’ve had to re-prioritize. I’m still geeky by enjoying dorky para-para dance moves, listening and singing to music I can barely understand, and resolving difficult decisions in life by “rolling for it”.

Star Wars should have been my first fandom, if I understood what was going on when I watched at age 4. I watched Episode 4 every weekend at my grandmother’s house, back-to-back with E.T. My Mom swore that the betamax tape that held it got scratchy from innumerable viewings.

I got initiated into the anime fandom by way of Sailormoon while I was in Grade 4. From Sailormoon, it escalated from there. I had a my TV diet heavily consisted of Japanese animation on weekends and Wednesday nights with Sailormoon, Yu Yu Hakusho, Time Quest, Sarah: Ang Munting Princessa, which led me to the Pinoy Otaku Mailing List, then to IRC where I found like-minded fans to chat with. In between chats I also found fanfiction, and started experimenting with the medium to further hone my writing skills. It was also my IRC friends that got me into East Asian pop and rock.

This all happened between 1998-2000. We were rather ahead of the times – this was a whole year or two before GMA7 launched their We Are Anime campaign. I was an awkward teenager, my interests were way off base with most of my classmates at the time. The friends I made online eventually became my closests confidants offline.