Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ode to Violet - a poem

Violet is my choice of hue
Oddly though, she's my dear too;
Who I gazed at Tyler's realm
But symbiosis greatly extended.

A woman?  A child?  She can thou confuse.
Whose silhouette shows a lady of age.
In reality, a size of thy niece;
But with heart and smile outrage!

Fiercely clothed in snobbish looks;
Dressed to kill and shoes to stab.
But her soft embrace thou wouldn't want unhooked,
For she gives thee comfort, others dare to grab.

How odd is odd a life can be?
But Violet can set you free!


17 September 2008

Warning:  This poem is the intellectual property of the author.  Unauthorized reproduction and/or distribution is prohibited. All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Merchant of Soy - a poem

I had no time, a busy me.
Like running hare in Alice land.
Until one day I heard melody;
Too familiar for it was from my homeland.

Oh music was sung by a merchant
of soy, dressed in dark caramel syrup.
I became addicted to the daily chant
But did not suspect something more than trance.

It was when nature had a call
that suddenly enchanted, by the merchant's ball.
With sprouts of fine fibers filled,
I can't resist to listen to the singing field!

And then beyond that disturbing ordeal,
The merchant's call brings music to my ear.


17 September 2008

Warning:  This poem is the intellectual property of the author.  Unauthorized reproduction and/or distribution is prohibited. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Jessica Raine - a poem

Jessica Raine or ** fondly called;
I dreamt of thee with urge.
In solitaire there was thou with me I recalled,
Stripping to change for tardy at work's church.

Awaketh!  The trail of dream's thought has ceased,
from below thy navel's feathery dead end sign.
Warning intruders under pain of leather and fabric,
against the raging reptile in hybernation.

What joy to that who will be lucky
to have thee as a spouse.
For thou arn't only with facade of beauty,
but also passionate for love and family.

Rest assured beyond friendship I will not dare to flee;
Although for sure I am truly, truly beholden to thee.


17 September 2008

Warning:  This poem is the intellectual property of the author.  Unauthorized reproduction and/or distribution is prohibited. All rights reserved.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Patties - a poem

I saw Jamaica's chubby hills
draped in fog of ashy cotton frills.
With two tanned trees, stocky and strong,
And blue jean sky, underneath the thong.

I fell in love with Jamaica's fullness
I'll let it in with wholeheartedness.


24 September 2008

Warning:  This poem is the intellectual property of the author.  Unauthorized reproduction and/or distribution is prohibited. All rights reserved.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Jean Chang - a poem

She was known before my eyes have set,
A great writer, she gives others great threat.
Whether tasked to compose for thesis tertiary;
Or made to compete in avenues literary.

School of Law crystallized my vision of her.
When on second year I began to wonder;
Sitting in front by the door who it was,
Aha!  Jean Chang has come to join our class.

I was magnetized by her eyes tantalizing.
And her nose I find most interesting.
My smile is crafted by her knits of choice;
Hedgehog hair and her whole deep voice.

But wait and witness the star of all attraction,
Her arms so rich and firm to which I sent my passion.
Smooth as suede and feathered as a chick,
Ah it wakes my only living prick!

Of her, she said a past of fat;
But unseen today, I can see that.
Her marks of stretch make myself excite;
In imperfection, I see just right.

But when will Jean Chang notice me?
I've been bothered by this, really.



Warning:  This poem is the intellectual property of the author.  Unauthorized reproduction and/or distribution is prohibited. All rights reserved.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ed Westwick and Jessica Szohr. Spotted.

Just when people think that celebrities are fully guarded and do not mingle with the commoners - not that I'm saying or complaining that I am a commoner - my friend and I were proved wrong.  Maybe heavily secured celebs are usual in California.  But it's the exact opposite in the Big Apple.

It was just one of those ordinary days when my friend, Rachelle Que and I met up to explore New York City.  And we've decided to have lunch at Nero at the Meat Packing District, and head towards Union Square thereafter.  Don't you just love the Meat Packing District?!  I super do!  It's sandwiched by my most favorite and third most favorite parts of Manhattan: Greenwich Village and Chelsea (Midtown is my second favorite, especially the Rockefeller Center/5th Av. area).  Besides the famous fashion houses such as DVF's, this area is known for its great food!  The über chic French restaurant, Pastis is here too!  Wouldn't you be considered famous if you are frequented by the Upper East Siders and if you were featured in the movie, The Devil Wears Prada as well as in the book, Bergdorf Blondes?  But my experience at Pastis should be the subject of another post.  It deserves its own after all.

Yes, it was one of the many afternoons in March that New York's weather is confused - yes, I meant confused, not confusing; it did not know whether it should let the sun shine brightly or if it should give a little drizzle.  That day, Mr. Weather decided to make it cool and cloudy, and a bit bright.

It was expected that people are outside and on the streets, going around, shopping, having lunch, or just enjoying the already nice weather as the cold and frosty winter is coming to an end.  We decided to take a stroll from the west to the east for 3 main reasons: first, the day is really nice; second, we're thinking we might see or run into something we might like - and we in fact did; and third, we were just so stuffed from lunch and would love to walk and burn some unwanted calories.

And who would have thought that an Urban Outfitters store was lurking in some corner near Union Square! It's exactly at 6th Av. and W14th St.  Our eyes grew big and our jaws dropped as we physically discovered - yes, something that need not require the help of Google - one of our favorite stores!  Not that we have a lot.  Or maybe we do.  But we just really love Urban Outfitters so much.  I could stay there all afternoon just checking out the stuff they've got and be occupied by the clothes and novelty items they have there.  And we tried to locate and visit the Urban Outfitters stores in Manhattan by letting our feet take us wherever, without looking them up online.  And I am positive that we were able to successfully check them all out.

So we did not waste time, crossed the street as fast as we could and headed towards the store's entrance.  The store's staff's super nice by the way.  For some reason, whenever I go to Urban Outfitters, I go immediately to the basement.  I guess I'm used to thinking that all Urban Outfitters stores put their men's section and their sale area on that level.  But on that day, Rachelle went ahead of me to the basement.  I was close behind her.  But on my way down the stairs, my eyes kind of wandered around and settled on a familiar face I couldn't recall at that time.  The guy stared back at me, and I saw that look that said, "Ooops, somebody spotted me."  And there went the light bulb; I just did an eye-to-eye with no less than Gossip Girl's Ed Westwick (Chuck Bass)If our jaws dropped upon the sight of the store, this time, our jaws fell on the floor, and bounced on the flights of stairs until it reached the basement ahead of us!  Rachelle literally turned around with her mouth open and I was doing just the same!

He lined up at the cashier and we saw him kissing a girl, whose face was blocked by a post.  Rachelle was quick to guess that it was Jessica Szohr (Vanessa Abrams).  And she guessed it right!  It was so funny that we even had to think if we're up to uproaching them to have our photos taken with them.  We waited for the first person to break the ice.  And we followed suit.

By the time that we approached the couple, Ed was already paying for the item that he got.  And so, we kinda spent some time chatting with Jessica.  Rachelle was quick to notice her lovely scarf and her interesting headband that is a fashion statement in itself.  Of course, we found out later on that the headband came from the store called, Anthropologie, at the Rockefeller Center - another favorite of Rachelle's.

We got the chance to take photos with the couple and told them how much Asia, and particularly, the Philippines, loves their show.  After we thanked them and went back to shopping, the people suddenly started noticing the couple and the crowd around them started to grow.  We were lucky to have spotted them first.  Not only did we get the chance to have a souvenir photo with them, we were also able to spend some quiet time, just chatting and saying our hellos.

Rachelle and I looked for the bag that Ed purchased and thought that it must be a gift he got for Jessica.  And we took a picture of it too!

We left Urban Outfitters filled with so much awe that we eventually and inadvertently ignored even the grandeur of Barnes & Noble, the temptation of DSW, the bustling cars and the noisy crowd at the Union Square.  We walked towards Broadway and nonchalantly shopped at another favorite, the Japanese brand, Uniqlo in SoHo.

As the day was about to end, and winds began to get chilly, we decided to cap it off with an iced grande green tea latte in our hands.  At that time, everything that happened began to blur - a blur that surrounded Ed and Jessica in our minds that day; and which lingered for months - and even for years.

Warning:  All photos in this post/article were taken by and/or are the intellectual property of the author.  Unauthorized reproduction and/or distribution is prohibited. This article is likewise the intellectual property of the author.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mario Lopez and the Rockefeller Center

New York is to me what Paris or Rome is to others - a perfect travel destination.  I always enjoy my vacay in New York and I look forward to it.  And as with any other city that I frequent, I'd have a "travel base" in the city.  In Manhattan, I am most attached to the Rockefeller Center or The Rock.  It is where I usually stop upon arriving in the City from my cousin's place.  It's equipped with all sorts of things that one would basically need - I think.

For starters, it has a store of my favorite coffee, Starbucks.  It's a no-brainer to even think of which drink to order or worse, whether to order at all.  I love the fact that it has its own Subway station that links it to the rest of New York.  It also has a Dunkin' Donut store, where I buy my bagel in the morning; a Swarovski store that I just simply love; and the Banana Republic Flagship store that could be very amazing especially with great finds on sale!  And we have even just been talking about the Concourse level.

You'll be amazed by the great sights at the Top of the Rock where you'll be given a 360-degree view of the entire New York City.  I suggest that you go there at sunset, and wait for the City to transform to dusk when, instead of the sky being dimly lit by the orangy sunset and the buildings standing like a concrete jungle, the sky transforms into purplish midnight blue and the buildings sparkle with light of various hues.
View of Empire State from Top of the Rock
View of Central Park from Top of the Rock - day
View of Central Park from Top of the Rock - dusk

The Skating Rink at The Rock
The Rock is also famous for its year-long ice skating rink.  There are benches for people-watching.  And while I prefer the original store in Greenwich Village, I am delighted to tell you that The Rock has a branch of the most coveted red velvet cupcakes and banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery!  I also love their keylime cheesecake!

It is also in close proximity with Saks Fifth Avenue - and the entire 5th Avenue at that - and the St. Patrick's Cathedral, where I usually to go mass at lunchtime.  Oh did I say 5th Avenue?  Okay, let's not get started on that one!

The Rock also houses the NBC Studios.  And of course, they have that famous Today show studio whose sides are made of glass panels so the bypassers can actually become spectators.  Most of the time if not everyday, the hosts would shoot a segment on the streets within The Rock premises to have more audience participation.  While I've seen this being done a couple of times, something different was meant to come about on a day I happened to be there.

Mario Lopez

On one fine day - when spring clashes with winter to create a fusion of the warm sun with the cool breeze - my trip to St. Patrick's from The Rock was somehow altered by a crowd gathered outside of J. Crew.  Light and camera stands were all set up and a small part was cordoned off for some important event.  And there he was, spotted in the middle of the crowd.  It was no other than Mario Lopez himself!  It turns out, he was co-hosting the fourth hour of NBC's Today show.  And he was being prepped outside of The Rock!

He may be known for his dazzling dimples that remind me of Barbie's Ken.  But his credentials speak of more than that.  He's been hosting shows and events here and there, including the Miss Universe Pageant in 2007, MTV's America's Best Dance Crew, Extra, ESPN Hollywood and Animal Planet's Pet Star.  And who could forget Mario Lopez's great dancing skills?  He was one of the celebrity contestants in the third season of Dancing with the Stars.  While he has a number of acting stints, he's best known for his character in Saved by the Bell.  In 2008, he debuted on Broadway as Zach in A Chorus Line.  And of course, his bit as a boxing analyst that includes covering Manny Pacquiao just makes him a darling to us Filipinos.

I was simply amused to run into this versatile celeb in New York.  I left the scene with nothing but a smile.  Off to St. Patrick's.

Mario talking to the staff and crew

Makeup retouching for the next shoot

Signing autographs

Having a chat with spectators behind him

Posing for fans

The real view where I was standing

Mario featured the firefighters on NBC's Today Show

Mario Lopez behind me
Warning:  This poem is the intellectual property of the author.  Unauthorized reproduction and/or distribution is prohibited. All rights reserved.

I am a pony

Let me tell you about a simple story that has an invaluable meaning. I heard this from a lawyer in no less than my favorite city in the world - NYC, particularly in Times Square sometime during the winter of 2008 and 2009. (I made some enhancements on the story to make it feel more alive.)

A couple was blessed with 2 sons, Robert and Andrew.

While growing up, the couple noticed that Robert has developed into an optimistic kid. Robert became a jolly and friendly person. On the other hand, Andrew turned into a pessimistic one. He preferred staying alone and keeping to himself.

One day, the couple decided to do an experiment with their children. They decided to see how something can change their children's perspective -- how Robert can become a pessimist and how Andrew can become an optimist, given the circumstances.

Before picking the boys up from school, the couple decided to execute their plan. They put a lot of toys in Andrew's room, thinking that it will somehow make him feel excited and more positive. On the other hand, they put horse poop in Robert's room, expecting that he would be furious and upset about it.

When the kids arrived, they left their things in the living room and went to their own rooms. Andrew's eyes widened with surprise when he saw the multitude of toys in his room, toys he never imagined he'd have! The couple was almost pleased by this reaction, until Andrew remarked, "Oh no! These toys aren't mine! Somebody must have put them here in my room as a trap for something!"

Before the couple could reply, they heard Robert shouting from his room. Robert declared that there was stinky poop in his room. His mother told him that it looked like a horse poop. With this, the boy suddenly smiled, and exclaimed, "A pony must be coming! I'm having a pony!"

I just had goosebumps right after I wrote the story.

From then on, I've aimed to be a pony, not only to myself but also to others. ✿

Warning:  This poem is the intellectual property of the author.  Unauthorized reproduction and/or distribution is prohibited. All rights reserved.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ateneo scores in moot court competition

By: Ricardo Romulo

MANILA, Philippines—Any law student expecting to engage in the practice of law in today’s world should be able to reach out beyond the boundaries of the classroom and the country. Every opportunity should be taken to learn from the experiences of fellow law students and lawyers from around the world.

With this in mind, I was very pleased to hear that the Philippines performed very well in the recent World Human Rights Moot Court Competition (WHRMCC) held in Pretoria, South Africa. As a result, I have yielded this space to the first hand account of Fay Irene Gurrea, captain of the victorious team from Ateneo de Manila University School of Law:

Manny Pacquiao is easily remembered as one who ended 2010 with a championship. However, Pacquiao is not the only champion the Filipinos can be proud of.

The oralists before a match
The Ateneo de Manila University School of Law, through the Ateneo Society of International Law, by placing within the Top 3 in the Asian Regional Rounds concluded last October 2010, was bestowed the honor of sending its very first delegation to the WHRMCC held in Pretoria, South Africa. The Philippine-Ateneo Team, composed of Allan Carlo Soller and myself, and coached by lawyers Timothy John Batan and Patrick Simon Perillo, did the country proud by being granted the Overall Best Memorial Award, aside from being the Asian Regional Champion.

Just as Pacquiao jogs, spars and lifts weights to train, in the world of moot court, a team writes pleadings and conducts speech drills to prepare for a tough competition. In this year’s WHRMCC, each team represented both the “Applicant” and “Respondent” parties to a case by presenting written and oral submissions to a panel of judges. This year’s problem was a hypothetical dispute between fictional states relating to issues on the right to liberty, the right against discrimination, and the right to health.

with Judge Ušacka of the ICC
Sponsored by the University of Pretoria Faculty of Law’s Center for Human Rights, with the assistance of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the WHRMCC is a week-long competition wherein students are tested on their knowledge of Human Rights Law. Currently on its second year, the competition provides an opportunity for law students around the world to explore issues of international human rights law in the context of a dispute before the international human rights tribunals.

with Judge Villiger of ECHR
It was a very rewarding experience. We brushed shoulders with leading experts in the field of Human Rights from around the world. Among them were most distinguished Judge Villiger of the European Court of Human Rights, Judge Anita Ušacka of the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Judge Florence Ndepele Mumba, former judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and Ms Yanine Poc, the regional representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Southern Africa.

With the Australian oralists,
Naomi and Adrianna, during cocktails
Remarkably, the World Human Rights Competition has grown to include regional competitions in the African, Asian, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Latin American and Caribbean regions. During the awarding ceremony held in the University of Pretoria’s sprawling and beautiful campus, the Philippine-Ateneo team obtained the Asian Regional Championship Award and the Overall Best Memorial Award, with the University of West Indies of Jamaica taking home the Overall Championship Award. The other semi-finalists were Midlands State University of Zimbabwe, University of Mauritius, University of KwaZulu Natal of South Africa, Hidayatullah National Law University of India, University of the Philippines, University of Lucerne of Switzerland, University of Sydney, University of New South Wales of Australia, Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj Napoca of Romania, Vlinius University of Lithuania, Debrecen University of Hungary, Hugh Wooding Law School of Trinidad and Tobago, and the University of Puerto Rico.

At the Aparetheid Museum
A visit to the Philippine Embassy
Aside from the competition, the trip to the Apartheid Museum and the Constitutional Court of South Africa, which the organizing committee arranged for the participants, opened our eyes to the human rights struggle in South Africa. It was an uplifting and empowering experience. At the same time, it was a venue for participants to forge stronger friendships. The exposure to South African culture and dance also paved the way for some fun and laughter.

It was overall a very enriching experience that gave us the opportunity to meet future lawyers from around the world and to engage in discussions on human rights law such as apartheid, among other things. Most of all, we were proud to be able to say that a seemingly small country like the Philippines was able to send two teams to the competition with both placing in the semi-finals. The other team was a composed of a delegation from the University of the Philippines.

The Philippine-Ateneo Team (L-R: Perillo, Gurrea, Soller and Batan)
Indeed, in the world of moot court, Filipinos, taking their cue from the nation’s pride, Manny Pacquiao, will surely be able to do battle with the rest of the world.

Ricardo J. Romulo is a senior partner of Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles.

Published on 21 January 2011 at the Philippine Daily Inquirer, at

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Daniel Radcliffe on Broadway's Equus

Seeing Steven Seagal as a kid was not exactly memorable.  I was just walking along one of the long corridors of the Hong Kong International Airport when he walked nonchalantly past us.  But living in the third world and being full of inexperience, I thought, "well, it IS possible to meet those Hollywood stars!"  And the yearning began.

Daniel Radcliffe

Even with the longing at hand, I never did think that I'd be that lucky to get a glimpse of these fame-stricken faces.  When I went to New York in December 2008, all I wanted to see in person was Daniel Radcliffe, who, very timely, had a Broadway show at that time.  His play, Equus, was brought from London to New York on a short engagement.  If they do, famous actors would normally have their shows on Broadway during the winter and the spring - which would probably be the leaner seasons to them for their other projects. 

I really had to get an orchestra seat and I was not gonna let chance at the TKTS dictate it.  Not only did I see him act and sing in person - he was good by the way.  I also did get to see him butt-naked.  Yes, butt-naked doing a sex scene with an equally naked girl.  And when he suddenly got insane and hysterical, he just started to jump, run around and roll over the theater stage.  I guess you know what things were dangling, slapping and swinging from side to side.  I need not explain any further.  The mommy seated beside me had to cover her child's eyes.  And my cousin, who was dead tired from a ski trip and who was sound asleep, sprang to full awakening with eyes wide open.  I guess they didn't know that Harry Potter was gonna do such a thing as I myself didn't know either.

I wasn't very organized when I watched his show such that I didn't get the opportunity to wait at the best possible line that would allow me a photograph with him and an autograph on my Playbill's cover.  But it was good enough to see him up close and to take his photo.

Daniel Radcliffe from my point of view, signing Playbills

Warning:  All photos in this post/article were taken by and/or are the intellectual property of the author.  Unauthorized reproduction and/or distribution is prohibited. This article is likewise the intellectual property of the author.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Adult - a poem

When I was little,
I saw an adult;
a sibling of a family friend.

That adult spoke well,
and dressed well in the 90s.
But normally talked about in a small and naive city.

I went to a big city;
went to college,
went to law school, took the bar and worked.

Now at 25, I went home for Christmas.
I slept in the airport.
When I woke up, I saw the adult from childhood.

The adult still dresses well.
The adult never grew older;
In fact the adult looks 10 years younger.

Yesterday, I joined a race.
As I walked past runners,
I saw the adult, dressed well for sports and in top shape.

Today, I checked the results.
The adult's age is 41; timed well in the race.
I couldn't believe the coincidence after more than a decade.

The adult ages with grace and beauty;
The adult's sight gives me good ecstacy.


February 8, 2010; 6:17PM

Warning:  This poem is the intellectual property of the author.  Unauthorized reproduction and/or distribution is prohibited. All rights reserved.

I Eyed You - a poem

I eyed you,
long before the sun came out.
I used to shut if off;
I refuse to fall for one who's square.

Until you colored my view,
and showed me your true hue.
Solid as the rainbow;
sparkly like the stars.

I eyed you again;
My fondness of you grows.
My likeness strengthens;
The endearment deepens.

I eyed you still,
but not exactly by choice.
I never had options - it just happened;
it was mere repressed prior.

I am almost want of inhibitions,
but fear discloses twin things:
the possibility of mismatch;
the reality of training.

I eye you nonetheless;
But for how long in silence?
Please help me;
I am in pain.


03 August 2010; 8:57am

Warning:  This poem is the intellectual property of the author.  Unauthorized reproduction and/or distribution is prohibited. All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

White, camel, tan and indigo

I am wearing something similar to this today.

A very romantic note

A true story.

Alexa: For what it's worth, I'm glad tonight happened. I saw your other side. Don't change for me. I could have kissed you at St. Patrick's. But I didn't feel it tonight. I'd be happy if you could find another girl who fits you. I'm not mad at all. If ever I see you with another girl, I'd even come over to say hi. I don't have any bad feelings for you. We can be friends, but not dating friends. I only wish you well. I'm so tired. I was standing in my heels for three hours. So good night.

Brian: What I told you is what I mean and feel. On one hand, I am so truly sad that I messed it up. But on the other hand, I am happy that I can get to know you better as a friend first. Friendship is something I value very high. It will give us the time we need to see if ever you will have that St. Patrick's feeling again. I love you, Alexa.

This was really a moving experience for my friend - perhaps more moving for me. I felt the love and the sacrifice; the sacrifice to let go, even if it means being bothered of, and not knowing what could have been. Now I understand the meaning of what other people say, that we could have the right love for each other, but because of the circumstances and the differences, the love couldn't really blossom. We then have to be faced with the truth - and sometimes, only sacrifice is the answer that could set us free. I melted - and died.

*The names and the place were changed to protect the identity of the persons.

Warning:  This poem is the intellectual property of the author.  Unauthorized reproduction and/or distribution is prohibited. All rights reserved.

What the Year of the Metal Rabbit has in store for the Rats

Praying to the gods for luck and prosperity
My visit to the Chinese (Taoist) temples during the Chinese New Year's Eve is something I look forward to every year.  My family and I go to 3 temples in Manila: one in Ermita and two in Chinatown.

Besides the Chinese culture and tradition that involved prayers and rituals for the New Year, and of course, seeing the handful of celebrities who usually go to the temples as well at this time of the year, it was a thrill for me to know what the Year of the Metal Rabbit has in store for me.  I'm a rat by the way - a wood rat to be exact.

Last year, while the prediction for the rats was actually very good, we were however warned about health issues.  But this year, the rats are totally out of the bad luck list!!!
This year, the following Chinese Zodiacs are the luckiest:

     Tiger (Male)
     Rat (Female)

Did I mention that everybody in my family is lucky? 

My dad's a monkey, my mom's a rat and my brother's a tiger.  So perhaps I'm already the least lucky in my family for this year.  But I need not fret nonetheless.  I may not be the luckiest of zodiacs for the year (being a male rat); but I am not part of the bad luck list either.  In fact, I am luckier this year than last year.  And last year was definitely a great year for me.

After, doing further research and gathering some information, here's what 2011 has to offer to all the rats:

-The zodiac sight of the rat will see a lot of improvement in the general luck category compared to the 2010 luck cycle.  Rats will have amazing wealth luck in the Year of the Rabbit as the wealth star will shine brightly. 

-There is unexpected money inflow because of the wealth luck.

-Events are expected to go smoothly and things will go accordingly as planned.

-Blossoming romance with baby luck because of the romance star.

-Career development in the office; better relationship with superiors and colleagues.  Superb advancement in professional life and work will be highlighted.  April, October and November are well-starred for this.  And July, August, December and January will be particularly special months.

-More creative at work, including writing.  Accordingly, creativity in writing is heightened.

-Particularly, wood rats will be very popular among friends.

-Significant relief in nearly all areas of life activities.

-Healthwise, vitality will be improved.  There will be a feeling of strength, taking better care of onself, maintaining a good diet and steady exericse routine.

-There will be personal growth, and hobbies and developing skills that will bring happiness.

-Steady progress throughout 2011.

Don't you just love this Year of the Metal Rabbit?  I say, uh-huh!

People outside the Taoist Temple, praying together to welcome the New Year

The entrace of the temple in Chinatown

The cue towards the altar with the people, eager to pray to the gods

On the second floor of the temple
Warning:  All photos in this post/article (except those depicting images of rats) were taken by and/or are the intellectual property of the author.  Unauthorized reproduction and/or distribution is prohibited. This article is likewise the intellectual property of the author.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Starbucks that feels like home

How could anybody not patronize a Starbucks store whose barrista, upon seeing you, pleasantly smiles and says, "Hi Patrick!  Your usual?"  This was Dara's greeting, a barrista at Starbucks Doppio in Rockwell.  All I could say was, "Yes," plus a hearty smile.  The cashier need not hear my order called twice.  She immediately punched my order - an iced grande soy, less/light ice with one Splenda, caramel machiatto - which came out neatly in the new IBM flatscreen.  The superb service and my perfectly-prepared drink are actually more than what I could ask for.  The survey that came with the free Starbucks coffee is just the cherry on top of a sundae - but a welcome one!  I am a Starbucks regular customer for 10 years.  J'adore le Cafe Starbucks! <3

Repost from Facebook Notes, 6 October 2010

Warning: This article and its photograph are the intellectual property of the author.

A most coveted Crystal

My 10th year of membership in the Swarovski Crystal Society ("SCS") marks the first time I've actually attended its yearly event of unveiling the Annual Edition crystal figurine. Hosted by the Rustan's Group in their flagship store in Makati City, the occasion was graced by its passionate and loyal members who were thrilled to find out what's in store for them for the year. This year, Ambassador Wilhelm Maximillian Donko of Austria to the Philippines had the honor of unveiling Polar Bear, Siku, Swarovski's 2011 Annual Edition. The ceremony was highlighted by lavish cocktails and an opportunity to take a first look at the coveted figurine as well as other exquisite pieces.

The Swarovski Crystal Society

Swarovski created the SCS for its global network of crystal enthusiasts, which now has close to 325,000 members worldwide. Each member is privileged to receive, among others, an annual crystal membership gift, free subscription to Swarovski magazine, invites to Swarovski special events, access to the members-only area at the Swarovski website, the opportunity to purchase pieces especially designed and crafted only for its members such as the Annual Edition, and endless perks at the enchanting Swarovski Kristallwelten (Crystal Worlds) in Wattens and Innsbruck, Austria. What of the free admission and VIP treatment at the Crystal Worlds' VIP Lounge to start with? All these privileges are exclusive to SCS members.

Siku, the Polar Bear

Since its inception in 1987, the SCS has been offering the Annual Edition to its members. Siku is a masterpiece, which, combined with its rarity, makes it a truly coveted object d’art. The Annual Edition can only be purchased during the current year and is exclusively sold to SCS members. While these figurines are independent pieces, they have nonetheless been presented in a themed trilogy. Recently, from 2008-2010, the Swarovski presented the trilogy of Endangered Wildlife: “Pandas” in 2008, “Gorillas” in 2009 and “Tiger” in 2010. Prior to this, from 2005-2007, the trilogy was themed, Wonders of the Sea, and presented “Harmony Clownfish” in 2005, “Eternity Turtles” in 2006 and “Community Banner Fish” in 2007. This year is the first time that Swarovski is deviating from its trilogy, says Joy Yong, Swarovski’s multi-brand sales manager in charge of Southeast Asia’s markets in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. Polar Bear Siku is the first Annual Edition that Swarovski has ever introduced independent of a trilogy.

Siku, whose name stands for “ice” in Inuit, is one of the well-loved animals in the Arctic. Siku radiates sophistication amidst a harsh and seemingly uninhabitable environment. This region happens to be close to Swarovski’s heart because of its long-standing link with water. It founded the Swarovski Water School program, which is dedicated to educating children about sustainable water management. And no less than renowned crystal designer, Anton Hirzinger, created this tour de force. Siku is crafted in faceted crystal moonlight, with its eyes and nose in gleaming jet crystal. And like the rest of the Annual Edition pieces, it comes with the title plaque.

Another first for Swarovski are the Polar Bear Cubs, which come in two varieties: the classic crystal moonlight and the white opal crystal effect. SCS members may choose to purchase the very first white opal piece or opt for the more classic crystal moonlight. Swarovski also offers other exquisite pieces to SCS members in 2011: the SCS pendant, bracelet and pierced earrings 2011 in the lovely color of Provence Lavende. A special SCS Ballpoint Pen 2011 is also available to members in the same color. The pen is filled with carefully selected clear crystal chatons with an Arctic crystal charm that swings delicately at the top end. And as if these are not enough, each member receives the Arctic Flower Ornament as gift for 2011.

Changes in Swarovski Philippines

According to Yong, Swarovski is expanding its exposure in the Philippines. From a space inside the Rustan’s Department Store in Makati, Swarovski now has its very own boutique at the ground floor. The Rustan’s Tower branch of Swarovski at Shangri-La Plaza will follow suit. And we look forward to the change happening at the Alabang and Gateway stores as well. In addition to the figurines, Swarovski intends to bring in its line of accessories as well, including one of my favorites—The Swarovski pen. The pen will soon be out in stores in hues of black, white, red, purple and pink.

I was privileged to sit tête-à-tête with Ms. Yong at this intimate affair.  And what better way than to take notes with my Swarovski pen.  After all, I enjoy being a part of the fascinating world of Swarovski.

The annual edition costs P27,500 with the title plaque.  Each pair of cubs costs P19,500.

Published in Manila Standard Today at <>

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