Tech Tuesday: selfie or groufie with Huawei Ascend P7 LTE

I travel light and you have to treat me to artisan coffee to convince me to lug around a DSLR or still camera other than the smartphone I already have for those mundane blog coverages. You see, I’d rather opt for my own comfort and convenience over the more excellent pictures that a bulky DSLR delivers (sorry, dear readers.)

But I have to admit that I had to take a second look when the full specifications of the Huawei Ascend P7 was given to me. Its dual cameras (13MP at the rear and 8MP for front-facing) are perfect for today’s wave of selfie and ‘groufie’ – crazy individuals.

Small lenses are usually the problem on camphones, but the 5P non-spherical lens on the 13MP camera of the P7 means you can take amazing panoramic shots when you’re in tourist attractions like this..

A beautiful backdrop

Double-clicking the down volume button once launches the camera in 1.2 seconds, even in a locked mode. This ensures that you don’t miss out on the action.

Double tap snapshot

(Official photos from Huawei)

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AXE Gold Pass : ticket to the good life

The Axe Gold Pass is the search for the most masculine and attractive man in the metro voted most popular by the public and an exclusive council of celebrities.It is inviting men, 18 years old and above, to join the contest by logging on to and get their friends to vote for them.The top 400 men with the most votes qualify for the next round, where they will get trimmed down to the final three.

From the three, the man who emerges winner in the Gold Pass Challenge will receive the ultimate ticket to live the Gold Life! Prizes at stake include a brand new 2014 Volkswagen Beetle, an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas where the winner and two guests will receive VIP treatment at the hottest clubs and a one-year, rent-free condominium unit at the Fort. Isn’t that fab? ;)

To launch the search, a grand kick-off party was held at Republiq in Resorts World Manila several weeks ago. In full force at the glam event were the celebrity members of the AXE Gold Council represented by Resident Hottie Solenn Heussaf, Axe Gold Man Luis Manzano and Axe Dark Temptation man KC Montero…


Luis for Axe Gold

Axe Gold

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Ichiran Ramen in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

I loved Ichiran Ramen! I may have missed eating this in Japan but am glad I went out of my way to find this in HK, the land of roasted goose and dimsum. They now have two branches almost beside each other in Jaffe Road, Causeway Bay. It was quite hard to find, but just remember this landmark: a few streets at the back of Sogo Department Store :)


This whole order of their famed tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen with sliced pork and perfectly half-boiled egg cost HKD$101 (or P563) and darn, it fulfilled my noodle fantasies for the night.My verdict is that if Ichiran was in Manila, this would be the best ramen for me ;)

Ichiran HK

As expected, the broth was creamy and flavorful; the sliced pork was divine. A great part of the Ichiran experience is that the diner decides how he would like his ramen to turn out by filling up the order sheet.

One can tick off choices with regards to flavor strength (weak/medium/strong)…

richness (none/light/medium/rich/ultra rich)….

noodle texture (extra firm/firm/medium/soft/extra soft) …

and the garnishings that will go in the soup (garlic, green onion, mushrooms, etc).

The resto also recommends their Original Red Sauce and I wished I checked Double instead of Regular for that extra spicy kick!

Ichiran menu


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List of 2015 Philippine holidays announced

2015, via the Official Gazette

(image source: The Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines, Facebook)

Kids and adults await with much excitement the official announcement of annual holidays, especially in the Philippines.The reason is understandable because we look forward to taking a rest or planning for those out-of-town or out-of-country trips. Having this list of regular and special holidays is useful because plane tickets are usually cheaper when bought a few months ahead (tee hee). Thanks to the Office of the President for coming out with your announcement five months early :)

2015 regular holidays

New Year’s Day - January 1 (Thursday)
Maundy Thursday - April 2
Good Friday - April 3
Araw ng Kagitingan - April 9 (Thursday)
Labor Day - May 1 (Friday)
Independence Day June 12 (Friday)
National Heroes Day August 31 (Last Monday of August)
Bonifacio Day - November 30 (Monday)
Christmas Day - December 25 (Friday)
Rizal Day - December 30 (Wednesday)

2015 Special (Non-Working) Days

Chinese New Year February 19 (Thursday)
Black Saturday - April 4
Ninoy Aquino Day August 21 (Friday)

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Seasons by Olivier Elzer

Seasons by Olivier Elzer was one fine restaurant we recently got to try in Hong Kong. It has just opened for a little more than a month but it is already busy with a lot of diners. Blame it on the fact that the head chef of the Michelin-rated L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Central has jumped ship to establish a resto carrying his name, at Lee Gardens in Causeway Bay. Seeing that we don’t always see handsome, youthful chefs around, Olivier E is as refreshing as the name Seasons, don’t you think? :)

Olivier E

Upon entering, you immediately get a glimpse of the staff working in the open kitchen. The bar set-up is rather informal compared to the other sections of the resto, but at least you get to see all the action.


My friend Barbie Chan, marketing communications director of Sáv Hospitality treated me to lunch (because am always a lucky girl!) I trust her when it comes to knowing the hottest eating places in town and sometimes I hate her for not gaining a pound, lol. Here’s our photo while waiting for the food service to begin..

with Barbie

First to arrive was the complimentary bread basket with two kinds of butter. You just know a resto is good when they know their dough, but I had to resist from carbo-loading in anticipation of the three courses ahead.

Bread & butter

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#MH17 site : “the biggest crime scene in the world”

Update: Malaysian Airlines releases passenger manifest of those onboard MH17.
It also announced it will retire flight number MH17 for its Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur route. This will be replaced by MH 19 – AMS/KUL


Like many others, am following with great interest the updates on MH17. Luckily, an old friend from the 1990s, former journalist Michael Bociurkiw (or BBQ, as we called him in Manila) is right there at the scene now as the spokesperson of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). I just have to follow his Facebook updates to know the situation in the crash site itself.

Here are some snippets of Bociurkiw’s interview with CNN last Saturday:

“We were able to see the tailfin and we counted dozens of bodies. We are starting to see decomposition.”

“Armed guards limited the amount of area we could observe. It’s a very difficult, complicated and dangerous environment.”

The news further quoted him as saying: “It basically looks like one of the biggest, or the biggest, crime scenes in the world right now, guarded by a bunch of guys in uniform with heavy fire power, who are quite inhospitable.”

Bociurkiw (@mikeybbq on Twitter) said the crash site of MH17 is in same area in Donetsk “where four of our international civilian colleagues were kidnapped more than a month ago.” He posted this photo an armed man guarding the place-


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Airline employee and Pinoy family perished in #MH17 flight

I went to work this morning shocked that another Malaysian Airlines flight perished in midair near Ukraine. This can’t be true. How could another B777 from the same airline company be targetted? Are the days of flying as a safe means of transport over?

A few days before, a friend intimated to me that she was still flying Malaysian airlines because the probability of another MH plane going down or meeting an accident was nil. Like 1 in 11 million. Then the MH17 shootdown happened. It makes me think that travellers are entirely helpless from being protected against the double threats of war and terrorism. We can only pray.

Like most people following the news, I was interested about the identities of the three Filipinos onboard flight MH 17. Maybe they were seafarers or contract workers? I tried finding the flight manifest online but it seems the names haven’t been released yet.A little investigation on Facebook revealed that the fatalities of the plane crash included Budy Janto Gunawan, his Filipino partner Irene Nene Pabellon and their two grown-up kids Sherryl Shania Gunawan, 15, and Darryl Dwight Gunawan, 20. Budy is a long-time Malaysian Airlines employee stationed at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. Irene is from Quezon Province.


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Typhoon Glenda photos, 56 hours of no electricity & counting…

Friends and kin have been asking if my little family is fine in the aftermath of typhoon Glenda.

We have been surviving with no power for three days now :) The brownout started early morning of Wednesday (along with a cut-off in water supply) and I can only believe Meralco when they say it will restored by 10 tonight. I hope so… please give us a reason to rejoice this weekend! The water has come back but 60 hours (and counting) of no electricity is just so cruel.

Am still trying to figure out which was worse: Typhoon Milenyo or Glenda. I dug through my archives and found out that we were holed up in a hotel to escape Milenyo in 2006. It hasn’t been entirely hard with Glenda since we managed to settle in our second home for this weather episode but still – I and especially the kids – would like to return to normal life… grrr!

A neighbor wasn’t particularly lucky. This is just one of the very few photos I took of the Glenda aftermath because the situation is depressing.. Either your car is safe from the floods or it shields itself from the threat of fallen trees. None of the two options is appealing.


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@samsungPH recipe challenge: win a Smart Oven + RT6000 ref!

Recipe challenge

We’ve partnered with our friends from Samsung Philippines to launch a recipe challenge which will give one reader of this blog a chance to win a Samsung Smart Oven worth at least P14,000. I’ve written about it in this post.

But there’s more. The winning recipe will be pitted with the recipes of two other participants in a cook-off end of July 2014 where a Samsung RT6000 digital inverter ref (worth at least P40,000) is at stake for the grand prize winner. The RT6000 ref is the perfect fit for the modern home maker because of its reliability, excellent cooling performance, efficiency, durability and excellent design. It’s an appliance you’d want to have in your kitchen!

Sounds easier than winning the lotto, right? All you have to do is submit your best, award-winning personal recipe to this page from July 15 to July 28, 2014.

The participating blogs for this contest are the following:,, Reader must submit only to one blog site to join.

Here’s the rest of the contest rules:

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Oishi Make Your Own Snack 2014

Oishi’s Make Your Own Snack event at the Glorietta 2 Activity Center was the highlight of our July 6 weekend. A few days before, I received the official invite which was in the form of a personalized giant sack filled with Oishi goodies. Who can resist? It was taller than my 4-year old daughter :)


On that Sunday itself, my kids were more excited than me. It was because they knew that their crushes, Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo were going to be there.I can’t tell you enough how popular this celebrity tandem is, and it’s good that they’re Oishi endorsers. Glorietta 2 was filled to the max with poster-toting, screaming fans!

This was the crowd when people were just starting to arrive in the venue…

Glorietta 2

Okay, here it is: Kathniel! They did a song number.


The five members of Team O on stage (from left): Slater Young, Daniel, Kathryn, Elmo Magalona and Ramon Bautista.

Team O

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