WD My Cloud EX4 Binondo (Manila Chinatown) Food Tour Experience

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A few weeks ago, I was invited to join the WD My Cloud EX4 Binondo Food Tour together with other bloggers from different niches.

binondo food tour
Together we photo walked through the different streets of Binondo and stopped by various restaurants.

binondo food tour
We uploaded our photos with directly to the WD 3TB My Cloud EX4 with ease.  While we were on the move and eating, all of us were uploading our photos simultaneously and My Cloud didn't let us down.  Our photos were stored and saved in an instant.

Estero Fast Food
binondo food tour
Our first stop was Estero Fastfood.

binondo food tour
Oyster Cake
We enjoyed this Oyster Cake!
binondo food tour
Oyster Cake
So it has oysters and crunchy veggies inside...

binondo food tour
Frog Legs
Of course, we didn't leave without trying the Frog Legs.

Serri Restaurant
binondo food tour
Our second stop was Serri Restaurant which had a menu labelled "Alaine Eatery".  Weird huh?

binondo food tour
Sibut Black Chicken Soup (120 php)
We enjoyed a bowful of the medicinal and nutrious Sibut Black Chicken Soup.

binondo food tour
Bamboo Shells
And, some Bamboo Shells...
binondo food tour
Goat Kaldereta / Kalderetang Kambing
I also tried the tender and lean Goat Kaldereta / Kalderetang Kambing.

binondo food tour
Fried Pork Intestines with Kropek
The Fried Pork Intestines with Kropek is sinful but delicious!

binondo food tour
Sauteed Pork Kidney
The Sauteed Pork Kidney is just as good.


Ying Ying Tea House
binondo food tour
Siopao, Pork Asado Chong Fan, Machang and Xiao Long Bao (Clockwise)
Okay... we appear to have a reverse food line up so our last stop was dimsum at Ying Ying Tea House.
 
binondo food tour
Asado Chong Fan
binondo food tour
Fried Siomai
So those were our 3 food stops!  And while being stuffed, I couldn't help but wish I owned a WD My Cloud EX4.  It is so convenient for my blogging needs.  It is available for both iOS® and Android™ devices.  Imagine you can access it anywhere and the WD My Cloud mobile app also integrates major public cloud services so that you can easily transfer files from their Dropbox™, SkyDrive® and Google Drive™.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: My 3 Realizations and My Top 10 Favorite Quotes

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          This is probably one of the last book reviews you'll ever read online about "The Fault In Our Stars" by John Green since many have already read and raved about it.  I was never the one to join any craze or trend so I could easily turn a blind eye even on distinguished "#1 New York Time's Bestseller" books like this.   But, my smart geeky but cool little sister who I avidly admire in literary aspects highly recommended this book so I decided to read it.

        I instantly became hooked just by reading the first line of this book.  It is a very well written.  Although I have poor imagination, the flowery words created beautiful imagery in my mind.  The plot is not only engaging but also meaningful. 

       At first, to be honest, I didn't think I could relate to a story that revolved around two cancer -inflicted kids.  But, I was wrong!  I don't know if it's a good or bad thing...  Although I'm not dying, I'm a lot like Hazel Grace Lancaster who observe, reflect and think deeply about everything around me.  Sometimes, I'm like Augustus Waters as well.  I'd want to believe in anything or "Something" rather than nothing.  I'd also like to stay as positive as I can no matter what.  I'd want to grasp and enjoy everything as much as I could.  I guess you can say I'm an odd mix.  On one side, I'm logical and scientific.  While, on the other side, I'm a person of faith who believes in things not yet proven.  I'm not speaking of just religion but spirituality, morality, spontaneity, miracles, love, life, after-life and everything in the universe that is so awesome that they are beyond our human comprehension.

      For me, what takes this book to another level is the intellectual conversations between the two characters.  They have such a nice tandem in comprehending and understanding each other.  It's not the typical mushy complimentary remarks you encounter in usual romance novels and perhaps even in real life because it comes with depth...   While Augustus Waters is quick to recognize and acknowledge their connection,  Hazel Grace was afraid and fairly in denial as shown by her thoughts that "I didn't think that Gus would...." and realized it only later.   But, as readers from an outside perspective, we could clearly see with their conversations, remarks and witty jokes that only they could understand that they have "Something."

      Like Augustus Waters, I'm not book-smart but I am intellectually-curious.  I'm often silent as I'm saving myself from typical day-to-day worthless chit chats and pointless blabbers.  But, deep inside I'm yearning for someone who I can share deep intellectual conversations with.  It's such a rarity to have someone who I can talk to intellectually and soulfully about anything.  Thus, I value those kind of people a lot.  

Realizations
So being the deep thinker as I am, I feel that the book speaks to me so  I was able to realize these:

1.   We are all clueless

      Regardless of our physical attributes, age and other circumstances, we, humans, are so much alike more than we can ever imagine.  We are all clueless as to our purpose and reason for living and how death can take us all by surprise.  And perhaps, our part in our universe is way bigger than the tiny speck we really are.  So remember that if you feel lost, everyone else is as lost as you are.  They just don't make a big deal out of it.  You shouldn't too.

2.  We are capable of loving

       Although as the book has stated "The world is not a wish granting factory", we could believe in anything.   Even science cannot ascertain if love is real or not.  And, if we trace back history, it didn't exist in the past.   Yet, we are capable of it.  Love is proven by the fact that we could live our lives as easily, irresponsibly, selfishly and carelessly but we chose to do otherwise.   Surely, love has its blissful times but it comes with hellish times too.  And, many still choose to stick through it even to the point of their deaths.

3. "Being in love" is worth it

      While it is scientifically proven that we are biologically wired to be in love for pro-creation, being in love is still a mysterious phenomenon.  Science claims that an average "in love" phase last up to 2 years.  But, others are capable of prolonging it for the rest of their lives.  What you chose to believe and how you do it is all up to you.  But, one thing is true... "being in love" is worth it even if it's only for a short span of time because it will always leave a mark that we earned and will always carry with us.  Perhaps, the state itself makes time relative and irrelevant that many would not mind risking themselves of being a fool and getting hurt for it.

      This is, of course, my personal opinion. My little sister and I have different views on the matter.  While most people like my little sister have felt sad and even cried for the fate of the star-crossed lovers, I did not feel the same way.

      As I see it, Augustus Waters is more fortunate to have experienced "being in love" momentarily than those who have lived their lives longer but have lacked in that aspect.

       As for Hazel, I'm sure it hurt seeing Augustus turn miserable.  But, there was the fun and interesting part prior to that which made it worth it.  I may sound apathetic but, I could actually relate Hazel's case similar to those who just gone through a break up.  At the beginning of every relationship, everything is so perfect and blissful.  Once we gain consciousness, we see our partner transform into something worse than we could ever imagine and we give up and break up.  But, because we think that it is worth it, we are capable of moving on and once again trying out luck with our next relationship. The only difference is that in Hazel's case, Augustus Waters changed and left involuntarily and not due to the fading of feelings and change of priorities which makes it more difficult to move on from.  While, those who break up made their own choices that lead to their parting so its easier to deal with the fact that it was over.  In fact, before it gets really bad and violent, we can already put it on a halt on it to spare us the agony, save the good memories and walk away just by breaking up.

My Top 10 Favorite Quotes
The basis of my realizations are mostly from my favorite quotes (apart from those included in the letter below)

1. Oh, I wouldn't mind Hazel Grace. It would be a privilege to my heart broken by you

2.  There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There's .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. 

3.  That's the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.
 
4. But it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he has Cassius note, The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves that we are underlings

5. Some people don't understand the promises they're making when they make them 

6. Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.

7. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I'm grateful

8. Pain is like fabric: The stronger it is, the more it's worth

9. Our fearlessness shall be our secret weapon.

10. There was time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it.

Augustus Letter to Van Houten
This is the most touching and beautiful part of the book for me.  It is a letter Augustus sent to Van Houten (which he could have sent directly to Hazel if only he only recognized that love itself is a verb or an expression that transcends beyond language but love can make us insecure at times because we feel like that special always deserves nothing less than the best).  Underlined are my own personal favorites lines...
Van Houten,

I’m a good person but a shitty writer. You’re a shitty person but a good writer. We’d make a good team. I don’t want to ask you any favors, but if you have time – and from what I saw, you have plenty – I was wondering if you could write a eulogy for Hazel. I’ve got notes and everything, but if you could just make it into a coherent whole or whatever? Or even just tell me what I should say differently.

Here’s the thing about Hazel: Almost everyone is obsessed with leaving a mark upon the world. Bequeathing a legacy. Outlasting death. We all want to be remembered. I do, too. That’s what bothers me most, is being another unremembered casualty in the ancient and inglorious war against disease.

I want to leave a mark.

But Van Houten: The marks humans leave are too often scars. You build a hideous minimall or start a coup or try to become a rock star and you think, “They’ll remember me now,” but (a) they don’t remember you, and (b) all you leave behind are more scars. Your coup becomes a dictatorship. Your minimall becomes a lesion.

(Okay, maybe I’m not such a shitty writer. But I can’t pull my ideas together, Van Houten. My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations.)

We are like a bunch of dogs squirting on fire hydrants. We poison the groundwater with our toxic piss, marking everything MINE in a ridiculous attempt to survive our deaths. I can’t stop pissing on fire hydrants. I know it’s silly and useless – epically useless in my current state – but I am an animal like any other.

Hazel is different. She walks lightly, old man. She walks lightly upon the earth. Hazel knows the truth: We’re as likely to hurt the universe as we are to help it, and we’re not likely to do either.

People will say it’s sad that she leaves a lesser scar, that fewer remember her, that she was loved deeply but not widely. But it’s not sad, Van Houten. It’s triumphant. It’s heroic. Isn’t that the real heroism? Like the doctors say: First, do no harm.

The real heroes anyway aren’t the people doing things; the real heroes are the people NOTICING things, paying attention. The guy who invented the smallpox vaccine didn’t actually invented anything. He just noticed that people with cowpox didn’t get smallpox.

After my PET scan lit up, I snuck into the ICU and saw her while she was unconscious. I just walked in behind a nurse with a badge and I got to sit next to her for like ten minutes before I got caught. I really thought she was going to die, too. It was brutal: the incessant mechanized haranguing of intensive care. She had this dark cancer water dripping out of her chest. Eyes closed. Intubated. But her hand was still her hand, still warm and the nails painted this almost black dark blue and I just held her hand and tried to imagine the world without us and for about one second I was a good enough person to hope she died so she would never know that I was going, too. But then I wanted more time so we could fall in love. I got my wish, I suppose. I left my scar.

A nurse guy came in and told me I had to leave, that visitors weren’t allowed, and I asked if she was doing okay, and the guy said, “She’s still taking on water.” A desert blessing, an ocean curse.
What else? She is so beautiful. You don’t get tired of looking at her. You never worry if she is 
smarter than you: You know she is. She is funny without ever being mean. I love her. I am so lucky to love her, Van Houten. You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.

         What makes this letter beautiful and sweet is how an ordinary boy like Augustus saw something special in an ordinary girl like HazelAugustus classified people based on their goal in life: (1) to leave a mark or a legacy or (2) to observe and appreciate it.  He really viewed their difference in outlook positively because he could have thought otherwise.  Like if Hazel doesn't want to contribute to the world like most people, he could have viewed her as a selfish person or a useless being with borrowed time or even something worse.  But instead, he was able to enter her perspective and see it as something wonderful.  So the way I see it, everyone is ordinary, despite the looks, wits, similarities or difference, is ordinary.  And, then love mysteriously comes along and lends as an insight that makes someone (their whole humanity including their flaws) special. I mean seriously, if this was written by someone other than Augustus, Hazel would not have been beautified in such a remarkable way.

        I also liked that last lines.  When you think about it, it sounds a bit irrational and masochistic isn't it? But, it's true... Choosing to expose ourselves, overriding our fears and instinct for self-protection and making ourselves vulnerable to pain is one of the mysterious and ironic aspect of love.  Where's the irony you might ask?  Well, it's a choice (implying a voluntariness) but in reality, it hardly makes sense and is mostly baseless and illogical which is why some find it difficult to accept when they end up with pain and regrets.  But, there are lucky ones like Augustus who like their choices regardless of the outcome. I'd like to believe I'm like Augustus. =)   I take my time with my choices.  But unlike many who have a lot to consider (their age and other social factors), I only have one consideration: to be convinced that I'm his best option. 

*I dedicate this post to my friend Wayne, who like Augustus Waters, died of Leukemia at the age of 15.

Join Yoshinoya's 4th Gyudon Eating Contest and Win Up to P225,000 and a Trip to Japan

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As you all know I'm a big fan of Yoshinoya's Gyudon!  I've written about Yoshinoya recently here and previously here.  If you're following me on instagram, you'd also know that it's my most frequented fast food chain. Anyway, enough took about my love for their Gyudon.  I'm sure you want to know the details of Yoshinoya's 4th Gyudon Eating Contest!

Basically, you have to join the Qualifying Match to get to the Grand Match.  The Top 3 Winners of the Grand Match will win the following:
  1. P150,000 CASH and 2 Trip to Japan Tickets c/o Cebu Tickets
  2. P50,000
  3. P25,000
There will be a consolation price for all finalist of P2,000.  Not bad right?

Here's what the contest set up will look like




Now let's go on to the technicalities....
 
Qualifying Match Mechanics
1. Open to all above 18 years old
2. Schedule of Contest Weeks: (Weekdays from April 21-May 30,2014)
  • April 21-23
  • April 28-May 2
  • May 5-9
  • May 12-16
  • May 19-23
  • May 26-30 
3. To join, simply purchase a Gyudon meal worth P199.  (Take-out, deliveries and bulk orders are NOT included)  You can join multiple times.
4. Fill out the Registration form and sign the Health and Release waiver form.  Finish the most number of bowls in 5 minutes to win the challenge of the day.
5. Present 1 valid ID (School ID, Company ID, Driver's License, SSS ID, GSIS ID, NBI Clearance, Postal ID, Voters ID or Passport) to the store manager
6. Only napkins, condiments and water will be allowed on the table
7. Empty the bowl before staerting the next.  All left over graisn in all bowls will be weight along with the unfinished bowl.
8. The top 4 weekly fastest Gyudon bowl eaters will be placed on the store's leader board.  It will be updated every time a new record is set.  The top of the leader boards will considered as participants for the Grand Match Mechanics.
Bloggers Dry Run (supposedly no Iced Tea just water =p)
Grand Match Mechanics
1. The 42 Finalists will compete by eating the most number of bowls in 15 minutes on June 14, 2014.
2. Each finalist will be allotted 10 bowls.
3. Vomitting contestants will be disqualified.

Well, good luck!

12 Life Lessons from Starting Over Again (Spoiler Alert + Pics)

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A lot of my female friends has been recommending "Starting Over Again" directed by Olivia Lamasan as a must-watch Romantic Valentine Movie.  This film with a love triangle between Piolo Pascual as Marco, Toni Gonzaga as Ginny and Iza Calzadoh as as Patty has made a lot of people cry!  Many attribute its success to being realistic and relatable.  Relate to what?  Well, relate to the foolishness and mistakes that we had to go through and learn from.

12 Life Lessons from  Starting Over Again

1. Acceptance and Selfless Love are Essential for a Successful Relationship.

      You need to accept everything about your significant other which means his/her past, present and future.  A selfless love is one that puts the other before yourself.  While some may believe that it's about timing and readiness like Ginny (Toni) who believes that she is ready for the second time around, it is really acceptance that matters because you can prepare for the past and the present but the future will always be uncertain and you'll need a degree of acceptance to take that risk.
starting over again

       Patty's (Iza) love for Marco (Piolo) is a love that fully accepts him and a selfless kind which is why it surpasses that of Ginny's.  Patty accepted Marco with his painful past, the present him with weaknesses as he is being swayed by his recollections with Ginny, his struggles and the fact that they are still on their way to being successful.  She believes in him and fully supports him in pursuing his passion.  She trusts him completely without fear.  She was consistently calm, patient and understanding. Whether they fail or succeed, Patty is sure to stick with Marco
starting over again

      On the other hand, Ginny is focused only on herself.  All she cared about is fixing her regrets and living in her own dream.  She didn't even bother to understand what Ginny felt when she abandoned him.  She couldn't accept that he now has issues with trust because of what she did.  And, since she has left him before, there is no assurance that she won't be scared in case he becomes unsuccessful and leave him again. 

2.  Nothing is Constant so We Have to Move On.
starting over again

      Everything changes especially people.  We all have to move on whether towards the same direction or not.  Time, experience and many other factors in life make people change.  The experience of being abandoned by Ginny changed Marco in a way that he now values trust more than sparks and chemistry.  This is a change Ginny had to accept as she moves on.

3. Life is How We See It.
starting over again
     We are the ones who give things meaning.  Everything is subject to our own interpretation.  For Marco, their second encounter is for closure.  While, Ginny led herself to believe that it is for a second chance.  Ginny made herself stuck with the shadow of the past.  In reality, they've changed.  And, the past which was so magical and beautiful for her has long vanished.
starting over again
     Moreover, you cannot measure the success or progress of one's life with just one aspect.  Ginny prioritized financial security over love only to realize later on that she wants love too.  From the romantics perspective, Ginny is pitiful.  On the other hand, those who value career progression will envy her Barcelona degree.  On the other hand, Marco valued love and relationship.  He has already established a strong foundation with Patty who supports him as they both go along their journey to success. 

4.  Even If You're a Handsome Hunk, You Can Be Dumped, Abandoned or Worse Cheated if You Can't Take Care of Your Lady.
starting over again

     Ladies want a good provider so you guys have to work hard and be man enough to take care of your lady just like the hardworking future Marco.  Otherwise, face the same painful fate as the past Marco


5. You May Only Have One Chance So Make the Best Out of It.
starting over again
    Although we always wish for a second chance, life may only grant us one chance so we have to make the best out of it.  Whether fair or not, that is how life goes.

6. There's a Thin Line Between Love and Hate. 
starting over again

     It is a scientific fact that hate may be a defense mechanism we adopt to prevent us from falling in love.  But as it turns out, love may blossom uncontrollably and the hate defense mechanism may just be a dilatory tactic.

7. Life is NOT a Bed of Roses.
starting over again
   Life is not a bed of roses or a fairy tale with happy endings.  Life is an endless twist of fate with unexpected struggles and obstacles.

8. There are Many Ways to Love.

     Love isn't always the romantic (Eros) kind.  There's Storge (affection), Philia (friendship), Agape (unconditional love) and maybe those which can't be defined in words that don't result to a romantic relationship.  We can't unlove so there's no point denying it.  Moreover, love alone does not make or break a relationship.

9. Your Success is Not Dictated by Your Course.
starting over again
     Your course doesn't define which profession you should pursue.  Have the courage to follow your passion and success will follow.  Marco's big shift from being a history professor to a chef may seem ridiculous but he followed his passion which made him work harder towards his success.

10. Anyone Can Succeed As Long As You Work Hard For It.
starting over again

     Marco may seem hopeless at first which is why Ginny left him.  But, lo and behold, with hard work and determination, he has proven himself otherwise to Ginny's regret.

11. A Slow-burn and Secured Love Can Surpass the Great Big Magical Love.
    Regardless of how the relationship began, what is important is establishing a good foundation with trust, respect, acceptance, understanding and all other necessities that complete a relationship.

12. As One Door Closes, Another Door Opens. 
starting over again
   As long as you're alive, it's not over.  Life goes on so deal with what comes along.  Marco thought it was over when Ginny left.  But, he was able to change into a better person with a fresh start in terms of his career and relationship.  Ginny is also rewarded the chance of a fresh start after a proper closure with Marco.

Oracle Certification - CRM On Demand Certified Implementation Specialist

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The Oracle CRM on Demand Certified Implementation Specialist certification is more useful to Oracle Partner Network members but is available to any candidate seeking certification in the field. Gaining this Oracle certification will make it easier for OPN members and their companies to qualify for Oracle CRM on demand. This certification is for those who are known to be implementation consultants of subscription-based CRM for sales, service, marketing, and contact-center operations.

To gain this Oracle certification you will need to pass a lengthy examination over many topics synonymous to the topic of CMR on Demand. Topics like team sharing, workflow creation, and product administration will be included and integrated with various other topics on the examination you need to pass. This exam will require a lot of study time and preparation leading up to it. No worries though, Oracle offers plenty of study guides and practice programs that will surely prepare you to ace the Oracle certification exam and gain your certification. Do not come into attempting to gain certification though if you have zero experience in this field.

This certification assumes that prior to your attempt, you have one to two years of experience under your belt.

If you prepare for this exam correctly and this is certainly the field you would like to be certified in this is the correct certification for you.

OOTD: In Line with Nature

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Sometimes, it's nice to take a day off to enjoy the natural cool air and read a book or two under the soft light from the sun and blue skies. 

ashley belleza co
And, while I'm at it.  I did a quick OOTD as well.  The theme "In Line with Nature" is inspired by being simple and natural.  There's a beauty in everything as naturally as they are.  We just need to look around and appreciate them.

Sunglasses: Sunnies By Charlie
Dress: Bench
Bag: Ashley (Turquoise) by Belleza Co.
Sandals: Gibi Collection

*Photo credit to my little sister who is a naturalist herself.  Spur of the moment thing so no edit and no makeup. 

ashley belleza co
I'm so loving this Ashley 2-way bag.  Aside from the trendy colors available: Baby Pink, Turquoise and Grey .  It's actually big in size (DIMENSIONS: 11” x 12” x 7”which is great for a multi-tasker like me. You can clip it on the side for a smaller size.  And if you're loaded with stuff like when on an unplanned shopping spree, you can unclip and bring it to its maximum size (11” x 12” x 7”)

Belleza Co.
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(0918) 662-0024 (Smart) / (0917)688-5885 (Globe)