Lucky 9 Movies

Our week together turned out to be quite good despite not going farther than Festival Mall Alabang or Tagaytay.  To make up with the cancelled road trip we imagined our home as a hotel out of town. We let the air-conditioning on every night, woke up late, ate without counting calories, and went out of the hotel any time we like. A little bit of crazy creativity usually works.

After that wedding day celebration with wifey’s team members, the other days of the week were spent mall hopping, window shopping, and of course, watching movies. And since it’s our ninth year, I will do a brief review of the nine movies we’ve seen recently—not necessarily within the wedding anniversary week. These movies are rated 1 (poor) to 5 (great) stars just like my wife and I do in our individual diaries (which reminds me that I haven’t updated mine for a long time).

Forbidden Kingdom (Jet Li. Jackie Chan). I’m not so sure if I enjoyed this movie or not. It may have something to do with too much exposure to MMA, especially UFC, on TV that I’m not buying the flying Kung Fu stunts anymore. What I like about it is seeing both actors back in business and together in one film. 3 Stars.

Kung Fu Panda (Jack Black. Jackie Chan. Lucy Liu. Angelina Jolie). Being a fan of cartoons, I could immerse myself into it in no time every time I see one. Frankly speaking, I find this Kung Fu movie better than Forbidden Kingdom due to the fact that I have no reason to question the characters, like the bulky panda, float in the air to do gravity defying stunts. It’s not impossible. Why? Because it’s cartoons. Duh. Po rules! 4 Stars.

Get Smart (Steve Carell. Anne Hathaway). There’s always anxiousness inside me whenever I get to watch a film that is closely similar to a previous movie. I have some reservations that this stupid-field-agent- comedy movie could be a letdown. Thankfully, it wasn’t the case. The casts, characters, and story of this film are great combination. The comic scenes are so hilarious that I was laughing and giggling from the start until the end of the film. Jim Carey, beware. 5 Stars.

Evan Almighty (Steve Carell). We caught this one on TV while lazily channel surfing one afternoon. It was just a couple of days after we watched Get Smart and my interest to see another version of the famous ark story grew with the fact that Steve Carell is portraying as Noah. I was fascinated with the idea of mixing a biblical story to a modern setting but I don’t know if my mother would have been laughing as I find some of the exchanges blasphemous. Anyway, I did have a good laugh from majority of the scenes and more importantly I think that the same moral of the story is conveyed as intended in the bible. I’m becoming a Steve Carell fan. 4 Stars.

Letters from Iwo Jima (Ken Watanabe). This one was from the DVD–another Clint Eastwood film to complement his Flags of Our Fathers movie. I always wonder if there are good people on both sides of the war and this movie helped prove that. The Iwo Jima story reminds us that most soldiers fight with what they believe is right regardless which side they’re with. In a sense, one you consider a foe is actually a hero of the other side. Comparing the two war films, Letters from Iwo Jima is better than Flags of Our Fathers. Additionally, dubbing the film in Japanese with English subtitles created a more genuine experience to it. 5 Stars.

The Happening (Mark Wahlberg). This film is like some of the dreams I had. It starts with something so interesting that no matter how frightening it was, I forced myself to stay in it in order to find out how it would end. It’s like a nightmare that you have no control over what you’d see next and every scene makes you curse and jump out of your bed and find yourself sweating from the excitement and/or fear. At the end of this movie my wife and I were staring at each other still with lots of unanswered questions but being an M. Night Shyamalan flick the end is no surprise, and I love it. 4 Stars.

Wanted (Angelina Jolie. Morgan Freeman). Have you ever had a time when you felt like they cast a well-known celebrity to compensate a movie’s poor story? In my opinion, this movie is one of those. Angelina Jolie was like an a wriggling bait so irresistible to an unsuspecting fish like me that despite having seen the trailers with bullets circling its way to find its intended target I still watched it in the end. I could have given in to the idea of the intelligent bullets but I had enough when the story came to be about killing individuals as dictated by a loom supposedly started by weavers from long time ago. To me that’s just crap (pardon the word). 4 Stars – for casting Angelina. 2 Stars for the whole story.

Incredible Hulk (Edward Norton). Other than fearing lightning, I fear that I might see another lousy Incredible Hulk movie once again. I wisely skipped the first version of this marvel comic character but unfortunately watched it either on a pirated copy of the public buses or from friends’ houses (also pirated, I suspect). But having watched almost all film being shown this week, I agreed with reservations to see the new Hulk movie with my wife. Good thing this new version erased all my doubts as the movie progresses. I was awed by the actions scenes, I find the CGIs are not exaggerated and the actors are convincingly good. Lastly, having an unexpected twist in the end makes it more interesting. See for yourself. 4 Stars.

Made of Honor (Patrick Dempsey. Michelle Monaghan). What better way to cap a week of wedding anniversary celebration, than to end it by watching what else? A wedding movie of course! The movie is about a platonic (or more aptly, hypothetical) relationship which led to a crazy love story. What sets this movie apart from other romantic movies is the idea of having one man being tagged and eventually agreeing to be the bride’s maid of honor. Although come to think of it, IF I were in the shoes of the male character, I couldn’t imagine myself to last that long as just being a friend with a lady as lovely as Hannah. 4 Stars.

Don’t get me wrong, but whether I enjoyed the movies that we’ve watched or not, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy the company of my dearest (wink!) wife. We’ve been in the movies 11 years ago (wink again) and hopefully we’d still be together to see more of it even if we’re as wrinkled as English bulldogs.

dinoimax
Wifey getting crazy somewhere in Malaysia.

 

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A Wedding Anniversary With Intel Friends

This week is our week as husband and wife. Initially planned to be celebrated as a road trip going farther north of the country but due to unforeseen factors from work and the weather, I welcomed the cancellation. So goodbye SCTEX drive-by. Goodbye Cagayan. Goodbye Ilocos. Goodbye Pagudpud.

The series of events at work added to the fact that majority of us are trying to make every bit of last celebration worthwhile made me finally give in to my wife’s request to allow her to have her production area’s summer outing fall on the exact date of our wedding anniversary. And so instead of driving hundreds of kilometers north I found myself driving just around ten kilometers from our home to the resort of their choice.

Around eight in the morning of June 26, we were already at Qubo Qabana resort. We scouted this place just a couple of days prior and it was a bit of surprise finding it better than expected. The area has good facilities. There’s a pool for both kids and adult. There’s an activity area readily available for large group of people and event. More importantly, the rate is affordable. It’s no wonder that it immediately got everyone’s approval just by looking at the pictures I took. Besides, it is just halfway along the way to work and settled strategically near Magdaragat (seafoods restaurants) and Quinta Court motel. It’s so easy to spot that one don’t need Google Earth to find it.

Most of the group arrived late but by then those who came earlier were already very busy preparing the food which overwhelmed those assigned in the grilling area. Being a bad cook, I helped in keeping the charcoal aglow that got me occupied for hours. There were enormous squids, tahong (sea shells), fishes, chickens and hot dogs on queue.

qubofood
Stuffs that made us stuffed.

Thankfully by noon most of wifey’s team have arrived and all menus have been prepared. Other than the grilled meats, there were also a variety of potluck which made lunch time a feast. The table had chicken curry, shanghai rolls, salads and one of my favorites–bicol express. Too bad the alcoholic drinks came later in the afternoon.

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Wife’s team.

The pool’s design is good though at first glance the flooring appears to be a disappointment because it is made only of white concrete. Surprisingly, upon closer inspection it is not mossy, it is not slippery, and it is clean. An improvement on safety may be needed though by posting a depth guide as it has a deep part at the center that could catch novice swimmers unguarded.

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Resort’s pool area.

Obviously, we ended the day neither in a resort in Ilocos nor in a nice beach somewhere in Pagudgud yet we both enjoyed our ninth anniversary somewhere near together with friends and colleagues who seemed to have enjoyed our last outing together as employees of Intel.

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Cheesy couple–us.

***

Mood: 5/10 (Read this again on March 22, 2011.)

 

Too Much Hollywood

“Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction…” – Bad Religion

Who can accept that one way or another Hollywood has made an impact in their lives? I for one am raising both hands. Don’t get me wrong, but needless to say I have neither been near Hollywood nor ever have seen in person even one Oscar’s nominee or awardee. I’m not even an actor material (reminds me to check heritage.com). As much as I’d like to, I was never that close.

Just like everyone else I get my daily dose of it out of the boob tube if not from the giant silver screen. And as far as I can recall I’ve been watching a bit of it almost every day even since I was kid. Heck, that may even be the reason I started telling fabricated stories when I was yet in grade school. Just like any kid does. Remarkably better than an embedded chip, Hollywood movies or TV shows really know how to find their place in our mind, stay there for good and eventually affecting our daily lives – whether we like it or not.

Moreover, with the steady influx of technological advancement that is getting affordable or at least accessible to the masses (at a rate that’s quicker than most people can get their salary increases) blurs the line between real and reel life every time. From cable TV, the internet, mobile TV, virtual reality and my favorite high definition audio, one’s senses and imagination get treated better than it was before. Each sensory experience is getting more surreal and usually it feels so satisfying that oftentimes creating a make believe environment just like in the movies is as easy as closing one’s eyes.

Not trying to sound psychotic or one who has taken a good dose of hallucinogens and brandishing the peace sign, I love to entertain myself by superimposing some sort of Hollywood-ish flavor into my reality as often as I please.

Like a couple of weeks ago until today, the weather has been harsh in our part of the globe. Mornings would usually come with bright orange dawn and would continue to become a very sunny, warm and humid noontime. In a matter of minutes though, as if on cue, AND as if a scene coming right out of Tom Cruise’s War of the Worlds, the sky would be overcast and the dreaded lightning flashes streak across the black backdrop. What follows next is a thunder roaring like something out of an Armageddon setting. During these times, I can beat Dash’s speed ten times. Trust me.

To keep reality in check, I always appreciate the presence of shows such as my favorite Mythbusters and when I get the chance or when my remote fingers stray away, I like watching Nat Geo’s What Happens If? and Mad Labs. These are shows which remind me that Hollywood will never be equal to reality (at least for now). It reminds me that cars falling off the cliff won’t normally explode, a piercing bullet in a gas tank doesn’t mean an instant kaboom, sticking a knife on a ship’s sail won’t cushion or slow down your fall and many more fallacies being obviously exposed that every time I get to watch a movie makes me a bad viewer–just waiting for mistakes to happen.

But my love-hate relationship with the weather always fascinates me that I can easily relate either a blue sky day or a cumulus laden heaven from a scene out of the movie world. For example, waking up this afternoon I saw that my wife eagerly waited to show me an animation of the typhoon Fengshen (local name, Frank). Although this typhoon is nowhere near a super storm, the rotating mass at the center which covers a great part of Luzon switched my neurons into role-playing time. I immediately heard a clapper sounding inside my head and saw a camera crane panning from behind me to my left showing just the glowing monitor which became a perfect backlight to emphasize my profile. If I could have lifted the mouse anywhere near my mouth and pretend it’s a transmitter’s mouthpiece, I could have uttered the words, “Andrea Gail…there’s a storm coming your way.”

storm
What the Frank!

As much as I find reality annoying and most of the days it is just tempting to surrender myself to our coach, grab one tube of Pringles, a bottle of ice cold beer complemented by a good DVD movie and an ever sympathetic wife just by my side, having a grasp of the concrete life along with its demanding goals remains a test of our true character. A character that plays its part unconditionally even without the luxury that its reel counterpart enjoys but with the assurance that every well-played part in the real world will have its real rewards and hopefully will have its own happy finale. But then again, I’d appreciate it a lot if our lives can readily have an alternate ending. Ti abi.

Wunderground

Credits: Images from Wunderground.com

***

It appears like the cancellation of our Ilocos trip which was supposed to happen next week is a blessing in disguise. From wunderground.com, it shows that typhoon Frank seems to be planning to go along with our road trip. Hahaha. The price we have to pay for celebrating our wedding anniversary every June.

Ride Of My Life

Prelude:

I was trying to write a blog post this week with the pressure coming from my publisher/editor-in-chief/my wife. But with me having a flu (I haven’t had one for almost a year) my lazy bones took over. My mind stopped functioning, grammar worsened and my gray matter preferred holding the TV’s remote instead. I tried to fight back by reading a book, Digital Fortress, but every time I sniff I get distracted and it left me no choice but to put it down often. I had to cancel badminton and gym sessions as well and confined my activities within our sofa, bed, sofa, bed and the ever attractive TV.

Luckily, TV shows lately are quite new, at least for me, and I enjoyed most of it. Last night’s Amazing Video’s episode: Stunts Gone Bad had my sadistic side pumped up as I was laughing my heart out while skateboarders and BMX’ers crash and burn. And just before I went into deep sleep, I heard David Letterman mentioning that Kevin Robinson achieved a 27-foot ramp flight. I know he must have been clueless who first set the 25-foot mark. Only an avid BMX’er knew about that—and I was one of them.

That’s me doing a backyard at Bacolod’s lagoon when it was still legal to do it.

So today I tried to go back to a book review on Mat Hoffman’s book which I’m very sure I have posted. However, I almost freaked out when I can’t find it on my multiply.com site, Blogspot and even here on WordPress. I don’t know, but I got quite confused and began to suspect if the TRANSLTR really exists. Haha. I got it all mixed up now. TRANSLTR is a fictional (is it really?) powerful machine capable of intercepting emails (or blogs?) and other electronic signals that may have the sinister intention towards Uncle Joe’s government. Thankfully that’s fiction, thanks to Digital Fortress. Intercepted by the TRANSLTR or just stuck on my files, here’s the book review.

 ***

Once a rider, always a rider. In the old school days, everyone in our group knows at least one bit of Mat Hoffman. We were into BMX flatland back then and despite Mat being famous in the vert sessions, no one really cares. Anybody who is rad, we idolize.

My wife got this from a book sale section in SM Dasmarinas while I was having my caffeine fix in a Dunkin Donut shop. Little did I know that the espresso load will become a warm up for what I’d be reading for the next hours until a few days more. The book sent adrenaline rush all over my body, it was as if I’m just in front of Mat Hoffman’s life as it unfolds. If I could have gotten myself on a BMX at that very moment, I would have delivered a couple of my favorite old school routines just like I did way back in late high school. Perfect trick or not, it wouldn’t have mattered.

The energy that the book brings is infectious. Reading Mat Hoffman Ride of My Life (with Mark Lewman) from start to finish sent me cringing, smiling, sighing or just plainly amazed—very amazed.

Nostalgic BMX daydreams, of course, come in every now and then in between pages. An ex-BMXer like me just can’t stop it. Needless to say, my BMX experiences weren’t even near Mat’s. In his ramp scale, mine is just a mere tiny curve past flat bottom. Yes, it was just that. Even then, my riding years gave me great memories, not to mention bruises and countless embarrassment. “No pain, no gain” as we always used to say.

The 311-page, hardbound book comes with a great compilation of awesome photos—just in case one wonders what in the world a can-can is—which covered almost every aspect of Mat’s life. Here I learned that he was just five years old when he started riding—horses first. But his need for speed and flight developed in no time. Mat was destined to be the Condor.

Influenced by his older brother, he soon got introduced to motorbikes, ramps and their roof. Yes, you read it right, roof. Riders, or riders in the making, have different perspectives of common everyday things: a roof is to ‘air time’—when I was a kid I jumped a couple of times from our roof top into piles of leaves. (If only I had a bike at that time.); an innocent hand rail is to grinds; a plywood sheet is to ramps; a dry swimming pool is to jam sessions and the list goes on. Mat’s list is one that most of us just can’t predict or let alone imagine.

Mat’s skills eventually got him into a manufacturer-sponsored team and went into either doing demos or competitions, starting as an amateur. (I was surprised to learn that during this time Dennis McCoy, another BMX icon, was already doing pro.)

Of course, his honeymoon with the bicycle scene didn’t come without any hitch. This was when the BMX recession happened. But it was also when Mat proved his love and passion for the sport. Instead of just quitting like everyone did, he founded Hoffman Bikes so he could manufacture bikes at his own specification and in his own backyard—he was 17 years old then. Soon enough, this backyard industry grew to become one of the biggest in the BMX business.

As his riding skills and confidence progress he started inventing—no, this doesn’t involve lab work—sick and original tricks, one of which is the famous 900. Think of it as two and a half bike turns while on vertical flight—just one turn or a 360 already requires superb bike skills.

Another thing that no one can take away from Mat is his famous, over spec ramp and the amazing height that he achieved from it. That ramp was 21 feet high and he was able to get another 25 feet of vertical flight from the coping which made more believers and, as expected, some skeptics. Until now, no one has come close to that feat. Not one even dared.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves bikes especially BMX as one will surely enjoy reading about the evolution of tricks, bikes, apparel and riders’ skills. Fans of the Jackass will appreciate this as well. By the way, an advice to non-riders: avoid randomly picking and reading the pages as one might end up thinking that he’s reading a medical book or a maniac’s death wish. The long list of Mat’s injury, mostly from doing his bike stunts, is enough for someone naïve to place it alongside a surgeon’s or nurses’ reviewers section. And lastly, while reading this book having an air sickness bag right behind may be a good idea.

***

Postscript: Now I remember, I sent this review as an entry to Philstar’s My Favorite Book but it looks like they wanted it to remain just my favorite. Hahaha. I’m thinking though that not much people can relate to this book anyway. Besides, BMX riders prefer the streets and I bet that they’re unlikely to pick and read the Philippine Star—and this makes me a “has been.’ Ti abi.

A Familiar Logo

This afternoon I was once again in the waves of ennui, surfing the internet trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my Sunday while feeling guilty of having to skip mass again and while also waiting for my wife to come home.

Emails checked. Multiply.com updates checked. Friendster.com scanned–not much friends here. Favorites list scanned back and forth. Lurked forums done. Emails rechecked again for the nth time in just a couple of hours. Thankfully I’m free from mouse to keyboard ratio recording or I could be sending red signals to the ergonomics guru of our company.

Not really knowing how to bail out of my PC’s chair which is getting butt-hot while I move the mouse aimlessly, I suddenly realized I was looking at Formula1.com’s interview with the recent winner of the Canadian grand prix, Robert Kubica. Having watched this race’s replay I must admit that it was one of the most exciting I’ve seen so far this year. It’s one for the books of fame and for the books of unfortunate events which by the way F1 races will always be I guess. Even Michael Schumacher has his own share of fame and shame.

In this race Lewis Hamilton rear-ended Kimi while on their way out of the pit lane that brings the conspiracy theorists like me raise an eyebrow out of suspicion. Hmm. Robert Kubica of course wasn’t one hypocrite not to accept the fact that he felt more hope when these two leading drivers crashed. It was not only his day to win but it was his day to lead the drivers’ championship with 42 points. His consistency during the past races eventually paid off and June 08, 2008 became the day for him to be in the middle of the two drivers in the podium for the first time. It was the day BMW claimed the most coveted win of every races. It’s the day their sponsors have been waiting for. Wait, something looks familiar in the picture. Ah, our company’s logo.

I’ve got used to seeing Mclarens, Ferraris, and Renault exchanging top positions for years that it took me until now to realize that right beside BMW’s logo is Intel’s. It may have something to do with the fact that Intel’s Philippine site is closing this year that I forgot to cheer my heart out when the whole BMW team was cheering and savoring the huge champagne during the awarding ceremony.

BMW and Intel’s win may have been late to be fully relished especially for us working for the latter but as they always say, “A win is a win.” Now I don’t know if I’d be celebrating next time if BMW takes the 1-2 position once again. Hopefully yes.

Go BMW. Go Intel. Greetings coming from a Ferrari fan.

***

bmw poster

When we had our pictures taken in front of the team’s mall display back on April 2007 in Suria KLCC I never thought the BMW guys behind have any chances of winning a 1-2. Now, I stand corrected.

 

What The F***

 

Be calm. No need to censor. But I’m trying not to say this dreaded F word, FATS. That’s because right now I’m facing a tough problem. Tougher than the impending unemployment and tougher than facing an unending oil price hike. It has something to do with my weight. And the horrifying number is seventy pounds. That’s how heavy I am right now. And that’s seven pounds more than my required weight.

In gym lingo, I’ve reached the hated plateau. No matter how much I do treadmills, weight training, and hopeless crunch and abs workout, my body just got bored with these routines. And like an employer running out of manpower, my body has posted a vacancy sign outside its doorstep. It’s accepting fats and calories like Vietnam is accepting all the multinational companies.

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Gym buds.

I know I can’t do anything about Vietnam but I’m sure I can do something about this weight. A battle must take place though to achieve once again my ideal weight as I don’t find it amusing anymore seeing our bathroom scale displaying a value higher than the last time I stepped on it. So instead of crying over spilled beer…I mean milk, I’d like to write about this new weight goal so I can get back to it soon and feel good about losing – weight, that is.

For me to be back on track, a re-assessment has to be done like anything that has gone awry or in this case what I’d call SNAFU – Situation Normal All Fat’s Up. Got to go back monitoring what I eat and when I eat. I have to say goodbye to Jollibee breakfast, goodbye to Burger King Whopper, goodbye to heavy dinner, goodbye to beer. The last could be the challenge.

As part of my reflection, I’m wondering what I have done recently that made me accumulate such weight. So let me focus at least on this past week’s activity.

Monday. As scheduled, I played badminton with a couple of colleagues. Although known as the fastest game and tagged by some as a good cardiovascular workout, I find this game as a false sense of exercise to complement a diet. Why? Normally, the heart-pounding and blood-pumping game for the whole day will bring us to a fast food restaurant to recover what we skipped during lunch. This last game, we found ourselves eating spaghetti and having a couple of beer in The Old Spaghetti House.

Fats – 1. Diet – 0.

Sunday. I was in Batangas with wifey to attend a birthday and a farewell party. The Red Ribbon chocolate cake and the predictable spaghetti were there and were looking mouth-watering as ever. I must have blacked out in front of the table but I found my stomach bulging and my lips colored brown and red.

Fats – 2. Diet – 0.

Saturday. Finally, I attended my first TUP-V summer outing after several postponed dates with my batchmates. So right after a hard day’s work (at least I believe so), I found myself worthy of  good food and good company. Without wasting time, I drove my way from Cavite to Sta. Rosa Laguna; and a hundred wrong turns and a couple of hours later (thanks to the perfect map), I eventually located Dictado Resort where most of the attendees also got lost which is probably why the program started late. Despite the exhausting drive, it was fulfilling to meet long lost friends, schoolmates and other new alumni. It was also nice seeing some of the faces behind the aliases in the Tup-Vian’s yahoogroups. It was a ”tagalog-free” night and it felt like being home in Bacolod with everyone around speaking Ilonggo. The feeling of nostalgia is of course never complete without Beer. Lots of it. Ti abi.

tupv
Beer buds.

Fats – 3. Diet 0.

Friday. Coming from work, I picked my wife at home and went back to SM to watch the most anticipated movie of this year – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I don’t know if the peanuts we brought inside was responsible for my calorie pile up that night OR the film being the MOST boring (sorry, I can’t help but emphasize) Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg film I’ve ever seen. So boring, my metabolism almost stopped working.  If I haven’t seen any of their previous works, I could have included them in my never-to-watch-films list. Watching Indiana Jones is like watching a chopsuey of films such as X-files, Tomb Raider, Alien vs. Predator, Armageddon all rolled into one. And that’s not a compliment either.

Fats – 4. Diet – 0.

Thursday. Failing to bring home something to eat after my shift ended, I asked my wife for a dinner at the nearby David’s Tea House. Meal was picked to have the least calorie content that we can think of. I ended consuming the dumplings that my wife did not eat. By the way, did I mention I had beer that night? Well, I did.

Fats – 5. Diet – 0.

As much as I’d like to add more days in this list, it’s becoming more obvious that Diet is losing the battle. I can imagine a fictional referee raising the Fats’ hands after winning the unanimous decision for the 5-rounder battle. But the fight is not yet over, Diet is calling for a rematch and I’m making sure we will win next time.

 

Hear Me Talk About Money

Since people started using barter or money, spending for things both needed and wanted have continued like clockwork: day in, day out, goods are exchanged for a cost. Of course, with the infamous wealth distribution pyramid, the outflow differs from one social class order to another. Fairly, everyone has their own sets of financial worries—The Ayalas may worry what Cadillac color to get, the average Juan Dela Cruzes worry which one is a good bang for the buck—Vios or City, while the less privilege ones worry when the next jeepney fair price hike will happen. All are financial worries nevertheless.

I’m not transforming my blog into something like Francis Kong’s business article but I’d like to share some of my tips–or more like my note to self–with regards to spending wisely.

Obsolete items have to go. The unstoppable electricity bill made me decide to sell (another of my online selling adventure) our old air conditioner and replace it with a new one that has a timer so it can switch the electric fan at a specified time without me having to perform a half-sleepwalk just to reach and turn the air con off.

Be on the lookout for best 2nd hand (used) deals. My wife showed her haggling talent and got a 5-month old Canon IXUS 70 at 25 percent less than the original price. Not bad.

Drive as if you’re participating in Petron’s Extra Mile challenge. Been doing it lately and I’m seeing an improvement both to my sanity and fuel economy. It’s also one way to discourage your friends from riding with you – who wants to be in a new car without an air conditioning on? Hahaha. Just kidding.

Pay only for good movies, catch the bad ones on HBO. Last week we watched “What Happens in Vegas” and we quite had a good laugh at it. Cinema: P240, watching Aston Kutcher and Cameron Diaz: Priceless.

Read restaurant reviews before dining in. This is what we learned with Fish & Co. where I read in some forums that even those known rich people find it overpriced. Too bad I read about it late enough. Last week was a different story; we had our sweet revenge in Bollywood. I enjoyed our dinner—wifey didn’t—in this Indian cuisine restaurant and that made me dream of going to India to savor more of their foods. I’m wondering if there’s any other way we can commute there other than their trains – I have some “issues” with it. If there is, Bombay, count me in.

Pay and download only the music you like. When I heard about it from my wife, I immediately agree with the idea; rather than buying a full CD (single artist) and feeling shortchanged later on after learning that your favorite artist himself has actually only one favorite song in his own album. Ti abi. But then again, I’d like to emphasize that this is not a reason to patronize pirated music. Buying pirated materials is not spending wisely. It is stealing. Period.

Grab every chance to join a raffle or contest. My wife got her pair of limited edition Havaianas 7 Waves for free after being included in the first 70 entries for their contest. That will keep her from buying another Spartan enemy for now. I’m thinking if I can sell this pair in ebay. Shhh.

There’s a rule to having a successful diet: do not deny yourself of your cravings as doing so will just make you binge in the end. Instead, eat everything (edible) in moderation. Spending is no different. Cutting every expense out at once will have its repercussions. It is better to moderate it at first and depending on the availability of resources–in this case, money–try eliminating the unnecessary ones one at a time. Good luck.