Thursday, December 2, 2010

Blogfest Soccsksargen 2010

BlogFest SOCCSKSARGEN Countdown

The Soccsksargen Bloggers will hold the Blogfest Soccsaksargen 2010 on December 11 at the Royal Grand Ballroom of the East Asia Royale Hotel, General Santos City.

More popularly known as the Sox Bloggers, the group is composed of 200 writers who have bonded together for the common advocacy of projecting South Central Mindanao in a more positive light through their blogs. For the past three years, their blogs have increasingly influenced other people’s perceptions about the region and have won in the Philippine Blog Awards and Digital Filipino’s Emerging Influential Blogs Search.

Blogfest Soccsaksargen 2010, aimed at enhancing the blogging capabilities of its members and increasing their passion for its advocacy, will feature several web luminaries who will give talks on different topics.

Invited speakers are: UP Prof. Danilo Arao (Journalism Ethics for Bloggers), Google Inc. Philippine consultant Aileen Apolo (Making the most of the internet and Google), Zamboanga blogger and IT consultant Ryan Elumba (Spicing up blogs with animation and video), Head for New Media for the Office of the President Jay Jaboneta (New Media in nation-building), Avatar Media and Davao blogger Maria Jose (State of the Philippine blogosphere), Web Developer and E Noa Corp. Online Marketing strategist Dale Palileo (SEO and traffic generation and Monetizing your blog), Tactical Technology Collective member Bobby Soriano (Internet security for bloggers), REACH Networks Country Account Manager and Travel agency operator Michelle Solon (Exposing local gems on new media), and E-commerce consultant/trainor and author Janette Toral (New Media and its role in businesses).


Event sponsors are:


Sox bloggers’ lead convenor, Avel Manansala, is expecting bloggers from Mindanao to attend the Blogfest, although some bloggers from the Visayas and Luzon have also registered for said event.

Limited slots left! Register now! Click here to register!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

In-my-face reality check for this year

Thus far, these are the events in my life this year that I will cherish and learn from -

1. made several new blogger-friends and numerous bonding activities with Soccsksargen bloggers,
2. 2 friends unfriended,
3. reconnected with former colleagues and students and a cherished college friend,
4. estrangement with my sisters on its 3rd year,
5. enjoying fun moments with my apos (4 and counting),
6. completed my Neil Gaiman's Absolute Sandman collection (thanks to National Book Store's price-cut sale),
7. traveled by air to Zamboanga City (thanks to my brother Napoleon Jr.),
8. running out of space for books trawled from Booksale, National Book Store and Bibliarch, 
9. loving my LG Cookie cellphone with wifi,
10. trying to get my groove back with my MBA thesis proposal,
11. continuing harassment from UBoFroH (Ugly Boss From Hell),
12. hair fall leading to further receding hairline (sorry Pacman, your hidden soldiers shampoo didn't work for me),
13. looking forward to NDD Batch '73's 37th reunion in December,
14. finding out that my dentures make my diet more effective,
15. had my TV repaired and replaced the irreparable electric fan (unscheduled blackouts, grrrrr!),
16. replaced my Compaq laptop with Acer Aspire,
17. discovered Robinsons Place-Gensan as my tambayan during the summer 12-hour blackouts,
18. winning blog contests (thanks to Orman Manansala and Aunt Ludi Bakeshop!),
19. pressing palms with then-candidates Noynoy Aquino, Adel Tamano, Darlene Antonio-Custodio,
20. getting Aiza Seguerra's autograph on her CD,
21. helping out in developing Little Dubai's ambiance,
22. enjoying Razon's Halo-halo despite my lactose intolerance (it's a miracle!),
23. scrimping on my budget to give friends books as gifts,
24. trekking to the coffee plantation in Purok 8 Kinilis, but not quite reaching it (but resolving to do it again in December),
25. getting books on my wishlist from high school batchmates,
26. enjoying numerous unforgettable meals/snacks with friends (satti, kebabs, sashimi, etc.),
27. infuriating experience with an internet troll;
28. told off two acquaintances who use the fact that we know each other to scam some money from me and others,
29. learning that my brother is very sick in prison and getting help from friends to facilitate his treatment,
30. getting kisses from my apos,
31. enjoying the Tunafest up close,
32. getting news about newborn babies of friends,
33. praying for friends and their families,
34. watching the live performances of Richard Poon, Sitti, Juris, Aiza, Duncan, Nina, Wendel Ramos, Rocksteddy, and Christian Bautista,
35. meeting Archt. Jaime Daez of Fully Booked/Bibliarch,
36. watching Shrek Forever After in 3D,
37. experiencing the Sagittarius Mining Inc.'s discovery tour,
38. cooking tofu/tokwa for my midnight snacks,
39. watched the entire season of Haven, TV series based on Stephen King's Colorado Kid,
40. read Rafe Bartholomew's Pacific Rims,
41. went to Davao City to buy Stephen King's Under the Dome,
42. relishing strawberry and kiwi iced tea at Coffee Club 101,
43. enjoyed the TV movie version of Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth,
44. getting my first taste of Krispy Kreme (thanks Priscy!),
45. rediscovering NY Fries and Dips at Robinsons Place-Gensan,
46. nourished by fruit slush drinks,
47. finding long-sought books by sheer serendipity,
48. earning $2 from Adsense for my two blogs,
49. glad to have put on hold my plan to buy a motorcycle because a lot of scooters are being introduced now,
50. getting a pair of progressive bifocals that allows me to read and watch TV at the same time and that becomes sunglasses in sunlight,
51. still saving for first trip outside the Philippines,
52. reading the new translation of Jose Rizal's novel, Noli Me Tangere Penguin Book edition,
53. having friends who are blessings to my life, and
54. zero lovelife

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Being on the Same Page with Bibliarch/Fully Booked's Jaime Daez (Exclusive)

Fully Booked Training Manager Lisa Lopez with Bibliarch staff
During Bibliarch's soft opening at the KCC Gensan Mall on October 16, I was informed by Lisa Lopez, Fully Booked Training Manager, that their Managing Director, Jaime Daez would be doing the honors of cutting the ribbon signaling the formal opening of the store on October 19.

When I arrived at Bibliarch-KCC Mall Gensan Branch, I saw Lisa in a huddle with Gensan Kagawad Beth Bagonoc and Jaime Daez. Lisa introduced me to Jaime as the first one to blog about Bibliarch's soft opening. I told him I belong to the SoCCSKSarGen Bloggers who drummed up interest in the opening in Gensan of the first Bibliarch branch outside of Metro Manila. He thanked the bloggers for the help.
Jaime Daez, Kagawad Beth Bagonoc and KCC Mall Gensan owner enter Bibliarch-KCC Mall Gensan  after the ribbon-cutting ceremony

I told Jaime about my spending time at Bibliarch-Rockwell Center. He seemed pleasantly surprised to meet someone from Mindanao who actually visited his very first Bibliarch bookshop. I asked him if he designed the store layout of Bibliarch and Fully Booked. And beaming with pride, he said indeed he did. Jaime is an architect by profession, hence, Bibliarch is pronounced Bibli-ark, and not Bibli-arch.

He asked me what books I have bought so far. I told him I bought 3 graphic novels. "Ooh," he said, "I personally choose the titles because I am a graphic novel reader myself." Jaime is friends with the great Neil Gaiman.

I congratulated him for the special elevated kiddie reading section in Bibliarch as this will surely encourage many children in Gensan to be readers. This section caught the eyes of school principals and teachers during the soft opening.

I also ribbed him (much to his delight that his face broke into a big smile!) about Margaux Salcedo's calling him "Food for Thought and Eye Candy" in her blog and food column in Sunday Inquirer Magazine. For sure, some ladies go for tall, mestizo, intelligent, bespectacled men like Jaime who love to read.

He asked me if I have been to Fully Booked in Bonifacio High Street in Bonifacio Global City. I told him I'm still saving up for the trip. With four storeys and a basement filled to the brim with books, it will be a dream trip for any bookworm like myself!
Fully Booked in Bonifacio High Street. Photo courtesy of Southbound.ph

With an architect's eye for design, Jaime Daez's concept of a book shop. Photo courtesy of Southbound.ph

4 storeys and a basement filled with books. Photo courtesy of Southbound.ph

I thanked Jaime for the time and for opening Bibliarch in Gensan. And off he went to the ribbon-cutting ceremony. After that, he was busy meeting with well-wishers and taking pictures. The next time we meet, I hope it will at Fully Booked in Bonifacio Global City. :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bibliarch - Gensan Branch's Soft Opening

Almost eleven years apart, I visited two branches of Bibliarch. One is at the Rockwell Center in November 1999 and the other today at the KCC Mall in General Santos City (Gensan).

The first one at Rockwell Center was located just beside Starbucks. It was a then small specialty bookshop with lots of art, photography and architecture books. Since I was not a coffee drinker, I would spend time browsing through the books at Bibliarch before proceeding to my 3-week training sessions at the Ateneo Graduate of Business.

Bibliarch - Gensan branch located at KCC Mall, just across McDonald's

Today, I eagerly went to the soft opening of the Gensan branch of Bibliarch. It is the third branch, but the first branch outside of Metro Manila (the first two being in Glorietta 3 and Walter Mart). I was told by a reliable source that KCC Mall made Bibliarch an offer it could not refuse. This Bibliarch is a far cry from the first one I visited almost eleven years ago. For one, it now has a w-i-d-e selection of books.

Excited bookworms on October 16

Aside from the usual art and photography books, it now offers cookbooks, fashion books, biographies, inspirational books, Filipiniana, bestselling novels and non-fiction books.

The shelf filled with biographies.
Bibliarch and Fully Booked are known for its graphic novel selections.

Bibliarch also has shelves of magazines, journals, cards, bookmarks, gift bags and vanity pens.

Magazines galore!
Abubots, journals, gift bags

A section for kids who love to read is also an exciting addition. In this section, kids can browse through lots and lots of kiddie books or identify their favorite fairy tale characters on the wall papers.

The kiddies' section filled with wonderful books and wallpaper of their favorite fairy tale characters.

All over Bibliarch are wall papers with reading themes.

Reading-themed wallpapers are featured all around the Bibliarch.
Book shelves and wallpaper as seen from the Catolico Avenue.

And my book choices: A Warrior's Life - Biography of Paulo Coelho, American Vampire, a graphic novel by Stephen King, Batman Reborn, another graphic novel, Shadow of Doubt by Marites Vitug, How to Live - A search for wisdom from old people by Henry Alford.

I will definitely be back for more graphic novels and other books of interest to me and make full use of my Fully Booked discount card.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dissertation upon a Messy Burger and Barbecue Ranch Pork Belly (Inspired by Charles Lamb's Dissertation upon a Roast Pig)

Who can resist the delectable aroma of freshly-baked breads and pastries?

It was a laid-back Wednesday lunchtime that brought me to Aunt Ludi Bakeshoppe right next to Robinsons Grocery. The aroma of freshly-baked breads and pastries reached my nostrils before they were clogged by sinusitis usually brought on by the powerful air-conditioning of the mall. A quick glance at the tarpaulin menu board at the entrance made me decide to try the Messy Burger and Barbecue Ranch Pork Belly.

#2 on a binder clip stand

After placing my order with the cashier, I was given a laminated number using a binder clip as a stand. Simple practicality. Aside from myself, there were two other female diners. The dining area's pleasantly lit - not too bright, not too dim. The sofa seats were comfortable and the smiling cashier and cook eager to please. The food being cooked in the kitchen smelled good, made me feel hungrier and reminded of an aunt's home-cooking.

A friendly fly to keep me company while waiting for my order

Aunt Ludi lends itself well to people who want cozy and intimate space conducive to friendly banter and sweet-nothings, or alone-time for reading and contemplation.  Because of Aunt Ludi's open layout, a friendly fly dropped by to keep me company while waiting for my order. I immediately bombarded the amiable fly with questions like: Why are you here? What is the purpose of your life? What are you living for? But before the fly can answer me, my order was brought to my table. It flew outside while shaking its head as if trying in vain to find the answers to my questions.

Messy burger with homemade coleslaw and potato chips
The first course was Messy Burger which was a sloppy joe with homemade coleslaw and potato chips. The homemade crispy potato chips and coleslaw were the perfect foil for the sloppy joe made of ground beef cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. The soft buns were generously sprinkled with sesame seeds and were as tender to the bite as the spicy-sour ground beef. By the time I finished, the diamond-shaped plate was indeed messy with the orangey drippings from the burger!

Barbecue Ranch Pork Belly with cucumber salad
With the spicy aftertaste on my palate, I dived into the second course of Barbecue Ranch Pork Belly (pork liempo slices in barbecue sauce) and side dish of cucumber salad. The belly strips tasted wonderful with the smokey barbecue sauce. The diced cucumbers gave it a zing so pleasing to the taste buds. 

I was so engrossed with my lunch that I hardly noticed the customers streaming in between the shelves of fresh baked goodies and the cooler for scrumptious cakes.

Aunt Ludi's cake creations (photo courtesy of Orman Manansala)

When I asked for a glass of water with lots of ice from the cashier, I gave in to my curiosity and asked her: Who is Aunt Ludi?
Her answer was for me to know and for you to find out for yourself. 

I will definitely be going back to Aunt Ludi and her mouth-watering meals that remind me of home-cooked ones I used to enjoy. The breads also deserve a second look from me. Right now, I have visions of sandwiches I can assemble for late night or early morning snacks. 

For Aunt Ludi Bakeshoppe, I give a well-deserved two burps. Burp! Burp! 

(Photo courtesy of Orman Manansala)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Shawn, Lolo Nap, Lola Josie & Lolo Bibot at Tobinton

Our one-and-a-half year old grandson Shawn was in for a treat today from his grandparents Lolo Nap, Lola Josie and Lolo Bibot.

Before leaving the house, we asked him: Do you like to go to KCC? His answer: vigorous shaking of his little head.

How about Gaisano? Slow nodding of his little head.

Where do want to go? TOBINTON! he shouted as a big smile spread all over his mouth.

So off to Tobinton, errr, I mean, Robinsons Place-Gensan we went.

(From Tito Bibot, I am now Lolo Bibot. "Bibot" is the nickname used by my nieces for me because as babies/kids, they could hardly pronounce "Gilbert" and the nearest pronunciation of it they could muster was "Bibot" and so, Tito/Lolo Bibot I became and remain so.)

As soon as he set foot at Robinsons Department Store, Shawn scooted to and fro, running as fast as his little feet could carry him. Of course, with the Lolos and Lola in hot pursuit. Lolo Nap brought him to the activity center where five walking animals were for rent for little kids to ride on. Shawn selected as giraffe-leopard hybrid to ride. I gave him five 5-peso coins to drop in the slot and cued him to count each coin and surely he did! One! Two! Three! Four! Five! And with a quick jerk the gira-pard started walking as navigated by Lolo Nap.

Shawn with his Lolo Nap as navigator of the walking animal they rode.

Lola Josie and I would pretend to get run over by gira-pard which would elicit a gale of laughter from Shawn.

Punta tayo doon, Lolo Nap!

Then we proceeded to the Food Court where at the left side there are lots of kiddie rides. Lola Josie gave lots of token for the rides he took.

Shawn rides a car
pink elephant ride
another car ride

Since some of the rides he wanted were occupied by other kids, Shawn ran to the Ferris wheel and I accompanied him for the ride.

Si Lolo Nap at Lola Josie ba yun? Ang liiiiiit nila!

He would oooh and aaaah as the cab rose towards the mall ceiling and down again. He would turn around as the cab went down to wave at Lolo Nap and Lola Josie.

Ooooh! Aaaaah!
Shawn and Lolo Bibot enjoying the sights from the Ferris wheel cab

After the Ferris wheel ride, we had a quick dinner at the Food Court where Shawn quickly found a girl-friend to play with. Soon they were jumping up and down all over the Food Court.

Shawn and his girl-friend on a jumping spree

After dinner, Lolo Nap bought batteries for the space gun ( a steal at P100 only!) he bought at Toys R Us for Shawn. He had the batteries by the store clerk. When Shawn got his little hands on the space gun, he was awed by the spinning lights and chirping sounds.

Whoa! many lights!

He would draw the space gun close to his ears to listen to the sounds it emitted.

Grabe the sounds naman nito!

Soon enough he aimed the space gun at him and I pretended to writhe in pain from the sound, much to his delight. We played baril-barilan at the activity center. He loved playing tag with me running after him. We ended falling on the tiled floor as I caught him.

Zaaap! May tama ka Lolo Bibot.

After 3 hours of delightful fun among us Lolos, Lola and apo, it was time to go home.

Shawn: Babay Tobinton! :)