Like Water for Chocolate

Posted by Ishmael Fischer Ahab | Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Like Water for Chocolate, Lara Esquivel, Anchor Books

Love against all odds is a nice story to read. The story of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is one and Esquivel’s Tita and Pedro is the other.

Tita is the youngest of the three daughters of Elena. Family tradition dictates that Tita, as the youngest daughter, is not allowed to marry and should care for her mother until the latter’s death. Because of this, Pedro was forced to marry Rosaura so as to be close with her as much as possible. The result is a tense atmosphere inside their home that is expressed by the author in magical narrative and exaggerations.

The book is presented like a cookbook that contains recipes, romances, and home remedies. The story is unfolded along with the preparation of the food in the recipe was cooked. The book has 12 chapters that correspond to the months of the year. Some of the recipes in this book are Christmas rolls, Northern style chorizo, Champandongo, and Chiles in walnut sauce. Food lovers and enthusiasts will definitely love this book.

Like Water for Chocolate is the story about love and its complexities. Loneliness and longing due to love abounds this novel as well as the triumph of true love as the lovers fought all the odds that blocked their way.

The Motorola W156 is the least of all my favorites when it comes to cellular phones that I ever set my hands upon. Overall, Motorola W156 is not that bad. However, I have some issues regarding this phone.

Specifications

Motorola WI56 is a bar type 2G phone with a black and white screen. It is designed to be durable, yet not bulky enough to create discomfort and unease inside your pocket. W156 is simple to use and do not have other add on features like am/fm radio or mp3 player. It also features Motorola’s CrystalTalk technology that helps deliver crystal clear voice quality in noisy environments.

Motorola W156 also brags a long battery life. That brag is not without basis since the phone can last for days if left idle. It also last long under continued use during texting and calling.
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Problems

My main problem with WI56 is its keypad, which is not embossed. The keypad set-up makes it hard for me to type my text messages. Oftentimes I hit the wrong key when typing my messages.

Another problem that I have is when I am typing my text messages, I have a hard time shifting from small letters to capital letters and vice versa. Unlike the phones from Nokia, you can only change a letter from small letter to capital letter (or vice versa) if it is highlighted by the cursor.

The Verdict

Motorola W156 is one of the most affordable Motorola phone in the market. However, I do not recommend this phone. It is better that you buy other phones from Motorola.
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Cherry Mobile D30

Posted by Ishmael Fischer Ahab | Sunday, December 06, 2009

Cherry Mobile Phone is a new company that offers alternative models of mobile phones that are more affordable as compared to the ones that are being offered by Nokia, Siemens, Samsung, and other big mobile phone companies.

Cherry Mobile D30

As a gift for my father’s 50th birthday, we decided to look for an affordable 3G phone that has a camera and an mp3 player. We stressed on a phone that can play music because we know that our father likes to listen music (especially the ones that were so popular during his prime). What we found is Cherry Mobile D30.

Specifications and Accessories

Cherry Mobile D30 is a dual-SIM phone. This means that you can insert two SIM cards simultaneously in this phone. Dual-SIM mobile phones are ideal for entrepreneurs who have clients that are subscribers of different cellular networks. This is also good for text addicts who have textmates on either Smart or Globe cellular networks. The dual-SIM capability of D30 will let you keep one cellular phone for two networks, thus reducing the number of cellphone that you have to carry.

Cherry Mobile D30 also has one camera located on the back of the phone.

For music lovers, D30 can also be used as mp3 player. It has a slot for a microSD card, making the number of music files playable in your phone as virtually limitless. The loudspeaker is loud enough that it could be heard even if the environment is noisy. Aside from the mp3 player, Cherry Mobile D30 can also be used as a radio since it has the capability of receiving FM signals. Because of this, you can now listen to your favorite FM radio stations.

Softwares

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Available softwares in the phone are the regular functionalities that could be found on other phones like alarms, a software for converting length and weight units, currency converter, and an E-book Reader. D30 also have a software for calculating your Body Mass Index and monitor your menstrual cycle.

Connectivity

Cherry Mobile D30 has a port that could be used both for charging the phone and for connecting it to your laptop or desktop. Once the phone is connected to the computer, via USB, it will act as a regular mass storage device and will allow you to access the files stored in the microSD card. Connecting the phone via USB is an easy way of transferring picture and music files from the phone to the computer and vice versa.

However, this phone is only limited to the USB connection because it is not capable of connecting to the computer and other phone via Bluetooth or Infrared signal. This is a big turndown for this phone because you are prevented from receiving and sending large numbers of music, picture, and video files with other phones. Bluetooth is a necessity for 3G phones nowadays and the phone that does not have Bluetooth is not trendy.

The Price

We bought Cherry Mobile D30 at a shop in SM Megamall at a price of 3,500 pesos. The price is lower, as compared with other phones having the same functionalities from other mobile phone manufacturers.

The Verdict

The great advantage of Cherry Mobile D30 is its being a dual-SIM phone at an affordable price. We could use one of the SIM slots for a retailer SIM and we will start a cellphone reloading business. Dual-SIM phones, like Cherry Mobile D30, are recommended for anyone who want to start a reloading business.

The mp3 player, FM radio, and camera are good add-on for the phone. The camera, however, is not as powerful as those that could be found on more expensive phones. The obvious disadvantage of this phone is that it does not have a Bluetooth. However, other than the lack of Bluetooth, Cherry Mobile D30 is a nice phone and is recommended for those who are looking for an affordable dual-SIM phone.

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Read my review of Cherry Mobile 1202i.

Visit my personal blog, Before the Eastern Sunset, and read about my new article: Bad Broadband Installers

The Eyes of the Dragon

Posted by Ishmael Fischer Ahab | Wednesday, December 02, 2009



The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
Eyes of the Dragon, Stephen King

How would you defeat an ancient evil that keep on coming back to bring doom to a kingdom? This is the question that struck me when reading Stephen King’s “Eyes of the Dragon.”

So far, this is my most favorite of all the works of the novelist who is known to be the master of terror. What I like about this novel is its element of fantasy which is like the books of the Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. In this novel, Stephen King acts like an ancient bard imparting an ancient history of a kingdom that was terrorized by an ancient devil. The incorporation of the devil in this novel is common in the works of Stephen King and it relates the book with other novels of Stephen King.

The novel is about the struggles of the two princes against the court magician who want to destroy the kingdom of Delain. When their father was murdered, the court magician Flaggs imprisoned the elder prince (Peter) and installed the younger prince (Thomas) as his puppet king. In his incarceration, Peter discovered that Flaggs was an ancient person who keeps on returning in the kingdom under different guises to create chaos.

Will Flaggs be victorious in installing a reign of terror in Delain? Or will Peter reveal the truth and return peace in his kingdom.

Stephen King’s excellent writing is evident in this novel, though quite divergent from his usual works of horror. The horror in this novel is minimum but the suspense is great. This book is recommended for those who want to read a nice novel of kingdoms, princes, and magicians.

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Visit my personal blog, Before the Eastern Sunset, and read about my complaints on Cdr-King’s “No Return Policy

For my father’s 50th birthday, I decided not to buy the usual cake from Red Ribbon or Goldilocks and I chose another food that is unique and never had been eaten by my family. Thus I chose to buy Dolor’s sapin  sapin.

I first tasted Dolor’s sapin sapin in an office event. Actually, someone always buy a Dolor’s sapin sapin whenever there are celebrations in our office. Dolor’s sapin sapin is delicious and I always come back to the table for more. The sad thing is that my officemates also like the sapin sapin, making second helpings impossible.

What is Sapin – Sapin?
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Dolor's Sapin Sapin

Sapin sapin is a Philippine dessert that is usually placed on a “bilao” (circular bamboo tray) and consists of different kinds of kakanin (rice cakes) and other Philippine native desserts. Dolor’s sapin sapin is arranged like a large dartboard and composed of ube halaya, malagkit, a chewy part (the red portion of the sapin sapin) that is like kutsinta, and many more. The parts of Dolor’s sapin sapin that I liked the most is the part on the edge of the sapin sapin (the white portion) and the ube halaya (the violet colored part).
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Dolor's Sapin Sapin

Many bloggers are all thumbs up for this delicacy and they are not wrong. Dolor’s sapin sapin is the best sapin sapin that I ever tasted. Some even said that the demand for Dolor’s sapin sapin is very high during the Christmas Season that many people did not get the chance to have on “bilao” of sapin sapin for the Noche Buena and Media Noche. During the non-holiday season, people buy Dolor’s sapin sapin as pasalubong for their loved ones.

The delicious sapin sapin is made by Dolor’s Kakanin in Malabon City. The food shop also sells other kakanin like puto and kutsinta. Dolor’s sapin sapin were already famous for years, especially in Malabon, that’s why it is not surprising that many shops offer this yummy treat.


Dolor's Sapin Sapin

Where and to Buy Dolor’s Sapin Sapin?

There are many shops that sell Dolor’s sapin sapin. The main branch and the original shop of Dolor’s are located in Malabon.

The main distributor of Dolor’s delicacies is “Mommy’s Malabon Pride,” which have various branches in Metro Manila. Mommy’s is owned by the daughter of the owner of Dolor’s. Their branches are located near Monument, along Congressional Avenue in Quezon City, and Sucat near Bicutan Exit.

Dolor’s Main Branch’s address is: 19 Governor Pascual Avenue, Concepcion , Malabon City with telephone number: 282-0071.

Another branch is at 79 Mc-Arthur Hi-way, Barangay 078, Caloocan City with telephone number 332-0227 or 332-0228.

Another shop that sells Dolor’s products is the Sapin Sapin sa Banawe that is owned by a relative of the owner of Dolor’s. If you decided to look for this shop to buy Dolor’s product, I suggest that you go before 5:00 PM because this shop closes early. Never go to this shop during the night. The address of Sapin Sapin sa Banawe is: 575 Banawe Ave., Corner N.S. Amoranto St., Quezon City, with telephone number: 743-7947.

SM Hypermart is another distributor of Dolor’s. Dolor’s sapin sapin and other kakanin could be brought from SM Hypermarkets, specifically at SM Santa Mesa in Manila.

How to Buy Dolor’s Sapin Sapin?

I suggest that you call first the shop where you will but the sapin sapin before actually going to the shop. You could inquire if the sapin sapin is available and you could also place a reservation for the sapin sapin that you will buy. Only Mommy’s Malabon Pride has reservation and I do not know about other distributors. There is no reservation fee so that placing a reservation will not hurt your pocket. Be reminded that you should be at shop by 6:00 PM or your reservation will be waived. Reservation is recommended, especially during Christmas Season.

The Verdict

Dolor’s sapin sapin is truly delicious and the reviews of other bloggers are right. The tag price of this delicacy is not bad, compared with the cakes of Red Ribbon and Goldilocks, because the sapin sapin is not only delicious but also heavy in the stomach. In our home, it took about two days before we eaten all of the 17-inch sapin – sapin.

For the taste and affordability, I give Dolor’s sapin sapin two thumbs up.
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The jeepney, also known to others as the Philippine Bus, is the most common means of public transport in the Philippines. It a modified version of the US Army jeep, which was lengthened so as to accommodate more passengers. The usual jeepney can carry 14 passengers, excluding the driver. Two passengers are seated beside the driver, while the remaining passengers are divided into two and seated to the left and right seats inside the jeepney.

It is a common scenario where the jeepney is filled to maximum capacity and the passengers were compressed too much. Imagine the inconvenience for the last passenger to board the jeepney who is forced to sit on a space that is just half of his buttocks. It is uncomfortable also to other passengers who had to contend with being compressed just to go home.

As a regular commuter and jeepney passenger I already made my ideal selections of seats when I am riding a jeepney. Before boarding a jeepney, make sure that there still ample space for you and you will be comfortable when seated. Also, look inside the jeepney and scan your possible seatmates.

So here are my ideal seats inside the passenger jeepney:

Behind the Driver’s Seat or Beside the Back Entrance

These are my favorite spots since these locations eliminate one seatmate. What I mean is that only one part of your body is being compressed by other passengers. The other half of your body will feel more comfortable. Just be more alert if you chose the seat beside the back entrance since this portion is the area where most theft (more popularly known as snatching in the Philippines) occurs.

Front Seat (Beside the Driver)

This another ideal spot since this seat only allows up to two passengers. You will not be subjected to too much compression in this area. However, make sure that the front seat indeed made for two passengers. There are jeepneys that have front seats that are modeled for one passenger only. Jeepney drivers usually allow two people to share in that kind of seat. Sitting on that kind of seat is uncomfortable.

Away From the Kids

I had many experiences of being vomited to while riding a jeepney. The usual culprits are kids and infants, which easily experience dizziness during long trips. Vomit stains can be wiped out with cloth but the smell never leaves your clothes. This is inconvenient if you are just going to school or the office. So, before entering, I usually scan the jeepney for any kids or babies and I take seat that are as far as them as possible.

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Visit my personal blog, Before the Eastern Sunset, and read about my review of the apocalyptic movie, 2012.

Leave a Comment. Find this post informative? Do you like this post or hated it? Please let me know. Your comments, suggestions and reactions are warmly appreciated. All reader’s comments will be personally replied to as soon as possible.

Yummy Magazine, Summit Media

Filipinos love to eat. Every province or every ethnic group in the country has their own specialties. There are the Bicolanos whose specialty are the fiery and spicy dishes, the Ilocanos who are known for their buro and veggie dishes, the Ifugaos for the pinikpikan, and other delicious recipes from other tribal groups. Explorers will discover various culinary adventures in any islands of the Philippines. The love for food and cooking is the reason why Yummy Magazine became popular among the culinary magazines.

Yummy is an interesting magazine because it has many sections and features that will satisfy the thirst for culinary knowledge of the people who want to learn how to create excellent dishes. The members of Yummy staff are good cooks and really know what they are writing in their magazine. They have recipes that mothers can follow for the everyday food of the family. They feature famous chefs and reveal their culinary secrets. Lastly, they dish out tips that prove to be helpful to both beginner and seasoned cooks.

The very first Yummy issue that I read is the issue featuring the yummy specialty in the Bicol region plus a list of delicious fruits coming from Mindanao. Every page contains mouth watering dishes that make me think of learning how to cook. My mother and father also liked the magazine because they are the ones who are expert cooks in our home. The procedures in the magazine are easy understand and to follow. There also many tips about cooking that beginners will find helpful. Restaurant and owners of eateries will also find this magazine as a good source of new and delicious menu.

The popularity of Yummy came in part from the sudden rise of public interest to cooking. So if you are just beginning how to cook or already an expert, I recommend Yummy as a nice read for your kitchen needs.

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Visit Before the Eastern Sunset and read my review of the film 2012 in, “In 2012 the World will End in Boredom.

How to Build a Strong Social Network

Posted by Ishmael Fischer Ahab | Sunday, November 15, 2009

Connections and relationships are important aspects of human life. These connections or social network, in other words, are important tools in job hunting, starting your own business, and in furthering you personal ambitions. Because of its importance, developing your network should be started as early as possible.

I remember a classmate of mine who said that joining a fraternity is important because the frat he is joining is well connected and will help him in his future career. And I believe that there is grain of truth in what he said. Our connections sometimes determine if we can move ahead or be left behind in achieving our life’s goals.

So how could you build a strong and social network? Here are my tips:

Be Sincere

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The first rule in building your network while is to be sincere with anyone whom you are joining in your network. Never befriend anyone just for the sake of using them to further your goals. Having this motivation in developing your network will make your relationship a fake one and it will be felt by those whom you are befriending. Another thing is that relationships formed from sincere motivations tend to be stronger. Remember, stronger relationships build a stronger network and return produces better benefits.

Be Friendly and Approachable

How can you strike a good friendship if you tend to be sarcastic with other people or you have an intimidating aura? A person who is approachable and emanates a friendly aura tends to have a larger network. Having a larger social network is important and open up various channels of opportunities.

 The Rule of Equivalent Trade

The Rule of Equivalent Trade only means that relationships are two way processes. If you receive something from your friend, then you should also have something that could also give to that person at a value equal to the one you receive. It doesn’t mean that if you are given two hundred dollars, you will also give two hundred dollars in return. Everyone is unique and have own perception of values on different things. It is possible that the person who gave you those two hundred dollars will value your smile as worth the two hundred dollars that you received.

Study each of the persons in your network and know their perceptions on value of things. Keep a person that only requires a return of things at a value below or at par with what you believe should be given to that person. Be careful, or at worst, eliminate persons who demand too much things beyond your perception of value from your network.

Show them Your Value

One of the best ways of keeping your network strong is to show that you are a valuable person. People tend to keep persons in their network if they see them as an asset in their social network. But if you are just a person who always asks for free lunch, so to speak, then your value will go low and many people will cut you off from their network. Remember, the more valuable you are, the harder you are to be removed in other people’s network. Another thing is that the higher your value, then the more possibilities and benefits you can obtain in your social network.

Creating a strong social network is a continuous process. Some people build a connection with little effort, while some put a lot of effort but destroys their network in a long run. The best tip that I could give is that building a social network should conform to your personality so that you can do it as natural as possible. Always remember that a strong social network can not be made overnight and must be acted upon continuously.

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Leave a comment. If you have questions, reactions, or clarification about this article then please leave a comment. All comments will be replied to, personally, as soon as possible.

One Piece poster

A boy with a straw-hat, a weird power and a big dream, that is a fitting description of Monkey D. Luffy, the captain of the most famous pirate crew – The Straw Hat Pirates.

I have been following the anime One Piece since its first airing in GMA 7 years ago. I have been easily attracted by its story line and the funny antics of its characters. Since then, I downloaded images from the net to serve as the wallpaper of my computer, I had read and reread the story and episode guides in Wikipedia and leading anime websites, and I just finished watching episodes up to the story arc where Robin was whisked away by government officials in the city of Water 7.

One Piece is about the Straw Hat Pirates who travel the treacherous waters of the Grand Line and in the end obtain the ultimate treasure, One Piece. Only the pirate king Gold Roger confirmed the existence of One Piece. Whoever obtains One Piece will be hailed as the Pirate King.
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The Straw Hat crew

The Straw Hat Pirates are composed of powerful and wacky characters like the Rubberman Luffy, the three swords user Roronoa Zolo, the thieving navigator Nami, the lying sharpshooter Ussop, the love cook Sanji, the reindeer doctor Tony Tony Chopper, and the archeologist/assassin Nico Robin. Currently, the two more characters were added and they are the shipwright Frankie and the skeleton musician Brooke.

What I like about this anime is that even though it has circumstances that are out of this world, it does not over exaggerate things. An example of this is Dragon Ball Z where the main characters just go stronger and stronger every story arc that the whole anime was blown out of proportion and became unbelievable. One Piece is a fantasy anime that has the feel of being realistic.

Another thing that I liked is that the anime delve in to the inner selves of the characters, so as to help the viewers understand each and every decision that each characters do.

One Piece is one funny adventure and the crew fought monsters and different characters with awesome powers. My only problem in this anime is that the Straw Hat crew experienced fatal attacks but none of them died. This is the only thing that I think is the problem of this anime. No major characters die.

However, looking largely on the anime in general, it could be said that One Piece is one of the best anime out there. So if you are looking for a fun anime plus great adventures like that in Gulliver’s Travels, then One Piece is recommended for you.

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Visit Before the Eastern Sunset, and read about my trip to Tagaytay City Picnic Grove.

Philippine Passport

In the old version of this post, I talked about the old process of applying for passport at the Consular Affairs Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). In the old system, passport applicants just walk in the Consular Affairs Office to apply for passport. In the new system, passport applicants need to make an appointment with the Consular Affairs Office before actually going there.

Applying for a passport at the Consular Affairs Office is still quick and easy, as long as you follow the DFA’s application procedures and you are not absentminded. If you need information on how to go to Consular Affairs Office, read my post, How to Go to DFA Office.

Tip # 1: Set an Appointment First

The DFA changed the old system and now requires passport applicants to set an appointment with the Consular Affairs Office first before going to their office. For those who don't know, the Consular Affairs Office transferred their office from the DFA main office in Pasay City to Aseana Business Park in Paranaque City.

The first that you should do is to set up an appointment by filling up the appointment application form in the DFA website. Please read my post, How to Make an Appointment for Philippine Passport Application, for the step-by-step procedure in setting up an appointment with DFA.

Tip # 2: Do visit the DFA Website

The DFA website contains the step by step procedure that you must follow when applying for a passport. For the appointment system, visit the DFA Passport Appointment System website. For the requirements for first time passport applicants, visit DFA’s First Time Applicant page. If you are renewing your passport, visit DFA’s Requirements for Renewal of Passport Page.

For a list of valid IDs, read my post about the list of IDs that are accepted by DFA for passport application.

Just visit DFA’s website and the basic information that you will need for your passport application or renewal is there.

Tip # 3: Beware of Fixers


Even if DFA improved the passport application system, there will always be people who will take advantage of passport applicants. You must avoid these fixers because you do not need them, unless you are planning to submit falsified documents.

Never believe anyone outside DFA and always ignore any fixers. They have many tricks and modus operandi. It is better to ask the guard for information. If the guard pointed you to the fixers, then you can always have him fired by telling the DFA management of his activities with the fixers.

Tip # 4: Bring Enough Money

It is good to make sure that you always have spare money whenever you go to any place. Bringing extra money will make sure that you will never need to go home if the money in your wallet is not enough when applying for the passport.


Tip # 5: Don’t Submit Fake Documents


I have seen one applicant who is submitting a marriage certificate for her passport application. The employee of DFA inspected the document and immediately confiscated it. She said that the marriage certificate that she is submitting is a fake. She threatened that the applicant may be penalized because she is falsifying documents.


It is better not to submit fake documents or else you will be penalized or even be blacklisted by DFA. If you are keen in submitting fake documents, then you must ensure that your fake documents 99.9% resembles the authentic documents.


Tip # 6: Never Be Afraid to Ask Questions


I suggest that you ask questions if you are lost or confused with any of the application procedures. However, you should not just ask anyone. The people that I usually ask for directions and clarifications are the guards inside the DFA. They are more credible because they are easy to recognize and it is hard to impersonate a security guard inside the premises of DFA. Fixers can trick you with fake DFA employee IDs but they can’t wear a guard’s uniform. If the guard does not know the answer to your question, then he will refer you to a legitimate DFA employee. There are also information booths inside DFA that are manned by DFA employees who know the application procedures.

Tip # 7: Call the DFA if You Have Questions

DFA set-up a hotline for passport related inquiries. If something is bothering you about your passport or your passport application, then I suggest that you call Consular Information at telephone number (632) 556-0000. You can only contact them from 8 AM to 4 PM, Monday to Friday.

These are some of the many tips when applying for a passport in the Philippines. Be alert and always be on a look-out of possible tricks from fixers. Follow these tips and your passport application will flow smoothly.

The House of Spirits

Posted by Ishmael Fischer Ahab | Sunday, November 01, 2009

The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
The House of Spirits, Isabel Allende, Bantam Books


“Barabbas came to us by sea…,” these are the words that started and ended this wonderful book of Isabel Allende. These are the very same words that captivated me to read this novel.

I encountered this book as a required reading for one of my subjects in college. This book is a rare find and gave me a hard time looking for it. Luckily, I found it in a second hand book dealer as the last remaining copy. The search for this book had paid off well since it introduced me to rich writing styles of Latin American authors.

The novel is about the epic story of the Trueba family as told by Esteban Trueba and Alba. Esteban is a cruel landlord, while Alba is his granddaughter. The story started off with the diary entries of Clara, narrating her childhood stories and revealing her mystical powers. The story was then taken off by Esteban Trueba, which narrates his life in his hacienda and his married life with Clara. The last part of the book is narrated by Alba. Played in the background is the history of Chile progressing from the age dominated by landlords; to the rise of the democratic society, the climax of which is the election of the first socialist president; and the demise to a brutal military rule.

What I like about this novel is I got to connect with the people affected by their History. It is unlike retelling the history of Chile from a boring history book. I got to see their happiness, their anguish, their desperation for a better tomorrow. I got to connect the novel with the story of my country, the Philippines.

The House of Spirits is a good novel to read and a good example of an excellent writing from a Latin American author. Isabel Allende spun history, emotions, and magic into a one engaging book.

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Read “Another Use for the Pink Fence” in my personal blog, Before the Eastern Sunset. The blog post is about my idea on the use of MMDA’s pink fences to help decrease traffic violations.

Leave a Comment. Find this post informative? Do you like this post or hated it? Please let me know. Your comments, suggestions and reactions are warmly appreciated. All reader’s comments will be personally replied to as soon as possible.

If you have the habit of sleeping, especially while riding a public bus, then this tip is applicable to you. Riding a public bus is a little bit dangerous if you are the type who is not prudent with your personal belongings. There are many people out there who have the habit of eyeing valuable belongings of their fellow commuter.

Take this experience of mine while passing by Ali Mall, Cubao along EDSA. Five persons went up our bus. However, they ignored the driver’s request for them to take their seat. Knowing that their cover was blown, all five of them went down the bus. Apparently, those five are thieves who are looking for valuable things to snatch from other passengers.

There many time that driver’s do not care if there passengers were actually thieves, thus they don’t warn other passengers of the possibilities of a thief inside their bus. So as a prudent commuter in the Philippines, I suggest that you take these seating tips to avoid being victimized by these vultures.

Tip Number 1: Take the Most Front Seat

The most front seat will give you the benefit of being beside the bus driver. The bus driver will also serve as your eye if your seatmate has an itchy palm (in other words, a thief). Bus drivers are knowledgeable about persons they encounter in the streets, thus they can better sense who is dangerous or not. Seating near the driver will give the thief second thoughts of taking your wallet or your cellphone.

Tip Number 2: Take the Seat Nearest to the Window

Sitting beside the window will ensure that one side of your body is safe from pickpockets. So if your wallet or cellular phone is in your left pocket then sit on the left side of the bus. If your valuables are in the right pocket, then sit on the right side of the bus. As much as possible, avoid sitting in the middle seat on the left side of the bus since it is the most uncomfortable seat inside the bus because you are crushed on both side.

Tip Number 3: Never Sit at the Back

If the most rear end seat is the best place for you inside the classroom, then it is not so in commuting in a public bus. The most rear seat is the easiest place to be preyed upon by hold-uppers since it is beyond the sight of most passengers. These vultures will just point their knives at you, without anyone noticing, and then take all your belongings. Many passengers had been preyed upon on this part of the bus. For me this the most dangerous part of the bus.

Tip Number 4: Be Vigilant

This is the best of all the tips that I dispensed here. Vigilance will keep you away from thieves and hold-uppers. If the vultures saw that you are aware of your surroundings then they will think twice of choosing you as their victim. Remember, thieves prefer those who are weak and easy to trick. Those who are not vigilant will have more chances of being preyed upon by these vultures. So as a prudent commuter, I suggest that you keep your eyes open and don’t let them get on you.

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Read my InPhoto blog post that shows MyPhone latest LRT 1 handlebar ad in “Prevent Little Accidents” in my personal blog, Before the Eastern Sunset

Leave a Comment. Find this post informative? Do you like this post or hated it. Please let me know. Your comments, suggestions and reactions are warmly appreciated. All reader’s comments will be personally replied to as soon as possible.

Last week, me and my college friends went to Trinoma Mall to have a sort of mini-reunion and also to celebrate a friend’s birthday. At first, my friends want to go to Gerry’s Grill but settled to Gilligan’s Restaurant because one of my friends heard that their bucket of beer is cheaper than what is offered at Gerry’s Grill.

Where is it Located?

Giligan’s Restaurant is conveniently located at the entrance of Trinoma Mall. Upon entering the mall through its North Avenue entrance and climbing up the stairs to mall proper, you will see Giligan’s to your left. It is purposely placed just outside Trinoma’s premises since this restaurant is open beyond the Trinoma Mall’s closing time. Our group left the mall just half an hour before midnight and I heard that it is still open until three in the morning.
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 Giligan's Trinoma
 The entrance to Giligan's at Trinoma

Many people dine at Giligan’s and at peak times, people line up and wait for the table to be freed. Waiting for a table to be cleared usually last about 30 to 45 minutes. At peak hours, you need to ask the personnel manning the entrance so as to put you in the waiting list. One thing I like about this restaurant is that they are strict when it comes to students. However, the only way they check if the customer is a minor is if they are wearing their school uniform.
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Our Food at Giligan's Trinoma

Giligan’s Restaurant is also located at different parts of the Philippines. What I know is that they have branches in Makati and Tagaytay City.

The Ambience

Inside Giligan's Trinoma

Giligan’s Trinoma’s set-up is nice. They have a separate area for smokers and non-smokers. The area for smokers is at the open area. Located in the open area is also the stage where the live band performs. Thus, you will have a better treat if you are a smoker because you are closer to the live band and you could actually watch them perform while you are eating.

Diners at Giligan's Trinoma

You will be surrounded by seafarers’ implements when you are inside Giligan’s. The walls are adorned with ancient maps, telescopes, sextants, and compass. There is even a model of an ancient galleon. Their ceiling is adorned with ropes and is also used to tie the restaurant’s sound system. Giligan’s crew is nice and approachable.

The Food

The food is good and well presented, though nothing on their menu is notable. Our group ordered Chicken Lollipops, Grilled Squid, Grilled Bangus, and Kare Kareng Gulay. Our drinks are iced tea, which are not bottomless. What I liked is the Chicken Lollipop since I am more of a chicken/pork meat eater than a seafood eater. The Kare Kareng Gulay is really just Kare Kare with no meat but only have veggies. What I like with their Kare Kare is its partner, the Bagoong (shrimp paste). Their bagoong is good and blends well with their Kare Kare.

Be prepared though to pay a fee of one hundred pesos (about two US Dollars) if you will eat a food, like cake, that you bought outside Giligan’s.

Giligan’s only offer beer in bucket price (discounted priced) after 10 PM. Before 10 PM, you can only order their alcoholic beverages by the bottle. Our group ordered San Mig Light at a price of 40 pesos per bottle. That already includes a bucket of ice and the refill of ice is free.

San Miguel Beer Light in Giligan's Trinoma

Our dinner cost about 1, 600 pesos including the beer. This means that their food is not that pricey as compared to other restaurants at their level. However, for me, if I just want to drink beer, I would prefer my local sari-sari store for more beer and longer “kwentuhan.”

The Verdict

Giligan’s is a nice restaurant to go to. It is a good place to go for the whole barkada. It is a nice place to have nice “kwentuhan” (conversations) with friends that you have not met personally met for a long time. Giligan’s Restaurant is a nice place to take pause and talk your night away.

Giligan's Restaurant

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Visit me in Before the Eastern Sunset and read about my adventure in applying for a passport at the DFA in “Fixer Fixer Everywhere.

Chapstick Lip Balm

Posted by Ishmael Fischer Ahab | Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chapstick Lip Balm


People are more familiar with sunburn, which is the darkening and the drying of the skin because of the exposure to the sun. Another danger, that as painful and irritating, is lip burn.

Lip burn is the drying up of the lips due to exposure to the heat of the sun or to the exposure to dry winds that rob the lips of its moisture. You will know if you are experiencing lip burn if you feel that your lips are burning like a hot coal. The symptoms of lip burn are dry and chapped lips, and the lips’ skin is peeling away. Bleeding may also be experienced if the because the peeled away skin leaves some wounds. The best way to prevent lip burn is to drink lots of water and the use of lip balm. One lip balm that I used and I recommend is Chapstick.

Chapstick give immediate relief to lips experiencing lip burn. After applying Chapstick to your lips, you will instantly feel the cooling effect of this lip balm and the burning sensation will be reduced. After few hours of applying Chapstick, the skin of the lips will peel away painlessly. Chapstick will restore your lips to normal after few more applications. Another things is that it has some pleasant flavor. What I bought is the classic spearmint flavor. The flavor makes me think of eating the lip balm like candy. Other flavors are cherry and peppermint.

It cost about 66 Pesos (or about 1 and a quarter US Dollars) when I bought from a drugstore. What I bought is the classic spearmint. Aside from the classic "flavor" there are also other "flavors" like cherry.

Chapstick is a good lip balm and gave me instant relief from lip burn. I do not have the habit to protect myself from the elements during fieldworks. However, because of Chapstick’s good job, I am definitely including it my backpack to protect my vulnerable lips. Chapped and dry lips are painful and irritating and I do not want to experience those things again. Chapstick will serve as my shield against lip burn.

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Visit my personal blog Before the Eastern Sunset.

Identity theft is one of the major e-crimes. There many stories wherein hackers took over e-mail accounts and other accounts in Facebook, Friendster, and Twitter. When these intruders take over, they usually bar the real owner of the account from accessing their accounts. Many people had been tricked in giving money to the people that purports as the real owner of accounts that they took over.

The risk of identity theft is high in internet café because many people go inside such establishments. Some computer users are negligent and forget to sign out from their accounts. Thankfully, the latest browsers of Firefox and Internet Explorers have tools to ensure that you are protected.

Be Vigilant

This is the foremost and the best tip to prevent identity theft. You should be aware of the people around you when you are online. Make sure that no one is looking when you are typing your username and password to access your accounts. Also be aware of the other computer users that are always looking at you when you are online. It is likely that this people is eyeing you and planning to do something about your account.

Always Log-out

The “Log out” or “Sign out” buttons were placed on your account for a reason, that is to terminate your access to your account after you are done visiting it. Never leave the internet café with your accounts not logged out. Many people forget to do this simple thing and run the risk of their accounts being stolen from them. It is easy to steal an account that was left logged on by its owner.

There are websites that do not automatically log-out if the browser was closed. Friendster is an example of websites that are like this. Logging out of your account is one of the simplest ways to protect yourself from identity theft.

Create Strong and Multiple Passwords

A strong password is a password that has a combination of letters and numbers. However, internet users have a hard time remembering such combinations so they resort to passwords that are composed of phrases. So, if you intend to create a password composed of phrase, then make sure that that password is not easily guessed.

Multiple passwords is also important so to ensure that if one of your accounts was hacked, then other accounts will not be affected. Thus, you should have a different password for your personal accounts like Facebook, Friendster, or Twitter, then a different password for e-mail, and so on.

Don’t Auto-save

Popular browsers like Internet Explorer and Firefox have the capability to save your username and passwords automatically. This capability depends on the settings placed by the internet café administrator. There are internet cafes that have browsers that ask permission before saving your username and passwords, but others auto-save without asking for permission. If you are surfing in an internet café, never let the browser to auto-save either your username or password. An auto-saved username will have a higher risk of its password being guessed by hackers.

Clear All Private Data

Thankfully, Internet Explorer and Firefox (and even Google Chrome) already have a tool that allows the user to clear all the private data collected while the browser is on. Customers of internet café are advised to use this tool before going out of the café. This tool allows you to clear you browsing history, auto-saved username and passwords, and cookies.

For Firefox, you should click Tools >> Clear Private Data. A window, like the one shown below, will pop up. You should place a check on all fields and then click Clear Private Data Now button.




For Internet Explorer, you should click Tools >> Delete Browsing History. A window, like the one shown below, will pop out. You should click on the Delete All button so as to delete all of your browsing history and private data.


If the browser is of old version and does not have these tools, then I suggest that you press Ctrl+h to access the Browser History and delete all its contents.

One of my friends claimed that another person accessed his Friendster account even if already logged out from Friendster. He claimed that the hacker gained access through the Browsing History stored in Internet Explorer. I am not sure if what he claimed was the truth, but deleting your private data after surfing does not do any harm to you. Availing of the said tool is highly suggested to prevent identity theft.

Protecting your internet accounts should always be on the top of your mind when surfing in an internet café. Stories of hacking are true and many have became victim, including their family and friends who were tricked to giving some money. Follow all of my simple tips and everything will be just fine. Happy surfing!

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Visit Before the Eastern Sunset and read by personal blogpost “My Plans and the Future.”



The Tales of Beedle the Bard, J. K. Rowling, Scholastic

“The Tales of Beedle the Bard” is one of J.K. Rowling’s latest addition to the Harry Potter saga. The book was purportedly translated by Hermione Granger from the ancient runes, as written by a certain wizard named as Beedle. The stories within the book is accompanied by notes written by Hogwart’s headmaster Albus Dumbledore and was completed around eighteen months before we was murdered in the Astronomy Tower of Hogwarts. J.K. Rowling also added her own notes for the benefit of muggle (non-magical) readers.

The book is a collection of five short stories, which according to Rowling is the equivalent of our fairy tales. The story has various themes that aims to teach young wizards and witches a piece of life’s lessons.

The short stories within the book are:

The Wizard and the Hopping Pot, which is about a young wizard who inherited a magical pot from his kind father. The pot never leaves the young wizard’s side, all the while emulating the townsfolk hardships and illness, until the young wizard was forced to help the needy townspeople.

The Fountain of Fortune which is about the adventure of three witches and a luckless knight to the magical fountain that gives eternal fortune to a single adventurer once every year. In the end, each of them received what they wished in an unexpected way.

The Warlock’s Hairy Heart is about a certain wizard who chose to hide his heart and avoid suffering the weakness which is love. It is a tragedy which tells us the futility of human desire to making himself invincible.

Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump is about a foolish king who desired to gain immense magical power, but in the end was revealed as a fool by witch named as Babbitty.

The Tale of the Three Brothers is the story about three brothers who received gifts from Death after successfully escaping him. The story was already told in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the seventh  and last installment in the Harry Potter series.

I like this book the way I like fairy tales, especially the original versions collected by the Grimm brothers. Reading a story in this book makes me think of the stories of King Arthur and the adventures of the Knights of the Round Table. It is magical, as if it was really written by some bard ages ago.

What I also like about this book is the way it supplements the Harry Potter series. Here, Albus Dumbledore speaks directly to the reader. Some mysteries are explained like the reason why Rowling’s wizards and witches chose to hide themselves from the world.
The only problem that I have is its price. I believe that the book was steeply priced at around 800 Philippine pesos (or roughly around $ 16), since it only contain around five short story. The pricing is too much. Maybe they pegged the book’s price at this amount so as to adequately help the Children’s High Level Group.

However, sans the steep price, the book is quite excellent. The Tales of Beedle the Bard is truly a J.K. Rowling masterpiece.



LG KU 380 is the best of all the cellular phones I ever owned. It answered all the functionalities that I required at an affordable price. The phone has keys that are easy to learn, especially for those avid Nokia cell phone users. Yes, LG KU 380 is a 3G phone but it is quite cheap compared to the other 3G phones of other cell phone manufacturers. The reason for this is LG’s “3G For All” program that aims to make 3G phones affordable to the middle and lower economic class.

My Requirements

I began the search for a new cell phone last year when my Nokia phone decided to rest for good. Instead of buying some 2G phones, I decided to find some affordable 3G phone. My basic requirement for a cell phone is that it should have a camera since I can’t afford yet to acquire my own camera that I could use for my work. I do not want a simple VGA camera because I am not satisfied with the pictures that those kind of cameras produces. The other major requirement is that cell phone should be affordable for my limited budget.

Functionalities and Accessories

That’s where LG KU 380 came in. KU 380 has two cameras. One in the front of the unit and the other at the back. The front camera is a 0.3 megapixels VGA camera. The back camera is 1.3 megapixels Omnivision model camera. 1.3 megapixels is enough to capture the necessary details of my work and to take the picture of important moments of my life.


Sample picture taken by KU 380's camera

Accompanying the camera is a varied set of options that could be used. You select the picture size, choose the picture quality, and set the brightness of the picture, among other things. You could also take up to nine burst shots and set the timer of the camera. The problem with the camera is that it has no flash mechanism, thus making it hard to take pictures during the night. It has a Night Mode, which unfortunately, is not enough to take a good picture in dim places or when it is nighttime.

The camera could also be used to take videos. However, the videos taken by this camera is not that top notch.

Just like the many 3G phones out there, KU 380 could be installed with a micro SD card so as to increase your memory space. You could use the card to place all your favorite music (in MP3 file format), videos (3GP format), pictures, and any file that you wish to store.

KU 380 could stand as an MP3 player it has an earphone as an accessory. The earphone is important since KU 380’s loudspeaker is not loud enough to drown out the noise. You could also play videos downloaded from you tube as long as you convert it into 3GP format before storing into your phone.

KU 380 has other set of programs that are available. It has a calculator and a converter that is used to convert length, area, and weight from metric unit to English unit and vice versa.

Connectivity

KU 380 can be connected to the PC by its USB connector. There are to options to run download and upload file for this phone. The first is by choosing the USB Mass Storage mode in the cell phone. This mode will treat the cell phone as a mass storage device (in other words, a flash disk) and the PC will access all files stored in the SD card. The other mode is the USB Data Service mode, which accesses both the handset memory and the SD card memory by using the software that is also included when you purchase the cell phone.

KU 380 could also interconnect using bluetooth. Thus, it could be use to transfer files between cell phones or to the PC or laptop.

Problems


The major problem that I am having with KU 380 is its software. The software could be used to download my phonebook, pictures, videos, and such but it can’t download SMS messages stored in the phone. I do not what the problem is. I tried to uninstall and reinstall the program in my PC but it failed to fix the problem. It is possible that the software that I purchased with my phone has a problem. Or it is possible that the software really have a problem.

Another problem is that the phone cannot be accessed when shifted from USB Mass Storage mode to USB Data Service mode. The solution for this is to turn the phone off after shifting to USB Data Service mode, then turn it on again. That will fix the problem and the PC could now access you phone.

One user of the phone did not like the fact that the loudspeaker is not loud enough when the MP3 music is being played. That is not a problem. It is better to use the earphone.

Last is that the KU 380 can not display the time on its idle frame just like most phones. This is a problem for me since I do not have the habit of wearing a watch and rely on my phone to know the time.

Another problem, which just came out recently, is that the screen goes blank whenever I plug the headphones, whenever I turn on my phone, or whenever I flip down the phone. The white blank screen also appears randomly. The only measure that I do is to remove the battery then turn the phone on again. I have to do this for so many times until the screen return to normal. I also keep my phone flip up so that the blank screen will not appear. One of these days, I’ll bring my phone to the store and have it fix.

The Verdict

Counting the good and the bad, I still give this phone a thumbs up. For the last six months, I did not experience major problem with this phone. The battery life is good and it last full battery when idle for a day. It could easily catch signal, which is unlike the former Siemen phone of which forces me to go out of my house just so I could make a call or receive an SMS.

KU 380 is good. Life’s good.

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Ahab Reviews and Tips Disclosure Policy

Posted by Ishmael Fischer Ahab | Tuesday, September 01, 2009

This policy is valid from 29 January 2011


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