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

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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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