Archive for March, 2009


From The Graveyard to The Queue

Last night, I closed the gates on Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, and headed straight into Vladimir Sorokin’s The Queue.  I felt sad after the bittersweet ending of the first book, so I needed something upbeat or quirky.  The Queue is composed entirely of one-liners from an assortment of characters in a seemingly never-ending line for god-knows-what in Soviet-era Moscow.  I’m still only 32 pages into it, but I’m riveted.  I thought it was going to be difficult to keep track of what’s going on and who’s saying what, but I actually found it easier to do the former once I stopped doing the latter.  And the fun part this evening?  I read about 20 pages of it while standing in a long line for the shuttle going home.  How’s that for a bit of life imitating art? 😀

Conserve water.

I wonder if the new Eastwood Mall in Quezon City participated in Earth Hour.  It would be a hypocrisy if they did, considering the way their bathroom sinks are set up.  This isn’t really about energy, but it’s still about conservation.

img_1065

Note that the sensor to activate the faucet is located way above, at body level.  Merely standing right in front of the sink already turns on the faucet, even if you’re not washing your hands.  Water isn’t running in this photo since I stepped back a bit to capture the entire setup, but that sensor is mighty sensitive once you get closer!  Plus, there are no separate mirrors for grooming purposes only, so the water still flows even when ladies are just powdering their noses.

I shudder to think of the gallons of water wasted everyday.  Whatever happened to new malls supposedly being “greener”?

And while on the topic of the environment – no, we did not turn off the lights in our house for Earth Hour.  (Think of how many people did so but recharged or bought new batteries for their flashlights instead; or even risked burning down their homes by using candles – what the…)   I am a WWF Supporter, but I believe there are other better, non-symbolic ways in calling attention to and doing something about the environment.

Once again, a storm had an impact on our beach trip.  This time around, it was the lingering devastation of last year’s Typhoon Frank.  Broken piers and rock-littered shores greeted us.  On the positive side, it gave the island a more romantic quality.

Kupo Wharf, Brgy. San Isidro, Guimaras

Kupo Wharf, Brgy. San Isidro, Guimaras

Western Pier, Nagarao Island

Western Pier, Nagarao Island

img_1011

Guimaras had to endure two major catastrophes in 4 years – the Petron oil spill and Typhoon Frank.   But she survives, with an altered beauty but still charming, nevertheless.

The Journey to Nagarao

Nagarao is a private island, one of several tiny islands around mainland Guimaras.  Iloilo City is the gateway to Guimaras.  A ferry from Fort San Pedro takes you to Jordan Wharf in mainland Guimaras in less than 15 minutes.  From there, it’s an hour’s ride through narrow rough roads (with short stretches of paved portions) to Kupo Wharf in Barangay San Isidro.  Finally, it’s another 10-minute pump boat ride to Nagarao island.  Be prepared for really roughing it.  In the piers, expect to walk down steep stone steps carved out of a seawall and upon rock piles that resulted from a typhoon’s fury.

On The Island

img_0728

That is one of the first things you see upon docking on the Western Pier.  We were greeted by Helen Stummer, the owner of the island/resort.  She’s a typical Ilongga, very friendly and charming.  It turned out that we were the only guests in the resort.  Well, there’s the German, Hors, but he doesn’t really count as a guest since he owns a cottage there and comes every year.

There is no electricity in Nagarao.  The lights are solar-powered, and a generator is used from 6pm to 6am, so you could still have air conditioning in your room at night should you prefer to do so.  It is very quiet around the island.  The only sounds come from the wind (and it is very windy!) and the ocean – and the occasional chickens and insects.

The light gold sand is fine enough, and there are plenty of beautiful shells to collect.  It is not as ideal for swimming like Boracay or the other sandy beaches in the Philippines.  You really have to wait for high tide, and then there are the rocks.  Not really sharp, but slippery especially the moss-covered ones.  We were only able to swim on our second morning, since the first one was spent settling in and exploring, while the last one was spent packing since we had to leave the island by 10am.

It was a lazy vacation for us.  I wrote in an earlier post that I’m not looking for adventure on this one, and indeed, we didn’t have any – except for the journey itself.  It was heaven to simply wake up at dawn, watch the sun come up, eat scrumptious meals, spend the rest of the day in beach and around the island, read and nap on a hammock, watch the sunset, and have a good night’s sleep.

To be continued…

Presenting my pet project…

iphone_erq-cover

picture-11

picture-23

Application Description:

Ever found yourself pressed for time, yet still wanting to prepare delicious and healthy meals? Want a different way of serving regular desserts and drinks? Then the Eat Rich Quick cookbook series is for you. Eat Rich Quick presents flavorful, easy-to-prepare recipes that don’t require long hours in the kitchen. Watch out for different themes in succeeding volumes.

Eat Rich Quick 1 is labeled “The Cheater’s Guide to Eating Well”. This application contains recipes that allow you to save time and energy; and when you serve the food, the others in the table won’t even have a clue about how quick it took you to prepare it. You can choose from 14 different recipes, ranging from appetizers to desserts. All the recipes are stored right in the application so you can access them anytime; no need for a wi-fi connection.

Eat Rich Quick also contains these other features for a more informative and interactive experience:

» Food shots (including some step-by-step images) – Tap to enlarge
» Cook’s Notes – Tips and tricks from the author
» Grocery List – Check-box feature to help you while shopping
» Cooks’ Community – Email the author or visit the blog to post comments, get more cooking tips, and see what other Eat Rich Quick users are saying

Enjoy cooking, and watch out for the next volume of the Eat Rich Quick series!

I loved doing this project!  I enjoyed working on the interface with the graphic designer and the developer, as well as with the author.  It was also nerve-wracking since it was our first time to come up with something like this.  There were plenty of bumps in the road, but finally seeing it on the App Store and seeing the download statistics were all worth it.  We’re still seeing a lot of things to improve, but this version’s not bad.  I would say it’s great, but then again, it’s my baby, so I’ll leave it to the users to decide.

app_store_badge_0708-21

Back from the island

Tanned and just a tad heavier. 😀  It was indeed 3 days of peace and quiet – and lots of food!.  We practically had the entire island to ourselves.  The only other guest was Hors, a retired 70-year-old German who actually owns a cottage in the resort.  More stories and photos after I’ve sorted them out.

Oh, and the island I’m writing about is Nagarao in Guimaras.  Here are some photos for now:

img_0772

Lunch for two!

Lunch for two!

img_0816

dsc05129

First vacation of 2009!

I’ll be off to Guimaras at dawn on Wednesday and will be back in Manila on Friday evening.  I’ve been so stressed at work lately so this trip couldn’t have been scheduled at a better time.  Also, my assistant at work started today.  Perfect timing, and with just enough time to brief her and assign tasks for the rest of the week while I’m away.

Just like our Dumaguete trip last October, I’m planning for this one to be a complete relaxation getaway.  I’m not deliberately looking for adventure on this one, though I’ll gladly welcome anything that comes up. 😀

Be back in the the weekend with stories and photos!

597603 One of the iPhone/iPod Touch comics apps our company has been developing is finally up for sale ($0.99) at the iTunes store.

picture-2

picture-1

Here’s the description of the series:

From the Dead
Written and Drawn by Jonas Diego

When strange murders started happening all over the city the mysterious organization known only as “The Foundation” turns to their best operative, Frank to help them clean up the mess and solve the problem. The only problem is that Frank’s been retired for many years and less than enthusiastic about going back to work for his former employers.

The Foundation however has ways and means to convince him to take the case.

Having no choice in the matter he takes the case hoping to close it quickly and get The Foundation off his back.

Frank’s only lead is an informant belonging to a cult who could possibly shed some light on his case and point him in the right direction.

Things take a turn for the worse when his beautiful contact appears from nowhere, out of her mind, and being chased by monsters…which is about one of the worse things that could happen to Frank.

Because one of his few weaknesses are damsels in distress…

Though this is not the first iPhone app developed in the Philippines (I believe it’s iManila), this is the first comics and the first that is also relevant to the international market.

For now, we’re focusing on e-book applications.  Next up (pending approval from Apple) will be the e-cookbooks – my pet project, yey! 😀

Calling on Filipino authors…if you have interesting e-book ideas, please get in touch with me through this blog.  Leave your email address on the comment box (I won’t publish them) and I’ll contact you for the terms and conditions.