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January 30, 2015

Unending hunt for "Atill Alice"

The book "Still Alice" by Lisa Genova is so elusive! I have gone to different bookstores near my place and also in the city but still no luck. I really don't know but I have this big desire in reading it, my instinct tells me it's a great read. I refuse to read reviews about it as I want to surprise myself of the contents. Well, I guess I am the one surprised with how difficult it is to find!

I tried looking over National Bookstore's website and there was it in the listing so I immediately placed my order even I know the shipping fee was expensive. I was elated and I was counting the days to when I receive it. Yesterday, I got a call from their customer service rep and I was saddened with what I heard. "Ma'am, I am sorry but the book Still Alice is already sold out." And because I just woke up from my afternoon nap, I was not able to say anything except, "That's the saddest thing I heard today." I know she was sorry and she was trying to offer me something but I just asked her to refund my payment. 

Last night, finally I decided to browse my ebay and of course I have seen listings of it. Unfortunately, most come from the US and the UK. I am also surprised with the ridiculous shipping fees. I used to buy books from ebay coming overseas but most of them were of free shipping. I eyed on one seller with the cheapest shipping fee but still undecided to whether I will buy it or not. It is because I will be waiting for 25 days for it to arrive. I am thinking, local bookstores might restock it. 

I am torn. LOL!

January 28, 2015

Thumbs up!

Source: http://epicinspirationalquotes.com/the-best-revenge-is-massive-success/

The past few days I have been feeding my brain with positive reads as I still can't seem to find where to start in picking my shattered pieces up. Being sick physically and emotionally is just too much for me. I know I have been a strong woman since then but I don't deny I also become weak at times; emotionally, I am. 

As I scan the past events in my life, I can't help but shed tears for I know I have done what I could for those who are dear to me and yet there are those who think I am demanding. I guess I just cared too much to the point of neglecting myself.  I have also noticed that most of the time, I am the one approaching, apologizing and trying to fix a broken "relationship." Oh well, that's me and I don't feel ashamed of it. 

Then the quote above came to my sight while I was searching on my phone and it made me smile. Yes, I totally agree with it and it has been tested many times in my life. In the past, I was just this shy, skinny, little girl often bullied in school but now, it's different. These days, I know and I am aware that I am unwanted by someone and I totally understand why. I don't blame him for staying away as the reason for it is way visible then the sunshine. But me as being transparent, I just wanted truthfulness because I know, he has been hiding a lot of things from me and because I don't have a crystal ball to guess what's going on, unfortunately, it ain't happening. It makes me sad but sadness won't do me any good, and as the experts say when you fall, get up, dust yourself and move on. Gradually, that's what I have been doing. 

It's a challenge and I am willing to accept whatever it is. I will do my best not for him, her or them to like me but for me. 

January 26, 2015

My Dear Child


Coconut tree below the clouds


Helpless Desire
© by: dexterous
composed on January 26th @ 20:57

Excitement is what I feel,
when I think you're conceived. 
Yet sadness is the price,
when in reality you are not.

I am willing to wait,
it may not be the right time
But questions like "when"
always infiltrates my mind. 

Will you be given, will you be not?
Hope is what I have, my helpless desire.
I won't promise anything, 
I just want you in my arms.





Japan to lure foreign visitors off ‘golden route’

The Japan Tourism Agency plans to support local governments in their efforts to attract foreign tourists.

The central government has set a goal in increasing the number of tourist to Japan to 20 million by 2020.  To achieve the target, a senior official at the agency said that there is a need for repeat visitors and to invite visitors to rural areas.
The agency plans to build tourist routes to rural areas to encourage repeat visitors to travel on their second or third trips. It also plans to build wider range of accommodations not only in larger cities. Japan needs to improve information on its countryside to encourage first-time tourists to return.

The agency also plans to develop tourism resources which include various languages on signposts and improve transportation to tourist destination, stations and airport. 



Conversation questions:
1. How does this project encourage foreign tourist to visit Japan?
2. Which places in Japan should the government focus on attracting tourists? Why?
3. What's the most important thing should a tourist remember when visiting Japan?
4. What do you think should Japan improve more to encourage tourist to visit?
5. What are the problems a tourist could possibly encounter in visiting Japan?

Source article: http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0001869697 
Note: This is created for my ESL students.

Japan divided over death penalty

A survey shows that half of respondents support maintaining the death penalty even if the Japanese government introduced life imprisonment.

The Cabinet Office carried out a survey in November, covering 3,000 people aged 20 or older nationwide asking about the country's capital punishment system. 60.9 percent of them responded.

80.3 percent said the death penalty is necessary. The figure is down 5.3 percentage points from 5 years ago.

9.7 percent said the death penalty should be abolished. The figure is 4 points up.

9.9 percent said they don't know or that the answer depends on circumstances.

Those who said the death penalty is necessary were asked why they think so. They were allowed to give more than 2 answers.

53.4 percent said the feelings of victims of crime and their families cannot be alleviated by other punishments.

52.9 percent said criminals should pay for their heinous crimes with death.

The respondents were also asked whether the death penalty should be retained if the country introduces life imprisonment.

51.5 percent said the system should be retained, while 37.7 percent said it should be abolished.


Conversation questions:

1. What's you stand when it comes to death penalty in your country?
2. What do you think are the advantages of having a death penalty?
3. If death penalty is abolished in Japan, what's the impact on the society?
4. What do you think is the best punishment for criminals in your country?
5. In Britain, death penalty is applied in killing the queen but not in killing your neighbor. What do you think of that?


Article source: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150124_22.html
Note: This is created for my ESL students.

Unemployed young people very stressed

A British survey says a third of young, unemployed people often "fall apart". They are stressed and cannot control their feelings. They cannot live a "normal" life. The survey is from a charity that questioned 2,200 jobless people. Almost half the people stressed about everyday life and could not meet new people. Some were too stressed to leave the house. Thousands of young people feel like prisoners in their own homes and become socially isolated. 

Many young people have problems with day-to-day life and getting a job. Britain's government said: "Our young people are some of the best and most talented in the world." A researcher added: "Young people are our future and it is important that we invest in them." One man explained how hard it was for him to have no job. He would wake up and couldn't leave the house. He stopped speaking to his friends. He had no confidence."


Conversation questions:

1. How do you describe the unemployment in your country?
2. Is it more difficult to find a job in Japan now than in the past? Why?
3. What do you think are the reasons of unemployment in your country?
4. What are the important skills a job applicant needs to get a job in Japan?
5. Do the young generation consider working overseas? Why or why not?


Article source: http://www.breakingnewsenglish.com/1501/150116-unemployed-1.html
Note: This is created for my ESL students.

January 25, 2015

Korean Squid Pancake (Ojing-eo Buchim-gae)

I have been in bed for 5 days to be exact because I was physically and emotionally unwell. Terrible! I don't know which one to deal with first. But that's life, we have to experience those pain in life to become better. It's not easy but I'll get there. 

Because I was bored yesterday, I thought of cooking something I haven't eaten for a long time. I remember when I first tasted it, I don't want to stay away from the dining table. And it was more delicious because it was cooked by my Korean friend. So, how could I forget the taste? 

I am not familiar with the ingredients therefore I had to search online and luckily I found it here. I asked my in-laws to go to the market as I am not yet feeling well. Good thing they brought me all what I needed. At around 6 pm yesterday, we started preparing everything and in an hour we were ready to cook. 

The ingredients I used. Kimchi is added

While I was cooking it, I felt hungry because of the smell. After 10 minutes, one is ready to be served.

Let's eat!
I was able to make 9 pieces of those like the one on the top picture and as usual, shared some with the neighbors.

I am so happy they liked it very much. It made me feel emotionally better.  I am looking forward for my next cooking adventure!

January 24, 2015

I'll just put it into writing

Missing You
© by: dexterous

I miss you when you're not around
Time seems to stop; you're nowhere to be found.
Room looks empty, the weather turns gloomy
I miss you when you're not around.

I stare at my canvas, no ideas
My brush goes to know direction, can't do any action.
My color starts with white, after then turns black
My happy painting; from colorful slowly becomes  faded.

On top of the piano, lay my notes
But there's no music I can compose.
The sweet lyrics, I have in mind
It's turning bitter, for you're not around.

My world, colorful, now painted black
Your face, vivid, now it's all blank.
My music, harmonious, now messed up.
Because missing you when you're not around.


P.S: This was originally posted at bubblews under my name but it was taken down so I guess it is better to write it here again. I think it is well-timed.

January 23, 2015

Movie Review: The Good Lie

The boredom of staying in bed for days because of illness kills me. I am not used to not doing a lot of things during the day but I can't help but take a rest. And so I consume my time watching movies and thinking of course. 


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Good_Lie#mediaviewer/File:The_Good_Lie_poster.jpg
 The Good Lie is a movie about Sudanese refugees who fled from their village because of the war. Their parents were heartlessly killed by soldiers. As the movie progress, it was shown how many miles these kids have walked to find a refuge and all the adversaries they encountered on their way to a refugee camp in Kenya. On their way, they decided to sleep on the road to rest. As Mamere Deng (Arnold Oceng) woke up, he was spotted by soldiers. His older brother Theo Deng(Femi Oguns) told him and the others to hide. He offered himself to the soldiers instead of his brother, telling to the soldiers "I am lost from my people". Since their father was the chief of their village, Abital Deng (Kuoth Wiel) told her younger brother, "You are the chief now". The group with, Paul (Emmanual Jal)  continued their journey without Theo and fortunately, their hardship paid off. They reached Kakuma camp in Kenya. They were given clothing, food and medication. One day, the group received a good news that they will be transported to the USA for them to have a better life. And their journey to a country they haven't heard in their lives started with Carrie (Reese Witherspoon) as their employment agency counselor. 

I can't help my tears from running down my cheeks while I was watching this. I guess I am such a cry baby. But no, the cast did  tremendous job to show the viewers how it is like to be experiencing such arduous situation. Overall, the movie is worth watching. It is a perfect movie for kids out there destroying their lives, whining about life's problems yet they almost have everything. 

Kudos to all the cast, director Philippe Falardeau and most especially to the brilliant write Margaret Nagle. 

How much lie can you say to save your kin or your loves ones? Can you offer your life for them to experience the beauty of life they haven't experienced? Almost all might answer yes but in today's world, selfishness is almost eating us up. If you try to look back, pause and contemplate, can you honestly tell yourself that your care and your love is genuine or can you easily tell yourself "Yes, I have been selfish and insensitive"? 


January 19, 2015

Movie Review: Taken 3


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taken_3#mediaviewer/File:Taken_3_poster.jpg
A movie about family; a father on the rescue for his love ones no matter what kind of trouble he will be dealing with, I am sure those movie addicts like me know what I am talking about. The famous Taken; now on its third installment, Taken 3. 

I am a Liam Neeson fan not just because of his captivating voice but also because of how he executes the character given to him. With this, I planned to see the movie on a big screen and because I am still on the hunt of the book "Still Alice" which will make me drop any bookstores I can see at the mall. My husband, also a Neeson fan and an action-movie fanatic went along; he had seen the trailer earlier than me. 

The movie started with a guy who was abducted from his home, demanded to open a vault in search for I am sure a huge amount of money but there was nothing, he was shot dead and was left locked inside the vault, a phone call to an unknown person requiring a payment ended it.

As we all know, Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is a divorced ex-CIA whose skills in solving crimes never declined, is now a friend of his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen). Lenore's marriage to Stuart St. John (Dougray Scott) is on the brink of getting broken and so Lenore is trying to get an emotional support from Bryan. Because he is still in love with her, he tried to give her support even giving him an extra key to his apartment in case she wants a place to stay for a while. On the other hand, Kim Mills (Maggie Grace) is having her birthday in three days. Bryan decided to surprise her with a gift trying to change his predictable routine unpredictable but Kim who just found out she's pregnant was not able to appreciate what his father did. While the movie was in progress, Bryan got a text message from Lenore asking him to meet her at Bryan's apartment; he bought bagels before he headed home. He found Lenore lying on his bed dead. Then the police came but Bryan manage to escape from them. Franck Doztler (Forest Whitaker), the inspector of the crime is determined to capture Bryan; and here the unending car chase, phone calls and getting leads on the crime had begun. 

As I have said earlier, Liam Neeson was able to perform flawlessly in this third film, but it is noticeable that he has aged if we are going to compare Taken 1 from this. It can't deny he's now 62. 

Maggie Grace, being the center of the film even from the Taken 1 did very well in her role. She's a vulnerable daughter yet strong enough to fight for the integrity of her father. I really liked the part where she was being interrogated by Franck. You can clearly see that she admires and loves her father to a great extent.

I would say that Dougray Scott was not good enough to hide his true identity. I was able to point from the death of Lenore that he has a big role in revealing who is responsible for the killing. However, he was able to show how irritating he was in the film. I guess the way he speaks had a big advantage. 

Forest Whitaker who I know has played an agent to different films should be shown more in the movie, unfortunately, not.The other actors who played Russians in the film did well especially during the fight scenes. 

The writers, Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen were good enough to put a twist but it was a little predictable. They could have done better since this is presumed to be the last installment of the film. But maybe not, her daughter is not yet safe. I guess I am just hoping there's a 4th one to make up for this one. And if there's another Taken, I would hope they will show more of Forest Whitaker.

Olivier Megaton clearly fell on this one. I highly anticipated this since the first two came heavy but I said "that's it?" my mind was saying after watching it. 

Oh well, if you love action, entertainment and of course Liam Neeson, give it a try but don't expect too much.Taken is very famous for a verbal menace from Liam but I couldn't seem to find a heavy one this time.


BonChon Chicken: A restaurant review

I love eating chicken, who doesn't? Unless you're allergic. Every time I meet my friends, we often try other kinds of restaurant we haven't eaten to together. I seldom travel to Manila because I really don't like the traffic and the pollution, which I hate the most. I am not saying Manila is like Beijing but since I was born in a country-side and now living in one as well, it's really hard for me to stay there for a longer time. I lived in Manila for 6 years I guess but still, I didn't like the place, I just did because of work. 

I was meeting my sister and so I asked my friends if we could meet up to maximize my time there. It was past lunch time when we were finally together. Mind you, my friends are really "on time". hahaha! Go figure! We decided to have lunch at BonChon chicken, a newly-opened fast food chain in the Philippines, as far as I know. We ordered this Team Bonchon group meal worth 645 php which includes a certain number of pieces of chicken, japchae, drinks, rice,fries and  a side dish. We chose, a spicy and a soy garlic chicken, ice tea and kimchi. We also had a separate order of bulgogi noodle soup because almost all of the foods were dry.

Here comes the food! For the reason I so love eating spicy foods and a lover of Korean food, I chose to eat the spicy flavor but it didn't taste spicy at all. I looked for the kimchi but it is just a plain coleslaw sprinkled with chili powder which barely tasted kimchi. What's really disappointing is the chicken, the taste was all in the skin but after the skin, it tasted BLAND. And there was NO gravy! I didn't taste the japchae as I was already disappointed with the other dishes. I tried the bulgogi but then it was too sweet for me. Because of this, I patiently finished mine. Oh well, good thing, my friend's stories were awesome!

By the way, we ate at BonChon Chicken Shopwise Cubao branch.


P.S: I will take a photo when I happen to pass by there again; just pass by, not eat. LOL!

January 17, 2015

At Last!

It has been quite a while since I gave attention to blogging. I remember, I used to write movie reviews before but because of additional work schedule, I neglected my blog. It went down to like 2 articles a month or worst, none. I guess I was uninspired to write. 

Since I started traveling, I became enthusiastic in writing again. However, still because of lack of enough time, I can't write the same number of articles just like before. There are still time when I chose to sleep than writing. Such a lazy me! 

The past few days, I immersed myself in reading different blogs around the web, typing any keywords on the search bar hoping to land on a blog that will inspire me to write again. I came across few blogs that glued my eyes on my laptop screen, mostly of them were blogs from India and Pakistan. I have been with writing companies in the past, most were clients from Odesk but because of the demanding work, I wasn't able to keep them longer but I learned a lot from them.  Then there comes bubblews, a writing platform which shares revenues to its writers, unfortunately, it is no longer like before. Based on what has been circulating online, it has reduced its payments to the members, worst a lot were forfeited of their payments. I for one didn't receive two of my payments but I didn't feel bad since I don't hold a contract with them. So I just stopped writing for them although once in while I visit as some of my favorite writers are still there. One thing that I am really thankful of the site is that I met someone who I can share my interest with and someone who had and is making a big difference in my life. 

With all those above reasons, I searched on how to monetize and how much can someone make by blogging. My interest grew when I came to read this money-generating blog. It is fascinating to see those kinds of people who are using their talents to have a passive income. I know it ain't easy for time and effort is needed to succeed but I am sure along the way, I will get there. 

To start it up, I changed the look of my blog to get me inspired in writing everyday ( I hope). But since I am a noob in the area of programming ( a simple html got my eyes weary), it took me 2 days to edit everything to finally get satisfied with it. The last touch was the share button which I did for almost half a day! Thanks to this blog for giving me a detailed instruction on how to do so. 

Now, it's finally done!

January 16, 2015

Funny Conversation: The Balls!

Being an English teacher online lets you meet diverse kind of people; from young to middle age to elderly, from kind to rude and from humorous to dull ( I often call them poker face!)

Just so when you I am very  attentive with my previous class, here comes a class that really made me laugh.

I just can’t stop myself from sharing this. Son of a biscuit as Sheldon of the Big Bang Theory had said! I am as naughty as hell this week! What’s going on with me! LOL!

My long term student slash admirer slash lover boy was talking about his collection. Mind you, balls! And he was just so proud of it.

Non-verbatim

Student: Teacher, I want to talk about my collection. 

Me: What kind of collection that is?

Student: Different kinds of balls.

Me: How many B…. I started laughing, I can’t continue the question. So I typed the question on Skype and let him read. 

Student: Aaaaah! Teacher I can’t read that too. 

Me: Come on! You started the topic. 

Student: I am shy, you know I like you so I don’t want to be embarrassed in front of you. 

Me: Hahahaha! You are not doing so. Come on! Read! Then I started counting. If you are not going to read, I’ll tell your dad, you love me. I am just so bad!  LOL! 

Student: Teacher, let’s talk tomorrow, I am embarrassed now. 

Me: Okay! Please don’t count your balls! Hahaha!

With that, he can't deny he is red in the face!  It's really a TGIF!




January 8, 2015

Casa Amigo: Hotel Review

A traveler like me doesn't go traveling without polishing everything. Months before I traveled to Cebu, I already booked an accommodation. First thing I consider in choosing a place to stay is the price. Who doesn't want a five star hotel? I for one definitely want it but that doesn't make me happier when I know I will go home bankrupt. I have known the experience of spending time in a five star hotel, like Century Park Hotel in Manila but thinking of it, I have paid mostly for the name.  Second would be reviews from other travelers but of course, to see is to believe. Some maybe picky that's why they gave bad reviews or some were just unlucky to experience unfortunate events during their stay. 

Coming from Cagayan Valley on a 12-hour bus ride to Manila, I was pretty tired.  I was already experiencing back pain when we reached NLEX so my mind was slowly imagining the hotel. The imagination continued when I have to wait for almost 5 hours for my plane to Cebu, unfortunately as expected it was delayed for 45 minutes. I was thinking, I have been on the road for almost a day! I was wishing I could find a pot of gold by the end of the road. hahaha!

Upon reaching the hotel which as almost a 30-minute taxi ride from Mactan-Cebu International Airport, I felt relieved and my exhaustion was wiped-out. The receptionist who received us was really friendly, unfortunately, they were all speaking in their local dialect. I was once again an alien!  

 
The reception desk and the friendly receptionist


The hotel lounge
We stayed in an executive room which includes a 1 double and a 1 single bed equipped with an air conditioner, a television and a refrigerator.  It also has a private bath with hot and cold shower which is very important to me because I am scared with cold shower!  I can say that there's enough room to move because it was spacious. There was also a closet where you can put your luggage, hang your clothes and even hang yourself, hahaha! Just kidding! The bed was big enough and comfy to roll when you feel like doing so. The most important thing was, the room smelled like room! Go figure!  The hotel doesn't have an elevator but it isn't that too high to have one, if I am not mistaken, it has 4 floors plus a rooftop where we spent a few hours watching fireworks during the welcoming of the New Year (2015). By the way, we also tried their deluxe room, the only difference, there's no refrigerator. It was like a walk-in booking because our ferry to Bohol was cancelled due to the typhoon. 


The helpful staff

How about the staffs? Friendly as I have been saying. I don't feel awkwardness when approaching them even though I have difficulty communicating if a friend who speaks their dialect wasn't with me. They were kind enough to wait for me to rebook online even if we were beyond the check-out time. I know we have bothered them even in the middle of the night to ask for some things but they were so patient to entertain us. Unfortunately, their kitchen was under renovation so it was quite hard for us to request for kitchen utensils but that was understandable. 


The hallway that doesn't look like those in horror movies even if it was so quiet

The stairs are pretty clean

It has a sofa on the hallway of every floor. I guess it is for those who get tired in climbing the stairs

Overall, we had an awesome experience staying at Casa Amigo from December 27, 2014 to January 2,2015. If there is any chance I will go to Cebu city again, I will definitely use this hotel again. So if you looking for a cheap but a nice place to stay, you can try this one. You can sleep comfortably in a room which costs 650 php!

Thank you Casa Amigo for the very warm welcome! 

P.S: I was not able to get a pic of the room because it was already messy. hahaha!