Sunday, December 10, 2017

LIFESTYLE | HIV Case of a 23-Year Old Guy


I just couldn't get this out of mind, and it has been bothering me since I read about that article last night. The headline starts- "I'm an HIV positive person" which details the plight of a 23-year old Filipino guy who was begging for some financial support due to lack of resources to buy necessary medicine. To make matters worse, the guy has not disclosed his condition to his parents saying, and I quote "I am the bread winner in the family, and if my father learns about my situation, he would ask me to go back home; and I cannot do that since I am the only one sending them money and supporting my other siblings."

He posted photos of his left leg now covered with shingles i.e. small red bumps. And he has complained about how he couldn't sleep at night due to excruciating headache. 

For god's sake- he is 23. And now his life has been snatched from him.

I don't want to play the blaming game here, but what is going on in the Philippines. Statistics now show that 62% of all HIV infected people in the country are from the 15 to 24 age bracket. 

In a short ad from HIVepicenter Philippines, one could not help but tear up after hearing of stories of people who have contracted the disease.



ARTICLE | 2017 Year Ender Special - Brand Awards



And finally, Expat In The City (EITC) is pleased to share with you the results of 2017's Brand Awards. This recognition covers Oman, and all nominees were chosen based on their prominence for the whole 2017. This aims to assist fellow expats to choose brands which are practical and worth their time and money.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

ARTICLE | 2017 Year Ender Special - Restaurants


Muscat does not run out of options when it comes to food. Whether you want seafood, fine dining, or just something quick- there is surely something you can find. This 2017, I had a sample of some of the most popular go-to places for food enthusiasts.

Restaurants

There are of course the staple venues like Trader Vic's (for semi fine dining) or Turkish Restaurant (for seafood). Notably this year, with the rise of new malls and the country's openness towards new brands- we have seen the opening of new names like the infamous "Jollibee" and several other players found in the malls. The trend is likely to continue as Oman keeps on constructing new malls and hotels alike. And in the end, the customers will always be the winner.


Caramel, located within the vicinity of Royal Opera House. Preferably with reservations as the place can be packed on weekends.

ARTICLE | 2017 Year Ender Special - Movies, Operas and Musicals


Continuing the tradition of writing reviews for films I have seen on the big screen, it was apparent that this year set forth superhero films to fantasy themed stories.

Movies, Operas and Musicals

The good thing about Oman is that movie houses are very accessible, plus there's IMAX in the country which makes the viewing experience extra special. And also, the Royal Opera House Muscat provides an avenue for the high type entertainment.

"Beauty and the Beast", starring Ema Watson as Belle, was an inspiring film. We loved it and we owe the premier tix to Merge 104.8

ARTICLE | 2017 Year Ender Special - Events


2017 has witnessed an increase in parties and concerts, as well special sports events that catered to a wider audience. I had the privilege to be a part of some of the biggest happenings in Muscat.


Events

Well there are obviously more events that transpired in 2017 which I was not able to cover for several reasons, but suffice to say- there are plenty of things to experience while in Oman. This is good news for expats who are looking for some diversion in a rather routinary lifestyle.

Almouj Muscat Marathon

ARTICLE | 2017 Year Ender Special - Clubs


For this year's edition of year ender, I will be focusing on notable items that transpired within 2017, but not necessarily in a chronological fashion.

Clubs

After coming back to Oman last July 2016, I was in the swing of things; the clubbing scenes to be precise. Truth be told, I ain't the party goer type but hell yeah, there are days when one needs to find some diversion, and diversion it is when I step onto these clubs.


Trader Vics in Intercontinental. Best days to visit are Thursday and Friday.
Recommended cocktails: Tiki Puka Puka

MOVIE REVIEW | Justice League (2017)


Photo from www.leonardmaltin.com

JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017)
Rating: 7.5 / 10 
★★★★★★★

Director: Zack Snyder

Cast: Henry Cavill (Superman), Ben Affleck (Batman), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), Ezra Miller (The Flash), Ray Fisher (Cyborg)


I liked how the director made an effort to give all characters equal exposure in the film, that is- not giving the limelight to any of them. Although Wonder Woman obviously stood out, what with all the grand entrance and that signature sound effect whenever she gets her limited screen time.

One of the many downsides of the film though is that the villain seemed too mundane and in the words of some critics "one dimensional magnified with obvious CGI", against the heroes i.e one punch from Superman and he's a goner. That goes against the narrative which tells of how in the ancient days, even the gods of Olympus, alien races and tribes of amazons/atlantians/humans had to come together just to defeat Steppenwolf. I mean, come on- he was defeated by Superman single handedly. Didn't this realization dawned on the screenwriters?

Friday, December 8, 2017

ARTICLE | Digressing the Past and Present




Surviving personal struggles in PUP


Back in my University days, I have always thought that life was just it. My usual problems included:
  • Commuting from University to province, and from province back to University
  • Deciding which food to eat for lunch and dinner
  • Making sure that there's enough money to last for the whole month
  • Submitting papers and whole bunch of other requirements
  • Snatchers
  • Traffic
  • Grades
  • Extra income
  • Latest fashion
  • Movies in the cinema
  • Paperback novels

On early Monday mornings when my father would go to Manila to drop me, I sometimes find myself lost in thought, thinking "what is ahead of me?" With all the ugly images I see everywhere, I was scared to stay in my first University (read more about why I landed in PUP - click here). 

I just thought that I deserved better. And I do deserve better than this. Which is why I called upon the Universe to help me move out to a better place from the very first semester. Luckily it was granted, which is why 14 years after, I think that the power of visualization certainly works. Think and it shall happen, as what the saying says- what the mind can conceive, the body can achieve.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

EVENT | 2017 UAAP S80 Cheerdance Competition


Photo Credit: Twitter/Mall of Asia

With the recently concluded UAAP S80 Cheerdance Competition, spectators were in for unexpected results. The reigning 4peat champions, NU was slated to grab its 5peat (something only UST has done for the record), but ended up outside the podium after it tied 4th place with FEU. The returning UP Pep Squad was expected to give everyone a run for their money, but disappointingly ending at the 6th spot (a few points away from DLSU); with ADMU consistent with their rank as last.

This year was certainly not what we were expecting to happen. There could be numerous reasons and among them- pressure and tension. For all strong teams, they thought they had it in the bag, but succumb to their inner struggles. Evident of which are the many faults and tumbles of the teams this year.

The complete results: First ADU - 663.50; Second UST - 638.50; Third UE - 634.50; Fourth/Fifth NU - 610.50 / FEU - 610.50; Sixth UP - 575.50; Seventh DLSU - 567.50; Eighth ADMU - 558.50.

ARTICLE | Ponderings of a New OFW in Saudi Arabia




These past few days, I have been recollecting about my two-year (i.e. 2011-2013) stay in Saudi Arabia and every time I think about it, I am still surprised at how I was able to survive. It wasn't the easiest experience for a novice OFW like myself. But because I am naive at working overseas, I accepted what was thrown at me- blindly. 

Do I regret it? I really can't say yes, but during the latter part of my days in Saudi, I started feeling sorry for myself, for all the unnecessary suffering I had to endure for two long years. I do not want to sound ungrateful or like I am complaining- please do not get me wrong. This article is far from whining, and in fact, truth be told- I learned a lot from my bosses and I was treated professionally in my company. If only for that, I am thankful that Saudi was my first real job outside the Philippines. Also, my work in Saudi helped me finance my sister's education and enabled me to pitch in for the bills.

Now comes the points that I had to contend with.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

ARTICLE | The 5 Things You Need to Know for Better Website Translations


The 5 Things You Need to Know for Better Website Translations



For a website to be effective, it needs to reach people in their native language. There are 70% of Internet users out there who don’t speak English as their dominant tongue. Additionally, a majority of the would be more likely and would prefer to make an important purchase in their own language. In order to reach most users online and convert them into loyal customers, here are some of the best practices for professional website translation for foreign audiences.

Monday, October 23, 2017

REPOST | Ten Things Your Employer Should Pay For - Not You

Forbes Now: Ten Things Your Employer Should Pay For -- Not You. http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIwxtyEjTo

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

LIFESTYLE | Actively Reducing Stress Increases Health At The Genetic Level



Actively Reducing Stress Increases Health At The Genetic Level

Have You Ever Heard Of Telomeres?

If you’ve tied your shoes, you can understand telomerase. This is a substance that, for purposes of illustration, let’s say is found at the end of your DNA strands. Now, when you’ve got tape on a shoestring, that tape ends up keeping the lace together. Because of the tape, the lace doesn’t unravel.

Telomeres are concentrations of telomerase at the end of DNA which function the same way. Here’s the thing: over time, telomerase wears away. What does this primarily is stress. Specifically: bad stress. There is a distinction. Working out is good stress. Getting held up at gun-point in an alley is bad stress; especially the psychological fallout.

What you want to do in order to reduce your stress levels naturally is become more physically active, and eat foods that are less processed. That’s what physicians have been saying for decades: eat right and exercise. These activities do wonders for the body and mind. But sometimes it’s difficult to get into the right rhythm, isn’t it?

Thursday, September 28, 2017

MOVIE REVIEW | IT (2017)




IT (2017)
Rating: 7 / 10 


Director: Andres Muschietti

Cast: Jaeden Lieberher (Bill Denbrough), Bill Skarsgard (Pennywise), Sophia Lillis (Beverly Marsh)



Let me start off by asking- what makes James Wan horror flicks compelling? The simple answer is- jump scares are injected at the right spots where you least expect it to be.

And how trite can a story get? Haunted house + outcasts with personal issues + nerd who read the history of the cursed town = stereotypical horror film. In other words, IT was too overhyped, with nothing much new to offer.

IT became one of those predictable scary movies where you already know who in the main characters will survive in the end; and it will end on a happy note. And also, I had an issue as to how the antagonist came to be and how simple it was to eradicate it Pennywise- in my own words "too convenient".


The last Stephen King movie I really appreciated is Carrie. Other than that, these stories are best enjoyed on paper. Not on wide screens.




MOVIE REVIEW | Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)




Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

Rating: 8 / 10 


Director: Matthew Vaughn

Cast: Taron Egerton (Eggsy), Edward Holcroft (Charlie), Mark Strong (Merlin), Julianne Moore (Poppy), Colin Firth (Harry Hart), Channing Tatum (Tequila), Halle Berry (Ginger)



This fantasy action packed film borrows themes from Fast and the Furious, James Bond and even Charlie's Angels; it is funny and has lots of close up shots on channing tatum's bulge (one can never go wrong on CT's package)... Julianne Moore was also a perfect sociopath villainess... skip the burger though.

The ensemble was peppered with some of the most highly sought actors in Hollywood - which obviously is a strategy to lure in more audiences. It banks on star power rather than the narrative.

Interestingly, the only reason why this far-fetched-from-reality film caught my attention was because it created a lot of buzz in social media. Other than that, I wouldn't bother seeing it on the big screen. People were talking about it, so I had to know what the hype was. Unfortunately, it's only a marketing ploy of the film.

Did I enjoy it? Yes. Will I see another sequel? No.


ARTICLE | 6 Best Flower Colors to Coordinate with Royal Blue Bridesmaid Dresses


6 Best Flower Colors to Coordinate with Royal Blue Bridesmaid Dresses


It might be surprising, but royal blue is actually a versatile color for weddings. It can be subtly paired with white or pale blush, or cause a major stir with bold colors like fuchsia and bright yellow. It can “anchor” a nautical theme or take its rightful place among the jewel tones. Year after year, royal blue remains one of the most popular wedding colors and just a little experimentation easily reveals why.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

LIFESTYLE | Back to Philippines


It's almost two weeks since I got back to the Philippines. And so far, I'm still on track with my to-do list which contains some bits of running here and there to make sure that necessary documents are done. But that doesn't mean there's no room for fun. 

PS. I gotta remind myself to be more proactive in taking photos, because I'm an admitted lazy photo blogger. I rely mostly on the photos of my friends. That being said, we now move on - 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

TRAVEL | In Colorado, Summer Goes out with a Bang



Looking for a unique way to say goodbye to summer? Head to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and check out nature's unbelievable farewell to summer.

An Adventure You'll Never Forget

Aspen Trees
The pine forests that blanket the Colorado mountains are dotted with colonies of aspen trees that grow in tight groupings. Locals adoringly refer to them as "quakies," and every fall the green leaves change to a luminous gold. The contrast of the golden aspens amid dark green pines is stunning, attracting thousands of viewers every year.

A great way to take advantage of this amazing annual event is via RV. You can fly into Denver International Airport, and rent an RV from a dealer like B&B RV - one of the oldest dealers in Denver. A quick Uber ride will grab you from the airport and take you to your temporary home-on-wheels to tour the area's countryside. Colorado has an array of jaw-dropping places to visit, making an RV the perfect choice.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

ARTICLE | See You Summer Next Year; Welcome Winter



Can't believe it's already September. I'm at a loss, been that fast?
Amidst the summer playlist on my mobile player and hundreds of emptied watermelon cups, hits you right on the head - yeah, it's already Winter and we bid the sunny days adieu.

When I look at photos in the past weeks, what strikes me the most is that I've been to many water related activities - whether it be at the pool or beach; one thing is quite evident, I love the water. And pardon the not so beach body of mine, but the tropical spirit inside me gets the best out of my head.

Friday, September 1, 2017

ARTICLE | 5 Things Dancers Do Differently - They Are Ready For Anything

5 Things Dancers Do Differently - They Are Ready For Anything



Good dancers usually start dancing very young. Parents recognize a natural talent in their child and thankfully, they help them develop that talent. A dancer is not born great, but they could be born for greatness.

The disciplines and values a child learn while in dance will serve them well for the rest of their lives.

Here are 5 things a dancer does differently that carries on to other phases in life.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

EVENT | Wet Republik 3 Pool Party in Muscat, Oman


Previous edition of the Wet Republik i.e May 2017.






Photos credits to www.muscatnights.com



Wednesday, June 28, 2017

TRAVEL | Dubai Tourist Visa - Valid Until


Dubai Tourist Visa

A few days ago, I had the most unnerving dilemma with my Dubai tourist visa. You see, the visa has two validities:

Valid until states 23 Jun 2017, erstwhile my flight arrives in Dubai on 1am of 23 Jun 2017

A. Valid until - states the life of the visa (prior to entering the UAE), standard duration of a visa validity is 58 days upon application. Meaning - you need to use the visa within 58 days, otherwise it expires.

B. Valid for - states until when you can stay in UAE. The standard length of stay is 30 days.[1]

Saturday, June 3, 2017

MOVIE REVIEW | Wonder Woman




Wonder Woman
Rating: 8 / 10 



Not my favorite DC movie really, but when I think about Batman and Superman, I must say that Wonder Woman is not a bad film. As with the usual DC films, there is depth in the story. But what makes Wonder Woman different from other DC superhero films is that-

1. There was humor in the film.
2. It was not dark and grim.
3. The mood was uplifting and has a sense of redemption 
4. It was not afraid to kill the love interest which made a big difference.

Other than those, here are some of my thoughts:

TRAVEL | Pietro Boselli Travel Videos of the Philippines




Here's the compendium of Pietro Boselli videos about the Philippines (which I may have said before, good enough to attract visitors from different parts of the World).


Click the links to see the videos.

Part 1: Pietro Boselli in Palawan El Nido

Part 2: Pietro Boselli in Coron
Part 3: Pietro in Cebu & Bohol, Philippines


Be inspired and visit the Philippines too.

The perfect travel period will be before Summer starts, around March and April. May is the peak of the Summer season and by then, everyone flocks to most common tourist destinations and if crowded places are not your thing then it will be wise to plan ahead.

Security wise, so long as you travel in groups then you'll be OK. Not discourage individual travelers, but numbers will protect you.


TRAVEL | Pietro in Cebu & Bohol, Philippines


Can't get enough of the Philippines. Here's the third vid from the travels of Pietro. This time he visits Cebu, the Queen capital of the South in the Philippines and Bohol, Tagbilaran.



Monday, May 29, 2017

TRAVEL | Breakfast at Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah



This week, I decided to do something out of the usual- have breakfast in a five star hotel. I've never really made an effort to wake up early in the morning. Not the morning person that I am, but I did go out.

The drive to Shangri-La from Muscat was smooth. Not many cars are on the road on Fridays. And as we arrived at the reception of the hotel, a valet took my car keys. We headed to the receptionist to ask for the breakfast.

Initially, we were told that the breakfast costs this much. But we know that it is not the right price so we had to request them to check again, and true enough the rate was different. And so after a little talk, we began our Friday brekky. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

TRAVEL | Pietro Boselli in Coron



Oh dear, here is the second vid from Pietro's trip to the Philippines. With waters so clear and clean, it's a must-go destination for all nature lovers. 

Aside from the obvious fact that Coron is one piece of paradise in that Pacific Island, the videographer is one helluv a talented guy. He made the video so inviting, I don't think anyone can resist visiting the Philippines now.





See the first video here - 
TRAVEL | Pietro Boselli in Palawan El Nido

So yes, when I come home to Philippines - no matter how expensive it may get, am gonna get a flight and fly to Coron. 



Friday, May 12, 2017

DANCE | Viral Dances on YouTube




This week, we take a look at some of YouTube's cutest and most enjoyable dance performances.

So what is it about amateur videos that makes it go viral? Perhaps it's because of the novelty that brings along with it or the unexpected gratification viewers derive from seeing people do things out of the ordinary.



Concert at the Shop with Robert Cazimero - and a guest Hula Dancer 




Some background story- the hula dancer is Alaka'i Lastimado. He works as a flight attendant for Hawaiian Airlines. He's now based in Hawaii. He dances Hula for sure, and with that killer smile and eye candy looks, no wonder Internet went gaga over it.


Friday, April 28, 2017

TRAVEL | Pietro Boselli in Palawan El Nido




Since I'm missing the Philippines, here's a nice video from Pietro Boselli on his recent visit to El Nido and Coron. Actually before I left the Philippines last year, I made a promise that I will visit El Nido and Coron when I come back. Here's still hoping that I can keep that promise.

Videos are sourced from the official Youtube account of Pietro Boselli - click here.



Pietro was commissioned by local clothing brand 'Bench' as its latest endorser. Which made me think- must be so cool to do something that you love. But the guy deserve what he has after working hard for it. Only shows that if we are determined to get something, then we just gotta work for it.



MOVIES | Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2



Here's a tip before you decide not to scroll down- there are 5 post credits after the film. Some of the clips will deal about the movie. The others will build up on the next Marvel films so better not leave the theatre.


In other news in Muscat (aside from the heat), the latest edition of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is coming out next week. I am such a big fan of this movie. And to be honest, I never thought I'd like it since it was completely unknown to me before the first GOTG came out. Perhaps it was the odd choice of hippy songs that made me like it (I even got the movie soundtrack).


Here's a preview of the film.








FYI. 

The Guardians of the Galaxy is an important part of the build up into the Infinity Stones. You may remember that in the first film, the Power Stone was successfully retrieved by the Guardians. And that the The Nova Corps in the end kept the stone.

Since we know that in Thor Ragnarok, the Soul Stone will surface, we are yet to know what's in store with GOTG2. So that's something to watch out for.



FASHION | Men's Summer Outfit for 2017





Temperature in Oman is rising as high as 40 degree Celsius. It's now becoming a feat to walk outside without getting drenched in sweat. So it's very important that we choose the right clothes for this otherwise awful scorching heat.

Not to be too much influenced by the white man's fashion statement, but the trend this 2017 seems to going for (at least for the men) towards the casual rugged.

By that it means that men prefers to be out in the open with any of the following:
Jeans - torn, scratched, pleated, faded (anything that looks like it came from the laundry bin and never got washed for 10 years)
Chinos - especially the ankle cuts, the look that seemed like your seamstress had a bad day and decided not to cut properly the endings
Loafers - no socks 
Loose necklines - can either be V-neck or really wide circle cuts

The gym buff type is slowly loosing momentum and men is starting to opt for a more comfortable and homey fashion statements. Take famous DJs for instance - these are the guys who really don't care how they look and embody the YOLO motto of the current generation.

That being said, I am off to finding the right clothes for this summer. Be more aware of what really makes me comfortable but at the same time not getting sidetracked with the latest fad.

Monday, April 17, 2017

MOVIE REVIEW | Fate of the Furious (Fast and the Furious 8)



Fate of the Furious (Fast and the Furious 8)

Rating: 9 / 10 



So I'm not really a fan of "Fast and the Furious" and to be honest, I have yet to see all the seven movies; and when my friend told me we've got free passes for the FF8, I said why not.

One of the things that kept recurring in the film was Vin Diesel's "family" line (which was overly done). Sometimes I wonder if he does really mean it.

But what I really liked about the whole non-sense of the film, is how uncanny the deception was played in the film from the small up to the big characters (I mean come on, how can a super techy assassin, with access to its so called god's eye be fooled by a car drift racer). I find this thought seriously laughable.

   
It there's anything that salvages the film - apart from the branded cars all thrashed to pieces; and dizzying car stunts - must be Charlize Theron who played the role of Cipher (as evil as her character as Ravena in Snow White). In fact, I was so astounded by Charlize's that I wanted her to play the villainess in all major films.

Villainess in Wonder Woman
Villainess in Thor: Ragnarok
Villainess in Avengers: Infinity Stones
Villainess in Justice League
Villainess in Maleficent
and the list goes on...

Charlize is the type of actress you wouldn't get tired of playing evil roles. That being said, the other actors are mere comic relief or what I call "padding" so the franchise can go on.

But overall, I enjoyed the film.


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