Food/Restaurant Review: Tenderoast

Restaurant: Tenderoast at SM Southmall (Las Pinas)
Meal: Carver Roast Meals / Tenderoast Beef Meal
Price: 159 pesos
Verdict: To follow... a bit busy right now.. please stay-tuned.. :)

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Time to Awaken The Rizal in All Of Us

Tomorrow, June 19 we celebrate -- with much gratitude and adoration, Jose Rizal's birthday. For the uninformed few (okay, very very few, if there are actually any), Jose Protacio Rizal is the Philippine's National Hero. I guess there's no need to elaborate on that.

I have the pleasure and honor of living (for almost 2 years now) in the same city where he was born -- Calamba City, Laguna. And so, being a few kilometers away from Rizal's Shrine ( Rizal's ancestral house), I feel that it is only appropriate and yes, expected that I blog about him today -- not discounting the fact that I genuinely have the urge to write about him. Before anything else, I have a confession to make. In the (almost) 2 years that I've moved here with my family, I have not ( and I am ashamed to admit this..) visited Rizal's Shrine -- not even once. And it's not for lack of anything but "effort". The seemingly patriotic and nationalistic side of me resents that. I pass by that area almost everyday and yet, all this time, the closest that I got to showcasing it is through a "photo post" about a usual journey home from Crossing, Calamba. Pathetic, I know. But it's true. And what's troubling about it is that if someone like myself haven't been there for lack of "effort", there is a great chance that many people share the same pathetic story of "lost patriotism". And for a small country like ours who depend highly on a few country-loving citizens to put some sanity in this crazy-politician-ruled country, that is a loss we cannot disregarad, however little it may seem.

Rizal's birth is not significant because he is our National Hero. In my opinion, it is his death that ultimately summarized all that he wrote about and inspired us to do -- to die for love of our country. Rizal definitely "walked the talk". So, yes, it is not his being a National Hero that prompts us to honor his birthday, rather it is his "being Filipino" and the resounding truth that if he has created an impact so great so as to inspire and stir a revolution, then that means that any Filipino CAN do the same. It is in our blood, in our culture and in our beliefs. Each and every Filipino can be a new Rizal -- inspiring people not just by words but by actions that speak louder, battling with today's oppressors and colonizers in the form of economic sabotagers, extremist groups, abusive media groups and power-hungry and self-obsessed politicians -- all painting the country's grim future while wrecking havoc in the present.

We need new Rizals and we need it now. Jose Rizal is dead but we are still alive. We may not be able to do what he has done over a hundred years ago but we can do something like it today, one form or another. Showcase the Rizal spirit in you today. Showcase the Filipino spirit!

Nine Days After

Nine days after, we have come back Eugene. And we will keep on coming back... read more

Smart Money & Globe G-Cash: The Resurgence of Mobile e-Commerce

The "OLD" Smart Money Card and The "NEW" MasterCard-enabled Smart Money Card

Smart Communication's Smart Money tv ad has seen frequent airtimes in the past weeks. I was surprised to see such active promotion for this service these days since I seriously thought Smart has abandoned development of this feature in favor of other interests. For a time, Globe G-Cash has dominated the mobile e-Commerce arena since the long slumber of Smart Money following its breakthrough service in 2000. I was one of the few who signed up for that service four years after and even got myself a Smart SIM (although I have always been a Globe subscriber, prepaid and postpaid since 1999) because I really felt that that service would give me much convenience. Unlike Globe's G-Cash, Smart Money comes with a card. At that time, it was a MasterCard Electronic- enabled card which meant that you can also use it at POS (point of sale) terminals that carried the MasterCard Electronic logo. But unlike your usual credit card, if the store/establishment only accepts MasterCard (without the "Electronic"), your Smart Money card would be useless. Although I write about the Smart Money as if I've frequently used it, the fact of the matter is that I never got to use it. I still have it to this day, tucked in one of my wallet's forgotten pockets. The reason I never got to use it probably stems from the fact that in the early stages, mobile e-commerce wasn't really known mainstream. Smart Money logos and ads were all over the malls and restos but few people even cared to sign up for it, much less use it, even though they had it (like myself).

Even now, with Globe's G-Cash gaining popularity in online businesses and transactions such as Ebay and Multiply, it's still considered an unconventional method of payment, thus unpatronized specially by people who still aren't "connected" or "online". I remember, in one of my mall visits a few months back, I asked one SM Department Store sales lady if they accepted Globe G-Cash payments, the girl, initially stunned for a moment, responded with "I'm not sure." even though a few steps away was a poster that hung saying "Globe G-Cash payments accepted here". Funny, right? Well, I didn't want to believe that these people aren't aware of available payment options in their store so I decided to go to the cashier counter and asked the cashier instead. I thought, if there's anyone here who should know whether or not G-Cash is accepted here, it must be the cashier. But lo and behold, she said the same thing as the other lady. She doesn't know and even asked us to ask people from "Information". So I told myself, this is hopeless. How can they possibly put up a sign like that and not orient their people first? That's when it hit me, we are not yet ready for mobile e-commerce. A few months after that, I signed up for a new account in Multiply. I've had a personal Multiply account since August 2006 but wanted to give online commerce a chance so the best option was Multiply. I then set-up This is where I was able to put Globe G-Cash to good use. Globe G-Cash can have a load of at most, 40,000 pesos at any time, in excess of that amount, it has to be withdrawn. Almost all Multiply-based online biz accepted Globe G-Cash payments. It was fast, convenient and well, relatively secure. Then I started paying my Globe Handyphone postpaid bill using G-Cash followed by my Meralco bills. It really was convenient and payments arrived lightning-fast. That's how I use Globe G-Cash up until now. But even if it serves my purpose at the moment, a MasterCard-enabled option card is still something it lacks -- making payment dependent solely on mobile phones.

Smart Money's new card, re-launched with a bang, however, provides that needed feature. The formerly MasterCard Electronic symbol has been changed to MasterCard -- which means that now, a Smart Money card will be the ultimate debit card of choice for the highly-urbanized and highly-mobile consumer. I have yet to test this feature, though so I can't really say much about it. You can load it in amounts from 500 to 10,000 pesos max. Although, the information that reached me is convincing enough to make me sign up for it. It poses a question however, for the select few who have been using Bancnet's ATM card debit feature. Because if you think about it, why would you bother transferring your money from your ATM/savings account to the Smart Money card in order to use it to pay for products and services when you can easily use your ATM card's debit feature instead? Two words. MasterCard compatibility. If your ATM card/bank is not MasterCard-enabled, you can't use it as a debit card. From what I know, the difference of a debit card-enabled ATM card is that you don't have to encode your ATM PIN (personal identification number) anymore when you use it in POS terminals as opposed to regular ATM cards that would still require you for a PIN after the cashier swipes your ATM card.

The resurgence of mobile e-commerce looks promising at the moment, with more and more people being aware of its benefits. The only problem right now is the deep economic slump we're into. But discounting that fact, it seems safe to assume that right now, we are ready for mobile e-commerce. After all, 8 years is a lot of time. We have more matured and more informed consumers ready to try whatever's new, "in" and trendy -- but only if it suits their needs. The challenge for telcos right now is make these features work on a more practical manner that consumers would sign-up for features and services like this without reservations and optimistic of the many perks they'll get from being both "trendy" and "techno-savy". In with the new, out with the old.

Mobile e-commerce has finally arrived. Question is, are you ready for it? Or more aptly put, "will you jump into the bandwagon?". Let's hear what you have to say. Your comments are welcome.

** Disclaimer: This is NOT A PAID BLOG. I am in no way connected with either Globe or Smart. I blog this in the interest of informing the public. For veracity of information, it is always best to contact Globe Telecom or Smart Communications. **

Kalayaan 2008: Losing the Spirit of Freedom

I can only say, with much disgust, that this frequent changing of Regular Holiday dates in favor of a long weekend is nothing but disrespect of the occasion and all that it stands for. This has been done with due diligence in almost all of the regular holidays we have that didn't fall within the "weekend requirement". Although, irritating enough, I passed it up as just in keeping with PGMA's love for the working class. But now, with the "Araw ng Kalayaan" (Philippine Independence Day - 110th Year of Celebration), I can't help but feel utter disappointment, and did I mention, disgust? that such a hallowed day be treated the same. June 12 is Independence Day. It is not Mother's Day or Grandparent's Day. It is the day we finally got the FREEDOM we have been longing for as a people -- free to think, free to govern ourselves, free to grow in our style and ways, free to express ourselves, free from whatever form of slavery, free from conquerors. Unlike all the other holidays marked "red" on our calendar, Independence Day is supposed to mean a lot to us. It is something to celebrate and be thankful for. It is something worthy of leaving work for a day, not going to school and leaving what we normally busy ourselves with. For if we think about it, and ponder on well enough, we would realize that it is this freedom that has empowered us to work, to go to school, to run a business, to write our opinions, to blog, to appear on tv and to do all other mundane things that we so loved and immersed ourselves with -- that which lead us to slowly forget what it means and costs to be truly free. Perhaps it is indeed hard to think about freedom and its significance if you were born free -- as in the song. How do you value something that you didn't have to fight for, much less shed blood and die for? How convenient it is for us, born with the luxury of freedom to simply wave a flag and reenact events of over a hundred years ago without even putting up a small fight to do so? And yes, how convenient it is for us to simply move the Independence Day holiday to any day that would fall on a weekend and in effect make the exact day, June 12th a regular day? Oh yeah, right..there's still the usual ceremony and flag-raising and all that..that's what the "Palace" said but are they discounting the fact that because of holiday date switch they made, those few people willing and excited to participate in the Independence Day celebration would now have to be ABSENT from either school or work?! Who do you expect to be there now? Public officials? who in all these are the least affected because being there still qualifies for "being at work"? Is Malacanang doing this so lesser people would go? Okay, so there's this people's day" of sorts dubbed as "Tungo sa Tunay Na Kalayaan" which is said to be a showcase of government services brought closer to the people on this glorious day of June 12 -- President's orders, so they say. But what the !@#&?! Who do they expect to be there again? Public officials again?? Tsk. So is Malacanang expecting that the average Juan who is working himself to death just so he can put food on his family's table will be "patriotic" or even, in the context of availing government services, be "hopeful" and "optimistic" enough to leave work on that day to avail of these so-called government services? If this government is truly dedicated to "true freedom", they don't need to wait for a reason as big as Independence Day to move "services" closer to the people. This should be constantly and consistently happening in the entire country. Medical, social and economic services should be "abot-kamay" (within reach) of the average Filipino anywhere in the country. You'll set-up tents for these services within the Malacanang area to serve who?? So, you expect impoverished people like my kababayans to travel all the way from Bicol just to avail of medical and dental services? Come on. Why not make government programs work on the local government level? Strengthen this division. Make your services felt where it's needed. June 12, 2008 is Independence Day, 110th year of Philippine Independence. It's about time we realize what it means to be "truly free". And please, next year, leave June 12 alone. Who cares if it falls on a weekday or a weekend? All that matters is what it stands for and that's freedom. No matter what crisis we face, let the spirit of freedom shine through. Because right now, this is all we have worth celebrating.

Thank God For "Restore"

I made one of those "O-M-G" mistakes today, actually, just a few minutes ago. You see, the adventurous and software-tinker that I am, I have decided to move our family website from to another self-hosted WordPress blog. My webhost's 1.5GB of space allocation is barely used at only 3.26MB for the website and only 1.26MB for my logs. So I thought, I'd better transfer the family website to my paid host. I initially wanted to make a photoblog but changed my mind. Everything was going well, including the changing of nameservers since the domain is registered at HostPapi, and my webhost is StartLogic so I had to manage my domain from within my webhost. Shortly after verifying that the new domain control is working, I installed WordPress under the adapted domain. I of course want to install it at the root directory. The installation prompted me to check if I was certain since the same application is already installed ( the one used by ). I didn't know what came upon me that prompted me to tick on "Confirm installation on existing directory". I ticked the darn thing without second thoughts. It must be sheer stupidity or maybe I wasn't myself that time. After doing that, I immediately felt that "oops..oh dear! shoot me!" moment. I checked my url and lo and behold! -- it's gone! gone with the wind! gone forever! I sat in front of the screen like a stone.. what the %^%&^%*???!!! How incredibly and unbelievably stupid can I get?? What was I thinking? Or was I even thinking?? Oh my dear Lord.. all those stupid podcasts, all those junk matter how insignificant it might be to other people, those to me are freakin' priceless.. I have been spending hours trying to fix that darn site's layout and now, all for nothing? "This can't possibly be happening!" I thought, there has to be a way to undo this stupid mistake. And oh, what a relief when I remembered that I incidentally signed-up for a "site restore" feature / add-on service at StartLogic. Never have I ever been so thankful for paying extra for such a feature that until this day, I thought I didn't need and shouldn't have paid for in the first place. One click of a button and presto! My site is back like nothing horrifying ever happened. Whew! That was the closest I got to total freak-out. I almost gave up blogging, all because of that incident. Seriously, if I didn't have it fixed, I was swearing not to blog anymore lest I end up nuking all posts that took me months to write in only a fraction of a second.. Today, I learned a lesson, and learned it the hard way. Never, in my wildest dreams will I ever tick on a "confirm installation on an existing directory" again unless I am 101% sure. Thank God it's over. And thank God for "restore".

Just Another TV Ad aka. Infomercial

Why in the world is Judy Ann Santos under fire on account of that Meralco TV ad explaining and making an analogy of "system loss" through ice cubes? Why do we find it so easy to point the accusing finger on somebody we have known for all eternity to be a celebrity, a TV personality, who has been making commercials, and dozens of it for a living? Now, I'm not a Juday fan nor am I a "Kapamilya" or an ABS-CBN fanatic. I just think that it's not fair to chastise the actress (who is not even here in the country at the moment to defend herself) for appearing in a TV ad for Meralco whose same owners own her mother station in the first place. I must admit though, that the first time I saw that ad, I was shocked. I guess I just wasn't ready to see a celebrity as "big-time" as Judy Ann to defend Meralco as if the print and TV ads preceding that appearance of hers is not enough to make their point that passing the system loss charge (although rather unfair to consumers) has been allowed by the law. Yeah, right. We get it. We got it the first time it was explained to us. How much explaining does it require to finally sit and tell yourself, "oh, yeah, everything's been explained, there's nothing else left unsaid."? I guess that, among other reasons is what these consumer rights groups are so mad at. Well, there's no denying that Judy Ann, with all her money wouldn't worry that much about paying her electric bills. But that's besides the point. The point is, being the icon and influential person ( at least I guess judging from her fan base) that she has become, it would have been a wiser decision not to accept an ad for such a controversial product/service. But can you really blame her? She is after all, a Kapamilya. If there was the slightest chance that she can refuse making that ad, I bet the urge of speaking up for Meralco had been stronger, if we are to believe Meralco's statement that Judy Ann was not forced to say what she said, and that she actually understood what she explained in the infomercial and even strongly believed in the idea of system loss. All I say is that, given the state of things, it would have been wiser for Judy Ann to stick to the usual round-up of commercials she so effectively delivered and generated sales for. An issue so controversial that it has become more of a political than an economic issue should have been left to those people who discuss and play it best. Something as sensitive as this, touching the very life of the poorest of our countrymen should be left to the politicians, economists and businessmen to discuss and fight over. Judy Ann, although a celebrity is just like us -- a citizen of this country caught in the cross-fire. If she is indeed just a messenger, then let the saying "don't shoot the messenger" prevail. After all, probably to her, it's just another TV ad, so let's not make such a fuss over it.

A Tribute to My Brother, Eugene

As you may have noticed, I have been out since Monday. Just got back late Thursday. My dear brother-in-law Eugene Marmol passed away Friday morning following an accelerated pneumonia that compounded his recent heart surgery at the Philippine Heart Center. He has been ill since late last year but we never could have expected such a sudden death. He was a good man, too good a man to die, and at such an early age. He was just 28 years old. He had a bright future ahead of him. But God must have a plan for him, even better than any of us can give Eugene. We would like to thank all those who sympathized with us, attended the wake and the interment and those who have supported us, specially my mom-in-law, who was most devastated by this tragedy.

The following video is a tribute made by Eugene's friends and was shown prior to laying Eugene to his final resting place at the Manila Memorial Park - Sucat. The outpour of love and sympathy has been overwhelming. Family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and classmates have stayed with us and comforted us in this time of grief. Thank you so much.

We will miss you Eugene...
See you in another life, brother!