Category Archives: Personal

I’m in charge

Contrary to most people’s belief, exercising the right to vote is an objective action rather than a subjective one. We vote not because we feel it’s right but because we know it’s right. Our best chance to pick worthy candidates is to evaluate their quality –accomplishments, reputation and goals – rather than leaving everything to instinct. Our best chance is to let history – not sympathy –guide us. We are days away from deciding the fate of our ailing country, if our vote is solely determined by our feelings, we are leaving everything to chance. We left everything to chance before and look where it got us. We trusted our feelings before and look how it betrayed us. This time let us take full accountability for the fate of our country.

I am in charge of the fate of my country. I will vote wisely.

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Filed under Election, Personal, Philippines

Bangkok: first and short

So I did it. I was able to come back in one piece. It was my first time leaving the country so it was kinda of a big deal. Our destination: the “City of Deity”, the capital of Thailand, Bangkok. It was a very short but I have to say well-planned and well-executed, jam-packed two-day trip (kudos to us!). Initially I thought I booked it for four days. Rookie that I am, I realized later that the we leave the Philippines on 9 o’clock in the evening of March 5 and come back 12 in the morning of March 2008. So all we have is 2 days. Tricky, tricky. Nonetheless, setback is never a reason not to have fun.

DSC07185We landed around 11 in the evening at Bangkok airport. It’s nothing like when I saw Baguio for the first time. You know, that weird feeling you have when you are in a foreign land (though, technically Baguio is not a foreign land but you get my point). Bangkok strangely feels the same. The place somehow looks the same. People look the same (don’t get me started on how many times we were mistaken as local people). I had a mental picture that Bangkok immigration would somehow find problem on my passport and interrogate me and our entire trip will end to an episode of ‘Border Security’. But no, everything went smoothly. Later, I just found ourselves exchanging some dollars for Baht, that’s when I realized “I’m in Bangkok”!

We head straight to our hotel, called CentrePoint Silom. CentrePoint is a chain oDSC07196f hotel in Bangkok. Its a nice and decent hotel. Price is very reasonable. For $60/day, you’ll have a room for two with nice view, amenities and breakfast. I know it’s silly that UI have to mention this, but when traveling always get the one with breakfast included, it saves a lot of hassle plus most breakfast are buffet, yeah! After breakfast, we had our first item in our itinerary (shameless plug: itinerary courtesy of Tripit, you have no idea how much I love this tool): temples. From our place, there are several ways to get into the temples, but the best way is through ferry. Instead of taking a regular ferry, we rented a private one for 1600 Baht.  It was a well-spent money. The ferry toured us in Chao Phraya river and took us to one of Bangkok’s floating market. The ferry trip was a lot of fun. There are so many sights to see. It’s amazing how Bangkok was able to convert the river as one of it’s public means of transportation.

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The floating market can be reached through narrow canals branching out from Chao Phraya river. It’s a  30-minute ride from the dock. Here, food variety is insane. There are gazillion of foods around here. Most of them looks really interesting. Eating them can be a different case (maybe because I’m not that into exotic foods). Food here are very cheap but also mostly around Bangkok so it’s not really big deal. After that we went to see the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew which sits right next to each other. These two are testaments on how amazing Thailand’s culture is. The level of detail for every temple, wall and monument is  unbelievable. We also visited the Royal temple and met one of the locals. He was very hospitable and generous enough to give us some backgrounder on Thailand’s history. We weren’t able to finish the temples on day 1 because they are closed for King’s visit. So we have to go back the next day. Instead, we went prowling the street of Bangkok. Man, we’re glad that we did. It was fun just walking on the streets, riding the tuktuk, eating street foods and just immersing on the place. For the dinner, I did some research on where would a good place for fine dining. Here’s what I found: Spring/Summer. A very  modern restaurant that serves some of Thai’s best dishes. The food there was amazing. The service was also great. By the way, this place is very hard to find. Even on some of the blogs I read, they had a hard time finding the place. So I suggest take your map with you and learn a few direction-related Thai language. Don’t worry, it’s totally worth it.

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The next day, we picked up where we left off, the remaining temples: Wat Arum and Wat Pho. Wat Arun can be reached by crossing to the other side of the river on That Tien (last ferry station). It will cost you 3 Baht for the ferry and 35 Baht for the entrance on the temple. The temple’s architecture is just mind-numbing. The level of detail and attention put to this is unequivocal. You just have to see it for yourself. Pictures and words just won’t do justice in describing them. The climax is climbing the temple itself which can be pretty intimidating. I’m not kidding when I say that it’s an 80-degree climb! But it’s part of the experience so we have no choice but to climb. The last temple that we visited is Wat Pho. There’s an entrance fee of 50 Baht. The main attraction here is the Reclining Buddha, a huge, 46 meters long Buddha. Our last itinerary is, of course, shopping and where better to do it in Bangkok than in Chatuchak market place. It’s the Divisoria of Bangkok. You can buy virtually anything here at a cheap price. Well, maybe. Compared to Divisoria, it didn’t sound that cheap to me. But it was close enough that we were able to get some stuff for both of us.

On our last night, we felt that we’re done eating Thai food and we need some familiar flavor for our tongues. Walking a few blocks from our hotel, we found an Irish pubs that serves steaks and San Mig light. Oh what a relief! A perfect way to end our first and short escape. Next, Saigon!

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Filed under Bangkok, Personal, Thailand, travel

almost a blog

Despite my conviction to do a weekly blog, I’m just barely doing it this week. We’re headed to Olongapo today to visit our families and probably meet some old friends. We will be hitting the beach and have some fun. It has been a while since we did this. I hope this will be a fun weekend for everyone. Speaking of fun, here’s a song that I’m sure can cheer everyone up.

 

Happy weekend everyone!

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Filed under Personal, travel

consistency dependency

This is crazy. Suddenly, I have the urge to blog again. Not only I that resurrected my blog but I impulsively purchased my own domain and linked it to my WordPress account. Its been months since I blogged – if you can call that a blog. I think I got really lazy. I settled to Twitter and Facebook. Not that I hate them – maybe a little – I just think I could do better. Better than 140-character ‘’tweets’ and status updates. So, in a way, this is me saying that “I will do better.” There are couple of times where I had a good opening line for a blog but eventually get lost in my thoughts. I have this really bad habit on jumping from one thought to another and totally miss my point. Specially if I’m creating long paragraphs. Rookie mistake, I need more discipline in that. That’s one thing about not putting your thoughts into writing, its easily swayed into something else. Anyway, I don’t want to make this sound like a big commitment. I just want to be more consistent with my blogging habit.  Consistent not seasonal. Yeah, that’s more like it.

‘See you guys around.

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Filed under Personal

tweaking our home network

For a few months now, I’ve noticed that our home network is just painfully slow either on accessing files over the network or just surfing the net. We have three PC’s on the network, two of them run on Windows 7: a desktop, our media center and a Sony Vaio laptop running on Windows XP. We also have a few gadgets that occasionally piggyback on the network: three mobile phones and PMP (portable media player) with wi-fi and the only thing that connects them together is a 4-port wireless Linksys WRT54GC.

Googling (and Binging) around, I saw a couple of tips on how to improve our hapless router’s performance. Some of them are straightforward, like picking a good location for your router so that it has good coverage on each of the device on the house. Some of them are just trivial, which I will cover here:

  • The first that I did was to change my router’s channel. It turns out that most routers use the same channel by default so if you’re in a wifi congested area, connection gets weaker. To change your router’s channel access the router’s page, if you’re using a Linksys router, point your browser to:

    http:///192.168.1.1/

    You will be prompted with a security dialog box, provide the credentials. The default username is admin, leave the password empty.

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    Go to the wireless section of the page and the value router’s wireless channel. Six, one and eleven are common values so stay away from them. You can download net stumbler to detect the channels that are being used around your area.

 

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  • The next thing that I did is to tweak the settings of each of my PC’s wireless adapter. I’m not going to discuss them here since most of the things that I did was just fiddle with the values of the adapter’s settings. I suggest that you check the documentation of your network adapter first before changing anything.

    To view your wireless network adapter’s settings, right-click on “My Computer” > Manage > Device Manager > On the right pane, expand “Network Adapters” then double click your network adapter.

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  • The last that I did – it may sound Greek but just bare with me – was toimage configure my router to use  OpenDNS instead of the default DNS  from my ISP (SmartBro). OpenDNS is a fast, secure and reliable DNS alternative, in english, it’s just plain better. Anyway, applying DNS can be a little tricky depending on the router’s model. Case in point, Linksys WRT54GC only allows you to specify the DNS using “Static IP” and not “DHCP”. The first thing you need to do is go to the router’s settings page just like on the first tip. Once you’re there, go to the Set-up section of the router’s settings page. If you’re using a Linksys, its the default landing page. On this page, change your “Internet Connection Type” to “Static IP”. After this, you will need to supply the values for the fields. I found the values of these fields by checking the “Status” page of my router setting page.

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    Copy these values on their respective fields.

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    Don’t forget to click the “Save Settings” at the bottom of the page.

After these steps, there’s a noticeable change of speed in copying files over the network and some very subtle change in internet connection. There you go. I hope these tips help. Leave me a comment if you have some questions.

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Filed under Linksys WRT54GC, OpenDNS, SmartBro, Tech

episodal [strikes] back[slide]

image  When you get used to being busy, holidays aren’t necessarily good news for you. Three days at home without work may sound relaxing, but if work is something that keeps your mind occupied then that means three days of being on-occupied. Three days of nothing to think about but catching up missed episodes of some TV shows, pigging out, afternoon sleeps and hours and hours of mindless surfing on the net.  Don’t get me wrong, I like doing those things. I love doing nothing. But for three days?

The thing that sucks when you’re not doing anything is your mind tends to fly. “Fly” and “mind” in one sentence is never a good one. All of these images swimming, backstroking in your brain like a scene from some weird movie. Picking some random thoughts from your recollection like its some kind of torture-yourself-day. And that’s not even the worst part, wait until you get to sleep and you couldn’t. When everybody is in la-la land and you’ve seen all the TV shows  and you’ve read every article on your RSS reader and you’re still wide awake.

Yes, It’s 2:18 in the morning and I wanna think about work. I am thinking of what I’m gonna do the minute I sit on my desk. I am composing in my mind every code that I’ll be writing, every email that I’ll be sending,  and every little thing that I need to do. I am thinking about anything because I don’t want to be not thinking. I think I’m wired this way. I think we’re all wired this way. And that’s just all right. Life is just too short to throw away some moments of not thinking. I’ve wasted enough.

I think I just had my “fill”. I’m hitting the sack now.

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Filed under Personal

third option

Haven’t blog something personal for a while, so here’s something I’ve got from HIMYM:

You may think your only choices are swallow your anger or throw it at someone’s face, there’s a third option: you can just let it go. And only when you do that it is really gone, you can move forward.

Ted Mosby

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Filed under How I Met Your Mother, Personal