Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sweet Endings with My Cadbury Barkada

While every story may begin with 'Once Upon A Time' there's no guarantee that it will end with a Sweet Ending or 'Happily Ever After' but I think that's where the magic comes in, that is where your will power to make things better comes in. 

For example...today, my alarm didn't go off and Paul and I were late for work for about an hour and that meant having to catch up with all of the reports I send out. Aside from that I was also nursing a really annoying dry cough. But I didn't let any of that get me down and I told myself that I just had to get through this day and that there was something sweet waiting for me at the end of the day. So I decided to treat myself to a bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk screw the cough :P 

Munching into the milky goodness of Cadbury Dairy Milk is a sweet ending, my best friend and always barkada Paul and I look forward to. :) 

So no matter if you had a rough start in your day... Once upon a time, my alarm didn't go off and I was late for work and I was also sick... it can always end with a bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk and that will always be a Sweet Ending no matter what! :) 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Etude House Product Haul

I haven't done a product haul or a product review in a long time, mostly because well as I have already said before I really don't have the budget to do so. When I was just starting out blogging I knew I wouldn't be one of those make up, product review bloggers mostly because I can't afford it but every time I do get a product haul I'd still do a blog post on it. :) 

So recently I made a trip to Etude House and thanks to my sister-in-law and cousins-in law picked up a few items, I just really believe in! 

Here's what I got: 

Mascara Remover P198.00

I love this Mascara Remover so much that it's more of a need purchase than a want purchase. It very effective with not just removing mascara but eye make up in general. 

I remember telling myself that I would just rather not put on any mascara or eye make up if I don't have this Mascara Remover at hand. That's how much I'm dependent on it and at P198.00 it surely is a good deal. :) 

Cotton Puff            P48.00

Of course you can't have the ideal cleansing agent without the right applicator and Etude House's Cotton Puff it is! It's a flat cotton, square shaped that is ideal for removing eye make up. :) At P48.00 for 80 pieces it's not bad at all. :) After all remember that it's not just about buying the makeup but making sure that you get to remove it after. 

Oh~m Eye Liner    P248.00

What I love about Etude House is that their items come in different price ranges, there are the expensive ones and the not so expensive ones and for someone like me who buys make up on a budget that's good news indeed. 

I've been needing to buy a liquid eyeliner for sometime now and I was really glad to see that Etude House has the Oh~m' Eye Line for only P248.00. 

You can apply it easily without it drying up and ending up in clumps on your eye and there is no stinging painful sensation also! It stays long enough on your eyes as well. :) Will probably post a photo of me in make up using this, but not for now since I'm sick and I'm not really up for dolling up or anything :P 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Happy Batman Day!

Fans of all ages line up at Fully Booked hours before they open the doors for Batman Day.
Most people retire at 60 but at 75 our favorite caped crusader, the only Dark 
Knight recognized and loved by generations is on full throttle with a new movie up in the works, with none other than his buddy Superman. (Even if fans are still at odds with former Daredevil Ben Affleck wearing the famous cape and cowl), a new origin series Gotham from Fox is also on the way, with Bruno Heller on the helm (it's on my watch list). In 75 years Batman has been immortalized in all sorts and forms of media, from series, television series, publishing and merchandise and this has allowed him to be discovered and loved by generations who have looked up to a very human superhero (not an alien, not a god) but an ordinary guy who drew strength from a tragedy and faced his fears to fight evil and seek justice as The Dark Knight.    

Batman Fans UNITE!
Comic Odyssey along with Fully Booked this milestone through Batman Day! Branches of Comic Odyssey gave away copies of the special edition of Detective Comics #27 where Bat-man (as he was then known) made his first appearance in March 30, 1939 and the rest was history. 

Along with the special edition Detective Comics #27 Batman 75th Anniversary shirts were also given away to the first 75 people in line (unfortunately we didn't make it though T_T) 

Additional comics were also given to people dressed in Batman shirts. 

We arrived at Fully Booked at around 9AM last Saturday, July 26, not sure of what to expect but when we got there, there was a long way already at the back of Fully Booked, with fans of different ages and sizes showing their love for the caped crusader. When I said I didn't know what to expect, I really meant it since I was both surprised and pleased to see whole families come to the event, Dads and Moms with their children all dressed up in Batman attire. 

When the doors opened we were ushered in beautiful Batman sets, the special edition comics were given away but aside from that Comic Odyssey also had a special sale on amazing items in their store. 

Local artists were also present to draw and sketch your favorite Batman moments, there was even a super cool Batman collection of different toys and merchandise from Anna Gajudo. There was even a Best Batman Voice Impersonation going around.   

Anna Gajudo with her Batman collection.
There are only a few heroes who can touch generations as Batman has and at the rate that he his going Batman will surely be here for another 75 years and when that time comes it will be our children and our grandchildren who will be enthralled with the cape crusader just as their parents and grandparents were years before. 

Click HERE for MORE Photos!          

Get the Fire Going with the #KitKatBreakMovement

Have a Break Have a Kit Kat or better yet have a whole lot of Kit Kat!
Photo by PCheng Photography 

Paul and I are a team in life as man and wife and in also maintaining this blog. I often joke to people that our car Hon-Chan is our eldest child while this blog is our second (hopefully the third one will come with a birth certificate). 

An acquaintance of mine once told me that our talents (mine in writing and Paul in photography) is truly a marriage and I guess that's why the blog can be considered as one of our babies :) 

It's not easy doing what we do, having a job that pays the bills and feeds our bodies and pursuing our passions to feed our souls. 

Sometimes when we are itching to work on a project or a blog post, our minds are working on overdrive but our bodies are calling for the comfort of our beds. You know the saying 'the mind is willing but the body is not' well it's the same exact thing. 

There are times where we're working on a project and suddenly we become all too human and crave for rest instead. It's times like these where we just need a break to get the fire going again and based on my experience making sure to take a Kit Kat break can do wonders and even unlock skills you will surely need. 

Paul shooting away at an event coverage. 

For Paul he wants to unlock the skill of 360 degree visualization so that he already knows the where to go, what to shoot and the best angles to shoot from. As a photographer every moment is important and capturing the moment is all that matters. 

It can get tiring when you are shooting or covering an event, or even post processing countless photos but taking a much needed Kit Kat break will definitely help you unlock skills and the strength needed to become a better photographer.      

As for me (Ica) I hate to admit it but there are times when I get writer's block, so much so that even writing a blog post is like doing math homework! (and Math and I have such a complicated relationship). 

I love writing and I never ever want to feel that it is a chore or something that I need to do. I want to want to do it. I want to want to write. 

So when I feel my body becoming tired or when I feel writer's block creeping in I take a much needed Kit Kat break to unlock the skill of Creativity so I can keep on writing and when I say writing I mean real writing and not just rewriting news to post but really looking within me and around me for that creativity and inspiration I need to become a better writer than I was yesterday. 

Writing away on my trust laptop. Photo by the husband
 (c) PCheng Photography

In life there are times when we will get tired and uninspired but that doesn't mean you have to stop and give up. Unlocking much needed skills and becoming a better you is just a Kit Kat Break away! #KitKatBreakMovement         

Friday, July 25, 2014

Rurouni Kenshin Stars and Director to Attend Philippine Premiere

UP CLOSE: Fans will be seeing these amazing actors in the flesh. Takeru Sato (Kenshin Himura),  Emi Tanaka (Kaoru Kamiya),
Aoki Muneteka (Sanosuke Sagara)

While every other fangirl is going gaga over the recently released Fifty Shades of Grey trailer (I'm not a fan-really) a whole different spectrum of fangirls and boys were going gaga over the confirmed news that the cast and director of Warner Bros. Pictures Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno will be attending the Philippine Premiere. 

Wait! What? Yes - boys and girls (or in my case, young adults) you have that right! Actors Takeru Sato (Kenshin Himura), actress Emi Tanaka (Kaoru Kamiya), actor Aoki Muneteka (Sanosuke Sagara) along with director Keishi Otomo will be attending the invitational red carpet premiere on August 6 at SM Megamall. There is also a scheduled Public Press conference with the media and fans on August 7 at the Glorieta Activity Center in Makati. 

I still think that Half Pinay/Half Japanese Maryjun Tanaka who will be playing Ayumi - Shishio Makoto's lady love should come as well - she did post on her Instagram account that she's been to Megamall often :P I think it would be a great homecoming for her. :) 

The announcement was made today by William Ireton, President & Representative Director of Warner Entertainment Japan Inc., and Francis Soliven, General Manager of Warner Bros. Philippines. 

Now this is BIG news for fans and followers of the scarred wandering samurai who has always had a special place in the hearts of his Filipino fans. It's amazing to think that when the first Rurouni Kenshin film came out in 2012, it seemed that it would not even be shown locally but after four months from it's release in Japan, the movie was released in the Philippines and has become the largest grossing Japanese film in the Philippines. Looking back at my blog post/movie review here. I remember that there were sold out screenings and people had to wait 4-5 hours until the next screening. Fans watched the movie 2-3 times in the cinema and it was always a full house.   

During the big announcement Ireton also said that “We are thrilled to bring director Keishi Otomo and castmembers Takeru Satoh, Emi Takei and Munetaka Aoki to Manila so they can personally thank and engage with the loyal fans of `Rurouni Kenshin.' The Philippines is a very important market for the franchise as proven by the outstanding box-office success in Manila of the first `Rurouni Kenshin' film in 2013.”
Soliven also said: “Moviegoers in the Philippines have helped create a wave of anticipation and excitement for the `Rurouni Kenshin' sequels and the upcoming talent visit is a much welcome recognition of the fans' ardent support. 

I should say so there were so many online petitions to have the movie screened here the first time around, fans are just happy they didn't have to go through all that for the sequels.

If you have been reading the blog you would know that I have been blogging a lot about the Rurouni Kenshin films. So much so that I was actually given a movie poster of the first movie :P 

A Happy Me with my Rurouni Kenshin poster back in January of 2013. 

I guess the fact that Warner Bros. had a special exhibit of Rurouni Kenshin costumes used in the movie during Toycon was already a sign - a sign - that all of this would be possible. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Black Butler Movie Review

Before I go on with this movie review I'll go ahead and say it - I have not seen the anime nor have I read the Manga. So this review will be from the eyes and perspective of an Otaku who will be seeing this franchise first through the live action movie. 

And in this day and age of all sorts of adaptations you have to start somewhere right? 

So here are my INITIAL thoughts of the movie - the adaptation was really well made, it was not cheap, the sets were very elaborate from breathtaking gardens, to colorful night carnivals. The fight scenes were well executed, none of the corny predictable trying hard martial arts bit. I have to admit though that the movie got a bit draggy during the climax, like they really squeezed every bit of what they could. It was still an enjoyable movie even for someone who's not really familiar with the franchise. 

Set in a world ruled by two kingdoms- The East and The West, which looks like a modern Victorian England littered with mobs, arms dealers, human traffickers and drug lords. 

Shiori/Kiyoharu Genpo (Ayame Gouriki) is a descendant of the noble family Phantomhive in England, runs the prestigious Funtom corporation but aside from his CEOish duties he also has a double life as a Queen's watchdog. Which means going on fun missions such as investigating a mysterious series of mummified murders of high ranking members of the government. 

More than just tea: As a butler Sebastian can bring you everything your heart desires - for a price. 

Kiyoharu investigates and brings along his faithful butler who can defeat a whole gang of armed mobsters just with a butter knife and he also gets up after being shot in the head oh-did I forget to mention that he is no ordinary butler as he is the devil himself.  

As a young child, Kiyoharu's parents (who are all but royalty) are murdered in front of him. In order to seek revenge, he makes a pact with the devil, who will serve him (as a butler no less) but the service goes beyond normal butler duties and involves pretty much being his personal army. The price? Of course - Kiyoharu's soul, once he is able to extract revenge on those who killed his parents. While Kiyoharu and Sebastian infiltrate private clubs and break in Laboratories, they don't realize that the true danger is actually closer than they think.  

Who is behind all the gruesome murders? Will Kiyoharu get his revenge? Will Sebastian consume his soul? These are just some of the burning questions that go on in the movie - and you'll just have to watch to find out :P 

Along with the impressive sets the movie also showcases great talent and acting from Ayame Gouriki as the deadpan Kiyoharu and Hiro Mizushima as the devilish butler Sebastian. 

Hiro Mizushima as Sebastian.
I wouldn't want to use that butter knife with my bread.

Although riddled with cliches and as mentioned earlier, the climax got too draggy, as they tried to insert thought provoking themes on the goodness and evil of humans (as often seen in Anime) but I think that given it was a movie and not a 24 series anime, there really was not that much time to squeeze in all those deep questions and realizations on the nature of humans. 

Guns and Gothic Lolita. Mizuki Yamamoto as the Maid Rin
Whether you're a fan of the anime or you just want to check out the movie, it will be a fun treat with a date or maybe with friends. :) 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Loop's Flirting with the Universe Album Review

If we're friends on Facebook you probably already know that Paul and i have been going gaga over a certain Iligan based band - Loop!  

I always think that the universe has a funny things of making things work out - since I believe that it was a great time to discover this band (thanks to Amplify.ph <3) since they just came out with their debut full length album Flirting With The Universe

One of my favorite ideas (and one of the things I like to think about when I'm feeling down) about Paulo Coelho's 'The Alchemist' is the idea that when there is something that you really, really want, nay, desire, the Universe will conspire for it to happen. This is the reason why I love the album title - Flirting With The Universe I find it very profound, daring and dangerous as if you are playing with fire. But I guess that's just my literary self going on overdrive. (you can hear the lyrics 'flirting with the universe' in the track - Rainmakers)

I was lucky enough to get a digital copy of the album following it's July 12 release in Iligan and we just love it! Even if the songs in the album, bring back memories of candle lit evenings due to the onslaught of Glenda's strong winds. It's a great chill album that tugs at the heartstrings. 

The album is a testament to the essence of Indie music and showcases the genuine talent of these young up and coming musicians. The songs are well written and the techniques displayed are sure to give pop acts a run for their money. 

One of the things that I immediately noticed in the album is that songs that have already been released in videos and are available to listen to online have been re-recorded and re-mastered in the album, offering new versions of songs you've already loved before. Just goes to show that these guys are not lazy and continually improve on their art by giving fans and listeners new sides to their songs. 

It's not a case of this song is okay, let's just stick with it forever. Nope. Loop is too good for that kind of mentality and by doing so continue to impress fans of their music. 

Here are the songs in the album, I included, videos, links of where you can listen to the songs just so you can see/hear what all the fuss is about with this amazing band. Remember that the album has remastered versions of these tracks so you'd still better get a copy of the album ;) I also will deliberately (and I am stopping myself here) not give out descriptions on all songs in the album, as I want to leave more for the imagination. :D 

Peppermint Mocha 

Does anyone know the Marketing people from Starbucks? Because they should really use this amazing, amazing song in their stores or their marketing - every time I listen to it I want a Peppermint Mocha! And yes - I'm serious about that, if anyone knows anyone who can make it happen, let me know. Video below! 

Friday, July 11, 2014

The MONUMENTOUR Tribute Night

Hand Gesture Says It All. 

If you asked me what my top two favorite bands were I would say Paramore and Fall Out Boy in a heartbeat - no questions asked. Their music filled my College years and helped me define my musical taste and preference. 

Now 10 years later - I've been able to watch both bands in concerts and even willfully defied no hugging orders and gave Patrick and Pete a quick hug when I got to meet and greet the band last year. 

So just imagine my joy and anguish (it's complicated) when it was announced that my two favorite bands were going on tour together! The very idea if it could send happy tears to my eyes but the reality of not being able to be in a show to catch them.... can you hear my heart and dreams shatter in a million pieces? -yeah I told you it's complicated. 

So while I'm seething at to not being able to be at an actual Monumentour show, I'll just go to the next best thing - The Monumentour Tribute Night where my favorite local acts will be covering Paramore & Fall Out Boy hits. 

Held at b-side at the South of the Metro, it may have been a big Yeay! from people residing at the South but it was a big Nay! from those of us from the mountains of the East (and I wasn't at all too happy about the price of the stuff in b-side - P60.00 for a bottle of water? - That's bloody highway robbery!) and yet on the evening of the 5th of March we brought my baby brother along to a night of fun and music.    

Mop of Blue: Ashley Gosienfiao of Midnight Meetings

Okay - so funny story; we had our weekend planned out like so: The Monumentour Night - Saturday and a Christening (where Paul and I are both god parents) on Sunday. But lo and behold - as I was lying in bed on Saturday afternoon, waiting for sleep to take me (for those of you who don't know, we work the night shift and make it a point to follow the same schedule even on our days off, just so we won't have a hard time adjusting come the next week) the phone suddenly rings and as it turns out the Christening was on Saturday and not Sunday! So Paul and I rushed to the church and had to literally say goodbye to hours of sleep to make it to little Summer's Christening. Unfortunately that meant being late for the Monumentour Night and missing some bands - apologies for the bands we missed and not finishing the event (we were too tired to cross the finish line) not sure if anyone noticed not having the customary epic group photo at the end. But fear not coz we still have amazing group shots! :D 

Arriving at b-side we caught Manila Under Fire on stage and I knew it was going to be a night of amazing performances. :) 

A-Ok in the Mosh Pit

Midnight Meetings was up next and this band has a lot of new things and surprises in store for fans of followers, especially with a new album coming out. Aside from their amazing Paramore cover, the band and new songs from their upcoming album which in my opinion are really good. 

I have a copy of their first Acoustic EP and I can tell that their new songs are showing a growth and maturity in their song writing, displaying new techniques and styles that were not in their first EP.      

Definitely excited for their new album - you guys should be too! So make sure to grab a copy when it gets out okay? :) 

Super kawaii all girl group First Impression had the crowd singing and dancing to their covers of Paramore and Fall Out Boy songs. 

The thing with Paramore Philippines is that you know that you guys are family, when you shout obscenities at each other. 

The way these guys head bang and mosh, you think that they live for it even waiting for the peak of each song, forming a circle and slamming into each other, becoming a mosh pit of flailing arms and kicking legs.  

Watching these guys slam and be a human mosh pit is just like an accident waiting to happen and I feel myself cringing every time it comes close and this time - it did. It was like watching a domino of people fall down and trip over speakers, and a mic stand fall-straight on the face of Mad Hatter Day bassist Paco Santos. Ouch! After that they had to bring a bouncer in to keep from any mishaps from happening. I think that that was the first time we had a bouncer for a Paramore Night and it probably won't be the last.  

It's actually nice to have some testosterone in the air for a change and which is why the male fronted bands for the night were very much welcome. 

Blue Boy Bite Back  getting some much needed testosterone in the air. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mad Hatter Day joins The Yellow Room Music Philippines

BIG LOVE: Mad Hatter Day, Monty Macalinao and the crazy kids of
Paramore Philippines 

Last year I included Mad Hatter Day in my list of OPM acts to watch out for blog post. Since then they have played for Bazooka Rocks II opening for foreign bands like All Time Low, Tonight Alive, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Anberlin among others.  

They have played in a number of music festivals like The Greenlight Music

Fest, Jack Daniels' Indie Fest and they have recently been on TV and have also featured on the Philippine Star (article here) and now they've joined The Yellow Room Music Philippines an Independent Record Label for both professional and amateur musicians. 

Ever since I saw their video Finding Atlantis on Youtube - I was so enamored with this them that we've been following them ever since. I even did a review for their EP - Alice in Distress. 


With this exciting news, I sent some questions over to the guys just to check on them at this promising point in their career. 

Route 196 - May 11, 2013 

How are you all doing?  How does it feel to be part of The Yellow Room Music Philippines?

It feels great to be a part of the Yellow Room family! We're all really happy and excited!

Is it safe to assume that you guys will be coming with more music? More gigs? An album maybe? 

Our goal is to hit the ground running so yes it is safe to assume that we are going back to the studio to record a new EP and we've already started writing songs for our first album. We plan on recording all of our new material at the Yellow Room studio!

An acoustic set at 7th High, The Fort, June 22, 2013

How will all this change your creative process in making music? 

One of the best things about Yellow Room is that they understand their artists, they are willing to work with us on every step of the way. However, our creative process will likely remain the same unless we find a new one that works better for us.

You guys are still in school – with this big change in your band how do you plan on doing a balancing act with school, music and of course still keeping healthy ties with family and friends?

We will continue to do what we have been doing since the beginning. Keeping a balanced schedule is paramount. With that said, we have already planned ahead and we're prepared for the changes coming our way. 

Greenlight Music Fest, November 22, 2013

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Weekend Photographer: HDR in Eastwood City

Weekend Photographer is my blog post for my instant projects during my rest days.  My rest days varies sometimes in the weekend, other times in the middle of the week.  My wife doesn't tag along in these self projects, so I'll try my very best to write down what I've experienced during these weekend projects.  Just another addition to the many blog posts here, hope you guys like and enjoy.  Comments would be appreciated as always!

As I was digging through our blog posts, to check on what we have, I found this post.  For some weird reason, this post was left as a draft, just pictures no words.  Remembering this now after a year would be difficult (I'm very forgetful!).  

Trying my best to look back, I drove Ica to work during this evening.  In advance I brought the tripod, camera and kit lens.  Parked the car and proceeded to positions that I thought would be a good spot to shoot in.  

When this was shot, the building below was still brand new. I took the opportunity to shoot in long exposures since it's the way to go in shooting buildings at night.  If you look closely, you'll see hint of lights coming from cars that passed by.  On another note, all of the shots are HDR, meaning a combination of 3 (or more) different exposures to get a wider dynamic range the image. I think I tried, 0, +1 and -1 on the camera's meter.  So think of  each image (HDR) shot as long exposure(3 times or more), so getting a single HDR image takes probably 15-20 minutes of shooting( a rough approximation).

The new Robinson Supermarket
As this has post has been stuck in draft for more than a year, I had to resize the images due to web upload. The original files, are still stuck in a desktop computer that has not been repaired yet for more than a year. Recalling why I left Eastwood early, I believe that a security guard told me that no photographing allowed.  I usually yield when told by anyone to stop shooting, it is still privately owned establishment. So their grounds, their rules, 'nuff said.

Hoping that I could shoot again in the evening, and try out a few things that I've learned a year after doing this.  

On C5 Road 

Here's to shooting more photos!