Archive for the ‘Blabbers’ Category


Pho ever missing Vietnam

March 17, 2009

It has been close to 6 months since i’ve updated this blog. To be honest, i never thought i’d be writing about Vietnam again. The wife and I still reminisce about the good old days in Hanoi and how we, as a family went through it together and bringing one of the best experiences in our lives. We can’t stop talking about Vietnam.. well, mostly i was the one who still blabbers and compare Manila to its neighboring Asian country.

This blog will serve as my memory of Hanoi and hopefully, will continue to help others in discovering this wonderful country. I’ll try to add some more useful stuff here especially for people who have no freaking clue what Vietnam was all about. Believe me, before i went to Vietnam and decided to move there for a while, I’ve done a lot of research from Googling to viewing images on Flickr. I thought i was ready but boom! When i got there.. culture shock started to set in for the first two weeks. It is really very different once you experience being there yourself. From the rich culture and respected traditions that have been brought down to the current generation of mobile-phone-using-while-riding-on-motorbikes, it is very hard to forget!

Thanks for those that continue to visit and post comments on the site albeit a small population of the web community. All I can say about Vietnam is that I never realized how beautiful Asia was until i went to this country. My love for photography came out along with the spirit of adventure and the thrill of the unexpected. That itself coming from someone who has lived in the Philippines throughout my entire life. What is it about Vietnam? You’ll find out soon as i take you back to my journey there 🙂


Converted to Viet

February 24, 2008

Xin Chao! After being here for more than half a year, you know the Vietnamese culture is rubbing off once you start noticing the following:

1. You pronounce Doom as Zoom. I actually did this when I asked my colleague what was he watching on HBO.. he said Doom and I said “Oh, Zoom!” The ‘d’ here in Vietnam is pronounced as ‘z’ except for the hyphenated one. Silly me! The effort was good but it was a bit out of place 🙂
2. You like motorbikes now more than cars (Vespa, PS and Dylan rocks!)
3. You don’t miss Starbucks. The best coffees in the world are already in town!
4. You aren’t afraid to cross the street anymore! They are the ones who avoid you. Just do not hesitate and you’ll be fine. (Warning: This is only applicable to motorbikes avoiding you while Cars, Trucks and Buses are excluded!)
5. You have your shoes shined while eating lunch (for only 5,000 VND = 15 pesos!)
6. You like eating noodles more than rice and know the difference between Pho Bo and Bun Bo.
7. It takes you around 20 seconds to select a good pair of wooden chopsticks.
8. You eat more frequently on the streets rather than indoors!
9. You call everyone “em oi” even when you’re not in Vietnam anymore.
10. You finally understand football and even watch the sports highlights! I couldn’t care less about this sport back in the Philippines but it’s really big here! Even enough to play goalie for a couple of games 🙂


Sand Art

February 20, 2008

If you’re stressed from the daily hustles and bustles of work or life in general, I suggest it’s time to take a break. To do that, I recommend you look at the work of Ilana Yahav. I’ve never seen anything like it and there’s more of her work on youtube. Here’s a sample of the artist’s masterpiece! *speechless*




Chef Ricardo is Back!

February 17, 2008

Voila! I’m finally updating my repertoire and instead of the regular cooking of pork adobo, honey-ginger chicken, bistek tagalog and pork tonkatsu, I’ve become adventurous for a bit and need to explore more spices for the tastebuds.

Here’s one of my *well-done* (with emphasis) beef steak that I’ve prepared this morning:


Looks good eh? Who wants to give it a try? *LOL* Who wants to test the true meaning of friendship?! 🙂

I keed, I keed… it’s actually my Pillsbury chocochip pancake for breakfast (sent all the way from Manila by the wifey and delivered by RedEx, thanks Red!) and this is what happens when you haven’t watched the NBA All-Star weekend live coverage for a couple of years! I was running back and forth from the kitchen to the living room and didn’t want to miss a moment of this much awaited NBA event! I left the skillet heat too high and I’ll call this.. Pancake ala Tusta!

Hoisin Chix

 On the brighter side of the day, lunch was better and cooked it with some TLC. Here’s my latest creation and it’s a hoisin chicken with the recipe from pinoycook. It took some grueling preparations as I had to toast the sesame seeds separately, deep-fry the chix, remove the oil, put in the hoisin sauce and add the chix and toss to mix with the sesame seeds! I just made it sound complicated but it really isn’t. I wanted to narrate like a chef from the Travel and Living channel 🙂

I’ve now become fond of cooking and hope I can continue this when the wife is here.. 🙂 I’m spoiled and the wife usually cooks for me.. Anna usually hears these two words coming out of my mouth.. Feed Me! That’s what Baby Justin is saying often these days! Like father like son eh?

Hoisin Ric
The Smell of Success!

Tips: How to Take Care of Your Baby

February 11, 2008

Nothing beats some old school advice. For the newbie parents like the Simbol’s, here are some helpful tips on how to take care of your baby. If you are planning to have one soon, here is your manual 🙂 I found this hilarious but make sure you strictly follow the DO’s only!!!


Read the rest of this entry ?


I Love This Game – NBA!

February 9, 2008

Yeees! Woke up today and was able to watch a live NBA game on ESPN! This is one of the rare times they air the NBA on Vietnam TV (like an eclipse) or maybe I was just used to watching Bball everyday through BTV in Manila (SPOILED!) When I tuned in, it was 3:02 remaining in the 4th quarter on the Boston-Minny game.. too bad Garnett wasn’t in it 😦 It would be good to see him play against his former team as I used to be a Minny fan before when KG was there. It was a very close game with Boston winning 88-86 and a thriller ending as Leon Powe was able to put back Ray Allen’s blocked layup with 0.2 seconds remaining! Wow! Talk about catching a quality game! 

I really, really hope they air the All-Star game next weekend! Magwawala ako if they don’t! Who will be the next player to get traded before the deadline? hmmm.. I love what I’m seeing right now and it will be a power struggle in the Western conference!

  • Shaq to Phoenix – The Diesel will get another chance to prove himself and win his 5th championship before retiring! Critics feel that Phoenix made a big risk due to Shaq’s current physical condition but that’s what GM Steve Kerr is there for. I still believe in the Big Aristotle! It’s just bad though that they had to let go of their all-around player Shawn Marion 😦 I like him and he’s the one that flies for an alley-oop dunk when Nash tosses it out of nowhere. Marion lights up all the scoreboard (points, steals, blocks and rebounds) and I hope Miami will be able to get back on track with him joining the roster as DWade badly needs help! Let’s go Suns!
  • Gasol to the Lakers – Hands down for this trade. Kobe is by far the greatest player in the NBA and a darn good athlete. Super idol!!! Kobe’s Lakers now have a strong starting five and we are all waiting for Bynum to come back and finished what he started! Gasol is doing well with Phili Jackson’s system and as of this writing, he scored 30 points with the win over Orlando.
  • Kyle Korver to the Jazz – I didn’t even know this happened until I read a recap of a Sixers-Jazz game! I’m not updated with the NBA anymore 😦 Korver is  a great addition to the Jazz as it opens up the defense inside. Expect him to score double-digits on every game as one of the Go-To Guys! 

A good way to start the Saturday.. while it lasted! 🙂 Now back to reality and to housechores! Ang daming kong plato huhugasan….waaaaah!


Hello Jakarta!

January 29, 2008
Hot Indonesia!

 I recently came back from Jakarta over the weekend and having a cold made it very uncomfortable throughout my stay there. I have a bad case of cough and sniffles after being healthy for a couple of years but due to my freezing arse in Hanoi (which is at 9° C right now) and then the drastic change of weather in Jakarta, that was my tipping point. Nevertheless, Indonesia was quite an experience and it’s good to see a country similar to the Philippines. It made me feel at home but not close enough as I still continue to miss the wife, our baby and everything else surrounding them. Some interesting stories about Indonesia from a new traveller’s POV:

1. It reminds me of the Philippines (Weather, Traffic, Ethnicity) but multiply it three times. People here seem to have more purchasing power as the luxurious brands are evident in most of the shopping centers. The roads are wide, buildings sprung up everywhere and the city is alive with a mix of high end cars and motorbikes. The taxi we usually rode was the new Toyota Vios which was quite interesting enough. Lesley (my colleague from Ducati-RicSaigon) and I were supposed to ride a Mercedes Benz taxi from the airport but they ran out and we had to settle for a Toyota Crown (sosyal ito dati ah *LOL*).

2. Language is quite similar to us due to the Malay influence (correct me if I’m mistaken). It’s going to be easier to learn Bahasa rather than Vietnamese as many pinoys here mentioned that it’s just like learning a new dialect in the Philippines province. Some words that I quickly picked up:

  • Thank you – “Terima Kasih”
  • Welcome – “Selamat Detang”
  • Right – “Kanan”
  • Left – “Kiri”
  • Taxi – “Taksi”
  • Be careful – “Hati-Hati”
  • Free – “Gratis”
  • Police – “Polisi”
  • Cheap – “Murah”
  • Choose – “Pilih”
  • Toilet – “Toilet” 😀

3. Right hand driving.
This is the second country (first one being India) I’ve visited with a different driving orientation. Make sure to look right when crossing the street! The results though are far U-turns that adds to your travel time and and taxi fare! 😦

4. Hot, Curry, Spicy. Description of Indonesian dishes and that’s the way they like it! Although we were able to enjoy a very traditional and highly consumed Filipino food that wasn’t available in Vietnam —McDonalds! Yahoo!

5. Malls and Entertainment are everywhere. Ah.. breathing mall air! This is the shopping capital of Indonesia and shops here are huge and usually nearby each other. A great concept is the Auto Mall where the latest cars from Beamers to Ferraris are displayed. Even the motorbikes are nasty hot! From Repsol, Harley to Ducatis! Let the pictures speak for themselves!

They also have a theme park here ala Enchanted Kingdom which they call Dufan (Fantasy World). The long lines are worth it especially the Tornado ride where you get hanged in the air and spun four times.. Fantastic! Here are some before and after shots from this ride:


We're ready!
All set and ready!


Fun at Dufan!
L-R: Les, me, Albert, Erwin, stranger who is about to puke


Ho-hum… no challenge.. next ride please!

6. There’s a lot of Chinese here too! Like our Fil-Chi back home, I met some Indo-Chi and we all have that chinky-eyed trademark 🙂 Some of them are unable to speak Mandarin anymore but most have a good grasp of the Fookien dialect. Yes, I heard the word “Lantyaw” being told to somebody as a joke and if you need to find out what that means, ask your Chinese friend! This is a wholesome blog site 😛

7. Telecoms are cheap! Would you believe international SMS costs only around 2-3 pesos per message? There are more than 8 mobile providers here sharing the telecom market for around 200million people! Consumer spending is up!

It was a short but fulfilling trip here in Jakarta and the business conference was quite rewarding as well. It’s nice to know that Vietnam is not alone in the outsourcing field outside of Phililppines and India. We were able to learn more about the Indonesian culture and how they made it successful despite being a recent player in the Call Center industry. The best part about the trip is hanging out with the other pinoys and just having a great time. For your hospitality guys.. Terima Kasih.