Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Where's the man on the moon?


Moon - cropped
Originally uploaded by Jepster
This was taken using "Stew" my Pentax DSLR using a 100 - 300mm Lens.

A group of friends and I were helping out a colleague set up his christmas tree one early evening and when we got out we saw the moon big and bright just coming out of the horizon. I just had to rush back home and grab my camera gear and took this shot. I think this particular shot turned out the best among the different settings.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Portulano!


Portulano Resort
Originally uploaded by
Jepster

My picture won! Wohoo!!! Well I did not actually win anything. The good folks at www.gadling.com picked my photo as picture of the day last October 22, 2008. I am so happy that I will ignore the fact that they misspelled my name.

I guess this makes the trip to Portulano resort worth it. A lot of things happened during that trip. The waves were high and the current was strong and one of my friends ended up being cut all over by sharp rocks and corals while snorkeling. By the time he climbed back to the boat blood started gushing out from his cuts on his wrists, legs and chest. The trip back seemed to take so long and he was complaining that he could not feel his hands anymore and we noticed that it is clenched really tight. I was afraid he was going to just pass out and bleed to death. It is a good thing that he was ok afterwards. He does not remember much of what happened after we arrived at the resort and I told him that he was screaming like a girl when they were treating his wounds with vinegar and disinfectant (actually my other friend did all the girly screaming on the sidelines while he was watching the resort staff apply first aid to the wounds).

I had a bit of accident myself that time. When we were trekking up a hill the day before we went snorkeling, I stubbed my toe on some sharp rocks and I was bleeding all over the trail and sandals. It looked worse than it actually was (the wound was just small but I just have a tendency to bleed a lot) and I patched it all up before the day was over. Amazingly one of our companions had a band-aid in his wallet.

Check out my friend Wetboxer's photo featured in Gadling as well.

More pictures below.



Portulano Resort

Portulano Resort

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Holloween


IMG_0833
Originally uploaded by Jepster
It's that time of year once again. I went to the mall this morning and encountered a lot of small goblins, fairies and walking pumpkins each one with a basket full of goodies going from one store to the next excitement plain on their young faces.

We had our trick or treat activity in the residential compound last week and although I wasn't around to see the kids go from house to house I did help in preparing the loot bags and lent some props for our decoration of our house (for the scariest house competition what else). At first I was protesting to giving the kids chocolates and candies this year. Instead, I was proposing to give them healthy treats like high fiber bars or healthy vitamin enriched snacks. Well I couldn't find any of the items I wanted so I settled for gummy sea critters and jam filled marshmallows instead.

I hope everybody enjoys this weekend. I spent the afternoon at the cemetery lighting candles and laying down flowers with my parents for our loved ones who has passed away. Only a few families were there. i think the majority will be going to the cemetery on the 1st or 2nd of November. We did not want to go with the bulk of the crowd so we opted to visit a day earlier.

Halloween DecorHalloween Decor

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Hairy tentacles of death


La Mesa Eco Park 15-09-2008
Originally uploaded by
Jepster

It almost looks like a photo of an alien's tentacles ready to grab you and pull you inside it's stomach chamber where you will slowly be eaten up by the slimy digestive juices. It is actually a photo of a young fern leaf ready to unfurl. Looks freaky huh. Well that's just one of the many fascinating sights that can be seen inside the La Mesa Dam Ecopark. A friend and I decided to check it out one weekend. Armed with my 2 digital cameras (I let him use my PENTAX *ist DL2 while I used my trusty old CANON EOS 350D) we tried to capture as much images as we can. The place has a lot of cool looking plants. I was even ambushed by a group of students and they wanted me to participate in a school project by interviewing me on video about the environment. It was a moderately stressful activity since I was feeling a bit conscious about the video. I hope I didn't say anything stupid that their whole class would laugh about in class. I wonder if my nose hairs were sticking out. Did it show in the video that I was nervous? The students actually thought I was a professional photographer. I feel a bit flattered about that. Maybe they thought that I looked at ease holding a camera as opposed to my friend hehe. Or probably it was just because of my camera bag dangling on my shoulder and my DSLR hanging from my neck.

The place was nice. There was a lagoon for boat rides, a rock climbing activity wall (not an activity for me, I will wait for a time when I can actually carry my own weight), an area for paintball (ack! I don't like violent sports), a vermiculture area (got to love em worms eh? They are the future!), and several food kiosks (now that's more like it hehe). After going through all those areas, we noticed that there was a big sign that read "Entrance". What we thought as the "Park" was nothing more than the entryway and parking lot to the park itself! It was getting a bit late so it's something to explore for another time. :D


La Mesa Eco Park 15-09-2008

La Mesa Eco Park 15-09-2008

La Mesa Eco Park 15-09-2008


Things to look forward to: A flower terrace, an activity nature trail for those health nuts, a fishing lagoon, a saltwater swimming pool and lots more! Can't believe we missed the actual park. I looked at their website and the area is actually quite huge. More photo opportunities for me then :) I can't wait to go back.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My first dive in 6 years

[I have been meaning to post this for the longest time but I was just too busy doing some other things. It’s a shame to waste though so here it is, enjoy]

I have always wanted to go back to diving. My love-affair with the fishes and the corrals began when I was introduced to skin diving during my college years (note that's skin diving and not skinny dipping!). I took it up as one of my physical education subjects (the other was advanced swimming - I loved being in the water ever since I was a small kid in primary school) and even joined a student organization of skin divers. I was not able to become a full fledged member of that club though since I was not able to attend the final test which was an actual dive trip.

There was a group of my friends who were also of like mind about skin diving and we used to go on skin diving trips together. The 4 of us would go to a diving resort and hire a boat and be asked to be brought to areas suitable for skin diving. We went on several memorable dives and we made an agreement that we should all learn how to do SCUBA diving (one of us was a certified openwater SCUBA diver already).

I had the opportunity to learn SCUBA in 2002 when a class was being offered at 50% of the usual cost (fortunately it was subsidized by our sports club). My last dive was actually my check-out/certification dive.

Now, after 6 years of just occasional skin diving trips, I decided to accompany a couple of my friends on their check-out dive. I was a bit apprehensive at first since during my last skin diving in Palawan I had encountered problems in equalizing (but that was probably because I had a cold). By the end of that trip, not only was I having problems with my congested nose and slight discomfort on my ears but my nasal lining became so irritated that my friend pointed out that my nose was bleeding! At this point I could not help but hear the themesong from Jaws play in my head over and over.

My own checkout dive way back 6 years ago was not a very pleasant experience and I do not really have fond memories of it. I was seasick most of the time and on the 2nd day, I had a problem with my bouyancy control that caused an uncontrolled ascent to the surface (trust me that is not a good thing). On the way up, I experienced tunnel vision and the feeling that I am about to pass out but I was struggling to keep awake. Luckily before surfacing all the way, I just felt my instructor grab me and pull me down and held me steady until I felt better. We had an extra long safety stop at the end of that dive. This is probably the reason why I was holding out on going on more SCUBA diving trips after that. Until recently that is.

So inspite of my fears and apprehensions, I decided to accompany my friends. I was not decided that I will actually dive with them and the worse case scenario is that I will just tag along and just enjoy having a relaxing weekend at the beach and enjoy the food in the resort (buffet here I come!). Sounds like a good worse case scenario as any. What I like most about dive resorts is the usually nice buffet meals. I thought that I could just tag along and if I cannot dive then I would definitely enjoy myself. I could accompany them on the boat I suppose. I could amuse myself by chatting with the boat driver. But just to be on the safe side, I packed my complete diving gear anyway "just in case". I slept very late trying to pack just about everything in my room for an overnight trip (I found out during the trip itself to my horror that I forgot the sunblock of all things - in case you haven't notice it yet I get very upset if I don't remember bringing an essential item like that). That included a lot of extras of course. My mobile phone, my bluetooth stereo headset, my bluetooth keyboard, the PSP with GPS navigation software (so I can mark the resort as a POI or Point of Interest in my maps), my high capacity thumbdrive (so that I can quickly get the photos taken by other people of myself what else), a pair of good earphones (so I will enjoy playing PATAPON while on my don’t-bother-me-I’m-on-my-alone-time-mood), 2 pieces of tripods for my camera, my Canon EOS 350D DSLR, my complete set of filters for my lens, my emergency gadget charger, assorted power cables, 2 bags of potato chips, and what seems like my entire wardrobe, and lots and lots of ZIPLOCK! (everybody needs ZIPLOCk especially on trips - trust me on this one).

My friend's dive instructor asked if he could see my diving license and how long ago I actually went on a SCUBA diving trip. I answered honestly of course and he asked me if I would be interested in joining their dive and I agreed. He said that it's like riding a bicycle - you never forget. I did not have the courage to admit to him that I don't even know how to ride a bike and that statement did not reassure me one bit.

There were 2 dives scheduled for the first day. The first one was a fun tour of the area and the second were some excercises for the students. Since I wasn’t technically a student, I just hovered nearby trying not to kick too much sand at the bottom thus spoiling the visibility.

I had some problems with my weight belt. I think I underestimated how much bouyant I am with the full body wet suit and given my body type BMI is somewhere between fat and grossly fat (body mass index). I kept on floating in inappropriate moments, like when the instructor told us to kneel in one line. I kept floating everytime I put air in my lungs. Thankfully my other friend was not faring any better (he really had a hard time staying on the sandy bottom and would occassionally even drift away).

The dives on the 2nd day were more fun dives. They were very nice dive spot appropriate for beginners. Lots of giant clams and of course fishes. We think that the fishes in this area are too spoiled though. They are too used to divers feeding them. So they would crowd on you even just after you roll down into the water.

It was all in all a very nice experience. It wasn’t as traumatic as I initially thought it would be. Maybe I will join my diving friends the next time they plan a trip. It is nice to know that I can use my wetsuit other than that kinky stuff I have been using it for all these years. Just kidding. Hah! :p

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Worm


The Worm
Originally uploaded by Jepster
A fun little trick a friend taught me. It consists of a paper straw wrapper all scrunched up like an accordion. When liquid is applied it wriggles loose slowly like a worm. You have to try it sometime. Be careful not to catch the ire of starbucks baristas by consuming too much straws though.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Is it hard to be with somebody else when the right one comes along?

Is it hard to be with somebody else when the right one comes along? Not really.

It has been quite some time since I have updated this blog. It is just that I am very preoccupied with some things that have been happening in my life lately.

I have a confession to make. No it's not a very big confession at that. It is just something very personal that I want to get out of my system.

I think I am in love. In fact, I fell in love twice in the last year.

There I said it. It wasn't too hard as I thought. Nothing disastrous happened when I said it. No lightning flashed, the ground did not swallow me whole. Well I suppose that is not the hardest part. That part is yet to come when I try to explain just what the hell I am talking about. It took so long to write about it here in my blog. I guess it's because of the feelings of guilt. Well I think it is time for everybody to know the whole truth.

Ah, where should I start?

I met the first one in an online catalogue. Ok I know what you might be thinking. You didn't think I would go for such things. Well as a matter of fact I do. What can I say, the time was right and I liked what I saw and she was the one who most impressed me from the bunch. A bit of things I wasn't too enthusiastic about here and there but nothing I couldn't easily adopt to or so I thought at the time. Some of my closest friends who know of my "tastes" were actually shocked by my decision. I know it may sound very discrminatory but I don't usually like her kind. They recall that in the past I ranged from cool indifference to outright contempt when dealing with them. I just thought I'd give her a try.

It was ok at first. I guess the newness of it all overwhelmed me. I would proudly show her off to my friends. She was with me everywhere I go. One of the things I really liked about her is that she is very musically inclined.

After a while though, the small faults that I dismissed for endearing quirks became more and more difficult to ignore. What faults you ask? Ah, where do I begin? Well it may sound so crude when I put into writing but here goes. Well for starters, she is "slow". I have no idea if she just lacks "memory capacity" up there or suffers from a below par "processor" so to speak (haha), but she would sometimes take forever to do the simplest tasks. As if she would "hang" for a moment to process what I want her to do (hehe reminds me of a colleague at work). An endearing idiosyncracy it is most definitely not. There are times that she would fail me on the times where I need her the most. So what's a guy to do?

I did the first thing that crossed my mind. I passed her on to a friend. "Well maybe you can try her out and if you like her maybe -- just maybe, you can get her out of my hands for the right price."

Ok now. Don't look so shocked. What I mean is that I'm even doing her a favor right? It just wasn't right between the two of us. Just hold out any judgements until I finish the story ok? Oh and I did not do it right away of course. That came in later when the other one came into the picture. Ok call me cruel but I also did not want to be the one left hanging if you know what I mean.

I met the other one in Singapore and it was love at first sight. She looked good, elegant, simple, slim, and should I add -- downright sexy. And she responded well to my, errr... "touch" (*blush*). Hahaha. I briefly considered the implication that she comes from Singapore and all. There might be some complications along the way. My hesitation however lasted no longer than 3 minutes and finally throwing caution to the winds I decided then and there (note that things did not just happen by chance. I was really actively seeking out prospective… err… “alternatives” at this point). I thought fate brought the two of us at that place and at that time and I deserve to have her. At the end of those 3 minutes it became “I need to have her”. There are so many things I can say about her and I think I can just go on forever if I list them down. Ok I'm exaggerating but I bet it will be a very long list at that. One thing I could say however is that she just feels right.

So anyway, I'm still together with my new baby and I even got a few toys for her so I can maximise my enjoyment. Right now I'm happily pounding away on one of those toys while watching her take in every thing that I do.

Last week we had a major problem. She was sick and for a moment there I thought I was going to lose her. I think that she caught a virus when some others were trying to “pair” with her. Thankfully everything turned out ok and she recovered fine. The only sad thing about it is that she has lost most of her memory and she is having some problems recognizing some of her toys. But that’s ok. Teaching her all those things all over again feels like a fresh start and it feels very much like falling in love again. :)

To my ex Nokia N60 Music Edition mobile – “Noky”, I hope you are happy with whomever you are with right now. We did have fun times together.

To my dearest HTC Touch – “Toky”, I’m glad everything is ok now after the hard reset I did last weekend. I hope I can restore one of the full backups and hopefully it would seem that nothing has happened at all. I hope I can keep you for a very long time. Although that SonyEricsson Experia X1 due out the end of the year looks very very hot to me right now :p

Friday, May 09, 2008

Fire Tree Escapades (Year 2)


Fire Tree Escapades
Originally uploaded by Jepster

Yeah, it is that time of year again when the fire trees in the golf course beside my workplace is in full bloom. A group of my office friends and I decided to take a stroll on the fairways to take some pictures and just enjoy the nice view.

We saw a lot of interesting stuff. Like those 2 people lying down on one of the greens that looked like they were whispering to each other (one of my friends kept pestering me to take a picture but I refused). Or that young bull that pissed while I was taking a picture of him together with my other friend (I think the bull got too excited). There was also this clearing beneath an acacia tree where we found a piece of cardboard with scribblings that are both mushy and obscene at the same time (that was kinda disturbing).

The atmosphere however was humid and hot so we went back to the office right away. Enjoy the picture of the pissing bull at the end of this post :p

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Giving mother earth a helping hand


Earth Day Bakawan Planting
Originally uploaded by Jepster
In celebration of Earth Day yesterday, some people from work went out to the shoreline nearby to plant mangrove propagules and seedlings.

OK I admit I did not plant a single mangrove that afternoon since I was the self proclaimed official photographer of the activity and I did not want to get mud and seawater on my camera and gear.

I actually had more fun than I thought I would. There is something about walking at the beach (even if it was a muddy beach and my shoes kept getting sucked into the mud) at low-tide and simply observing the various sea critters and plant-life. There were small pools where you can see small fish and crabs scurrying about. Hermit crabs dragging along their barnacle encrusted homes across the mud. Clusters of bi-valves clinging to rocks. Shy fiddler crabs ready to dart inside the safety of their burrows at the slightest sign of threat. I managed to trap a fiddler crab out in the open by closing its burrow. The poor thing just sat there as my evil colleague kept on poking the pitiful crab on the eyes. He said he was fascinated by the way the eyes retracted whenever he poked at them - you know who you are. Shame on you. Torturing that crab and on earth day no less.

Soon all the mangrove propagules and seedlings were planted and we ate our packed snacks. We went back to the office hoping most of them will survive. Not a bad way to spend the afternoon really.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Natural Pearls


Natural Pearls
Originally uploaded by Jepster
I bought this pearl necklace for my mother during my trip to palawan last February. i was actually looking for a seed pearl necklace but I did not see anything I liked and this particular piece caught my eye.

It was also a perfect opportunity to play around with my macro lens filter.

Taken with my Canon EOS 350D with a Canon EF 22-55mm USM lens with a +4 Canon close up macro filter. See the full EXIF data on my Flickr page.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Dragon Ergler


dragonpaul
Originally uploaded by Jepster



My nephew drew this sketch a few years ago presumably as a character to one of his "computer games". You see my nephew has dreams of becoming a computer game designer, building characters, levels and maps. I was planning to render his creations in 3D using Blender3D but never actually found the time to do it (I find the task a bit daunting and all my creations so far are limited to 3D models of furniture and appliances).

A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend of mine and he told me that he just studied 3D Studio Max. I showed him the sketch and encouraged him to do a 3D model of the dragon character (I can't quite make out if the dragon is supposed to be called Ergler or Engler) as an excercise.

I now present you with the final result. I really like the way it turned out. What do you think? If I have time I might do a Blender3D version and see if my version is as good as this one (he is a graphic artist by profession and is only learning now about 3D tools - I just had to say that in case my version turns out to be looking more like a green blob than a dragon).











Many thanks to "Tiger" for the 3D renders.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Meet Thermidore my pet Crayfish


Crayfish
Originally uploaded by Jepster

Hi my name is Thermidor. I'm looking for a crayfish companion for an activity partner, arm wrestling buddy and perhaps more. My hobbies include chasing guppies and mollies and eating them. I am currently single as I just recently ate my ex-crayfish buddy "Buttered". Must be willing to relocate.





Hi Thermidore, my name is Pupas. Nice to meet you. :)
I love your color.. How did you get that tan? Errr... I mean red?

I’m not sure if I’m ready to share my place, I just ate my last set of friends.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Attack of the Tire Stalker

Something very very strange happened to me right before the Christmas holidays last year. It all started one night coming from a pre-Christmas party with work friends that my rear left tire was totally flat. Not wanting to change my tire with a spare in the parking lot, I decided to slowly drive the car a short way to my apartment. I changed the tire, replaced it with my spare and decided to have the flat tire looked at the following day. I requested a colleague to accompany me the next day to the tire vulcanizing place and to my surprise, the tire was in perfect condition. No puncture, no leaks, nothing. Puzzled, I decided to keep that tire as a spare just in case.

The very next day, I decided to do my groceries at the nearby mall and when I came back, my tire was again flat. This is another tire altogether and it was on the other side (rear right tire). And guess what? The repair shop also told me that the tire was in good shape.

I suddenly had this idea that somebody is out there following me around and deflating my tires one at a time. Scary thought. What's more scary is that I even have a couple of suspects whom I thought are capable to do such a thing. I'm becoming too paranoid. Soon everybody will be a suspect.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Eating out with friends


Grilled Lambchops
Originally uploaded by Jepster
A bunch of my colleagues and I decided to start having nice dinners together at least once in 3 months. The first one we went to last month was a nice restaurant in Tagaytay. I had grilled lambchops and it tasted great (in spite of one of my companions singing "Mary had a little lamb" while I was eating my meal -- what can I say, I love lamb *yum yum* they might be cute and cuddly but they sure are tasty too). I think having regular night outs like these is a very good idea and the frequency is just right that we could save up and splurge on really fancy places the next time we do this sort of thing. I wonder where we will go to next time.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The problem with red Mulberries


Mulberry
Originally uploaded by Jepster
Right before the mulberries ripen into a deep purple, they first turn into this very bright shade of red.

I saw my colleague the other day poking around beneath a mulberry tree. He looked a little pissed so I decided to ask him what is wrong.

"What's wrong??! What's wrong you ask?? Look at this and tell me what you see," he said while pointing to the tree in front of us.

All I saw were red and not quite so ripe mulberries on the tree.

"Exactly! Those damn grasscutters and gardeners are eating all the ripe ones."

Looking forward to a relaxing day on the beach


Lazy Dog
Originally uploaded by Jepster
If everything goes according to plan, I will be spending my Sunday on an island somewhere. Will do a bit of snorkeling, some skindiving if I'm still up for it (it has been a while and I'm out of practice), and hopefully a lot of rest and lazing about. Will also try to get a ton of photos. Ah... can't wait. Is it Sunday already? Why are certain days seem so slow especially if you are waiting for something?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

To Sugar or Not to Sugar

Last December, I discovered a wonderful place for diabetics to go out and have those desserts they always craved for but could not eat because of their situation. The place is called "Sugar-Not" located in Megamall. Ironically, I discovered it when I was just finishing off my regular yearly medical checkup and my doctor was admonishing me for not keeping my blood sugar in check. Last stop was for my Audiometry test at the fifth floor. I had to wait for some time for the technician to come out from her lunch break so I had some time to kill.

Seeing the name of the shop for the first time made my heart skip a beat. Sugar-Not... Could it be? I went inside and asked the attendant which pastries were sugar free. She answered back, "all of them". And that was when I realized I was in sugar free heaven. :D

Their menu was mouth watering with sample photos of some of the items. I decided to give it a shot.

My impressions:

  • New York Cheesecake - a bit dry and the blueberry topping featured in the menu was not available. A bit of a disappointment.
  • Carrot Cake - very very nice. It was moist and flavorful. Just what I imagined it to taste like.
  • Latte Lite - the best I tasted so far. Beats an iced Starbucks cafĂ© lattĂ© with sugar free vanilla syrup anytime.

I will definitely go back there to sample the rest of their offerings. Can't wait…

Monday, January 07, 2008

Saving up for the new year


Piggy Series
Originally uploaded by Jepster
It's a fresh new year and I'm still trying to pay off the expenses I incurred during the holidays. That is why for this year, I have resolved to be more budget conscious (no more impulse buying *sob*) and hopefully finish the projects I have started last year that I was not able to complete because of lack of funds. The biggest of these projects is of course my flat which after more than 2 years since moving in still looks like a storage space with a small clearing for the bed and a small table.

Things that I should spend less on:
* Eating out -- I used to cook often but lately I have been eating out a lot. I hope to change that this year. The downside is that I tend to get fatter when I do my own cooking :p
* Buying overpriced coffee -- Ok I admit it, I have probably spend a whole lot of money on coffee than I should have just for the months of November, December and January. All because of a lousy planner that I have just gave away to friends. It would have been cheaper if I just had bought them the planner instead of collecting all those promo stickers from Starbucks.
* Impulse buying -- the year 2007 was a landmark year for me in terms of impulse buying. The items ranged from a nice mini tripod that I just had to buy to a very nice Bluetooth keyboard for my equally nice new phone (the keyboard was one-third the price of my phone). That also includes all the cheap but moderately useful items I buy from my favorite budget gadget store (CDRKING). And did I really need that new widescreen LCD monitor? I'm guessing not.
* Fuel and car maintenance related expenses -- I'm not sure what I can do about this category but this represents a huge chunk of my total expenses in 2007. A colleague suggested I stop doing my maintenance checks with the OEM and stick with 3rd parties offering the same services instead. Almost all of my Christmas-bonus just went to that single maintenance repair. Bummer huh... :(

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year Everyone!


IMG_9087
Originally uploaded by Jepster
I decided to drive back to our company housing compound for the new year. Sure beats spending the new year alone in my apartment without an internet connection and thinking of how to fit the leftovers of the new year feast in an already brimming fridge.

We played Bingo starting 9pm (I did not win anything) and ate free food (mostly food that are traditionally served for the new year like round fruits, Balut, Hot Chocolate, salabat and assorted "kakanin"). I tried taking some pictures of the fireworks. I did not prepare beforehand and I was fumbling with my camera when the fireworks display started, had to swap out inappropriate filters that were installed, and eventually just ran out of battery power. :(

I think some of the pics turned out nicely though.