Did I tell you about the time a friend put my thoughts and picture into her article in Inquirer? It was about high school valedictorians and where they are now. No, I don’t think I ever mentioned it because when that article was published back in 2007, they printed the wrong photo under my name! (It was the author’s photo instead.) And even when the author told them of their mistake, they never rectified the error. Bah.

I bring this up now because I have an article in the Inquirer today (June 27) on pages C1 and C4. It irks me every time I read it, instead of giving me a sense of pride that I’ve finally been published in a mainstream broadsheet.

Okay, I know we’re all supposed to edit before we send copy to our editor, but they’re supposed to catch the small errors and fix them so that the newspaper maintains its grammar and spelling standards, right? They’re supposed to catch the missing article in this sentence: Add the mix local cosplay communities organizing their own conventions and contests, and you have a cosplay boom in the Philippines. It’s two letters. Sigh.

My biggest disappointment in this article is that I was asked to write a sidebar about places to acquire costumes and other accessories. I did my research and sent a beautifully-formatted document to them that clearly defined section headings and the entries under each section. When the article came out, my two costume-makers had been compacted into one entry and my wig suppliers had been placed under Weapons/Armor! That is just plain wrong, not to mention silly.

When I first was given this assignment, it was because I had knowledge about cosplay and the community and would write about the topic with the respect and intelligence it deserved, instead of a “parachute journalist” coming in from outside. Somewhere along the line towards publication, there was a disconnect between that objective and just getting it all into print.

Oh, Inquirer. I expected more from you. But maybe based on my first experience, I shouldn’t have?

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I’ve had Lady Emma (my ASUS eeePC) for a year and three months. I remember being so happy because I’d bought this 701 8G beauty in Macau when all the eeePCs in the Philippines were simple 4Gs.

Macau Day Three: Laptop Shopping

Since then the times have changed. ASUS has been rolling out higher-capacity eeePCs (like the eeePC 1000 my mom bought) with Windows XP pre-installed on them. I stuck with my eeePC’s out-of-the-box Xandros install though, because all I needed from a notebook was just surfing, chatting, email, and word processing.

And then, it started — the not-so-slow march to obsolescence. Firefox 3.0 came out, and my eeePC didn’t support it. My supposedly virus-proof computer suddenly started sending out spam IMs, forcing me to upgrade Pidgin. This upgrade uninstalled the Sudoku game that came with my eeePC and hit my GIMP installation as well.

This week I tried to view some videos on Facebook. I kept getting prompted to install Flash Player 10 but even if I did, my browser failed to recognize the plugin. This is an unresolvable problem on my stock eeePC Xandros OS, and no hack or workaround I tried would get it to work. That was the last straw.

Wish me luck; I’m junking the stock OS and trying to install CrunchEEE. I hope I don’t brick Lady Emma. Ü

UPDATE: It’s a success! I’m using my new OS now. I just need to reinstall OpenOffice and maybe GIMP, and then I’ll be back to business. *Mandark laugh*

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Even though I’m a certifiable (yes, certifiable) beach bunny, I know there’s so much more to do and discover. There are mountains to be climbed, trails to be biked, waves to be surfed and oceans to swim… I just haven’t been able to get off my butt and do these things. But a girl can always dream, right?

(Photo from R.O.X. website)

I found myself at R.O.X. (Recreational Outdoor eXchange) at Bonifacio High Street three times this week. First it was under the pretense of looking at bikinis; I had the mistaken notion I should rock a Roxy or a Billabong next time I went surfing. (I ended up buying a hot pink bikini at Pink Belter.) While I was there, I got sucked into the bike section where I drooled over a Giant mountain bicycle designed for women that was small enough for me and had sexy paint details. This, despite the fact I do not bike up mountains and don’t even know how to shift smoothly between bike gears.

 I liked the bike so much I took photos.

The second time, I was looking at rash guards and found a nice local brand, Fluidsurf, selling both rash guards and board shorts. But while I was browsing the aisles I found myself getting excited over fanny packs and wash bags, of all things.

(Photo from R.O.X. website)

I found myself lost in a daydream about hiking and needing a fanny pack at my hip so I could have freedom of movement, and using a wash bag to contain all my toiletries as I roughed it in the wild. Then I realized the wash bag couldn’t hold my makeup kit.

Well, today I gave in to one of my R.O.X. fantasies and got myself a Fluidsurf rash guard. Before I hied off to the checkout counter, I caught myself casting a longing gaze at the DC skate gear in the corner.

I’m in retail therapy trouble, aren’t I?

Surfing with the Weekend Warriors

I was feeling every bit of the rainy weather when out of the blue I got a text message from my friend Al. “Hey do u have plan [sic] today? We’re doing surf lesson in Pasig for Weekend Warriors. U wanna join us?”

Never mind that I had a VTR scheduled that afternoon (it was for support cast anyway). Never mind that I still had a 400-word article to finish for Action & Fitness Magazine (done in one hour, yo!). Never mind that it was rainy (I’d get wet anyway). I jumped on the chance to try out surfing at Club Manila East, which I’d already heard about from my friends.

  “Weekend Warriors” is an upcoming web show on Flippish.com with Ton Gatmaitan, Chris Tan, Jinno Rufino, and Al Galang. They’re a group of buddies in search of the ultimate adrenaline rush and great things to do on a weekend getaway. Naturally, they need guest Girlfriends of the Week to round out the cast. Jinno was knocked out by illness, and I was the only girl they could get to show up that day. Chris said, “If you hadn’t shown up, we’d have canceled the shoot. It would have been too much of a sausage-fest.” Yeah, but the problem with having a girl on an extreme sports show is she just might show you up.

The other girl was Lorraine Lapus, one of the coaches from the Philippine Surfing Academy, which runs the lessons at CME. She explained the parts of a board, basic safety procedures, and how to get up on the board. I’d already been through some instruction as part of the surfing lesson I had during a LAC trip to Zambales, but it was still great getting a refresher. After all, my first and last surf session was back then in 2007.

The boys were all avid wakeboarders so they already knew which was their back foot, but it came as a surprise to me that Al was surfing for the first time. “There was a lot of surfing back where I grew up,” he admitted (he grew up in LA), but he’d never had interest in anything else aside from balls. The bouncy kind. The sporty kind. Aw heck, sorry Al…

We took our boards into the pool and waited for the wave machine, which started sending out 3- to 5-foot swells. As soon as my turn came up, my muscles went and did their thing. What do you know? Surfing is just like riding a bicycle. You never forget how.

Let’s get it up, boys!

Soon enough, the boys were riding their own waves, with Chris getting the longest rides to shore. Ton had some trouble with his board, but got the money shot. And Al? I bet he regretted not starting younger.

After about two hours of this (mostly in the middle of a torrential downpour that had water drops bouncing from the waves into our eyes), we were wet, dog-tired, but happy. And I missed my VTR. But I wouldn’t have spent my afternoon any other way.

Hang loose!

An AbZORBing Adventure

Half the year, Boracay’s a fun summer getaway with calm waters and warm sun perfect for swimming and sunbathing. But what do you do the other half of the year when it turns into a literal wet blanket, with huge waves and frequent rainshowers?

My friends and I were lucky or unlucky to be in Boracay right at the turn of the season from dry to wet. We landed under a clear sky, but incoming rains washed out our second day’s plans at the beach. So, we turned to other pursuits… like riding a Zorb.

Er, wait a minute… what’s a Zorb? It’s a very large transparent plastic sphere with a hollow core. People get into that core and then roll downhill. I’d seen a small feature on TV about this extreme sport when it started in New Zealand, so I was definitely excited about trying it for myself.

Zorbing had just started on the island the previous week, so even the tricycle drivers didn’t know exactly how to get there. Our trike had to go past Alta Vista de Boracay resort, then take a turn to the left and climb a steep hill. Since the trikes don’t have very powerful engines, each trike was limited to carrying 4 people (excluding the driver) and the drivers charged each of us P50 per way (P100/person for the round trip).

We had two ride options: the harness ride where two people are strapped into the core opposite each other, and the water ride where one to three people can climb inside the Zorb, have it partially filled with water, and then have the hole plugged so they could roll downhill on a cushion of water. We all opted for the harness ride (P350/person).

Ideally both riders should weigh the same give or take five kilos, but the Zorb is safe to ride for people with up to a 20kg weight difference. None of the riders should weigh above 80kg though.

So my friend and I were strapped in, and once we started rolling down that hill, I couldn’t stop screaming! Part of it was I got freaked by a leg strap coming off, although I should have known I was completely safe because the chest straps and centrifugal force would hold me against the inside of that Zorb.

It was a thrilling ride and gave us something to be busy about that rainy afternoon. The gloomy weather actually helped, as we realized during the summer it might get stifling hot inside those Zorbs.

Next time I might try the water ride, but only if I were wearing the right gear, like a rash guard and a one-piece swimsuit. We were told a Korean tourist had gotten disrobed the other day during her Zorb ride — yikes!

The Accident-Prone Tourist: Blow-Up Doll

Vacations are only postcard-perfect on, well, postcards. While most times they can be snag-free, one must always allow that shit happens. When it does, all one can do really is laugh at it and hang on for the ride.

I am allergic to food that appears on most gourmet menus: shrimp, crab, and lobster. Quite unfortunate because I used to love eating that kind of food. Now I just try to avoid ingesting such because I swell up like an inflatable doll and have breathing problems, but watch out for hidden secret ingredients!

When we were in Macau, we had a delicious noodle soup at Wong Chi Kei, a famous shop in San Ma Lo. The menu said it was just chicken noodle, but this actually meant they ladled a basic soup stock over whatever noodles and meat you’d selected. We should have known that soup had shrimp. Thirty minutes later I was scratching my neck and ears and clearing my throat. My dad had to find a Watson’s and buy a corticosteroid to halt the histamine attack.

I told myself I’d be prepared next time with medicines — but the next time still threw me for a loop. On my trip to Laoag with Living Asia, I had studiously avoided all foods prepared with the aforementioned seafood. Then I decided to give ant eggs a whirl, and whaddya know, I’m allergic to them as well! I loaded up on the corticosteroid, but in the end had to hie off to a hospital to get a shot of Benadryl.

Would you still travel with me if you know I was this accident-prone? =)