cirque du freak: the vampire's assistant.

the original plan was to watch sherlock holmes.  but when we got to the theater, it wasn't showing anymore.  T chose this movie instead.  i hesitated since it had B movie written all over it. but T pointed out that  funnyman john c. reilly was in it so if the storyline sucked, we would at least laugh for sure.

"Meet Darren.  He's sixteen going on immortal."




cirque du freak: the vampire's assistant is a movie adaptation of the book carrying the same name.  the plot revolves around two sixteen year olds:  darren shan (played by chris massoglia) who is fascinated with spiders and his bestfriend steve leonard (played by josh hutcherson) who is fascinated with vampires. while walking to school one day, a mysterious car drives by and releases a flyer advertising a 'cirque du freak', a traveling freak show claiming to have toured the western hemisphere for the last 500 years. 


darren and steve attends the show and they meet mr. crepsley (played by john c. reilley) and his giant spider octa.  




after a series of mad events, darren ends up in the cirque's camp grounds and meets all sorts of freaks.  i wouldn't give away the plot so as to prevent spoilers ;)




personally, i liked the movie.  it's probably not something that would blow your mind but cirque du freak: the vampire's assistant was very entertaining.  although the storyline was a bit dark for a book intended for young adults, the darkness was balanced off by unexpected humor.  and T was right.  all through out the movie, you can't help but laugh at john c. reilly's quirky lines and antics.

but the most effect this movie had on me was that after watching, i wanted to google the cirque du freak books.  i wanted to read them!  i found out, however, that the movie was part of the 'vampire blood trilogy' comprising only the first 3 books of the 12 book saga cirque du freak.  so i guess i'm heading to the bookstore now to get those books.  i can't wait until the next movie installment to find out what happened to darren and steve (spoiler alert!).

anybody here who has read the cirque du freak saga?   how are the books?

and with that, i give cirque du freak: the vampire's assistant










photo credit:
imdb.com

iPad.

remember in THIS entry i mentioned that that there was one particular thing on top of my wishlist but i'd rather not talk about it until it hits the market?  well, it's finally here.

say hello to the new iPAD.




i was really getting impatient and considering kindle 2 just the other day when i chanced upon the news about the iPad's launch.

"The iBooks app is a great, new way to read and buy books. Just download the app for free from the App Store, and you’ll be able to buy everything from classics to bestsellers from the built-in iBookstore. Once you’ve bought a book, it’s displayed on your Bookshelf. To read it, all you have to do is tap on it and it opens up. The high-resolution, LED-backlit screen displays everything in sharp, rich, color, so it’s very easy to read, even in low light."

This will definitely kill a lot of tablets and video players such as Archos.

"The large, high-resolution screen makes iPad perfect for watching any kind of video: from HD movies and TV shows, to podcasts and music videos. You can also easily move between wide-screen and full-screen with a double-tap. And because it’s essentially one big screen, with no buttons or anything to distract you, the picture fills your line of sight. So you feel completely immersed in what you’re watching."

the iPad will be released late march.  can't wait!






photo credit: apple.com

hair woes.

in this day and age where everything is always in a frenzy, toweling off and running out with wet hair becomes one's common routine.  admittedly, i am guilty of this at times.  but i realized that going into a courtroom even in the most dazzling suit can be set off with dripping wet hair.

solution?  of course, the best way is to naturally dry hair.  but we all know this would take eons to finish.  a quick option then would be to use a hair dryer.  you realize later, however, that quick doesn't mean the best when all you have on your head is a fried mess of strings.

eagerly searching for a solution, i found this product from earth therapeutics.


"This Ultra-Absorbent Towel is cut from angel-tex™ -- a revolutionary fabric that absorbs water more quickly and efficiently than ordinary towels.  Developed with advanced proprietary microfiber technology, angel-tex™ is woven from fibers that are even finer than conventional microfiber.  The result is a heavenly light, heavenly soft, super-absorbent material that uses capillary action to literally "drink up" excess moisture."

before getting one though, i wanna know.. has anyone ever tried this product?  or even better, care to share your hair drying tips --- natural or otherwise?


Metro Manila's Hidden Gems: The Frazzled Cook.

T and I chanced upon two great hole-in-the-wall places in one day.  Let me start by introducing you to one of them.  Excuse the blurry pictures though.  My camera's battery was acting up so all I had for photos during dinner was my iPhone.

material girl.


surely i did something else over the weekend besides wishing for lusting over these things but before hitting the sack, i just wanted to quickly share my current infatuations.


cameras

photographer friends, can you help me out with this?

photography was something i wanted to pursue even before the whole craze started.  during that era, however, time and effort were two things i couldn't afford to waste.  but even if the same holds true until today, i feel that i need more hobbies to keep me preoccupied.

and i know that before i could take up photography, i should have at least the tools to make it work.  i love my olympus waterproof digicam to bits but I think a DSLR would be more suited for this task.  problem is, i don't see myself lugging around a huge camera everywhere i go.

so when i saw this last saturday at a baptismal dinner, i knew my problems were solved.  say hello to the panasonic mini dslr.  small enough to keep in my purse but techie enough so i could explore the realm of photography.




another option would be olympus' mini dslr.  According to T's friend, the only problem was that the first version of this mini DSLR was much slower than panasonic's.  but since olympus came out with a new one claiming to solve the speed problem, i'd consider this pretty much a contender as well.






but as a 'cheaper' alternative to keep me started with photography, i'm considering getting this diana f+ qing hua deluxe lomo camera.

 

pens.

since T gave me the planner i so wanted (no, it's not the Starbucks planner), i've been lusting over pens.  if money were no matter, i'd get the montblanc special edition ingrid bergman pen.  what a beauty!  the tiffany's pen is also cute, it being aquamarine and all.  but since i'm scared of shelling out for something i might lose in a few days, i'm sticking to this hot pink parker pen i saw at a local bookstore nearby.




jewelry.

chanel.  pearls.  need i say more?


 

personalize-its.

i have this pet peeve of seeing something i have scattered all over the malls --- either in the arms of fashionistas and fashionista-wannabes or inside stores.  unfortunately, my trusty longchamp seems to be the rage right now so i see them everywhere!  ugh.  utterly annoying.

solution:  make my very own le pliage bag.

 

T was actually the first one to spot the flipcam but ever since he pointed it out to me, i've been quite interested in it, too.  Well, only just a little bit since there are a lot of better options for video cameras out there.  but what sets this apart for me is that flip allows you to customize your camera. 




there are still a few more things on my wishlist (and one particular thing at the top of it all but i'd rather keep it to myself until it hits the market) but i guess this will do for now.  how about you?  anything on your wishlist lately?












photo credits: 

hillos.info
technotalks.com
lomography.com
parkerpen.com
chanel.com
longchamp.com
theflip.com


The Goose Station.

My friends and I are always planning to meet and catch up but because of our busy schedules, our plans never really push through.  Finally, I got to double date with Kat and Paul at this place I've always wanted to try out --- The Goose Station.



The Trek to Mount Pinatubo.


My two-year overdue wish to see Mount Pinatubo finally came true! At around 3:30am last Saturday, I met up with the group to go and see the famous volcano. 

Mount Pinatubo is an active stratovolcano located on the island of Luzon, at the intersection of the borders of the Philippine provinces of Zambales, Tarlac, and Pampanga. The volcano's ultra-Plinian eruption in June 1991 produced the second largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century and the largest eruption in living memory. The effects of the eruption were felt worldwide.

Since I was asleep from the last pick-up point until the end of NLEX, I'll be no help in giving directions.  So instead, here's a map I got from the Mount Pinatubo's Spa Town website.


Boracay (part 2): A Relaxing Day at Shangri-La.


Because we really enjoyed our stay in Discovery Shores during our 2008 Boracay trip, T and I always compare all resorts to it!  So, expect a lot of Shangri-La Boracay versus Discovery Shores match-up throughout this entry.


Inside Room 530

Room-wise, I'd choose Discovery Shoes over Shangri-la.  It was much more spacious and the set-up was a little bit less hotel-ish stiff.  But we do have our favorites in Room 530:  T lusted over the HD television set that you can swivel while I loved the day beds in our balcony.





Bathroom-wise, Shangri-La Boracay wins! Too bad I can't find the picture I took of my favorite part of the bathroom --- the his & hers sinks! But here's a picture of my second favorite part, the bathtub!  What's cool about this set-up is that it allows you to watch TV while taking a relaxing bubble bath.



As for the toiletries, Discovery Shores provided their own (Rustans-made, I think) while Shangri-La carried L'Occtaine.   This started our obsession with the brand.

Shangri-la Boracay even had power detergent and hair bands.  Talk about complete!  But since Discovery Shores gave me cute giveaways, including a straw hat and a native bag filled with goodies (facial mask and VMV Armada sunblock), I can't really decide who wins the toiletries slash goodies race!


Breakfast

After freshening up, T and I went to Vintana to have breakfast.  WOW!  I was overwhelmed with the spread. There was so much food!


Upon entering the breakfast area, T and I were greeted with breakfast shooters, which are shots of special fruit juice. I wasn't able to take photos of all sections of the breakfast buffet because I was too busy salivating over everything else.
  

During my stay in Shangri-La Boracay, I always start my breakfast with frozen oats or muesli, bread, and cheese while T goes straight to the main entrees.

I then check out their drink selection because they change it daily.  If I don't like anything from the juice section, I go over to the milk section and get mango milk.  Only when I feel really hungry do I go over to the appetizer and salad section.  Otherwise, I go straight to the main entrees.
The first corner of the main table contain Chinese dishes like dimsum and deli.  In the middle is the salad bar.  The next row are filled with so much food that I feel like I'm eating in Shangri-La Makati's Circles or Edsa Shangri-La's Heat!  The next stop would be the omelet station and then the noodle station.


In the next island beside the bread and cheese section are different sweets --- pancakes, pastries, cupcakes, waffles, the works.  I love this station.


I always end my breakfast with a majorly cheese omelet and a fruit-laden pancake.  T ends his with a cup of mango yogurt.




What I find amusing is the set of various jams placed on our table.  I noticed that after each guest leaves, the used jams are replaced by new sealed ones! 



The Beaches and The Pool Area

Shangri-la Boracay has two beaches --- Punta Bunga beach and their own private beach.  Punta Bunga Beach is a stretch of white sand that Shangri-La Boracay shares with other resorts and native homes in the area.  But since Shangri-La Boracay's property occupies most of it, it's usually just their guests hanging out there.  On the other hand, the private beach is what its name connotes it to be --- a beach only for their guests.  


What I like most about Discovery Shores is its little 'special' perks for guests --- unlimited juice and lemon water, cucumber for the eyes and orange peels for the face, Evian spray in case it was getting a bit hot and the best part of them all, unlimited cookies, snow cones and snacks!  Shangri-La Boracay has, well, nothing.  

We didn't mind that their drinks were priced higher than the usual (say P600/$20 per glass) since Shangri-La Boracay is a 6-star (yes, not 5 but 6) resort.  But T's drink tasted like crap while my drink didn't even feel like it had alcohol in it.  I'm not a heavy drinker and feel dizzy at the tiniest bit of alcohol consumption but I already had 2 glasses of Tequila Sunrise for happy hour and felt nothing.

On the first day, T and I decided to stay at the private beach so we could also explore the nearby pool area.  This is when we first experienced our great big disappointment in Shangri-La Boracay.  Servers just passed us while walking, not asking whether we needed any towels or if we wanted to order food.  When we finally settled in our beach chairs, we had a hard time calling the attention of servers for our drinks.   As for the towels, we had to wait a LONG time to get them.

Unlike in Discovery Shores where, as soon as entered the beachfront, attendants, ready with our towels and juice, greeted us and asked us if there was anything else that we needed.

Mind you, it was just me and T plus another couple there at that time.  So there is not excuse for this.  They can't say that it was because there was a rush of people or anything like that.


But I have to give it to Shangri-La Boracay when it comes to their pool area.  Discovery Shores has only one pool that we have to share with all the other guests and rowdy kids.  Shangri-La Boracay didn't have a pool, they had a lagoon!


And since the area was big and it had a lot of nooks and crannies, it was possible to have complete privacy.


While I was swimming and wading about, I felt like I was in the movie, The Blue Lagoon.  It was just so beautiful! 




There was even a number of jacuzzis.  Unlike in Discovery Shores where there was only one, which are usually being invaded by kids.  Shangri-La Boracay definitely wins over Discovery Shores in this round.

 

T declared this to be his signature pose.  He will be doing this compulsory shot in all of our travels where there's a pool.


I love this shot taken by T. 

The Sunset


They say Shangri-La Boracay's Solana has the best sunset in all of Boracay.   So we spent happy hour there and waited for dusk.   





Order any entree and get a glass of bottomless sangria for free!  the servers in this restaurant were uber nice!  they gave us appetizers on the house composed of olives, nuts and dried mangoes while waiting for our sangrias. Interestingly, the bartender used to work with Discovery Shores. 


i don't know if i can describe it well but each table is placed alongside a cliff so you'd get a view of the whole ocean.  plus, you really get your own space since each table was on a different part of the cliff.   T and i stayed there until an hour after the sun went down.  we had to transfer to the bar just beside solana because it was getting a little chilly already.




goodnight.

to those not familiar with turndown service, it's hotel practice of folding back the blanket and bedsheets in the evening accompanied with some little cute reminder like candies, chocolates or flowers. 


discovery shores wins the best turn down, unanimously.  to start off, discovery shores leaves you different sweets for their turn down service while shangri-la only provides you with water and an ice bucket.  plus, i have a HUGE RANT regarding shangri-la's turn down policy but i'm going to reserve it for my end post.

still to be continued...