“Last December” by Gabriel Lynch

[bandcamp track=788995010 bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=4285BB size=venti]

I know nothing about this guy except that he’s an independent musician on an Asian tour that includes the Philippines. He played at Conspiracy, 70’s Bistro, and The Bar at 1951 in Malate. After hearing this song, I can say that he’s a brilliant independent musician.

Despite what I post, it’s not always happy in paradise. At present, I’m stuck between a master’s degree that I don’t have the drive to finish but have to somehow because I don’t have the money to pay the funding agency’s fine for not finishing (all the money DOST ever gave me + 12% interest) and a job that I genuinely love but want more out of. There are the good days and then there are the bad ones. Lately, it seems like the bad days are overwhelming the good ones. Then I remember that I have friends and loved ones who love me and care for me and will be there for me despite the distance.

Describe a picture perfect day to me
Tell me all about the beauty in the things you’d see
Recount your favourite moments from the past
Leave nothing out and save the sweetest bits until last
And try to remember all the detail
And find new meaning in a joke even though the punchline failed

Well the future’s so demanding
And it’s hard enough today
Every month feels like December while we wait and try to find another way

So while we reminisce about the times that it all when wrong
We’ll keep on looking for a sign
We’ll pause while you recollect your thoughts
While you find the place that your story got cut short
And I will sit in silence while you do
Then I’ll describe a picture perfect day to you

But we’re strong now more than ever and there’s nothing they can say
And we’ll make it like December, just you wait
We’re going to find another way

A night on the (El Nido) town

Mavic and I got to stay out in El Nido town last night with some friends from UP MSI. YAHOOO!!! Thank you to Ate Mags, Fleur, Kuya Mel, and Renmar for letting us crash with them last night (hey, I did help somewhat in making the cages :D). It was a great night filled with food, friends, and alcohol. I crashed earlier than everybody else because I had to wake up at 5:15am to catch the 6am boat back to Miniloc. It was exhausting but so worth it.

Dinner at Aplaya Bar and Restaurant. Ordered grilled squid. The food was yummy (of course! The restaurant is owned by former MIR F&B Supervisor Bong Meridor) but took FOREVER to arrive. We ended up eating Ken's "birthday cake" while waiting because we were so freaking hungry.
Moved over to Sea Slugs for drinks. Their chilled margaritas are kickass. That there is our second pitcher and I drank 1.5-2 glasses of the stuff. Whoo! Reg's student (who happens to be the daughter of Sea Slugs' owner) was celebrating her birthday that night and sent spaghetti, pancit, and pizza over to our table. Wow! I felt unworthy since I didn't know the birthday girl but I will never turn down a Sea Slugs pizza.

Continue reading “A night on the (El Nido) town”

A prayer for grad students

I freaking LOVE Jorge Cham. His grad school humor is just so spot on, all the time. I guess this means that the cultures of institutions of higher learning are fundamentally the same the world over.

And yes, I’m working on my thesis right now (just sneaked off to blog a bit *sheepish*).

Sanya, Hainan, China Day 5 – the Hilton Sanya and exploring HKIA

View from the Presidential Suite of the Sanya Hilton

Our flight from Sanya to Hong Kong was at 2pm, which left enough time for us to do a bit of sightseeing. As it turned out, one of my mother’s friends is the auditing head for the Hilton Sanya Resort & Spa and he was nice enough to offer us brunch and a tour of the hotel. Tito Jun was a bit late picking us up (he’d gotten lost as he’d never been to our part of Sanya before) so we decided to eat at least  some breakfast before leaving (I love the mini pork buns! :D). Incidentally, I found out that I’m capable of walking really fast while keeping a mini pork bun trapped between my chopsticks 😛

Tito Jun picked us up  in one of the hotel’s shuttle vans and gave a running commentary on the history of Hainan and the rapid expansion of Sanya’s tourism industry for the entire 30-minute ride. He was a veritable treasure trove of information, as he’d been in Sanya for 4 out of the 21 years he’d been working in China (he was part of the hotel’s opening team).

The pace of the tourism development in Sanya is just incredible. The Hilton is located in Yalong Bay and is just one of the five 5-star properties already operating there: the Hilton, the Pullman, the Sheraton, the Marriott, and the Ritz-Carlton. The St. Regis is set to open this November 2011. Each hotel has around 450-500 rooms (the Hilton has 492), catering mostly to tourists from mainland China. All of this development is just the tip of the iceberg.

I asked Tito Jun if he really thought that all the construction could be supported by incoming tourists and he answered with a resounding yes. As he said, we’re talking about more than a billion Chinese. Even if they captured only the top 10% of the population with money to spend, they’re looking at 100 million tourists a year. At present, they’re having trouble retaining staff because the hotels are pirating experienced staff from each other. Tito Jun did worry though that with the glut of hotels in Sanya, they’d eventually be forced to lower their rates to compete. However, that situation is several years away.

After brunch, Tito Jun took us on a tour of the Hilton’s different rooms. My mom specifically told me to take photos of the rooms and to show her as soon as I got home. LOL. The first stop was the Presidential Suite, a suite the size of four standard rooms (about 200 sq. m) that comes with a personal butler on call 24 hours. During the peak seasons (Christmas, Chinese New Year), the suite can go for RMB 80,000 per night (~PhP 536,000). Yes, we took a lot of pictures because it’s highly unlikely that we’d ever enter a suite like it again 😛 Continue reading “Sanya, Hainan, China Day 5 – the Hilton Sanya and exploring HKIA”