Archive for June, 2007

on air: michael buble’s lost


I felt sad today.

Two of my very good friends have decided to end their long-term relationship. I just love these two guys and seeing them part their ways is just heartbreaking. I guess breakups are also hard for friends. I’ve known them for quite some time now, long before I’ve arrived in Norway in fact. Far from my family and friends in Manila, they have become my family here in Norway – my source of strength, joy, support, and inspiration. I know they will never cease to be just that. And I wish them both good riddance and happy days always.

Stein and Keng, I want you to know that I love you both very much. And I hope you two find what your hearts are searching for.

XOXO
Mark

on the way to amsterdam: hotel weber


After searching high and low – taking into consideration the location and going rates, the facilities, the rooms, and the international reviews, the cleanliness and the chicness of a hotel – we have found our accommodation in Amsterdam – the Hotel Weber.


“Hotel Weber is a newly renovated boutique hotel, which houses seven studio apartments. Each minimal but romantically eclectic created space is semi-serviced, containing its own kitchenette with personal breakfast. Guests have the luxury of living in a studio styled room with complete independence to do their own thing.”


Look, the room even comes with a Nespresso machine, a flatscreen TV, a microwave oven, and a wifi connection!


“Location is everything and the Hotel Weber stands right in the pulse of the culturally rich Leidseplein – an exciting intersection of life, set amongst the beautiful canals, architecture, shopping, fashion, art and design, dining and nightlife of trendy Amsterdam.”

Again, your fabulous tips and tricks on this city of beautiful canals are highly appreciated. :-)

on the way to paris: le quartier bastille, le faubourg

It’s less than five weeks until I’m in Paris and so we took the second step for this trip. We booked the hotel we’re staying at in the City of Lights. After considering several options, we went with this Nouveau chic hotel located at the 12th arrondissement – Le Quartier Bastille, Le Faubourg.

It looks like a pretty neat hotel, with all these little touches that welcome the weary traveller like that shiny Granny Smith apple sitting on your pillow. Wikitravel also enlists the hotel and says that the “big draw at Le Quartier is the interior patio which really is as nice as advertised and is full of plants and an interesting designer fountain. The location is good for those looking for an easy stumble from the bars around Bastille.”

This trip is now really starting to shape up. And things are looking good. Kindly send in your Paris tips and tricks. It’ll be my first time in the city! :-)

idol open auditions result

After more than six hours of standing in a disorganized queue, of more waiting time in the holding room, and the two-minute meeting with a judge, I didn’t make it to the next round of the Norwegian Idol.

As I mentioned in my last entry, I feared the long waiting time, and that indeed turned out to be the most gruelling part of the competition. It just wears you out – physically, mentally, vocally. It was breezy/cold outside Chateau Neuf and standing out there didn’t do any good for my voice. When I started to introduce myself to the judge, who was neither one of the four Idol judges by the way, my voice had gone raspy and tired. But still, I struggled to sing my best and just gave what’s left of me. The judge thought “it was nice, but was not very good.” I respected his decision, I wouldn’t have put myself through to the next round either with my performance. I knew just what he meant.

I didn’t feel disappointed. I didn’t have any regret. I may have faltered but I fought hard.

Will I go again next year? Maybe not. This was just a one-time deal and I was just happy to have gone through the experience. I came, I sang, and I smiled all the way through. No one could take that experience away from me.

Thanks to Al, Dazed and Confused, Lyka Bergen, and Fendi for all your well wishes!

idol open auditions in oslo

I’m gonna do something waaaaaay crazy tomorrow.


Yes, friends, I am going to the Open Auditions of the 5th season of the Norwegian Idol. The doors of Chateau Neuf will open at 2 PM and right now, I fear facing the long queues and my lack of Norwegian skills during the entire process of registration. I hope that won’t be a problem. Whatever the result is, I’m going there for the experience and I’m gonna make the most (fun) out of it. Then I could say that I’ve gone to an Idol audition. Haha!

I am going to sing Sting’s Fields of Gold, but the version of Eva Cassidy. The latter is more of a melodic ballad. I just hope I’ll be able to do it justice.

God my nerves are killing me! Wish me luck, guys!

adobo: the pinoy national dish


Since it’s the national day of the Philippines today (well, technically the Independence Day), I decided to make a Filipino dish. In fact, I made what is perhaps the most famous Filipino dish, officially or unofficially known as the national dish of the Philippines – the adobo.

It was my first time to make the dish and was very impressed with the result. With a recipe transmitted over a phone call with my mom this afternoon, I bought all the ingredients needed:

4 pieces of chicken leg
soy sauce
white vinegar
bay leaf
garlic
whole black peppercorn
Basically, I threw in all the ingredients except the vinegar in a pot and let them simmer until much of the water has evaporated and the chicken has achieved its most tender state. I added the vinegar, and a dash of sugar, towards the end of the cooking time. What’s nice about making this dish is you don’t follow strict amounts of ingredients. You make it taste the way you want it to taste. I wanted mine a little salty and a little tart.

The only thing I regret is not putting in extra chicken pieces, because this dish tastes even better on the second or the third day after. Next time, a big batch is in order.

the summer balcony

Apart from going to the beach or having a grill party in one of Oslo’s many parks, an easy way to escape the uncomfortably warm confines of your living room is airing it out at your apartment’s balcony, where on your lucky hour of the day, you can get some sun, cooled off by the wind blowing against your slowly baking skin.

We decided to prep up our balcony with a table set in refreshingly cool lime. It’s actually a take-off from the color of our living room’s accents – that translucent green orb lamp for the dining table, or those throw pillow cases in green with curlicue prints in black, or that solitary lime candle sitting on the side table.


The table and the lantern have a rustic look, evoking images of a cozy countryside cabin.


We also bought two new pots (for third of the price from the flowershop where I work at) in grey, where I planted these beautiful asters in purple. I got them for 200 kroner (25 Euros = 17 GBP = 33 USD) for 10 pots, quite a discount considering that some potted flowers are priced 60 kroner each.

I think our little project turned out well, and we’re looking forward to spending languid afternoons or weekend breakfasts in it this summer.


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