Quarantine Sky


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If there’s one thing that I really loved during Metro Manila’s community quarantine, it’s definitely the cleaner air. Cleaner air, clearer sky.

BGC from my balcony
Mountains from afar

I appreciated my balcony more as I would work there for hours. A small table, a cup of coffee, and my work laptop – work from balcony starter pack. In between meetings, I would gaze at the mountains which I never noticed before the quarantine. Past the towers of Rockwell Center, I would see a bit of Manila Bay and the silhouettes of cranes at the Port of Manila.

Balcony workstation

How I wish the good air quality would remain as Metro Manila slowly awakens.

I was supposed to publish this back in June 1 as the capital transitioned to the General Community Quarantine. Sadly, 20 days after, I am disappointed to report that the air quality has progressively gone worse. My air purifier has been getting PM2.5 readings of 20 – 30 lately whereas it hovered from 2 – 8 before.


What’s with Ube and Cheese?


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What’s purple and delicious that’s popular among Filipinos?

Grimace? I don’t even know what Grimace is supposed to be (nor what it tastes like… nor if it’s popular). I’ll pretend that I didn’t mention it in the title. UBE!

(read more about it here)

Photo from Chowhound

Ube, known in English as purple yam, is a tuber that is made into a variety of sweets in the Philippines. You can see it as candies, jams, cakes, and ice creams. Lately, it has found its way into the Filipino breakfast staple – the pandesal.

I’ve caught the ube cheese pandesal craze quite late but boy did it hit me hard. I have been trying different versions of it since the start of the community quarantine and I have decided to rank my top 6 (I have tried more than 10) based on the ube, cheese, and the pandesal itself.

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Coping with the Quarantine


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When it was announced back in March that a quarantine would be implemented in Metro Manila due to COVID 19, it was only natural that people were uneasy. Hours before March 16, the roads were abuzz with people heading to supermarkets.

Never noticed those mountains pre-quarantine

Thankfully, I did some trips to the supermarket the week before in anticipation of a pending lock down. Our company had also communicated work from home arrangements describing how we will be conducting our business during the quarantine.

The quarantine should only have lasted for a month. Sadly, the number of cases kept on rising so we ended up being in quarantine for two months and a half.

So what did I do within that period?

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Trip Report: Beijing to Manila with China Eastern Airlines


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Oh boy, this is fun.

(If you want to read about the flight experience, scroll further down until you see the second photo)

I had the opportunity to try China Eastern Airlines last month when I treated my mom to a vacation in Beijing. The frugal side of me prevailed and booked the mentioned airline instead of Philippine Airlines.


After four days of roaming around Beijing, it was time to go back home. Our flight to Shanghai Pudong, MU 563, was scheduled to depart at 5:15 in the afternoon. We left our hotel after having lunch and arrived at Beijing Capital International Airport T2 at around 2 in the afternoon. Continue reading

Trip Report: Manila to Beijing with China Eastern Airlines


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These past two years, I have been sticking with Philippine Airlines more and more for my travel. Why? Mabuhay Miles, of course. It may not be as powerful as other loyalty programs because of PAL’s non-membership to any of the alliances but it suits my needs fairly well.


There are exceptions though. When the airfare is too good for me to ignore, I grab it. Case in point, my recent trip to Beijing. I promised my mom that I will bring her to the Great Wall on her birthday. I was about to book two tickets to Beijing via Philippine Airlines at 545 USD when I saw China Eastern Airlines’ promo — 400 USD for two. I booked the tickets immediately.

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Memories of Madras


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Some time ago, I left my job as a software developer in IBM for a technical role in one of the global banks. I felt it was the right time back then for me to explore other opportunities so I took it. Little did I know, I was in for a roller coaster ride that lasted for almost four months.

See, when I took that job, I thought my life will finally have some normalcy. I saw myself getting thrown to different locations in my first job so I wanted a bit of change. Imagine how surprised I was when less than a month into my new job, our team was told that we’ll be sent to Chennai.


Chennai, formerly known as Madras, is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located at the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal, east of India. It’s the fourth-largest city in India and is known as the safest city in India.

Before I begin describing the experience, let me just say that I was not excited at all when I found about the trip. My idea of a business trip, based on my previous role, was in Singapore. Maybe Kuala Lumpur. Probably Jakarta or Bangkok. My other friends even went farther like New York, Istanbul, and London. But Chennai?

Finally, I just thought everything will be fine. Or maybe not.

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