So Thai, So Good – indeed, so much better!

 Right at the food loft of Miramar Shopping Centre lies So Thai So Good, a Thai fusion casual diner that provides a casual homey ambience. Another concept from the King Parrot Group, the restaurant gives another twist to the much celebrated Thai cuisine in a more casual style.

Being a fan of Thai cuisine, I am very much particular in sampling the traditional, but a different take on the cuisine, so long as it is delish and delectable, is very much welcome! And So Thai So Good does not disappoint, with their simply attractive platings and oh so good mix.

The refreshing mango iced tea quenches the thirst away. Aside from flavored iced teas, they also offer flavored milk yogurt drinks.

Fried rice with pork knuckle – indeed a guilty pleasure!

We ordered these fried duo – deep-fried calamari with salt, chili, garlic and pepper, and deep-fried eggplant with salt, chili, garlic and pepper – these are too appetizing!


Catfish salad with mango dressing – so fresh and so sweet!


Squid ink spaghetti with soft shell crab – delectable and balanced as the saltiness of the soft shell crab is balanced by the mildly tasty but tender spaghetti.

The place is modern and spacious, and service is efficient. Ample time is rendered in order to prepare the dishes and serve them fresh off the grill, that is why waiting time is reasonable. I will definitely be back and will recommend this place to friends!

Google and Facebook Algorithm changes feared to shake digital marketing

Digital marketers and publishers are currently preparing in what can be called Armageddon that will shake the digital marketing industry. These are brought about by algorithm changes on Google search and Facebook newsfeeds, two of the most powerful digital marketing platforms today.

Google is having a major change of its search algorithm today, and a lot of netizens fear that this will lead to a “Mobilegeddon”.

The change only affects searches made on smart phones, wherein those websites that are considered “mobile-friendly” will be favored positively and will be ranked higher than those websites that are not optimized for mobile.

With the increasing usage of netizens of smart phones and mobile devices,with about 60% of online traffic coming from mobile, this change in algorithm is acknowledging how much user experience is taken into consideration for website results no matter which device one uses.

Mobilegeddon is fear to occur because a lot of websites are not mobile-friendly yet, however, this change has been announced by Google as early as February this year, providing ample time for websites to prepare a mobile-friendly version of their website.

“Come April 21, a lot of small businesses are going to be really surprised that the number of visitors to their websites has dropped significantly. This is going to affect millions of sites on the web,” says Itai Sadan, CEO of website building company Duda when asked by Business Insider.

Google has a Mobile Friendly Test website that will be helpful for companies to test if their website is mobile-friendly or not.

On the other hand, Facebook has also announced changes on its newsfeed algorithms, which will also be changing the way Facebook users consume content.

These changes, which was feared to bring “Facebookgeddon” include the below:

Facebook users will now be able to see more than one NewsFeed post from the same source in a row. Facebook’s algorithm previously prevented that. Facebook says it’s “relaxing this rule” so that users who don’t see much content in their feeds can start seeing more.

Facebook will start prioritizing NewsFeed content posted by friends. “The second update tries to ensure that content posted directly by the friends you care about, such as photos, videos, status updates or links, will be higher up in News Feed so you are less likely to miss it,” Facebook writes. It says you’ll still see content from news organizations and Facebook pages you enjoy though.

Facebook will begin hiding posts that say what your friends have liked or commented on. This sounds like it could really diminish a publisher’s second-hand reach. “This update will make these stories appear lower down in News Feed or not at all,” Facebook says.

These changes will affect how companies and marketers work on promoting content via referral traffic on Facebook launches this in the coming weeks.

“We want to let you know about a change that may affect referral traffic for publishers,” Facebook product manager Max  Eulenstein and user experience researcher Lauren Scissors wrote in a blog post. “In some cases, post reach and referral traffic could potentially decline.”

Grace Foundation – 2014 Virtual Conference on Youth Unemployment

Here is a 30 second teaser I created for Grace Foundation:

2014 Virtual Conference on Youth Unemployment
Empowering Nigerian Youths for Better Livelihoods: Education, Entrepreneurship and Employment

Join the conversation from February 7 – 28, 2014!

The 3-week virtual conference aims to document the experiences of Nigerians who are either unemployed or under-employed. This e-forum is an opportunity for you to share your knowledge, experiences, professional development needs, ideas and suggestions which relates to youth unemployment in Nigeria. Participants will be encouraged to identify barriers they face in accessing employment opportunities and the role of government, schools, private sector, skills acquisition and entrepreneurial programs in Nigeria.

Like our Facebook page:
Register to the e-forum:

Mitoy Yonting headlines Concert in the Park

(published on The Sun)

Nine bands headlined by Draybers and its popular lead singer, Mitoy Yonting, showcased their impressive musical talents at the annual Concert in the Park held on December 1 at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza in Tsim Sha Tsui.

The free concert with the theme, “Rock Rhythm Fusion”, was jointly presented by the Philippine Consulate General (PCG) and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) in cooperation with the Hong Kong Musicians Union (HKMU). 

Consul General Noel Servigon said that the event aims to bring Christmas cheer to Filipinos in Hong Kong. More importantly, the event “will show to the Hong Kong community (and) the local community the best of musical talents from the Philippines. Our musicians are the best here in Hong Kong and they represent the Philippines, always.” 

HKMU chair Manuela Lo said that this year’s event featured bands from different musical genres such as jazz, latin, fusion, novelty, and rock and roll. 

Opening the show was Draybers with Yonting, the first winner of ABS-CBN’s The Voice of the Philippines singing contest. 

Yonting, who won the reality television singing competition last September, and was also a featured performer in last year’s Concert in the Park, said that he was excited to join the event for the second time. 

Speaking to The SUN before the show, Yonting admitted, “Actually hindi kami naghanda. Depende yun sa mood ng tao yung ibibigay namin, pero pinapangako namin na pasasayahin namin sila. Kahit sa sandaling oras ay pasisiyahin namin sila“. (Actually we did not prepare. Our performance will depend on the mood of the people, but we promise to make them happy, even for a short time.) 

True enough, the crowd got high rockin’ and rollin’ when Yonting and the Draybers performed a medley of Pinoy rock hits. 

The crowd went nostalgic and sentimental when Yonting started to sing Filipino songs such as “Kung Liligaya Ka”, “Isang Babalikan”, “Tukso” and the song that he sang during the blind auditions of The Voice of the Philippines, “Bakit Ako Mahihiya”. 

Among the other bands that played during the event were Soul Traders, whose jazzy but upbeat version of “I Will Survive” got the crowd dancing; Soul Sessions who swept the audience with their soulful rendition of “Green Eyes”; and Blinks & Studs, who played Elvis Presley’s “Go Johnny Go” that sent many people gyrating. 

Completing the list of performers were D’Band, Azucar Latina Band, The Culprits, Rapunzel Band, and Tough Cold Rice. 

The show was hosted by Michael Vincent Benares, Jun “Tita Kerry” Paragas and Jay Martinez. 

Now on its 27th year, the annual Concert at the Park aims to promote Philippine culture in the performing arts, and to showcase some of the best Filipino musical talents in Hong Kong.



I wear orange because…


November 25 is declared by the United Nations as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The date has been chosen to commemorate the brutal assassination of the three Mirabal sisters who are political activists in the Dominican Republic in 1960.

Violence against women is a prevalent human rights violence in different parts of the world. In different countries around the globe, millions of women and girls are beaten by their partners and abusers, subjected to forced sexual activity, genital mutilation or murdered in the name of honour. Women become victims of human trafficking, forced to engage in situations such as prostitution, forced labour, slavery or servitude. Between 500,000 to 2 million people are trafficked annually, with women and girls accounting to about 80 percent of the accounted victims, according to estimates. In a 2013 WHO global study, 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence.

To raise awareness and trigger action to end this global scourge, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UNWomen) launched the #Orangeurworld in #16days campaign, which started on November 25 and will last until December 10. The activities for the campaign are below:

I join this campaign to pay homage to my mother who passed away last year. She has nurtured me with great care and love, protecting me from any harm. Similarly, growing up in a family of seven sisters who are all caring and fragile encourages me to give back and protect the women in my life, and other women in the world, from any form of violence.

Let us all take action! Join me and the rest of the world in the fight to end violence agains women! Support the #Orangeurworld in #16days campaign!

Dhruv, UNiTE Youth Network 1463993_10151901003389864_2087798075_n AJA, SG's Network of Men Leaders Ban Ki-moon, UNSG

Idan Raichel, One Woman artist Nicole Kidman, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador

The Invasion of Giraffes on Facebook Feeds


If you have been monitoring your Facebook feeds all day and all night these past couple of days, you might have been wondering: what’s with all the giraffes? Has the world suddenly developed a fixation with long necks and spotted skins? Has the “save the giraffe” advocacy finally hit the social media-sphere after they suddenly become endangered? Or have they actually become endangered recently?

It is not at all connected to all these. As part of the fun, Facebook users shared a riddle among friends by posting it on their walls, asking friends to answer the question by sending a private message to the poster of the riddle. If you get it wrong, you have to make a giraffe your Facebook profile picture for three days. As it turns out, a lot of people answered the riddle incorrectly, hence we are all plagued with pictures of giraffes in different sizes and shapes. It appears that a lot of people have not thought thoroughly of their answers to the riddle that is why we see giraffes plaguing Facebook like a storm.

The riddle goes:

3:00 am, the doorbell rings and you wake up. Unexpected visitors. It’s your parents and they are there for breakfast. You have strawberry jam, honey, wine, bread and cheese. What is the first thing you open?

The answers, as it turns out, are debatable. Some says it should be (SPOILER ALERT!) “the door”, but others say it should be “your eyes”, but whichever it is, it is a known fact that the gimmick became popular that even news websites like TIME and authoritative blogs like Mashable covered it. The Great Giraffe Challenge, concocted by Andrew Strungell, has gone viral and has become effective. This is something that social media marketers can take inspiration from in stimulating their social media audiences whilst promoting their brands.

This is not the first time that riddles and Facebook profile pictures became big and spread like wildfire in the social media world. Remember the breast cancer awareness campaign that went all men crazy figuring out why women were posting colors f bra or countries of destination in a particular number of days? Or the changing of profile pictures to your favorite cartoon character aimed to fight child abuse?

Well, I was lucky enough to get the answer so I never had to turn my online identity to a giraffe in three days!


Thank you for the gift of dreams
It made me smile the moment I opened my eyes
Reminding me of people and things endearing

Today I had a dream and it was too good to set my mood all throughout the day. There are sayings that dreams can be premonitions of things to happen or reflections of one’s state of mind. Even in Biblical times, much interpretation has been given to dreams with God giving messages to his people on things to come. The dream is a happy and positive one so if dreams reflect something bound to happen, then I should anticipate something joyful to happen.

And with that, Dolores O’riordan believes that dreams are impossible to ignore, as with the song and video below:

Chipotle’s “The Scarecrow”, Project X and Animal Cruelty

Chipotle, the Mexican food chain in the United States, recently released a short film entitled “The Scarecrow” together with a new app-based game as part of its advertising campaign. The short film features the cruel, industrialized world of processed food. The whole video is seen below:

I praise the video for integrating such emotional and compelling storyline, topped with a melancholic but haunting music from Fiona Apple, which makes the video popular in social media and numerous blogs. There has been an ongoing debate among netizens if Chipotle has actually provided “pure imagination” or if this is all manipulation of the real truth on how the company is processing food. Animal cruelty, genetically modified organism (GMO) and processed food are very sensitive topics that ignite fire on a number of groups and advocates which make the video more controversial. However I will not deal on that but focus more on animal cruelty that has actually made me more attached to the video.

When I was a kid, I remember watching a film about a chimpanzee who became friends with a man after the chimpanzee was taught of sign language, however the monkey was subjected to a research experiment that would cost its life through radiation poisoning. The title of the film was “Project X”, a late 1980’s film which starred Matthew Broderick. Matthew Broderick was assigned to the project that would put the life of his chimpanzee-friend at risk, as well as the lives of other chimpanzees. I cannot recall exactly what the whole storyline was, but the message of caring for animals and being friends with them etched on my mind and in my emotions. With the chimpanzee being trained to think and communicate like humans in the film, at a very young age it instilled in my mind that caring for these animals should be done the way we care for human beings. What made it memorable, aside from the emotional link between the actor and the chimpanzee, was the cruelty presented in the movie with animals being subjected to experiments.

My response to media is mostly positive wherein I was taught by the movie that violence and cruelty to animals are wrong. It also gave me an emotional connection to the chimpanzee in the movie and his friendship with Matthew Broderick and made me recall, during that time, my connection to my pet dog Jane who died when I was a kid. On the other hand, it made me become wary about animal testing at an early age knowing that these would hurt these living beings in a similar way as to how it might hurt human beings. The images shown on the movie wherein they were killing chimpanzees through the radiation experiment were so emotionally memorable at that time for me and made me associate it with the death of my pet.

I remember films vividly and I think this is because at an early age, movies put me in a different kind of reality that seemed to be believable and existent, even at that brief moment in time, something that was not yet happening or I had not encountered yet in my existence. For that brief moment, a particular story made me believe that its reality was existent.

This Chipotle video is somehow having the same effect on me as “Project X”. It just makes me feel sad for these live animals to be genetically modified and mortified and suffer to satisfy the consumerist demand for food. I understand that at one point, some animals are destined to be killed and be put on our plates, however they should be allowed to live in the most natural way possible.

No wonder most people decide to go vegetarian after realizing the cruel world of the food industry.

Mobility and online identities in different platforms

In a conversation with digital marketers, I was randomly asked what I think is the next big thing in the digital world. I answered quickly that mobility and single online identity in multiple platforms have actually started to be the next big thing digitally.

The signs can be telling. Companies have already started looking at enhancing the mobile experiences of their audiences. Mobile sites and mobile apps started to proliferate the digital world in the past couple of years. Social media have become accessible in any mobile device. Online presence can now be achieved not just through the desktop but also through different devices, even in watches and cameras.

Now I have observed how one’s identity can be replicated in these different devices. We can use one single ID in logging in to multiple Apple, Android and Windows devices and apps. We are asked to log in to our Facebook accounts when we comment on an article, or when we apply for jobs or shop online. And apparently, our behaviors are read basically through what our online identities , specifically our social media profiles, have been doing or liking. The time has come that our physical identities are overtaken by our online identities. And with mobility, we can now bring our online identities ubiquitously.

The time has come when our mobile device becomes our own personality. And absence of such will make us feel empty and incomplete, and worse, non-existent. Now this makes me think why some people are obsessed in having multiple devices with them. These different devices ensure that they have their identities with them, or are accessible and can access online anytime anywhere with a lot of options in devices to go to. These trends might have been happening in the past, but I never saw it surged up high until recently.

Film Review: Wings of Desire

ImageDirection: Wim Wenders

Story: Wim Wenders and Peter Handke

Cinematography: Henri Alekan

Starring: Bruno Ganz, Otto Sander, Solveig Dommartin

When the child was a child, it was the time of these questions: Why am I me, and why not you? Why am I here and not there? When did time begin, and where does space end? Isn’t life under the sun just a dream? Isn’t what I see, hear, and smell only the illusion of a world before the world? Does evil actually exist, and are there people who are really evil? How can it be that I who I am, didn’t exist before I came to be and that someday the one who I am will no longer be the one I am?

From the artistic hands of award-winning German director Wim Wenders come the “Wings of Desire”, his memorable and artistic celebration of the simple pleasures of life, and the inherent beauty in everyday occurrences. The film revolves around the premise that angels are always beside humans observing and guiding us in every move that we make. Its theme tells us that human life is full of challenges and imperfections, yet these challenges give color to it. Watching over the city of Berlin were two angels, Damiel (Bruno Ganz) and Cassiel (Otto Sander). They drift through the city unseen, resigned to recording the nuances of human activity that they observe, yet cannot experience for themselves. Often they stand on high places, but sometimes they descend to comfort an accident victim, or to put a hand on the shoulder of a young man considering to commit suicide. They cannot directly change events (the young man eventually kills himself), but perhaps they can suggest the possibility of hope, the intuition that we are not completely alone. In evocative language, Damiel expresses a desire to unite his eternal spirituality with the mortal. Which is when Marion (Solveig Dommartin) comes in. A trapeze artist at a French circus who wears pantomime wings and swings in the “heavens” above circus crowds, she seeks romantic solace for her deep-thinking spirit.

The film reflects Wenders’ fascination to duality. Berlin, which is the setting of the film, is divided into East and West Berlin, identifying two opposing political ideologies. But more than the setting, the film presents two opposing worlds: that of the mortal and that of the immortal. The lements of the film are divided into characterizing the differences between the two, but the film does not judge the two worlds – it simply presents them and leaves us to decide between them. The muffled world of the angels is shown in sharp black and white, and a feeling of timelessness is created. This does not tell the audience that angels live in a black and white world, or that they are color-blind. Wenders uses symbolism in choosing this idea. Angels do not experience “free Will” or the color of life. For the first half of the film we experience this muffled angelic world – we see events, but at a distance, voyeuristically. At the angels’ point of view, the camera seems liberated from gravity; it floats over the city, or glides down the aisle of an airplane. It does not intrude; it observes. When the angel follows the trapeze artist into a rock club, it does not fall into faster cutting rhythms; it remains detached. The pacing was slow, giving the idea on how to be as patient as the angels. The story seemed to be “plotless”, having no direction at all, but just observing the lives of others. This part of the film centered itself on the moments of the events rather than on the story itself. The music is quite hypnotic and meditating, setting the longing and yearning mood of the scenes. However, everything changes as soon as Damiel becomes human. Everything becomes colorful, but loosens the audience’s sharpness and ability to see everyone from above. Events become fast-paced. Suddenly, everything has a purpose and direction. We have been plunged into the vigorous, vivid, “feeling” world of human existence. The camera shots become limited and more focused. At the turn of events, the story becomes narrative, now centered on Damiel and Marion’s love story. The music becomes more fast-paced.

It is a very creative decision of the director to include some sort of poetry, aside from the hypnotic and meditating music, in the film. The questions posted at the beginning of the film are repeated over and over again, thus giving it a haunting effect. Because of this, the films become more poetic than a linear storytelling. The words make one absorb the images and sound more, thus appreciating the moments. The film is rich in meaningful images, making it a visual essay. One of these meaningful images is Marion the trapeze artist herself. She, for whom the angel falls signifies the most sensual of all beings – an artist, a performer, a woman who uses her body and her life to make a living.

The film also shows the masterpiece of its cinematographer, Henri Alekan. He has remade Berlin to be a city of dreams, teeming in solitude, serenity, and majesty, as opposed to the frightful atmosphere of it just before the Berlin Wall fell. His shots of monochrome with rich, textured lighting give the film a dreamy impression, adding to the divine ambience of the setting and production design.

The stars of the film are well-casted. Bruno Ganz, playing the role of Damiel, has a good and amiable face for an angel.It is an ordinary, pleasant and open face. Like a creature who has been observing since the dawn of time, he does not react a lot. He gives a wizened and mature attack to the role. Solveig Dommartin, playing as Marion, acquits herself quite well as the troubled trapeze artist despite a few stumbles, including a hastily improvised scene in which she meets Peter for the first time. Her performance is almost superficial, her vocal tone and body language made the scene quite unrealistically. Otto Sander as Cassiel is more like Damiel in some sorts, but his acting is good. Peter Falk, as himself, is good and very natural.

After all that has been said and absorbed, it can be said that the film elements are very effective in tackling the them of the film. The theme becomes evident when Damiel yearns to be a mortal after seeing a lot of images of human life all throughout his angelic life. And when he becomes human, he feels the joy of it although there are a lot of things that he cannot do anymore unlike when he was still an angel. The hypnotic and meditating characteristic of the film makes its viewers ponder on the different thoughts given by the film. After presenting the two opposite worlds, one can say that all of God’s creatures are good, but none is perfect. Each world has its own set of assets and liabilities. These elements instill al ot of thoughts about life, making one appreciate yearn and long for life more.Each one of us, at some point during the course of our lives, feels empty, lost, or even worthless. Maybe life is so short and full of challenges, yet it is full of color and vigor. As a human being, we must make the most out of our lives. We need reminders of our inherent worth and beauty.Angels are just beside us to guide us and give us hope.

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