Monday, November 27, 2006


Thanksgiving has come and gone in the US. It's funny that Dumaguete's fiesta is around the same time. The Philippines, with its Spanish colonial history have patron saints for each city or township. Each patron saint's feast day is celebrated with a fiesta where normally all households in a given township would open their doors and serve up all sorts of food to any, and I mean any, visitor who might walk in. Visitors from nearby townships would more often than not flock to the houses of the more affluent as you'd expect they'd have grander fare. Normally one would get invited to the houses of friends and relatives and it would be a day full of eating from breakfast till dinner. One could literally have a meal in a different house throughout the day. One house for breakfast, mid-morning snacks, lunch, mid afternoon snack ( or merienda ), dinner and even late supper! Fiestas are ridiculously extravagant occasions and towns put on their best with fairs and parades and all sorts of events.

I can't remember the last fiesta we celebrated in Dumaguete but normally Mom and Dad would have already invited their own out-of-town guests over. It would almost always be a big event with our faithful Takoy and company doing most of the cooking of traditional fiesta fare: calderata, arroz valenciana, pancit, lumpia etc. I know that town fiestas have a religious significance but for most people, fiestas are merely an excuse for food, and lots of it. Not that I'm complaining though as that's what I mostly know of fiestas anyway... :)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

U2 Live in Adelaide!

When I heard that U2 was going to come to Adelaide last March I had it in my mind to watch them as that would have been a once in a lifetime experience for me. I tried getting tickets that first concert but the lines ( and the scalpers ) got the better of me and they were sold out before I knew it. When they cancelled that concert ( due to illness ) I thought that that was it and that there won't be any concerts at all but the concerts only got postponed and when they announced the shows were back on, my friend was quick to get us a couple of tickets to the one and only Adelaide show.

We had general admission tickets with no seating so it was first come first served in the queue. Because this chance wasn't going to come again, we resolved to be early in the queue so we could have at least a fighting chance to be as close to the stage as possible. We decided on an early start of 10AM for a 7PM concert. That's over 9 hours of ( mostly) waiting!

We've already heard of people actually lining up the day before the concert so I wasn't surprised to see quite a crowd already gathered when we got there in the morning. There wasn't actually a line so we quickly found spot in the grass and settled down for the wait. It was a cloudy and cold when we got there, nice waiting weather actually but as the day wore on, the fierce Aussie sun bore down on us, clearing the grey clouds that were our only shade. The quiet and calm crowd that started off the day soon grew to an antsy mob as the afternoon arrived. We were told that gates would open at 4:30 but people were already pushing and shoving, eager to get into AAMI stadium even as early as 2. A lot of hot, excited and (slightly) drunk concert goers were only too eager to move the line along.

Actually, I had to say that the organisers at the stadium weren't really prepared for that size of crowd. They were only opening 2 gates for general admission but the barricades they set up formed a sort of funnel such that all these people squeezed into 5 lines of single file each on both sides of the gate. You can then imagine the crush as the gates started to open. There we were packed like sardines as the people surged forward eager to be one of the first 4000 allowed to be in front of the stage.

In the end, our early start paid off as we were able to find ourselves front and center with the stage mere meters in front of us. Even though we were inside, people still moved around trying to find the best vantage point. We stood our ground and staked our claim. People in the pit started to relax having done the same and the ubiquitous concert beach balls started being thrown. The stage was impressive as 20 maybe 30 meter high speaker to the side and a huge wall of what seemed like small LCD screens in the middle.

It didn't take long for Kanyé West to take the stage for the opening act and got the crowd going. Now, I'm not a big fan of hip hop nor Kanyé in particular but it was still good to hear something from the stage. I could feel the crowd wanting to be genuinely excited about it but I could only guess that they were more than ready for the main event. After Kanyé's performance the sound check guys for U2 did their thing. You can tell how impatient the mosh pit crowd was getting as every little thing the sound check guys did was greeted with cheers from all over.

Then it came, U2 took the stage at around 8:30. The whole stage transformed into a wall of sound and light. I honestly couldn't remember what song they started the set with. All I remember was the huge backdrop bursting into light and the band just opening with the whole stadium ( at least the mosh pit ) going berserk. They were as sharp as you'd expect them to be, with Bono being quite the master showman. They went through lots of their hits, old and new: Where The Streets Have No Name, Vertigo, Elevation, One, Angel of Harlem, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Desire, With or Without You, Pride, Bullet the Blue Sky, Beautiful Day and many others. They even played their latest single Saints Come Marching ( albeit without Greenday ). It was fantastic to hear all these songs live from them and the crowd couldn't help but sing along.

Anyway, what else can I say about the concert except that it was all I've expected and more. Bono did his thing as with all live concerts throwing in some pieces of local relevance in his Beautiful Day rendition ( i.e South Australia, River Murray, Glenelg etc. ) to the delight of the crowd. U2's message of making poverty history and coexistence was also in focus as he encouraged the people to take out their mobile phones not just to light up the stadium but to text to a number to help ending poverty. At the end of the show the names of the people who texted their names actually came up in the big LCD screens as well which I thought was a nice touch. U2 played for 2 and a half hours but it seemed like it was longer. They haven't lost any of their touch and was a sharp performance all around.

At the end of the night I think everyone was wholly satisfied but we still had to endure the eventual crush to get out. Again, it was sardine can conditions as people filed out of the venue and waiting for buses as well as getting out of the parking lots. It took me about 2 hours to eventually get home!

I've tried to take pictures but I read that cameras were not admitted so I only brought my camera phone. Little did I know that digital cameras were allowed, as long as they weren't any professional SLR type stuff. So, I had to be content with the results from the phone camera. Never mind, still had a great time though and one I'm not likely to forget anytime soon.

More pictures on my U2 Flickr set.

Friday, November 17, 2006

U2: Concert Over

Tried blogging during but couldn't. Might have been something was blocking the signal. Recap to follow.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

U2: Gates Opened

People just rushing in. Not quite organised. Waiting to go in now.

U2: People Getting Antsy

Gates don't open for a couple of hours but people have already started pushing forward. I think because we're hearing the sound check already. Sit down people!

U2: The Line Continues!

Just heard they will open the gates at 430. It's only noon. They will only admit the first 4000 people in front of the stage. Hope we're in that group!

U2: Waiting for gates to open

Gates open at 2. People are just rocking up as there doesn't seem to be a line yet. Hope it doesn't get too merry later.

U2 in Adelaide!

Yup! Ticket means I'm actually watching. :)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Of iPods and Music...

Being avowed Apple addicts that we are it was somehow strange that we never owned any version of an iPod. Sure, we like our music and we've been able to expose our kids to different genres but we've never really had the inclination to buy Apple's ubiquitous music player. That is, until now. We finally decided to be an iPod toting family and I got myself a 30GB iPod and a 2GB for the wife. We also got a speaker attachment so we can enjoy the music in our lounge room.

Aside from considering it an early Christmas present, I thought it was about high time get a stereo set. We've been without one for so long as we played our music from either the iMac's speakers or from the DVD player in the lounge room.

I was transferring music to the iPods and the first thing that our little girl asked was to make sure we put her favourites in there. You see, she already has a playlist of her favourite songs in iTunes. It's a pretty eclectic one with stuff from Hi-5, The Beatles, as well as 80's stuff like Human League and alternative like Fountains of Wayne. She's not just into the kids stuff but I'm so glad she seems to appreciate all kinds of music. One time at her show and tell, they were asked to bring or sing their favourite song. Instead of bringing to class a CD of kids songs, she went and had me burn Seasons of Love from the musical Rent. It's her favourite song and she sang it beautifully!

And speaking of singing, nowadays the kids can't get enough of the Sound of Music, or at least, the Do-Re-Mi song. We watched the Sound of Music one time and they got so enamoured with the Do-Re-Mi song that they it's become a staple bedtime song for them. Complete with the "Let's make it easier" dialogue from the movie. :)

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Nothing like good hearty beef soup on a cloudy day. This pinoy dish is easy enough to prepare and my version tastes almost authentic. Still yummy though.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Toilet Training

Years from now we can use this post to embarrass him but right now he just looks so dash darn cute!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Trick or Treat

Halloween is not such a big deal here in Australia, as compared to the US. In the past 4 years, we've had only one or two trick or treat visits. Most of the time, we are not prepared as we hurry to the pantry and see what lollies we have in reserve to give the kids waiting outside.

Last year proved to be quite a 'frightening' experience for my little girl, and myself as well. It was just late afternoon and hubby was not yet home from work. There was only one kid at the door, a little taller than me, wearing all black and that mask made famous by the 'Scream' movies. I mean this kid did not even say 'trick or treat', he just stood there with an open plastic bag waiting for treats. My little girl ran back inside crying! I quickly put in some treats in his bag and off he went ... whew!

So this year, I was a bit apprehensive to open the door knowing it was that time of the year again. We were lucky this time. The kids were not wearing masks this time, and they at least smiled and said the traditional greetings. I even got the my kids to put a handful of lollies to put in their 'treat' bags. Bianca happily put all the lollies in, while Nico put in one piece and kept the rest! Good thing I was there to ask him to put it all in, much to his disappointment.

Oh well, at least now my kids are getting the idea that it is fun and not scary. It seems to be getting more popular each year. This time we had 3 sets of visitors! Maybe next year we will try doing the door knocking ourselves. I wonder what costumes will be cool to wear by that time, any suggestions?