Category Archives: Reviews

Our Stay at Hotel Elegant @ San Juan, La Union

I’m usually not the kind to go on a trip on a long holiday because flights and lodging are usually more expensive but this time around, the family managed to go on a road trip to San Juan, La Union thanks to my cousin who’s been to the place already and booked it for us through Hotels.com.

The place is pretty new as they opened around December 2016. My cousin stayed here once so I was pretty optimistic this was a good place to stay since Manang was willing to come back here.

Location

It’s a 10 minute drive to San Juan beach – famous for it’s surfable waves and about 2 min drive (7 min walk) to CSI City Mall.

Parking was ok, could fit around 8-10 cars (3 columns) at the front of the property.

Price and Amenities 

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The family room booked had 2 bedrooms with a double bed and cabinet for each, a huge bathroom with heated showers, cable tv, a kitchen, dining table, 3 air conditioning units and WiFi. There weren’t any elevators so a little exercise going up to the 4th floor.

The bathroom was clean and had a bidet which is one of the first and major things I check and judge whenever I stay somewhere new so a Yehey for me. 😊

Pretty neat for around Php 5k a night and we were 5 on this trip. Pretty good value for your money. I’ve managed to take home one of their flyers (and found it folded in one of my bags weeks later, lol) and included it here for your reference. 🙂

Service

They were pretty quick to addressing most of our requests. For some reason the door to one of the bedrooms seemed to lock on its own and the key to it wasn’t included with the keys lent to us so we called front desk to assist. Within a few minutes someone came up with the master keys to unlock so I liked that.

Extra pillow, blanket and towel for my bro was brought up in due time as well.

Overall, I liked that the place was quiet, clean and well priced. If I came back to La Union, I would definitely consider booking here again.

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Book Review: Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance

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I first saw this book at a Fully Booked branch last February but I did not buy it then. I was intrigued, but wasnt entirely convinced yet that the book was worth it. The funny thing about this encounter was that I didn’t really know who Elon Musk was – just that he looked like a rich businessman – and it was Tesla that actually caught my attention on this book.

The first time I encountered Tesla Motors was from a Discovery, if not Nat Geo documentary (forgive me, it was ages ago) around high school I think, circa 2012. I remember that after the Audi, Tesla became my dream car brand because it was electric, the car looked sexy and there was so much leg room in the vehicle when it was featured.

I shrugged it off and it wasn’t until a few weeks later that I actually googled who Elon Musk was…. and then the curiosity started to pique. Business Insider articles, YouTube videos with him being interviewed, news features and whatever was free on the internet about him became brain food for me. And it wasn’t enough.

Finally succumbing I bought the book and I must say, Ashlee Vance did not disappoint. It was an easy read – I think I finished it in about a week – structure was simple, straightforward and it made you want to keep reading. I liked that the book was able to discuss and relate how Elon operates his companies to his background before he even became a tech startup magnate.

Moreover, I liked that Vance started building this book from the interviews of different people, who were and are involved in Elon Musk’s life before actually including Elon’s side of the story. It gives it a sense of detachment in narrating Elon’s life and a reality when you read that multiple accounts(people) describe him the same way. I liked that it got very real because it included all the hardships and financial struggles and how Elon overcame it to get all his companies to where they are now. I mean, yes, you get to read it in the news because some of the companies are public and of course the public statements that Elon releases but it’s different if you read it in the words of the person who actually went through it, the part that doesn’t get published until now.

After reading the book, I knew that it was good because it left me feeling inspired knowing that technology is pushing itself to new heights again not only in the software industry but hardware because of the drive of Musk. It also left a good feeling because it showed me that successful people do not gain success overnight.

They work and work and learn and make mistakes and learn from them to be better. In that sense, it makes being a better person in whichever aspect you wish, very attainable. It becomes a matter of how much effort you put into it. I don’t think I’ll ever dream of working like him – sleepless nights and all, but I am glad I get to read about it.

Happy to say that he’s my CEO crush and I am looking forward to many more innovations from his companies.

A

Sophie’s World: It’s about not losing that wonder

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I just started reading Sophie’s World for my Philosophy class (reading requirement). Started now since I wanted to read at my own pace and enjoy the book. I borrowed one of the library’s ancient copies – see the photo above. It’s a 1997 version, complete with the dog-eared pages.

Anyway, I’m done with chapter 2 which is still less than 20 pages but it was enough to get off my butt and write. Chapter 2 has made me a little guilty for being an adult and living the boring life of routine and work. Yup, I’m becoming the species going deeper into the rabbit’s fur. And I don’t want that. I don’t want that contentment that comes with the life of routine. I need to get that wonder back in my life.

Around the time I was 3, just before I started school, I vividly remember being a very curious kid. I was the brown kid talking in cartoon english that always asked ‘why?’ “Mommy, why is the sky blue? Why does it have to go this way, not the other?” and so on. Oh, I remember Mom got fed up with all my Whys that I got scolded at some point. I stopped asking her why. So, I learned to search the answers on my own. Discovering new things made more impact and were much remembered since I had to look for it – even if it was just typing a bunch of words in the Yahoo! and Google Search bars.

It went well for a time. And it wasn’t until recently that I realized I lost that spark of wonder. I think it happens when you have too much on your plate that you forget to enjoy what you’re actually eating. I’ve been trying to get back on track a.k.a writing here since this is what’s supposed to be about and it has been really difficult. I won’t lose hope.

I really hope reading this book brings back at least an ounce of that wonder and zest for life – and a 4.0 in my philosophy class. 😉

If you’ve read Sophie’s world and it has changed your outlook in life or if you’re a fan of the book, please talk to me on the comment box haha. Or share your experience 🙂

To bringing back wonder,
A

Book Review: The Design of Future Things

It has been a while since I’ve read a good paperback book. And this is so worth the Powerbooks gift check my uncle gave to me for my birthday. My mom found this book lying on one of the shelves when we were looking for books that would possibly be of great help in jump starting my group’s thesis project. I am glad to say that judging this book by its cover and the blurbs at the back has been the best thing I’ve done last Sunday because it made me buy it and read it from cover to cover.

And where were my manners?! Donald Norman’s book, “The Design of Future Things,” discusses the gaps between man and machine and offers rules that designers must take to mind in order for them to design consumer friendly systems. Yes, I finally managed to write a one sentence summary! The author gives importance to the symbiosis that must exist between every man using a machine and sheds light on the impact of communication systems between machine and user.

Yes, I think that’s enough of a sneak peek because I want you to read it too! I finished reading Donald Norman’s 200+ page book in three days and I am not ashamed of my incredibly slow pace because I wanted every word to seep into my brain. Well, not really. But I did manage to take to heart the design rules that Norman graciously outlined a few times in the book.

Other than that, I enjoyed the humor that the author managed to inject while emphasizing on the critical points of the topic. There was a hint of sarcasm, irony and plain funny in the book which removes the dull and makes you keep reading it. The wonderful thing about this book is that the words are incredibly light to the eyes and practically anybody can read it. The technical jargon are used to a minimum and if there are, the author explains them in the simplest way possible. I love readings books like that, easy on the eyes. It provides a wider reader market and it does not cut the reading momentum. It keeps me focused in the thought and not on that eyesore of a jargon that I would have to look up in the Appendix or on Merriam-Webster.

I am looking forward to reading more of Norman’s books and referring to some of his references for our thesis project. So if you’re like me looking for a thesis topic with relation to electronics, automation, design, ergonomics, or the like, OR if you just want a good read this summer, I suggest you get a copy of this book, too.

A

Book Review: The Hunger Games Trilogy

I borrowed my college friend’s Hunger Games Trilogy set after I saw the movie. I figured that I needed something to keep me busy this summer and the movie was so gory and action-packed that I was expecting that the book would be the same. Or even better.

Well, reading The Hunger Games did not fail to give me that adrenaline rush – the same kind when I saw the movie. Collins having it written in Katniss’s point of view certainly made me want to flee every time something in the book made her want to flee. It made me want to have a bow and arrow set of my own at some point. Collins did not fail in making me feel like I’m in the woods reading this book and in danger. It clearly established this feeling of being unsafe and exposed – even at the end of the book.

Catching Fire was better than the Hunger Games. If the whole series were a single book, I think this would be the climax. I couldn’t go to sleep reading this book. It’s exciting. Kept me on my toes. Made me hate Snow alot. Made me laugh so much at Katniss’s antics. It’s embarrassing but while I was reading this when I was out and waiting for a friend, I giggled more than a few times at Peeta’s extremely cheesy lines. And I love how detached most of Katniss’s reactions are. It’s like the circumstances that brought her to where she currently is makes her somewhat void of any romantic capabilities. All that kissing and touching Peeta still didn’t convince me that she loved him.

Mockingjay, the last book,was the heaviest of the three books, I believe. It somewhat resolved all the loopholes of the series. More political than ever. Though, I kind of wonder what happened to the remaining victors after the war was over. The main characters, I knew – they were told. But characters such as Johanna Mason and Annie (the one who got mad)… it left me hanging quite a bit.

Honestly, I wasn’t entirely satisfied with how the story ended. Sure I liked how the turn of events during the last part of the rebellion occurred. But I wasn’t happy with the ending written for Katniss, Peeta and Gale. There wasn’t any justice in it, really. Sure, I can handle Katniss and Peeta ending up together despite the fact that I’m a Katniss-Gale fan but I can’t seem to grasp how their friendship just went *poof!* after all they’ve been through. And they call each other bestfriends. (Yes, I’m definitely not satisfied.) Though, it justifies what Gale said – Katniss choosing the person she can’t survive without. Surely, that confirms my suspicions that she’s never capable of romance. Dry. (And that she’s still using Peeta for her personal gain. HAHAHA! :)))

With the way things have progressed in the series, I think all these can be attributed with how Katniss’s character is made to be. Despite being independent and capable of taking care of herself, she can be a coward. If it weren’t for the people around her, she might have fled to the woods the minute she discovered Snow wasn’t pleased with her berries tactic. And that is why I love books with alot of characters in them – it becomes more entertaining. But then it really is hard to maintain alot of characters in a series of novels. So killing them off is the fastest and easiest way to deal with them. Makes sense though since this is The Hunger Games.

XO

For all it’s worth, reading this made me braid my hair…alot. 🙂