Weekend Bowling

Group PictureI should have posted on this earlier but I was busy with other tasks. It had been a while since we last played bowling with most of the Pinoy gang. Sure, we from the western suburbs had played bowling in Werribee twice now but we haven’t played with our other friends since we moved from St Kilda to Werribee.

Well, Chinita wanted us to have a get-together and decided on bowling as the main activity. After much discussion, we settled on the AMF Sunshine bowling centre as the venue for our games. So last Sunday, there were over 20 of us who went to Sunshine for a couple of games of bowling. Too bad there were some of the regulars who weren’t able to go.

There were a lot of new faces that evening with most of them coming from the badminton gamers sub-group that we have led by Arnold. There was also a visitor from our “Sydney chapter” as it were.

The venue itself was okay but in hindsight, I wish I had the teams filled with players at random. As it was, the people who already knew each other quite well belonged to the same team. This just made it a little more difficult to mingle with others whom we didn’t know so well yet.

Anyway, we still had fun. And here are some photos from that night…
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Published in: on March 30, 2006 at 12:30 pm  Comments (2)  

Walking with the Fishes

After our dinner in the city last Friday, we walked along the Yarra River to have one last look at the sculptured metallic fishes sitting in the Yarra River. These Fishes were made for the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games opening ceremony. At the opening ceremony, these fishes part of a water and light show along the river.

Before the games officially ended last Sunday, we thought we go to the Yarra River to give it one last look and take some photos. Luckily, there was an 8pm show with the fishes and we were right there to catch it.

Click here for more photos

Published in: on March 29, 2006 at 8:15 pm  Comments (2)  

IT skills in demand

For readers who are in the IT industry, Zdnet Australia has recently ran an article regarding the the most in-demand skills in Australia, which computing languages are the hottest at the moment, where the jobs are and how much they pay. Click here to read the entire article.

Published in: on March 28, 2006 at 12:41 pm  Comments (2)  

Promoting the Philippines in Oz Libraries

The Philippine government is set to promote the Philippines in Australia through the Read Philippines Project in Australia. The project aims to “encourage interest and awareness of Philippine cultural heritage by enhancing the existing collection of books and audio-visual materials on the Philippines in Australian libraries,” according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Unfortunately, it seems like the DFA is only targeting the Blacktown City Libraries in New South Wales at the moment. It would be great if the project extends to public libraries here in Melbourne.

Read the whole article here.

Published in: on March 28, 2006 at 12:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

New Walkway Along the Yarra River

For some time now, we’ve noticed this big metal bridge that spans over the Yarra River under construction. During its construction, to me, it looked like a large train tunnel made of steel positioned above the river. As it turned out, it was actually a walkway-type bridge.

We only noticed it last Friday on the walk back to the city from our dinner at the Enlightened Cuisine restaurant near Crown Casino. Since we were there and we had our cameras along, we decided to take some photos.
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Published in: on March 28, 2006 at 12:30 pm  Comments (1)  

Enlightened Cuisine

We first heard of the Enlightened Cuisine found along Queensbridge Street, Southbank, near Crown Casino from our vegan friend Irar. Later on, our food-tripper friends tried eating there and they enjoyed the food. Since they all seem to love it, Raquel and I decided to give it a go one afternoon some weeks ago and it was great.

EC is a vegetarian restaurant so there is no meat served there. However, the cool thing about EC is that use “mock” meat in their dishes. By “mock” meat, I mean non-meat products made out to taste and feel like actual pork, beef, poultry or seafood in your mouth. I had eaten some place else where they offered mock meat but the “meat” tasted nothing like the real thing. At EC though, they did.

So far, we’ve tried the Dim Sim, Lemon Chicken Rice, Nasi Goreng, BBQ Pork (Chasao) rice, Honey Chicken, Beef Rendang and Sweet and Sour Fish. The meats in these dishes are amazingly like the actual meat they were supposed to be imitating and all of them delicious (though some dishes are more yummy than the others). The fish was like eating actual fish with the fish skin included made out of seaweed, I think. The beef has the texture and taste of actual beef. You have to try it to believe it. Here are their Lunch Menu and Dinner Menu for a list of dishes they have on offer.

Not only do I get to satisfy my occasional craving for pork and beef, but even though I eat a little too much there, I take comfort that all I’d eaten was all vegetable (I know, I know it’s still bad to over eat regardless). Another thing I like about the place is that they usually don’t have a lot of customers so there are always vacant seats for us. I just hope they don’t close shop though.

Even if you are not vegetarian and have no intention of becoming one, I still recommend you give Enlightened Cuisine a try. I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Published in: on March 27, 2006 at 12:08 pm  Comments (3)  

Red chair

Hubby and I are frequent visitors of the City Library along Flinders Lane and if you are too, you could have seen and sat at one of these red oversized armchairs. And if you’re like most patrons of the library, you could have sat comfortably there for hours with a book, magazine or a newspaper. Or, you could have sat there after having your lunch and dozed off, dreaming your stresses away.

I considered getting these chairs for our rumpus room at home so I filled out the enquiry form in the library’s site and asked about where they could be purchased. Now, the form is a general feedback one and I didn’t really expect an answer as I thought they may think that the email may have been sent by a practical joker.

A few days later, I was pleasantly surprised to get a reply back from a librarian who works at the City Library. She said that they’ve had plenty of enquiries about those red chairs. So, if other enquiring minds out there want to know, they were bought from Anibou, which has shops here in Melbourne and Sydney.

Published in: on March 23, 2006 at 10:19 pm  Comments (3)  

Bloody hell

Where the bloody hell are you? If someone you barely know wanted to invite you over to their place for R & R and posed this question to you, how would you react?

Well, Tourism Australia seems to think that you might be enticed to visit the country by posing this cheeky tagline. As someone who grew up somewhere else, my initial reaction was of shock. Why would you want to curse at possible visitors? Won’t that drive them away instead? But then on second thought, I remembered my dad telling me that Australians like to say “bloody” all the time. Also, Australians don’t really regard the phrase “bloody hell” as a curse anymore. Think of it as a favourite interjection a friend would utter casually.

Unfortunately (or is fortunately?), some countries where it was being shown don’t always agree. UK initially banned the ad, finding the word “bloody” offensive. A little over a week later, the ban was lifted and the ad is shown in its entirety. Now, it’s Canada’s turn to restrict showing the ad, this time finding the word “hell” objectionable (I was told that Canadians prefer the word “heck”).

On the other hand, not all Australians say “bloody hell” and it’s not as prevalent as the tourism commission would like you to believe. But then again, as they say, any publicity is good publicity and it seems like the ad is certainly stirring up some interest. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch the video here.

Maybe they should have used another phrase instead, perhaps something like “bloody beautiful, mate!”

Published in: on March 22, 2006 at 7:49 pm  Comments (4)  

Hello, I’m Into Johnny Cash

The first time I’ve encountered the name “Johnny Cash” was in an old 1970’s Christian comic book that belonged to my born-again aunt titled, Hello, I’m Johnny Cash. Incidentally, Johnny Cash is known to start public performances with this simple introduction. Anyway, all I knew about Johnny Cash for a long time was what I have learned from that comic book: he was a popular rock/country singer in the old days, got into drugs, gave up on drugs and later found God again.

The old music I know, I know from listening to the music my parents are into. I don’t think they were ever into Johnny Cash so I never knew his music. And I hadn’t bothered looking up his music growing up.

The next time I encountered the name “Johnny Cash” was a few years ago when I was still working in Canberra. Peter, our boss at the computer lab, noticed that everybody at the lab had headphones on and was listening to music while programming. We had ripped our CDs as MP3s on our PCs and that’s what we listened to all day. He looked at our collection and asked us for “some Johnny Cash”. He kept going on about Johnny Cash but that still didn’t convince me to look up the guy’s music.

Then just recently, the movie Walk the Line starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon about the life of Johnny Cash came out in movie theatres in Australia. Ever since I took up playing the guitar, I’m now always on the look-out for guitar influences, so when the movie came out I was slightly interested in watching it. In the end, we did.

It was great to see how Johnny Cash started his career and how it progressed. I also got a sampling of his songs by watching the movie. I kept waiting for the part of the story that I’ve read from my aunt’s old Johnny Cash comic book but it never got to it.

Although I found some parts of it rather boring (my apologies to the hard core fans), I still found it very entertaining. Not only that, I went out the movie theatre wanting to get a CD of his songs.

At first I was considering getting the movie soundtrack. Frankly though, I wasn’t too impressed by Joaquin Phoenix’s version of the songs. So, I looked for samples of the songs in the movie but sung by Johnny Cash himself instead. And yes, as expected, the Johnny Cash sung songs were definitely a lot better. I got myself The Legend of Johnny Cash CD and liked the tunes in it. In fact, I’m listening to it right now as I’m typing this.

I’m only saddened to discover that Johnny Cash had already died on September 12, 2003. I wish I knew about him before he passed away. Thankfully though, his music will stay with us for much much longer.


The Man in Black

Published in: on March 22, 2006 at 8:19 am  Comments (4)  

Duality

When RA9225 (otherwise known as the Philippine Dual Citizenship law) was made into law on August 29, 2003, I remember hearing about a lot of Filipinos abroad being interested in re-acquiring their Filipino citizenship. Not only could they engage in business, vote and own property in the Philippines but also has the option to retire there in the future. It certainly sounded like a good idea for the government to finally recognise that Filipinos who were naturalised citizens in their country of residence could continue to contribute to the growth of the Philippines.

I initially thought that people who lost their Filipino citizenship prior to the passing of this law would have to apply to re-acquire their citizenship while Filipinos who become naturalised citizens of other countries after September 17, 2003 (when the law went into effect) would automatically be dual citizens. I recently learned that this is not the case – all Filipinos who become naturalised citizens of other countries automatically lose their Filipino citizenship and should submit a petition to the Philippine embassy in their country to have it re-instated. No big deal, right? Well, once you take into account the number of documentation they are asking for and the AUD$100 fee, you start to question the process. And don’t get me started on that oath-taking ceremony they could only administer in either Sydney or Canberra. Tough luck to those of you who don’t reside in either area.

To compare, please see the table below in this comparison of applying for Australian citizenship versus the process of applying for re-acquisition of Filipino citizenship. Why the list of requirements to retain Filipino citizenship is longer than the list to apply for Australian naturalisation is beyond me. Shouldn’t copies of the birth certificate, old passport and marriage be enough? As well, the requirement to take the oath-taking in either Sydney or Canberra is a big hassle for Filipinos living elsewhere in Australia who are considering this step. Do they propose to pay your airfare and possible lost income in attending the ceremony?

Australia (naturalisation)* Philippines (retention/re- acquisition)**
Method Online/email Post (snail mail)
Requirements
  • PR visa holder
  • present in Australia for 2 years in the previous 5 years, incl. for 12 months in past 2 years
  • Basic knowledge of English
Natural-born citizen or dependent of a natural-born citizen
Required to attend a short interview? Yes, to look over your application form and documents and learn about the responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship to assess that you understand and speak basic English No
Supporting documents needed
  • Birth certificate
  • Passport
  • Evidence of permanent residence (visa)
  • Proof of any changes of name (i.e. marriage cert.)
  • Police clearance certicates (if overseas for 12 months or more)
  • NSO-certified birth certificate
  • Old passport
  • Baptismal certificate
  • Marriage contract
  • 3 recent 2×2 photos showing front, left and right side views of applicant over white background
  • original or certified copy of Certificate of Foreign Citizenship
  • photocopy of data page of applicant’s foreign passport or driver’s license
Fee $120 $100
Method of payment Credit card Bank cheque or postal money order
Oath-taking Venue Local government council office or at a location near you Sydney or Canberra
Oath From this time forward, (under God), I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people,
whose Democratic beliefs I share, whose rights and liberties I respect, and whose laws I will uphold and obey.
I, ___________, solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines and obey the laws and local orders promulgated by the duly constituted authorities of the Philippines, and I hereby declare that I recognise and accept the supreme authority of the Philippines and will maintain true faith and allegiance thereto, and that I
impose this obligation upon myself voluntarily without mental reservation or purpose of evasion.

*Source: Australian citizenship website **Source:Philippine embassy in Australia

Then there’s the subject of the fee. The FAQ document in the Philippine embassy’s website claims that this is an administration fee covering all expenses in the processing of documents and oath-taking. Again, why even have this oath-taking in the first place? Shouldn’t the signed application sworn in front of a Justice of the Peace by the applicant be enough to signal his/her desire to be a Filipino again?

The whole thing reeks too much of bureaucracy and looks like yet another money-making vehicle by the Philippine government. How ironic is it that ex-Filipinos may well be discouraged in taking this step simply because it is too much trouble, costs too much money and remind them of the red tape that is one of the reason why they left the Philippines in the first place?

So if you’re a Filipino who is currently a permanent resident of Australia, would you a). apply for
naturalisation, lose your Filipino citizenship and apply to retain it; b). remain a permanent resident of Australia indefinitely while to maintain your Filipino citizenship; or c). apply for naturalisation and forget about re-acquiring your Filipino citizenship altogether?

I guess the question is, what is the Filipino citizenship really worth to you these days?

Published in: on March 21, 2006 at 12:20 pm  Comments (7)