Hotsilog – street food in the Philippines

bus stop hotdog

Hotsilog is the Tagalog name for hot dogs. This is different from the Philippines chorizo type sausage called longganisa. Longganisa is short links of pork sausage while hotsilog is actual hot dogs as you know it – it’s also much longer. No, there’s no double entendre intended.

hotsilog

You can find hotsilog sold in bus stops and other stalls where quick travel food is required. It’s usually sold next to balut and chicharon (pork crackling). The history of the Philippines with the long American presence has created this long and *brightly colored* radioactive red hot dog that is sold on a stick or in a bun.

hotsilog hotdog

The ones in a bun costs 30 PHP (about RM 1.80) while the hotsilog on a stick costs 25 pesos (RM 2.20). The shorter hotdog in a bun actually costs *more* than the longer ones on a skewer! You’ll be initially surprised that a locally made bun wrapped around the hot dog will actually hurt your wallet more…especially when you see the length.

bus philippines

Hotsilogs on a skewer / stick is much longer than the ones in a bun. That means you get more meat for 5 pesos less for the former. Street peddlers will come on board while you’re in a bus and sell all sorts of stuff from Buko Pies to newspapers.

me hotsilog

The hotsilogs is a distinctively American influence that has been given a local twist. It tastes much like what you’ll expect a hotdog or sausage to, but juicier and mildly spiced so it’s good to eat by itself without other condiments.

philippines hotdog

It’s an interesting experience to eat it on long journeys. The way it’s cut into spirals before being cooked is something the locals have done to make it cook evenly.

hotsilog vendor

The local hotsilog is also surprisingly sweet and worth a try if you’re on a bus with nothing better to do. You might also require a hardy stomach. ;)

Competitive ice cream eating and other stories

yee ling

This is Yee Ling which I initially mistook for someone else. Seriously, you have a doppelgänger right here in KL – there are so many similarities it’s uncanny! It made me do a double take when I saw her at first. Heh.

I got that photo from Yee Ling’s blog – met lots of people that day, had heaps of fun! I also love this photo:

ice cream eating competition

It was taken by Merryn during the ice cream eating competition.

Team Pink dominated the rest of the contestants. It was a massacre, I wouldn’t even attempt to describe it. I do have a wonderful video from Susan though:

I couldn’t have done it without the rest of them. I’m the one with the spiky hair, Serge is the one with the hat and Susan is the girl. It’s a tag team style competition so we all had to be fast. Watch the video – we finished all the ice cream before the 2 minute time limit…and the Baskin-Robbins people told me they would have prepared more ice cream if they know how fast I could eat it. Heh.

team pink

I can stuff an entire scoop of ice cream right into my mouth, no problems. I can eat really fast when called upon and competitive eating is a hobby which I would like to explore more. Serge could more or less match my pace but it was Susan who surprised me. I didn’t think we would win without her. Definitely the fastest girl I’ve ever seen in an eating competition.

br31 vouchers

The prize was 31 coupons of ice cream scoop redeemable until end of next year. Since we had a team of 3, it divided up into 10 each, with +1. Team effort, FTW! :)

Anyway, I’ve been a bit busy as of late handling DBKL issues. :x

It’s preposterous that they’ll do this without sending me a proper summons but apparently you cannot drive on the emergency lane on the Federal Highway.

This much is obvious, but what if a traffic police directs you to that lane during peak hours?

Well, now that that’s settled, I’ll be going back to my one post per day schedule and clear up my backlog of vacation posts! w00t! :)

Panasonic Lumix LX7 review

julie woon

Yes, this is the latest incarnation of the wildly popular LX3/LX5! I managed to get hold of the new Panasonic Lumix LX7 – it’s a super premium compact camera that has a lot of features that even professional photographers would appreciate.

lumix lx7

BTW, that’s Julie Woon, the 8TV host that also had the LX7 and showed her photos during the event.

lumix showcase

I was at the Panasonic Lumix Photonista campaign cum launch on the 19th November which unveiled several of their new cameras and lenses. There’s the two high end Lumix G series – GH3 and G5 which uses the relatively new dSLM (nope, not a typo, it stands for digital single lens mirrorless) cameras.

fuzion
Lunch @ Fuzion before the event

Lumix came out with the world’s first dSLM cameras in 2008 – the technology which allows for a more compact body and lens while still producing the high image quality of dSLRs. The flagship GH3 is even splash and dust proof. There’s also the accompanying 12-35mm, 45-150mm and 35-100mm lens.

panasonic lumix lx7

The new Lumix range was also unveiled – with the ultra high zoom “prosumer” FZ60 and FZ200 leading the pack to bridge the high end G series with the compact and new LX7. That leaves the lifestyle targeted SZ5 which has WiFi that allows you to use a smartphone to connect with it to shoot remotely and upload direct to social media avenues.

professional photographers

That’s a total of 6 new cameras and 3 lenses announced that day and there were also two female professional photographers who used the newly launched Lumix G cameras to take photos and record videos. I found the one which featured the capoeira video to be quite intriguing – the quality was so good I though it was taken with a dedicated camcorder.

lumix tx7 top

Anyway, back to the Lumix LX7 review, it’s a 10.1 MP high end compact camera that you can just point and shoot with it’s Intelligent Auto Plus with a full range of manual shooting modes and RAW file support. The body is made of metal, which gives it a premium feel and a nice solid weight. I really like the feel of it.

creative control

There’s also a bright 3 inch LCD screen with a 920,000 dot resolution which provides a really clear view of what you’re about to shoot. The ISO goes from 80-6400 (there’s also an option for ISO 12800 but that results in a lowered resolution) and it’s a lot like a dSLR with all its features.

defocus

I like the option of going all the way to the fastest f/1.4 maximum aperture which is essential for shooting in low-light conditions and producing that signature dSLR depth-of-field effect with out of focus backgrounds.

depth field

It’s very friendly for beginners but the best part about the LX7 is the toggle switch at the side that allows you to switch from manual to auto-focus (with the addition of macro thrown in).

food

It’s these little manual controls that makes it simple enough for photography enthusiasts to use yet allows full manual flexibility for more advanced users.

lumix tx7 back

Shooting in manual mode is surprisingly easy with the 3-step ND/Focus lever (very nifty, this one) that allows you full control over shutter speed. Focusing, exposure, bracketing area and all the essentials are ready at hand when used with the buttons and jog dial.

lumix lx7 front

There’s also a manually adjustable aperture ring that allows direct control over the light source to the sensors as well as a switch to change aspect ratios from 16:9, 3:2, 4:3 to 1:1. You can even shoot in ALL the aspect ratios at once!

level gauge

The MF Assist feature helps enthusiast photographers to understand how things work too. There’s also useful features like Level Gauge which helps you align your shots – the horizontal/vertical lines are yellow until they register as level with the accelerometer, at which point they turn green.

lunch

The remarkable Leica lens on the LX7 more than makes up for the relatively small sensor – it takes impressively sharp photos.

panorama
Panorama shot that allows all four directions!

The other strong point of the LX7 is in the video recording – it allows for full HD video at 1,920 x 1,080 60p at 120 frames per second for NTSC (50p / 100 fps for PAL). That produces extremely smooth and detailed videos. The microphone is placed on top and there’s an Auto Wind Cut function to block out noise. Best of all it records in stereo from it’s two mics!

Personally, the best feature is the ability to take a still image while you record a video. I’ve often struggled with two cameras while recording a video in case there’s a scene where I want a photo too. Now I can do both with a single camera. Heh.

quick af

The most amazing thing I’ve realized about this camera is the super fast AF – it can even shoot at 4 fps with full AF tracking!

glass through
Glass Through scene

through glass
Resulting photo

1 aspect ratio
1:1 aspect ratio

sepia
Sepia

cakes
Creative Control

desserts
Food

expressive
Expressive

miniature effect
Miniature Effect (love the irony ;))

Things I like:

  • Excellent image quality
  • Insanely fast burst mode at 11 fps full resolution
  • Speedy auto-focus
  • Plethora of Instagram-like digital filters (called Creative Control)
  • Amazing HD video

chocolate fountain

The LX7 is a very good compact camera that has a lot of professional features you’ll be hard pressed to find in other compact digicams. It’s a perfect backup camera pros shooting with a dSLR – it’s portable enough and has stellar quality for a point and shoot, which also makes it an ideal choice for enthusiast photographers who wants a compact digicam.

hdr

It’s been called a “real photographer’s compact camera” – the Lumix LX7 is not an entry level camera but one with a lot of features. I loved playing around with it and I imagine I’ll be carrying this instead of my bulky dSLR around from now. :)

You can’t control what people think, you shouldn’t control what people say

accident

Barrack Obama said that in one of his addressed to the UN where mentioned he has become used to people calling him appalling things every day. While I won’t dare to equate myself to him, it generally applies to everyone. I have an anecdote from my very first (and expensive) private rehab where I spent 28 days.

The psychologist told me before I left not to expect people playing kompangs (a Malay drum usually used for celebrations) to herald your new found sobriety. No one is going to believe you.

A lot of ex-addicts get snared by this apparent “lack of support” and relapse due to the mentality that “Well, if no one is going to believe me anyway, I might as well go right on doing drugs.

What has that got to to with anything?

It has got to do with everything.

espresso

I’ll like to thank all my readers for being supportive throughout my Project Listen campaigns. There’s a handful of naysayers (but that’s to be expected, and coming from the same IP, disregarded by me) but the point of that lesson is learning how to believe in yourself!

That is the true path to recovery.

That is the only way to become a better person.

You don’t rely on what others think or say for your self-confidence – that is the worst thing you can do. Just believe in yourself and want to be a better person.

…and that is my journey, from my darkest days of drug addiction, to facing the skeletons in my closet and my journey to become a better person.

Of course, it takes a long time (nay, a lifetime) to become a better person but I wanted to start anyway coz every journey begins with a single step. I have taken enough from the ones dearest to me. I have lived life to the fullest extent. Now it’s time to give it all back.

arguing

I could have just written about anything mundane, but I choose to write about the most difficult parts of my life and how I’m changing it. I firmly believe in the reach of Project Listen and I hope that the experiences I’ve been through could be of help in some way to someone.

Thank you again for sharing my videos, it was hard doing them, it was a decision that I made and I’m glad I did it.

home

One last note – if there’s any of you out there stuck in the depths of drug addiction, know you can set yourself free, but only if you choose to. If any of you are in a spot coz of unwanted pregnancies colliding with religious beliefs, know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

josiah

Finally, cherish your family and those dearest to you for they are the ones who stay when everything else goes to shit.

Love,
Huai Bin
sixthseal.com

What’s your best looking side – left or right?

I’ve heard that everyone has one side that they look better in. The real pros actually navigate themselves so that their “best looking side” e.g. angle gets presented each time they take a photo. Heh.

right

I don’t know if I have a good looking side. Here’s my right profile.

left

…and this is my left side.

I think it looks just about the same but please do correct me if I’m wrong – I’ll love to know. :)

Do you have one side that you look better in?

The long journey to finding myself

journey

I’ve written about the struggles that I’ve been though and put my significant other (at that time) through when I’ve had an abortion.

It was hard, but I wanted to tell the story, to let it reach out to as many people as it can, so perhaps it can help some.

I’ve also written about my previously estranged relationship with my parents and how it’s always true that blood runs thicker than water.

I think I’ve lead an extraordinary life and I’m glad I’m still alive to write about it. I’ll like to thank you all for sharing my video stories and the kind (and also not so kind) comments. Life is worth living, you go through it and become a better person if you’re willing to change for the better. Cheers!

RM 1,000 nett win from Genting

I had RM 500 as my bankroll – that’s as much as I was willing to lose. I won RM 1,500 from the roulette tables. That’s a RM 1,000 nett win but let me tell you about the most unusual sequence of events.

roulette 6

I took this at great personal risk of ejection from the casino. It’s the Roulette table with the number 6 pinned – some of the chips there are mine. I guess they must have seen me on the CCTVs, got a glare from the pit boss, so don’t complain about the quality. It would have been ignominious for me to be escorted out. ;)

I had wanted to bet the entire amount on the number 6. Why?

  • Well, there’s my blog name for one
  • Also, I got a queue number that practically shouts for me to go there
  • I also had a very good feeling about that number even before I came up

I kinda felt that I would win quite a large amount by doing that if I just went at the right time. I went while the others were taking a bath. I like to do this alone actually.

casino chips 500

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the balls to throw down the entire RM 500 on my very strong hunch or else the title would be how I won RM 17,500 from Genting – a good start towards recovering my funds. :x

I put down RM 30 in chips instead and spread the rest around.

I got up to RM 1,670 in the first second I sat down.

Dammit, for not heeding that instinct!!! Oh well.

Anyway, I set aside RM 1,000 (my original target was just a paltry RM 300 win – a far cry from the high rolling days – those are over) and used the RM 670 in chips to play again…which got me down RM 270 before a last minute hedge bet on 7-8 got me back to RM 800.

Yup, that’s a RM 1,300 nett win. I set aside another RM 500 (for RM 1,500) and used the RM 300 for one last shot.

myr1500

Lost all the RM 300 in a single spin (went for 1-18 numbers) and decided it was time to pull out. I had dropped below a 1k win once, and now I got back up and besides I reckon my friends would be done with the shower so I headed up.

Oh yeah, someone once told me that I should stop playing Baccarat, where I’m highly irrational (I go for Player 90% of the time) and suggested I switch to Roulette. Good one, that advice.

I’m quite proud of myself for pulling out with RM 1,500 (of which RM 500 was my initial bankroll e.g. my money) for a RM 1,000 nett win.

It’s not much but it’ll help me with some expenses I’ve been putting off like credit card bills. ‘Tis desperate times, my friends for me to do this. :x

genting magic

Thanks Genting! :)

The Prodigal Son

I wrote this for Project Listen a while back and I’m re-posting it on my blog so it can be kept as an archive. Cheers to my family for enduring me all this while and I’m glad I have a chance to make it all right.

family

I’ve always felt that I haven’t been doing much for my family. I’ve put them through a lot – it all started when I went to New Zealand as a permanent resident to do my high school in Christchurch. I was 15 then and quite very extremely rebellious.

The freedom I had there pushed my rebellious nature to new heights, and I got involved in drugs, gangs, etc etc – basically your “regular” teenage rebellion multiplied by a billion in intensity.

reverse mohawk

That was more than 15 years ago and although I came to my senses I still never quite bonded with my family, creating more burden and causing more stress instead of what I was supposed to do as a filial son.

I can safely say that during my career as a professional human lab rat, I’ve tried more drugs that the vast majority of other users, sourcing for not just common drugs like heroin and methamphetamine but exotic research chemicals like 6-APB, UR-144 and 5-MeO-MiPT which most people have never even heard of, much less tried.

drugs

I was arrested for drug possession when I was 24 and appeared on many newspapers, some with extremely detailed information about me, which must have caused my parents a lot of grief. I’ve also went through rehab three times and been hospitalized countless times – overdoses, ICU admissions from permanent renal and liver damage, suicide attempts during psychotic breaks.

It was chaotic.

night out

I’ve never felt that I’ve contributed much to the family and I was never really close with them even as I got older. I was in Sibu for a period of time and even then I’m always out with friends when I’m back home for the holidays and coming home just to sleep. I’ve even brought girls back in the middle of the night for noisy drunken sex and wake up the next afternoon to shower together…

…in my parents house!

I never thought of how disrespectful I was being.

I never though of how much I hurt their feelings.

I never even communicate much with them – most of the conversation goes one way – with me talking about the latest exotic drugs I’ve tried, the inevitable escapades with police that I’ve gotten away with, the girls that I’ve fucked.

I never really listened to what their needs are. It took me a loooong time before I started becoming more attuned to their needs. I’m ashamed to even put a year to when I stopped. I shudder to even think about what I’ve done now.

…but like the Biblical story, my parents have always been believed in me despite my numerous flaws and downright disgusting behavior.

My mom was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2010 and it was only then that I understood what family meant. The way our family pulled together to support her as she went through multiple surgeries, radiotherapy and chemotherapy sessions taught me what being related was all about.

I’ve always thought of my mom as a nag, and didn’t spend much time listening to her at all.

mom

However, since the diagnosis, it just struck me how fast the years fly by and how little time we actually have together as a family unit.

I regret not spending more time with my mom, and I started to realize that the “relationship” that I have was basically non-existent – I was just being selfish.

I started to really spend time with my parents at that point. Instead of just gaudily flaunting my sexual exploits, I started to listen more to what they have to say. I developed a genuine interest in their life and well being.

cancer

Hell, I even start to worry about them.

I talk to them more instead of the obligatory weekly check in phone call to make sure I’m not dead or in jail.

I listen and try to get them to talk about their problems.

lung cancer

We eat together when I’m back home instead of me heading out which sad to say was common until as late as 2008.

I lounge in the living room after and chat about everything – news, politics, religion – with my parents instead of skipping out and coming home drunk in the middle of the night.

I understood the importance of just hanging out with my family – listening instead of just talking, helping out with chores at home, comforting my mom when she’s throwing up.

It’s made us into a better family unit.

birthday

I just received a birthday card from my parents (it was somehow lost until a few days ago) and it nearly brought tears to my eyes when I realized that they’ve mailed me one every single year without fail while I barely remember their birthdays.

I am truly ashamed of how I’ve behaved and I’m trying my level best to be a better son now. I visit my mom in Singapore more often, where she’s having her treatments done. We all chip in to help – not just financially but emotionally.

I really want to save up enough money to bring my parents for a trip around the world.

simple meal

They’ve worked hard in raising us and my dad still works hard and I think it would be the least that I can do. I’m actually being extremely frugal right now – limiting the times I go out, being careful with spending, saving up money so I can help out with the medical bills and especially to let my parents visit the world.

They’ve always saved up for our education and it’s time for us to give back

Not because of some attempt to seek forgiveness for past transgressions.

Not because of my ongoing mother’s fight against cancer.

Not because of guilt.

It’s because I want to, out of the love I have for them.

parents

I want them to know that someone cares, someone always will, and that someone is FAMILY.

3 delicious and dirt cheap meals with bread

I never eat white bread. It’s nutritionally inferior and I prefer the taste of brown bread nowadays anyway. I go for wholemeal/wholegrain (including the fad ones that has “enrichments” like Canadian Purple Wheat). It’s more expensive at RM 2.80 – RM 4.50 but definitely worth it for the additional vitamins for a balanced (hmm..) diet.

1. Sandwiches with surimi, sausages and boiled eggs

bread sausages surimi

This is considered a treat in survival mode. Heh. The surimi is store brand and family pack sized for extra savings, the sausages are the ultimate manifestation of mystery meat (plus it’s on sale at under RM 2) and eggs are eggs – you need them.

Coincidentally, these are the same items I use to cook ramen. smirk

2. Bread with milk

Ah! The staple since time immemorial. I’ll suggest fresh milk – it’s well worth the price premium for the fortified essentials – fat, for one. ;)

bread milk

Just plain bread goes a long way with flavorful fresh milk. Don’t skimp and go the reconstituted crap or low fat variants – if you’re in survival mode, you’ll need those extra calories.

3. Bread dipped in raw egg

This is a surprisingly delicious combo that I discovered. You can do it with balsamic vinegar and olive oil…so why not raw egg?

bread raw egg

Just crack one (chilled – leave it in the fridge for at least 24 hours) egg into a saucer and it can last for 4-5 slices of bread.

You can eat it by it’s own too, there’s taste and texture in some of the nut enriched ones and that’s what I do most of the time. These are just 3 examples are just to break the tedium of eating bread alone.

You know how it goes, man shall not live on bread alone. ;)

Chicks @ Microsoft Windows 8 Malaysia launch

angry birds troupe

I meant Angry Birds.

hot chick lowyat

Of course, there were models there too. Windows 8 powered devices, not girls, although they had that as well. Heh.

must have left it open

There was this really good group that kicked off the Microsoft Windows 8 launch in Malaysia – they had a very vigorous and visually exciting skit that incorporates elements of classic Windows alerts.

angry birds win

You know, the default sounds it makes during various operation like the distinctive “Ding!” you hear when you’re trying to click somewhere other than a mandatory notification that demands your attention before moving on.

angry birds bunker

It’s all of that combined into a dance and skit routine (which includes the aforementioned Angry Birds parody where they launched chairs into bunkered “pigs”) that made it one of the best launch gimmicks I’ve ever seen!

You’ve gotta watch it!

models

The Microsoft Windows 8 launch was held at Low Yat Plaza on the 29th October.

reps

The Managing Director of Microsoft Malaysia – Mr Ananth Lazarus (guy with the blue shirt in the middle) came on stage to describe Windows 8 in detail. I was quite impressed!

camera

There are a lot of features that are in the latest iteration of Windows. I’ve been using it since Windows 3.11 (which had to be booted up from MS-DOS 6.22) and gone through every single update ever since. This is the first time that there was a huge and noticeable difference – Windows 8 has evolved so far from Windows 7 as to be unrecognizable.

devices

There were demonstrations on the new Start Screen, Picture Password, Charms bar and other touch-friendly implementations which most of the new devices were made for.

banter

I’ll personally say that Windows 8 is best experienced with a touch-capable device and all of the new ones coming out have that feature, fitting into every niche and blurring the distinction between smartphones, tablets, notebooks and even smart TV screens!

picture password

Complete social media integration is now done with emphasis on shortcuts and user friendliness. I’ll describe this more in detail in another post, it’s awesome!

local apps

There’s also Live Tiles, which appear on the new Start Screen and updates it constantly so everything can be viewed at a single glance.

detach

However, the Microsoft Windows 8 Malaysia launch is first and foremost to introduce the new concepts and features of the operating system. There were refreshments galore and a chance to play with the new devices.

me windows8

I had my hands on one of them – there are various designs out there, from standard tablets to a more enterprise minded slider design with a physical keyboard. Some of the latter can be even detached into two (!!!), creating two separate and different devices, both capable of running on their own and with dual batteries.

noh nina passion8

Noh (of local band Hujan) and Nina (of Mizz Nina fame) also announced their upcoming show called Passion8 which will be aired on 8TV.

windows8 devices

Congratulations to Microsoft Malaysia for a great launch event for Windows 8! The capabilities of the new OS is really impressive.

windows 8 girls

This isn’t the Windows of old, I can really foresee Windows 8 being the dominant OS in not just traditional PC/notebooks but also tablets, smartphones and other devices which defies categorization, being as unique as they are.

windows 8 malaysia launch

There was food served at the end…

windows 8 doughnut

…which includes donuts with marzipan (I think) Windows 8 logos which are obviously edible. I had two.

windows8 start

I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks – I personally love Windows 8, it’s not just a facelift with minor features but a great new leap forward! :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...