Friday, September 28, 2007

Inventor of Corruption

"China invented civilization in the East, but as well it invented corruption for all of human civilization," commented by Sen. Miriam Santiago, head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the overpriced broadband network contract with China.

Sorry for this lady for giving such irresponsible cum unprofessional statement in the public. Being a reputable senator, her statement only shows that she is ignorant and unqualified to be a leader. Absolutely groundless and non-sensible. She is trying to put China as the scapegoat to the deep rooted corruption culture in Philippines. Her bet is destined to fail (she will apologize to the Embassy of PR China on this issue), but for sure it has bought her some fanatic support from the grass root level.

Years ago, a Filipino friend gave me the same comment. I thought it was only his personal foolish opinion. Guess I'm wrong, some of them do have this idea in mind.

Just want to say… we couldn't force someone to do something against his will.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Bourne Ultimatum

This movie is marvellous! The action packed scenes keep me holding breath throughout. The close combat and car chasing stunt are pleasing. The screenplay has been slightly modified from the original novel of Robert Ludlum. The trilogy of Bourne ("The Bourne Identity", "The Bourne Supremacy" and "The Bourne Ultimatum") are the best stories he has written. Rest of his books are not really remarkable.

Matt Demon, one of my favourite actors, stylish as usual. But I prefer his other drama like "The Talented Mr.Ripley" and "Good Will Hunting".

Friday, September 21, 2007

James Blunt – All The Lost Souls

Getting fed up with the bombardment of hip-hop and rap, the new album of James Blunt – All The Lost Souls is so refreshing. The songs are less the charm of his previous success "You Are Beautiful"… but the overall quality is good!

Veliko Tarnovo

Forgot to mention this spectacular city in Bulgaria. On the way back from Varna, we drove pass this city, and made last minute decision to visit the fortress as recommended by my local colleague.

Goshhh… beautiful! The city is based along a ridge above Yantra River, which winds in a horseshoe bend between 4 hills. The old quarter is neat, packed with shops and alfresco café. Felt kind of simmering in medieval atmosphere.

At the end of old quarter, over the corner, a magnificent view of Tsarevets Fortress display in front of us. The size is not big, it was destroyed when fell to the Turks in 1393. Mostly ruins remain nowadays, while the Royal Palace is under renovation.

Patriarch's Church (extensively restored) is standing on top of the complex. The exterior of this small church is nothing attractive, but the interior is truly impressive. The walls are fully decorated with modern arts murals, which outline Bulgarian history in the 14th and 15th centuries (of course I couldn't understand it). Such painting is very uncommon in any church, was deeply obsessed.

We didn't stay long because there was another 5 hr drive back to Kyustendil. Definitely I would like to visit again during winter to see this once capital (3rd in history) of Bulgaria in snow coating.

Veliko Tarnovo is my #1 pick in Bulgaria, till now.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Black Sea Trip

Varna's Scenes and Sins

Grabbed the opportunity of having 4 straight days off, 2 colleagues and I made a trip to Black Sea – Varna. The climate didn't turn out sunny, windy chill instead. Anyway our program was simply too packed to relax ourselves on the beach.

The beaches on Varna are disappointedly narrow and far from first class standard. Sunbathers moved further out of the city to find better beach and cleaner sand. After all we came here for fun, foods and entertainments were important to us.

The food and beverage prices are irrationally high in my local colleague's opinion (beer €1.50, meal €5-10). I gave no comment. To most foreign tourists, this price level is still much cheaper in their own countries.

Varna is lacking of attractions. The most impressive landmark "Cathedral of The Assumption of The Virgin" is worth for a visit. It is 2nd in size only to the "Aleksander Nevski Cathedral" in Sofia. The internal mural and design are very similar to the latter.

Rest of the tourist spots like Roman Thermae does not catch my interest.

Striptease show is legal business in Bulgaria. We took the chance to explore a bar named Playboy. The beverage expenses are not high indeed, say double the charges of disco plus entrance fees of €2.50. Atmosphere was sexy, with hip-hop music background, the performers staged and danced seductively but not lusty. The strippers didn't remove the last piece of cloth around their hips.

Without invitation, one fairly stocky lady (compared to my body size) sat beside me. She offered to dance with me, or dance for us. Hey, I know well each dance will charge additional on our bill. Politely I turned down her offer and said, "I just want to stay here and watch nice ladies."

"This club does not offer only for watching," she answered and left us alone. Did she imply that we must be more initiative and give more orders, or she meant we are not generous? I didn't care. ½ hr later, another real good looking lady approached us and offered the same. Again, we turned down her offer.

Out of curiosity, while checking the bill, we inquired the "service charge" of the lady. The manager gave us their rate of €100 per hour!!! Goodness! This is equivalent to the monthly salary of a local labour in Bulgaria.


Approx. 30km north of Varna. Jokingly I refer it as the short form of "Bulgarian Chic". I endow a new meaning to this name but it doesn't convince me to return for 2nd visit. This town is much quieter than Varna. It has no good beach either, but packed with tourists seeking relaxing atmosphere, no short of good hotels and restaurants. The Summer Palace of Queen Marie and Botanical Gardens are the main attractions, but they are small and not exceptionally beautiful.


Claimed to be the most organized resorts in Bulgaria, the beaches here are clean, dotted with hotels constructed during the communism era, and in similar design. Plenty of retirees join cheap tour packages from western Europe. The nightlife is less lively compared to Varna, not my cup of tea.