Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Titus vintage watch

I have a memory of my father purchasing a watch back in the 1970s. It was an automatic watch as he didn't like the manual winding ones. He also at the time probably didn't fancy the quartz watches that were then becoming popular since these were not as highly regarded as the automatics and manual winds (old school?). Tatay liked this watch and Mama knew this as she even had the watch repaired perhaps more than a couple of times than I remember. That watch was a Titus and was lost somehow. Maybe it got lost when we had our home renovated in the 1990s while I was studying in Japan.

And so I tried to look for a Titus that resembled the one Tatay had. I found several watches at vintage watch pages on Facebook. I fancied some and bid for a couple that I thought resembled the one my father had before, minus the steel bracelet that was quite unique for watches back in the day. Tatay doesn't like the gold stuff so those models were definitely out. It had to have a silver or white face.

I finally found one and it did take a little luck to win it in an auction. I guess others who were usually active in auctions didn't fancy Titus watches so I got this one cheap.

Old Titus automatic watch with day and date features with a leather strap.
A close up of the watch face shows its age and some wear and tear. The day function is consistent with the late 60s to early 70s when 'President' models were popular after the original popularized by Rolex.
Titus' logo on the crown
Back of the watch showing the company name, Solvil et Titus, which was originally a Swiss brand. Titus and many other smaller Swiss watch companies suffered from the rise of quartz watches in the 1970s. The quartz movements were battery-powered and were more accurate than many of the manuals and automatics, and were a lot cheaper and therefore affordable to most people wanting to have a watch. Solvil et Titus is now Hong Kong-based and while retaining the brand and perhaps the quality of watchmaking, is no longer considered a Swiss brand.
Watch on my wrist

I used it a few times before it stopped and I notice something seemed to be amiss with the crown and adjustments. I could adjust the day and the date properly and when I attempted to at least restart the watch, it wasn't 'charging' properly and stopped soon and quite frequently. I took it to a watch repair shop where they opened the watch and discovered a corroded crown that was affecting. This was among my concerns when I bought the watch. It is actually risky in the sense that you really don't know how long these will function well and if they bog down, if you will be able to have them repaired. And will there be spare parts for the watch? It is still with the repair shop and hopefully they can find a replacement or fix the crown soon as I intend to give the watch to my father as a present on his 79th birthday this coming December 1.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Gabriele Italian Restaurant, Tiendesitas

After our daughter's regular check-up at The Medical City, we decided to have lunch along the way home at Tiendesita's. There's a very good Italian restaurant there that we usually go to whenever we are there and we want to eat. Italian food is always a good option if you have a good place to eat at. Gabriele is one such place where you can enjoy Italian food.

Gabriele is located at Tiendesita's along C5 at one corner of the building across from the SM Hypermart

Customers can opt for the couch especially if they are having coffee (perhaps merienda?) or some light meals
They have a small bar and you can get drinks if you're not up to heavier fare. They have a good selection of wines and spirits.
Table for two? I guess the restaurant is perfect for dates. Nothing fancy, just good Italian food that's priced so it won't hurt your pocket.
Their version of aglio olio has fresh tomatoes and is a delight to the palate
Pesto just the way we like it; a vegetarian option
They also have really good pizza and you can select 2 flavors for the pizza so you get to enjoy some variety


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

History on the beaches of Tacloban

The venue for a workshop we attended in Tacloban last week was Patio Victoria near the airport. Upon arriving at the venue, one couldn't help but notice the historical marker on what appeared at first as a big piece of rock on the property. The 'rock' turned out to be a pillbox constructed by the Japanese forces along what was part of the beaches of Tacloban as part of the defense against the impending landings of the American forces who were to commence the liberation of the Philippines in World War II.

Pillbox at the Patio Victoria parking lot
Another pillbox at the beach
These are what remain of the defenses constructed during the Second World War. You can just imagine how the place looked like back then and perhaps think about how many people died in the area from all the fighting that took place there. My friends and I were joking that perhaps there were ghosts in the area and its not a place where you would want to take a stroll after dark. Further along the same coast is the place where Gen. Douglas McArthur landed on the beaches of Leyte to declare hist return to the Philippines.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Chocolate review: Cicada Artisan Chocolate Salted Caramel

Another chocolate bar I got from Sydney is this salted caramel from the same artisan chocolate maker from the bazaar. It is a milk chocolate and therefore is an exception to the series of articles on dark chocolates that I posted here.

Salted caramel chocolate from Cicada
Details on the chocolate
Close-up of details including nutrition information
The maker states that the bar may contain nuts and gluten. I think this is a very honest statement considering all the hype about others being 'gluten-free' or 'nut-free'. This is good milk chocolate and those who love chocolate shouldn't be too conscious about the nuts and gluten unless, of course, they are specifically allergic to these. I would definitely buy this chocolate again if I see them in a shop here or abroad.

On "phone zombies" and road safety

[This is my post for the World Day of Remembrance for all the victims of road crashes]

You see a lot of people these days who are always on their smart phones. Many are walking while doing something with their phones whether making a call, typing away, listening to music or perhaps attending to social media. Many are not aware of what are happening around them and this puts them in a situation where that increases their vulnerability. There are those who cross streets without checking for oncoming traffic. There are those walking along the roadside who are not mindful of the likelihood of being sideswiped by vehicles. As such, there is a need to address this behavioral concern to reduce the occurrence of incidents that could lead to deaths if not injuries.

There is a nice article I read recently about an initiative in the Netherlands where they installed pavement traffic lights:

Scott, G.L. (2017) "Dutch City Installs Pavement Traffic Lights to Help 'Phone Zombies'," Inverse, https://www.inverse.com/article/38472-dutch-city-installs-pavement-traffic-lights-to-help-phone-zombies?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=culture&utm_campaign=photo, (Last accessed 11/19/2017).

The assessment for this initiative is quite limited - one day as mentioned in the article - but is promising especially from the perspective of innovation. We need such innovative thinking in order to address the issues about safety. This is but one example of many aimed at curbing road crashes that lead to injuries and deaths particularly with respect to the most vulnerable among us.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Of collections and model airplanes

I have several hobbies collecting various items of interest to me. When I was much younger I had several collections, too, including stamps (I was pretty much into philately at one time) and coins. My stamp and coin collections started with the stamps and coins Tatay brought from his trips overseas particulary from Japan and Indonesia. He made a lot of friends from different countries and they exchanged greetings on Christmas and New Year for a few years. It was later when he participated in an international training program in Tokyo when suddenly we had mail coming from many countries including Africa, Europe and Asia when I was encouraged by my mother to start a collection. She and a close cousin even bought me albums for where my stamps can be organized.

My coin collection started with Japanese coins but I eventually got more from various countries thanks to an uncle who was a seaman. His pasalubong to me were coins from the countries whose ports their ship called on.

Fast forward to the present and I now have a few active collections including my humble watch collection (mostly Swatches that I use regularly) and model airplanes. The planes aren't the kind you assemble from so many parts but rather the ones airlines and shops typically sell as scale replicas of their own aircraft. I only collect planes from airlines the wife and I have flown on. And so there are not so many of them but they have already occupied a good amount of space on my office shelf.

British Airways model plane being assembled. This was purchased by the wife during her most recent trip.
Qantas and Cathay Pacific model planes mounted, and British Airways model underway. I got the Cathay and Qantas models from a toy fair where one booth was selling models. I was tempted to purchase others but I had to keep by my code about airlines we have flown on.

The challenge for me is to find models of planes I've flown in the past and that includes one of the now defunct Northwest Airlines (acquired and now flying as Delta) and another of Egypt Air. I also don't have JAL and ANA planes. I hope to get one from each airline soon as well as those from Asiana and Korean Air.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Chocolate review: Ghirardelli Intense Dark Toffee Interlude

We haven't had some Ghirardelli chocolates for quite a while. This was mainly because we opted to get some new chocolates - those we haven't had before - during our trips abroad. But then the opportunity presented itself when I spotted a small shop selling Ghirardelli's and decided to purchase a couple of bars. One of them is this relatively sweet one for a dark chocolate.

Intense dark toffee interlude
Details at the back
Description of the chocolate and the general process of its production
Nutrition information
This is supposed to be dark chocolate but the % is not indicated in the box. I mentioned this was relatively sweeter than other dark chocolates but the sweetness (due to the toffee) blends well with the bitterness you'd expect from dark chocolates. Despite that, the wife doesn't really like it as she thinks its still too sweet. I bought this for 250 pesos (about 5 USD), which I thought was quite fair for good quality chocolates.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Chocolate review: Cicada Artisan Chocolate Almond & Sea Salt

I continue with the recent series of posts on chocolates. It may seem as if we are having too much chocolate but these are ones we tasted weeks or days ago and we do try to manage our "cache" so that we have good chocolates to enjoy whenever we want to. Among the good one we got to enjoy is this artisan chocolate from Sydney.

Cicada Almond & Sea Salt packaging looked quite quaint
Details on the chocolate at the back
Close-up showing the ingredients, info on the maker and nutrition information

This is really good chocolate and my only regret is not being able to buy more of these when I was in Sydney. The taste and texture were just right and not raw as you might expect from an artisan chocolate. I have written before about the chocolate and sea salt and the saltiness here is just right and does well to enhance the chocolate.

Chocolate review: Venchi Nocciolato Fondente/ Dark Chocolate & Hazelnuts

Another bar the Clairvoyant bought from the Venchi shop in Rome is this dark chocolate with hazelnuts.

Venchi's Nocciolato Fondente
Information on the chocolate at the back
This chocolate claimed to have at least 56% cacao.
Nutrition information on the bar
This was another hit in terms of quality. The chocolate was just right in terms of the mix of smoothness and bitterness. This was definitely another good buy from the trip to Rome and the Clairvoyant, who recently was in Hong Kong, made the observation that Venchi chocolates at HKIA seemed to be significantly more expensive than those she bought in Rome. I guess that's because the shops at HKIA have a margin of profit? I was a but surprised though because you can get Venchi chocolates at Bacchus at a relatively good price.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Chocolate review: Valrhona Christian Lacroix Grand Crux Noir

I almost forgot writing about this box of chocolates and so I'm posting this on this All Saints' Day and perhaps try to put some "Undas" angle to this article.

The box is already quite enticing and perhaps what led to this being purchased at the duty free shop
Details at the back of the wrap-around packaging
I enlarged this a bit to clearly show the four type of bonbons
Nutrition information and the price tag on the cover
The box after the removal of the fancy cover
As if the suspense was not enough there's another cover for good measure
Removing the cover reveals 16 bonbons
A close-up of the bonbons

Priced at 35 USD when it was purchased, this was definitely a good buy. The exquisite chocolate bonbons seem more appropriate for Valentine's Day but is perfect for any day including today. As mentioned in the movie "Forrest Gump", life is like a box of chocolates. At times, it can be simply sweet. Some times it can be quite spicy. I don't think you really don't know what you'll get because in many cases, you can have a fair expectation of what you'll get or what you can look forward to. But then the latter cases are those brought about by one's actions and the consequences are to be expected if not wanted or desirable. That is life and how those who went ahead of us lived it. We remember them today and with love.