Monday, December 31, 2018

Year-end ponderings on life and death leading to the New Year

A friend lost his daughter a few weeks ago to what was diagnosed as clinical depression. I learned from various sources that she had already had one attempt to take her own life recently. I also learned that she turned 18 just a week before the end. From all accounts including my friend's and those who knew her, there was no indication of her depression or her going through rough times. The photos in the slideshow at the wake showed what anyone can consider as a happy childhood and a happy, loving family. I have known my friend for almost 29 years now and I know him to be a man of strong faith and convictions. I know that he is an affectionate father and one with a good sense of humor, too.

I could not imagine what my friend and his wife were and are still going through right now. It is certainly a most difficult time given this tragic event. My friend is grieving and has only recently returned to social media where his posts reveal that he is still sorting things in his mind and heart. I pray that he may find solace in his faith and that he would be comforted by happy memories I am sure he keeps of his daughter.

We were at the wake the last Friday before her remains were cremated and witnessed the tributes and testimonials given by the daughter's classmates. The music they shared touched most if not everyone. I felt their grief, their sadness over what happened to a person they regarded as a dear friend. She was Grade 12 and would have graduated next year. She just took the UPCAT and could have passed the entrance examination and go on to study at UP. Sadly, that will not come to be.

Friends talk about how social media and all these information available to us now tend to influence he way we think and feel. I, too, think there's just a lot of information going around these days and people especially the young don't generally know how to filter what's valid or true from the fake. This creates a confusion of the mind and the heart, which may lead to depression and to some, a general loss of hope. It is this hopelessness that we need to address but more so by tackling the root causes. Many people like to say we need to "go back to the basics" and yet it seems they do not know what the "basics" are all about. Perhaps we should have less of social media, of the internet? More of family time, of outdoor activities and interactions? I think we should.

I wish everyone a peaceful, joyful, hopeful, healthy and prosperous 2019!

Friday, December 28, 2018

On my other hobbies and collections

Readers of this blog may have noted that I most often write about two topics: chocolates and watches. I have written many times about me and my wife's love for chocolates and share about the new ones we've eaten here. We love chocolates so much that we have also invested in farming of the main ingredient, which is cacao.

My brother recently gifted me with a Mazinger Z DIY from Bandai. He was in Tokyo recently (his first time to travel to Japan) and did some quick shopping for pasalubong in between his busy schedule there (it was a business trip).

Parts of the model figure of the super robot to be assembled - this was not unlike the Gundam's I've purchased and assembled before.
My other two models are made of die cast metal. I don't recall my reason for not getting a Mazinger Z before during my stays in Japan. Perhaps it was because I was looking to buy a really good model? I was quite meticulous about my Voltes V and was quick to purchase the UFO Grendaizer when a special edition came out just when I was in Tokyo one time.
This was just like putting together a Gundam (I had 2 but both perished in Ondoy's floods in 2009).
Here are the three models now on display in my part of our main shelves in our living room. The models are of the same scale so one can appreciate how large each super robot was compared to the other. Voltes V is the biggest among the three.

I will write about other 'passions' later. That includes other hobbies and collections that I have indulged in before including philately (yes, I used to collect stamps).

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Maligayang Pasko!

Maligayang Pasko! Nawa’y ang liwanag na ibinahagi sa atin ay ating ibahagi rin sa kapwa [May we be able to share the light that was shared with us.].

Our belen or nativity scene for the last 3 years is this one we got at the Padre Pio Center near Eastwood in Quezon City.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Katsu House Antipolo

There's a nice small restaurant near our home that we only recently tried out. We were craving for some Japanese food and thought, what if we walked to the restaurant and order some katsu? It turned out that the wife recalled they had ordered from Katsu House a couple of weeks earlier for one of their groups, and they were very happy with the food they had for lunch.

The Katsu House along Beverly Hills Drive in Antipolo City
A play corner in the restaurant
Table for a group of six
They have several tables at the restaurant but we're not sure a lot of people are eating there. At least those in the neighborhood probably order food for delivery or pick-up.
Table for two?
Here's a link to their Facebook page:

You'll find their menu there but be sure to call them for new items that they may be offering. They are very helpful and from our experience are easy to deal with. We ordered for my father's 80th birthday celebration and we were very pleased with the chicken and pork katsu that they delivered. Tatay wanted to have some katsu as he also likes Japanese food.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Boy Zugba, SM City Cagayan De Oro (Uptown)

There is a nice restaurant we discovered on a recent trip to Cagayan De Oro. Boy Zugba offers what we usually like to eat on trips like this - grilled food. Here are some photos I took earlier this month.

Menu showing grilled items (sinugba)
The menu includes comic commentary on how to enjoy the dining experience at the restaurant
Message wall for customers/diners - I think this is one of those ideas that are supposed to be for instagram?
The interiors are very colorful and kind of cartoonish in a good way.
They also have an interesting take on the lighting, which reminded me of a designer specializing in such industrial designs.
Kinilaw or ceviche - raw fish marinated in vinegar and mixed with tomatoes and onions, with pipino and seaweed on the side
Grilled cuttlefish (although its listed as squid)
Barbecue shrimps
Grilled scallops
A pleasant surprise is the performance of the staff. It reminded us of the performances of the staff in another restaurant before with their "singing cooks and waiters".
Their very interesting take on leche flan - this one's a must dessert as they did very well with the texture and taste of this "classic"
The restaurant front includes a large print of the menu.
The food is of very good quality and quantity. The staff are attentive and kind. One definitely comes back to this restaurant for future meals or, in our case, when we are in this area of Cagayan De Oro again.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

First generation King Seiko 4402 8000

I mentioned before that I wasn't into gold watches but have made some exceptions including this somewhat rare King Seiko 4402-8000. It is a first generation made by Seiko's second watch factory (Daini) that had a healthy competition with the more popular (and sought after) Grand Seikos manufactured by the first factory (Suwa).

Simple face/dial with raised hour markers and a date complication
Here's a good view of the original crown on this KS
Side view showing the crown
The other side view showing the acrylic glass
This is a gold plated watch and there is what appears to be a hallmark between the lugs of the watch.
Case back showing the old King Seiko emblem medallion. The serial number indicates the watch to have been manufactured in October 1965.
Close-up of the lower part of the dial showing the model number
The movement is a Seiko 4402A that runs at 18,000 bph.
Recent observations point to the watch being a little late (loses about 1-2 minutes/day from what I've observed) but it still runs over 46.5 hours on a full wind. Again, not bad for a 53-year old watch.


Monday, December 10, 2018

Glashütte Spezichron Diver vintage watch

My collection of Glashütte watches includes this rare chronometer-grade piece. "Spezichron" is short for "Spezial chronometer" and unlike my Spezimatic watches (GUB Cal. 74 and 75) that run at 18,000A/h, this one is a GUB Cal. 11-27 runs at 28,800A/h. That's Hi-Beat if you consider the Seiko GS and KS models having the same beats per hour.

This diver has date and day features. It takes some effort to change the day and date but the obsessive-compulsive part of me just can't allow for these not to be adjusted. The day feature language is German so you have to familiarize yourself with their equivalent of each day of the week.
Side view showing the crown
The other side view
Case back with inscriptions stating the watch to be waterproof, shockproof and made of stainless steel. The back also shows some wear and tear (not from my use but the previous owner's).
Close-up of the dial showing the lumed hours and hands. You also see the Made in GDR inscribed at the bottom of the face.
Glow in the dark - the lumes are working well on this watch
The obligatory wrist shot

This model can retail up to about 1,200 USD based on what you can Google from the internet especially if the watch is in good condition (saw another being sold at 2,300 SGD). This is a diver but I have never used it for swimming. Vintage watches like this (ca. 1980 or about 38 years old as of this writing) are quite risky for swimming though they should hold up in water resistance for typical situations like washing your hands or walking under rainshower (with an umbrella or jacket, of course!). I haven't gotten to estimating the power reserve on this watch but it lasts overnight after a day's use.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Sturmanskie vintage watch

I have something of a fascination of watches associated with adventures especially those with space. Perhaps that was what attracted me to save up for what I considered as my grail watch - the Omega Speedmaster. But though the Speedy was the first watch on the moon (worn by Buzz Aldrin when he stepped on the moon as the second man to do so - Armstrong left his on the lunar module when he was first), the first watch in space is an honor given to the Sturmanskie, which was worn by Yuri Gagarin of the then Soviet Union. Here is my Sturmanskie by Poljot.

I tried on the watch after I replaced the strap it came with with this nice leather nato.
Here's a closer look at the watch
Side view showing the worn crown
Another side view showing wear on the case
Back of the watch
Here is a photo of the movement as posted by the store where I got my Sturmanskie
Here's another wrist shot

It's a nice model that you can get without the proverbial "breaking the bank" or "putting a hole on your pocket". Obviously, the Omega moonwatch will set you back thousands of dollars and the Bulova perhaps about 15,000 pesos. Just don't get the Sturmanskie spin-offs including the relatively more expensive chronographs Poljot came out with but are also in demand.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

King Seiko 44-9990

The opportunity presented itself and so I was able to acquire another King Seiko (KS) recently. This one is another manually wound watch that has what has been termed as a 'low beat' movement.

The watch has a simple face and without day or date complications.
The back is in very good condition with the exception of the medallion, which is already damaged. This means it would be better to use a nato or zulu strap instead of a metal bracelet or leather straps that would probably be more suitable for this vintage watch.
Unique signed crown contributes to the authenticity of the watch.
The model number at the bottom of the dial is consistent with the one at the back. This is also another important match one must verify when acquiring these Seiko watches.
The watch on my wrist after I fitted it with a nato strap.
Seiko's 44A movement is a classic and this one runs quite well. This runs at 18,000 bph.

The serial number on the watch indicates date of manufacture as March 1968. I recently timed it after a full wind and it lasted 43 hours. Not bad at all for a 50-year old watch. I've read one article where the assessment was that this was KS movement that was highly regarded as being at par with the Grand Seiko movement from its time. I would agree as 5 decades after, the watch is still a dependable piece.