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Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Look Back on Nokia’s Legacy

Nokia 8250

The good old Nokia 8250, on which many of us broke phone bill records.

Remember when the classiest ringtones you could get were merely polyphonic?
Or how about playing Snake on a clunky 8250 while waiting for the bus?

We’ve got iPhones and Angry Birds nowadays, but let’s not forget the iconic Nokia – on whose phones a generation of teenagers grew up with.

Nokia 8850

Nokia 8850 - The Godfather of luxury phones back in 2000.

The Finnish multinational communications corporation seems to have a very small slice of the local market pie today, but there once was a time where it had its cake, and could eat it too.

Everyone has likely owned or used a Nokia phone at least once, and for good reason too. The iPhone wasn’t around back in 1992!

Jokes aside, the mobile phone really took off in the late 90s, and that was where Nokia’s market share exploded. In 1997, the Nokia 6110 became the first mobile phone to feature the classic Snake game. The next year, 1998, Nokia became the world leader in mobile phones.

Snake Game

What was your high score for this?

Coincidence? Maybe. I remember loving my Nokia more for the hours of unceasing entertainment Snake could provide than for its text-messaging capability.

In 1999, mobile Internet was developed. Nokia launched their 7110, the world’s first WAP handset. That was their trick – to always stay one step ahead. In 2002, they came up with the brand’s first 3G-enabled phone: the Nokia 6650.
Jump to 2005 – Nokia’s N series was introduced as the next generation of multimedia devices; a prophecy that fulfilled itself the same year, with Nokia selling its billionth phone.

Nokia N Series

Choose your weapon

In 2007, Nokia’s market share was 30.4%, according to media analysts AdMob. And at one point, eight out of ten mobile phones sold in Asia were Nokias.

But lets look at Nokia today. Its presence in the local market is nearly unnoticed, even though 85% of digital consumers own an Internet-capable mobile phone. Gone is the N series – replaced by a wily foe, Apple’s iPhone. Where teenagers once played Snake and Snake II, they now flick Angry Birds across sleek panels of screens.


Bounce was better, by far!

AdMob reported in 2010 that the sole survivor of Nokia’s legacy for our markets was the N70. Today, Nomura Equity Research has forecast that Nokia’s worldwide share of the mobile phone market will drop to 19.9%, with its smartphone slice of the pie declining from 25.5% to 13.1% by the end of the year. Its relevance in a world of Androids and iPhones has dwindled to nearly nothing, especially since it was better known for mobile phones than anything else. Today, it’s fastest fingers first on Facebook, and not with SMS. (Do you even remember what those letters stand for?)

But not all is lost for Nokia, once beloved by many.

Nokia Changing

Stephen Elop rallying the troops.

On 26 October, at the Nokia World 2011 event, Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop revealed the Nokia Lumia, a smartphone model running on the Windows Phone OS. It is Nokia’s first mobile phone series to run Windows Phone, and is part of the first wave of Windows Phone devices to be released by Nokia. These phones – the Nokia Lumia 800 and Nokia Lumia 710 – have already hit Europe and UK, and will be expected launch in Asia before the end of 2011.

Nokia is finally steering itself in the right direction – that of smartphones and the future. It may be an uphill climb from here on Nokia, but we’ll treasure the fond memories you gave us in the last decade.

Nokia Lumia

Will we be talking about this phone like we do now for the 8250, 10 years later?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

South Korea Invited to Help in Military Buildup

Philippines was interested in military-grade helicopters, boats and aircraft from South Korea (photo : Defence Talk)

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III on Monday sought South Korea’s help in buying helicopters, boats, aircraft and other equipment for the Armed Forces.

Mr. Aquino said the Philippines was interested in buying new military equipment during his meeting with visiting South Korean President Lee Myung-bak at the Palace.

“This is in consonance with the upgrading and modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” the President said.

He said he and Lee also “updated each other on the developments in the Korean Peninsula and the West Philippine Sea [South China Sea].”

The President had earlier ordered P10 billion released for the Armed Forces’ modernization program.

The Army’s shopping list includes 14 armored personnel carrier, 272 20-man pack radios, and 3,480 force protection equipment worth P1.4 billion.

The Navy wants to buy a strategic sea-lift vessel costing P2 billion. The Air Force wants to acquire a special-mission aircraft and two light lift aircraft worth P1.6 billion.

The P10 billion will also be used to buy vehicles for civil military operations, health services and disaster response.

The Army is also buying 32 five-ton dump trucks and 55 special-purpose vehicles. The Air Force will purchase two search-and-rescue vehicles, 30 special purpose vehicles, and 15 amphibian vehicles.

The military is also buying 1,376 hand-held radios, 150 60-mm mortars, 78 units of audio-video equipment, 160 portable radio receivers, 100 sniper rifle systems, and 2,000 standard weapons systems.

The Navy is preparing for the turnover from contractors of the first Philippine-made landing craft, according to Navy spokesman Lt. Col. Omar Tonsay.

The Navy has yet to name the 51.43-meter ship, which is configured to transport combat personnel, tanks, vehicles, artillery and equipment in support of amphibious operations.

Mr. Aquino and Lee witnessed the signing of economic cooperation agreements that will give the Philippines wider access to aid and low-interest loans of up to $500 million.

The other agreements involve two joint projects to build a coal-fired power plant in Subic and a $300-million multi-purpose dam in Iloilo.

Lee invited Mr. Aquino to visit South Korea in March next year for the Nuclear Security Summit.

See Also :

DND to prepare list of equipment to be acquired from Korea
23 November 2011

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of National Defense (DND) will prepare a list of equipment that the government would acquire from South Korea after President Aquino sought its assistance in improving the military’s capability.

“This is for the DND so it will be the DND who will specify and make specifications of what exactly is needed as far as the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) is concerned,” DND spokesman Zosimo Paredes told reporters yesterday.

Paredes said the drawing up of the list would be done in coordination with the military’s major services.

“We are still awaiting specific instructions from President vis-a-vis the agreement that will be signed,” he said.

Paredes said Aquino’s request for South Korea to help the AFP is significant given the need to boost the military’s capability.

“We welcome other friendly nations to help in this regard. We will not react negatively in terms of defense assistance from friendly countries,” he said.

The military said South Korea has been a “valuable partner” in its upgrade efforts.

“The AFP welcomes President Aquino’s plans to purchase military hardware and defense articles from South Korea,” AFP spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. told The STAR.

“For many years now, South Korea has been a valuable partner of the AFP as we continuously upgrade our capability to address the nation’s security concerns and challenges,” he said.

Burgos said among the military equipment acquired from South Korea were the one-ton and two-ton truck troop carriers and squad automatic weapons.

“The K3 squad automatic weapons from South Korea provide superior firepower for our ground troops in the infantry and are now being used in our internal security operations,” he said.

Burgos said the KM 450 one-ton trucks provide “fast and efficient” troop lift capability to their field units.

“Aside from the one-ton and two-ton truck troop carriers and the squad automatic weapons from South Korea, we also purchased ballistic helmets and Kevlar vests for our troops’ force protection,” he said.

The President requested the assistance of Korean President Lee Myung-Bak in upgrading the AFP during their meeting in Malacañang last Monday.

“On defense cooperation, I expressed to President Lee the interest of the Philippines to gain some specific defense articles, such as military-grade helicopters, boats and aircraft,” Aquino told reporters. “This is in consonance with the upgrading and modernization of the AFP.”

‘Ninoy impressed with Koreans’

Meanwhile, Aquino told President Lee over dinner Monday that his father – the late senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. – was impressed with the strength of character of Koreans.

“I remember during our own Martial Law years, when I was but a mere child, my father, who also first introduced us to Korean cuisine, would relate to the family his stories about the deprivations that your country had to go through,” he said.–

Navy Prepares for First PHL-Made Landing Craft

The first 51.43-meter Philippine-made landing craft utility (LCU) designed for combat support missions (photo : Business Mirror)

THE Navy is preparing for the turnover from the contractors of the first 51.43-meter Philippine-made landing craft utility (LCU) designed for combat support missions, Lt. Col. Omar Tonsay, Navy spokesman, said on Monday.

“We’re finalizing preparations in connection with the completion of a Philippine-made naval vessel for use of Fleet-Marine Operating Forces as well as other military forces stationed all over the Philippines for internal as well as external defense operations,” Tonsay said.

The Navy has yet to name the ship.

Earlier, the Armed Forces chief of staff, Gen. Eduardo Oban Jr., announced the near completion of the inter-island and coastal operations watercraft capable of logistics transport and amphibious operations.

Tonsay said the LCU Acquisition Project is part of the 2002 Revised Reprioritized Project List with an approved budget of P189 million.

“The LCU is being jointly constructed by Propmech Corp. of Manila for the engine and propulsion system and the Philippine Iron Construction and Marine Works Inc. of Misamis Oriental for the hull and ship’s fixtures,” he said.

Tonsay said the ship is configured to transport combat personnel, vehicles, artillery equipment, and cargoes in support of military amphibious operations and secondarily, to perform noncombatant evacuation, medical mission, disaster, rescue-and-relief operations and transport-logistic mission, in support to national socioeconomic projects of the government.

“Our new ship is manned by 15 personnel or crew and has a capacity of 200 passengers or 200 soldiers. It has approximately displacement capacity of 579 tons with a cargo space area of about 250 square meters, or a maximum of 110 tons. Its cruising speed is 14 knots,” Tonsay said.

He said the LCU will be a big boost to the country’s naval fleet that was reinforced by the acquisition of the 36-year-old BRP Gregorio del Pilar, a Hamilton-class cutter that was retired by United States Coast Guard.

Repairs of the cutter are almost complete at a dry dock in Batangas.

“Baka isabay na ang pag-launch ng LCU sa commissioning ng cutter pati na ang presidential yacht [BRP Ang Pangulo] ni-repair din,” Tonsay said.

Aquino Interested in Buying Helicopters from South Korea

Surion helicopter (photo : ArmsChairGeneral)

MANILA, Philippines — President Aquino has expressed interest to acquire new helicopters and other military equipment from South Korea amid efforts to modernize the country’s Armed Forces.

The President sought closer defense cooperation between Manila and Seoul during an “extensive” meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-back on bilateral and multilateral issues and concerns in Malacañang.

Lee arrived in Manila last Sunday for a three-day state visit that includes meetings with businessmen and a town hall meeting with college students.

Manila to Buy Bullet Making Equipment

Government Arsenal's product (photo : GA)

MANILA (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government signed Thursday a contract with a Canadian contractor for the acquisition of 335.8 million pesos (7.72 million U.S. dollars) worth of equipment to boost the production of ammunition for government troops.

Government Arsenal Director Maj. Gen. (ret.) Jonathan Martir signed the contract with Andre Nazarian, president of the Waterbury Farell in a simple ceremony in Camp Aguinaldo.

The contract binds the foreign firm to deliver a multi-station bullet assembly machine, a case manufacture equipment, and cartridge assembly equipment within 18 months upon the opening of the letter of credit.

"Our acquisition of these equipment shall certainly enhance the capability of our Government Arsenal to manufacture high-quality, safe, and reliable ammunition for our Armed Forces and other government law enforcement agencies," Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said.

At present, Martir said the Government Arsenal produces 58 percent of the total military requirement on ammunition for small arms like M16, M4 rifle, M4 Carbine rifle, and Minimi squad automatic weapons.

Martir said the defense department will get the funds from the Armed Forces Modernization Program. By next year, he said the Philippines might buy more equipment to manufacture not only ammunition but also assault rifles.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How to Extend Your Wifi Range

If you use a wifi network at home, there are undoubtedly limits to where you can access the signal. You might get a strong connection at the kitchen table, but try to take your laptop out to the living room and you lose the signal. If you're looking to boost your signal a few feet or get a strong connection all the way upstairs in the back bedroom, we've got a handful of simple tricks and more advanced techniques to get you on connected to your home wifi from anywhere in your house.

Move your router:

* It's so simple, but many people don't realize that where you put your router really does make a difference. Obviously a central location is best, but for many, you are tied to putting the router where the Internet connection comes into the house.

* Beyond simple proximity, you should consider the router's height. The higher your router is on a shelf or cabinet, the less physical interference it's likely to encounter.  Move the router to the best possible position to take advantage of doorways and open spaces instead of walls and corners. Wifi might move through the airwaves, but furniture, walls and appliances can weaken your signal substantially.

* Signal interference is one of the biggest culprits that might be at work if your wifi is weak. Walls and physical obstructions block your signal, but signals emitted by any electromagnetic household object do too. Scoot your router away from anything that might interfere: cordless phones, microwaves, wireless game controllers, other wifi-enabled devices (TVs, etc.), Bluetooth devices, and even flourescent lights and elevators.

Technical tweaks:

Once you've got your router in an ideal spot, take a look at your equipment. These next steps can help you further improve your wifi signal.

* Did you know routers have channels? If you live in close proximity to someone else with a wifi network you may both be trying to use the same channel and degrading your signals.
To find out if you are "crossing the streams" use WiFi Stumbler or inSSIDer to find the best and least-trafficked channel for your router to broadcast on. Once you've found the optimal channel, follow these step-by-step instructions to get your router on the right track.

* Depending on the age of your router, it may be slower than newer models. Upgrade an older b or g router to an n router to extend your range for relatively reasonable cost. There are some new n routers for as little as $30.  An n router can handle local electrical and physical signal interference better than b and g and may get you quite a bit more range.

* Lesser-known fact: The "current standard" 802.11n routers can operate at either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bands, and 2.4 GHz is far better at travelling through walls. So if you already have a Wireless-n router and need it to extend farther, make sure it's set to use 2.4 GHz instead of 5 GHz.

* The internal antenna on your laptop itself can be a factor in how much range you get. Even if your laptop has built-in wifi, it could be well worth picking up an external USB adapter, like this $30 option from Netgear.
This could also help an older laptop without Wireless-N support take advantage of faster speeds and improved range from a new 802.11n router.

Invest in network extension options:

* Wifi repeaters amplify and extend your wireless signal. Put a repeater within range of your existing wifi router and it will relay that signal out to hard-to-reach locations around your home or office. They cost about $90 and while they can theoretically double your range, real life results tend to vary considerably. If you've had good or bad luck with a repeater, we welcome any advice or testimonials in the comments section below.

* Powerline networking uses the electrical wiring in your house to extend your Internet coverage. This is especially good if you want to get Internet access in a back room or you want to connect a gaming console that's on an old TV in the garage. Plug one powerline adapter into your router and the other into an electrical plug. Then in the far room where you want connectivity, plug the other powerline adapter into an electrical plug and voila - you've got Internet, you can even put a second wireless router on that connection.  Setting up an alternative powerline network using your home's own AC power adapters can circumvent many of the most common wireless connectivity problems, and you don't even need to give up wifi altogether. If you look into getting started with a powerline setup, be sure to stick with one manufacturer when buying your equipment to avoid any compatibility issues.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

PAF to Get 4 Brand-New Fighter Copters this Month

PZL Sokol helicopter for teh PAF (photo : Agencja Gazeta)MANILA, Philippines - The first four of the eight brand new combat utility helicopters purchased by the Philippine Air Force (PAF) from Poland are expected to be delivered this month.
Gen. Eduardo Oban Jr., Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff, confirmed to the delivery of the Polish-made Swienik helicopters but did not say the exact date.
The PAF ordered the helicopters from Poland’s PZL Swidnik after the Polish company won the public bidding in 2008. PZL Swidnik is Poland’s biggest manufacturer of helicopters.
The P3-billion order is part of the modernization program of the AFP that involves the acquisition of eight combat utility helicopters and their integrated logistics support package.
The Swidnik utility helicopters can operate in any combat environment and provide organic general support for internal security operations, counter-terrorism, and territorial defense.
The acquisition of the helicopters will boost the firepower of the Air Force in its counter-insurgency operations and in the all-out war on terror, particularly the Abu Sayyaf Group and some elements of the Jemaah Islamiyah which have links to the al-Qaeda terror group.
The acquisition of these helicopters is timely because the Air Force badly needs them to support government ground forces during combat operations.
The PAF’s main utility helicopters are the ageing UH1-H “Huey” which were acquired from the United States four decades ago.

The Air Force has also the MG-520 helicopter gunships acquired more than 20 years ago.

The PAF’s helicopter fleet has been depleted over the years due to crashes and lack of spare parts.

Aside from the choppers, the PAF also needs new fighter jets after its F-5 jetfighters were retired in 2004 because of old age.

The Swidnik helicopter can carry 14 persons, including the pilot and co-pilot, and has a maximum speed of 260 kilometers per hour and a range of 745 kilometers non-stop.

The Polish-made helicopter is armed with a variety of weapons, air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground rockets, and .50 caliber machine guns. It is also equipped with radar and night vision devices.

It can climb to an altitude of 19,680 feet, more than twice that of the “Huey.”

The delivery of the remaining four Swidnik choppers will be made next year.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

USCGS Dallas : The Second Hamilton Class Ship to be Transferred to the Philippines

USGGS Dallas WHEC 716 (photo : USCG)

Second Hamilton-class ship to be deployed to West Phl Sea

MANILA, Philippines - The second Hamilton-class patrol ship that will be acquired from the US would also be deployed to the West Philippine Sea area to secure the country’s natural resources, the Navy said yesterday.

Navy spokesman Lt. Col. Omar Tonsay said the ship, which may be transferred to the Philippines by the first or second quarter of 2012, would also guard the energy projects in Malampaya off Palawan.

He said the acquisition of the ship from the US will improve the military’s maritime defense capability.

“It (acquisition) will boost our external defense and it will add to our desired fleet of Hamilton-class vessels,” Tonsay said.

A Navy inspection team, led by Navy Vice Commander Rear Adm. Orwen Cortez, was sent to South Carolina last week to inspect the US Coast Guard vessel being eyed for acquisition.

The team conducted the inspection from Oct. 31 to Nov. 5 as part of the Navy’s continued efforts to upgrade naval capability.

In a statement, Tonsay said the team inspected the US Coast Guard cutter Dallas, which would be acquired through the US Excess Defense Articles project.

The inspection involved orientation tours, preliminary transfer discussions, and ship’s organization and mission briefings.

“An in-depth inspection of the entire ship, examination of the actual equipment on board, and checking of machinery records were also conducted to ensure the actual status of the ship,” Tonsay said.

He said the Navy team and the US Coast Guard discussed matters pertaining to the transfer of the ship to Manila.

“These (matters) include the readiness status of the vessel where it was determined to be mission ready and is expected to be a hot transfer,” Tonsay said.

“This means that the ship is still very much in active service in the US and will be decommissioned only to effect its transfer to the Philippines,” he added.

The US Coast Guard cutter Dallas is a weather high-endurance cutter and has features similar to the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, the first Hamilton-class cutter acquired by the Navy from the US Coast Guard.

The US Coast Guard had used the ship for drug and migrant interdiction, law enforcement, search and rescue, living marine resources protection, and defense readiness.

It is powered by diesel engines and gas turbines and is re-equipped with a helicopter flight deck, a retractable hangar, and facilities to support helicopter operations. The ship can accommodate up to 180 officers and sailors.

Earlier, the government acquired its first Hamilton-class vessel from the US Coast Guard to upgrade the military’s external defense capabilities.

The ship, which has been renamed BRP Gregorio del Pilar, was deployed at the West Philippine Sea to secure energy projects. The vessel is expected to be commissioned this month.

The transfer cost for the Gregorio del Pilar has been pegged at P450 million. It was acquired under the US Foreign Military Sales program using proceeds from the Malampaya project funds.

The Gregorio del Pilar is classified as a cutter, a high-speed vessel that can cut through waves. The ship is now the Navy’s largest vessel.

The 380 feet-long vessel was turned over by the US Coast Guard to Philippine officials in California last May 13. It arrived in Philippine territory last Aug. 17.


You Feel What You Eat: Food That Improves Your Mood

"You are what you eat" isn't just a saying anymore, especially when it's a known fact that all the things entering your mouth can actually affect your mood! No matter how sexy your diet is making you, it isn't going to work out if you've been eating your feelings all along. 

1. Anger Management

Has every little thing been pissing you off? If you've got no more patience for your officemates, girlfriend, the parking attendant or your mom, make sure to have a something refreshing to cool you down! Since your temper's been going through the roof, tame that tantrum with a yummy green mango shake, some orange juice or a fruity sorbet with a lot of vitamin C. Why do you think beach bums are always having the time of their life? That's because all the fresh fruit of the tropics never gives them a reason to blow up! Eating dairy products like milk (ice-cream) or cheese will not help the situation as much as a spicy bowl chilli will! You don't need anything else to make you heat up, so avoid that Tabasco like the plague.

2. Staying Happy

Most people turn to a box of chocolates or a dozen donuts to aid that broken heart, but in reality, these sweet delights provide  the strongest sugar-rush of all, and the worst crash too. Everyone with a sweet tooth will agree that sugar is addictive, and not having your necessary fix will put you in a terrible mood! Replace all that merengue and ice cream with magnesium-rich foods that can naturally boost your serotonin levels! Unprocessed peanut butter, bananas, baked potatoes, mangoes, berries and pineapples make a perfect menu for staying happy!

3. Stress busters

Tired all day long? Too much work on your plate and procrastination getting the best of you? Having a heaping serving of anything with berries will lighten up the mood in no time! A blueberry cheesecake, some strawberries with cream or a good ol' berry smoothie is loaded with vitamins to clear your head and pipe out all the stress that's been building up! You'll get an extra surge of energy to get through the rest of the day.

4. Sleep Aid

Having a glass of warm milk before bed is a well-known trick to help you doze off, but there are loads of other high-glycemic foods that can definitely have you in dream land within no time! Jellybeans, bread, mashed potates, cornflakes, and an all-time favorite, white malt (like Horlicks) are perfect substitutes to a Tylenol PM!

5. Fatigue Fighter

Have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning? Do you get that lethargic, heavy feeling throughout the day? Your body's telling you that it's tired, and you need some energy to boost your system! Popeye got his energy from spinach, so you should follow the sailor's example and do the same! Oatmeal, yogurt, nuts and beans are also an excellent source of energy, as well as a good, hearty steak every once in awhile! Be sure to load up with some B12 vitamins before a long work-week ahead!

Monday, November 7, 2011

South Korea to Gift Corvette to Philippines Navy

Po Hang class corvettes (photo : Chosun)

Po Hang Retires To The Tropics

South Korea is donating one of its recently retired Po Hang class corvettes to the Philippines Navy. The Po Hangs are 1,200 ton warships that first entered service in 1984. Since then 24 have been built. Each is armed with four Harpoon anti-ship missiles, one 76mm cannon; two twin 40mm automatic cannon, six torpedo tubes and twelve depth charges. The crew of 95 also operates radar and sonar. Top speed is 59 kilometers an hour. Two Po Hangs have been retired so far, and one was sunk by a North Korean torpedo last year.

The Philippines is an island nation, with 7,100 islands to defend. Long crippled by corruption and bad government, the Philippines have never had much money to spend on the military (or anything else.) Wealthier nations have found it good diplomacy to donate military equipment to the Philippines. The Filipinos appreciate it; because donated military gear is something the thieving politicians have a hard time stealing.

Abaca Restaurant, Cebu

Abaca Resort-10

Some say, Jason Hyatt's Abaca is one of the best restaurants and boutique hotels in Cebu. Abaca is famous for its flat bread pizzas and steaks. The place is named after the indigenous material abaca, which is predominantly used around the resort.
I first heard about Abaca from Awesome Planet, who was raving about it as one of the best wedding destinations he has ever filmed. Some Cebuanos would often go to Abaca just for the flat bread pizza and eat it with a view of the awesome sunset.

Is Abaca really the Best Gourmet Restaurant in Cebu?

It is about an hour away from Cebu City, located near the airport, way past Shangri-la Mactan and the controversially pink Hilton Hotel. It is beside the Microtel Hotel. Dining in the restaurant is by reservation only. Set your dinner reservation at 8pm to allot time for the rush hour traffic if you are coming from the city.

Abaca Resort-26

Request to reserve the open air patio, which looks out into the sea. These are the best seats in the house in an air-cooled restaurant. Priority is given to in-house guests for the patio tables, though.  All patio reservations have a corresponding table inside the restaurant just in case it rains.
It is a good hang-out place for drinking while waiting for the food or eating dessert after the main course.

Abaca Resort-6

The service was quite friendly and amusing. We called them the "right-away" waiters because every time we asked for anything, they would say, "Right Away, Ma'am/Sir." But in reality, we had to follow up or else it would have been forgotten right away.

Maybe there is a flaw in the waiter assignment system. A waiter is not assigned to one particular table. You will see all of them pass your table, looking away, probably wishing that you won't order anything. Every time you catch them, they are trained well to say "Right away," but forget about it after.
Or perhaps, Jason Hyatt was not there that night, so the service was a bit lax.

Abaca Resort-13
Abaca's menu reminds me of a combination of Antonio's Breakfast and Dinner fare combined.

Abaca Restaurant Menu: Appetizers, Pizza, Bread, Main DishWine & BeveragesDessert
The prices indicated are absurdly plus 10% service charge and 12% VAT. All of the good restaurants in Manila already fold the VAT in with the price. With Abaca, I felt deceived by the menu prices when I saw the ++ in our final bill.

Abaca Resort-16
Duck Confit Salad (P465 +10% SC +12% VAT). Hazelnut, goat cheese, balsamic plumped currants.

They were raving about the salads in Abaca. It reminded me of Antonio's in Tagaytay, which is also famous for its salads. Abaca gets its fresh ingredients from Jason's farm.

Abaca Resort-11

Mortadella Flatbread Pizza
(P395 +10% SC +12% VAT). Fontina, organic arugula, garlic herb bechamel.

We really came to Abaca to get a taste of its famous flat bread pizza. The thin-crust pizza, cut into squares, was served on a rectangular cutting board. We loved the combination of the fontina cheese (cow's milk Italian cheese) and bechamel white sauce, which was accented by the bitter taste of the arugula.

Abaca Resort-12

Braised Duck Leg Flatbread Pizza
+10% SC +12% VAT). Homemade ricotta, caramelized onions, olives.

Most of the people raved about the Mortadella versus the Braised Duck Leg. I guess the simpler the combination, the better it is for the pizza.

Abaca Resort-15

Abaca Burger
+10% SC +12% VAT). Angus beef, smoked bacon, emmental, house pickles.

Kiki and Beng ordered the Abaca Burger and split it. Beng just got the vegetables because she's vegetarian.

Abaca Resort-17

Abaca Bouillabaisse
+10% SC +12% VAT). Prawn, squid, shellfish, seabass, crostini.

This Bouillabaisse was also split into two, and this is one of the half portions. Each type of seafood was cooked to perfection. But when I asked our companions about their verdict on the Bouillabaisse, the answer that I got was that the salads were really good. :)

Abaca Resort-14

Braised Beef Shortrib (P905
+10% SC +12% VAT). Celery root puree, wild mushrooms.

The meats are really good in Abaca. We usually order the non-steak meat dishes in restaurants to see if they know how to cook their meat. This braised short rib was so tasty that we wondered what was in the secret sauce of this dish. Whatever it is, this unique dish is worth more than its price tag of P1,115. :)
Haven't you noticed in all the restaurants that serve steak, all the waiters there seem to be trained to push the steaks as the bestseller of the house? I don't usually believe them unless customers really rave about their steaks.

Abaca Resort-19

Roasted Oxtail Cannelloni
+10% SC +12% VAT). Melted leeks, fontina, red wine.

This was a new and pleasant addition in the menu, recommended by our waiter. We loved the red wine tomato sauce reduction with the soft roasted oxtail meat and with my new favorite cheese -- Fontina!

Abaca Resort-28

Thanks to Mari for being the cover model of this blog post! :)

Abaca Resort-2
Punta Engano Road, Mactan Island
Lapu-Lapu City 6015, Philippines
Cebu Telephone Number: +6332 495-8456 / 342-8905

Philippine Navy Chief Eyes 2nd US Warship

USCG's Hamilton class (photo : Militaryphotos)
WASHINGTON D.C.--The Philippine Navy will likely get its second Hamilton-class cutter next year, boosting its capability to patrol the country’s maritime borders even as it races to finally acquire missiles for its ships.

But Vice Adm. Alexander Pama, Navy Flag Officer-in-Command (FOIC), said the bigger challenge is not in getting the new weapons the Philippine Navy needs but in improving its “absorptive capacity” to operate and maintain them.

“We have to consider everything,” he told ABS-CBN News. “Buying equipment is the easiest thing to do. The more difficult part is the capability of people because for so long we were concentrated on helping in the counter-insurgency effort. Now we’re shifting to external defense and a conventional navy. That needs a re-adjustment of the skills of our people and that doesn’t happen overnight.”

Meanwhile, the Navy chief downplayed the “freak” collision of a Philippine patrol ship with a Chinese fishing fleet “mother ship” near Recto Bank earlier this week. The patrol ship, reportedly the World War II-vintage BRP Rizal, was trying to take a closer look at the Chinese vessel when it experienced a problem with its rudder, Pama explained.

“It was an accident,” he stressed, adding that the BRP Rizal was investigating reports of poachers in the area. Recto Bank lies about 80 miles northwest of Palawan and is well within the country’s economic zone.

Pama was on his way to the biennial Sea Power Symposium in Newport, Rhode Island where he will address about 70 chiefs of navies from all over the world on “maritime terrorism”. The event is organized by the US Navy.

He stopped briefly in Washington DC to brief think tank groups on the state of the Philippine Navy and naval challenges in the South China Sea.

At the Sea Power Symposium, Pama said he will be sharing the Philippine Navy’s “best practices” in combating terrorism at sea. “They can see that we’re doing something right there and it’s something we can share with the other navies,” he said.

As former commander of Task Force Stingray, an elite naval force created following the string of Abu Sayyaf attacks on beach resorts, he stressed the need to pre-empt terrorists while they’re still on land.

“You don’t address the event itself because by that time it would be too late. Maritime terrorism starts on land,” he said, adding that since Task Force Stingray was established the Abu Sayyaf was never able to replicate the kind of raids it launched on Sipadan Island or the Dos Palmas resort.

But as the Philippine Navy’s focus turn increasingly on the Spratly Islands and the country’s need to tap its vast resources, Pama stressed that "no matter what and no matter with what, we will carry out our mandate even if all we can do is spit on them.”

Pama said they are laying down plans to upgrade the Philippine Navy’s capabilities all the way to the end President Aquino’s term. “The President said he can not commit for the next administration so we’re concentrating on the ‘doables’ and on what the economy can support,” he explained.

Rear Admiral Orwen Cortez, Philippine Navy vice commander, is scheduled to visit the US in early November to inspect another Hamilton-class all-weather high-endurance cutter (WHEC) that could be retired and turned over to the Philippines next year.

A first Hamilton-class cutter was turned over earlier this year and is now deployed with forces patrolling western Palawan.

The third Hamilton-class cutter is projected to be acquired by the Philippine Navy in 2013.

Pama also revealed that they are now preparing to acquire some missile technology. The Philippine military is the only one in Southeast Asia that still does not have missiles. “It’s in the drawing board. I can’t say when but if things turn out as planned, it will be more sooner than later,” he told ABS-CBN News.

Despite recent irritants over the Spratlys dispute, Pama said he was convinced that competing countries were committed to a peaceful resolution of their overlapping claims. “I wouldn’t say it’s getting more dangerous; there are just issues and challenges confronting everybody. I can say the neighborhood has states that are responsible enough. No nation, at least within ASEAN, is out there to make trouble.”
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