One Boring Saturday

Our maid suddenly decided to go on her day off today (well, hubby and I assumed that it was because her bf was somewhere nearby, after having spied on her phone a few days ago – more on why we read her phone in another post) and I was totally unprepared. Usually, my Saturdays are spent sleeping or just bumming around after a week of hard work and this particular weekend, I was feeling so tired. So, hubby and I decided to just drive around and look for a place where we can have dinner.
Initially planned on going to Mom and Tina’s in Pasig, but changed our mind when we saw Comida China de Manila (used to be Panciteria San Jacinto; not sure what brought about the name change but I believe it’s still owned by the same family and serves the same food) right beside it. I am not a big fan of Chinese food; never have been and I don’t think I ever will be but hubby’s favorite is Chinese and being soooo hungry (haven’t eaten since 10am and it was already past 6pm), I just agreed.
Joey teaching daddy how to make a funny face
Finished product
Initial impression? Not impressed. Typical panciteria/carinderia style, that is, black metal chairs and tables, and that atmosphere you always attribute to canteens. They do have some couch-seating by their bay windows which look out onto C5 and we were lucky we got there a little too early for dinner and got good seats. 
fried rice with asado and Chinese sausage
pork siomai
hakaw
I let the hubby do the ordering, except to say that I wanted soup and hakaw. Well, since he did the ordering we ended up with nothing but dimsum – hubby loves his dimsum and I think he will survive eating just dimsum. Oh well, serves me for letting him decide on the food.
Food was good but nothing extraordinary. I did really enjoy the hakaw –the shrimp were seemingly dipped in a sweet, powdery mixture before being wrapped in sweet flour. It went well with the chorizo rice and chilli sauce. Oh, and I loved the bird’s nest soup with quail eggs, which we all gobbled up before I remembered to take a picture. Kiddo actually said he didn’t like it at first but as soon as hubby and I weren’t looking, he ate it all up. 😀
I like pasta but I am not too fond of pancit, and pancit canton is my least favorite member of the pancit family. But, Joey loves pancit canton so we ordered one serving for him. 
pancit canton

 Well, I wasn’t expecting him to finish the entire thing by himself, but look:

The aftermath after hurricane Joey went through the pancit canton

the brat holding his obviously full little tummy

happy kiddo
Verdict? Comida China is a nice restaurant where big families can eat together, especially if you all like Chinese food. Plus, the prices are very reasonable – our tab came in at around Php900 considering that we went away with very full tummies. I wouldn’t mind eating here again. You can check out their website here for directions on how to get there and the menu.
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Barb and Mark: 012412

Went to Barb and Mark’s wedding a couple of days ago – our first wedding for 2012 and I must say, it’s one of the most fun weddings I’ve ever attended for a number of reasons:
  • The couple had a raffle draw! I’ve never attended a wedding that gave out gifts/raffle prizes to their guests, but the couple actually gave a cell phone and some other items. Too bad we didn’t win.
  • Itchyworms played. A surprise from Mark as the band is Barb’s favorite. I’m not really familiar with their music but hey, who says I can’t have a good time? Especially since they played mostly familiar OPM tunes.
  • Great food. This is the third wedding I’ve attended which was held in the same venue and had the same caterer (the caterer must have a tie-up with the venue) in less than a year – Blue Leaf and K by Cunanan Catering, respectively. Knowing beforehand that the venue was Blue Leaf, I already made sure not to eat too much as I was expecting the same caterer and I had loved every dish they served at last two weddings I attended.

  • Their motif was yellow! This is the first wedding I’ve ever attended with this motif. Yellow is my favorite color (ok, fine, I’m also drawn to pink, powder blue, green, red and white, but this one is at the top of my list) and I had wanted this for our own wedding. But hubby put his foot down saying he didn’t want the entourage to look like walking bananas (yes, his exact words) so now I’m stuck with that dream. Hmm. I’m actually thinking of having another wedding celebration just to live out my dream wedding. Ha!
Personalized car plate. How cute!

Not sure what this is called- a “picture tree” maybe? Whatever it is, it’s one of the little details about the wedding that I liked
Yellow flowers! And I die of envy again.

They gave each of us tiny bells for when we want the couple to kiss.

I love the color yellow. It makes everything so sunny and bright and cheerful.

We munched on these while waiting for the reception program to start. Lookie! Yellow jelly beans and yellow personalized M&Ms.

My plate. Loved the roast beef. No – I didn’t eat all. For some strange reason, I felt full that night. 😦

Pumpkin soup. See? It’s still yellow!

Cute salad presentation. I almost thought it was a ham slice there (it’s a tomato actually).

Yummy refrigerator chocolate cake. Perfect dessert! And look! Cute cone-shaped marshies.

Guests can load up on these sweets (in short, take out galore) as the thoughtful couple had paper bags ready by the buffet table. So yes, I hoarded on jelly beans and marshmallows for Joey. Too bad the M&Ms were gone by the time I realized we can take them home.
Mojitos from the mobile bar

my 2nd glass of alcohol for the night
Giveaways
The happy couple. Love Barb’s gown. 😀

And of course, what event is complete without the requisite photo booth souvenir? 😛
Best wishes to Barb and Mark!

Daily Fashion: Purple

Hubby and I went to a friend’s wedding the other day (more on that later). The invite said formal so I decided to wear a long dress. I usually just wear one of my cocktail dresses from Tyler when I attend weddings but it’s rare that I figured it would be nice to wear something else. 🙂
And then I realized that I don’t have a long dress – I had to scour the Makati malls to find one on such short notice. I did find several nice ones but they were so expensive and I didn’t want to spend too much on a dress I will only wear once (I don’t foresee any event in the near future that would require me to wear a long dress) so where did I go? 
Yup, I went to that place where they got it all for me: SM!
hubby and me; purple dress from SM. Ring, Aldo; necklace, earrings, Accessorize; shoes, Charles and Keith. Make up by me using Shiseido and Smashbox stuff.

Can you believe my cocktail ring actually costs more than my dress? Talk about value for money! Hahaha! I wanted to wear a yellow dress but couldn’t find one in my size so I ended up with purple. Anyway, it turned out to be a good thing as the motif was yellow and I would have looked like a part of the entourage.
On our way to the reception, I changed my mind about using gold-tone accessories and changed into silver ones to match my bag and shoes. I know it’s a little too matchy but I think the end result turned out okay.
Necklace, Accessorize; earrings, Silverworks

Look! Yellow! Bag, Accessorize
Shoes, Charles and Keith

Trivia: One my biggest frustrations at our own wedding was not using yellow as our motif. Hubby had vehemently vetoed the idea – telling me our entourage would look like walking bananas, so I had to make do with rainbow hues. This is actually the first wedding I attended which had a yellow motif so I almost died of envy.

Movie: Underworld Awakening

The fourth movie in the Underworld series proves to be the best in the series yet: a less convoluted plot, more action scenes, a bit of drama, and lots of Kate Beckinsale in skintight leather. And a hot new male protagonist to boot, played by Theo James.
The Story
To cut a long story short, this movie is set twelve years after Underworld Evolution, and Selene finds out Michael is dead and that she has a daughter, who is taken captive in the same facility where she had been locked in for twelve years. Much of the movie focuses on her escape, her discovery of one of the remaining vampire covens, and her attempt to rescue her hybrid daughter from the Antigen facility.
If you want a more detailed story, you can read on to the bottom of this post but beware of spoilers!
Afterthoughts
This movie has a very simple plot and doesn’t require you to think too much. It also doesn’t require you to watch the previous movies, although of course, it would be a plus if you know the back story. I found the 2nd movie a bit too ambitious, trying to be artsy with all its dark lighting cast in blue (think CSI Miami which is filmed using blue filters, except that Evolution is much, much darker and you get the picture), and it felt confused in its storytelling. So I appreciated very much that the 3rd one has a simpler storyline.
Funny thing, the hubby and I almost blurted out at the same as we were exiting the cinema:
Hubby: I was expecting the story to be a bit more complicated.
Me: That movie has a less convoluted plot than its predecessor (referring to Underworld Evolution)
So I guess it depends on your preference (although hubby has never seen the 2nd movie and could not possible compare its convoluted plot to this one).
The movie is quite lacking in memorable dialogues but one of the best lines is from Selene, as a response to her daughter’s reproach on her lack of emotion and being as cold as someone dead (although of course, she IS dead, being a vampire): “My heart is not cold; it’s broken.” I felt a bit teary eyed as she said this, saying that she fell asleep and the next day she finds out twelve years have passed and the man she loves is dead.
Action-wise, this movie is also superior to its predecessors: it’s better choreographed, has more fight scenes, and ultimately gorier than the past movies combined. I couldn’t get over all the blood spatter as Selene fights her way out of Antigen in the beginning, and during her rescue mission at the climax. I couldn’t help but wonder – did she really have to kill all those humans? I know she’s a Death Dealer and all but I used to believe she has a softer side, having been orphaned as a human.
In any case, I must say Kate has not aged a bit. Can you believe it’s been ten years since the first Underworld movie? And she’s still as fit as she was then (though hubby says he can see some wrinkles, ha!). And the only one I can think of who looks just as good, if not better, in skintight leather is Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman (Anne Hathaway had better do a good job in this summer’s Batman flick). And that’s one hell of a compliment.
As for the acting, well, this movie doesn’t require much acting – it just requires its leads to run from one action sequence to another and Kate has perfected the poker-face look of her pop-icon character. I couldn’t make up my mind whether I like Charles Dance’s portrayal of Thomas – the coven leader who cowers from the Lycans. I don’t know if I like his “weak” character or if I would have loved to see some defiance somewhere underneath his cowardly stance. Personally, I just don’t like seeing vampires who are unsure of themselves. 
Michael Corvin is largely MIA from this movie and understandably so, as Scott Speedman has not expressed interest in reprising this role. But, hot stars are a requisite of a vampire movie, so Theo James substitutes as David, the son of Thomas. I must say he is better looking vampire than Speedman was as a hybrid. 
A bit of trivia: I was a bit curious as to the actress playing Eve, India Eisley – she looked vaguely familiar, and of course, very pretty, so I looked her up a bit and found out she’s the daughter of Oliva Hussey. Now, the name might not sound familiar to most of you but I’m sure you all know Hussey: she played juliet in Franco Zeffirelli’s 1969 film, Romeo and Juliet, arguably the best adaptation of the Shakespeare tale.
Olivia Hussey as Juliet

India Eisley
FINAL WORD
This is not the best action movie or vampire flick ever. In fact, it reminded me too much of Milla Jovovich’s B-movies: Resident Evil, Ultraviolet, etc. But, it did keep me awake the entire time and kept me interested, which is more than can be said of Jovovich’s movies. For that, I would recommend that you watch this. And if there’s another movie in the offing, I’d go watch it too.  
SPOILER – A SYNOPSIS
Set some twelve years after the events of Underworld Evolution, Selene (Beckinsale) finds herself locked in a glass prison full of cryogenic fluid at the Antigen compound. An unseen person, with whom she appears to share telepathic links with, sets her free, lowering the temperature on her cryogenic prison, allowing her to wake up and break out of the cell. She manages to slaughter most of her captors and flee the compound.
Along the way, we’re treated to flashbacks and back stories of the night she was captured: vampires and lycans have been exposed to humans and the latter have unleashed a hunt to extinguish both races. Selene and Michael Corvin, the first vampire/Lycan hybrid and her lover, plan to leave and hide together but were caught and imprisoned on the night they were about to leave.
After her escape, Selene meets another vampire, David, and finally locates the person whose visions she sees: a vampire child known only as Eve, Subject 2 (Selene is Subject 1 at the Antigen facility). An ambush by a pack of rabid lycans leaves Eve hurt and unable to heal, prompting David to take them to his coven. There, they discover that Eve has no origin bite marks and the reason she doesn’t heal as she should is because she has never taken human blood. David’s coven, particularly his father Thomas, is less than pleased at having Selene, the infamous killer of vampire elders and a traitor to vampires, and Eve in his territory. Selene soon realizes that Eve is in fact her child with Michael when she sees her eyes transform like Michael’s eyes as she was fed blood by an elder vampire.
Thomas’ agitation is aggravated by the immediate assault of lycans to retrieve Eve. David gets killed trying to protect Eve and his father surrenders Eve in an attempt to prevent the total slaughter of his coven while Selene is knocked unconscious by a lycan who is twice the twice of an ordinary lycan and superior strength and healing abilities. Selene manages to revive David by giving his a heart a couple of tugs and sending some of her Corvinus-strengthened blood into his bloodstream.
Finding a human ally in a detective who has watched his vampire wife burned by the sunlight during a house-to-house checking of the government to kill vampires and werewolves, Selene soon also finds out that Lycans have been running the Antigen company and that Eve’s genetic code is being used to make lycans immune to silver and possess instantaneous healing.
Selene then launches a one-woman assault on the facility, discovering Subject 0 – Michael, himself locked in cryogenic fluid like Selene and of course, but short on time, she just shoots through his cell, assuming that he’ll be able to free himself like she did. She manages to kill off the super lycan, who is actually the son of Antigen’s big boss and the product of an experiment, and rescue her daughter with the help of the revived David.
The last scene shows Eve seeing another point of view than that of Selene: a sign that Michael is also alive and free.

Food Trip: Duo


Bretty’s on vacation from Singapore so we met up along with a couple of friends and former officemates at the Fort to catch up. Since it was a Friday and you know how all the restos get packed on Fridays, we decided on eating at one of the two places in Serendra that didn’t have a full house – Duo (the other one was Thai at Silk, but we weren’t in the mood for Thai that night).
Anyway, it was a bit late at night and we couldn’t decide what to order individually, so we got three platters to satisfy our cravings:

Bbq baby back ribs and grilled chicken with garlic rice, Php 895

I’m a big fan of barbecue and ribs so I was looking forward to this dish. Did it meet my expectations? I guess. The meat was very tender, falling off the bone, and the sauce was a bit too sweet for my taste but overall, it still tasted great and I would recommend this to friends. A bit pricey though – I think New Orleans a couple of meters away at High Street has bigger and better tasting ribs at a slightly cheaper price.
Trio Pasta: Angel Hair Aglio-Olio, Spaghetti Puttanesca, and Fettuccini with Creamy Pesto, Php 610

 

Now, the pasta – you see, we ordered this trio so we can have a bit of variety and options in case we didn’t like one or the other but sadly, all three pastas were lacking. The pasta itself was soggy (not al dente as Bretty and I lamented) and the sauce was blah. Obviously, this was our least-liked dish of the night – it remained largely untouched served for the initial serving each of us took to taste it. I liked the garlic bread though.

Seafood Medley, Php 895

The seafood medley is a bit of hit and miss. I liked the tuna belly but the squid was too fishy-tasting I almost felt like gagging. And I love squid! I love squid as much as I love prawns and eat them all the time even if I’m allergic to them. At least it wasn’t overcooked and rubbery, so I was still able to eat it while holding my breath (so the fishy taste wouldn’t be too overpowering).

Overall, I’d say the food wasn’t that great (there are a lot of good reviews about this place, though, so maybe it’s a matter of taste?) and I find it a bit expensive considering the quality. But, I would it give plus points for ambiance and quality of service – everyone was so polite and unobtrusive. Will I be back? Maybe not in the near future but I would still give it another go.

 
Thanks for the treat Bretts and I enjoyed catching up with you and having our coffee talk later that night! See you soon. 😛

2012 To-Do List

I wasn’t planning on making New Year’s resolutions because I would only end up breaking them, but I kind of wanted to join the bandwagon. Last year was a pretty darn good year and I have a lot to be thankful for but hey, tomorrow’s a brand new day so here at least is my 2012 to-do list, right on time for the Chinese New Year (though I am not Chinese, at all). 
  •  Take care of my health (and extend that to my family). I haven’t been taking good care of myself lately, missing doctor’s appointments, not taking vitamins, ignoring pains, etc. But I am kind of getting old so health should start creeping up my priority list.
Ok, I know I need vitamins, but to have received all of these vitamins during the holiday season is like  sending a rocket with the message straight through me.
  • Travel, travel, travel. 2011 was the first year in six years that I didn’t travel outside the country, either on business or personal trip, so I will try to make up for it this year. I should learn to plot my vacation leaves really well this year. (Oh, and to this end, I’ve already booked one trip abroad, and two local trips with the family. Yey!)
  • Buy myself a decent camera. I am such a scrooge; I’ve been telling myself I would get one but damn, I find them too expensive and I keep thinking I’ll just break it and waste all that money. But I promise, I’ll get a decent camera before I go on my trips this year.
  • Spend more time with Joey. I’ve been spending way too much time browsing the net, eating out, etc., and I realize that I haven’t even taught Joey how to read. And to think that I started teaching him the alphabet at two. My goal this summer is for him to finally be able to read. Heck, I’m such a bad mother – to think that I myself could read before my fourth birthday.
  •  Watch more movies. You all know how much I love watching movies but last year, I don’t know… I seem to have missed more good movies than watched and it’s not a good ratio.
  • Read more. I love books. I’m addicted to them – sometimes, I just leaf through them and smell them, which is why I don’t think I’ll ever be a fan of electronic book readers. No matter how inconvenient and heavy books may be, nothing can replace them. Thanks to my team, I have one perfectly good book waiting for me. 
Yey! I waited for the English translation of this book for ages. Thanks to my team for this wonderful gift!
  • Spend less. I know I’ve earned some good money but where the heck are they? I should start saving up seriously. That means I am only buying one pair of shoes every month. Heck, this is going to be tough.
  • Spend more time with my family: my parents, my brother and sister, lola, everyone. I get to spend more time with my in laws than I do with them,which is kind of weird if you think about it, so it’s about time I make it a little even.
  • Work harder. I think I did a pretty good job last year (and the year before that, for that matter). But I intend to make 2012 even better.  I’m actually excited (workaholic much? Haha).
 
Oh, and here are some pics of our Chinese New Year celebration yesterday. 

Lots of food. And tikoy! 😛

Food Trip: Chef’s Table

When Ipe texted me earlier tonight to tell me we were heading out for dinner at the Fort to celebrate our friend’s birthday, I didn’t really think much of it – after all, most of our Saturday night food trips take place in one of the restos there (or, at Mercato, if we’re at a loss where to eat). But when we got in the car and he told me we were going to the Infinity Tower, I was like, “What? Where?”
After all, few people know the Infinity Tower (in fact, it took me the entire ten-minute ride to figure out where it was, considering that we used to pass it every day); and probably only a handful know that there’s a fine dining restaurant safely hidden there. 
From the outside, Chef’s Table is nothing fancy – just clear glass windows allowing the outsider to see the open kitchen, high ceiling, and sleek, light brown tables and chairs.
Chef’s Table entrance (photo from their website)

*photo from their website

I wasn’t really sure what to expect; it was the first time I heard of the place and I hadn’t done any research so I figured I’d just wait and see what they put on the table.

First up was the chilli chicken. I’m a bit picky with chicken – they tend to be a bit dry on the inside, and blah on taste but this one, while far from perfect, is better than most of what I’ve tasted so far, like the flavour seeped right from the outside to the last bit of meat on the inside.
chili chicken

tomato rissotto (?)

Next came the crab cakes. You all know I love seafood, never mind the allergies that are now causing me a sleepless night, so I made it a point to taste this one. And boy, I’m glad I did. When they said it was crab cake, they meant it! You know when the usual crab cakes are nothing but fillers and coating and you are left feeling cheated? Well, this one is the opposite of that. It was so rich, and well, crabby!
Crab cakes

I also loved the salmon canapés. It’s nothing spectacular but I found it rather unique to have used fish balls (or something that tasted suspiciously like fish balls) as the base. It complemented the taste of the salmon really well. I wish it was bigger though – each piece was as big as a one-peso coin.
Salmon canapes (tasted like fish balls)

Of course, since we were all supposed to be eating healthy this 2012, we had to have some salad. Nothing much to say here; it was just plain old salad with mango bits (that are too small to really contribute taste) and apple strips with teeny tiny morsels of fish (I have to reiterate how small the morsels were – I literally had to dig around just to find one). It didn’t even come close to being half the taste of the best salad in the world (for me; and that’s Sonya’s Garden’s salad).
fresh seafood/mango/apple salad – you can opt to skip this as there’s nothing special to it

Now, things started to look up when they served the nilagang baka (beef shanks stew, with bone marrow to boot!). While I didn’t see any slab of meat in the soup bowl, I certainly tasted it. And I certainly loved it. It’s exactly what I would love to eat when I am sick and I need comfort food.
NIlagang Baka

What really bowled me over was that our friend must have ordered a feast as serving after serving was brought to our table. We had lechon pasta (unique in using lechon as topper for the pasta, but while the lechon was oh so tasty and soft, the sauce itself was bland), seafood paella (good enough to eat by itself, though I would have preferred it a bit saltier and more pepper-y), embutido (not a fan of embutido and I don’t think I ever will be, but this was quite good; I actually finished off a slice, considering I don’t really like embutido), and Christmas chicken served one after the other. 
Steamed fish with kangkong and gravy

Good ole embutido
Lechon Pasta

Again, I’d have to single out the Christmas chicken – I don’t know how they cook their chicken but it works. The meat tasted evenly and was so soft. Funny thing, when it was served, it looked so perfect, what with the honey-orange glaze and the orange slices by its side that no one wanted to touch it. Ha!
Christmas Chicken – looked too good to eat
Dessert came soon enough – a plate of yummy bibingka and fried sapin-sapin served with hot chocolate. We also got this hot coconut mix which was really rich. I loved the bibingka. It was probably one of the best I tasted – soft, tasty and I think the batter itself was mixed with melted cheese as it was very creamy. And the sapin-sapin was the perfect companion, complementing the salty bibingka with its sticky sweetness.

Sapin sapin and bibingka

Hot chocolate

not sure if I got this one right, but I think this was the buko pie martini – really rich

Verdict? Mixed. There were some really good dishes but no clear standouts. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve tasted too many good food or because I’ve heard that Chef Bruce graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in London and trained under Gordon Ramsay, and is a celebrity chef, so naturally, I was expecting a lot. Needless to say, I must have expected too much. Prices are okay; on par with the nearby restos and quite cheap if you think it’s actually a by-reservation-only-fine-dining place. And I appreciate the service: the waiters are all there but unobtrusive and very polite. But again, this is my first visit so I guess another round is in order for me to give a better verdict.
*Chef’s Table is located on the ground floor of the Infinity Tower, Fort Bonifacio (11th and 26th street, beside Soma/South of Market, and near Serendra). This is a by-reservation only restaurant so make sure to call before you visit: 399-18-88. You can visit their website here.

Abucay, Bataan

Went on a little field trip en route to my college bff’s firstborn’s baptism. Since it was in Bataan, hubby and I left early so as not to be late but ended up arriving a little too early. Which was good as we had time to have a hearty breakfast and go around some of the nearby towns.

The baptism was to be held in a small church nearby so we decided to check out the Santo Domingo Church, which was built in 1587 and is one of the oldest in country. This church is also the site of the Abucay Massacre, where more than 200 pampangueno defenders were massacred by the Dutch invaders in 1647, a tragedy that was a direct result of inept planning by the town’s alcalde mayor.

Sto. Domingo Church, built by the Dominicans

Here’s the historical marker of the church:

I was quite impressed with how clean and fresh-looking the interior was –the tiled floors were practically gleaming.
The church reminded me very much of another Dominican Church in San Juan, which I usually get to visit when we do our annual Visita Iglesia.Well, it figures, they were both built by the same order. 🙂

Their Belen. I love the bright yellow.

Look at those old tiles on the church’s courtyard.

Been reading through a Bataan coffee table book that Ipe and I got for Christmas a few years back and now I want to go back there and visit all those historical places. Imagine, I’ve never been to Corregidor! I seriously need to visit this place soon.
Anyway, you all probably know by now how much hubby and I love old buildings, especially churches and it has been awhile since we’ve added another old church to our growing list. So color me happy that I am able to include the Sto. Domingo Church in Abucay in that list. Hopefully, I get to add one every month this year. Wish us luck.

Movie: Sherlock Holmes

One word summary: the money was well-spent watching Sherlock Holmes, A Game of Shadows.
Arguably one of the most anticipated sequels in recent history, I was a bit apprehensive that this movie will not live up to expectations. After all, its predecessor was so good and a runaway financial hit and it is quite hard to top it. And, you have to consider the “sophomore jinx” that hounds all sophomore efforts – be it a musical album or a movie, there is always that something that is lost between the first and its sequel. To cut it short, it is simply rare to top the first.
But is that what this movie accomplished? Hard to tell so let’s just say it’s as good as the first one. Story – wise, I find it as riveting, if not more so, as the first. Loosely based on the novel, The Final Problem, this movie tells of the dangerous game being played by Sherlock Holmes and his arch-nemesis, Professor Moriarty, a man in whom Holmes meets his intellectual match. Moriarty, using his powerful alliances and his genius, plans to start a world war and reap the profits by taking control of the biggest arms dealers and supplying weapons to all parties who will be involved in the war. This plan is meticulously executed through a series of seemingly unrelated deaths, business acquisitions and partnerships that no one takes notice of, except for Holmes, who presumably goes on a personal mission against Moriarty to set his beloved Irene Adler free from him.
Watson, Simza and Holmes, conferring on their next move
Men would love the explosions (the story is, after all, involving arms trade) and the comedic antics of Robert Downey Jr. as he brings to life a version of Holmes that is rarely seen: a genius bordering on lunacy but more funny than somber. A lot of critics disagree with this portrayal, saying that Downey has degraded a beloved character; but I must say, I find his portrayal quite a refreshing change. Either way, we don’t really have a basis for concluding that Holmes was a serious fellow other than that his previous reincarnations depicted him as such; in the books, while there were no comedic lines, I did find him as hilarious as in the movies, delivering one witty line after another in such serious manner that you can’t help but laugh.
What remains the biggest draw of this movie are the leads: Holmes and his faithful comrade, Dr. Watson. All the previous portrayals of Watson have reduced his character to that of sidekick, a comic relief as opposed to Holmes’ somber demeanor and being played in entirely the opposite way by Jude Law in this movie is a worthy redemption of Watson. I had never thought of him as less than an equal to Holmes; in fact, I don’t think Holmes would have survived as long as he had if not for his friend, Dr. Watson, who, we must remember, was an accomplished doctor, a war veteran, and a sharpshooter, the latter probably the reason why Holmes brings him along on more adventurous missions that involve the use of guns. I admire the fact that while this movie is about Holmes, there is no tug-of-war between the two leads and both are given enough screen time and importance as befits partners. 
Watson’s wedding to Mary
  
My favorite scenes in the movie:
  • When Watson realizes why Holmes is hell-bent on destroying Moriarty, as Holmes steps away from him to get a whiff of Adler’s scent from her blood-stained handkerchief, before he throws it out into the ocean
  • That mental fight between Holmes and Moriarty, wherein they each deduce the other’s move should either of them go for a full-on physical combat; it’s similar to a  game of chess (which they played earlier in the same sequence) where you plan your own moves while anticipating your opponent’s. No actual fight broke out as Holmes arrives at the conclusion that with his severely injured shoulder, he would be no match for boxing champion Moriarty, and decides that he would just drag both of them to their deaths at the bottom of the waterfalls
  • Watson’s expression (or severe lack of expression: shock in its absolute form) as he watches Holmes and Moriarty plunge into the abyss
  • Watson’s expression, again, when he receives the package containing the oxygen mask from an unknown sender, immediately realizing that Holmes was in fact, alive.
However, while Moriarty was played well by Jared Harris, I find Mark Strong’s Lord Blackwood as a more compelling villain and I find Stephen Fry as Mycroft Holmes a rather ill-fit. I can’t quite put my finger to it but I didn’t find any spark of brilliance emanating from him, when Mycroft was supposedly more adept at mind games than Sherlock and this aspect was not fully explored in the movie. Same with Noomie Rapace, who played Simza, a gypsy whose brother was recruited by Moriarty to become his assassin. I find her acting rather distracting.
Stephen Fry as Mycroft Holmes

Jared Harris as Professor Moriarty
Perhaps my biggest disappointment though, is the death of Irene Adler (sorry for the big spoiler). I wasn’t expecting it – I know she didn’t have a very large part in the Sherlock Holmes universe, but I know she didn’t die; she in fact got married happily, a sort of the woman who got away for Holmes and to see her wasted like this (well, not really wasted; her death proved a motivation for Sherlock to defeat Moriarty) is kind of sad.
Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler, in the opening sequence
But then, who knows right? Maybe she will appear in the next movie. As Holmes himself typed in the last scene: “The End???”
* Pictures from google

Overload

I realize that I haven’t yet posted anything related to beauty or fashion this year, so let this be my first.

My accessories hoard last Christmas season – and yes, they are all from my favorite store except for the bangle, brown marble necklace in the second photo (both from my sisters-in-law) and the red stiletto earrings (which I got for Php100 at Market Market!) from the first photo. I am so in love with anything and everything from Accessorize; I bought most of my gifts there too. I just realized that for every item I had to give away, I just had to buy one for myself too. Hahaha. 
Remember the cute owl earrings I mentioned in my earlier post? I lost one piece, so I bought another one – hence, you see three owls in this picture. Hahaha!

I am in love with chunky necklaces right now

Look! It has sand inside! My current favorite – an hourglass necklace

Accessorize is on sale right now, with some pieces marked at 50% off so if you’re a fan like me, head over there now. What I love about this store so much is that each piece is well made, don’t give me allergies, and are unique. I have yet to find someone on the streets wearing the exact same thing I have on. J