Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Exploring New Orleans: Trying out NOLA's Comfort Food

When you visit a place you must try the local cuisine to experience the culture and what defines the people.

New Orleans is the largest city in Louisina State and is known or Cajun/Creole cuisine. Heavily influenced by French cuisine with Spanish, African and Indian influences, the food here can be described as spicy for my taste. The Creole and Cajun Food used spices like Cayenne pepper, bay leaf, and black pepper. Vegetables like Bell Pepper, Okra, Parsley also dominate their cooking,

This mid November 2016, I have sampled some of the city's famous comfort food and here it goes:

Willie Mae's Fried Chicken
Located at the Treme neighborhood area in New Orleans, Willie Mae's is best known for its fried chicken. People flock to this restaurant in St. Ann street right across the Phillis Wheatley community school. I have tried their chicken. As with any comfort food, there are critics and defenders alike. Personally, I find the chicken a little to salty for my taste, I have a high salt tolerance but this chicken is on the high side of my salt scale.

Jaeger's Seafood

The first thing we did upon arriving in New Orleans is to get to try its seafood offering. We were told by the hotel staff to head out and try the seafood at Jaeger's.  We tried their fried catfish, stuffed crab, Maine lobster, fried shrimp, Cajun fries. The servings are good for two people. My personal pick: Fried catfish and stuffed crab served with Cajun fries, jambalaya rice and salad with your choice of dressing. At $18.95 it was great value for your money. 

French Market Experience

A few blocks away from famous Bourbon Street and Jackson Square lies the French Market. Here you can find local food that defines New Orleans. Head on over there an sample what it offers, 

Johnny's Po-boy sandwich

Some famous cultures have their own sandwich version, the Italians have Pani ca Meusa, We tagalogs have Pandesal con giniling. New Orleans have the Poboy. Johnny's is one of New Orleans' top five Poboy shop.
The Poboy has its origins way back in the Great Depression when sandwiches were given away for free to striking railroad workers. Check out the rich history of the poboy here.

So there you are, my own little food trip adventure in the Big Easy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Exploring Georgia: Marietta and Atlanta Georgia

Stepping out of the Hartsfield-Jackson International you could see a wide freeway. This is highway I-75 North going to Chattanooga.

A photo posted by Gerald V (@chroniclesofthevoyager) on

Getting in and out of Atlanta is a breeze if you use the right app. If you are not on a data plan, you can try downloading the OSMAND App.

Marietta Georgia

This city is located around 20 miles northeast of Atlanta. Marietta is in Cobb County and is part of the Atlanta Metropolitan Area.
A photo posted by Gerald V (@chroniclesofthevoyager) on

A photo posted by Gerald V (@chroniclesofthevoyager) on

Downtown Atlanta

Grady Stadium
A photo posted by Gerald V (@chroniclesofthevoyager) on

A photo posted by Gerald V (@chroniclesofthevoyager) on

Richard's Variety Store

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Dutch Bank ING is Replacing 5800 Human Workers with Robots at a Cost of US$2 Billion

Alan Turing's dream has finally come true. In 1950 he published an article in the journal Mind, entitled "Computing Machinery And Intelligence" Turing wrote: "I believe that in about 50 years time, it will be possible to programme computers to make them play an imitation game so well that an average interrogator will not have more than 70% chance of making the right identification after 5 minutes of questioning... Nevertheless I believe that at the end of the century the use of words and general thinking will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted" The mundane tasks of filling out forms and filing information is now relegated to computers. It is not a question of "if there is a chance that an android could replace a human being in the workplace" but of "when". The time is near.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Exploring Southern California: Mount Palomar Observatory

May 2016

Southern California is full of interesting places. SoCal's climate, culture and lifestyle is so diverse, almost every visitor can find his or her place of sojourn, If you like urban lifestyle, Los Angeles is the place to be. Like riding ATVs in the desert? Riverside county may be your liking. But if you like visiting mountains, San Diego is the place to be.

I got to visit the famous Hale reflecting telescope (the largest of its time when it was built in 1948, until the Russian BTA-6 was built in 1976)

Getting there
Mount Palomar Observatory is located inside the Cleveland National Forest. You can reach Mount Palomar Observatory by State Highway 76 and head eastbound. Follow the signs to Palomar Mountain. Twenty five miles (40 km) from the interchange, County Road S6 (also known as South Grade Road) exits (5 miles/8 km past Valley Center Road) in a "Y" to the left and climbs to the
Palomar summit. S6 ends at the Observatory gates. For driving directions, get it here.

What to Expect
Mount Palomar in itself a good place to visit, the great view of San Diego County along County Route S6 is amazing.

Clouds obscure what could have been San Diego County

The Observatory
Gates open at 9am and closes at 4pm
This dome houses the Hale 200 inch Reflecting Telescope

The Dome!

Scale model of the 200 inch telescope
The size of the reflecting telescope is immense!

If you are a fan of astronomy, this should be included in your itinerary. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Exploring Texas: Bexar County - Medina County

Texas, August 7, 2016

It is a clear late afternoon Sunday. The temperature that time was a warm 98 degrees Fahrenheit. My brother in law said we will do a 30 plus mile ride. I do not know where w are headed so I just turned on my GPS app.
We headed towards Alamo Parkway southward. Upon reaching Wiseman Blvd, we headed left. We took Talley Road south and Potranco West. Potranco Road is a gradual climb, be careful of low blood sugar. Upon reaching the end of Potranco, w headed right towards Rio Medina, taking FM471. I saw lot of farmland, amazed on seeing miles upon miles of corn and alfalfa crops.
If you get to ride on Texas - Bexar County, you'll find that riding a road bike is a better alternative than a mountain bike.

Medina County - Farm to Market Road 471

Medina County - Farm to Market Road 471

FM471 - Cornfields

FM 471- Medina County

Exploring California: Calavera Trails - Carlsbad California

Lake Calavera Trail - 4/17/2016

Carlsbad California is a wonderful place to visit if you like mountain biking. A few miles north of San Diego, Lake Calavera Preserve is Carlsbad's hidden gem. It boasts of mountain bike and hiking trails that will satisfy beginner and intermediate level mountain bikers.

I had a chance to try out the trail with my relative, Joe.
That is how the trail looks like

You can see the Pacific Ocean in the background

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Moon Explorers

"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard."
- John F. Kennedy

Forty seven years ago, three intrepid men were strapped atop a massive 2.29 million kilogram (5 million lbs) Saturn V rocket, answering the challenge made by President John F. Kennedy a few years earlier.
These men traveled 384,000 kms (238,000 miles) to set foot on the Moon. Many celebrated the courage of Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Michael Collins, but few knew how conservative is the salary that they received. Earning about US$20,000 in 1969 (about US$133,000 in 2016 dollars, about half what a general surgeon makes), one might say the money is not enough to pay for your life. But these men did not sign up just for the salary, they signed up for other reasons. Take a look at what made these men differ from the rest of us.

These moon explorers have 3 things in common:

  1. They were former military personnel. Neil Armstrong was an aviator who served in the Navy from 1949 to 1954. Fought in the Korean War, he received a Gold Star, Air Medal, Korean Service Medal and Engagement Star for flying 78 combat missions. Buzz Aldrin was an Air Force pilot in the Korean War, shot down two MiG-15s during his 60 combat missions. Mike Collins also served in the Air Force's 21st Fighter-Bomber Wing.
  2. They specialized in STEM. Neil Armstrong had a masters degree in Aerospace Engineering. Buzz Aldrin earned his Doctorate in Astronautics from  Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Buzz Aldrin's thesis study is about "Line-of-sight guidance techniques for manned orbital rendezvous" which is used by astronauts earning him the nickname "Mr. Rendezvous".  Mike Collins finished his Bachelor of Science degree from West Point.
  3. All three were born during the Great Depression. Hard times can indeed forge your character and later reveal them.
Whatever reasons they have for signing up for the astronaut program, let's take time to say thanks to the people who paved the way for man to explore space.

This is also published in LinkedIn.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Spend your time wisely

I read this article from Quora. Just wanted to share to you:
Say a person is fortunate to live until the ripe old age of 75. That means they get 900 months on this earth to do ANYTHING they want. That’s right. ANYTHING. Especially the people who are capable, privileged, and free enough to read this online.

Say you are 25 right now, give or take a few years. That means 300 of those months are already gone. You now have somewhere between 0-600 left. How many, we don’t get to know.

0 at worst, 600 at best.

When I think about it in those terms, it really does go so fast.

Today happens to be the 7th day of this month, and the rest will likely fly by. 599. Next month will fly by too. 598.

For this month, how many days have you put aside to do what you love most - to do exactly what you feel you are here on this earth to do? How many hours even? Is there room on the calendar, or does it keep getting pushed back?

This month is 1/900 of your life. YOUR life! How much time will you spend it watching TV shows that aren’t even that enjoyable? Complaining? Arguing? Moping? Comparing yourself with others? Worrying about criticism? Avoiding failure? Hanging out with people who don’t want the best for you? Thinking about what you don’t have? Doing stuff you hate to buy useless shit that doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of life?

How long have you been living for some other day that will always remain as some other day?

Now, how much time this month will you spend in absolute bliss? As your highest self? In a place where you can honestly say there’s no place you’d rather be?

What really makes you tick? What freezes time? What makes you excited to get out of bed every day?

Four weeks pass. 597.

Four more. 596.

Oh, yeah, I was supposed to start doing that thing that day, but it slipped my mind and I put it off. 595.

Enough time has slipped by.

Today is Friday.
Do not let this weekend slip by without doing that thing.
Drop the shit that doesn’t matter.
Start now.

. . .

If you enjoyed this article, imagine what would happen if someone were to extend it to 200+ pages, then make it slightly more awesome. This new book represents over six years’ worth of my life experiences, insights, and ideas on creating a better way of living for all of us:

Thursday, February 4, 2016

80's Music: Reliving the Past

I grew up in the 80's. Back then, the British New Wave music dominated the airwaves. The likes of Psychedelic Furs, The Cure, and the Smiths and their simple melodies and riffs that are not too metal unlike Led Zep of the 70's and Guns N Roses of the 90's. Not to heavy, not too pop. Listen and enjoy!

Bicycling: Getting lost in the Moment

Bicycling - the generic term of traveling from one point to another by using a two-wheeled contraption. Other people, define bicycling as a way of loosening oneself and just have fun. If you happen to take on the sport of cycling, you will find meaning to the phrase "getting lost in the moment". It doesn't matter if you are into road cycling, mountain biking, BMX, dirt jumping, or fixed gear, what matters is that you enjoy getting lost in the moment. An article in Psychology Today describes that getting lost in the moment is an effective way of tuning out distractions. By simply being aware of one's surroundings and noting the sights and sounds of nature, one can slip into a semi-meditative state.
Cycling offers one a chance to commune with the surrounding.
 Check out the instagram posts from users around the world and see why "getting lost" on two wheels is worth it!

All disciplines are welcome!

Pick up your bike, dust it off, and get lost in the moment.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

World University Cycling Championship 2016

Rejoice all you cycling aficionados! The Philippines will be hosting an event sanctioned by the UCI and the FISU. The World University Cycling Championships will be held this coming March 16 to 20, 2016 in Tagaytay City, Cavite, Philippines. This is the fist time that a road cycling and mountainbike race will be held outside Europe and the first time in Asia as well.

The road race will follow the Tagaytay-Nasugbu-Ternate Loop that will test the climbing and sprinting abilities of the racers.
The mountain biking race will be held inside Nuvali Sta Rosa Laguna. 

Block off your calendars folks, this is a must see for all cycling fans!

Check out the details on the official website of the World University Cycling Championship 2016.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Filinvest Trails

Cycling in the City

The urban landscape is ever changing. Like a living organism, the city is growing, expanding its reach and eating up the greenery. People are now used to see new buildings and structures like growing muscles. So it is a good sight to see a patch of greenery inside a sprawling city.

Filinvest City Bike Trails

As a cyclist, I am used to riding my bike on trails in Silang, Cavite, San Mateo, Rizal, Tagaytay City, Los Banos, Laguna, etc. It was quite a surprise for me to find a great mountain bike trail inside Muntinlupa City. Getting there is easy. If you're from Manila, you can reach Filinvest via SLEX Southbound Filinvest or Alabang/South Station Exits. Coming from the South, take Filinvest Exit. If you are adventurous , bike all the way to Alabang!

Go ahead, try the Filinvest trails and enjoy!