|Certina Titanium Dive Watch paired with Silver bracelet.|
1. ON the CLOUD running shoes. There’s only 1 word to describe this shoe – LIGHT. If you’ve been used to heavy shoes with rigid outer sole - like me (think boots, hiking shoes and trail shoes) you’ll have a sort of ‘shock’ on how light the shoes are! I have used it for cycling, running and short hikes and it was obviously well-fitted for road running. I will not recommend it for hiking or running on terrain with lots of pebbles or sharp rocks. The segmented outer sole provides a unique comfort and lightness-feeling but stones and what-nots tend to cling to the gaps. Its soft and light-weight construction also seem ‘doubtful’ on more serious hikes. Similar to other shoes, it tends to ‘smell’ especially when being used sockless as the breathability only relies on the mid-front top-outer side made of light-weight, thin fabric. My version has a built-in stretchable cord (with back-up tie-your-own cord as well) – which I find very useful for lazy man’s quick on-and-off wear (but not tight-trustable if you’re using it for quick and fast lateral action). The price? 6-8k PHP is med-high for me and if you don’t mind a bit of weight – there are cheaper high-performance brands. If you love running at top speed and a bit of weight bothers you – this could be your shoes.
|On high with ON the Clouds at the amphitheater somewhere in Bicol|
2. Titanium Dive Watch. I’ve been looking for a good-priced “mid-brand” so as not to overshadow my Seamaster dive watch and so I scouted for something ‘different’. Liking ‘tough brand’ (military versions) – I decided to hunt for an affordable titanium watch (which looks dull and non-shiny). In the end, I favored Certina. I like the big-but-light feel, and it not being common. It also has an accessible-for-me maintenance shop in Ayala Mall (an often overlooked criteria). I’ve used it in travel (it has only 1 timezone), for water sports and running/hiking. What I don’t like much is the locking mechanism (it may just need adjustment), the double locking tends to disengage when I introduce a ‘shock’ (say punch a bag). The second-hand is also ‘different’ as the main and long one is only used for stop-watch and the real hand is the tiny one in the lower circle – not that I really look and use the second hand! But overall, it looked beautiful-but-tough, being titanium it’s superbly lightweight for its big size – and it suits most of my casual, smart casual, rugged and sports attire.
3. Cast Iron Grill Pan! Don’t laugh - I love cooking! All men should know how to cook, and do it well! Shame on you if you don’t. J Well, it’s for good health not to merely support your gluttonous requirement. First, it’s heavy, if that bothers you – just consider the thought that it could also deflect small bullets should the zombie-sh*t-hit-the-ceiling-fan! But best is that, it can last for decades! That’s value for your money. It’s EASY to clean, promise! It doesn’t use detergent (i.e. eco-friendly), and you only need a strong scrubber to rub off the dirt, before finally drying it and applying a bit of (cooking) oil to mask it from rusting. I’ve tried many non-stick pans both plastic-based (ex. Teflon) or natural (like ceramic layer). But nothing really last and eventually – something will stick there at the bottom. With textured cast iron, dirt and burnt things will stick – but surprisingly – they are not tough to remove. I was like “where have you been all my cooking life!”. Obviously, my pan is mainly used for grilling and bit of frying. I’ve cooked veggies, fishes, squids, shrimps, chicken, beef, lamb and other unfortunate meat or veggie that lands its way on a hot searing pan. Other cast iron version will suit other cooking needs, but I’ll bet it will give the same good experience. Which reminds me – time to buy that skillet version!
|Grill anything you want! Here, first batch - veggies, before cooking meat sans washing.|
4. Acrylic painting set. Whoa, why is this in my list?! let’s just say I’m a convert and now do a kind of meditative, self-healing, destressing ‘static sports’ we call painting! J Promise, it’s not as weird as it sounds. I’m not an artist and will always be ‘Math-IT’, but it doesn’t mean I should not explore and experiment. What’s good about this acrylic set (unlike say watercolors) is that, I am able to do many more creative things like re-using scrap pallet wood (and paint them with decorations), revive and transform old plates, decorate pots – or other objects that seems to need some revitalizing! Oh and of course, I can use them to paint on canvas!
|Four Seasons. or Climate Change? my first (guided) painting experiment c/o Sip and Gogh|
|Transforming old plates into something new!|
5. A taste of Gold. Past years’ revealed a disappointing performance for most monetary investment instruments (for the little I have, I also got very little) and the global economy is not always looking bright, and acquiring so many things are really mostly just ‘expense’ with no or fast-declining re-sale value (like cars, most watches, expensive bags, and like all the items I mentioned above). Other than being a “tito”, I realize that buying gold pendant or necklace or other wearable bits - is a better investment AND cash-storage mechanism, plus the good side is that you can actually wear them! Now the good news is that, not all gold is super expensive. There are stores that actually sell second-hands which trims the ‘mall price’ just a tiny bit, and there are ‘small portions’ where small-time gold converts can afford to ‘store’ their cash salary and potentially keep them for a long period of time. Gold was a treasure from millenniums back, and still a treasure today - and there’s a very good reason why.