Sunday, 23 July 2017

Oh Look! Someone Sent Me A Gift

Every once in a while, almost all of us are hoping to have something for free, things that we wish we have but we neither like to get now nor shred a part of our earnings for it. Attempting to get it at such point in time should probably leave one feeling guilty over its course for being the impulsive buyer that we never want us to be.

Sometimes, we may just get lucky. A couple of weeks ago, I received this set of Mont Marte acrylic brushes from a long-time reader of this blog. I have since been meaning to write this post about thanking her for these art tools, and I feel a little bad for not doing it right away.

But I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Ms. Maria, for sending me this wonderful gift and for being a regular reader of this blog. I also appreciate that you specifically wrote my blog’s name on that sticky note. Now it hangs permanently next to my drawing table to remind me of your kindness.

Kind of like "Oh hey! Yeah. I've got these brushes from Maria." reminder. Cheers!

Again, thank you and have a nice day.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Betel Nut, Mustard and Lime

One of the peculiarities of Papua New Guinea is that it’s rather a common thing to see folks chewing buai (betel nut) to pass the time. Back in the Philippines, I’ve known some people who are fond of chewing buai but over the years, the number of my countrymen engaged to this habit had dwindled down. The decline can probably be traced back to the diminishing source of betel nuts and the rise of street foods everywhere.

Remind me to bring home betel nut seeds when I go for holiday so I can marginally contribute to the revival of what was once a favorite pastime of our predecessors.

With permission from these two gentlemen, they let me take a photo of them as they show me the most preferred way to chew daka, which is a bean-like green called mustard.  The small jar the left man was holding had a whitish powder in it which they called kamang or lime. 

The kamang is what’s responsible for turning the mixture of chewed buai and daka in their mouth to red. 


So basically, the whole idea about chewing betel nut encompasses a small jar of lime, a beetle nut with its skin peeled off, and a stick of mustard. I believe there is a certain technique to learn when it comes to trying these the first time; like making sure not to put the lime directly on the gums to avoid having an unpleasant burning sensation.

Certain habits have their dangers. So I’m told.


Our friend Nessy here is gladly showing us what kind of reaction takes place when the mixture of  juices from betel nut and mustard blend in with lime and saliva. The reddish part stain on his teeth is just  the normal chemical reaction.

One important thing to remember when chewing buai is that one needs to spit out the fibrous residue as often as needed. If you happen to have imbibed the juices, you can get mildly euphoric or mildly high. The locals will then refer to you along with the current stimulated effect you’re feeling as, spak man long buai (spark). 

Have a nice week everyone!

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Just Another Day In Papua New Guinea

The intense heat and the sweaty feeling that one experiences during which time the sun is at its peak on a wide arc is probably called, heat intolerance. This usually leads up to heat exhaustion if ignored. Yet I often find it mesmerizing that there are those who can take the heat like a pro and don’t mind getting a sun tan every now and then.

Here in Pinoy In PNG Blog, it can be said that life in Papua New Guinea is not without the abundance of sunlight. Clear skies and sunny days are the usual source of jovial moods that leave a trail of happiness on everyone’s faces. And if there is some kind of a meter with which one can use to measure the amount of work that one can do after gaining such merriment, it’ll tip the scales off, much like how the Scouters break into pieces when a Saiyan attempts to measure Goku's power in Super Saiyan mode.


In some biological lifeforms, like the ants for example, ants may tend to set aside the urge to entertain nonsensical ideas when at work. But we, humans, have the exact opposite of which, and a forklift driver can stop driving it anytime for a cool pose when I'm taking a picture of him.

Like what our friend Rajiv is doing in this picture.


Sometimes, a group of highly jealous cummulonimbus clouds can come and establish dominance over our airspace. Like the ants, no matter how resilient an ant can be, we humans will scamper off into the safety of our homes when faced with a gloomy weather on such atmospheric heights. 


But most of the time, the threat of rain remains just a threat. It ends up being shy that slowly dissipates into oblivion leaving a window of opportunity for the sun to peek through its gaps.  At this point in time, what we can do is sit back and enjoy such spectacular view in the presence of our love ones.

Or in Facebook messenger with our love ones.

Have a nice day everyone!

Monday, 1 May 2017

50th Post

I started this blog in the last quarter of 2014 and I have not stopped posting since then. Albeit the number of times I post are few and far between, I’m pretty much happy that this blog has made it this far. Today, I’m writing for my fiftieth post into Pinoy In Papua New Guinea. For those who are wondering about how long I’m still planning to work in this lovely country, the answer is yet to come.

From a not-so-distant universe, I guess.

But having stayed here for six years, I’m beginning to feel the weight of not being able to experience the things that I used to have or do back home.When things of the present cross path with vague recollections of things in the past, I fantasize sometimes of getting back home.

The speed, at which reality strikes us, is faster than a blink of an eye. It’s always ahead of the fantasies that we create in our daydreams. What I mean is that, we adults consider it more important to think about our current responsibilities than anything else. And at the end of the day, we all need to put some food on the table so anything that I missed doing back in the 'ol Philippines can wait.


Sometimes, I find it tempting to ask if the point of living is to grow up fast so we can fulfill our imminent destinies to work our lives off until eventually, we pipe down to an old rocking chair as we become too old for anything other than be a witness to the flickering flame of our own dying candle light. But such question is not worth asking for, because we, at Pinoy in Papua New Guinea do not worry about the things we are not in control of.

While I’m not sure about what tomorrow may bring us, I hope to go on with what I have started in this blog. As long as you continue to find delight in what I share, you’ll definitely see more of it posted here in the future.

Cheers!

Saturday, 29 April 2017

A Glimpse of What We Do In Papua New Guinea

There’s a saying that says, “An opportunity only knocks once.” And then it’s up to us to decide in which way it’s better greeted up.

My older cousin, kuya Jun, has invented a series of object classes in a programming language called Visual Foxpro. These classes are mostly an enhanced version of the usual controls that we normally see on desktop computers being run by Windows OS.  To help you imagine what an object class is, you can think of the browser’s title bar as an example where at the rightmost corner of which you can find three inseparable buttons: the Minimize, Maximize and Close button. His classes include a title bar class, and what it does is that it gives other software developers the chance to change the title bars’ appearance during run time and make them look more pleasing to the eye.

A benefit that one gains from such feat, aside from the money that pours in from subscriptions, is a surprising increase in the number of followers that recognize your invaluable contributions to VFP communities.

While I, myself, have been contributing for years in my own leisure, they're just an infinitesimal dot in the cyberspace of history. I wish not be perceived as being cocky, but if someone likes to see the stuffs that I gave away for free, please visit these two links: the Polyclock class and the Number To Word function.

Anyway, the reason being that I have come up with the quote above is because this post is mildly related to that. As kuya Jun’s class increased in popularity, so does the frequency of deposits made to his Paypal’s virtual wallet. The emerging problem thereafter is about finding the way to make use of it because his Paypal account has no link to his other personal bank account. He thought it better to spend them on buy and sell items; like order an item from Ebay with Paypal and sell it locally.

I am one of the few “local” buyers.

A few months ago, I ordered a 120-set of Faber-Castell Polychromos color pencils from him. I got it for less than 20% of the price in the retail market. The delivery was prompt, which did not take more than two months. Before the novelty wears out, I thought it appropriate to take the opportunity of making a drawing with it. That’s my hand in the picture. I’m kind of wearing a crude smudge guard which I made from a recycled glove mitten.
If you’re wondering who it is that I’m drawing, she’s Julia Gillard, one of Australia’s former prime ministers. 


In the office, I continue to be busy on anything I can work on with. The scope, in which the whole weight of my responsibility falls into, is a bit large. While surrounding circumstances make me prioritize software development, I also put myself in charge of our company's digital arts, computers and networking maintenance, and inventory management. An apparent visible cue to having as much work is the agglomeration of various things on my desk.

Although a cluttered desk may receive an immediate impression of being a disorganized old chap, I beg to disagree.  A few mitigating factors involved in having such is my reluctance to dispose of remnants of the finished works, simply for the reason that I find delight in savoring the fruits of labor.


















But any of which you see on my desk is regarded with equal importance. Hence, a puncher and a calculator are as indispensable as that of the three-screen display that I have. Working on multiple screen is fun and it can increase productivity to a certain point by reducing the time spent on shifting through open apps. 

In the picture above, on the left screen, is the CinchPro Payroll System that I’m creating for the company that I’m working with. In the middle is the source code editor and the screen on the right is for viewing SQL queries.


















Before I knew about the existence of Acrylic paints in tubes, I was using watercolors. The A4 size artwork above is of the cartoon Thomas and Johnny and is what I painted with Mont Marte watercolors. The advantage of using acrylic paints over watercolors is that the former doesn’t fade after it dries out, but the latter doesn’t dry as fast on the palettes. I’ll post some of my artworks using acrylics in the near future if time permits.


Here in Papua New Guinea, we spend most of our times in the office or in the city proper. I find it that there’s not much an opportunity to be out and about and be in one with nature at one's whims. But one such opportunity arises during when I accompany my friends to a morning mass held during Sundays somewhere in Waigani. Even though I just usually wait for them and sit the time entirely in this parking lot that resembles a nature themed park, the experience is worth taking on.

That’s all for this week. Have a nice Sunday everyone.


Friday, 21 April 2017

The Making of TWS Banner

One thing that I have developed over the years since the reign of Banner Mania is an affinity for composing graphic arts. The motivating factor behind is fun. While I find it not so hard to do, I don’t claim that I’m good in this niche. But on a scale of 1 to 10, it’s fairly reasonable to say that I’m somewhat comfortable being sited in one’s judicious perception of what the average skill is.

Which is probably close to 5.


This is my design for the banner that we’re planning to temporarily put up in our display room. TWS stands for Total Workplace Supplies and it’s pretty much an emerging company in Papua New Guinea. The initial aim for the banner is to provide our visitors with an instant way of knowing what we’re dealing of. The man sanitizing his hand with what has come out of a Purell sanitizer on the wall is a subtle hint for children that the clear liquid in the bottle is not meant for drinking.  

Actually, I’m just kidding.

A more subtle hint is that when you see a smiling man happily sanitizing his hand before a liquid dispenser, it's probably tempting to say, "Wait, it's not lunch yet?"



I borrowed this photo from the Gojo website. I’m hoping that they won’t mind because we’re actually trying to promote their interesting range of products, which you are most likely to see being used in the office premises and in the lavatories of hotel rooms. 


I have also borrowed one photo from a Google search result, this is what I used for the background.


I was actually browsing for some royalty free photos online but our staff has voluntarily offered that we use his photo instead. So here, we made our own little photo-session in the office. 

He looks more than happy for getting this much attention, I reckon. 


Out of those eight photos, we have chosen this. All of the photos are actually nice but the angle and shades in this photo just fell on the right places. What remains of the other photos is immediately perceived of as the casualty of a propitious photo-shoot.

Oh, by the way, the guy’s name is Stanley.


Here, I’m trying to work out a Photoshop magic. The picture of the office is slightly tilted to the left and is applied with Gaussian Blur of 38.3 pixels. The purpose of which is to create an illusion of depth once in place behind Stanley’s photo.


Next, we’ll remove the background from this photo to prepare it for compositing. I used the Adobe Photoshop’s pen tool to manually trace over an imaginary line around Stanley. The Bezier curve with points above Stanley's hand is an example of how I control the flow of the curves with a pen tool.

A few notable settings that I use when cutting off the background are the following:

Feather = 1
Smoothing = 3
Selection Expand or Contract = 5


Here’s the final image after compositing. I played around and made some changes in Hues and Saturation, Color Balance, Levels and Curves to create an impression that the three different images are of the same photo. The last adjustment I made to this banner was a Warming Photo Filter (85) with a density of 6%.


Printing banners on the canvass is not much of a problem in Port Moresby. The major players in this field are the Colour Boys, Theodist, Moores Printing, Creative Arts and Tiger Signage. The photo above is in the workplace of Tiger Signage.

Have a good day everyone!

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Halo-halo and Ukay-ukay

Long ago, a group of Filipino sailors sailed together with Spaniard soldiers for a trade mission to Australia. Within the woody confines of a Spanish Galleon, off they went from the Philippines and into the vastness of the southern ocean. 

They carry with them: buffalo milk, sugar, various kinds of beans like mongo and the other types that look like the modern beans. They also brought eggs and purple yams.

In the midst of their journey, somewhere in the northeast of Papua New Guinea, there happened to be a huge storm billowing over the horizon. Without an Island on sight, the captain of the ship ordered a full speed ahead towards the southern hemisphere. Despite knowing the utmost danger of the harsh waters in the Pacific, the Filipinos obliged.

But the storm had gathered in speed and size much sooner than everyone expected and it was not long until it found the Galleon floating like a sitting duck with her crews scrambling around trying to fix her bearing amidst the strong waves and howling winds.

By then, darkness has already engulfed the ocean and even the wind-proof lamps could not compensate for the diminishing visibility brought about by the mixture of a heavy rain and hales. 

Hale. That was something scarier than one’s average source of fright. For it can punch holes through the brittle hulls of the Galleon and can knock anyone out to a deep slumber. Truly, they were a devastating force for their impact alone had broken off the mast of the ship, rendering it incapacitated. Without the sails, the crew knew they are bound to a gloomy desolation. With the storm this big, all they can do is pray and wait it out to pass. 

The next morning, everything was calm. The storm has passed by. But they couldn’t believe that the strong draught had pushed them all the way down the icy part of the world—the Antarctica! And to make it even worse, their ship has run aground on a big ice shelf.  

Feeling joyful somehow for having survived the storm, they all went down to set foot on the icy continent. That’s when the captain of the ship told the men a quote that had since put up on the annals of the history of men:

“Bring forth the beans, the buffalo milk, the sugar, the eggs and the purple yams for today, we will celebrate! We shall celebrate the day that we have lived when we’re supposed to have been in the hands of death.”

And so, the Filipino men, prepared a fire and cooked the beans. They also made a leche flan out of the buffalo milk and the eggs.  Our Filipino ancestors knew some archaic recipes about purple yams so the crew made halaya out of it.

When everything was done, they set all of the foods on the table. The captain once again spoke, “What seems to be missing? We have beans, sugar, milk, leche flan and halaya?”

Without saying a word, a Filipino crew stood up, walked over to where some pile of snow hasn’t solidified yet and scooped a handful. He came back to the table and asked the other crews to fill their cups with beans and sugar. He then stuffed the cup with snow. One of the crews put a slice of leche flan and a spoonful of halaya on the mixture. 

Seeing that what they are about to make there is something of a novelty invention, the Captain poured the milk over the mixture, thinking that if it’s going to be a success, then it’s worth contributing something even with just a miniscule effort. Alas! They have made something that no one has ever done before.

And that was how, my friend, the halo-halo was invented.

But I was just kidding. I just made that story up. In Papua New Guinea, however, there is a similar kind of halo-halo being sold for less than K10 (Kina) at Kopitiam restaurant. The Malaysian chef there calls it “Ice Ka-chang.” 

One can probably just ignore the tiny differences between halo-halo and the ice-kachang. The reason being for wanting to indulge on sweets like this is perhaps to alleviate what we are experiencing from the heat of global warming. 


Contrary to my made-up story, the ice in the Ice-kachang didn’t come from the Antarctic, but instead it came from the belly of that cute ice grinder sitting next to nanay Ada in this picture. I’m not sure why it looked like a mascot, but with my tendency to over-speculate; I’d probably think that its primal reason for the disguise was to lure curious children into coming closer so it could gobble them up.

Just kidding.

Perhaps, it’s all part of the marketing strategy. Cute things tend to attract more.


Actually, before we went to Kopitiam, me and nanay Ada had spent an hour going through the displays in one of the second hand shops in Port Moresby. This shop is somewhere around the Gordons area, near the Nesa Foam. 


The Kopitiam is somewhere around the Waigani area. The shop is behind these inanimate figures. It’s also near the “tunnel,” and when we mention the tunnel, almost everyone knows where it is.  But the tunnel is somewhat a misnomer, because it’s actually a short gap under a skyway called Poreporena highway. 

Have a nice day everyone! 

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