What’s my belt?

In the Philippines I have trained in Taekwondo, Aikido and Jeetkunedo. That was way back 1991 to 1996. Those years were the years of my peak performance. Maybe some of you have seen my pictures in Friendster or elsewhere where I’m in a Taekwondo uniform wearing a blackbelt. That was right after a fight in one of the competitions I joined in the Philippines. But I am not a Blackbelt.

In the Philippines, during competitions, everyone is allowed to fight wearing a blackbelt, even if you are a blackbelt or not a blackbelt. As long as you are willing to fight and know you can fight, the only rule in the Philippines is if you are bluebelt and below, you need your instructor’s approval to compete. There are no age categories nor belt categories. Only weight categories. The belts in the Philippines are:


Where each colored belt in between white and black has a high and low ranking. In the Philippines I am high redbelt, but always competes wearing a blackbelt and has won several matches against real blackbelts. But I never reached the finals though in all Philippine competitions I joined.

The colors of the belts in the States, specifically here with the member schools of the San Diego Taekwondo Association are:

Blue Stripe
Purple Stripe
Brown Stripe
Black and Red Stripe

When I got here in the States, I was accepted as a brown stripe belt. Like in the Philippines I was two belts away from blackbelt. So I basically have the same rank.

But one difference here is I never compete against blackbelts here since competitions are by age, by belt and by weight. Which is a good thing for me especially that I am already 31, and the last time I did Taekwondo was in 1996. Until I started Taekwondo again when I came here to the States last July 11, this year.

Today is my promotion test for Red Belt, which is low brownbelt in the Philippines. Promotion test here are different, I do punches and kicks, self-defense techniques, forms and breaking. In the Philippines, promotion test are concentrated on sparring. There is no breaking though in the Philippines, but I am pretty confident I can break the blocks of wood today. Especially the kick I’m going to do for my test is a flying side kick. And a flying side kick has a lot of power in it so breaking should not be hard. Wish me luck!

Although I won 2nd place in the 10th Annual San Diego Taekwondo Championship, Master Min still wanted me to join the California Open which I think I am not prepared for yet because I need to build up my endurance again. But when I said I am not sure I want to join, he has not reminded me to join again. Sergei, one of my friends here at the taekwondo studio wants to join and has been inviting me join too, but I really think I will build up my endurance and is working on a three month program with 24 Hour Fitness to develop peak sports performance level to augment my taekwondo skills.

Amateur-Made Video Starring Me

Last September 11, 2004, I was caught on tape. I was with someone in a very tiring act. We were both going full blast but I ran out of gas earlier.

The cameraman, Mr. William Pintos was filming something else but when he saw us, he took a video of us too.

What I did in this video is a lot more tiring than what Paris Hilton did in her videos that are circulating in the Internet.

I may not be victorious with this video, but you will see in the video that I am *ehem* the second best in San Diego. Nyhahahaha

You will need Windows Media Player by the way. I uploaded a small 2.7MB video, if you want to see a clearer copy, I got a 9.3MB version of the clip too.

I actually just captured this video from a VHS tape and if you watched the whole tape, there is actually many of us, all doing it at the same time.

Awarding Ceremony

Since Champion Taekwondo Academy had the most wins on the recently held 10th Annual San Diego Taekwondo Championship, we kind of had a simple awarding ceremony.

I supposed to arrange these and add captions, but it’s 11:00pm, I need some sleep.

Master Min asked Me, Ryan and Sergei to join the California Open Taekwondo Tournament this November. I do not know if I supposed to be happy or not. I guess it is an honor to be asked by your teacher to attend meaning he see that you have potential to make it, but I can already picture the extra training I need. I really have to jog every weekend to get my edurance up since my edurance is my number weekness right now. Second is my flexibility. Third is my strenght. And when it comes to competition strategy, I have a lot of that. The problem is, strategy is nothing if my body can’t do it anymore.

Although I got 2nd place in the last tournament, I still do not feel the way I was in 1994 to 1996 when I was training under DLSU. There are a lot of things I used to do that I am having a hard time doing now.

Extra greetings:

– Thanks to all those who congratulated me by email.
– Thanks to Sir Adrian, Received the payment already in the bank.
– Thanks to Sir Josiah and Ma’am Chiqui, Received payment also in the bank.
– Hi to Marcia, Hi babe, I hope Jamie is feeling better. Hi Dawn and Rain. Practice ka din mabuti Rain sa Taekwondo ko. Jamie might go into taekwondo soon sa Pink Toes sa Fairview. Janet always wanted to go into taekwondo, sama-sama na kayo, babe ni Jamie and Janet sa pink toes. Pagpumasok na kayo, kwento mo sa akin sino instructor dun.
– Eric B. tumawag ka daw sa bahay? Bukas may taekwondo ulit ako, tawag ka kahit mga 10pm. But if puro ring ng ring, naka call-wait yun at naka connect sa Internet. You could chat with me on AIM, YM, MSN, ICQ. Information is show on top of this page.

The 10th Annual San Diego Taekwondo Championship

Yesterday, Saturday, September 11, 2004, was the 10th Annual San Diego Taekwondo Championship at the Rimac Gym at the University of California – San Diego.

Everything started at 8:00 am and I left at 7:00 am to get there on time and give enough time to get there even if I get lost. Although Yahoo Maps and Map Quest suggested a route, I did not follow it after looking at the maps for some time, and got all the streets in my head, and was considering two alternative routes, either Torrey Pines Road from Highway 56, or exit on Genesee from Highway 56. While driving, I missed the exit to Torrey Pines when I noticed the road was already climbing high turning left. I then stayed on the right lane to be sure I don’t miss Genesee Avenue After taking the exit on Genesee; I was able to go straight to Torrey Pines and head to the Rimac Gym. After seeing some people in Taekwondo uniforms, I knew I was at the right place already.

UCSD looked like a real cool place, and reminded me of my days as a university student after seeing the large gym and the playing field outside. There were a lot of people jogging in the morning in the university streets.

I first saw Juno and Bonnie outside, then caught up with Sergei as well, then everyone else started coming. We entered the gym, and I started out with the meeting of the referees before everything started.

It was the poomse(forms, in karate, this is kata) competition first in the morning and I was one of the judges for the poomse being, one of the referees. My co-judge, I’m not sure if I remembered his name right, Mikhail was a blackbelt from another school, who was a businessman who owned a video production company, making videos, animations outsourced by other companies and their latest project is the Harry Potter animation series for TV. He also did mention he was working on educational videos for children sold in the Philippines.

We then had lunch, which was free for the referees, judges, organizers and volunteers sponsored by the San Diego Taekwondo Association. Although food was many and delicious, I did not want to fill myself up that much since it might be too heavy in the stomach or worse, might even make me throw up during my competition.

After lunch was the kyoroogi(sparring) competition, although I was still a referee, I felt I needed more time to warm up and prepare for my match mentally. But I made a promise to help out in the competition as a referee to Master Won K. Min who is a very nice guy. I also promised to help fix things at the venue the night before, but was I absent that time so I really felt like helping out as a referee.

Me outside the gym before everything started.

Before the kyoroogi, there were demonstrations by all these Taekwondo schools in San Diego. The first demonstration was a emotional-touching one by AH Taekwondo, a 10 year old kid who could barely walk with legs like twigs and no power and needed special crutches, attached to his forearms to walk. But he really had the spirit to go on. He did different hand combination techniques and self-defense techniques using his crutches and even did breaking demonstrations as well.

Other schools did rehearsed fights, although they looked good and would be great for the movies, they do not appeal to me that much.

Two demonstrations I liked best were from Champion Taekwondo Academy and World Taekwondo Institute. Champion Taekwondo Academy did great with the breaking where the highlights were Daniel’s high side kick over the shoulders of two people, and these two people were standing up. And Andy’s high roundhouse on a board held by someone on top of another person’s shoulders, as Andy took a step up on another person’s hands.

World Taekwondo Institute seemed to have the most adult blackbelts compared to the other schools. So there was a lot of breaking. The highlights were a turning side kick breaking four boards, a jumping turning hook kick (Philippine kick name: jumping turning long) with an extra ½ turn, and not only one person did it, a lot of them did it. This was a personal favorite kick of mine in the past, when I used to do it too, but with the training I will be doing, I think I will be back with the skill I had before.

This trophy says Outstanding Referee, but there is really nothing special about it, all referees received the exact same trophy. So all of us were outstanding! 😛

Being a referee, I knew that we will not allow anyone to join without head gear, body armor, forearm guards, shin and instep guards, mouth piece and groin guard. The only thing I had was a groin guard! Outside was a table selling everything but I did not have all the money to buy everything since I didn’t have the cash yet. Mama and Papa gave me $50 for me to use for food and a good thing food was free for referees so I used up all the money on everything I could buy for my kyoroogi competition. I got myself some shin guards, forearm guards, and a mouth piece. I borrowed armor and head gear. After I got everything, I wore whatever I could and just wore my referee t-shirt over it and went back to the referee seats and was a corner judge for some of the fights.

When it was my time to line up to prepare to fight, I went on to the competitors’ area to prepare. I was a bit surprised to see more people than expected who fight in my age category. Since it was my first time to wear a mouth piece, I wore it earlier for my to get used to it and I was not used to it at all. It was kind of funny looking at the faces of the other competitors before the competition started, you can’t really tell if they are confident or not, but I could see them hiding fear in their faces. And here comes Joe and Sergei (friends of mine from Champion Taekwondo Academy) who looked real confident sparring at each other backstage before the competition started where everyone is lined up. What they were doing looked liked fun, so I decided to join in as well. And as were sparring, I found it funny looking at the faces of the other competitors; it was already like scarring them. Nyhahahaha.

Another competitor talked to me and asked if I was a Filipino, and I said yes. He then asked how long I was in the States, and I said 2 months. He then asked where I trained in Taekwondo, I said mainly in the Philippines. And then he said “Naku lagot, patay na!” (Oh no, we’re dead!) He then asked at what Taekwondo school in the Philippines did I train, and I said at DLSU under Stephen Fernandez. He then said again “Naku lagot!” (Oh No!) But I just laughed at his reactions since and said that was a long time ago; the last time I practiced hard was in 1996 and I lost all my endurance through time without practice. He too was knowledgeable of how training is different in the Philippines compared to the States.

Read on and find out how I got this!

Well anyway, from fight after fight, each fight along the way felt tiring and more tiring, but was still happy to advance up to the finals. During the final match, this already assured me at least a 2nd place spot in my division and my competitor did not look tired at all. Since I was so tired, I was rarely kicking and my competitor kept kicking, but never hit me well. He was like kicking air as I always moved away from his kicks. But I think it did make me look like a losing chicken to the judges like I was running away from a fight. During the last round I felt I had no energy to go on, but I said he has never really landed a solid point on me, so I’m going hard even if I’m so tired, I will push myself near the limit of collapsing. Nyahahahaha. A few seconds before the fight ended, I landed a good solid, nice sounding roundhouse to the chest of my opponent. And he never landed a solid kick on me. I thought I got already, with a 1-0 score on my favor. And then when the winner was announced, I lost. Nyhahahahaha, and I knew why. I backed out of the fighting arena three times and was given two warnings and a point deduction on my third time. Since two warning is equal to a point deduction as well, I was given a negative 2 point. So I got a final score of -1! Nyhahahaha, but there are really no negative scores here, so it was like a 0-0 match. But my opponent was more aggressive and I was just so tired and was moving away the whole time. Anyway, 2nd place is still good and I had a chat too with the winner who was a Russian from a Taekwondo School in Los Angeles. And as we parted ways and congratulated him and said nice meeting you, he also said, if you’ll be here next year, we might meet again. And I said yeah, and hopefully I win next year, then I laughed.

I would also like to give this opportunity to thank the people who helped me win this competition…

Stephen Fernandez – He is still the person responsible for the foundation of all my Taekwondo skills. The whole DLSU Taekwondo team was a real hard-core Taekwondo team. The 6:00am varsity training was an experience I never experienced in any other Taekwondo school. 3 hours straight sparring 3 minutes each round, sparring with everyone without safety gear and head kicks are allowed for all belt levels. For me is my best Taekwondo instructor so far in the history of my Taekwondo experience.

Edrick Galing – This beefed-up muscleman was not only a Taekwondo instructor, he was a nutritionist, a health adviser, aerobics competitor since he is a Human Kinetics graduate of UP. He was like a fight tactician, a technical fighter. Although Stephen was also a technical coach, a fight tactician too, Stephen was move of a sadistic motivator. Edrick was like a anti-violence guy. I remember Stephen saying once “If your opponent is faster than you, hurt him a bit so he slows down.” Something you will never hear from Edrick since he never wants somebody hurt.

Cesar Mateo – Just like Edrick Galing, he has the same traits, and is also from the college of Human Kinetics at UP. I believe he is even still teaching there at UP up to now.

Lumar Sosa – Unlike other instructors who were products of Sung Chon Hong, Sir Lumar was a product of David Lee. He had the skill but did not have the hardcore attitude like the others. He is humble and has Christian teachings integrated in his classes.

Robert Danao – This guy is a bit old already, but he is beefed up. His skill is extremely great considering his age where I think is nearly in his late 30s or early 40s. He recently won a competition here in the States for both poomse and kyoroogi. His whole life is inspiring knowing that he was once a criminal and serve a long sentence in jail. He learned his lessons and turned to the Lord and changed for the better. He had nothing to do when he got out of jail and ended up helping cleaning the Philippine Taekwondo Association’s Central Gym and helping out in everything there while he studied Taekwondo at the gym as well.

Won K Min – My latest instructor here in the States, he is Korean and I know he’s pretty hard core considering training in Korea is hardcore but since he is in the States, He adopted the American style of training. Always starts classes with a greeting, “Hello everyone, how are you today?” and end with the greeting, “Good job, everyone did good today. Class dismissed.” And kicking to the head is really a big issue here in the States since it is not allowed for colored belts and I kind of understand why since people easily sue people here, and if a kid tells his parents, I got kicked in the head and their parents go hysterical, they sometimes just want to bring everything to court and take legal action, and that’s where the trouble starts. But generally I think he is doing a good job since Champion Taekwondo Academy got a lot of wins during the competition.

This November, is the California Open Taekwondo Competition, now the question is am I joining? The answer is no, but in 2005 I believe I will. The San Diego competition was already tiring for me, although I reached the finals. I was way tired in the final match and the California Open will have more competitors and it will be more tiring since there will be more fights. But I will train hard for it to be able to join next year. I just need to jog a lot to get my endurance back. I might go to a gym next month to get beefed up as well for more strength and muscles sometimes pad up your body so you don’t get hurt that much when you get hit.

I would also like to the Lord for keeping everything safe during the competition. There was only like one incident that brought the attention of the San Diego Taekwondo Association president. This was during a match of two 15 year old blackbelt girls where one of them got ax kicked in the face and hurt her eye. It was nothing serious, but being a 15 year old and with all the crying, she was so emotional about it that she cried so much and did not want to stand up anymore. She was fine after about 30 minutes.

I’d like to say sorry to Garry, Tess since I did not get to attend the baptism of Julie Ann in the States, and thanks for understanding the situation as well. The competition was a whole day affair.

Thanks to my family’s support back home, my wife who is behind me even if she’s in the Philippines. My Mom who always worried in everything I do, don’t worry Mom, you have to worry a lot if I join competitions in the Philippines. But here in the States, do not worry about anything, everything is done safe here.

Thanks to Mama and Papa because without them, I would have no place to stay which is really a large expense on my part if ever they were not here with me without a job when I came here.

Thanks to my fellow students at my do-jang, and congratulations too! Many of us won, for those that did not win, we are all here to help you out with your mistakes and will correct them. For those that did not join, the only reason I see why you do not want to join is because you feel you are not confident with the skill you have, so we are here to help you out with that too and develop the skill you need to be confident to join as well.

The House Blessing by Kuya Jef

This is an old event, but a new posting here on my blog. During the blessing I was just too busy to post the pictures and the story.

Msgr. Rev. Fr. Jeffrey Garcia starts the blessing.

As the day of the blessing came nearer, so did my departure date to leave for the States. The blessing was held last July 10, and I was scheduled to leave on July 11. So most of the days I was packing up, and basically preparing my computer, as well as doing all things I could do at the house that Marcia might have a hard time doing while I’m gone. So everything I could fix, I fixed, everything related to wiring, electricity, phone line extensions, computer LAN cabling and all physical things as well like drilling, and other stuff. Time was just not enough to fix Marcia’s PC, Janet’s PC and the PC that Ate Dawn will use, as well as for Jamie’s educational games.

Some of the visitors by the side of the house.

And as each day passed by, Marcia was busy preparing the house for the blessing and helped her every time she needed me. One thing about Marcia is when she is pressured; she tends to be hot-headed. But no problem with me, I can take it, and do not face it head on. I just smile and know that she is just like that but she has no intentions of being mad at anyone.

One of memorable blunders is just hours before the blessing, when she poured hot water in the kitchen sink; she felt it on her feet. Poor Marcia, she got hot as well, angry at everything. I checked it out and the tubes are not really sealed. Although it works, pouring something at a fast rate will really make it leak. Good thing Adam was also there to help me out.

Some of the visitors by the side the garage.

When Kuya Jef texted Marcia saying he was at SM Fairview already, I went to pick him up. After a few minutes when I arrived at SM, he was there. Had a small chat on the priest at the Parish of Mary the Queen, whom were kuya’s students.

When we got back home, I was back to being busy and so was Marcia. Then the visitors started to arrive one by one. The groups of visitors were mainly Marcia’s friends from Colegio de San Bartolome, friends at Blue Star Lending Investors, Inc. My high school friends from Sacred Heart Academy of Novaliches, and a few friends from Informatics Computer Institute and people back home at Teresa Heights.

When everything seemed to be ready, the ceremony started. Kuya Jef went to ever corner of the house and after blessing the house, he bless my car and Janet and Harry’s van as well.

Kuya Jef and Marcia

After the blessing, it was eating time. And after that, it was kwentuhan time. When that was done, I went straight up to the room to finish packing my things up preparing to leave the next day, going to the States.

For stories on my departure from the Philippines and arrival in the States, click on the links below:

The trip to the US
Setting Foot on US Ground

Garry & Tess’ Cassava Cake Recipe

I just woke up and heard the answering machine giving this tone that implies that there is a saved message. I got up and pressed the play button.

It was a message for Mama and Papa from Garry who needs the cassava cake recipe again. Since I saved it in the sent items in my email software, I am posting it here on the blog so it will never get lost, if ever they will need it again. Just visit http://cassavacake.benjarriola.com and it will always forward to this page.

Below is a copy of my previous email:

Hi Garry,Here is the recipe from Mama that you requested, I just took notes from Mama and this is what she said:


-3 Bags of Grated Cassava
-1 Can of Coconut Milk
-1 Bottle of Macapuno
-1 Bottle of Sweet Jackfruit (Langka)
-1 Can of Condensed Milk.

Mix all ingredients except the condensed milk and cook. Once you think it is cook, then that is the time to add the condensed milk.

Since I brought my PC here in San Diego, we were able to print all the pictures you sent and Mama and Papa were really happy to see you all.

See you in August, take care.


My New Bike – Updated!

In the Philippines I was a BMXer / Freestyler. I still consider myself one, but my skill depleted through time mainly because of work. I am a bit old, but still a kid at heart still wanting to ride my bike. (Hey Matt Hoffman, Dennis McCoy are pretty old. They are older than me and still rip up on dirt, vert and street)

Since I came here with no bike, I decided to look out for one at the local bike shop. I saw a perfect Redline just for me.

It is way better than my freestyle bike back home in the Philippines. Here some information on my bike that I got from the Redline Website:

FEATURES Set up with Redline’s Trail bars with 6 1/2″ rise, Tektro alloy brakes in the front and rear, along with a SST detangler and one pair of pegs, the Recon is perfect for a early Street machine. Chromoly 170mm cranks and 48hole / 14mm axled Alex wheels, wrapped with Redline’s famous “Freaky-V” tires make this bike equipped for any Recon mission.

FRAME Trail w/chamber head tube gusset, Hi-Ten w/ ovalized stays
FORK 1 1/8″ “Monster” fork, threadless
HEADSET Threadless
BARS 25″ X 6 1/2″ Trail bars
STEM alloy “Proline” threadless
GRIPS flangeless Redline “Freaky-G” soft compound
LEVER Tektro aluminum L&R
BRAKES Tektro aluminum front and rear U-brakes SEAT
Redline “Blvd.” 6.0 saddle w/ 8mm rails & rubber wrap
POST 14″ hi-ten
CLAMP alloy “Proline”
CRANKS Chromoly 1-pc forged, 170mm
PEDALS resin Redline platform
B/B SET looseball
CHAINRING 44t “Solid-S” chainwheel
HUBS 48hole w/ 14mm axles
RIMS Alex aluminum alloy rims, 20X1.75, 48spoke
SPOKES 14 gauge
TIRES Redline “Freaky-V” tires, – 20 X 1.95 front & rear, all black.
EXTRAS SST “Oryg” detangler, 1 pair pegs
COLORS Nickel, Green or Trans Blue

The highlight of this bike, compared to my old Haro Taiwan Reject in the Philippines is I have both front and back U-brakes, very large hub axles, Oryg II Detangler, 48 spoke wheels. I wanted to change the handle bars though and found a cool Hoffman Love Bars but it was an extra $89 and I decided to buy this next time.

I now met Ryan by email, the webmaster of SanDiegoBMX.com and probably hangout with them if given the time.

I do not know what it is about BMX and Freestyle, I can’t out grow it, it gives me this ‘natural high’ (next best thing to sex for me, nyhahaha. Of course my main natural high is being with my wife in bed. nyhahaha Hi babe, I know you always read my stories here.)

Will keep you updated with my BMX / Freestyle life here. I bought my bike from The Cycle Center from Sami. A cool guy, he looks a bit old, but at least he knows what he is selling. Unlike the many bike shops in the Philippines, they do not know what they are selling, they just sell. In the Philippines they do not know what is a BMX bike, a Freestyle bike for flatland, for street, for ramp. They just know they are bicycles and BMX are for kids and Mountain Bikes and Racers are for adults.

*** Story Updates ***

I tried out my bike right after I got it, the stem twisted on my fronthops. Spinning and hopping tricks were hard with the low tire pressure. Handlebar angle was bent back a bit that gave me a hard time on a simple rock walk and bunny hopping. Did the neccessary adjustments already, but I do not like the handle bar, it’s too short, but when I start earning money I’ll get the Hoffman Love Bars. In the meantime since I am an oldschool freestyler, I will start working on my scuffing tricks and rolling tricks since that is where freestyle is today.

Taekwondo USA Style vs. Philippine Style

I started out taekwondo in 1991 in the Philippines. I have competed in several competitions and practiced in several schools under different instructors, depending who has the most convenient location and time that time. I stopped in 1996 due to an accident where I had torn ligaments in my right knee. I was advised to rest for 2 years and I never got back in shape to what I was before. Not because of my knee, but because I was already working and I didn’t have much time freedom to workout.

Now I had two accounts of going into taekwondo here in the States, first was in 1999 at a taekwondo school along Wilshire Avenue in LA and now at Champion Taekwondo Academy in Rancho Peñasquitos in San Diego. And here are the major differences I have observed.

Treatment to new students from other schools

USA: They are treated with a very warm welcome.

Philippines: They are treated with a welcome, and if their belt is colored already, they are challenged. Other students check how good you are and try to beat you up in sparring. If they see your good, you gain more respect.


USA: One hour.

Philippines: Usually two hours. One and a half hour for kids.


USA: A lot of endurance exercises, a lot of forms.

Philippines: A lot of kicking exercises, shadow sparring drills. Competition sparring drills.


USA: Done about once a week.

Philippines: Done every meeting. And is a personal favorite of higher belts. It is like, everything is boring, and everyone is just waiting for the sparring.

Personally, I was a bit bored in my first taekwondo class here, since I didn’t get to spar. But it was still fine since my endurance was really down. I still need more time to get back my aerobic endurance.

How’s Everything!

Summary in a few words:

Still looking for a job, 2nd Screening for Lindows
Trying to close a deal
Having fun Chatting with Marcia
Passed the Driver’s License Exam
Joined a Taekwondo School

The Brief Details:

After applying for tons of jobs on Monster.com and HotJobs.com ever since I came here, on the first batch of jobs I applied for, one already replied saying I passed the initial screening and was asked to fill up another questionnaire for the second screening. The company was Lindows, Inc.. Position as a PHP / MySQL Programmer

I got a proposal with a major publication company for my company YDS Web Solution, and it is still in the works. No contract signing yet, but if ever I get this, this will be a major break for my company in the States.

Marcia bought a webcam and headset with microphone so I’m happy to see her in the flesh and hear her as well. I get to talk to and see Jamie as well.

I took the examination at the Department of Motor Vehicles for my driver’s license and passed the examination with a perfect 100%. They gave me a temporary license that I could use till September 20, 2004 until I get my actual driving examination.

Just joined Champion Taekwondo Academy under Master Won K Min. They are WTF style so my belt will be accredited. In the Philippines I am a high red belt, where that is 3 belts away from Black Belt, and Master Kim was offering me the same belt, 3 belts away from black belt, but I asked for a belt one step lower since it has been 1996 since the my last active practice of taekwondo. I might be pressured with the same ranking and my skill depleted through the years. I might get beat up with the same belt so I opted for one belt lower.

Of course Master Min knows Master Sung Chun Hong of the Philippines and I told him I am a student of the student of Master Hong. With my hyperthyroidism still hyper, I took some tapazole to lower my thyroid activity to lessen my heart rate in preparation for later, which is my first Taekwondo class in years. I will do some stretching before I leave so my body won’t have a big adjustment.

Hello to my family, I miss you all.

My PC Metamorphosis

I came to the States with a Pentium 4 1.6Ghz, 256MB DDR with two 40GB Samsung Hard Disk Drives, One 1GB Seagate Hard Disk Drive, a 32x/12x/48x CD/CDRW/CDR CyberDrive all on top of a Elitegroup Mainboard. I also brought the following peripherals with me: A Kworld USB TV Box, LifeView TV Out adapter, iOmega Parallel Port Zip 100 drive, DVII Video Cam / 2 MegaPixel Cam and Webcam in one. I also brought my Olympus D-220L Digital Camera with defective flash, Palm Zire 7.1 PDA and Nokia 3650 Cellphone.

I was not able to bring my HP Deskjet 3325 Printer and Canon Scanner. Mama and Papa said they’ll buy me one and I said we could buy it next time, but they insisted to buy it now. Actually they look more excited in buying that I was, thanks so much Mama and Papa. When we got to Best Buy, which was an electronic appliances store, they had everything there. When we went to the printers, there were a lot of them. There were three main HP models, we got the mid-range priced one, it was an HP PhotoSmart 7760, way better than the printer I left in the Philippines. The printer I had in the Philippines I guess was obsolete already in the States. They also bought me a new scanner, a Microtek ScanMaker i320.

I started applying online to tons of job opening at monster.com and hotjobs.com. I came across one job posting that required me to fax and will not consider resumes sent by mail or email, nor phone inquiries are not accepted. So I ask Papa where could I fax? He said, Bili na tayo ng fax mahine! I said: “Hindi na po, isang padalahan lang ito…” Papa insisted, saying “kailangan mo yan!” and parang galit pa na ayaw kong bumili. This time we went to Circuit City since it was their clearance sale and we bought a Panasonic KX-FPG381. It had a wireless phone with it, with telephone answering machine functions.

One major difference I noticed is that in the Philippines, when you buy something, before leaving the store, you open it and test it if it works before buying it. In the State, you cannot test it, nor open the box. Opening the box already voids the warranty. In the Philippines, warranty is void only if you open the product itself. You can even leave the box behind if you want.

In the Philippines, I test my products before I leave the store because I never trust the product quality and always need to test it before I leave just to be sure everything is running fine. Here in the States it seems QC people do a good job and they are the ones that assure you everything is working, if ever something doesn’t work, it’s the QC people that get the reprimands I guess.

Yesterday, people in the company where Ma and Pa works were throwing away computers, as in really throwing them in the trash! Papa said he got two CPUs right away and Mama even told him aan’hin mo pa ‘yan? And Papa said that I am here back home, baka kailangan ko and Mama started to get some na rin!

Well it was a good decision. Papa got an old Dell PC running a Pentium II processor, still with the old EDO RAM. The processor was Philippine made in Intel’s plant in the Philippines. The other CPU was a Gateway 2000 Pentium III, no memory installed. It had a Quantum 6GB Hard Disk and Philippine made Toshiba CD ROM drive. It had an internal ATAPI/IDE iOmega Zip 100 Drive. The drive was on a Promise Technology Ultra33 Raid IDE Controller card.

Although the parts were not complete, I could get the best parts of each and put them together and build a computer for Mama and Papa and teach them using their email. It had an Internet Lucent Technologies 56K Modem and 3COM LAN Card.

After putting the good parts together, I was not able to test it yet since I have no SDRAM which was missing in the Gateway 2000 PC. The other PC was using EDO RAM while my PC was running on DDR, so there was really no way to test it, until we buy some SDRAM. Since there were two CD ROM drives, an LG and a Toshiba, I got the LG and fitted in my PC. Since I only had one CD/CDRW/CDR drive, having another CD is great for faster CD copying and my burner would not be worn out right away since I will use another player for playing alone. My external iOmega Zip drive was not functioning well it was great Papa got the CPUs, I could now still read my zip disk since I installed the internal iOmega Zip drive on my PC.

One problem I encountered though is my IDE ports were filled up on my motherboard. My primary IDE had a 40 GB hard disk as master and the CD/CDRW/CDR as slave. My secondary IDE port had another 40 GB hard disk as master and 1 GB hard disk as slave. I had no places to add the CD ROM drive and Internal Zip Drive. But it was also a good thing the Gateway 2000 CPU had a Promise Technology Raid IDE Controller card. Just what I needed to add ports.

I added the card and noticed my PC was booting on the added IDE ports. I checked the boot order settings and they were fine. Until I noticed the BIOS chip on the controller card. I removed it and it now booted fine. WinXP had no problems in installing the correct driver for it as well. I removed the 1GB Secondary Slave and made it the Tertiary Master (The primary IDE port of the controller card) and the Internal Zip Drive as Quaternary Master (The secondary IDE port of the controller card.). The Secondary slave now has the LG CD ROM Drive.

Since I also ran out of power connectors from the power supply, I got two connectors from the Dell computer, cut them and soldered them on another connector of my current power supply. Since my soldering iron came from the Philippines, it was a 200 to 220V, 60W soldering iron and it took quite a while to heat up and the lead gets cold easily because of the 110V voltage standard here in the States.