Author Archive Alfred V.

ByAlfred V.

Firefighters

“Firefighters – The Unsung Heroes” is a cooperative family game. In cooperative games all players play together against the game, unlike in the competitive games where players play against each other.

Firefighters - cooperative family game with a thrilling story

Firefighters – cooperative family game with a thrilling story

About Firefighters

“Firefighters – The Unsung Heroes” is an immersive board game giving players the thrills and the experience of the life of a firefighter. Besides the fun it is designed to teach the players fire prevention and procedures in case of fire. At the same time, our goal is to give them the enthusiasm and respect for the firefighting profession.

The Plot

There is an arsonist in our little town. We have to catch the villain while saving the villagers and their property from the fires.

Gameplay

Players play together against the arsonist (it is a game the concept, not a player). This is a cooperative game, very popular in the last years – players don’t compete against each other, but work together to reach the common goal. Each player is the leader of a team of firefighters with different strengths. They have to make a plan and work together to tackle all goals of the game – rescue the people, extinguish the fires and gather the evidence to capture the arsonist.

Learn more about real life firefighters at:

How to play Firefighters

A few captures of the game, so you can get the idea of its richness and simplicity. Also, see the basic firefighting concepts incorporated in easily understandable rules.

Firefighters - fire risk index defines the danger of the fire spread

Fields in the game have various Fire Risk Indexes. The higher the number the higher is the chance that fire will spread.

Firefighters - arson scene, evidence, fire counter

There was an arsonist active at the building No. 9 (right side). There is a piece of evidence (yellow with the matching symbol) and some fire to it.

Firefighter extinguishes the fire

A new fire is threatening the neighbourhood, engulfing also the building No. 13. Tina and her team are already close to this area.

Firefighter movement, action points, protection

Tina moves to the building No 13. and extinguishes the fire.

Firefighters capture arsonist with evidence.

The players have to extinguish the fire at the building No. 9 caused by the arsonist. Then search for the evidence, capture the suspect and send him behind the bars.

Firefighters can be injured in accidents

Unfortunately, Tim was inside the building when it collapsed. Now other players must come and bravely rescue him.

Firefighters Team

Meet the people behind the game.

Alfred Vesligaj

Professional product developer and project manager. He has more than 20 published tabletop products, among them nine for the Talking Tom franchise. He was lecturing Techniques of Creativity for the Media Production Management program at Middlesex University, London.

Dr. Ales Jug

Ales Jug holds Ph. D. from Faculty of maritime studies and transport, Slovenia (2011). He went on to earn a master’s degree in fire protection engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He thought courses in fire dynamics, disaster management, risk assessment etc. at Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology (University of Ljubljana) and at Slovenian firefighting academy. He is current chairman of Fire prevention commission at CTIF (International association of fire and rescue service) and president of fire prevention commission at Firefighters association of Slovenia. Dr. Jug is certified fire fighter and senior fire officer. He served as a chairman of Fire protection technical committee at Slovenian institute for standardization. Dr. Jug has supervised and participated in several national and international research projects, supported mainly by European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. He is also a technical expert in European Civil protection team. He presented papers at many research conferences worldwide. He is also author and co-author of two scientific monograph publications. While teaching courses at University of Ljubljana, he supervised more than hundred diploma works.

Dr. Ales Jug is currently pursuing Ph.D. degree in Business administration with concentration on social entrepreneurship at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He joined Becker College as an adjunct faculty in August 2016. Dr. Jug is a co-founder of Institute Be Safe, social enterprise. His current research focus on theoretical and practical applications of cross sector collaboration between social and regular enterprises and the importance of social enterprises within cross sector activities. He is also interested in sensemaking process and industrial and community risks analysis. Dr. Jug has published fire safety and risk analysis related papers in many edited collections and peer reviewed journals, his most recent papers are about social entrepreneurship and were published in several conference proceedings.

 

ByAlfred V.

Essen Spiel 2015 – the reflections

Gamer’s Christmas – Essen Spiel 2015 (world’s largest board game fair) – is over. We came, we presented and we conquered most of what we wanted. But first let us treat you with the interview with the Pandemic’s author Matt Leacock.

Essen Spiel 2015

The road to Essen was a nightmare, it was raining the whole 1100 kilometers from Slovenia to North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany and when we got there is was a cold and rainy autumn afternoon. Luckily we had three drivers to rotate at the wheel as the traffic conditions sucked the life force out of each of us. And tired as we were we still had to set up both of our booths – the main one in Hall 2 and the prototype booth at the Author’s area in Hall 7.

To be honest I did not get that much of the fair as was mostly occupied on our Author’s Booth in Hall 7. Thursday and Friday were somewhat slow in the terms of the visitors, so that was the only time I got to browse around a bit and check up this year’s Spiel des Jahres winners; the Colt Express and the Broom Service. Saturday was insanely crowded – to the point it was almost impossible to move even in the main corridors. And having people sit or lean in the hall gates did not help a bit … perhaps because that is not why they were meant for! But then on Sunday after lunch the fair started turning into a ghost town – something I do not remember from the last year.

Essen Spiel 2015 - Value Ad Games Booth

Busy moments at our main booth in Hall 2.

The Cool Stuff

Essen Spiel 2015 - Tom And Jerry

Tom Vasel of the Dice Tower and Jerry Sunkin of the CoolStuffInc (yes, it’s Tom and Jerry 🙂 ) interested in the Fire Brigade.

This year we got many promising meetings in Essen Spiel 2015 with the publishers who were stopping at our boot more often than at any other table in the Author’s area and our main star was our new game, the “Pumpkings”. But also the “Fire Brigade” and the “Ranch” out of our new stock caught the eyes of the publishers from the four continents – from Brasil to China (and that is not across the Pacific)! We have sold our “Five Elements” to the largest online retailer in the USA – the CoolStuffInc.com, so I guess you will be able to get it there soon.

But our brightest moment was on Saturday when Tom Vasel of The Dice Tower came by with Jerry Sunkin of the CoolStuffInc and got him interested in our “Fire Brigade”.  But other than that we were busy most of the time, specially due to what looks to be our next big title – the “Pumpkings”. It looks like the awesome artwork did the most of the job because people were just drawn to it – and that means the small and the big people.

And for the finales – not that I want to brag … but i will anyway – we made an interview with Matt Leacock, the author of Pandemic. The interview is published at the top of this post. Please note that the sound is far from perfect, but we have provided the captions (turn them on by clicking the CC button).

Essen Spiel 2015 - Matt Leacock

Matt Leacock (Pandemic) and Alfred V. on the day of the official release of the Pandemic Legacy.

See more of the images of Essen Spiel 2015 on the Value Ad Games facebook page.

ByAlfred V.

UK Games Expo 2015 with Value Ad Games

We have just returned from the UK Games Expo in Birmingham … UK (obviously) a trip of 4000 km (2500 miles) and so many adventures we could make a fine RPG out of it. The fair was a big success – we have met many important distributors, publishers and manufacturers. And we have sold many copies of Walk to Jesus and 27: Five Elements. We have interviewed Lara Croft and Ben Miles the author of Lugu (find the videos in the second halve of the post).

Lara Croft and Alfred V.

Lara Croft with Alfred V. at our booth at UK Games Expo 2015, Birmingham, UK

Trip to Birmingham

It was Wednesday, May 27th 2015 at 9:30 am when we set for the road from Rogaska Slatina, Slovenia and it took us about 6 hours to reach Munich, Germany where we had our first meeting with a prominent priest about Walk to Jesus and how to promote it via Slovenian priest network in the world. We gave him a present of “slivovka”, a genuine Slovene plum spirit. Er … it’s good for the health. We had to shop for some tools to finish the prototypes for our new big title the Fire Brigade.

Dover ferry terminal

Ferry terminal at Dover before sunrise

This would be fine if I would not get sick like a rocket just a few days ago from working all nights to get everything ready for the fairs and not getting more than five hours of sleep for about two weeks. Luckily Andrejs (yes, i had two guys called Andrej with me) were driving and I could sleep-ish during the trip. We got to Calais, France at about 4 am, got the ticket and boarded in about one hour for the 5:25 ferry for Dover, UK.

Sunset France | UK Games Expo 2015

Sunset over France

morning in England | UK Games Expo 2015

Morning in England

We did not drown in the Channel and landed after one hour at Dover just like the first soldiers saved from Dunkirk precisely 75 years ago. It was a beautiful late spring sunny morning … for about 20 minutes. After that the lovely British weather caught up with us and we have driven for the next four hours in about 7 different kinds of rain, intermittent by the patches of the suicidaly dull cloudiness, spiced by a few rays of sun just to prevent us from turning back. And in only 28 hours on the road we have reached Birmingham.

I guess there should be a law against complaining about a three-bed room for four nights at 150 euro in UK, but until there is one … the room was really tiny and it had a shower with a glass door (yes, a see though glass) inside the room which does make it a bit weird if you stay there with two other guys. And we only got two blankets and two towels, but they did change them every day. The toilet was not much bigger than my suitcase and the beds were not comfortable, but the rest was good … I am not quite sure what is the rest. Well, the stuff was really friendly and after all we did not go to Birmingham to admire the cheap hotel rooms.

Birmingam |UK Games Expo 2015

Birmingham does have some interesting architecture … but after seeing London …

Not to forget – on the second night the fire alarms started going off in all the rooms. Maybe 20 or 30 times. According to the rumors, they did not know where is the source, but there was no fire, only a drunken or stoned Dutchman running around the hotel and switching them on. I guess the show was included in the price, but they kept it a secret to make a bigger impact. Btw, if you fancy this kind of experience it was the Ibis Budget Hotel, and i would rate it 9/10 in efficiency per buck – it would be 10/10 if beds were better because I really don’t care about the rest at this price. At a comfort scale 3/10 would be a very good rating, awarded only because i like Ibis Hotels.

UK Games Expo 2015

Andrejs |UK Games Expo 2015

Both Andrejs at our booth

The fair was at the National Exhibition Center near the airport in the Hilton hotels complex. The organization was very good, everything was running really smoothly even the set up procedures. We were there really early to meet Alex Green, the Chief Buyer for the Esdevium Games – the largest hobby distributor on the island, and – as they claim – in the entire Europe. It turned out later that he did not come to the con at all … maybe it was the weather. There was one more funny thing at UK Games Expo 2015 – they did not place the trash bins – according to one of the staff members because people were throwing garbage in them in the previous years! Must be some weird kind of a British humor i don’t understand.

spaceship model | UK Games Expo 2015

This is one seriously overgrown miniature of a spaceship.

I was quite surprised – for a relatively new and relatively small con (UK Games Expo 2015 had only 15K visitors, compared to 100K+ at main German fairs) the names attending were impressive. And there was a lot of small indie developers like us. Compared to last Essen we actually had a better turn over rate per day, and an insane almost 100% conversion rate from testers to buyers for the Five Elements. In fact on the last day Eddie Turner from Esdevium Games bought all of our stock! Also Walk to Jesus was selling well and we got amazingly many mail addresses for the release of the Fire Brigade. Maybe it was because there was less competition as elsewhere or just because the Brits are so nice and can’t say: “No” if being offered something.

Leon Lau Wingo | UK Games Expo 2015

Alfred V. with Leon Lau of the Wingo Company, a manufacturer from China

By the end of the fair we have had meetings with Esdevium, Bergsala Enigma, WinGo Company, Spiele Smiede (Spiele Ofensive), many retailers and bloggers and Frank Jaeger from the Ludo Fact who bought me a beer for 5 pounds. It was a tasty British brew, but for that money i could get seriously wasted in Slovenia … if I would be in the wasting business (just for the record – i was not seriously wasted since i was 21).

But not to forget we also had an interview with the one and only Lara Croft (does it sound lame if I have to say it was cosplay?) – she got a copy of Walk to Jesus for her parents – and we also donated a copy of the Black Diamond for her charity – The Galactic Knights. She told us that she had always wanted to be a firefighter and much more … check out at the video if you want to know what. (We were filming in a very loud hall at the fair time, so please excuse poor sound – we have included subtitles – if you do not see them, click on the CC icon in the bottom row of the video.)

Also Ben Miles, the author of the award winning card game Lugu was at our booth. He also got hooked on the Five Elements mania and bought one – I am so proud of myself :p . See why he believes his game is successful and why he likes our Five Elements – and why thinks it is a perfect travel game. (Again sorry for the poor sound, but also here we have included the subtitles.)

We did not have much time for the sight seeing (we did drive past the Aston Villa stadium though) because UK Games Expo 2015 and meetings connected to it took most of our time. But our hotel was in Chinatown so we were only 10 minutes away from the Bullring (the town’s commercial center since the middle ages) and we went there every evening, but as the name suggest – the prices are very …”central”. And there is not much to see other than shopping centers, restaurants and the St. Martin’s Church.

Andrej But - value ad games - UK Games Expo 2015

Our fashion model Andrej at Bullring, Birmingham. St. Martin’s Church at the back and shopping centers at all sides

Eating is definitely one of the most adventurous endeavours you can engage yourself into in the Great Britain. I was in England for the third time (those interested in the difference between UK, GB, England and much more should check this video) and I have never had fish and chips so i decided to right this injustice. The chips are bigger than the french fries and i liked them a lot, but the fish was dripping with oil and was really not something I would want to eat more than once per three visit to the UK. On the last day i took my guys out on a dinner to the real traditional pub, and they took something called “beef steak with liver pudding” but when they got it served it did not look anything like a steak … it was much closer to a blob that ate and started digesting the steak when the chef hit it on the head and put it on the plate (and yes, I am very sorry i forgot to take a picture). As a vegetarian (i do eat fish) I really felt discriminated in UK – the only veggies they know are apparently peas and of course potatoes. So I had breaded shrimps … with peas and chips. It tasted well and even Andrejs liked their alien looking dish … a sort of. But they still decided to stay on a healthy diet of the fast food restaurants for the rest of the trip.

A few photos from the UK Games Expo 2015 are bellow, but you can see more of them at the Value Ad Games facebook profile: www.facebook.com/valueadgames

UK Games Expo

The busy day at the UK Games Expo 2015

Faith | UK Games Expo 2015

Faith by three guys from Spain … they were our neighbors here and in Essen last year.

spartacus | UK Games Expo

TV show licensed games … not really my passion. (this one is Spartacus)

alfred vs orc | UK Games Expo 2015

I have bravely fought with an Orc … and went down with a smile!

zombies | UK Games Expo 2015

Can’t swing a dead cat these days without hitting a zombie or two.

miniatures, terrains | UK Games Expo 2015

Miniatures and terrains had their own hall.

The long (and boring) way home

Thames Bridge | UK Games Expo 2015

Thames Bridge

At 3:30 am the next morning the alarms went off and even though we were satisfied with the UK Games Expo 2015 we were all happy to go back to the civilisation where human beings drive at the right side of the road, steaks look flat, brown and juicy (not that i really care about it) and where the phrase: “What a lovely day we have today” means that there is sun on the sky on a day with a moderate temperature, perhaps with a gentle breeze. Even at this hour the roads got jammed up near London and I began to understand Jeremy Clarkson’s bitching over the british highways – speed limits are reduced, signposts “roadworks” are everywhere … but there is no one working … it almost feels like home 😀 … in fact it does feel like home.

The Cliffs of Dover | UK Games Expo 2015

The Cliffs of Dover

As soon as we hit Dover the sun started shining, proving that we are heading in the right direction. And on the last gas station (it was operated by Spar) the nice guy at the counter exchanged our coins for a 20 pound note even if we were a few pennies short. But on a ferry they tired to get it all back and with the interest – their exchange rate was almost 2 Euros for 1 Pound – on a day where international course was 1.40! And then we were back on the Continent and we only missed our exit once in France – which is only one short to the world record – considering the french traffic signalisation, but at least it broke the boredom. Traveling through Belgium would be boring if their highways would not be even worse than Slovenian so I had to look out not to fall into the pits. After short and sweet Luxembourg (with fantastic highways) we finally got to the Autobahn (yes, that is Germany) without the speed limits. And then we were driving faster but were still bored – after all there is only a limited number of ways to annoy your co-travelers.

Bullring | UK Games Expo 2015

Simple pleasures of the Brits – dress up in a donkey or a fox and go ride a bull statue … i sure wont miss it.

If you did not get it by now – the way back was quite boring and those 22 hours on the road seemed like … er … 22 hours on the road after a very exhausting 3-day fair after an exhausting 28-hour trip to the fair. And if you need to know after Germany comes Austria and then Slovenia. And then we went so sleep. And then was Tuesday. And yes, I got the inspiration to write this chapter from the Douglas Adams’ poem of the five wise man with four horses 😛

Resume

All in all UK Games Expo 2015 was very successful (and exhausting) for us. We got many great contacts, made great sales and met great Lara Croft – isn’t that great!? Will we be there for the UK Games Expo 2016? Let’s end with this cliffhanger to have you all excited until the next season!

ByAlfred V.

Learning Slovenian – part 1: General Words and Phrases

I wrote this everyday language translations for my beloved fiance, but i hope that also someone else can find it useful. If there are more expressions for a single word, they are separated by the divide sign “/”. I use (American) English as a base language.

Please note that Slovenian language has some special features like special alphabet characters, grammatical gender that changes suffix of the effected words; dual (grammatical number) and regular and regular and polite (eg. addressing older people or people of higher social status) form of sentence formation. All examples here are written for the regular form of the male gender.

Everyday Expressions

  • hello – zdravo / zivjo
  • bye – adijo / ciao
  • goodbye – nasvidenje
  • how are you? – kako si?
  • how do you feel? – kako se pocutis?
  • (I am feeling) great / fine / bad – odlicno / dobro / slabo
  • thank you – hvala
  • please – prosim
  • excuse me – oprosti
  • good morning – dobro jutro
  • good day / afternoon – dober dan
  • good evening – dober vecer
  • good night – lahko noc
  • sleep well – lepo spi / dobro spi

General Questions

  • who – kdo
  • what – kaj
  • where – kje
  • why – zakaj
  • how – kako
  • who is … – kdo je …
  • what is … – kje je …
  • where is … – kje je …
  • why did … – zakaj je …
  • how do i … – kako lahko

General Replies

  • yes – ja / da
  • no – ne
  • maybe / perhaps – morda / mogoce
  • i know – vem
  • i don’t know – ne vem
  • of course – seveda

General Time Expressions

  • second – sekunda
  • minute – minuta
  • hour – ura
  • day – dan
  • week – teden
  • month – mesec
  • year – leto
  • calendar – koledar
  • morning – jutro
  • noon – poldne
  • afternoon – popoldne
  • evening – vecer
  • night – noc

Weather

  • fog – megla
  • snow – sneg
  • rain – dez
  • storm – nevihta
  • wind – veter
  • cloud – oblak
  • sky – nebo
  • star – zvezda
  • moon – luna / mesec
  • sun – sonce
  • today is … – danes je …
  • today is very … – danes je zelo …
  • hot – vroce
  • cold – mrzlo
  • fine (weather) – prijetno
  • sunny – soncno
  • rainy – dezuje
  • windy – veter piha
  • snowing – snezi
  • foggy – megleno
  • cloudy – oblacno
ByAlfred V.

Christmas in Philippines

maligayang-pasko

Maligayang Pasko – Merry Christmas in Philippino

Philippinos are the edge of religious fanatism … though i don’t know on which side :). As the only Christian nation in Asia they have developed strong Catholic identity and Chirstmas is the most important hollyday here. But for someone like me used of thitry + years of snow for Christmas something is just wrong here.

And that is not all – there are no pines or spruces in tropics, so there is no Xmas tree … they just hang lights on any tree available. And – Lord is great – there are no pathetic over-commercialized Santas on every corner. Only shop staff have santa caps.

Anyway Xmas starts here in September! In December everything slows down and at about 15th most things stop, governement office close and traffic runs even slower as usual because of decorators blocking roads and religious processions walking snail-speed on roads – including highways!

Philippinos mostly celebrate Christmas at home, but there are also parties with live bands and fireworks in the cities. Other than some kids throwing firecrackers i must say Christmas was over very quiet and with much less happening as i expected based on months of preparations … maybe they just got enough of it already ;).

xmas-card

It’s hard to find a Christmas motive if you have no snow, pines and Santa in the country … (translation) May each moment of your holydays have a beauty all its own. (Card by Hallmark)

 

 

ByAlfred V.

Commercial red tape

First: Merry Christmas everyone.

Second: Sorry for being MIA for so long.

Third: This is the reason – i didn’t have internet access. Did i have no line? NO. Was it dead? NO. Did we suffer another blackout? NO. I could go this way much longer, but i don’t want to bother you with the obvious reasons for the unavailability of internet.

Two weeks ago (Tuesday) i moved to a new house. It had internet installed, but it didn’t work, so called the landlords and they checked it with the operator and found out the bill was not payed, so they payed it and internet should be working the next day (Thursday).

Of course it wasn’t. So i went to the operators office in the Cebu city (what takes about one hour in days before Christmas) on Friday and they told me i can’t claim service on that account because i need written permission of the legal owner (who is in Europe now). So all i can do is to open a new account with minimum 2 years contract. I wanted to tell them what they could do with such a contract, but i restrained myself and called the landlords again if they can do something about it. They called and since they are Philippinos they didn’t have any problem extending the contract and claiming service.

But internet still didn’t work, so i supposed there must be a technical problem. I went there again on Sunday and waited for 45 minutes to move three places in nine people queue and then decided to quit. I returned on Monday and waited over one hour in four people queue and then it took them another 20 minutes to record that my internet doesn’t work and to schedule a telephone intervention for the next day 10 to 12 am, because they believed i should configure my computer.

Internet power adaptor – it’s aesier to cancel an account and start a new one then to buy a new adapter!

I waited entire Tuesday and Wednesdays mornig and noone called. So i went back to the office at 1 pm and was fairly aggravated by that time. Luckly i was second in the queue so i only waited about 20 minutes. I explained the problem and they checked in their computer (which took them about ten minutes and a trip to the back of the office) to find out that – noone called me! And they scheduled a new service call for 8am next morning.

I got up at 6am on Thursday, prepared everything and waited by the phone – i didn’t even go to the toiled not to miss their call. And then it was 8am. An – as you can expect – noone called. But phone rang at about 9:10am and in a quarter of an hour they figoured out that i don’t thave power adapter for the antena! And to get one i would need:

  • personal ID,
  • signed letter of agreement by the owner of the account (who is in Europe) and
  • legal letter of loss – they told me to get it from a lawyer!

And they refused to tell me the computer settings so i could test it as i get the adapter. Anyway i knew i wont get any letter from the accout owner so i called the landlords again. They said to go and fix the problem and on Friday they texted me that they got the adapter and will bring it over – but as i had to go to town i set the meeting at the mall in Cebu City. And what did they have? An ordinary internet cable! (I was realy angry at this time.) So we went back to the office and waited again. And as we were about to come to srevice the doorman gets some teenagers and moves then to the counter telling the: “You can go here”. Wait minute! why does he give us queue numbers if he then moves people over the line! Afther a week of dealing with this morons i just had about enough of it and told him aloud what i think of him, his attitude and his useless company and then went to the lady that sold cable for power adapter to the landlords. She said that she knows what is power adaptor, but she couldn’t give it to them without mentioned documents so she sold them the cable! (Doesn’t that tell a lot about people?!)

I didn’t even want to deal with them anymore so i told the landlords to just cancel the account and we go to another internet provider. And then the lady said: “Oh, but if you cancel that account (obviously we didn’t need a letter of agreement from the account owner for canceling the account!!!), you can open a new one and we will install new antena and bring the adapter.” I rather don’t comment on this one, because i don’t want to embarrass you. So we canceled the existing account, opened a new one and asked if technitians could only bring new power adapter as all other equipment was already there (of course they said: “NO”) and told us their crew will come in 3 to 5 days to install new internet antena and that tey will call us before.

I treated the landlords with a lunch for their trouble which took us about and hour, and as we finished telephone rang and there were internet technicians waiting in front of the house to install inernet antena! They obviuosly dispatched them right away afther we signed for a new contract and i was still one hour away in the city.

I was affraid they will just leave and it will take another week or more to come back again. Luckily for me Philippinos don’t mind doing nothing so they waited there. And being much more practical then their company they just pluged in the adapter and setup the comp and i had my internet access. (Halellujah!) I wander what happened to that extra antena though :).

I deliberatedly didn’t write the name of the company, because i don’t think that any other is much better, so i would just give you false hope that all will be good if you go somewhere else …

And this is a commercial company! Think about doing admistrative documentation …

ByAlfred V.

Periods of Day in the Philippines

Philippines are relatively near to the equator. Therefore night and day last about 12 hours each all year round. Here in Cebu it starts to dawn at about five in the morning and dusk enters the game at five in the evenening. Transitions last one hour.

Hours of the Day

7am Morning is for me the best part of the day – it is warm yet fresh and almost always sunny and breezy. Plus not so crouded as most people here don’t like to get up early – bad part of it is that not much can be done as everything starts at 9 am here.

9am The sun is already strong (too hot for intensive work or exercise), roads are clogged. Shops and offices open. Take a bottle of water with you.

12am Awoid going out or at least exposing yourself if possible. Everything – roads, buildings, vehicles radiate heat … not to mention the sun :). Offices close for lounch break until 1pm. Min 2 liters of water if you go out.

5am Temperature outside is berable again, but inside houses are hell-hot. Aircon or at least a strong fan and opened window to blow out the heat is necessery. Offices close.

9am Temperature is benign, night life time. Shops close.

12pm Regular night activities stop, general clubs and bars close. Stil there is a lot of late night life activities.

Safety

During daytime you are safe everywhere, police and security is omnipresent. Up until 8 pm it is stil safe to walk the streets, but afther that hour it is adwised to take a ride everywhere unles on public places.

I didn’t have any bad experience here, or was even slightly threatened. But it takes only one desperate person in a thousandt to get in trouble. Anayway worst to be affraid of is to get robbed, life is not threatened. That is unless you go to no-go areas; always consult locals about safety and availability of fresh water on your way to avoid dehydration (i drink 5 liters of water per day here).

Never use an outside ATM at night, there is where robbers pray on their victims. I only raise cash in inside bank ATMs at large malls. Also i was warrned about pickpockets on ferry terminals.

ByAlfred V.

Tinunuang nangka

When one comes to the foreign country and wants to taste local cousine, almost everything sounds unknown to them. On another continent one can’t even help themselves with ingreedients, because they sound as allien to our ear as the name of the dish itself.

tinunuang-nangka

Tinunuang nangka – unripe jackfruit, cooked with spices in coconut milk. Unusual.

So i got me a nice restaurant and asked a nice girl (named Anne) there to explain me the foods. And as we stopped at tinunuang nangka she said jackfruit. OK, i know jackfruit – first word i recognised, so i tried the dish.

As i was served it didn’t look much apetizing – it is a pinkish mash with grated long white pieces of unripe jackfruit and a few red papper rings halves in it, later i also dicsovered slices of onions and ginger and im sure there was also garlic for Philippinos put it in every food. Ingreedients are cooked in coconut milk. But the taste was uneuropean intersting and not unpleasant, yet not unforgetable. Tinunuang nangka is a light dish, sweet and mildly spicey and makes a good side dish i belive – anyway as it is served in a large quantity i didnt orded anything but rice to it.

Try if you feel experimental about food. Price (tinunuang nangka only): P70 (€ 1,4 / $1,8)

ByAlfred V.

Pacquiao vs Marquez IV

Today is a sort of a national hollyday in Philippines. Philippino Emmanuel “Manny” Dapidran Pacquiao, one of the worlds best boxers, named fighter of the decade for 2000s and long time holder of the best pound-per-pound boxer and Mexican Juan Manuel Márquez Méndez are fighting for the title right as i am writing this post.

Fight ended in round 6 by knock-out for Marquez. Sad day for Philippines i suppose.

Pacquiao_marquez_4_poster_medium

ByAlfred V.

Bangus – the Milkfish

I finaly got me Bangus, the Milkfish (wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milkfish) in traditional restaurant. While this fish are notoriousy bony; more than other food-fish, deboned bangus is mostly sold nowdays. Though milkfish aquaculture has more than 800 years of history it is still mosty based on natural spawning and feeding. This is an ancient fish growing up to 1,7 meters and are important source of food in SE Asia.

bangus-milkfish

Bangus – Milkfish – with unripe papaya. Delightful.

Anyway – i had my bangus grilled (can also be fried, panned, smoked, or dried); here i got it opened and flattened, seasoned with tamari sauce. They serve it with grated unripe papaya, and i tasted pickled ginger with it.

Bangus has a mild sweet-ish taste and tender meet. Sour taste of papaya completes it perfectly and pickled ginger is there for undertone delight.

It’s a must try. Price: P140 (€2,8 / $3,5)