Micael Andrei Diaz de Rivera



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The journey of Turtwig

I'm getting Piplup, a penguin water type Pokémon, as my starter when I get my Pokémon Diamond and Pearl games this week but it was Turtwig who stole my heart with its performance at yesterday's game launch at NYC.

That's the best mascot performance ever. Super Cute! I'm still getting Piplup though.


The Ultimate Challenge

Yesterday I went to the K-Zone Ultimate challenge at Mall of Asia. I only stayed there for about 4 hours because I felt out of place without my younger brother and parents with me. Imagine a 20 year old, without anyone with him, playing against kids 14 years younger than him in the kid's boxing arena with a huge soft glove! No. I didn't do that. I still have a bit of decency you know.

The kids there enjoyed the event more than I did because they participated actively with their fellow kids. I wish I had brought my family to the event so I too could have enjoyed the event immensely. I'm turning 20 in a few months and I still have that kid part of me intact.

Event Pictures

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To Makati

I found a good place to work at Makati for my OJT this summer. I was happy because the place were I work in is in Ayala Avenue. Walking distance from one of my favorite malls. Walking distance from beautiful Greenbelt.

Today was my first day at the office and I'm surprised to have not found the time to go to Glorietta, SM, or Greenbelt a while ago. Why? I just had no time! Thank goodness I have awesome officemates or else I would just be miserable everyday.


Another Nationals

I just came home from the Pokémon TCG National Championships. The player turnout was not as good as last year but it was really not that bad.

I will post the event pictures on PKMNph later. If you are interested in knowing what happened in the event just visit that site.

I didn't play in this year's national tournament but it was still a blast. I was able to add more data to my Pokémon TFG research while waiting for the event to finish. I'm very glad we that there were a lot of kids and supportive parents in the event. More power to the younger fans of Pokémon.

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Now that's BETTER

It's gonna be everywhere.

I'm a bit busy today so I'll just leave you all with the new but not so new 2nd English commercial of the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl games. I like it! No. I love it! It's so much better than the first English commercial.

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Summer Sale

I just got a text message from someone working at Powerbooks Live and I would just like to share the message to everyone.

"Powerbooks Live will be having a Summer Sale from April 14 to 30 2007. Enjoy 20% discount on regular items except x, xp, local and consigned items."

Powerbooks Greenbelt
2/F Greenbelt 4, Ayala Center, Makati City
Tel: 757-6428 to 29
Fax: 728-8167


TMS Works!

Last week the New York Times wrote a lengthy article about this technology that is highly used in Japan. It's called the Tag Mobile Service or TMS for short.

I was able to try the technology out for myself and boy was I amazed. This technology has potential! I can just imagine the many uses of this technology!

"In Japan, McDonald?s customers can already point their cellphones at the wrapping on their hamburgers and get nutrition information on their screens. Users there can also point their phones at magazine ads to receive insurance quotes, and board airplanes using their phones rather than paper tickets. And film promoters can send their movie trailers from billboards."
I want this technology to be more useful here in the Philippines. For more information on TMS here in the Philippines do visit the TMS Embassy Site.


Gmail wins the Prizefight

I'm an early adopter of the service and the only reason I had before for switching from Yahoo! Mail was the large space Gmail offered. Now Gmail has evolved and has even won a recent Prizefight.

Yahoo! Mail Beta V.S. Gmail Beta according to Veronica Belmont
  • Yahoo Mail wins Interface 3-4 (Because of the Drag and Drop)
  • Gmail wins Features 4-3 (Because of the integration of other Google Services)
  • Gmail wins Speed 3-5 (Gmail is definitely faster )
  • Gmail wins Organization 3-5 (Because of Gmail's filters)
  • Yahoo Mail and Gmail tied on Security 4-4
Final score 17-21 for Gmail. If you're still not using Google's services I suggest you try them out. It's very recommendable.


Chicks dig the DS

I just wanted to share to you CNET's David Carnoy article entitled "Chicks dig the DS, hate the PSP?" since I know there's quite a number of female readers to this blog.

"Blame it on the PSP's initial high price and suspect marketing, but there's something a bit more subtle going on that Sony must contend with: Chicks dig the DS, and that's a problem."

This is just based on his observations and I'm not sure that's what I see here in the Philippines. I see more people flaunting their PSPs at malls than people flaunting their DS'. I personally know more DS owners than PSP owners though.

"Yeah, yeah, I know, it's all about the gameplay, and the DS rocks. But the fact is, the number of really good titles for the DS is actually pretty thin, especially if you happen to be over 21 and don't worship at the altar of Mario or Pokemon."
I beg to disagree. We own more or less around 10 DS games and the whole family has enjoyed them.


I can hear you

The official Nintendo DS headset is coming to stores near you days before the release of the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl games. Some sites have even offered a great deal of packaging the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl games with this headset for a small fee.

As I have already discussed in a previous post, voice chat is one of the coolest feature of the new Pokémon games.

The reason why we haven't bought any DS games lately is because of this headset and because of the Diamond and Pearl games.

If Philippine stores can set up a lot of Wi-Fi spots in the country (think of Japan) then Pokémon can be a very cool alternative to your mobile phone calls.

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The Popular Voice

Ootani Ikue as the beloved Pikachu.

Someone from the Pokémon fan community sent me this amusing video that I know everyone would enjoy. I could have posted the raw video but I choose to post the one with the sub titles since I know not everyone who reads this post understand Japanese.

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UDP#2 I See Pink

This is the second among a series of posts where I will talk about the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl games. The UDP (Uncovering Diamond and Pearl) articles have been very popular with the readers and I have decided to not further delay the second article of this series. This is a Spell Micael Special and will not be posted by Micael in any other site.

I See Pink

Pocket Monsters, Pokémon for short, started out as a video game and video games were usually a thing just for boys in the old days. Because of Pokémon's popularity, it eventually got its own trading card game and trading card games before were also considered as something just for the boys. Pokémon is for boys and girls to enjoy but it is just recently that the whole world started to see this.

There are many reasons why I think Pokémon can be liked by girls but since this article is under UDP then I'll try to focus on the games.

1) The Nintedo DS has proven to be a hand held gaming device that favors both male and female players.
2) The game will still give you the freedom to choose from either a male or female main character.
3) Many postings on the internet have reported that contests have been really popular with majority of the female fans of Pokémon. Pokémon Contests were introduced in the Ruby Sapphire games. It was not the contest feature in the games that boosted the popularity of Pokémon to girls but it was the contest battles in the anime. Haruka/May, a Pokémon Coordinator (someone who competes in Pokémon Contests - think of the glorious dog shows with all those ribbons and stuff), has had a lot of time acting as main character because of these contests. The people, at least in Japan, loved it so much that the creators of the series had to bring in Hikari/Dawn (also a Pokémon Coordinator) when it was time for Haruka/May to leave. Contests have now become an essential part of the anime. The Diamond and Pearl games will not just have the Pokémon Contests but instead get the Pokémon Super Contests! The Super contest is an upgrade of the contest that we saw on Ruby and Sapphire. This time the Pokémon can play dress up and do some dancing.
4) I heard ladies love cooking and baking. In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl players can engage in a mini game that produces some sort of bread to feed to the Pokémon to boost their stats used in super contests.

I once talked with a female gamer before and asked her about her preferences in gaming. Does she like games specifically made for girls? Her answer was that she liked all sorts of games and she told me that people should avoid labeling games into a boys game or a girls game because girls can like what the boys like and boys can like what the girls like. Pokémon has given many ways to traditional girls to jump into the Pokémon community and now it is just up to them and to everyone in the community to encourage them and not to alienate them into enjoying what the Pokémon fans have enjoyed for 10 years.

The first UDP article had one of the Japanese commercials of the game in it. The commercial showed a young girl talking and trading with her sister using her Nintendo DS Lite and her Pokémon Diamond/Pearl game. That commercial showed how serious was Pokémon on promoting the game to girls. For this article here is a video of girl power as seen on Pokémon Sunday (a weekly Pokémon show where real people talk about Pokémon).

That was an old ending sequence for Pokémon Sunday. One of the many Japanese female groups that I adore is Hinoi Team and that is where I discovered them. Now that's girl Pokémon power! I'll talk about the advantages and the consequences of the Wi-Fi chat capabilities of the game on the next article. A full version of Hinoi Team's dance can be viewed by clicking here. Well that's all for that. Stay tuned for the next UDP article!

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National Bookstore Strikes Back

I have been to bookstores in Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Philippines but never have I seen a more beautiful bookstore interior compared to what I just saw awhile ago.

There is a new bookstore in the block! The name of this awesome looking bookstore is "Best Sellers". It looks better than most Power Books and Fully Booked stores! The photo on the right was taken from my phone at the second floor of the bookstore. I wasn't able to get more pictures because my phone's battery went empty after the shot. If you love books and you love beautiful bookstores then you just have to see this place. This Best Sellers bookstore is located just in front of the back entrance of Toys R Us at Robinsons Galleria.

By the way Best Sellers is owned by National Bookstore. I was told by the person behind customer service that Best Sellers is National Bookstore without the supplies. It's about time National Bookstore!

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We Are Kids Next Door

I love Cartoon Network. I have enjoyed that channel since my early years in grade school when it was still new! One of my favorite Cartoon Network original cartoon series is known as "Codename: Kids Next Door".

Their first made-for-TV movie will air here in the Philippines in a few weeks (maybe even months) time but I was fortunate enough to get to watch the movie prior everyone else in the country.

This has got to be Cartoon Network's best movie yet (the Powerpuff Girls movie looked better since it was a movie for the big screen but I think I really enjoyed this Kids Next Door movie more). The movie has a lot of spoilers. It's so big that I'll spoil the movie if I tell them.

The movie basically revolves around Numbah One/Nigel Uno. This movie will reveal shocking truths about his family and will also introduce, among many more other new operatives, the legendary Numbuh Zero.

If you're a fan of the series, like me, then you don't want to miss this movie in Cartoon Network. An exact date for the premier of this movie here in the Philippines is still unknown.

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Look Smart

I finally found a good looking DS Lite case that fits my style. It retails for 1,800 yen in Japan but I was able to get it for only 300 pesos at a local toy store. 1800 yen is around 725 pesos.

It is made by keys factory of Japan and the case is licensed by Nintendo.

I'm so satisfied with this buy! I just wanted to rave about it. The better posts are coming later.

Links: Official Website of the Case.


The Power to Unite

I just saw on TV the 2nd National Catholic Family Bible Quiz Grand Finals! It happened about 2 months ago but it was just now that I was able to watch the whole thing on TV. We Catholics should read the Bible more often and should not be afraid of it. We are Bible Christians! The Catholic Church was the one who compiled the Bible and gave it to the world.

That was the theme song for the event and yes it was made by a Catholic for a Catholic Bible Quiz contest. Surprised? Awesome.

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Panic comes with war

I just finished watching Full Metal Panic: The 2nd Raid this afternoon! This OAV series is the sequel to Full Metal Panic and Full Metal Panic Fumoffu. It is darker, more violent, and has more blood than the first two.

It's a nice series and I can recommend it to teenagers and not to kids. The series made me think more about war and the destruction it brings. You just can't stop thinking about the many innocent lives lost when war happens.

I just came from a 2 hour and 30 minute Holy Thursday Mass and I'm pretty tired. I can't articulate my thoughts properly yet. My next UDP article will be posted later this evening.


UDP#1 Tapping the Potential

This is the first among a series of posts where I will talk about the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl games. These series of posts will be collectively known as the UDP (Uncovering Diamond and Pearl) Articles. This is a Spell Micael Special and will not be posted by Micael in any other site.

Tapping the Potential

The notable features of the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl games are the following:

Play online with anyone around the world through the Wi-Fi Connection.
Voice chat with your opponents using the built in microphone.
Perform tasks using the touch screen and stylus.

The reason why gamers, Pokémon and non-Pokémon fans, are very excited with these games is because it makes good use of all all the unique capabilities of the Nintendo DS that cannot be seen or experienced in any portable gaming device today.

Other best selling DS games like Brain Age, New Super Mario Bros, Nintendogs, and Animal Crossing: Wild World have made use of at least two of the three unique features of the Nintendo DS. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl made use of all three features and made them all sing together. No wonder why Pokémon Diamond and Pearl is the best selling DS game in Japan.

A Pokémon game is the best selling Game Boy game (Note: Tetris was packaged with the Game Boy). A Pokémon game is the best selling Game Boy Advance game. A Pokémon game will be the best selling Nintendo DS game.

Sony's PSP (Playstation Portable), the rival of the Nintendo DS, recently dropped its price to boost its lagging sales. The DS is outselling the PSP right now around the world but they have a close match in the USA. The Nintendo DS has already won Japan where their hardware sales are greatly more than the PSP and that Japan's best selling games chart of every week (which includes both hand held and non hand held consoles games) is dominated by DS games. This recent move of Sony might weaken the sales of the English Pokémon Diamond and Pearl games but rest assured it wont stop Pokémon to rule the list.

A gamer reacted to this move of Sony by saying "I'm sure Nintendo would counter this. The release of Nintendo's cash cow is just around the corner. Oh I forgot. Pokémon is not Nintendo's cash cow but it is their double decker cash whale." What he wanted to say is that nothing can really stop this Pokémon phenomenon, not even Sony, from taking over the world once more.

I enjoyed that commercial for it demonstrates the capabilities of the game. Next article will be about the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl games and the girls.

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Sweet sound of Filipino

I just listened to Fr. Roderick's Daily Breakfast #279 at SQPN and he spoke basic Filipino. To hear one of my favorite podcasters speak basic Filipino words like "kamusta", "Ako si Fr. Roderick", and some more Filipino words was music to my ears. I'll have to thank Shannon, the guy who sent Fr. Roderick the feedback, for that.

Shannon introduced the Philippines with known facts.

"The Philippines is the 3rd largest English speaking country in the world behind the United States and the United Kingdom."

"English is compulsory in grade school in the Philippines."

It is true that many can speak, read, and write English here in the Philippines but I think that only applies to our cities. If you have the means to go to school then you'd most probably know English. If you don't then it's likely that you know little English. Many Filipino kids still can't go to school.

I love hearing foreigners speak our language but I also would love to hear majority of our countrymen speak good English.

Listen to Fr. Roderick's Daily Breakfast or any other SQPN Podcasts by going to their site which is located at www.sqpn.com. It's not for Catholics only! As a matter of fact it is for everyone. You should give it a try.

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Let's talk Diamond and Pearl

Last summer I asked my parents for a Nintendo DS. I did get it and eventually upgraded to a black DS Lite. Why did I ask for it? The simple answer is Pocket Monsters or Pokémon for short. I wanted to have the device that can play the next generation of Pokémon games. I have been a huge Pokémon fan even before the anime series got aired in the Philippines. I was in my sixth grade when I first got into Pokémon. I'm now entering my fourth year in college and I'm still a fan.

Starting today until the English launch of the game, I will be writing a series of posts that will talk about the Diamond and Pearl Pokémon games and some related topics. No. I will not just copy and paste known information about the game. That would be boring. I'll talk about parental concerns with regards the game, possible effects to the whole Pokémon franchise, the return of former fans, Pokémon becoming closer to girls, and many more. I will still be posting many non-Pokémon related posts in this blog so don't worry.

Here's one Japanese commercial of the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl games.

Last year that commercial made me excited. I hope this commercial made you excited to read my future articles about this game.

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Evolution of Beauty

This post was inspired from Patrick's post in BuhayBlog where he talked about Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty. I planned to talk about what he talked about there but after some searching about this campaign I came around a very interesting ad which is also from Dove.

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. What's beautiful to me might not be beautiful to you. Dove sells beauty products and I don't know what's in their mind when they created this campaign for real beauty. I'm not against the campaign and I hate seeing girls with low self esteem. It's not beautiful.

That image editing of the model's face was pretty impressive. Does this practice distort our image of beauty? As a male, I don't think so. As I have said before, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. I don't think you can change what is beautiful to my eyes. Maybe this really is a girl problem? I really don't know. I don't understand the opposite sex that much. Someone help me out with this.

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Lovely Sakura Kiss

Here is Chieko Kawabe's Sakura Kiss Music Video. I just can't get enough of her upbeat and wacky music videos. It makes me happy.

The world needs more of these cute wacky Japanese singers.

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What are you doing?

"This is really cool. Let's blog about this." - Micael

That was a weird opening statement but I do hope that'll help you understand this weird but very interesting internet phenomenon that I will be talking about in just a while.

I just discovered a neat website called Twitter! What you basically do at Twitter is that you post the thing you are currently doing right now for the world or for your friends to see. This reminds me of spam threads located in most forums that I am active in. The thread is usually called the "What are you doing now" thread. The popularity of those kind of threads in forums gives me a glimpse of the success that twitter will see in the future. For me, Twitter is also a part time social networking site where you can add friends and all. It's really weird and hard to explain! The best way to know what Twitter is all about is for you to to actually go to the site and experience it on your own. I've seen several active Filipinos on Twitter already. Give me a comment on how Twitter was. After getting an account at Twitter don't forget to visit Twitter Vision after that!

Links: Twitter, Twitter Vision

"Finished posting a new blog post about Twitter." - Micael


Give me some Candy Baby

When I was studying for my exams I always listened to Chieco Kawabe's happy music. One of my favorite music sang by her is Shimauma no Yoru. I was introduced to her music through Ouran High School Host Club's opening theme which is her "Sakura Kiss". I was browsing for her videos a while ago when I stumbled upon her "Candy Baby" music video. One word to describe the music video would be cute.

Now that was some sweet candy.

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Ozine Fest '07

Today marks the first year anniversary of PKMNph: Pokémon Philippines but it was yesterday at the Ozine Fest that we celebrated the creation of this cool organization.

I arrived 10 minutes after 10 in the morning at the event site and the line to get in the trade hall was extremely long as expected (all the way down to a lower floor). The organizers of the event was wise enough to ask everyone to make two lines instead of one to shorten the line. We eventually did make it in the trade hall after a few minutes.

I played at the Pokémon TCG tournament there with my two younger brothers but I performed poorly in my first two rounds which both ended up in a loss. I decided to just drop out of the tournament because the rest of the PKMNph staff present in the event was already waiting for me. With two loses it was a pretty easy decision to make. After that, I wore my PKMNph anniversary shirt and the party started.

The event was a blast. I need not rant about anything after that. I did bad at the tournament but my younger brothers did well. My youngest brother even finished 3rd and received a TCG and TFG booster pack. We took pictures and some took pictures of us. It's really nice to be a fan. PKMNph has existed for more than a year now and we really had made a difference for Pokémon here in the Philippines. Now that's good reason to stick my tongue out and be happy.

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The Trading Figure Game

The Pokémon Trading Figure Game (TFG) is a very simple game that can become the next children's fad.

I played the TFG at the Ozine Fest 07 a while ago and yes it confirmed my speculations that it is a very simple game. The game was simple but it was fun!

How can the Pokémon TFG rise to become the next kids' fad:
1) It has to aggressively market the game. The best way in my opinion would be to have it shown in Cartoon Network here in the Philippines. Anything that gets promoted on that channel have this big chance of becoming popular with the children from class B to A.
2) It should be supported by league like meetings like what's being done with the Trading Card Game.
3) There should be a place for players to find or contribute information on the game. As of the moment there is no good one.

Maybe I should start a TFG Site Project.

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