Saturday, November 8, 2014

Lincoln MKC

2015 Lincoln MKC
Continuing on refreshing the Lincoln brand thanks to the MKZ sedan, Ford's luxury brand began expanding their range starting with this; the brand new Lincoln MKC. Yes, Lincoln had crossovers in their lineup from their least-successful MKT to the soon-to-be-regenerated MKX crossover, which is going to be based on the upcoming Ford Edge. For this brand new model, the MKC sits below the MKX to be a compact crossover and competes with the likes of compact crossovers from Europe but is it any good?

Hold on, isn't just a Ford Escape underneath?

Indeed it is. The Lincoln MKC is mechanically similar to its twin, the Ford Escape, but unlike the Ford Escape, the Lincoln MKC is available with two EcoBoost engines; one is a 2.0L and the other one is a 2.3L. Both of these engines are mated with a 6-speed SelectShift automatic gearbox.

How are these engines differ?

The 2,0L model is all about efficiency while the 2.3L is all about performance, well as a theory. The smaller one produces 240HP of power and 270lb-ft of torque while, on the base FWD model, fuel economy is expected to be 23MPG, although actual mileages can vary. On the range-topping 2.3L model, with AWD standard, it produces 285HP of power output and 305lb-ft of torque. The 21 combined MPG mileage is usually plenty for this engine although, again, actual mileages can vary.

What's it like to be with the MKC?

2015 Lincoln MKC interior

2015 Lincoln MKC

Good question but to be honest, getting to know about the MKC isn't the easy part because by the time you first encounter one, its questionable design, both inside and out, really makes your head itching for questions. While everything Lincoln-y is plastered all over its skin, this much more of a Ford Escape with some fancy clothing straight out of Gatsby. If you're managed to drive one of those, people will think you're just a regular guy having some fancy living for whatever the reasons are. But what's fancy on the MKC is some loads of gadgets plastered through its pockets, well save it for the Sync because this is too time-consuming for me.

Since this is based on the Escape, does it have the...

Hands-Free, Foot-Activated Liftgate? Yes but that's an optional feature for the MKC. This nifty little gizmo lets the liftgate open automatically when you lift your foot under the rear bumper. This is a very amazing feature for those who have their hands full. Go ahead, try it for yourself.

Now onto the gizmo part...

The loads of gadgets I told above, the MKC comes with Enhanced THX II Certified Audio System, Active Noise Control, Adaptive Cruise Control and Collision Warning, Lane-Keeping System, BLIS with Cross-Traffic Alert, and the bizarrely impressive Active Park Assist with Park Out Assist.

What's it like to drive?

2015 Lincoln MKC

In terms of driving, the Lincoln MKC slightly feels like European crossovers, probably thanks to the use of independent MacPherson struts on the front and rear multi-link suspensions. Thanks to this suspension setup, the MKC not only feels civilized on the road but also well-behaved on the open roads like a well-trained dog. With the AWD system ready, the MKC feels like the boy scouts or the girl scouts, living up to their motto of "always ready". The base FWD model feels fine but that doesn't cut the mustard, if you know what I mean? 

How much?

The MKC starts at 33,100 US Dollars so its almost five grand cheaper than its big brother, the MKX, but more expensive than the Ford Escape. When compared to its rivals, it's 600 dollars more than the Audi Q3, 100 dollars less than the Mercedes GLA-Class, and 2,200 dollars more than the BMW X1. This could be very one-sided.

Colors: White Platinum, Ingot Silver, Karat Gold, Midnight Sapphire, Ruby Red, Silver Sand, Smoked Quartz, Tahitian Pearl, and Tuxedo Black.

Photo: Ford Motor Company

Interstellar (2014 film)


If you're a fan of those space opera films such as 2001 and Gravity, there's a new space opera film made by the creative minds of Christopher Nolan. Titled Interstellar, this space opera film has a mix of edge-of-your-seat thrills and some tear-dropping drama as moviegoers progress through the film.

In the not-too-distant future, the planet Earth faced multiple disasters and it has warned that within a few moments, Earth will face its demise unless mankind find its new home. NASA physicist Professor Brand, played by Michael Caine, is devising a plan to save Earth's remaining population by transporting them to a new home planet via a wormhole but first, he summoned a former NASA pilot, played by actor Matthew McConaughey, and a group of researchers, and were asked to go through a wormhole and across the universe in search for man's new home.

With all that stuff coming out from the film, Interstellar feels as traumatizing as disaster movies but for a space opera, feels like this isn't like Gravity or any other space opera moviegoers know. The drama feels more dramatic but when it comes to storytelling, it's not what you called Oscar-worthy, as well as the casting. As for the background music, the orchestral feel really gives this film a very dramatic approach and that's because Hans Zimmer, the one in charge of the music score from numerous films, done a pretty good job giving the background music he made for the film well-suited.

Despite not being true to its name, Interstellar really shines as a space opera with some gut-wrenching moments that will keep you hanging through the very end.

My rating: 2.6 out of 5

"Mas Pina-Chocolatey! Mas Pinatibay!"

On the November 7, 2014 episode of Bubble Gang...

- He's keeping an eye on the bill he found under the car.


- Bus gags

BG Liner

- The very wise Tata Lino has some more wise advices for everyone!

- Lala Ytera still bothering someone nearby!

- IKAW AT ANG INA takes on...iOS updates!

- This guy plans to trick a woman into doing something naughty!

- Bubble Gang does Bear Brand Choco by spoofing this commercial as BEAR BLONDE CHOCO! Mas Pina-Chocolatey! Mas Pinatibay!

Bubble Gang does Bear Brand Choco

- Starpok interview with special guest Sheena Halili!

Sheena Halili

- Never underestimate the heavily injured defendant!

- The cops are unsure about what to do with their recently caught suspect...

Friday, November 7, 2014

Let's Do The News! (November 7, 2014)

Welcome back. Here's your current sitrep:

- Japanese Coast Guards are closely monitoring Chinese boats suspected of poaching coral near Japanese islands in the Pacific.

- French president Francois Hollande told in a TF1 interview that he will not seek a presidential second term if he fails on the nation's unemployment.

- Former US Navy Seal Robert O'Neill says he killed terrorist Osama Bin Laden by multiple headshots. He told the Washington Post about what he did on the manhunt for the al-Qaeda leader three years ago.

- The Philippine National Police will comply Senator Grace Poe's request to provide her office with the details on their ongoing acquisition of patrol jeeps totalling 918 million Philippine Pesos.

- Three Malaysian Muslims have won a court bid to challenge a religious law that prevents them from cross-dressing. The Shariah law in Negeri Sembilan state is discriminatory as it fails to recognize men with gender issues, according to the Court of Appeals.

- The Audi Q3 compact crossover has been given a minor change for 2015MY and for the high-performance RS Q3 model, the 2.5L turbo engine has been upgraded to 335bhp of power output while mated with an updates 7-speed S tronic gearbox.

2015 Audi RS Q3

- More Jaguar F-Type models are on the way starting with the 4WD version of the range-topping F-Type R Coupe.

- Alma Adams is named as the 100th female official to enter the capitol's Congress after winning a seat in North Carolina's 12th congressional district following the midterm elections.

- IT'S HERE! Cartoon Hangover streamed the first two webisodes of the much-awaited crowd-sourced Bee and PuppyCat web series. Sit back and enjoy!

- Cardcaptor Sakura gets a figma from Good Smile Company. Bummer...

Figma Sakura Kinomoto


Acura TLX

2015 Acura TLX

The brand new Acura TLX is a brand new executive midsize sedan that not only replaces the TL but also the Euro Accord-based TSX. This is like killing two birds with one stone, if you know what I mean? Anyway, while this is a brand-new model, the TLX is the first Acura model to come with two very unique automatic gearboxes; one is an 8-Speed DCT (Dual-Clutch Transmission) with torque converter for the 2.4L 4-cylinder engine, and the other one is an excessive 9-speed automatic transmission for the V6 model. 9 gears! That's a lot more than what the legs of the octopus have. All right, let's find out if this new model is any good...

Hey wait a minute...aren't this one's Accord-based?

The TLX, just like the TL and the TSX it replaces, is mechanically similar to the Honda Accord but the TLX is not like the Honda Accord because while the Honda Accord available in Japan only comes with the hybrid powerplant, the American-made Acura TSX is available with two petrol engines mated with unique gearboxes. Wait a minute, do I need to repeat that statement above?

Yes, please.

Anyway, the 2.4L 4-cylinder model comes with Acura's first 8-speed double-clutch gearbox. If you're not sure how it works, here's a common example; when I placed it in 2nd gear, the second clutch pre-prepared the 3rd gear for me. When I shift it, it changes faster than flipping to page 2 of a book I'm reading. The double-clutch gearbox may not be a bad choice but let's hope Honda will not face some problems just like what happened to the Honda Fit Hybrid's double-clutch gearbox several times.

What about the V6 model?

Now here's something I'd like to say. The TLX with the 3.5L V6 model comes with the most excessive number in gearbox history and I'm referring to its 9-speed automatic gearbox. In this model, the gear lever is not here and what you'll see are buttons that take control of the gears. There also the Integrated Dynamics System which allows you to switch through three driving modes; Normal, Economy, and Sport. This new gearbox has so many gizmos to choose from depending on your driving style and that's good, probably.

What do you think about the design?

2015 Acura TLX

2015 Acura TLX interior

Design-wise, the TLX is not quite bad at all and it feels more like an improvement from the bland-looking TL and the not-so-bland looking TSX so it's the best of both worlds, except for the front view which, in my opinion, is far too much for Acura, employing the same look over and over again. On the interior, the TLX will still disappoint buyers because of its stale dashboard looks. Feels like Acura's taking some notes from BMW, adopting the same interior on different models. What a pitiful sight but it doesn't even matter. 

The software's now revamped for this model and it's capable with the next generation of AcuraLink telematics system. The new AcuraLink now comes with two-way communication, greater interaction, and a host of available services. You can even try using your smartphone to lock or unlock your car. How convenient is that? Feels like the future is now thanks to science after all.

What's it like to drive?

2015 Acura TLX

For a sport sedan of this magnitude, the TLX is not quite bad at all on the city streets and on the open roads, although I find the standard P-AWS a bit too problematic on the bends. Sure, this drivetrain feels lighter and more lively on the bends but it feels as soggy as a salad with some cheese-flavored dressing. However, there is one thing that the TLX able to redeem itself and that's the ace of the hole; the SH-AWD. SH-AWD or Super Handling All Wheel Drive lets its rear-axle torque vectoring sharpen the handling considerably. I'd like to enjoy driving the TLX with the V6 engine and the AWD drivetrain because it feels like there's an upperclassman approaching through his day job but sadly, that's just part-time job because while the SH-AWD is the ideal powertrain for the TLX judging by its unprecedented handling style, the use of comfort tires just spoils it and prone to understeer.

Should I buy it?

The TLX with the 2.4L model starts at $30,995 while the 3.5L V6 model starts at $35,220. Although the base TLX model with the 2.4L engine costs less than the base Cadillac ATS sedan with the 2.5L engine in it, it's not what you called "you get what you paid for" because the TLX needs more improvement if it wants to get its head in the game. If you want one, it's all up to you to decide.

Available colors: Crystal Black Pearl, Graphite Luster Metallic, Bellanova White Pearl, Basque Red Pearl II, Fathom Blue Pearl, Black Copper Pearl, and Slate Silver Metallic.

Photo: American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Forza Horizon 2 - Barn Find #07: Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso


Moments after claiming my Ford Capri from the previous barn find, me and my Capri are venturing through the forests of North Castelletto where the seventh barn find, a Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso, is hidden somewhere. By my calculations, this barn find is 2.7 miles from the Castelletto Horizon Hub or 3.5 miles from the Horizon Festival.

Darn, I didn't realized I got overslept and I missed the notification saying that the 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso is ready for pickup but whatever. I claimed it anyway and see what's like to drive a legendary Ferrari.


Although the Lusso is not the most extreme version of the 250 GT range, it lives up to its name as a luxury grand tourer in its own right. Lusso is "luxury" in Italian, referring to the luxury version of the 250 GT and it was launched simultaneously with the 250 GTO racing machine in 1962. With 351 units of this model sold from 1962 to 1964, it was one of the most profitable cars until then. It comes with the same 3.0L V12 engine from the other 250GT models but the power output is a measly 250HP. It does 0-60mph in the seven second mark and flatout in an estimated 145mph, which is still quick even by modern standards.

Even though this isn't one of the quickest Ferraris I've ever drive, it's still one of the most beautiful cars to behold.

With the championship where me and my Clio won ended, it's time to move on to Saint-Martin and I decided to drive my newly acquired barn find for a road trip it will never forget and sorry about taking shortcuts because it's facing some "Nina Needs To Go" scenarios and this car doesn't wait to go.


With the Berlinetta made it to Saint-Martin for the next leg on the road to the Horizon Finale, our journey continues...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Let's Do The News! (November 6, 2014)

Welcome back, here is your current sitrep:

- US President Barack Obama and Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell have both promised to cooperate within the next two years, moments after Republicans gained both control of the House and Congress after the 2014 mid-term elections.

- Political parties from Burkina Faso agreed that the nation's transition should last a year, followed by next year's elections.

- Russian leader Vladimir Putin is named as the world's most powerful man according to Forbes magazine.

- Senator Alan Peter Cayetano said the spokesmen of Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay, the ones who've allegedly gatecrashed in the Senate investigation, may be penalized under the law and warns against repeats.

- According to lawyer Renato Bondal, the building of the Makati Science High School was overpriced when VP Binay was the Makati mayor back then.

- The Volvo V60 estate has spawned a Cross Country variant ahead of its LA Auto Show debut!

2016 Volvo V60 Cross Country
- The mother of megastar Sharon Cuneta and the grandmother of KC Concepcion, Elaine Cuneta, passed away at the age of 79. Her death was confirmed by one of actress KC Concepcion's tweets. Elaine Cuneta was a former beauty queen, singer, and actress, and she's the mother of actress Sharon Cuneta and the deceased Pasay City Mayor Pablo Cuneta. She's the sister of the veteran actress Helen Gamboa-Sotto.

- The YF-23 Black Widow II is now a playable aircraft on the latest update of the PS3-exclusive free-to-play flight shooting game, Ace Combat Infinity.

YF-23 Black Widow II

- GET READY! The first episode of the much-awaited crowd-sourced Bee and PuppyCat web cartoon hits tomorrow on Cartoon Hangover! Don't tell me that TEMPBOT didn't remind you...


Forza Horizon 2 - Barn Find #06: Ford Capri


The sixth barn find in question was the Europe-made Ford Capri, and this is new to us in the world of Forza. It's located somewhere in the East Valley part of Montellino and after numerous attempts to scavenge the barn find in question, I have discovered that it's over 700 yards near the Montellino Car Meet or two miles from the Montellino Horizon Hub.

After finding it, I managed to take some time off to refresh my perspective and several minutes later, I got a notification saying that the Ford Capri is fully restored so I rushed to the nearest Horizon Hub to claim it.


In America, we have the Mustang but in Australia, they have the Falcon, and in Europe, they have this. The Ford Capri. This is the first-generation Capri but not just that, this is the one with the 3098cc Essex V6 engine on it while mated with a 4-speed manual gearbox. It's based on the Cortina and built in three European plants somewhere in UK, Belgium, and Germany. Originally it was supposed to be called the Colt but Mitsubishi has rights for the Colt name.

This RS3100 model, the one with the 3.1L Essex V6 engine, uses a double-barrel Weber carburettor and power output is 150PS. Although this is a limited-edition model with only 250 units made for homologation purposes, it still found use in the world of touring car racing.

Well, now with the legendary Mk.I Ford Capri under my hands, looks like work isn't done yet because Barn Find number seven is on my sights. Find out in my later posts as me and my Capri are venturing through the seventh barn find.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Let's Do The News! (November 5, 2014)

The big scoop today.,..

- To mark the 1st year anniversary of Superstorm Yolanda (Haiyan) wrecking havoc through the Visayas region of the Philippines, the Philippine Postal Corporation will issue special-edition "Tindog Pinoy" stamps this month.

- The Republicans won control of the Senate in the US mid-term elections, increasing their power in the final two years of Barack Obama's presidency. Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, poised to take over the chamber, said that their victory is a vote against "a government that people can no longer trust".

- African leaders are to visit Burkina Faso to press the nation's military for a quick handover of power to a civilian ruler.

- More foreign ships detected in Japanese waters near the Ogasawara Islands, according to Japan's Coast Guard.

- Workers finished removing highly radioactive nuclear fuel from a reactor building at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

- Out now on Forza Horizon 2: the Falken Car Pack features six brand new rides such as the brand new Alfa Romeo 4C, BMW M4, Chevrolet SS, Lamborghini Jalpa, Toyota 2000GT, and the classic 1990 Subaru Legacy RS.

Forza Horizon 2 Falken Car Pack

- The Minions from Despicable Me are getting their own spin-off movie! Hooray! Here comes their first teaser trailer from their spin-off! It's so cute!

- At the recent 2014 SEMA Show, BMW and Gran Turismo unveiled their BMW M4 Safety Car, which will be featured on an upcoming update for Gran Turismo 6 this late November,

BMW M4 Safety Car

- Rin Hoshizora from LoveLive! School idol project gets the Nendoroid treatment courtesy of Good Smile Company. Looks like the whole LoveLive Nendo lineup's expanding as the fans demanded for!

Nendoroid Rin Hoshizora

- IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Daredevil Nik Wallenda walked between two Chicago skyscrapers on a wire while being blindfolded! Unbelievable!

Forza Horizon 2 - Barn Find #05: Jaguar XK120

During my progress at the hot hatch championship where me and my Renault Clio RS 200 EDC are taking part of, I've received a barn find rumor about an abandoned Jaguar hidden somewhere in the Northern part of Italy's San Giovanni.


As I ventured through North San Giovanni, I have discovered that the barn find in question is located over 300 yards near the North San Giovanni speed trap or 2.7 miles from the Montellino Horizon Hub. I'm on my way to retrieve the legendary XK120.

Well, I know what happens next. After retrieval, wait until a notification is flashed on the screen saying that the barn find I found was restored. After that, I rushed to the nearest Horizon hub to claim it.


Before the big aces like the F40, the McLaren F1, and the Bugatti Veyron were born, this Jag was the original ace of aces. Why? This post-war Jag hailed as the world's fastest car when it was launched in 1948. Top speed is 120 mph (193 km/h) of top speed, which in 1948, hailed as the fastest car in the world courtesy of its 3.4L DOHC Straight-6 engine that generates 160 bhp (119 kW; 162 PS) @ 5000 rpm of power.

This model is the SE and this XK120 features wire wheels, increased power, stiffer suspension and dual exhaust system. Therefore, the SE model produces 180 bhp (134 kW; 182 PS) or the one I have comes with the improved 3.4L engine that churns out 210 bhp (157 kW; 213 PS) of power.

I got the chance to drive this legendary Jaguar because to me, the XK120 is a worthy ancestor to the world's fastest cars including the Ferrari F40, the McLaren F1, and of course, the Bugatti Veyron. Make sure you treat this legend with the respect it deserves when you had one, got it? Anyway, like I was saying...

WHAT?! Another barn find? There's still more of it all over Europe? Well, to make things worse, I've received two barn find rumors earlier! There's so many classics that need to be rescued but let's scramble for later to find some barn finds. Although I'm still in a championship and my Clio needs me, it might be best to focus with the search ops for the barn finds while worrying with the championship progress later.

Laugh Three tips on stopping your kids from moving out

On the November 4, 2014's Banana Nite's Laugh Three, what are the Laugh Three tips on stopping your kids from moving out?

1) Take back his/her stuff!

2) Don't try to stop him/her. Instead, bring his or her boyfriend or girlfriend to your house!

3) Throw a party!

Forza Horizon 2: Let Princess Clio do the talking!


Oh dear, guess I forgot to provide some introduction about the Renault Clio RS 200 EDC, part of the Mobil 1 Car Pack on sale now, and how does it perform. The last time I used it is when I come looking for the lost Willys MB. Time flies but oh well, might as well drive one anyway...


This is the first time the RenaultSport Clio (RenaultSport Lutecia for Japanese) spawned into a turbocharged five-door hot hatchback, which is kind of an unorthodox for Renault, but that's not all because for the first time, the new RenaultSport Clio has its manual gearbox thrown away and replaced with a 6-speed EDC gearbox, which made the Clio faster than its predecessors and that's good but that gearbox kinda frowns most hot hatch lovers thinking that throwing away a manual gearbox is a bad idea for a hot Clio, even when the 1.6L DIG Turbo engine develops the same output as the old model's 2.0L natural aspiration engine it replaces.

However, even though the gearbox disappoints most hot hatch fans, that doesn't stop them from enjoying the hot Renault Clio as much as they want judging by its motorsport DNA that most RenaultSport models have over the years. It maybe heavy and tend to understeer at high speeds but don't be fooled because it feels very mild to drive even for the racing-shy rookies. Even though its handling characteristics maybe somewhat disappointing, it takes time to learn how to drive this thing and if you spent several hours driving around the Renault Clio on Horizon 2, you will know that this is the hot hatchback you'll surely love to drive and coming back for more.


Well, guess the chatterbox ends here and I guess it's time to let Princess Clio do the talking for me so I've signed up to a championship suitable for this car but first, time to give Princess Clio some makeovers she'll surely love.


All set! Looks like Princess Clio's primed up and ready with her racing overalls donned and some minor improvements have been done to keep the Clio more alert and more responsive during races but what the hey? Let's go!

After winning the championship I've signed up for the Clio, looks like me and my Renault Clio are getting along just fine. You can rest now, Princess Clio, until tonight's big sleepover.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

SUPERSTORM YOLANDA: What is it all about?

A year has passed since Superstorm Haiyan (known by Filipinos as Yolanda) wreak havoc in the Visayas region in the Philippines. Haiyan or Yolanda is known to be one of the most powerful superstorms ever recorded in the history and let us take time to remember the pitiful tragedy that happened in our hearts.

Here's an excerpt from one of my College paper projects I have done back in Seattle Central College (formerly Seattle Central Community College) last winter for my English 102 class.

Super storm Haiyan: The Strongest Typhoon Ever Recorded
Terror, grief, depression, anger and disgust: thus were some of the emotions the victimsof Super storm Haiyan felt.  It is a strong tropical typhoon, known in the Philippines as Super storm “Yolanda”, recorded as the most powerful storm in the history and devastated a portion of Southeast Asia especially when it landfall in the Visayas region in the Philippines last November 8, 2013.   With the extent of the damage and casualties, the issue of whether the victims can still recover and will there be a new life ahead of them?           

Typhoon Haiyan’s name was given by the World Meteorological Organization[i].  They maintained a lists of names that are familiar in each region.  Haiyan was the thirtieth named storm in 2013. Meteorologists use the term "tropical cyclone" when talking generally about these immensely powerful natural phenomena, which are divided into five categories according to the maximum sustained wind force and the scale of the potential damage they can inflict. According to the Weather Underground meteorologist, Jeff Master, it’s been a perfectly average typhoon season and usually there were four or five storms per year and Haiyan is the fourth that season. Masters, in one of his interviews said that, “the atmospheric conditions in the air were just right to allow the storm to form and once it did form, the upper-level winds were allowing more air to spiral into the center of the typhoon.” (Palmer,Roxanne; International Business Times, Nov. 8, 2013)           

How did it started.  On November 2, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) [ii] began monitoring a broad low-pressure area about 425 kilometers (265 miles) east-southeast of Pohnpei, one of the states in the Federated States of Micronesia.  Moving through a region favoring tropical cyclogenesis (development and strengthening of a tropical cyclone in the atmosphere), the next day, Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has classified the developing system as a tropical depression.  The tropical depression continues to strengthen resulting for the JMA to upgrade the system to a tropical storm and assigning it the name Haiyan on November 4.  Continued tracking showed that it developed an eye already so by November 5 they classified Haiyan as a typhoon.  By November 6, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA)[iii] assigned the storm the local name Yolanda as it approached their area of responsibility.  Intensification slowed somewhat during the day, though the JTWC estimated the storm to have attained Category 5-equivalent super typhoon status on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale. Later, the eye of the typhoon passed over the island of Kayangel in Palau. On November 7, Haiyan attained ten-minute sustained winds of 230 km/h (145 mph) and a maximum intensity (lowest barometric pressure) of 895 mbar.  Six hours later, the JTWC estimated Haiyan to have attained one-minute sustained winds of 315 km/h (195 mph) and gusts up to 378 km/h (235 mph). The winds are reported to be the strongest ever measured, and Haiyan could gain the title of most powerful cyclone on record from Super Typhoon Tip, which ravaged Japan in 1979. ( Typhoon-Haiyan-whats-in-a-name.html).  Masters said that he had never seen a typhoon like Haiyan that even if it made a landfall several times, it maintained category 5 strength.

            PAGASA Cebu City weather radar reflectivity loop from November 8, 2013 stated Haiyan’s landfall on Leyte Island.  Tacloban City was struck by the northern eyewall, the most powerful part of the storm.  Interaction with land caused slight degradation of the storm's structure, though it remained an exceptionally powerful storm when it struck Tolosa, Leyte. The typhoon made four additional landfalls as it crossed the Visayas:  Daanbantayan, Bantayan Island, Concepcion, and Busuanga Island. A weakened Haiyan, with its core disrupted by interaction with the Philippines, emerged over the South China Sea late on November 8 Environmental conditions ahead of the storm soon became less favorable, as cool stable air began wrapping into the western side of the circulation. Continuing across the South China Sea, Haiyan turned more northwesterly late on November 9 and through November 10 as it moved around the southwestern edge of the subtropical ridge previously steering it westward.  Rapid weakening ensued as Haiyan approached its final landfall in Vietnam, ultimately striking the country near Haiphong, as a severe tropical storm.  Once onshore, the storm quickly diminished and was last noted as it dissipated over Guangxi Province, China during November 11.

            Accounts during and after the typhoon:PAGASA placed over 50 provinces and towns under high alert in the midst of risks of serious damages and casualties.  With the maximum sustained winds of 235 kph and gusts of up to 275 kph, foreign weather experts warned that this storm produces a “catastrophic damage” to the Visayas region of the Philippines.

Moments after the monster storm, the Visayas region has been placed on red alert the heavily battered by the storm like Tacloban, Ormoc, Daan Bantayan, Bantayan Island, Dulag-Tolosa, Dulag-Tolosa Leyte and Concepcion, Iloilo.The city of Tacloban—with a population of some 220,000 people on the island of Leyte, caught the worst of the impact, leaving it in ruins. Winds of up to 195 mph and the offshore rise of water to some 20 to 30 feet destroyed around 80 percent of the city's buildings. At least 1,800 people in the Philippines are reported dead, but the death toll could climb to near 10,000, according to some estimates. Residents saw this place as in the state of anarchy with no functioning government and few police officers or soldiers to keep order.  Massive looting on supermarkets and department stores not only for food and water but also for miscellaneous items happened.  The President refused calls to place Tacloban and other cities devastated by Haiyan under Martial Law, but he ordered hundreds of additional reinforcements to secure the area in any event when violence breaks loose on the Haiyan-affected areas.

Natural Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council[iv], a day after the typhoon reported that a total of 1,387,446 families (6,937,227 persons) were affected.  1,774 dead, 2,476 injured and a total of 41,176 houses destroyed A total of 66,899 families (319,867 persons) are being served inside 1,135 evacuation centers.  Some areas became isolated because of the impassable roads, suspension of the operation of the four airports, and power outages in majority of the regions.         

A total of P461,199,523.48 worth of damages (P87,997,500.00 to infrastructure and P373,202,023.48 to agriculture) were reported in Regions IV-B, V, VI, VII, VIII, and Caraga region. (NDRRMC Situation Report on the effects of Typhoon Yolanda)
Smell of death was in the air.  Hundreds of dead bodies laid on the streets untouched together with the ruins of the houses and buildings.  Local government officials were also victims themselves so they can’t do immediate actions.Migration of victims from Eastern Visayas (stricken by the typhoon) to Manila was handled by the Philippine Air force CI30 cargo planes. Victims line up for days just to wait for their turn to take the plane.  They were taken at the Villamor Airbase and then processed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and some volunteer groups and foundations and were provided with medical treatment, food and water.  Glenda Derla, assistant leader of the DSWD NCR (National Capital Region) team deployed in the airport, told that the victims who had no place to go in Manila can stay inside the DSWD shelter at the Jose Fabella Memoral Hospital. (Carcano and Bacani)

            Questions in some peoples mind came up whether the preparations made before the typhoon were enough or did the local government made proper warnings to the people.  As per report of the Senior Editor of the CNBC news, Mark Koba, stated that Killer storms like Haiyan have gotten stronger over recent decades, and according to forecasts, they are going to get more powerful in the coming years; so it is really hard to handle the preparations.  Considering that the Philippines are better at dealing with typhoons because of it being in the middle of the world’s most unpredictable region for typhoons and had experienced worse typhoons, heavy flooding, and heavy rains with strong winds, so the local officials knew what to do.  But even that hard-earned expertise sometimes isn't enough to prevent death tolls from climbing into the thousands.       (Koba)

            An article by the Associated Press, published November 11, 2013 titled: Philippines prepared for Typhoon Haiyan, but evacuation sites couldn't withstand storm surges, stated that
“MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Hours before Typhoon Haiyan hit, Philippine authorities moved 800,000 people to sturdy evacuation centers -- churches, schools and public buildings. But the brick-and-mortar structures were simply no match for the jet-force winds and massive walls of waves that swept ashore Friday, devastating cities, towns and villages and killing thousands, including many of those who had huddled in government shelters.The tragedy is another reminder that nature's fury is sometimes so immense that it can overwhelm even the most diligent preparations. Combine that with a string of unfortunate circumstances — some man-made — and the result is the disaster of epic proportions that the country now faces.”            

Philippine officials had not anticipated the 6-meter (20-feet) storm surges that swept through Tacloban.  To wit, in one of the interviews, Senior presidential aide, Rene Almendras said that they were ready for the wind but were not ready for the water. Many perished in shelters (they drowned because they were trapped of the high water that swept inside their evacuation site) , others ignored the evacuation and stayed put in their homes, either out of fear their property would fall prey to looters or because they underestimated the risk.In one of the Philippine television station (GMA) report, the reporter was crying as she was reporting because the evacuation center, a gymnasium, where they took cover together with thousands of evacuees, was starting to give way because of the very strong winds and rain.With the great catastrophe that happened, a lot of people, not only Filipinos worked hand in hand to help the Philippines cope up with the situation. 

To wit:

1.       Globe Telecoms (one of the leading communication company) as of November 11, 2013 has established operating cell sites 49% of the total affected sites in Visayas and 30% of the affected sites in Luzon and Mindanao have been restored. They set up two “Libreng Tawag”(Free Call) in Hotel Alejandro in Tacloban City through its “Bangon Pinoy” (Stand up Filipino)  program.  They also set up Free Internet facilities in Mactan and Villamor airbase for easier communications between the typhoon victims and their kin. Globe has put up 17 Free call stations, 32 Free charging sites and eight Free calls and charging booths, and two free Internet facilities in Iloilo, Cebu, Leyte, Bohol, Antique, Capiz and Pasay City.
2.      The government of the Philippines has led the disaster response establishing two forward command posts to coordinate response activities. Aside from the evacuation before the storm, they pre-positioned food commodities and emergency relief supplies, and deployed military assets and road-clearing equipment to assist with relief operations.  They had also airlifted safe drinking water, relief supplies, and food commodities to Tacloban. Philippine military helicopters began aerial surveys of storm damage on November 9 and the NDRRMC reports that national police forces are assisting in the evacuation of typhoon-affected populations.
3.      U.S. GOVERNMENT (USG) RESPONSE :  On November 9, U.S. Charge d’affairs, a.i. Brian L. Goldbeck declared a disaster in the Phillipines due to the effects of Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan.  In response, USAID authorized an initial drawdown of $10 M from the ESAID/OFDA Respond Fund to support immediate response efforts, including procuring and transporting and distributing relief commodities and improving access to sanitation falicities for typhoon-affected populations.
4.      USAID/OFDA is coordinating the transport of 1,000 rolls of plastic sheeting and 10,000 hygiene kits—sufficient to meet the needs of 10,000 families—from its relief supply warehouse in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
5.      USAID/OFDA is working in close collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense Pacific Command (PACOM). PACOM forces have arrived in Manila and are supporting the transport of emergency relief commodities to affected areas. In addition, U.S. military aircraft are supporting DART assessment flights over affected areas to determine additional humanitarian needs and assisting the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ search-and-rescue operations.
6.      US troops assisted in the clearing operation of the ruins and bodies through the Operation Damayan.  Dead bodies on the streets were put in a mass grave.
7.      The United Nations, Red Cross, different organizations, non-government organizations, ordinary people rich or poor extended help to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

With this kind of disaster anywhere, we can see the bayanihan (cooperation) all along. A But even with adequate resources and a vigorous government authority, forces of nature and the unpredictability of people can destroy even the best advance planning. The 2011 tsunami in Japan might have killed many more without in-place emergency response measures, but an inadequate response to the nuclear crisis that followed seriously compounded the disaster.  Nor are such catastrophes limited to poor countries like the Philippines. When Hurricane Katrina plowed ashore near New Orleans in 2005, more than 1,400 were killed, many of whom ignored orders to evacuate before it hit.  Gwendolyn Pang, the executive director of the Philippine Red Cross, said Haiyan was three times more powerful than Katrina.  She said there should be an educational campaign to explain to people the destructiveness of a storm surge, which is like a tsunami. "We should really start understanding this and make it our way of life, part of our readiness and preparedness," she added (Published November 11, 2013 Associated Press)Information dissemination is important to establish an excellent readiness and preparedness campaign.  Avoiding too much red tapes, proper coordination and information with all levels of government to give excellent public service.  (Example was the distribution of relief goods in the typhoon Yolanda stricken area - some areas and people were not reached by the relief goods that was why looting happened.
After several months of the disaster, the people that migrated to Manila went back to their hometown to start a new life.  They were given free ride home and brought with them the donations given to them in Manila.  It may not be a lot but it will help them a little to start.  This tragedy brought us closer together and stand as one.  But for sure lessons were learned that we cannot do anything if Mother Nature speaks up.

[i] “The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It is the UN system's authoritative voice on the state and behavior of the Earth's atmosphere, its interaction with the oceans, the climate it produces and the resulting distribution of water resources.” (
 [ii] The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) is a joint United States Navy – United States Air Force task force located in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The JTWC is responsible for the issuing of tropical cyclone warnings in the North West Pacific Ocean, South Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean for United States Department of Defense interests, as well as U.S. and Micronesian civilian interests within the command's area of responsibility (AOR).
 [iii] PAGASA means Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration. PAGASA is an organization that is dedicated to provide weather updates so as to protect lives and property during any emergency of weather change.
 [iv] The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) is tasked to come up with a framework for disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM), as well as supervise preparations for, and responses to, natural calamities and human-induced disasters.

     Works Cited:

Carcano, Dennis and Louis Bacani. 2000 Yolanda victims from Tacloban flown to Metro Manila. 15 November 2013.
Flores, Helen. Brace for super typhoon Yolanda – Pagasa (The Philippine Star). 6 November 2013. News.
Jerusalem, Jigger J. Pag-asa: Storm surge caused by Yolanda ‘unexpected’. 25 November 2013. News.
Koba, Mark. Megastorms' awful truth: Preparation can only do so much. 13 November 2013. .
NDRRMC Situation Report on the effects of Typhoon Yolanda. 18 November 2013. Statistics. .
Suarez, KD. 'Haiyan,' 3 others removed from int'l typhoon names list (Rappler). 26 February 2014. News.
Yap, DJ. Supertyphoon nears PH (Philippine Daily Inquirer). 6 November 2013. News.

Let's Do The News! (November 4, 2014)

The big scoop today...

- On the 30th of October, 2014, former Department of Health secretary Juan Flavier, famed for his "Let's DOH it" campaign, passed away of multiple organ failure. Now, the remains of the former DOH secretary and senator was brought to the DOH complex for a necrological service on Tuesday. Present DOH secretary Enrique Ona delivered a eulogy in his first public appearance since his controversial leave of absence.

- Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko is to chair a crisis meeting of his security chiefs following rebel polls which Kiev describes as a "farce".

- About 70% percent of Mayon Volcano evacuees are set to return home today after the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office decided to "decamp" all evacuees living outside the 6km permanent danger zone.

- The Japanese Coast Guard will take action for suspected Chinese coral boats in the Pacific south of Tokyo, as a typhoon draws near and their ships may seek refuge.

- At least five people were killed and nine wounded in a shooting on Monday night during the Shia festival of Ashura in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia.

- WHAT'S THIS? Ford is teasing something during their "performance heritage" clips. The end of the clip has a date which points to November 17, 2014 but what could this be? Find out soon.

- Radical unveiled the new SR8 RSX track toy which comes with the 3.0L V8 engine developing 440HP of power and 280lb-ft of torque while mated with a 7-speed sequential gearbox. For the first time, the SR8 RSX is offered with electric power steering, which is a bit odd for an ultimate track toy like this.

Radical SR8 RSX

- Internet feline sensation Grumpy Cat will star in her own Lifetime original movie this Yuletide season called Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever! Set to air on the 28th of November, this original movie stars Aubrey Plaza as the voice of Grumpy Cat and Megan Charpentier as the 12-year-old Chrystal.

- A brand-new Pikachu balloon is ready to fly along with the other big balloons modeled after cute characters on the 2014 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on the 27th of November at the heart of New York!

- Softdrink giant The Coca Cola Company has been given a green light by the Israeli government to open their Gaza factory where 3,000 jobs will be created by this factory located in the industrial area of Karni.

Monday, November 3, 2014

F1 2014: United States GP

The United States Grand Prix of the Formula 1 2014 season, held in Austin, Texas, has proven to be quite a spectacle especially the endgame where Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton managed to execute his risky overtake against his teammate Nico Rosberg at Turn 12, resulting the British racer to score his 10th win for the season. His win extends Hamilton's lead over Rosberg to 24 points in the overall standings. Meanwhile, Red Bull's rookie Daniel Ricciardo managed to score 3rd place after overtaking two Williams racers flawlessly.

The end is nigh for this season and with just two races left, and with Hamilton 24 points ahead of Rosberg, is he going to score his world champ title for this season or will Rosberg have the last laugh? The second-to-the-last race will be in Brazil on the 9th.


Image: BBC

Let's Do The News! (November 3, 2014)

The big scoop today...

- Virgin Galactic is in hot water right now after reports of the SpaceShipTwo crash in California's Mojave Desert that killed one of the two pilots onboard. The company insists that safety has always been part to their operations.

- In Burkina Faso, just moments after soldiers fired shots at the state TV station and barricaded the capital as thousands demanded to give up military power, the nation's military said it will install a transitional government, days after it seized power as President Blaise Compaore resigned.

- Ahead of the upcoming APEC Summit, the Chinese capitol of Beijing is limiting traffic to clean air.

- Residents of some areas of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian rebels voted on Sunday to elect their own legislators and execs. The polls suggest that Ukraine may remain divided.

- Governor Mujiv Hataman from the Philippines' ARMM or Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao wants the Philippine government to initiate an all-out attack on the Abu Sayyaf terrorists in Basilan following Sunday's ambush on government soldiers that killed six troops.

- The Chevrolet Camaro is going to regenerate very soon and to bid farewell to the fifth-generation model, the generation that brought back the Camaro name since its 2002 discontinuation, there's a special edition model ready for its SEMA Show debut. Called the Commemorative Edition, the special model features unique 20-inch wheels, special vinyls, ZL1-inspired rear wing, body-color front splitter, and special badges.

2015 Chevrolet Camaro Commemorative Edition

- Honda revealed their brand-new compact hybrid sedan called the Grace, which is set for its December 2014 debut. Because it's based on the latest Honda Fit, the new new Grace will feature the breakthrough 1.5L hybrid powerplant and i-DCD 7-speed double-clutch gearbox.

2015 Honda Grace

- A Slovakian company developed a flying car called the AeroMobil 3.0. It's their latest prototype of a flying car project that began in the 1990's. Powered by a Rotax 912 engine, the AeroMobil 3.0 has a limited top speed of over 160kph while flight speed is limited to just 200kph. It said that a full tank is capable for 875km on land or 700km on air. AeroMobil is conducting test flights before its ready for commercialization.

AeroMobil 3.0

- KEPT YOU WAITING, HUH? There's a Solid Snake figma announced by Good Smile Company and that particular Solid Snake is the MGS2 version, as in, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Ready to infiltrate this April, he's armed with numerous poses, an assault rifle, a cigar, and a handgun. There's a pre-order bonus for those who booked one at the GOOD SMILE ONLINE SHOP; a SOCOM handgun and guessed it...cardboard box.

figma Solid Snake MGS2 Ver.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Doctor Who S08E11

Part one of the two-part season 8 finale of Doctor Who sees The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) come facing off against the mysterious enemy named Missy (Michelle Gomez). While the first half of the episode gives viewers the feels, it all ends with the cliffhanger that lets viewers guessing what comes next when an army of Cybermen are threatening the Earth. What comes next? Be sure to tune in on the final episode of Season 8 as The Doctor teams up with UNIT and taking down familiar enemies until the part where sacrifices must be made to end the battle. The last episode of the season, airing next week, is going to be one hell of a rollercoaster ride.

But for now, here's a behind-the-scenes clip from this week's episode.

Hyundai Aslan (AG)

2015 Hyundai Aslan

This is a brand new premium executive sedan from South Korean carmaker Hyundai that emerged out of nowhere like someone stealing a plane under the enemy's noses during a heated battle. It's called the Aslan, Turkish for lion, and this car wants to live up to its name as the car that is worth better to lead than to follow. So what? Is this what Hyundai's answer to the BMW 3-Series looks like?

Hey...I've seen this before...

Yes. You've seen this before. It was appeared at the Busan International Motor Show last Spring as the Hyundai AG Concept. When Hyundai plans to name the unnamed AG sedan, they've decided to give it a nobler name. A name that holds nobility. That's where the Aslan kicks in.

Hold on, Hyundai has so many sedans in their lineup, right?

Yes. There are so many Hyundai sedans in one place. Quite a spectacle. There's the Accent, the Avante, the Sonata, the i40 Saloon, the Grandeur (in petrol, hybrid, and diesel guises), the Genesis, and the flagship Equus.

Where does it positioned?

The Aslan is positioned between the Grandeur and the Genesis.

Is it bigger than the Grandeur?

Hmmm....That's a legitimate question but it can be a no and a yes because the Aslan has the same wheelbase, width, and height as the Grandeur but when it comes to length, the Aslan is 60mm longer than the Grandeur so you can think of the Aslan as the Grandeur's LWB cousin just so you know.

But the Aslan looks like a mini-Genesis to me...

2015 Hyundai Aslan interior
The Aslan is heavily influenced by Hyundai's "Fluidic Sculpture 2.0" design philosophy first applied on the latest Genesis last year but by the way it looks, this is like a mashup between the Sonata's front (sort of) and the Genesis' rear. The interior has a very same story as well but even though the Aslan has the Genesis-influenced interior, it's still very comfortable and very convenient. It even comes with the Lexicon premium sound system with 12 speakers, which deliver crystal-clear sound quality like you get from an expensive luxury car. Go ahead, try Bluetooth-ing your iPhone, play some music, and hear what happens. Because of its extended length, the rear legroom is not very bad at all, as long as someone is not fiddling with the front seats that sabotaging the space between you and your legs. Those viscounts and viscountesses wouldn't mind about it.

I suspect that the Aslan, being a bigger Grandeur, is a front-wheel drive, right?

Sadly, yes. The Aslan is a front-wheel drive premium sedan just like the Grandeur so it's not well matched to take on the 3-Series, the C-Class, or the ATS. Still, the new Aslan is worth a shot to take on the Audi A4, the Alpheon, the Buick LaCrosse, or the Cadillac XTS...well, as a theory.

Engine choices are...

2015 Hyundai Aslan

Hey, watch it. You're stealing my line. Anyway, the Aslan has two petrol engine choices; one is a 3.0L V6 GDi engine, straight from the Grandeur, and the other one with the 3.3L V6 GDi engine, straight from the Genesis. Both of these engines are mated with the 6-speed automatic gearbox. The 3.0L V6 engine produces 270PS of power, 31.6kg-m of torque, and combined fuel economy of 9.5km/L while the 3.3L V6 engine produces 294PS of power, 35.3kg-m of torque and 9.5km/L of fuel economy. Hold it...9.5km/L of fuel economy combined on the 3.3L V6 model? Isn't that the same as the 3.0L V6 one? Clever but such fuel consumption needs to be verified or they don't wanna wind up in the whole fuel consumption fiasco like last time...Geez...

What about the way the Aslan performs?

2015 Hyundai Aslan

Well, as a front-wheel drive car, the Aslan feels more as civilized as a Viscount enjoying a nice game of chess with his Marquis pal...sort of. Nobility-wise, its handling level is on its viscount nobility and it feels more like a European sport sedan thanks to the extensive use of MacPherson Struts on the front and Multilink suspension at the back. The rack-and-pinion steering feels a bit like an old Hyundai but that doesn't stop the Aslan from behaving like a luxury car in its own right.

Technology-wise, the Aslan is as technologically-advanced as high-end luxury cars. From Advanced Smart Parking Assist System, Lane Departure Warning System, Forward Collision Warning System, Around View Monitor, Flex Steer, Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Adaptive Forward Lighting System, and much more, the Aslan feels like the future is now thanks to science.

Should I buy it?

The Aslan is priced from 39,900,000 KRW to 45,900,000 KRW, so it's expensive than the Grandeur but affordable than the Genesis so it's a smart buy but be advised, this is a Korea-only car and Hyundai has no plans to ship it globally. In short, it's Korea-only, LHD-only, and that's it. Zip it. Period.

Available Colors: Ice White, Platinum Silver, Polished Metal, Remington Red, Night Sky, Dark Horse, and Phantom Black.

Photo: Hyundai Motor Company
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