Michael Brian Tina

Experiencing life while taking down notes

Author: michaelbriantina (page 2 of 32)

Dining at Gibbs’ Hot Wings

Hey, everyone!

I was able to eat at this new restaurant in Cebu called Gibbs’ Hot Wings last week. A friend & I decided to have a late dinner and I suggested Gibbs’ Hot Wings to her because I heard some good things about it from another friend of mine. Social media is all well and good, but the word of mouth is here to stay. It’s kind of a hidden place and isn’t really along the main road. It’s inside Holy Family II Subdivision in Banilad, and if it weren’t for the sign that said Gibbs’ Hot Wings, I would have thought it was just another house. Best to take a cab or bring a car heading here although you can elect to walk as well from the entrance of the subdivision, no one’s stopping you. The guard will give you directions from the guard house which is straight, right, left, and then left. You should be able to spot it from there.

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People in Cebu always love those restaurants that are considered a hole-in-the-wall, and this is kind of like that. I mean, having a restaurant in a subdivision and the fact that it’s so small kind of gives it that appeal that it’s insider info that only a handful of people know about.

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When you get inside, you’ll realize how quaint the place really is. It’s separated into two different rooms with a total of about 8-9 tables, so expect to wait a bit if you come here for dinner on a weekend. However, I like how they have that distinctive giant blackboard with the Gibbs logo and chalkboard writing all over it. Kind of reminds me of Black Iron.

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While waiting for your food, you can write on the blackboard using chalk and it’s something to keep you busy while waiting. I like how it gives off that personal vibe.

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So they didn’t have a physical menu. I ordered from the counter. What was interesting was that they showed pictures of their food on a monitor, and that’s basically where you order your food. Of course, this place, from the name itself, specializes in hot chicken wings, and if you order their Gibbs’ Hot Wings, you have five levels of spiciness that you can choose from. Hot is actually the least spicy, followed by Original, then Insanely Hot, then 2! Intense and finally Freakin Hot. My tolerance for spicy food isn’t really up to par, so we ended up going with Hot. What’s also interesting to note is that there was a price difference depending on what spice level you would choose, Freakin Hot is more expensive than Hot by around 20-25 pesos, so keep that in mind.

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Ordered the Potato Wedges. This was PHP 80.00. It was a generous serving and was served with a barbeque and sour cream sauce. It was really, really good! Something about home cooked potato dishes that makes it taste really good. A great appetizer before you dine in on your chicken wings.

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Our ‘Hot’ flavored Chicken Wings arrived and also came with that Mayonnaise & Sour Cream Sauce. The chicken wings were coated generously with the spicy barbeque sauce, and even though this was the least spicy option, it still had a bit of a kick to it! It tasted pretty good and for 10 pieces for PHP 175.00, I think you get good value. This is good for sharing for two people or for one really hungry person. We paired it with rice which is PHP 20.00 per cup. They also have other options on their menu, like the Angel’s Wings and their Spaghetti with Meatballs. But really, you come here to try out their chicken wings for sure!

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To wash it all down, we had this fruit berry juice in a pitcher that cost PHP 125.00. It’s actually good for three to four people, and it tasted okay. There was another option that looked like it was a lemon or orange juice base, but that was unavailable, so we had this instead. There are also softdrinks and beer options if that’s what you’d prefer to drink.

All in all, dining at Gibbs’ Hot Wings was an interesting experience. The food tasted good and you come here to dine on some spicy chicken wings, nothing more, nothing less. The place itself is hidden and a hole-in-the-wall, but that’s also what makes it endearing and gives it its own personality which makes it worth a visit.

They are open during the following days:

Tuesdays – Saturdays
Lunch – 11am – 2pm
Dinner – 5:30pm – 10pm

Sundays & Mondays
Dinner – 5:30 – 10pm

You can contact them on their Facebook page here.

If you want to make reservations, contact 0949-376-7220.

Well, that’s it! Definitely worth a try. The Burrow Lounge & Bad Boy Wingz are also worth a visit if you want to get your fill of chicken wings., but that’s another post for another time.

Until next time,

Cheers!

A review of the Xiaomi 10,400 mAh Powerbank

Hey, everyone!

I’ve had the Xiaomi 10,400 mAh power bank for a while now, but I never got around to doing an unboxing and review. Let’s fix that right now! Xiaomi is known for selling gadgets and accessories at a damn good price to value ratio, and their power banks are no exception. However, the way they sell it is a bit tricky. They sell it via flash sales in Lazada.com and it’s not always the easiest to get. You have to register to their website and have to log-in at the specified time of the sale. These things sell out quick in like under 3 minutes! So you have to add to cart and check-out as fast as you can. I wanted a power bank since last year, but luck was just not on my side. Well, you know how they say that the third time’s the charm? Yeah, don’t believe that. I got my power bank on the fourth try via the flash sale.

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After ordering it online, I got it in the next two days via LBC. I was more than happy with the order tracking of LBC and the over-all delivery time, but Lazada itself doesn’t have the best track record with me. I have more than my fair share of horror stories with Lazada. But that’s another story for another time. Let’s get on with the power bank.

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It comes in this plain white box with nothing but some barcode stickers and a nondescript Mi logo in grey. Xiaomi is known for using very simple packaging to save on costs, and for the price of PHP 645.00 (plus PHP 99.00 shipping) I wasn’t expecting any fancy packaging anyway. In the end, what’s important isn’t on the outside, but what’s on the inside. (insert cheesy music here)

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Opening up the box, you get a white mini-USB to USB cord. You’ll need the power adapter from your smartphone in order to charge your power bank, so keep that in mind.

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You also get a guide with some tips and information on the product, which is always good to have. The most important take-away from this guide is what the LED lights indicate when in usage and when charging.

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Here is the power bank itself! You can see how gorgeous it looks, kind of reminds me of my Mi 3 smartphone. It has a brushed anodized aluminum layer in silver, which looks sleek and smooth. At first glance, you wouldn’t think this power bank would be under a thousand pesos. It’s very simple, with only the Mi logo visible on the aluminum layer.

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On the back, you’ve got the same anodized aluminum layer in silver, but instead of the Mi logo it says Mi.com. Xiaomi has really taken a simple design philosophy that looks sleek and sophisticated.

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On the underside you can see that 10,400 mAh being indicated along with some factory labels and wording.

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Up on top you have the USB port, mini-USB port, the 4 LED’s to help you indicate the current status as well as the power button. Not much else to it, but really, this is all you’ll need.

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In hand, it feels good and isn’t too hefty considering that it is 10,400 mAh. One concern I have though is that if you don’t have a case for this, you will get scratches on this power bank. Best to get a case for this if you plan on bringing this for travel.

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To give you a bit of a perspective on the dimensions of the power bank, I’ve decided to stack some coins for reference. Height is about 4 1 peso coins laid out on the floor and thickness is about 11 1 & 5 peso coins stacked on top of each other. In essence, it’s not heavy or bulky at all and fits just right in with your bag or backpack.

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Like I mentioned earlier, there are 4 LED’s and a power button on the top to help indicate the status of the power bank. Now, don’t get confused. The power button itself doesn’t need to be pressed for you to charge your smartphone or other devices. You press the power button and the LED’s will light up according to the status and usage of the power bank. The guide from earlier helps to inform you of the power bank status.

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When charging to an outlet, if all 4 LEDs are on, it means that it is fully charged. If all 4 are blinking, it means there is something wrong with the power bank. If the first LED is blinking and the rest are off, it is at 0-25% charge. Then if the first LED is on and the second LED is blinking and the rest are off, it is at 25-50% charge. So on and so forth until all LEDs are on and not blinking anymore.

While discharging the power bank (charging your smartphone), it will always be blinking. 4 LEDs blinking indicate that it is 75-100% charged, and 1 blinking LED will indicate that it is at 0-25% charge and is going to turn off in a bit. It might sound confusing, but when you actually use it, the LEDs are more than capable in helping indicate where the power bank is at. Please refer to the table in the guide if the explanation wasn’t clear enough.

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The power bank has a rated capacity of 10,400 mAh, so it’ll take longer to charge than a regular smartphone which has 2,000-3,000 mAh of battery capacity and will charge in about 2 hours or so. After using it for about a month, I’ve found that it takes about 8-9 hours to get a full charge. Best to leave it overnight. It discharges quick too. For some reason, I’ve noticed that it can charge my smartphone faster than if I would have connected it to the outlet. I think this is because it is rated higher in terms of amperes, so it can discharge quicker than the normal 1.5A rated capacity. Take note that it can only charge one device at a time. It’s compatible with all Android devices that have a mini-USB port as well as Apple devices as long as you have your own power cable that connects from USB-to-Lightning port.

The batteries that Xiaomi has placed into this are from LG & Samsung, so you know it’s legit. When they rate 10,400 mAh, it is exactly close to that. A lot of counterfeit and cheap power banks will have a rating of 10,400 mAh but you’d be surprised when it can only hold half of the rated amount. This, however, can charge my Xiaomi Mi 3 (3,050 mAh) about three times and have a bit of juice left over, which is amazing efficiency and is really close to their stated rated capacity.

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So what’s the final verdict?

Xiaomi continues to impress with their products and this is no exception. I’m pretty happy with this power bank and will highly recommend it to anyone looking for extra battery on the go. It’s cheap but doesn’t skimp on the design or battery, and it has amazing value for the price of PHP 645.00 when comparing it to other power banks in the same category. It charges up your smartphone devices faster than a regular charger and the LED system of indicating the power status is very nifty. It’s also very light considering the rated capacity that it brings.

The two things I can nitpick about it is that I wish it had another port so you could charge two devices at once (which it has with its 16,000 mAh bigger brother!) and the ease of availability. You can’t get this power bank without snagging it in a flash sale. Lazada is the only authorized retailer of Xiaomi products, and if you got it from a retailer elsewhere, it’s either what you got might be a fake or they bought it from Lazada themselves and jacked up the price. Want to know if your Mi power bank is authentic or not? Check out this helpful guide from Yugatech here. Hopefully in the future, Xiaomi can increase the availability of their products wherein they wouldn’t need flash sales so everyone can purchase it when they want to.

And wouldn’t you know it, Lazada and Mi Philippines are having another flash sale this April 24, 2015 (Friday) at 12 noon. They’re going to be launching the 16,000 mAh power bank for PHP 1,299.00 and that version has two USB ports for you to charge two devices at the same time. Hopefully those who want a power bank will get one and it won’t go to the re-sellers. Good luck!

If you have any questions, as always, feel free to leave a comment down below or message me directly. Follow me on my social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube) @mikes41720 or send an e-mail at michaelbriantina@yahoo.com.

Until next time,

Cheers!

Mantayupan Falls & Basdaku Beach

Hey, everyone!

So last weekend, a couple of friends & I decided to go on a road trip! We initially planned for a weekend adventure and I had a really grand plan that would have us going to all the different waterfalls in the south, but we decided to shorten it and make it a one day trip. We went to Mantayupan Falls in Barili and followed it up with a short trip to the beach in Moalboal before heading home.

Mantayupan Falls is one of the main tourist attractions of Barili and is around a two hour trip from Cebu City. You can either bring your own vehicle or ride a bus to Barili.

If you’re bringing a private car, you can opt to take the SRP road to Talisay all the way up to Carcar City. You can stop by to try their famous lechon and chicharon. Once you get to the rotunda in Carcar, you’ll want to go right as that leads to Barili.  It’s about a 30 to 45 minute drive from Carcar and the roads are smooth and paved. Once you arrive at the town of Barili, take note of a 7-11 convenience store on the right side and a public school on the left side. Just go a few meters straight. There will be a  sign on the left side that says Mantayupan Falls that will lead you to make a left turn. Continue to go straight, and you should pass by a market place. There’s another sign on the right side that will lead you to make right turn. A few more kilometers straight and you will arrive at the entrance soon enough.

If you’re riding public transport, you can take a Bus (Ceres Liner is recommended) from the South Bus Terminal in Cebu City. Take the Bato via Barili route. I believe their buses depart every hour. They should stop over at Shamrock and from there you can take a tricycle or habal-habal that will bring you to Mantayupan Falls.

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My friend brought his Fortuner, so we all just opted to chip in for the gas expense. This is the parking lot. Parking fee is about PHP 10.00 to PHP 20.00 depending on the type of vehicle. I don’t remember us paying the parking fee though. There’s space for about 10 cars and a number of motorcycles.

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The entrance fee itself is PHP 20.00 per person. There’s a restaurant, sari-sari store, comfort room and changing room all near the entrance. What first greeted us when we got there were the sounds of karaoke music, which I didn’t like, but it was a good thing that this was a ways off from the actual falls. Still, you can tell that this place has been developed, which is both good and bad.

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After you walk straight from the entrance, you will see some steps leading down and up. Mantayupan Falls has two levels, and what’s amazing is that the local government has developed Mantayupan into a hydro-electric source to power up the town while still maintaining the natural look and feel. Of course, there will be some man made steps and bridges, but it’s more on for convenience and access to the falls.

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If you go to the steps leading up, it will take you to the constructed bridge and access point to the first level of the falls. It’s a short bridge, but you are treated with a view to the second level of the falls as well as some nice rock formations.

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This is the second level of the falls. There’s not much water flowing here, probably because it’s summer time. If you went down from the steps in the picture earlier, this is where you would end up. I didn’t find anyone swimming in the second level.

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Continuing all the way up the bridge, after a few meters, you should start to hear the rush and roar of the falls.

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This is the first level of Mantayupan Falls. It’s about 100 meters and is the tallest waterfall in Cebu! The sight is gorgeous and you can really feel the power of this magnificent waterfall. We got there around 11:30 AM, and what spoiled the view was because there were so many people around. You can’t have it all, right?

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There are lots of tables and chairs situated near the falls, and you can rent a table and four chairs for PHP 150.00. There’s also a bigger table coupled with eight chairs for PHP 250.00. Apparently a friend told me that there’s also a fee for corkage and if you want to grill your food but I don’t know the exact rates they paid. You can also rent a makeshift raft and a life jacket if you want closer access to the falls.

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We ate our lunch, chilled, played some cards and took some pictures. The water was cold and inviting, but we decided to just go for a swim somewhere else. I just ended up staring at this magnificent water form for a while and was just truly amazed. If you’re going on a road trip to the south, this is definitely worth going to since it’s easily accessible and convenient. The only downside is that there might be lots of people who might be thinking the same thing. Still worth it though.

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After we were done in Mantayupan Falls, we drove out even further south and ended up in Moalboal! There’s a PHP 5.00 government fee and a PHP 10.00 entrance fee for the Public Beach in Basdaku. You can also stay at one of the many private resorts and get a more exclusive experience, but the public beach was still pretty awesome for the price. Basdaku is one long shoreline, so whether you stay at a private resort or camp in a tent by the seashore, you’ll still end up in the same beach.

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The sand is white and powdery in feel. The water is clean and clear during the high tide. This is a really nice place to go snorkeling and diving if you’re into that, but even just swimming and enjoying the waves by the shore is a delightful experience in itself! We rented out a table somewhere for PHP 300.00 for day usage. Next time, I’ll just bring a tent so we can chill in the shade and possibly even make it a cheap alternative for an overnight stay.

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There’s just something about the sand and the sea that makes you feel calm and forget all your problems. Although I generally prefer waterfalls, it doesn’t take away that the beach experience in Moalboal was definitely stunning. Really, a road trip with your friends will treat you to some awesome beaches, waterfalls and mountains. We have it really good here in Cebu. It doesn’t have to be expensive as long as you all just rough it out and plan ahead.

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And as the sun set, we enjoyed the last swim of the day, packed up and headed back to the bustling city. A great start to the summer season and a prelude to one of the many more adventures to come.

Until next time,

Cheers!

Malaysia 2015

Hey, everyone!

I had this great opportunity to go to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last March 19-24, 2015 with some of my friends from the eSports Inquirer team. You see, my friend is the editor-in-chief for the eSports content section for Inquirer.net. I send out content to the website part-time, which consists mostly of product reviews and features of gaming peripherals. So when there was an announcement that there was going to be a big Dota 2 event to be held in Malaysia, I jumped on to it with no questions asked! The Major All Stars Dota 2 tournament is the biggest SEA tournament with a prize pool of over $100,000. Yes, eSports continues to grow and grow. I was just excited to hop on and join the team as part of the media crew and also get to tour around Kuala Lumpur as a bonus! So let me share with you some pictures and excerpts from my trip.

Day 1

I woke up super early. Couldn’t get much sleep since I was so excited for the trip. Finished packing my things and read on TripAdvisor about all the places we should visit. Pao came over and we had lunch at the house, then my dad brought us to the airport. We checked in and passed through immigration just fine. The waiting began! I bought myself a Coke. Was excited to add another stamp on my passport. I was also wearing my Dota 2 cap that was generously given by Pinoy Game Store & Dota 2 Philippines. After all, this was the point of the trip! Major All Stars, the biggest Dota 2 tournament in SEA.

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After about a 4 hour flight on Air Asia, we met up with the rest of our friends and had dinner at Quizinn by Raza. Had Daging, which is beef, and mixed it with rice topped with curry sauce and cucumber. Mixed it with this random smoothie. First meal and it was already a 7 on the spicy meter! Crazy how much Malaysia loves its spice. KLIA 2 was an awesome airport! Definitely world class.

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We were going to take a taxi and split it four ways, but we decided to take the bus as it was the cheaper alternative. Our friend’s mom set us up nicely and treated us to stay at this fancy hotel called Corus. You know it’s fancy if it has palm trees!

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Juan told us of this place across the street called Nasi Kandar Pelita, where it had all the awesome Indian food! It was already around like 12 MN before we finished settling in our stuff and went out to explore.

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This guy was making Roti & Thosai. It’s like flour that is formed into pieces. It’s pretty cheap too. It was like RM 1.20 per piece of Roti, which is around PHP 15.00. Really filling especially with the dips!

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So here is the Roti and matched with three types of curry sauce! Stuff was delicious! And we topped it down with Iced Horlicks. It was hot at the bottom but cold with ice on the top. Really hit the spot!

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They had chicken and beef and some other meats available. They were generously dipped in their spicy sauce. What’s funny is that there’s no pork in Malaysia, due to majority of their people being Muslim. It’s amazing to note that even your food is influenced by your culture.

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It was already around 2 AM when we went to visit the Petronas Twin Towers. It was amazing since Corus Hotel KL was literally just 5 minutes away from the Petronas and KLCC. Unfortunately, the lights were dimmed already, so we decided to take pictures some other day. Still, it was awesome to stroll around KLCC and look at all the bright lights and buildings. A bit more strolling before we decided to call it a night.

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Day 2

We were up bright and early at around 6 AM! The Major All Stars Dota 2 Tournament was going to have its registration from 9-10, so we wanted to be there at the earliest possible time. But before that, I just had to stop by the nearby OldTown cafe and get some of their famous coffee!

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There was a distinct taste to the coffee that I wasn’t quite sure about. Maybe it was the herbs or spices placed into the drink. It was good, but definitely something different.

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We made our way to Malawati Stadium in Shah Alam. It was actually about 45 minutes away from KLCC, so it was pretty far. We got out and we were excited to see lots of people already lining up!

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We had a sneak peek of what was inside before they let everyone in. The set-up was amazing! My only complaint would probably be the chairs, but as for the booths, players area and screens, they did a real good job! It looked positively legit. It got me real stoked! 3 Days of high caliber Dota with some of the top teams in the world will warrant that reaction.

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Our first match of the day was between Invasion and Na’Vi. Na’Vi is a European squad that is famous for winning the first iteration of The International, which had a prize pool of 1 million US dollars. Invasion was one of the two local squads representing Malaysia. It was a fun game 1, and Na’Vi took it in convincing fashion. Unfortunately, after that match, there were some technical issues and we never got to see another live game after that for Day 1. Rough start for Major All Stars.

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I tried to make the most out of it though. Even though there weren’t any live games, I went around the tents and booths. This is the Secret Shop, which sells a lot of Valve’s official Dota 2 merchandise. Things were selling like hotcakes! I regret not buying anything from here, but in all honesty, I didn’t really find anything that made me go “I have to have this.”

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GrabTaxi in Malaysia is known locally as My Teksi. Who knew this would be such a life saver for much of our trip. If you’re staying within KL, you can go via LRT and KTM, but there are some inaccessible areas that really call for a taxi here and there.

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Got my picture taken with some of the cosplayers! Bloodseeker, Templar Assassin, Windranger and Lina. Good stuff!

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I brought a black cartolina and a gold metallic pen to have some of the players sign. I also managed to get some pictures with some of them. I was extremely lucky I got a picture with this guy right here. Got his autograph too. His name is Dendi and he is arguably the most famous Dota 2 pro player there is! This picture was featured in a local Dota 2 page, and it got over 25,000 likes! I definitely felt the 15 seconds of fame. Ha! Either way, I was fortunate to get his picture. He’s been an inspiration for a lot of us. He really loves his fans, and he’s really friendly. A great example of a class act professional.

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There were food tents outside the venue, and it was amazing to see the street food! Lots of variation from your usual kwek-kwek and tempura!

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Lots of juice and refreshments as well. The colors really pop on their food and beverages, don’t you think?

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Even though there was a lot of down time, the host had a couple of games and some prizes. I found myself on stage! It was a push-up contest. Unfortunately, I didn’t win. But it was still fun to participate!

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Day 1 was fun for me and our team since we got to go around, eat, meet players, interact with the people and the different booths. But due to the technical issues, they couldn’t play any more games and they had to postpone it for the next day. Really sad, but you know, sometimes that’s just how it is. You just have to bounce back! Here’s a picture of the eSportsINQ team! What’s also funny was that after they announced that they would postpone the matches, it started raining real hard, and some of the stuff in the tents fell down. We couldn’t get a taxi, and we were swarmed by mosquitos. It was horrible! Bad vibes, so we went to the nearby mall to have dinner before calling it a night.

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KFC! We had to pull out the fast food card. Again, you can see the differences in culture and how it affects the local cuisine, even if it is regulated fast food. Can you tell me what’s missing from this meal? Clue, it’s a must have when you pair it with chicken and it rhymes with navy.

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After that meal, we were able to get a taxi to the nearest KTM station, and we rode the KTM to KL Sentral. From there, we took another taxi. Finally settled in Jalan Gurney after getting lost for a bit. We were all so tired and just decided to call it a night.

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Day 3

Again, we were up and early for Day 2 of Major All Stars. Had some breakfast at the nearby restaurant! Spicy banana chips along with Chicken rice. As usual, there was that spicy sauce mixed with some fresh cucumber. We topped it off with Teh Ice or Iced Tea.

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Gave OldTown another try and this time I got the Iced Hazelnut. Boy, was this delicious. I think I could have this drink everyday. This one was really, really good.

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We were a bit late in getting to the venue, but once we got there, it was all business! We didn’t have too much time to go around since we were covering all the games as it was adjusted on a tighter schedule. I manned the laptop and provided updates on the games on our social media accounts. The others were taking pictures, getting interviews and listing down feature stories. Day 2 went much better because we actually managed to watch a lot of fun Dota games.

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Got my picture taken with the Vanguard and Pudge mask! Awesome stuff from the booths.

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Just a random picture from the Logitech booth. They were advertising their Logitech G302 MOBA Gaming mouse, which I eventually bought because it came with a free mousepad. The offer was too good to pass up! Check out the Crystal Maiden cosplayer playing a game of 1v1!

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We ended up at around 11, and made our way back to KLCC at around 1. I was super tired from this day. Some of my friends still found the energy to go out and party. YOLO life right there. Me and Pao decided to just stay in and relax. I must be getting old.

Day 4

Another version of Chicken rice! This is what we had for brunch to kick things off for the final day of Major All Stars. I was still excited!

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We were watching all the lower bracket games, and it had some fun filled moments and jaw dropping plays, but nothing drew the crowd quite like this autograph signing session from the Na’Vi squad. People were lining up and the queue reached all the way outside. Amazing to see this kind of reaction from the crowd.

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One of the team members from eSportsINQ was a major Dendi fangirl. She bought the Na’Vi jacket and jersey on the first day of its release! She got to give him her gift of Dried Mangoes. She was rewarded with a selfie and a hug from Daniil! Amazing stuff. Eventually, Dendi followed her on Twitter too. Dreams do come true, eh?

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The Grand Finals was a BO3 between Chinese squad Invictus Gaming and European squad Team Empire! Empire lost to Invictus Gaming earlier in the winner bracket finals, and they climbed their way back to face them again in the grand finals. They must have been under fatigue from playing lots of games as iG beat them 2-0 in convincing fashion. Invictus Gaming are your Major All Stars Dota 2 Grand Champions! It was a sight to see ChuaN, one of the iG players who hails from Malaysia, hoist up the trophy as everyone is taking pictures and celebrating with them.

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Here is iG with the champagne shower at the afterparty! The afterparty was at the Best Western Hotel in i-City, and it was pretty fancy! We had a nice view from above, and we were able to mingle with the players, casters and other fans and spectators. It was nice to just chill, eat some food, have some beer and enjoy. We managed to get a few more pictures and autographs before calling it a night.

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Job well done to the eSportsINQ team! Lots of learning experience for the next LAN event. Also, hats off to Fallout Gaming for bouncing back from a horrible day 1 to finish out day 2 and day 3 of MAS in stunning fashion. Major All Stars Season 1 was far from perfect, but it showed promise and makes me excited even more for season 2. Congratulations to all the organizers, players, casters, sponsors and contributors. Bigger things to come!

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Day 5

Well, the Major All Stars Tournament was an over-all success! I was glad to be a part of that experience for sure. But it was our last full day in Malaysia, and I wanted to be on full blast tourist mode. So we got our things from the apartment, checked back in to Corus Hotel and set out to explore. First things first, we had to try the national breakfast staple in Malaysia, Nasi Lemak. Rice, softboiled egg, cucumber, peanuts, a spicy sauce and dilis. Pretty unique in taste, and it was good. Something different.

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We rode the LRT and took the KTM to our first stop, the Batu Caves. I was glad that it was pretty accessible from KL Sentral. Transportation here in Malaysia is very convenient with all the interconnecting trains.

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What a beautiful sight. The Batu Caves are known for their tedious uphill climb of about 250+ steps to get to the actual entrance. In hindsight, it wasn’t that bad actually as the incline wasn’t that steep where it would be too tiring. The giant golden Buddha paired with the colorful decorations made for a great viewing experience even from the bottom.

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We tried to count the exact number of steps but stopped after a while to catch up to our heavy breathing. It’s amazing as this was a Monday morning and there were so many people.

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Once you successfully reach the top, this is the cave. It was huge! But there’s another exit and a few more steps that leads into another section.

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I’m more of a waterfalls kind of guy, but I admit that this was still a pretty gorgeous sight to behold.

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This is the kind of stuff you only see in the movies. Simply jaw dropping. I was glad that we made that climb.

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Once you reach the top, you can rest there a bit and take some pictures with the monkeys. But be careful though, they are known to be very mischievous and can steal your food or little items. Personally, when we went there, nothing happened to us, but that was probably because we didn’t have any food or snacks on hand. Check out this picture of this monkey feasting on a coconut while breastfeeding her infant. Cool stuff.

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Juan, Dreb and I took a selfie with one of the monkeys. Just part of the gang! I love the expression on the monkey’s face. His face screams “what did I do to deserve this?” and it’s just too damn funny!

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After making our way down, we had some snacks in an Indian restaurant. I had Thosai, which still has the same ingredients as Roti, but it’s made differently and has a kind of crispy and smooth texture, so it tastes different too. Paired it with their coconut and curry sauces and topped it off with Mango Lassi, which is a mixture of a smoothie and yoghurt. Delicious stuff!

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After having snacks and waiting on the rain to stop, we rode the KTM and LRT back to another station. Our next destination was Central Market. We had to walk quite a bit but it was enjoyable as the skywalks in Malaysia treated us to some nice views of the city landscape.

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Looking like I own the place! Central Market in Pasar Seni is one of the most famous spots in Malaysia for shopping, particularly known for having a little bit of everything from chocolate, clothes, luxury items and souvenirs. Personally, the three of us being guys, we didn’t really stay too long. We bought some chocolate and went on. But for moms, daughters, sisters and ladies in general, you could probably spend a lot of time and money here!

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There’s lots of trinkets, clothes and souvenirs inside. There’s also a food court on the second floor, so if you’re hungry you can eat here as well.

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Just right next to Central Market is Kasturi Walk, which is more of an outdoor shopping area.

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We had to stop by and try this place! Reminded me of our barbeque here in the Philippines, but they certainly had their own twist to it. Ayam is Chicken and Daging is Beef. Kambing is Goat. I forgot what Perut is. Ketupat is their hanging rice or puso. But instead of wrapping it in leaves, it is wrapped in plastic. But it’s amazing to note that it still keeps that diamond shape. I just thought it was pretty interesting!

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We also ended up in Petaling Street or Chinatown! Lots of Chinese inspired decor, but inside it’s more like Divisoria. Lots of food though.

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Lots of fakes and copies of shoes, cellphones, bags, clothes and what have you. Did not buy anything here, just strolled around and enjoyed the sights and scenery.

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We walked from Chinatown and made our way down to the area of Merdeka Square! It’s kind of like a park and open field with lots of Muslim inspired buildings nearby. Really great architecture, and it’s amazing to see how it blends in with the modern buildings so well.

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Here is Dataran Merdeka or Merdeka Square. It’d be really nice to just sit down, enjoy the view and go people watching. Unfortunately, we were on a hectic schedule given that this was our only day on turista mode. Still, we made the most out of it!

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Right next to Merdeka Square is the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. Equally as impressive!

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We went back to the hotel to rest up for a bit and freshen up as we had a dinner appointment with one of our friend’s godfathers. We headed to Suria Mall in KLCC. This huge mall is just right next to the Petronas Twin Towers. Just amazing with how it lights up! Really the defining building in Kuala Lumpur.

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The mall was huge and we got to go strolling for a bit. There was also a Petronas F1 event in the main hall.

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Juan’s godfather treated us to dinner at Nando’s. The chicken and side dishes were really good! Free food is always a plus, don’t you think?

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I missed my chance on Day 1 to get a photo of the ever popular Petronas Twin Towers. But on our last night, I finally got the opportunity to get a photo op with this magnificent architectural piece. Really, the way that it lights up draws all the attention to it. It really is the centerpiece of Kuala Lumpur and is a must visit.

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Outside one of the side entrances in Suria, there is a water and lights show every evening. It was about 15 minutes, and it was orchestrated real well. Everything was timed with the music, and that backdrop of the Kuala Lumpur city line was just amazing! I daresay that this is better than the Symphony of Lights show in Hong Kong! Maybe I’m biased with the water formations, who knows. This is also one of the must visits in KLCC. This should be rated higher up on TripAdvisor for sure!

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We walked across several connecting skywalks for what seemed like an hour before we got to Bukit Bintang. Bukit Bintang is kind of like the nightlife area in Kuala Lumpur and it has a lot of restaurants, cafes, bars, shopping malls and districts. This is the Pavilion Mall with their famous red flower fountain.

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After walking around Bukit Bintang, we finally made our way to Jalan Alor. If you’re hungry and you want to go on a food trip, Jalan Alor is definitely the place you have to go to. It’s a night food market that has stalls for days! You can just pick food from certain spots, have your fill and move forward. Really a dream place for the foodies out there as it has all kinds of food that you would want to try in Malaysia.

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We were still pretty full from that dinner in Nando’s, so we just picked a random restaurant and had some beers and chickent satay sticks.  I had a bottle of Guinness, and it was pretty good, but also pretty dark and bitter! Just taking in the scenery here in Jalan Alor was worth the one hour walk. I just wished I was a bit more hungry so I could have tried more stuff. Maybe next time!

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I was too full to try anything else after the beer, but we had this Turkish Ice Cream before we left. It’s 10 times as delicious as our dirty ice cream, and is a must try! It’s also funny because the guy serves you ice cream using a stick as the serving spoon, and he has several tricks and antics before he hands it to you. A bit of a performance, but definitely added to the experience!

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We took a taxi back to the hotel. I got to see the Petronas Twin Towers one last time. My jaw still drops as to how beautiful this piece of architecture is. Great way to end the evening!

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Day 6

Packed up my stuff, checked out of the hotel and we made our way to KLIA 2 via the airport express. I was a bit sad that I wasn’t able to buy packets of powdered coffee from OldTown, but hey, maybe it’s meant for next time! We arrived at KLIA 2 and checked in for our flight back to Cebu.

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Had an in-flight meal of Chicken Rice, peanuts and Fanta. The Chicken Rice wasn’t as good as what we had served locally in one of the restaurants, but hey, who’s complaining. The flight back was pretty smooth and it went by quick.

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We arrived early in the afternoon, my dad got us and we made our way home. Unpacked all my things and just rested for a bit. Work the next day, tons of e-mails and lots of eventual stressors, but it was all worth it for this trip. Lots of things checked off the bucketlist, and the wanderlust was temporarily fulfilled. Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia was a great experience, and I am ever so grateful to have wandered into it. I wouldn’t mind going back for a second time.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Definitely was a bit costly, but it was all worth it. Investing your time and money into experiences and travels rather than things. More adventures to come!

Until next time,

Cheers!

Ironbound Coffee

For the past few weeks, on the way home from work, I’d pass by this huge tarpaulin that read “Hello Cebu!” on it. It really intrigued me and then I later found out it was a newly opened coffeeshop and bakery. It had a really unique name and I really wanted to try it out, so a couple of workmates and I headed out there last Friday evening to try out their coffee and pastries. Today’s feature is going to be on one of the new places on the block, Ironbound Coffee & Bakery.

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Ironbound Coffee & Bakery is located in 13 F. Cabahug St., Mabolo, Cebu City. If you’re coming from Ayala, once you go straight from the intersection and past Barbeque Boss and after Bread After Bread (see what I did there?) it should be in the next two corners on the right side. There should be a huge tarpaulin like on the picture above for you to spot. They are open 7 AM – 12 AM and they just opened last February 14, 2015 on Valentines Day! Mind you, they are still on their soft opening, so do keep that in mind.

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They’ve got an ambitious menu, and I’m pretty sure a lot of the food on this tarp wasn’t on the menu yet, but hopefully in time they can add it to their menu. They had another tarp that mentioned they were serving meals for the whole day, which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. But again, since they were on their soft opening, it was just pastries for now.

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They have a promo for the month of March! If you order 1 large drink, hot or cold, you get a free Hong Kong Waffle! Nice little touch to bolster more sales for their soft opening and to ease the crowd into trying their coffee and other offerings.

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The place itself was fairly small, probably about 5-6 tables and some chairs by the counter top. We were still deciding what to order.

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If coffee isn’t your thing, they’ve got lots of softdrinks, tea, beer, and other alcoholic drinks. I do believe they also have some wine choices available.

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Some of their pastries up for grabs. It was already late in the night at around 11:30 PM, so most of their pastries and goodies were probably already gone by then.

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Here is their coffee menu. An assortment of hot and cold drinks in various sizes, as well as what they call 3rd Waved Coffee.  There is Syphon, Pour Over & Aero Press. Basically, these are different kinds of ways of brewing coffee with a different kind of apparatus. It’s different from the usual instant or brewed coffee that we normally see. We’ll get more into that later. Here are some of the drinks we ordered.

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Hot Cappuccino

My friend said that the Cappuccino was good. The usual reliable hot drink.

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Iced French Vanilla

I ordered the Iced French Vanilla. Milk at the bottom, and coffee on the top. Mix it together, and you have a creamy iced drink with the sweet bitterness and fragrant aroma of coffee. It was good.

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French Vanilla Latte

I always enjoy seeing the coffee art from the froth. My friend said it tasted good as well.

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Syphon Coffee

My friend wanted to try the 3rd waved coffee, so he ordered a cup of Syphon Coffee. This apparatus was really unique, and I was really interested in watching the whole process from start to finish. Basically it uses a partial vacuum and vapor pressure to brew the coffee. Water is heated in the lower chamber as evidenced by the red flame, and is forced up the stem and evaporates up into the upper chamber.

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The water starts to accumulate in the upper chamber and it is then mixed with the coffee grounds and stirred for about a minute or so. By this point in time, the coffee is already brewed. The whole apparatus is taken off from the heater and is allowed to cool a bit. Due to the pressure difference and the gravity, the liquid passes through the stem and goes back down into the lower chamber. There’s a filter in the stem, so all the coffee grounds will be left in the upper chamber.

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Detach it, pour it in a cup, and it’s ready for drinking! I was amazed the whole time I was watching this. I’m not a coffee connoisseur by any means, but coming from a guy who just gets coffee from a sachet or from a vending machine, this was pretty jaw dropping. The whole process in brewing coffee like this was very calculated and very scientific. It was such a treat to watch! They told me that a medium sized brew cost PHP 189.00 and if you ordered this at UCC in Ayala, it would easily be around PHP 500.00 per brew. They use what I believe was called the Supremo blend of coffee beans. I tried a sip, and it was pretty good. My friend, who regularly orders coffee from the major coffee shops like Starbucks & Coffee Bean, said it was a real good cup of coffee and was worth it.

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Hongkong Waffle

And here is our free Hongkong Waffle! I will admit, it was a bit raw on the inside, but still pretty good. The sides were a bit crispy, which was nice. It was good to pair it with the coffee we had. Cooking it just a bit more would have probably made it taste way better. But hey, everyone loves free waffles, right? Take advantage of the promo for the whole of March while it’s still in effect!

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Here’s a picture of me and some of my workmates. Over-all, the place is still in its soft opening, and we were the only customers there, so you’ve got to cut them some slack. The coffee itself was pretty good and reasonably priced for what you’re getting. They have Wi-Fi, and I believe they are still working on their air conditioning. Their staff is still in the process of training, and they’ve still got a ways to go, but I think the appeal of their affordable 3rd Waved Coffee will entice people to check it out.

I was pleased with the visit. You should find the time to stop by and have some coffee over at Ironbound and have someone order the Syphon Coffee so you can marvel over the unique way the coffee is being brewed. Definitely worth a try.

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You can check out their Facebook page here.

You can also contact them at (032)405-2987.

I think that’s it! As always, if you liked the post, please share, like, comment, reblog and whatever other forms there are of support on social media.

Follow me on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram all @mikes41720. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to sound off on the comments section below.

My next blog post and feature is of an adventure we had last week! It was a trek with some friends to see some mountains and waterfalls, and boy, is it one hell of a story. Excited to share that one with you guys.

Until next time,

Cheers!

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