Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Regular User Review of the Microsoft Lumia 435

Finally after a few months of NOT using a Windows phone (my last was a yellow Nokia Lumia 520), I finally got another one. I was checking some budget friendly phones considering to buy our local brands, I finally decided to get one from one of the pioneers of using the Windows OS on their phones- Nokia. 

I visited the Nokia store in one of the malls near my office. I was thinking of getting the budget phone Lumia 435. I was amazed though that the brand etched on the unit they showed me was not Nokia but Microsoft. The day before, I was scanning the internet for affordable Windows phone There were a lot of options on the web from different manufacturers and finally I made up my mind to get the Microsoft Lumia 435 after seeing a couple of unboxing and reviews.

I went to the shop and immediately checked the phone. I was given 4 choices (white, orange, green and black) and I chose white to match my white LGG2. I was amazed how the phone fits my hand and how sturdy it feels. The phone is made of plastic, however, it didnt really feel cheap. 

I checked the phone out and here are some things I liked.

1. The Price- Lumia 435 is a budget phone coming from Microsoft. It costs PHP 4,290.00 here in the Philippines ($279.25). For a Windows phone and an imported brand, this is a very affordable phone. 

2. A Fully Functional Windows Phone- I bought this phone to be the partner of my ACER Aspire Switch 10 which is also running on Windows 8.1. Since this is a fully functional Windows phone, I could easily sync all my schedules from my notebook's calendar to the phone. It also has the app that I like on my notebook which is the Health and Fitness. This app has all that you need fitness wise- it has articles on diet, food and conditions, a weight tracker and a my favorite- the symptom checker. Another good news is, it is mentioned by Microsoft that this baby is also getting the Windows 10 update. 

3. Storage- As a photographer, I sometimes cram alot of pictures in memory cards and show them to friends. Lumia 435 has expandable storage aside from the 8 GB internal capacity that comes with the device. It can support not just 32 or 64GB of storage but a whooping 128 GB. This is a perfect phone for storing all your memories and showing them to friends. 

4. Performance- Windows phones are always snappy. I noticed this when I used Lumia 520 before. Though my Lumia 435 only has a 1.2 GHZ Dual core processor, it doesn't have any noticeable lags that other dual core devices have. 

5. Cortana- And the last thing I like about this Microsoft Lumia 435 is Cortana, Windows' own personal assistant. I have used Cortana with my Lumia 520 before and I could say that she is one helpful assistant. You could easily ask her questions, directions, recipes and even ask her to tell jokes and sing for you (though she would always sing "Danny Boy"). I use Cortana to set my alarms, schedule my meetings, remind me of appointments and even send text messages. By far, this is the most interactive and responsive AI Assistant ever. 

Runner-up: 2 SIM Card Slots- This feature is a close runner up. With the dual sim capability, this lets me bring 2 phones instead of y usual three (1 data plan, 1 normal call and text plan and 1 business line). Since the phone has dual sim, I get to use both my personal line and my business number together. 

There you have it guys, my observation of the new Microsoft Lumia 435. Though I have only used it for a day, I really liked it. Stay tuned for updates regarding the new budget phone from Microsoft. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Janus, God of New Beginnings

Ostara is coming. 

Witches all around the world will join with other earth-based spiritual traditions to celebrate the coming of the Spring Equinox. The celebration which marks the coming of spring and the start of the "New Year". All around the world, members of the Pagan community would usually gather and wait for the first ray of sunlight on this day. The celebration is also marked with the blooming of plants and the greens. This celebration is also dedicated to the Gods and Goddesses of the Earth and Agriculture. 

 In my belief system (polytheism), the Gods and Goddesses are separate entities and are designated specific titles and roles. Janus as a God of openings and closings is also the God of Agriculture whose honored as life starts inside the seeds. In the many epitaph of Ianus, there is the title Consivius, the sower of seeds. 

In my present belief, the God part of my paradigm is the least focused on. The God Janus though I have been devoting myself into is not given as much focus as I did with Hekate. I have been thinking about the influences of the God to my life and the epitaph of the God that needs focusing on. 

There are a lot of Epitaphs that are assigned to Janus, most of them if not all talks about His influences in all aspect of time, change, beginnings and endings. In the Roman Pantheon, Janus is worshiped and is given importance as the God Jupiter. Janus is given honor at the start of any feasts before even the invocation of any other Gods. 

In my rites, I am always asking Janus to bless the ritual. Janus being the God of New Beginnings, is always honored even prior to the Invocation and Honor of Lady Hekate. There are a lot of title that are given to Janus bu here are some of the known epitaphs:

Janus Pater- Janus is known or given title as the father. In some of the old manuscripts, He was given the title Matutine Pater or Morning Father.

Janus Geminus-maybe connected to the fact that Janus is always depicted as having two faces. It also has something to do about Him affecting both time and space and the connection between them.

Janus Patulcius and Janus Clusivius- Janus as the Gatekeeper, these epitaphs are connected to the status of the Gates and Doors- both standing open and remaining closed. 

Janus Quirinus- as a God of both beginnings and endings, Wars and Peace are often attributed to Janus. He is also called Ianus Belliger, the bringer of Wars and Ianus Pacificus , the stopper of wars.

Janus Iunonius- as the patron of all Kalends, Janus is given honor as he not just holds the entry to January but to all months as well.

Janus Consivius- as the sower of seeds, Janus holds the tutelary function during the first instant of human life and life in general. 

My relationship with the Gods are not really that close. Unlike some of the Pagans that I know who speaks to the Divine all the time, I am unable to hear Their voices. There are events in my life however, that I am able to hear the whispers and words of either encouragement or strength from my Deities. The Gods that I worship are Old. They are distant and most of the time silent. This however, do not stop me from giving Them honor and devotion. As the New cycle begins, I will be communicating more with Janus as know my God better. 

Khaire, Khaire...
Ianus Bifrons

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Ups and Downs in the Winding Way

Let's reheat the coffee. :) 

It's been a long time since I have written something in my blog. Well this is due to the fact that I have been so busy at work and I haven't really thought of anything to write. Sabbats come and go and, unlike before that I would really write something about the Arcana celebration, I ended up NOT writing anything. 

My experiences as a witch followed the same ups and downs, ons and offs. Though I would always do my devotions to the Gods, there are times that these devotions also get disrupted (If I am out of town or sleeping in a friend's house), but I am trying to do my devotional rites inside the Astral Temple of Ordo Intra Circularis (which by the way guys is so dilapidated and dirty now). 

Magick as part of nature also goes around and around in cycle. The magickal energies of people, be it a practitioner or a Cowan (Muggle if you're studying in Hogwarts) also experiences its highs and lows. I have known a reader who cannot read on specific days of the week or some readers who cannot do it or cannot see anything in specific months of the year. For Cowans, there are very intuitive people who can sense and feel the energies in specific days and hours of the day. 

As nature also has a time for growth (Spring), maturity (Summer) dying(Autumn) and stillness (Winter), I feel that people who are sensitive to these energies would feel the changes and the ups and downs on the Path. There are changes in the energy patterns happening on a daily, monthly and yearly basis. If we are attuned to these cycles, we might also be able to utilize these energies and direct them more easily to manifest goals. 

The feast of the Spring Equinox is slowly coming. In places where the four seasons are observed, the sleeping seeds inside the earth are now stirring with life, ready to erupt upwards during Spring. 

Let's toast to the start of the new cycle.

P.S. This is my first post for 2015 =)

photo credit to:

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Mindanao Holiday Escapade

With the coming of the Holidays, I got a chance to travel to Iligan and celebrate the season with the Ana and her family. I was quite worried that the buses going outside the city would have a lot of passengers. And I was not wrong. The buses to Cagayan de Oro were fully booked and I had to wait at the terminal for quite sometime and fall in line for almost an hour just to get a ticket. The bus is overly crowded that the trip was very uncomfortable. 

Upon arrival n CDO, I went directly to the other terminal and started the trip to Iligan. I arrived around lunch and after I rested for a couple of hours, we started the trip again for the city of Tangub.

Tangub was a Ana's hometown. We traveled 2 hours from Iligan via a van, which in this case was also very full since everyone's also planning to go home. We rode the van and after a couple of hours, we reached this wharf where we get to ride this pumpboat. going to the other island . The city is very small. You wont see any jeepneys, taxis or other mode of transportation except tricycles and trisikads.I have the privilege of being toured around the city by Ana's cousin and we managed to over the entire city in 15 minutes. 

We went there to attend a birthday celebration of Ana's grandmother who turned 91 years old. The night after the celebration, we went to the plaza and watched the Christmas decorations. Tangub city is known as the Christmas Symbol Capital of the Philippines and this year they depicted well known monuments in the world. 

After staying there for 3 nights, we went back to Iligan again and while we are in the city, we tried the most expensive coffee in Kopi Luwak. This coffee was made from the beans pooped by civet cats grounded and brewed. I ordered the "Spirits of the Glass" which has civet cat coffee and whiskey. I did not enjoy the coffee because it was bitter and I got drunk.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A Witch's Guide to Budget Shopping: Manila

It was stormy when we reached Manila. After a grueling 6 hours of delay in the flight, the aircraft landed smoothly even though its near zero visibility on the runway. We also have to endure the damp travel to our hotel in Quezon City. There are a lot of things that we want to do in the capital, the most important thing that we wanna do though, is to buy supplies for our witchy stuffs. So in this guide, I will try to recall as much as I can the places where a budget conscious witch like me could buy things at a lower price. 

First stop is Binondo. The city offers not just tasty food that could satisfy the palate, but it also offers a wide variety of crystals and herbs. You need to look for stuff that you dont normally find elsewhere. They have ginseng and other charms and trinkets that they can cleanse and bless for you. The shops in Binondo are not very budget friendly though and you could get some of the items they offer at a lower price elsewhere. We went to this famous shop in Binondo called Dragon Phoenix and the prices of crystals start at around PHP 500.00 up.

If you want to buy Philippine made masks, sculpture replicas and my personal favorite- a nicely hand made journals, The Manila Collectibles is the place to go. They offer a wide variety of Philippine items like T'nalak, Urns, hand made curious and artworks. The prices in this shop ranges from PHP 500.00 up. 

Our next stop is the Philippines' own Diagon Alley where people could buy supplies like wax dolls, black candles, oils, and herbs. Welcome to Quiapo. 

This place almost has everything. We started our tour by buying wax effigies at 20 pesos each. We had to ask for the wholesale price since we bought a lot of pairs. They are selling both man and woman candles in black and red. Candle effigies are best used for spells for control. One knowledgeable could use this to affect decisions, alter emotions and banishing or healing. 

Quiapo also sells black candles, but for this one, you need to be very careful. We had an experience where the lady sold us a candle for three times the price, all because the candle has black wick. Regarding stones, there are stones that are not really that expensive and are only PHP 50.00 up. However, some stalls would sell stones at a very expensive price. 

This place is also an LNK practitioner's heaven. You could find a lot of oils, amulets and libretas here. A word of caution though, some sellers would really milk money from customers. You could also find stingray's tail, dried seahorse, snake oils, potions for menstruation, coconuts with "one eye" and most items that a Filipino Kabbalist/Ceremonial magician can use in rites. You can also find herbs like mugwort, dill, cinnamon wood, crosses and other stuff.

The final stop in our budget shopping and by far has the most intensive collection of stones and crystals is NHS or Natural Healing Stones in Merville Park, ParaƱaque. The house is a lavish looking and is very serene once you are inside. I think the house also offers venue for seminars, lectures and meditations. They have a lot of stones which are, thankfully both affordable and expensive. You can find tumbled stones for as low as PHP 50.00 up. They have a collection of hard to get crystals imported abroad. I even saw some crystals that I only saw online. 

There are still a lot of places that one can get supplies in

Manila and I am just speaking from my own travels and experiences. This will be the first of a set of shopping guides that I will publish based from my interaction with practitioners around the country. For now, let's end it here.

-photos from the internet-