Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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Nov 2019

Something I haven’t done in a while: travel with my parents to Bicol to pay respects to our ancestors during the undas long weekend. In fact, the last time I made this trip was back in 2004, 15 years ago! (I technically also visited Bicol about 11ish years ago, but that was via a flight to Legaspi, Albay, and not to my dad’s hometown.) My Dad’s hometown is in Daet, Camarines Norte, and that’s also where my grandparents are buried.

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Jul 2019

People travel for different reasons. My parents travel mostly for shopping purposes. Which meant when I flew back home with them during the recent trip, we came back with an additional 3 fully-packed pieces of luggage full of shoes and clothes and such. As someone who doesn’t really indulge in shopping, I can’t relate to this, and in fact it runs anathema to my philosophy of always packing as little as necessary when travelling.

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I had written about travel anxiety before, but I’m revisiting the topic because the recent US trip reminded me how much of a problem it is for me. The US trip was a new experience because I would be abroad for 40 days with multiple travel legs, it involved 4 international flights (back and forth) plus three domestic flights within the US, and on one leg and several flights I would be travelling alone.

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After the Seattle part of the trip, I reunited with family for the final leg of the trip where we all be hanging around the San Francisco bay area. We were based in my uncle’s place in Vacaville, which one of my friends kindly described as “in the sticks”, i.e. basically far away from everything. Like Houston, we had to rely on the kindness of relatives who were willing and available to drive us around.

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Seattle was the riskiest part of my trip, relatively speaking, because it was my solo leg - I didn’t have any friends or relatives in the city I could turn to in case of an emergency. I had also read online that while Seattle was very much a walkable city, there was a nontrivial homeless population, and some areas may be a bit sketchy after dark. As a friend of mine said though, “sketchy” in the US is probably a lot safer than “sketchy” in Metro Manila.

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Jun 2019

Not much to say about Anaheim, it felt like the town was all about Disneyland and not much else. But then again we did spend our three days there just going to Disneyland, so what can you do? In LA we stayed in the Koreatown district, so everything felt weirdly Asian. Not Asian like living in Asia, but like Chinatown in any other city I guess? The city felt a bit dirty, I’m told the metro elevators smelled bad, and there was grafitti everywhere and a high incidence of homeless people.

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I’m not a big fan of theme parks. I think for the most part they are overpriced and not worth the time, effort or money. And I’d probably never go to one by myself or without one of my nieces/nephews. I understand the impetus of bringing kids to a theme park of course, they really enjoy it. Prior to this trip, I’ve only ever been to a theme park once, and that was in Unversal Studios Singapore with my brothers back in 2015.

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My US trip started on the first of the month. I’ve been meaning to write more regularly about it, but one thing I had forgotten was how exhausting it would be to be a tourist, walking everywhere all of the time. Here’s how many steps my Fitbit recorded during that first week: I finished this week with a bit more than 105k steps, which I’m pretty sure is a lifetime record (though I dont have the data anymore from the Europe trip in 2015 - I suspect that it’s comparable in scale.

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Apr 2019

Family’s been planning a US trip this year, and while I wasn’t originally planning to join them, they convinced me to go. I was like, why not? My schedule is flexible, I’ve never been there, and going to the US meant adding a whole new continent to my experiences. Getting a US Visa was a good idea anyway, in case I ever decided to travel there for some other reason (i.

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Jun 2018

I had an out of country trip last weekend to Kuala Lumpur to play Magic, but I was a bit tempted to not write about it all. The reason being that inevitably after one of these MTG-related trips the first thing people ask me is “Nanalo ka ba?” (Did you win?) and this time, the answer was sadly no. (Let’s get the spoilers out of the way early shall we.) However, I realized that not all stories have to have happy endings.

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Dec 2017

I took a 5-day trip to Singapore last weekend, mostly to play in the Grand Prix, but the opportunity to get away from the country for a while was appreciated. These are some notes and anecdotes from the trip. (Not about the GP itself, that’s a separate post on its own.) By my count this would be my 5th visit to Singapore. That means Singapore now ties Hong Kong for my most visited foreign destination.

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Jun 2017

So last April my friends and I took a second trip to Japan. This time we mostly stayed around Tokyo, while taking a few days off in-between to visit Fuji, Hakone and Nikko. I went to Fuji, but that's not in Tokyo! I like Tokyo, so I’ll talk about Tokyo for now. I’ve only been here twice, but I could imagine myself living here for an extended period of time.

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May 2017

Mar 2017

A couple of years ago, two friends and I were being tourists in Barcelona. With its wide, spacious streets and strangely uniform city blocks, we walked around a lot. During one of our tourist days, we decided to eat some¬†_paella_¬†on the way back to our AirBNB. Who comes to Barcelona and doesn’t eat¬†paella right? We ended up walking for quite a while. Every time we came upon a new restaurant that served¬†paella we would consider the price and the restaurant and would think, hey maybe we can find somewhere better or cheaper further along the way.

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Nov 2015

As I write this I am at the airport, trying to kill time. As per usual, I am more than an hour early before the check-in time for my flight. It’s a thing I do, no matter where I’m travelling, that I put in lots of buffer time so I will more often than not arrive way too early and need to wait. It’s not just for flights either – I have a tendency to arrive early for any sort of time sensitive appointment.

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Aug 2015

Jul 2015

Jun 2015

GP Singapore 2015 would be my first Modern GP and maybe only my 3rd or 4th Modern event altogether. Modern is a difficult format to prepare for; there are many decks to prepare for and it’s almost impossible to master all the matchups. For this reason, I felt much less prepared for this event than for GP Manila back in¬†January. I put together Grixis Twin for this event. It’s a bit difficult to pilot, but I felt it had a reasonable matchup across the board and¬†there’s always a chance of comboing out when you’re falling behind.

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May 2015

Previously: Overview¬†| Barcelona Part 1¬†|¬†Barcelona Part 2¬†| Rome and Vatican City¬†| Rome Part 2 and Paris Part 1 This series of posts has taken longer than I thought it would, and I grow weary on it. We’ll cover things a bit faster from here, less of the daily stuff and we’ll stick to the highlights. This will be the final entry! Sunday March 15th This Sunday we took a long walk to visit the famous Louvre museum (why go to Paris and not see the Louvre).

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Previously: Overview | Barcelona Part 1 | Barcelona Part 2 | Rome and Vatican City Friday March 13th This was our last day in Rome and we were planning to visit the Colosseum and the nearby Palatino Hill. It was a long walk and we passed by a few palaces and the usual open plazas, many of the landmarks identified by Egpytian obelisks placed there by the Roman emperors. Rome is chock-full of cobblestone roads and plazas lined with souvenir shops and pizzerias and buildings fronted by 12-foot-high steel doors with large lion-head knockers and churches liberally sprinkled every other block.

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Apr 2015

Previously: Overview¬†| Barcelona Part 1¬†|¬†Barcelona Part 2 Wednesday March 11th It’s early in the morning when the shuttle picks us up to take us to the airport for our flight to Rome. When we¬†first planned the trip a¬†few months back, only Spain and France were on the itinerary. But due to a last-minute change in circumstances, we decided to add Italy to the trip. We had also acquired a railpass and were planning to travel by train between Spain and France, but given the change of plans we decided to refund the railpass (up to 85% of the cost can be refunded) and we literally booked inter-Europe flights during our layover in Singapore at the start of the trip.

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Previously: I went to Europe, decided I should tell you more about it and started talking about Barcelona Monday March 9th For today, we had decided to visit Park¬†G√ľell, a Barcelona tourist spot¬†created by this old-timey big shot to display the works of well-known Catalanion architect Antoni¬†Gaudi. I say “well-known” but I’ll be the first to admit that my culturally-ignorant self had not heard of him before, but he’s kind of a big deal in Barcelona with many souvenir shops sporting some thing reminiscent of his works.

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My previous post only skimmed my trip to Europe. I did not want to write too much, partly because I was uncertain at how many would be interested to hear the sordid details and partly because while I was writing the post, the words did not flow as freely as I would have wanted. Despite this, I have received good feedback and more than one person had asked for more details.

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Mar 2015

My friends know how stingy I am with money, and my family knows I’m not much of a tourist, so some might have been surprised that I took the better part of two and a half weeks off from work to travel around Europe with a couple of friends. It was my first trip outside of Southeast Asia and the first time I took a long haul flight. Other than my concerns regarding the possibility of my luggage getting lost, the trip was relatively smooth and the Singapore Airlines plane had relatively decent food, service and in-flight entertainment.

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Jun 2011

I was in Singapore from June 2 – June 6, mostly to visit friends who are getting married and compete in the MTG Grand Prix held there last weekend. I like bullet points, so here’s a summary of my trip: Props: public transportation. One thing Singapore and Hong Kong have in common: well-defined, convenient and tourist-friendly public transportation systems, namely trains and buses. It makes our local buses and trains here pale by comparison.

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Mar 2009

It’s 8:30 pm on Friday. I step out of Maxim’s, a fastfood place near the office in Hong Kong. I flew in to HK the morning of the day before, and had given a presentation over a conference call on Thursday night. This was the only free time I had during the entire trip since I had to fly back the next morning. I decided to take a walk for maybe an hour or 30 minutes, to savor the cool night’s weather before going back to hot and humid Manila the next day.

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Mar 2008

I’m blogging from an airport; I feel like such a seasoned traveler. Actually I’m writing this post just so that I can claim to post on the internet from airports.

I am of course flying back to Manila after a short 3-day visit to Hong Kong. People always ask me where I plan to go while in HK, even though I always come here to work. It’s even worse this time, as I flew in Sunday evening, attending a three-day seminar until Wednesday, working during the evenings then flying back Thursday morning. Not much time to do anything really.

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Jan 2008

Traveling by land sucks compared to traveling by plane. So for our weekend trip to Albay to visit our new sister-in-law’s family, I booked 3 two-way Cebu Pacific tickets for my brothers and myself. Our parents would take the bus since it was slightly cheaper and they didn’t mind sleeping on the road. The other reason was that my two brothers had never ridden a plane before – this would be their first time.

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Aug 2007

It’s a bit strange, but somehow Hong Kong is becoming a bit familiar to me by now. This is only my third time here of course, and I’ve spent less than five weeks here in total since 2004. Still I find that certain things like ordering at restaurants and riding the MTR have started to become a bit more “normal” for me. Originally when I was told that I would be staying in HK for two weeks, I was a bit depressed, as I didn’t really enjoy the prolonged stay last time.

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Feb 2007

I’ve been asked if I would be willing to be temporarily posted in another country, halfway across the world, for around half a year. On the surface, it seems like a good idea – I don’t have any definite plans for the next few months, so there’s nothing in the way. It would be new stuff, new places, people, experiences, etc., a most welcome change of pace. But the first emotion that grips me is fear.

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Jan 2007

I’ve been meaning to write more about my time in Hong Kong. One of the many new things I experienced there was the food. People who’ve eaten out with me on a regular basis know that I’m quite the picky eater. In general, I dislike eating veggies and seafood (yeah, I’m an unhealthy carnivore). In Hong Kong, you cannot avoid vegetables and seafood; every meal comes with some form of green stuff or shrimp or whatnot.

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Dec 2006

I remember looking for the signs that would tell me where to find the A11 bus that could take me to North Point. My instructions were to find the McDonald’s inside the airport and look for the exit nearby. Sure enough, the signs pointed me to the bus terminal. I bought a ticket, and as I arranged my luggage for easier carrying I didn’t notice that I had dropped the just-purchased ticket to the floor.

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Yeah I know, Hong Kong is technically a part of China, but my feet actually did manage to walk some non-Hong Kong Chinese territory. Too many stories accumulated in three weeks to tell in one post though, but to say the least I actually got to experience a bit more of Hong Kong this time, as opposed to the five-day almost-all-work schedule that I had last time. Unfortunately, I did not get to experience any kung-fu in the streets, although I did manage to get a picture with Jacky Chan.

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Nov 2006

Feb 2006

Looking Out Over Punta Fuego This is the photo I decided to put on the front page of http://roytang.net while I wasn't sure yet what to put there. We were at Punta Fuego in Batangas last Jan 30-31 for our coincidentally-coinciding-with-the-HK-Chinese-New Year-weekend annual company outing. Those who know me in person might be aware that I'm not really big on out-of-town trips. In short order, the reasons are: being antisocial, tendency to get tired/dizzy on long trips, and not particularly liking seafood.

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Nov 2004

As I’ve mentioned before, Daet is a small town. When I was there, I was mentally comparing it to the UP Diliman campus. Main reason being, we had a tendency to walk everywhere we went. Just like in UP, everything was literally within “walking distance” – the beach, the church, the cemetary, etc. So in my mind, the UP Diliman campus and Daet, Camarines Norte occupy roughly the same area, even though technically, one is a university campus and the other a full-sized town.

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Oct 2004

Well, not really, seeing as how there aren’t really any mountains anywhere near here. I’m in Daet, Camarines Norte, if that means anything to you. It’s great to be back here — apparently the last time I was here was in 1996. Some things have changed, but mostly things are still the same. There’s some sort of minimall now, and a Shakey’s, and a Jollibee. ūüėõ And there’s internet! I’m posting right now from a dingy internet cafe near my grandmother’s house.

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I need to escape from this madness, this constant flow of unfinished tasks. I am leaving for the land of my ancestors, returning to my roots, seeking the tranquility that has eluded me these weeks past. For seven long years have I not ventured there, and yet now I find myself seeking its warm comforts. What will I find when I return to those shores? Will it be the same simple, quite town I once knew?

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May 2004

As I’ve mentioned¬†before, I was sent to HK a couple of weeks back, for the rollout of a project I’ve been involved with for about a year and a half. I’m not sure if it’s right for me to be talking about the project here, so I won’t delve into any specifics. I will however, bore you all with stories from my first trip anywhere remotely far from home.

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Apr 2004

Yup. This week, for the first time ever, I’m leaving the country, and flying down to HK to provide support for the rollout of the project I’ve been with for the past year and a half. First time to leave the country, and I’m gonna be flying alone to a country where people speak a language I can recognize but not understand. I’m understandably a bit freaked out; who wouldn’t be, right?

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Roy Tang is a:

roytang.net is a personal site, an E/N site, and kind of a commonplace book; I post about a random assortment of topics that interest me including software development, Magic the Gathering, pop culture, gaming, and tech life. This site is perpetually under renovation.