Some of us love sushi while others indulge in cosplaying their favorite anime characters. A certain number may have a die-hard fantasies of their eternally cute gravure idols and even on rare occasions, go on great lengths to perform their ultimate otaku craving. My interest in Japanese culture cannot be extinguish with their certain weird and quirky appeal such as their love affair with the creepy cutie and weird television commercials.

When it comes to the barometer of all ultimate weirdiness, the Japanese are really hard to beat. We all know Hello Kitty and Japanese school girls have one thing in common - they are "kawaii." Interestingly, there is a creepy opposite of this cuteness trend when it comes to the combination of the traditionally girly cutie and despicably horrifying. The Japanese term for it is "gurokawaii," a postmanteau of grotesquely sadistic and kawaii-y cuteness.

Ever imagine a cosplayer wearing all the girly clothes, perhaps dolly figure, but with an element of blood splatter all over the face and smudges of bloody pattern on the clothes. Although similar to the kimokawaii phenomenon, gurokawaii takes it to the extreme level. I'm not sure how many people are practitioners of this type of statement but it surely looks disturbing to me. I suppose, the Joker in the Dark Knight movie may be the best real-world model for such concept. The closest Western subculture counterpart for them would be an emo-goth combo.

Happy Tree Friends may be the most violent cartoon in television right now but gurokawaii has never been intended to be violent. It is plain creepy cute!

Japanese idols are the good purveyors of this bloody and gory pop culture stuff that many would love but some would abhor. A form of cosplaying of this genre can be pretty disgusting and oftentimes messy so imagine a self-portrait riddled with bloody handprints or exhibiting a decapitated head.

Let's move on to other interesting Japanese quirks, when it comes to interesting TV staple stuff - commercials in Japan really stand out. With gimmicks and though-provoking content, no one can top them in plain ridiculous weirdy allure. So enjoy the show!

Photo Credits (Kotaku)

Let's face, adolescence spikes up any young guy hormones to raging proportions. When you reach that time in your life when you start getting interested in the hottest girls in your class and if you're lucky, you get to hang out with a girl once in a while. But sexual fantasies never cease to fill in your imagination as you transition from a boy to a man. We tend to base our rite of passage with many things attributed to change so you will become a man if: drive your first car, get your first job, or date the cute girl that you have a crush on. Unfortunately, nothing beats losing one's virginity.

Don't get me wrong but every guy want's to get laid. No wonder, there are cases where boys get involved with their teachers and some older women in a more intimate way. When it comes to women, the cougars are like wild animals on the prowl. Without the sexual overtones, I always consider middle-aged blonde women are the stereotypical sugar mommies that men would die for. I lived in the nineties and "American Pie" was the movie that taught me about the idea of young men hooking up with older women. Not that I'm interested in but it is one unusual situation and pairing. In my case, I do prefer someone of my age (or nearly that) and my girl is the ideal one!

Steven "Steve" Stifler, also known as the Stiffmeister, is the typical brash kid from high school that you find annoying and cool at the same time. Played by Sean William Scott, this dude really made the series very interesting. What makes it even more interesting is that his mom is damn sizzling hot. Perhaps, Paul Finch is one lucky bastard. Reminds me of the song "Stacy's Mom," by Fountains of Wayne. And oh, that blonde cougar mom is a stand-up comedian Jennifer Coolidge in real life.

But if you were to choose, would you rather have a "good time" with Stifler's mom or that hot foreign exchange student Nadia? Let me joggle your brains a bit just in case you forgot:

Remember Shannon Elizabeth? The chick that every American Pie guy's wildest femme obsession.

Set to open on the 3rd quarter of 2014, the SM Seaside City is expected to become Cebu's foremost shopping destination. Details of this mega shopping mall has slowly being revealed to the public. This one-of-a-kind mall is a modern design fit for a growing and thriving city.

The once-barren no man's land of the SRP would bloom to become the most happening place in the city. Thousands of shoppers would fill the stores and boutiques. Cars would make the expressway cramped with vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Although we still have to wait for a year and couple of months, there are selected inside views of the mall already been circulating in the world wide web. We can see a sneak peek of the most anticipated building project in Cebu's history.

Here are the mall's floor plans:

If you want to see how the mall will look from the inside, check out the pictures below:

For the impressive exterior shots, head over to my previous article.

CEBÚ | SM Seaside City Cebu [5F|com|u/c]. SkyscraperCity.
SM Seaside City Set to Change Cebu Landscape. SMDC UnBlog.
SM Seaside City Cebu. Heart 2 Heart Online.

¿Hablas español?

When I was growing up I wondered why I only speak Tagalog (our national language), Cebuano (our regional dialect) and English (our medium of instruction) while not speaking a single word of Spanish (our supposed mother tongue). Though I must admit I do know some Spanish words but of course when I'm cursing at someone.

We do know that most of us have Spanish surnames with mostly American first names. That is why many Filipinos in America are difficult to recognize and even classified as "Latinos." Its either you're classified as Chinese, Mexicans, Vietnamese and sometimes Native Americans. No wonder, Filipino-Americans are not well represented in the United States.

But going back to the question, Why Filipinos don't speak Spanish anymore? Despite the effort to reconnect to Spain and its culture we seem to forget our Spanish language even though the remnants of Spanish culture is still staring us in our face. Some of us may speak closer to Spanish like the creole language of Chavacano in Zamboanga. Few schools are offering Spanish language classes because of the fact that many people who want to learn foreign language wanted the in demand ones like Korean, Chinese, Japanese and French.

Our interest in the Spanish language seemed to be absent. Sometimes former Spanish colonies like Mexico, Argentina and Cuba have also asked why their fellow Filipino cousin has turn its back from its Spanish past and embraced the Gringo culture. Thats a simple assumption that we have became traitors to our own past. Indeed that echoed Jose Rizal's famous statement “Ang hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makakarating sa paruruonan” (those who don’t look back to where they come from cannot reach their destination).

Filipinos are Asians with a Spanish soul

In a practical way, many of us think in this way "Why do we have to learn Spanish when we don't encounter Spanish people everyday?" Seriously, there are about 700 million Spanish speakers around the world and that means they are seven times larger than all the Filipinos!

One interesting analogy why the non-speaking of Spanish in the Philippines remains a hot topic today is the case of Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Both countries (though Puerto Rico is not considered as such) have been under Spanish control for more than 300 years and both were under American rule but the difference is that the Philippines gained independence from the United States in 1946 while Puerto Rico remains an American territory until this day. So with this in mind, people without knowledge of the Philippines and Puerto Rico would probably believe that Puerto Rico would not speak Spanish anymore because it's under U.S. control while the Philippines would still speak Spanish because of the fact it gained independence from the U.S. 60 years ago.

WRONG! As a matter of fact, Puerto Ricans still speak fluent Spanish even though they are all American citizens. The Filipinos hardly speak Spanish even though the language has Spanish loan words and phrases. The question is, what happened? In my opinion, even though we gained independence from the United States, our country has lost its connection with Spain and with the various Spanish-speaking countries. We also fell in love with American pop culture and so Spanish has became irrelevant to the new generation as many of them speak more English than Spanish. In Puerto Rico's case, they never lost their Spanish connection because of its proximity to large Spanish-speaking countries like Mexico and Cuba.

Recently, we only attribute Spanish to some cheesy Mexican telenovelas with bizaare lip-synched dialogues. We only know so called conyo-Spanish (pseudo Spanish).

In tracing back our love affair with Spain, we have to go back in time and picture out the time when Filipinos spoke Espanol, our lingua franca for the next 350 years. The Spanish established school to teach Spanish language (to the extent of basic literacy) and Catholic catechism. We were taught to only understand the church sermons and basic laws that concerned ordinary citizens. In this case, not all Filipinos speak Spanish very well and to the point only the illustrados know how to write as well. Because of this, majority of the archipelago's population is illiterate.

Just imagine the people around you speaking Spanish

However, as the number of schools increased Spanish literacy as improved. The rise of the middle class was attributed to this, the growth of opportunities has brought about the urgent need for reforms. The men that urged such reforms were well educated like Jose Rizal, Juan Luna, Graciano Lopez Jaena and many others. But the new opportunities come with a price. These men became enemies of the state overnight and so many of them went into hiding. But the consequence also blossomed Spanish literature in the Philippines. As a matter of fact, most great works attributed to Jose Rizal are in Spanish.

The remnants of Spanish languange took root in almost all dialects in the country while some creole language remained such as Chavacano and its variances. This creole language was developed by ordinary people in an effort to communicate with their Spanish overlords. The conditions in the forts of Zamboanga and Cavite was difficult and that communicating with the people of different backgrounds was important, because of this a pidgin language was developed. Such language later developed into Chavacano, which is still spoken until today.

Certain Spanish words have changed its meaning in Philippine setting in the course of time. It has become so Filipinized that some people think its not a Spanish word at all. Take for example the Spanish "azar," which means luck or chance but the Filipino "asar" means to annoy.

During the height of the use of the Spanish language in the Philippines, all historical documents in this era are written in Spanish. Spanish was used to write the Constitution of Biak-na-Bato, Malolos Constitution, the original national anthem, (Himno Nacional Filipino), as well as nationalistic propaganda material and literature, like Rizal's Noli Me Tangere. In fact, Rizal propagated Filipino consciousness and identity in Spanish.

During the early decades of the American period, Spanish was still widely used by the majority of the population as many of the people are still learning English. Although the English language had begun to be heavily promoted and used as the medium of education and government proceedings, the majority of literature produced by indigenous Filipinos during this period was in Spanish with the likes of Fernando Ma. Guerrero, Rafael Palma, Cecilio Apóstol, Jesús Balmori, Manuel Bernabé, Trinidad Pardo de Tavera and Teodoro M. Kalaw. Ironically, there was a growing interest in Spanish language literature because the Philippine middle and upper classes were educated in Spanish. As a result, Spanish had become the most important language in the country despite roughly half of the population not speaking the language.

The decline in Spanish language use started when the children taught in English during the early American period became adults. They started to feel that learning Spanish is impractical and the medium of instruction has shifted into English. American pop culture was the way and so Spanish became marginalized. After the war, most of the Spanish-speaking population like the Spanish mestizos went elsewhere.

One thing that made our Spanish experience more interesting is that we gave the Spanish some words in Philippine origin such as abaca (abaca), baguio (typhoon), carabao (water buffalo), bolo (big knife) and sampaguita (flower). The Spanish in turn transplanted Nahuatl words into our vocabulary such as nanay (from nantl -- mother), tatay (from tatle -- father), bayabas (from guayabas -- guava), papaya, zapote, etc.

But the question remains, ¿Hablas español?

"Cartago delenda est" was the oratorical phrase that popularly used in the Roman Republic during the later part of the Punic Wars. A policy, supported by Roman senator Cato the Elder, that advocated the total annihilation of the rival city-state was vigorously instilled by the Council of Elders upon its military as reminder of an imminent threat across the Mediterranean. It was only at the defeat of Hannibal that Rome eventually fulfilled that saying. Scipio Africanus eventually razed the once-proud metropolis to the ground after its victory in the Third Battle of Carthage. But what if these historical events never happened and it was Carthage who razed Rome to the ground as the victorious armies of Hannibal entered a city without a fight? What might have been... The course of history would be different and the Western world would never be the same again.
Erasing Rome in History

Rome and Carthage were like the Cold War adversaries of the ancient world. These successful and growing city-states have been battling for supremacy in the Mediterranean for centuries and as their arms race escalated to conflict, blood was spilled all over the region from Hispania (Spain in our timeline [OTL]) to Sicilia (Sicily) and Numidia (North Africa) to Tuscania (Tuscany). In an effort to defeat Rome once and for all and avenge the deaths of his fellow countrymen, Hamilcar Barca (or Hannibal as he's popularly known) embarked upon a mission to bring the war to the Romans, attack their people, and lay waste on the Eternal City itself.

Flash forward to the Battle of Ticinus in 30 AH (after Hannibal's birth, 218 BC in OTL) where Hannibal should have battled Publius Cornelius Scipio but fate has a cruel twist -- Scipio was poisoned by one of his slave (who was bribed by the Carthaginians) and the other capable general Scipio Africanus did not make it to the battlefield as he was injured in an accident. He fell off his horse and broke his spine in the process (perhaps another product of Roman treachery). The Romans, though desperate, decided to meet the invading army man by man. Led by young and untested leaders, the entire Roman army was surrounded, encircled, and destroyed.

Rome was left undefended and panic ensued as many citizens fled from the chaos that was to come. The North Afrikan army of mercenaries, hardened Carthaginian veterans, and a motley crew of hardy Hispanic swordsmen and swift Berber cavalry converged on the outskirts of the city. Having survived the long trek from Hispania, relentless harassment from Gallic tribes, harsh winter weather of the Alps, and determined Roman defense, Hannibal and his men are about to help themselves with all the riches for the taking. Plunder, pillage, and destruction are all in their hearts and mind. No mercy to the Romans they screamed.

Formation of the Confederacy

In 38 AH (210 BC), Rome was finally destroyed and the Carthaginians imposed a very crippling penalty on the Romans for waging war against them. The remnant of the Roman Republic made their final stand on southern Italy but the resistance was eventually quelled thanks to the help of Carthage's Macedonian ally Philippos V (Philip of Makedon). All territories of the Republic were incorporated to be ruled by Hannibal while his generals carved out their own domains from southern Gaul to Sardinia.

In later years, Carthage eventually expanded its empire unto the rest of Gaul and pushed their frontiers unto Germania. By 73 AH (175 BC), a cross-channel invasion was made as the erstwhile peaceful yet divided Britanni (British Isles) is ripe for conquest. Hiberni (Ireland) was later annexed after years of bloody pitch battles. Without a dominant Roman culture, a weird synthesis of Punic laws and customs with the incorporated Germanic influences became the backbone of the ever expanding empire. The exquisite aqueducts and impressive public buildings would never exist so overall technological progress would be slow without the benefit of the Graeco-Roman heritage.

Industrial Revolution

Although certain historical developments never existed, there were surprising breakthroughs made in this alternate timeline as the Carthaginians managed to tap into the power of steam and improvised mechanics by 1570 AH (1322 AD). Trade with the outside world ensued as steam engines were developed centuries before the Industrial Revolution of our own timeline happened. With their steady trading network with the Cathai (China) and the rest of Hindustan (India), the Carthaginian Confederation grew richer thanks to its abundant natural resources from Africa and client-states in Germania and Scandinavia. Even without scientific methodology, "scientists" did a lot of trial and error that often brought disastrous consequences such as the case of a fertilizing concoction that caused widespread famine in Aegypti in 1613 AH (1365 AD). However, an amazing contraption (a powerful coal-drive steam engine) powered a cast-iron galley across Yam Atlantika (Atlantic Ocean in our timeline) in 1683 AH (1435 AD) bringing scared, sea-sicked, and weary Carthaginians into a new continent.

In 1703 AH (1455 AD), colonies were later established on the islands of the Karibi (Caribbean) and on the fringes of Amon Shamuut (North America) and Amon Badhgaan (South America). Carthage founded trading posts for the transport of goods and plundered wealth of the Inkas and Azteks. The port cities of Tingis (Tangier), Gadir (Cadiz), and Mogador (Essaouira) were cramped with so many ships from the other side of the continent. On the other hand, overland steam trains from the Orient end their journey b unloading their goods on the rich trading cities of Bayruut (Beirut), Ugarit, Sayda (Sidon), Sur (Tyre), and Gubla (Byblos by the Greeks, Gebla in OTL). As the Confederation grew more richer and powerful, its neighbors became increasingly hostile and envious.

Independence Movements

The colonies have started to exert their influence on the affairs of the mother country as Carthage is embroiled in a diplomatic crisis with a powerful Teutonach-Helvetii military alliance. It was also trying to suppress a growing religious revivalist movement led by a mystic named Yehoshua aimed at reforming Judaism and opposing the state polytheistic worships of Baal, El, and Eshmun. Although standards of living have grown tremendously, decadent lifestyle became the norm and moralism deteriorated. People started to question the bad after effects of progress and the growing control of the state on all aspects of living within the Confederation.

In 1914 AH (1666 AD), bloody war for independence kick-started the United Colonies of Amon Shamuut's (USA in OTL) desire for nationhood in response to the Confederation's unjust taxation and increasing control in colonial affairs. Led by a former Carthaginian general Germelqart Zimrida (George Washington), the rebel army defeated the Confederate army in the battle of Hadrumetum (New York). The independence movement spread like wildfire down south and in less than 200 years, most of the colonies are self-governing countries. Despite the separation of the former colonies from the Confederation, trade relations remained normal.

The War to End All Wars

Despite continued trade with its former colonies, the Confederation has weakened considerably due to the fact that most of its needed resources for modernizing its industries, economy, and military is squarely dependent on the resource-rich UCAS and Brahseil (Brazil), cheap labor from Meksiqo (Mexico), and technical expertise of Qanadah (Canada).

In the autumn of 2105 AH (1857 AD), Teotonach (Germany), Helvetii (Austria), and Ungarn (Hungary) of the Axis League attacked the frontier territories of the Confederacy. With such speed and precision, Carthage was taken by surprise and the invading army has been pushing towards Gaul's capital Fariz (Paris). The Confederacy called upon its former colonies for help but the voyage across Atlantika will take time. They must hold on their own before the transport blimps arrive on time to reinforce the Confederacy. Meanwhile, the eastern front has stabilized with the entry of the Rus Commune (USSR) into the war.

By the spring of 2108 AH (1860 AD), the UCAS expeditionary forces have arrived in time. They were later joined by the Royal Qanadian Marines, the Hispanian armored division, and the Brahseilian grenadiers. Meanwhile, the trenches have bogged down the fighting or any form of breakthrough into the enemy lines. A war of attrition has extended the war to another year. The sea war of the Yam Atlantika has become a chess piece battle of hide and seek as the submersible steam ships of both sides sank each other to the depths of the sea.

As the Allied Powers are locked in a war in Europa, Cathai took advantage of the situation by setting itself on an expansionist rage by waging war on Hindustan resulting in the conquest of Ayuthaya (Thailand), Lan Xang (Laos), Taprobane (Sri Lanka), and Suvarnadvipa (Philippines). Fearing of intervention from the Allies, the Imperial Cathai Navy under the command of Admiral Yu Shin Cheng (Isoroku Yamamoto, although it was the brainchild of Chuichi Nagumo in OTL) attacked the fortified naval stronghold Sawaiki (Hawaii). The following day, UCAS chief elder Milkherem Rib-Addi (Franklin Roosvelt) declared war on Cathai. Cathai then joined the Axis League thereby joining Teutonach chief Adelbert Hisler (Adolf Hitler) and Helvetii leader Berimund Musholm (Benito Mussolini) in their war against the Confederacy.

By late 2108 AH (1861 AD), the UCAS responded with an extensive island-hopping campaign that ultimately liberated most of the occupied territories. The Rus Commune has pushed the Axis League beyond breaking point as thousands of troops pouring down the frontlines. A breakthrough was made with a bloody victory in the town of Surat Zakrun (Sedan) thereby pushing Allied forces behind the Teutonach frontline. UCAS bombing campaigns have flattened enemy cities. Total blockade destroyed economic output of the Axis League to the point that they stopped producing arms and ammunition. The war ended by the winter of 2110 AH (1863 AD)

If I give you a chance to express yourself, how will you tell a history of the world without Rome? Share your comments and opinions.

Delenda Est. Wikipedia.
The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson. A review by Rich Horton.
"Delenda Est." Alternate History Discussion Board.
"Roma Delenda Est." Althistory Wiki.
The Alternate History: Refiguring Historical Time by Karen Hellekson
Guardians of Time by Poul Anderson
Phoenician Canaanite Names of Towns and Cities.
Uchronic World War 1. Digital Art Gallery Online.

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