Category Archives: Philippines

I’m in charge

Contrary to most people’s belief, exercising the right to vote is an objective action rather than a subjective one. We vote not because we feel it’s right but because we know it’s right. Our best chance to pick worthy candidates is to evaluate their quality –accomplishments, reputation and goals – rather than leaving everything to instinct. Our best chance is to let history – not sympathy –guide us. We are days away from deciding the fate of our ailing country, if our vote is solely determined by our feelings, we are leaving everything to chance. We left everything to chance before and look where it got us. We trusted our feelings before and look how it betrayed us. This time let us take full accountability for the fate of our country.

I am in charge of the fate of my country. I will vote wisely.

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Filed under Election, Personal, Philippines

old, familiar place

The other day, I went to visit an old, familiar place. It was raining and it was perfect. Walking around made me realized how I really miss the place. I also visited some old friends and it was great catching up with them.

It’s good to know that some things don’t change. Yes, some things are perfect the way they are. Stay the same old-familiar-place, when that day comes , I will be back with you.

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crossed out: spolarium

I crossed out another one in my list: see the spolarium (second on the list). Yesterday, me and my officemates toured our boss from New York around here in Manila and one of the itineraries was the National Museum.

Spolarium, itself, did not disappoint me. When we entered the room, it was majestically standing at the far end. With a dimension of 4m X 7m, it was overwhelming for the naked eye. It’s darker from what I saw on the net but the it’s very intricate.

146We were, however, forbidden to take pictures which really sucked. We surrendered our cameras on the deposit counter but since I have my phone I thought I could sneak in and take some pictures from it. But alas, we were followed by one of the staff so my plan barely worked. The picture on the left was the only picture of Spolarium I got. Ugh.

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Filed under List, Manila, Personal, Philippines, Pinoy, Spolarium, Uncategorized

trip: pinatubo aftermath

Ok, so last Saturday, I joined The Travel Factor’s Akyat 08: Pinatubo Fun Climb (‘Fun climb’ was a total misnomer here, believe me. Whoever thought of including that in the title should re-live the trek). I have to be clear on this, the trek is NOT for everyone. If you care too much for your feet or you freak out every time you don’t like what you see in the mirror, then save yourself from a lot of trouble by signing instead for a Boracay or Palawan trip. Anyway, the entire experience was a blast! There are several highlights of the trip and I’m gonna try document them here.

The 4 x 4 rodeo. The entire trip is divided into 3 parts: private bus from Manila to Brgy. Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac, a 4 X 4 ride to the trekking drop-off point and the trek itself. The 4 X 4 wheeler ride was the first highlight. It’s my first time to do this and I haven’t tried an Africa Safari, but all of my senses tell me that the experience is somehow identical (or at least the first 20 minutes of it). The ride will start on a vast flatland where there’s nothing but grasses. Feel free to use your imagination by switching cows with tigers and water buffalos with gazelles (you can use your own convention, I don’t mind) and it will feel more like a real Safari, I think. This will go on for like 20 minutes so enjoy the ride and ready your camera. Camera with faster shutter would excellent for this situation. If you have a DSLR or any powerful camera, be careful with your grip, the ride is really bumpy so the extra weight on your camera makes it harder to focus. Point and shoot FTW!

cathedralAfter that, you’ll start seeing Lahar formations and some of them are really amazing. I asked our driver if they have a name for these formations and he said nothing. So I’ll play Christopher Columbus here and give names to some of the few interesting formations we’ve seen. The first one, I’ll call it ‘The Cathedral’ because it really looks like a big, old church.

pyramidsThe next one is my favorite, I’ll call them ‘Pyramid’ because they’re  bunch of triangular-shaped formation sitting right next with each other. They look like chocolate hills in Bohol only they have pointed peaks. And mostly, they’re made of Lahar.

stronghold The last one would be ‘The Stronghold’. It looks like (geeky reference coming up) the Black Gate of Mordor. I don’t know how the heck did I relate that to LOTR, maybe that’s just how it struck me. There are so many interesting formations you’ll find along the way. Again, like me, use your imagination, it’ll make the experience more fun.

After this, would be the least fun of the trip: a grueling 3-hour walk to the crater. It will be one of the hardest thing you’ll ever do in your life. There will be point that you’d wish you never went or just go back but believe me, it’s totally worth it. I am saying not this not to scare you (well, maybe a little, hehe) but to give you a heads up of you’ll experience. Bring enough water but not too much because you’ll gonna have to carry that up to the crater.

The crater. Assuming that you made the 3-hour ordeal, imagine what’s state you are in after it. Tired, hungry and cranky. You feel that nothing could cheer you up on that moment but food, soft bed and a Swedish by <Name of your dream girl here>. But when you finally see crater, there’s nothing more perfect to say but ‘It’s totally worth it‘. The view is just simply amazing. The water is blue, everything around it is lush.. everything is mind-numbingly beautiful! We were screaming like crazy the first time we laid eyes on the crater.

 crater

You are allowed to swim on the lake, which I encourage you to do so. From the view deck, you’ll have to climb down a 121-step stair so be careful, it’s really steep.

The people. It’s great that I belong in a very nice group, Group 4! Wuhuu! Seriously, they are bunch of great people. We are 12 in the group, 11 boys and 1 girl (Shiela, our leader / fitness instructor / guide). Everyone is very willing to participate and share jokes. We were laughing all the time. The chemistry was really good that we can pick up on each other’s joke.

group4

I noticed that some participants create a faction and separate themselves from the main group. That’s a real bummer if I was one of them. One of my objectives on the trip was to meet new people.

I’d give this trip a whopping 8 stars. Thanks Travel Factor, I’ll see you on the next trip!

Update: Here are more pictures from one of my group mate, Charles.

Update: Here are my pictures on the trip. Enjoy!

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Filed under Lahar, Personal, Philippines, Pinatubo, Pinoy, travel, Trekking

list: things i’ve been dying to do here in manila

Back when I was a Yahoo! 360 blogger – I know, it’s more of social networking site but I kinda like it there. Not too crowded and ambience was quiet and easy. It took me a while to move my blogs to a new site ever since Yahoo! decided to pull the plug on 360. Anyway, I used to blog a lot of list there. You know, to-do lists, to-buy lists, to-go lists or anything that can put to number at all.

So I decided to have another since I haven’t got one lately.The things that I’ve been dying to do here in Manila. Check them out:

  • See the ‘Spolarium’I think it’s currently in the National Museum in Luneta Park. I don’t know what’s on this painting but ever since Bob Ong mentioned it on one of his books (I can’t verify which one because somebody borrowed all of them and haven’t returned it yet, hehe), I was very anxious to see it. Well, it’s world-famous so it should be really good.
  • See the Las Piñas Bamboo organ – Remember this? My vague memory of this is from the pages of my elementary books. Oh and from the story of my elementary teacher whom also I can barely remember. I think it’s from a HEKASI book. Hmm…  I could be wrong.
  • Visit La Mesa Eco-park – This is a sneaky one. We’ve been planning on going here for a million times but its always being thwarted. It’s great that they’re doing something to keep some part of Metro Manila green.
  • Visit Malacañang  – I have a confession to make. I haven’t been to or seen Malacañang. The 20-peso bill is the closest thing I could ever get to it. Ugh.
  • Visit Club Dredd – I know it’s a bit off my list but I’ve been wanting to go to Club Dredd way back since early 90’s. And when I found out that it was re-opened, I know I have to go there this time. A lot of famous local bands played at Dredd during their early days.
  • Find our own Mclaren’s – Mclaren’s is the club from ‘How I Met Your Mother’ (Darn it, I can’t find any image). It’s kinda like a sports bar but it’s not. No bands just a little music at the background, has a very laid-back ambience, not at all formal and has a character – that’s the most important part. It’s the place where you’d go when you want to hang-out BUT you don’t want loud music that you could just talk to you friends without shouting. It’s like Starbucks that serves liquors. Oh minus those people who bring their books and/or laptops and pretend to study there. I mean, come on, seriously?

I hope I can cross them all off my list this summer. That’s a wishful thinking. Half of ’em? Heh.
Pol, ano? tara na e!

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the food court analogy

Public transportation here in Metro Manila is like a crappy food court during lunch time, you have a lot of choices but you know they all serve crap. But since you’re half way to starving to death, you have no choice but to dig in. In my six-month stay here, I have nothing good to say about it. Yup, absolutely nothing (yes offense).

Every single ride is such an ordeal. Come to think of it, it is the most stressing part of my day. First, falling in line for every ride feels like a refugee on a feeding camp. While a guy shouting orders like you’re a bunch of military cadets. “O usog-usog naman kayo diyan! Ipitin nio yan! Mam, ser ayusin nio upo nio, wala kayo sa restawran!” And then he’ll pat the vehicle like it’s a can of sardine and we’re fish being pull out on it. Oh I hate it when they do that. I hate it so much that I wish I’m one of those kotong cops where I can just pull it my stick and beat the hell out of that guy (Sorry, that turned out scary, hehe). Then you have to endure the a thousand-degree ride. If you sweat like a pig, every little preparation you did with your clothes is ruined. And if you think it can’t get any worst, I have one word for you: ‘traffic’.

I have listed four vehicles that I usually ride and my rants with them. I didn’t include FX and vans since I rarely ride them.

  • Bus – I hate buses. They are the worst kind. If they are not causing traffic in EDSA while honking like hell to pick-up passengers (shoot me now), they are recklessly overtaking other vehicles. I don’t think they’re here to transport people, they’re here to pick-up, ask for the fare and forget about us. They don’t have even the slightest idea of the word ‘service’. They have violated almost every imaginable violation there is: Illegal loading and unloading, illegal parking, hazard parking, etc. you name it, they have it as violation ticket.
  • MRT – In my food court analogy, I imagine MRT like those fast food chains, they serve food that’s tolerable enough but you just have to wait until people settle which, in reality, doesn’t really happen. The phrase “I’ll get into the next one” doesn’t apply because the next will also be full. So either you get stuck on the station forever or ‘fight’ your way through to get home.
  • Jeepney – jeepney’s are not annoying per se, they are just not built with comfort in mind. In fact, I have lesser headaches than them compared to bus. But because of that it’s so easy to get irritated with it. Case in point, it’s too crowded for a mass transportation. The driver would say “Sampu-an ho yan, Konting ipit lang po“. How did he arrive with a number like that, people’s waist size varies! Here’s another, when it’s raining you get wet, when it’s not, its like oven inside. It’s harsh but someone has to say this, jeepney’s are mediocre type of vehicle.
  • Taxi – I had a hard time figuring out what I can complain about them. I even thought that maybe they’re the exception to my rant. They just don’t fit in my food court analogy. And I was right. They don’t. They’re more of a restaurant. The kind that let’s you wait outside and while a bitchy receptionist hold you in line with her stupid waiting list. Yeah you could go to the another restaurant (or to the food court) but all of them are full and you’re dying to taste some good ‘ol steak. Most taxi drivers are arrogant and proud, especially the ones that are driving brand new models. If they don’t see you on your best Sunday suit, they’ll simply pass by you and pick up the next well-suited passenger on the next corner. And when they stop on you (it’s your lucky day!), it does not necessarily when that you’re getting in. Oh hell no. The driver will ask you questions and negotiate with you first “Boss, plus 20 na lang ha?” and it may sound that he’s asking but he’s not. Because if you don’t agree, this asshole will shut the door and leave you to dust.

My point is, I think that we deserve a better transportation system. Not because we are paying taxes but because it’s a basic thing of an improved lifestyle. It should be one less thing to worry about.

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Filed under Manila, Personal, Philippines