Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thank you long weekend, without you I can't update this blog.

I so love loooong weekends already because I'm already part of almost half of the population who rejoice on such glorious occasion. Long weekends mean bonding time with family, relaxation and fun together with friends, and enough time to attend to work-related matters and most especially the personal ones just like opening and updating my blog. Thank you loong weekend again haha!

I've already started working in SPCP three weeks ago, almost the same week that I started with my PTC program. I'm lucky that work and school are not that demanding. I only have one regular load at work while my teachers were not that demanding after all. Yes, everything's sailing smoothly and I hope that the tide will not change.

So how's my first three weeks as a teacher?Okay, I will no longer elaborate on this one since I'm tired and still sleepy. What I can just say it's that being a teacher is fun and at the same time tiring. Fun in the sense that you'll get the chance to interact with young individuals who are all smart, creative, energetic, and jolly. Plus,  hugs and compliments from them are really good stress relievers. Paulinians are very appreciative!

Tiring in the sense that students will not listen to me sometimes because they're too complacent that I'm harmless or I'm nice to them. They do cross the line but are apologetic of their misdeeds. Also, walking from building to another is also very tedious!

Okay, my thoughts are scattered. My stomach's empty. I'm still sleepy. Maybe next time, I'll have a decent post. But for now, this will do it.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

I must sleep...after posting this haha!

For my eyes only
It was only last night that I felt the urge to use my computer eyeglasses again after my eyes kinda felt watery. You see, my ever-reliable blue eyeglasses accompanied me at work for a year (yeah, we shared a special bond haha) and since my resignation a month ago, I opted not to use it anymore. But last night, I can't resist the urge to use them again even if I felt dizzy while wearing them the other night and even up to this time. I miss my eyeglasses though, haha!

To be honest, I hate wearing my eyeglasses!I find no comfort wearing them but I have no choice. Oh, wait I do have a choice- a watery eye, that is. I think it's a big distraction to me since I always have to "keep them in place" every five minutes or so. There's a tendency for my glasses to slip in to my nose and I find it awkward.Gaaaah! It took me sometime actually before I finally developed a special connection, literally speaking, with them. Oh well.

Anyway, I find it funny that two days before I finally bid goodbye to being a bum, my eyes finally gave up on me after almost a month of abusing them due to excessive use of our home pc. I know, I know. I shouldn't abuse them. Anyway, I think I'll just keep it in a safe place since my work now no longer entails me to be in front of the pc for more than five hours a day. So yeah, after this we'll part our ways again. But before I do that to my pal, I thought of taking pictures of me wearing them just to see how I will I look. In the name of vanity, amen. Haha!And besides, I do not have a picture of me wearing glasses, except for my sunglasses of course. So here, three shots of me with my two additional eyes ;p

I don't feel like going tomorrow to the orientation for my PTC course!Tsk. Jeepneys do not pass along the building and since I'm afraid that I might get lost in the campus, I'll take a cab again instead. Nyahaha!Wishing that the rain will not pour tomorrow. Hay...

Off to dreamland, goodnightie :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

RP not safe?

Not fair!Six countries issued travel ban vs. RP
I'm still wondering why oh why six first-world countries as of this writing already issued a travel advisory to the Philippines. Truth of the matter is, I'm not really updated with this report haha! All I know is that travel advisories were issued to warn foreign tourists that terrorist groups are now  targeting the Philippines. Upon my research (effort ito haha!), the "acceptable" reason is because of the alleged intel report that members of a foreign terrorist group is eyeing to spread fear around the Metro by attacking public places frequented by both local and foreign tourists. In addition, a recent report said that these foreign terrorists are already in the country and are now coordinating with ASG and other militant groups to plot their evil scheme. And that statement came from a Filipino expert! He even said that the terrorism threat is true and is actually intended to be carried out during the recently concluded presidential elections but did not happen. Buy maybe this time, it would (knock on wood). 

However, I also found an interesting article explaining another reason for such issuance of travel bans. It's THE almighty and all-powerful United States of America who first came up with a travel advisory a week after a failed terror attack in their country. And surprisingly, they suddenly warned their citizens about travelling to our beloved Perlas ng Silanganan even if they still do not have a lead as to the group responsible for this. What?! I mean, they've been attacked by some foreign terrorist group but I'm 100% sure it's not our very own ASG, MILF, MNLF, or NPA! Now, I'm pretty convinced that the article may be right. That after all, this travel advisory against us is a pure act of vendetta following RP's decision to review the VFA provisions, thanks to madame Senator Miriam "my idol" Santiago. Maybe this is their way of saying, you mess with our people and the "perks" that they enjoy in your country, we'll destroy your already bad reputation in the international community.

Perhaps, there is really a threat to our security as an expert said. Or maybe it's just a black propaganda against us. I do not know for sure which is true among the two. Personally, I would like to believe that the US is just taking it against us rather than entertaining the possibility that we're not really safe in our own motherland. It's more painful that way. The Philippines's reputation is already put in a bad light, no thanks to the Maguindanao Masscare and Quirino Grandstand Hostage incidents. And if indeed we're the next victims of terrorism, I hope that the PNP and AFP are really ready to defend and protect its people as they claim. We cannot afford to become the new face of breeders and haven of today's terrorist groups. We are peace-loving people and are renowned worldwide for our hospitality. Entertaining terrorists in the country is a sure no-no. 

Let's just hope and pray that, apart from the lifting of travel bans in the country, the Republic of the Philippines is free from any terrorist threats.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Perfectly Lonely (Live) by John Mayer

I'm perfectly lonely
I'm perfectly lonely
I'm perfectly lonely (Yeah)
'Cause I don't belong to anyone
Nobody belongs to me

Two days ago, I heard this song playing over the radio and the lyrics simply struck me. Bull's eye! I just realized that no matter how hard I try to convince myself (although I'm really fine with this kind of set-up, I swear with my whole heart and life) that being alone is okay, I always come to a certain point that I can no longer conceal my true take on the matter. I am a lonely and empty girl. I yearn for someone...I yearn something that is real. I'm tired of being trapped in a situation that only offers uncertainty, complications, and temporary bliss. I want my own piece of happiness too.

I dream of someone who will always be there for me to cheer me up, encourage me, believe in me, and never lose faith in me. I dream of someone whom I will share the rest of the evening talking about life in general, who agrees and disagrees with my arguments, and who listens when I speak. Sure, I also dream of someone who will wait for me at the altar during my wedding day, who will be the father of my children, and even my partner in life till death do we part. Yes, I dream of a love story more beautiful and more touching than those tear-jerking love story movies shown in cinema houses. Not even Titanic or Moulin Rouge or If Only. Mine will be far greater than that.

But there are also times that I simply surrender and humbly accept that maybe I won't ever belong to anyone and that nobody will belong to me. There are times that I simply stop waiting and believing for my own fairytale to happen, for my prince charming to come and see me. If that ever happens, I'm perfectly ready for a single-blessed life. Honestly speaking. In fact, I already pictured myself wearing a diamond ring that I purchase with my own money, a souvenir photo at the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, and the Pyramid of Giza. I have a vision of myself driving my own car at an increasing speed, going home late at night and a little bit tipsy, and sleeping with some cute guys that I will meet bwahahahahaha!

But I know that would be a lonely, lonely life.

Oh crap, enough of this shitty feeling that I'm currently entertaining for the past days now. Back to John Mayer's song...
I'm perfectly lonely
I'm perfectly lonely
I'm perfectly lonely (Yeah)
'Cause I don't belong to anyone
Nobody belongs to me

That's the way, that's the way
That's the way that I want it

That's the way, that's the way
That's the way that I want it

That's the way, that's the way
That's the way that I want it
That's the way, that's the way

Weekend in Puerto Princesa (The conclusion)

Our main purpose in going to PP is to see and experience the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River and National Park (formerly St. Paul Underground River) which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. This is also the main reason why I look forward on this trip.

However, we were informed during our first day that UR is closed to the public as ordered by the Coast Guard. According to our driver Kuya Archie, a small banca capsized along the shore due to big waves. The passengers were said to be foreigners. The hotel staff, meanwhile, told us a different version of the story. According to them, the banca overturned while in the deep part of the open sea and left its foreign passengers hurt. Whichever version is true we don't really care since our concern is to see it in person. Kuya Archie gave us an option. He told us that if we really want to push through with the trip we need to trek 5 kms ONE WAY for at least 2-3 hours before finally reaching the cave. Whoa! So we opted for a dolphin watching activity instead for our second day.

Try and try until you succeed...and we did!

Until the next day, mommy didn't give up with our "dream." While preparing to leave the hotel for our dolphin watching activity, we were informed that the Coast Guard already permitted tourists to travel by bancas to be able to reach the UR. And so we're set yehey :)

UR is actually in Sabang Island which is a two-hour drive from PP City. It's surprising though that the roads leading to Sabang are not yet fully developed. The local government or community should improve these roads for the tourists' comfort and the locals' gain as well. On our way to the island, we temporarily stopped at the BuenaVista View Deck to have some souvenir photos.
Mi familia @ the Buenaista Viewdeck

Tres Marias island


BuenaVista Viewdeck marker

Road going to Sabang Island

Solar and wind energy powered street lights 

At the port leading to UR

We arrived at the port at around 10. Our guide Kuya Louie told us that our schedule is at 11:30am and so we decided to have our late lunch instead assuming that we're back in the island by 1pm. However, we were able to board a boat that would lead us to UR at 12 already. The boat ride by the way lasted for some 20 minutes. Upon arrival, we registered our names and waited for our turn.
Finally, the UR

Photo op at the UR

Wild monkeys are rampant in the island
I think it was around 1 pm when we're finally called. The tour inside the UR lasted for 45minutes (one-way). According to our boatman, the river is almost 8km long but tourists can only explore more or less its first 1.4 kms. According to the boatman, tourists need to secure a permit beyond the "allowed" place where the more beautiful stalagmites can be found. But not all requests were granted of course since the place is reserved for research and other important purposes.

Anyway, I enjoyed the different rock formations that I saw inside though I admit that I expected more from the place. Well, maybe if I become a researcher or if the local government will permit me to explore beyond 2kms, I'll get to appreciate more the beauty of the UR.
Getting ready to get inside

"The Nativity scene"

Shots inside the UR

We were able to return to Sabang Island at around 3pm for our late lunch then headed back to the hotel for dinner before calling it a night.

Oh by the way, AirPhil again informed us of a flight rescheduled BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

We decided to stay at the hotel for our last day in PP. Major disappointment with the hotel's "breakfast buffet" which only served hotdogs, daing na bangus, garlic fried rice, hotcake, and egg omelette! Booohoooo. Afterwards, my brother and I opted for a quick dip in their pool. Mommy went to us to inform us that our flight is at 1:55pm again instead of the supposed 5:35 pm. Waaaaah!
Pool side

Quick dip in the pool

Messy room haha

At the airport
Waiting at the departure area

Despite the hassles encountered during the whole trip, I still enjoyed it.Will I go back to Palawan? Definitely! I love it there!It's now my number 1 choice next to Davao and Bohol :)

See you in the near future....

Weekend in Puerto Princesa (First of Two Parts)

It's official---I'm in love...again.

In a blink of an eye, I found myself deeply and passionately in love again...with a place!

Over the weekend, I packed my things for a short yet sweet weekend getaway in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan together with my family. I cannot forget the day mommy told me that she already booked a plane ticket bound for Puerto Princesa for the four of us.Yipeee! I'm going to Palawan to see and experience the underground river, I kept telling myself. God knows how I badly wanted to see the said tourist spot since I was a fifth grader. I first heard of it from my favorite Hekasi teacher who went there during that time. Man, I was so thrilled with his stories that I told myself, someday I'll set foot on that island. And after almost a decade, I finally did. Yahooooo :)

It's our first time to avail AirPhil's seat sale promo and we thought that its operations will not be affected despite the ongoing exodus of the pilots and FAs of its mother company, PAL. But we're very wrong. The night before our flight, my mom panicked after receiving a text message informing us that our 8:30 am flight will be rescheduled at 10:40PM WTF! After using her connections, we learned that the announcement was was 10:40 AM My goodness!Mistakes like that are unforgivable since it's time that we're talking about here and we know for a fact that we cannot turn back the hands of time.My mom almost cancelled our trip that night and if that happens, I would surely boycott AirPhil for life because of its stupid mistake! 

But the "announcement mistake" was just the beginning of some unfortunate series of our supposed fun trip.

The next day we left the house early to catch the said flight. Lo and behold, the flight was delayed hohoho!AirPhil's such a disappointment that I would never ever book my flight with this airline even if they will offer the best airfare sale in town!NEVER. itaga nyo yan sa bato!

Boo you!

 We arrived in the airport at past 12 already since the whole trip only lasted for an hour. Kung mamalasin ka nga naman, umaambon pa when we disembarked from the plane. Good thing it only drizzled for a short time and the sun greeted us with a big smile. It took us more or less a good 10-15 minutes before getting our luggages.And more or less, a minute or two before the hotel staff finally found us (or is the other way around?) and gladly transferred us to the hotel to grab a quick lunch before the city tour.
Hello Puerto Princesa, we're here :)

The arrival

Quick lunch at the hotel

Ready, set, eat eat eat :)
By the way, we stayed at Microtel Inn which was 20-30 mins away from the airport. What can I say? The place was big although it's not yet fully developed. But it's promising considering its land area.  The room was spacious for the four of us and has high ceilings haha! The  bathroom was okay, not that impressive but at least it looks very decent. My pet peeve in travelling is actually poorly maintained bathroom hotels and I was relieved upon seeing the bathroom for the first time. Our room was supposed to be beach front but when we arrived we cannot see any waters since it's low tide. When we got back to the hotel after the tour, I'm surprised that the water level in the shore was only ankle-deep. Nyahaha!
Feeling homey at the lobby

Front desk minus the staff

FCD shot: Microtel Inn Puerto Princesa

Early morning at the lagoon

Enjoying the "duyan"

This is what I'm talking about--low tide kung low tide!
Baby brother at the "duyan

Early morning shot

"Beach front"

Another angle of the "beachfront"
 And now, my PP experience :)

The remaining half of the day was spent for our four-hour city tour which was facilitated by our bubbly tour guide Ate Joms (not with a z as I thought haha). Our first stop was the Palawan Crocodile Park. To be honest, I'm not really excited since I've been to a crocodile farm back in 2007. But as I've said before in my previous post, one good thing about travelling is seeing and experiencing new things. And for this particular visit, what made it different with my previous crocodile farm trip is that I was able to hold and take a picture of a baby croc! It's really an experience for me since I'm not the type of person who loves touching or carrying animals. An interesting fact that I got during the short trip: crocodiles can only consume 5 percent of their prey. In the Philippines, the said largest crocodile was caught by PP locals after it devoured only the lower part of a fisherman. So alam na, hindi tayo makakain ng buo ng mga buwaya!
Should or shouldn't?

Largest crocodile caught in the country

Family picture @ the Palawan Crocodile Farm

Family picture with crocky :)
 From crocs to prisoners! Yep, you read it right---PRISONERS. After the crocodile farm visit, off we went to the Ihawig Prison and Penal Farm. I only heard this from daddy but as to the concept of this jail, I'm totally clueless. All I know is that some criminals from all over the country were sent to this island. During the course of the trip I learned that SC (or was it the CA?Im not pretty sure) and DOJ (this I'm 100% certain) decide who will be sent to this jail.Ihawig Prison and Penal Farm is very unique. Aside from being considered as jail without bars, prisoners are more disciplined, peace-loving, and free, literally speaking. Just like the Bilibid Prisons inmates that I encountered during our exposure trip in college, Iwahig inmates also have their own "circle," are involved with sports like tennis, boxing, and softball, and try to find ways to make a living.But unlike their counterparts in other prisons, the inmates do not engage in fights or rumbles. Why? Because if they do, they will be given additional years of sentence. Yikeeees! The same punishment also applies to prisoners who attempted but failed to escape. Tatakas ka pa ha!Huli ka din! In addition, inmates who belong to the minimum, medium, and maximum security can easily be identified because of their shirt's color. Brown for the minimum security inmates, blue for those in the medium security, while inmates at the maximum security wore red (I guess?Waah, I totally forgot) 
Welcome to Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm

This serves as the inmates' farm

Wonder how it feels to be one of them?
 Next stop is Rancho Sta. Monica aka Mitra's Ranch, owned by former House Speaker Ramon Mitra Jr.'s family. FYI during his term, Mitra pushed for the cityhood of Puerto Princesa. I was actually disappointed with the ranch since I'm expecting to see many animals like Chavit Singson's Baluarte but I only spotted a cow and horse in the ranch. Oh well, at least the place offers a good view of the city. Too bad we weren't able to get inside the house since Gov. Baham Mitra was there during our visit so automatically, the door is off-limits to tourists.
Rancho Sta. Monica
Me @ Mitra's Ranch

Photo op @ Mitra's Ranch
Photo op @ Mitra's Ranch ver. 2.0
View from the top
 We then headed to Palawan Baker's Hill for some pasalubong shopping. I enjoyed the ambiance of the place!Hehe. Paano ang unique nung mga pwedeng pagpiktyuran wahaha! Snow white and bugs bunny?cmon haha! 
Palawan Baker's Hill

Me @ Palawan Baker's Hill

With Bugs Bunny haha

With Snow White and the 7 dwarfs
Our second to the last stop was Plaza Cuartel. The place is historic by nature. Almost 140 American POWS (Prisoners of War) died there in the hands of the brutal Japanese in the year 1944. In the marker, you could see how Japanese soldiers maltreated their American counterparts.
Rude rude rude Japanese!
@ the Plaza Cuartel marker

Depiction of POWS victims of 1944
Not too far away is the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, which concluded the trip. The cathedral's blue and white color is double purpose since the said colors represent Mama Mary and the official color of the city. 
Cathedral's interior

Outside the cathedral

After the tour, we went straight to Kalui's to cap the night off. Unlike any other restaurants, dining in at Kalui's is by reservation only. And by reservation, you only get to choose between two times. In our case, we took the 6:30 reservation since 8:30 is already late for us. There are sooo many interesting things about the resto. First, you have to remove your shoes before you enter the place. Yes, both customers and staff members are on their barefoot. Second, the place is cozy and very Filipino. They play folk songs in the background and even have this big banga where you can wash your hands before eating. As to the food, it's superb! They serve and specialize in seafoods. Their own version of sisig which is a combination of fish, squid, and shrimp is a must-try! Their vegetable tempura which consists of camote and okra topped with oyster sauce is very unique. My younger brother who's not an okra-eater became an instant fan of the dish! Their sweet and sour Lapu-Lapu is very tasty and I really appreciate their Pinakbet!As for their complimentary dessert, they served mixed fruits- papaya, banana, and watermelon- placed in a coconut shell and topped with muscovado. Yummy :)  So much for my first day in the island.

Famous Kalui
Homey and native
Too many masks in the resto
Dinner with family
Kalui's own version of sisig and pinakbet