30 August 2007

Survivor: Daguldol

What to do with a 3-day weekend? Go on a trek, of course!

We planned for the trek for a good 3 weeks, but it was mostly asking who's coming and trek suggestions. Schedules have been quite difficult for some; however those who could not make it were compensated for by some officemates who joined a couple of days prior to the activity.

Mt. Daguldol is located in San Juan, Batangas. The ride going there from Manila is a 4-hour trip. The trek officially starts at the registration area, the first leg being a one-hour beach trek. Then the ascent to the mountains will take around 4 hours, making a total of 5 hours. Whew! From our group, 9 went via private vehicles at 6:30AM (thanks Sir Sam!) while Janice and Dave were to take an 11AM bus. We skipped the beach trek by "rally-driving" by the narrow mountainside. We parked right by the site where the assault began.

After lunch, we called Janice informing her that a guide will be waiting for them later in the day, and then we started our trek.

Minor climb, Level II
This climb is significant to me because this is my first ever Level II climb! However, some things do not really go as planned. For example, I was supposed to have a companion who was to help share my load but he backed-out the night before, so I had to carry all my stuff, which was heavy. The path wove its way by the mountainside, one side opening out to a heavily-vegetated cliff. The sights are truly awesome. It's really great to see that such places still exist in our country.

There are stopovers along the way that offer seating areas; some even have refreshments such as halo-halo or buko juice. Here are some photos of the place where we had the most delicious coconut juice and coconut meat.

We started trek at 1:30PM. We reached the campsite at 6:30PM. That's a five-hour trek! We were still feeling lucky at that time because we thought it will take us much longer than that, and the path can be quite slippery and muddy as was anticipated by Sir Sam and Mommy Helen (they've been here before). They were a bit surprised when the guide said that the old camping site is no longer open to the public, and that we were being led to the new campsite. The lands there are privately-owned, and when the original owner died, he no longer wanted to entertain camping. And so that's that. Our first concern was water source, but we were assured that such was also present in the new site.

It was, for me, a difficult climb because I was really carrying quite a heavy load. On the final hour, we were met by a woman and her kid with their horse. They offered to carry bags for a fee. I hesitated at first (because they were saying your bag will smell like a horse after that ride!) but after a couple more minutes I relented. There was no way I can carry it anymore.

When we arrived, another group was already there and so we set-up near the hut owned by landlord, who was there as well. This proved to be an advantageous site for us because I showered and rained sporadically, prompting us to take shelter in the hut and we were able to cook rather comfortably too!

One of the guys noticed me unpacking my backpack and he commented that when he unloaded the pack off the horse, he was surprised at how heavy it was! I was vindicated. I did not imagine all that weight. Whew!

At this juncture we were wondering if Janice and Dave decided to continue the trek - what with the rains and the incoming darkness - or checked in a beach resort instead. We were surprised when they suddenly showed up. They took the trek in three hours, which included the walk by the beach! Come on!

Dinner was extra-special with tinola...

... and grilled liempo, tuna and hotdogs

This was also a special day because we were celebrating Sir Sam, Mommy Helen, and Harry's birthdays! They didn't know actually that we had cake with candles ready to start the socials. The funny thing was, we used "magic" candles which rekindled every time the fire was put out. After Sir Sam and Harry blew out the flames (with party poppers!), they turned back on, prompting them to alternately blow it out. Of course, it just won't die off so we removed the candles after a while and I'm not sure how they permanently doused the flames. That was funny though.
Our socials was cut short to an hour when it suddenly rained again. We rushed into our tents for the night.

The summit was only 15 minutes away from the campsite and we have decided to wake up early to see the sunrise. But this was what greeted us at 5:30AM:

It was dark, cold, and foggy outside. We slept for a few minutes more before cooking breakfast.

It rained on and off once again, which held up our descent til 10. The path was quite slippery by now, but we managed to descend in 3 hours (including a stop at the coconut place! yum yum).

We had lunch at the beach and took a dip as well. We left at 6PM, with the cars hauling away our stuff and the rest doing the beach trek, rendezvous at the registration site.

We were tired (and expected to discover muscles in areas we never thought we had) but we brought with us happy and very memorable trek memories indeed.

Lessons I learned from this trip:
1. Travel light
2. Use sandals that do not loop on toes, or with plastic parts that rub on your skin. These can really hurt your wet skin.
3. Bring extra sandals (Thanks to Sir Sam for lending me his spare sandals and walking stick when my sandals' velcro failed to stick with me)

How to go there (courtesy of jhersay33's multiply site)
San Juan Batangas is 115 kilometers from Manila, a two to three hours drive depending on traffic situation and routes taken. When commuting, there are two options to get there. The first, common and easiest way to get there is via Lipa Batangas. From Manila you can take either Lipa, Cuenca, Batangas City or Lucena bound buses. From Lipa bus terminal (Big Ben, Jolibee, Mc Donalds) take a tricycle ride to the Lipa City Public Market. From the main road, CM Recto corner Mercury Drug Lipa is where jeepneys plying San Juan Batangas passes by. Alight at the San Juan Batangas Public Market (Petron Gas Station). From that road, the second corner is where jeepneys plying Barangay Hugom waits for passengers. The second option is via Batangas City. From Batangas City there are jeepneys and buses plying San Juan Batangas.

[Thanks to Janice and Dave for some of the photos above]

28 August 2007

Total lunar eclipse on August 28

[Photo credit: space.com]

That's today! I hope the sky clears up so we can see this event.

The message from an e-mail received about this:
A total lunar eclipse will occur on August 28 and will be visible in the Philippines, the United States of America, the Pacific, eastern Asia, and Australasia. The totality will last for one hour and thirty minutes.

The eclipse will begin as the Moon enters the penumbral stage at 3:52 PM (Philippine Standard Time), and the umbral stage will begin at 4:50 PM as shown in the illustration. The eclipse will end at 9:22 PM (PST). The Moon will rise at 6:08 PM and sets on the following morning at 5:16 AM.

[photo credit: NASA]

Additional information: NASA site for the August 28 total Lunar Eclipse

23 August 2007

Experience Book Heaven at the 28th Manila International Book Fair

As I raved about last year's Book Fair, some friends and colleagues wondered why I didn't ask them to come with me. Hmmmm. That fact is, I was tagging along my wife, who buys books for their school while I would roam around the huge exhibition floor and beg my wife to buy me books (to which she would acquiesce. Thanks dearest!)

This year, I will most likely be tagging along again and pointing out books I like (hehe). So here's advanced notice for all you bookworms that the 28th Manila International Book Fair will soon be upon us!

World Trade Center
Metro Manila Financial Center Area
Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue cor. Diosdado Macapagal Blvd.
Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines

Exhibit Schedule : August 29 - Sept 2 • 10:00AM - 8:00PM

Tons and tons of books for all ages! You can also get discounted magazine subscriptions there. So mark your calendars for this once-a-year book event!

Related link: Manila International Book Fair website

16 August 2007

Malu does a Mimi

Just read up on the article above written by this Malu Fernandez and tell me if I'm at fault in experiencing a peak in my high blood pressure. No amount of Jo Malone nor layers upon layers of makeup can cover her stench!

To summarize it up, this Ms. Fernandez who loves flaunting her wealth but can't seem to do something about her thick makeup made these in-your-face remarks about her encounter with Overseas Filipino Workers in economy class:

"... I wanted to slash my wrist at the thought at the thought of being trapped in a plane with all of them."

"I thought I had died and God sent me to my very own private hell."

"On my way back, I had to bravely take the economy flight once more. This time I already resigned myself to being trapped like a sardine in a sardine can with all these OFWs smelling of AXE and Charlie cologne while my Jo Malone evaporated into thin air."

Her backlash on those lambasting her article can be found in the Manila Standard Today, entitled: Am I being a diva? Or do you lack common sense? Here's some excerpt relating to the above article, with my interjections:

As I type this, I’d like you to know that it’s not about whining, complaining and bitching but just stating the facts. Just recently, I wrote a funny article in my magazine column and my friends thought it was hilarious. It was humorous and quite tongue-in-cheek, or at least I thought so, until the magazine got a few e-mails from people who didn’t get the meaning of my acerbic wit.

If you are indeed of the high social standing you claim to be, it will mean that you have attained a high standard of education and all that travel would have broadened your horizon. But noooo. Oh I get the meaning of your acerbic wit all right: that you're not human, you're a pig.
The bottom line was just that I had offended the reader’s socioeconomic background. If any of these people actually read anything thicker then a magazine they would find it very funny. Most people don’t get the fact that they need bitches like me to shake up their world, otherwise their lives would be boring and mediocre. I obviously write for the a certain target audience and if what I write offends you, just stop reading.

Wow. She undermines the intellect of the people. You have to be a wide reader to understand her acerbic wit! Excuse me, but how can downtrodding people be very funny?

I simply can't just imagine you shaking my world. Ugh. I think I'd settle for boring and mediocre, thank you.
And what target audience is this you're referring to? The Mimi Bobeck crowd?

Hi! I'm Mimi! Malu Fernandez idolizes my make-up!

You know what? Your don't-care-what-I-write-stop-reading-if-you're-offended attitude makes me wonder if you're even qualified to be a writer! You don't know the meaning of responsible journalism!

Although it may sound elitist to you the fact is this country is built on the foundation of haves, have-nots and wannabes. One group will never get the culture of the other.
Even if you project yourself to be one of the haves, you sound more like a wannabe, you wannabe!

Although I could mention that it is easier to understand someone who has a lower socioeconomic background that would entail a whole other page and frankly I don’t want to be someone to bridge the gap between socioeconomic classes. I leave that to the politicians in my family who believe they can actually help. Now I seriously ask you, am I being a diva or are people around me just lacking in common sense? Perhaps it’s a little of both!
Yes, that's right. Leave it to someone else to bridge the gap. So why don't you buy your own island and build your pig pen there!

You're not being diva, Ms. Fernandez. You're being a pig! I have friends working abroad and you will never be able to fathom their pride and dignity because you find yours in your material possessions!

So please please tell me that you weren't kidding when you said you were going to slash your wrist. Here's a butter knife so it will take a while longer for you to meet your private hell and you can document your suffering! Please!

Jump to Tingog.com's Fire Malu Fernandez, Boycott Manila Standard Today and People Asia Magazine

[Mimi Bobeck is the boss' secretary from the sitcom Drew Carrey Show who loved to make life a living hell out of Drew's life and always called him pig]

Update: Manila Standard columnist quits after getting OFWs' ire
Malu Fernandez, lifestyle columnist of Manila Standard, resigned from the paper and the travel magazine she used to write for after getting the ire of readers, particularly Filipino overseas workers in Dubai, a statement posted on blogsites and sent to the GMANews.TV email said.

“I take full responsibility for my actions and my friends and family have nothing to do with this. To date I have submitted my resignation letters to both the Manila Standard and People Asia, on that note may this matter be laid to rest," Fernandez said in the statement forwarded to GMANews.TV Thursday evening.

Fernandez's resignation came after readers reacted to an article she wrote for the newspaper and the magazine that apparently made fun of OFWs travel style.

Describing her flight from Dubai to Manila, Fernandez wrote that she would rather “slash" her wrists than be “trapped in a plane" with Filipino overseas workers.

Her article, “From Boracay to Greece," has been drawing a slew of heated words from all over the blogosphere, particularly from a group of overseas Filipino journalists in Dubai, who demanded a public apology from her and her resignation from the newspaper and the magazine.

The Filipino Press Club-Dubai has posted a statement at the website Tingog.com demanding Fernandez to apologize to the more than 200,000 Filipino migrant workers there who felt “insulted" by her story.

“The incident recounted in her flight via Dubai to Manila in which she berated fellow Filipinos (who had already endured the misfortune of working away from their families) on board Emirates for wearing “cheap" perfumes had no significant bearing to her story," the group said.

The Filipino Press Club-Dubai is composed of professional journalists from the print, broadcast and web-based media in the United Arab Emirates. It particularly reacted to a paragraph in Fernadez’s article where she narrated her horrid ordeal with the Filipino migrant workers during her flight home at the airline's economy section.

Fernandez in her statement said she was "humbled" by the "vehement and heated" response to her article. She said the article was not meant to malign, hurt or express prejudice against OFWs.

“I am deeply apologetic for my insensitivity and the offensive manner in which this article was written, I hear you all and I am properly rebuked. It was truly not my intention to malign hurt or express prejudice against OFWs," her satement said.

Fernandez claimed that because of the article she became a subject of hate blogs, a target of death threats and personal insults.

“Our society is bound together by human chains of kindness and decency. I have failed to observe this and I am now reaping the consequences of my actions." Fernandez said.

Fernandez said she now truly understands the “insidiousness of discrimination and prejudice disguised as humor."

“It is my fervent hope that the lessons that I’ve learned are not lost on all those who through anonymous blogs, engaged in bigotry, discrimination, and hatred," she said.

There was still no statement from Manila Standard and Peoples Asia whether Fernandez's resignation was accepted. - GMANews.TV

Source: GMANews.TV


How wud u lyk it f i strtd typing lyk dis?

I tend to be in a tolerating mood when it comes to SMS, but writing like this for other things?

Ironically, many people already do, especially the younger generation. They have gotten so hooked up with abbreviated texting that they now use this method in everyday writing. Think about it. We tend to ignore this simple fact of life, that people - especially in our country - do love the convenience of SMS but as the user range broadens to include kids, what will its effect be on their reading comprehension? Use of grammar? Spelling?

"wer n u d2 n me" - to be brutally honest, I found these forms of text messages irritating. However, I have, over time, started to accept these small grammatical horrors. But there are still those overly truncated messages that try to squeeze in a lot of information into one SMS that I often surrender deciphering and send my standard reply: "ha? I don't get it." To which the person concerned sends me another, spelled-out message. The good thing about it is, many of my text correspondents now take time to really spell things out.

And so this brings me to the subject of predictive texting courtesy of t9. Predictive texting has been around for quite some time now. The first time I used it was in the year 2000 with a Nokia 7110. I've been hooked ever since. The phone I have now - an office-issued N80 - even has a "Tagalog" option for predictive texting. How convenient is that?

How do you activate t9 texting? On Nokia phones, it's simple. The shortcut method is to open the messaging window and bring the cursor to the section where you would write your text message. Then press the pound key twice (this is at the lower right; the # symbol is accompanied by an arrow symbol). You will see that the text mode indicator at the upper right side of the screen will have two lines next to it, indicating predictive texting mode. To turn t9 off, just press the pound key twice.

Compare the number of keys you have to press when typing the word "hello":
conventional method: 4433555555666
t9 method: 43556

The website www.t9.com has a tutorial for predictive texting. Give it a try!

And since we're on the subject of mobile phones, I suggest you check out the battery of your Nokia phone. There are BL-5C batteries out there that may be hazardous to your health due to overheating. And you know what happens when batteries overheat! Check out this product advisory from Nokia to see if your Nokia model is affected. You will get a free battery replacement of yours is included in the defective batch.

One last tip for mobile phones, not just for Nokia. Be very careful when bringing your phone in Divisoria! Or better yet, don't bring it at all! I lost my phone there last December, and I still haven't gotten over it. I loved the 6630's camera; it's even better than this N80's 3 megapixel version.

Happy weekend eveyone!

[photo credit: answers.com]

14 August 2007

Blog block!

Belive it or not, I have been staring at the blogger post screen on and off for a couple of hours now while visiting trekking and UFO sites. But nothing seems to come out tonight! Beware... the blogger's block!

I sooo wanted to write about something. So as a last ditch effort before I go home, here are some updates:
1. This blog turned 3 last July, and once again, I forgot all about it! Next year again? Well actually in mid- July I was planning to make a batch of strawberry jam. It will be my first time ever to make strawberry jam but the recipe was so simple it was foolproof. So off I went to the market to buy strawberries.

Me: "Mano?" (How much?) I pointed at the pile.
Vendor: "350"
Me: "Ha?"
Vendor "350 maysa nga kilo." (350 a kilo)
Me: "Yang strawberries?"
Vendor: "Oo."

I cannot believe it. 350 pesos for a kilo of strawberries! Oh man. I was planning to make a batch and have a contest in my blog and give away strawberry jam to celebrate its anniversary! Well, it was obviously off-season because I only saw two vendors selling but I did not realize how expensive strawberries can get! And since my grand plan was foiled, I forgot all about the anniversary. Oh well. Next year again?

2. I'm reviving the baguio-quezon blog. I thought, what the heck. Since I'm in Baguio at least three times a month, I might as well blog about it, even if it's just photos. I'll try to update the layout next time. My mind's a total blank right now. Well, not totally I guess since I was able to squeeze this post.

3. I'm part of this experimental critic blog called kritikal kritiks. Just a simple blog where we try to be critics for movies, books, food places. Movies mostly. We love watching movies after all. But we try to write in Filipino with a little English mixed in for good measure. It's a nonsense blog which we are trying to make sense of. Thank goodness for blogging! For we are now movie critics! Ha!

Well now, that was excruciating. Time to go home! Hungry me!

10 August 2007

The truth is out there

Since Grade School, I have already been fascinated with things that science cannot easily explain. During those times, the only way you can read about these was if you go to the library, or if you have friends who have encyclopedias on the stuff. Fascinating!

Thanks to the internet, such information is now more accessible and updated! So, what exactly are these "stuff" about?

Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) - including abductions, cattle mutilation, bits of alien things injected into people. Though when I stare at the skies and trace out the big dipper (half-hoping that I see something extraordinary), abduction is the furthest thing from my mind.

The website UFO Evidence has lots of photos and narrations of UFO sightings. While there are photos that are documented as fake, there are still lots that have been left unexplained.

Cattle mutilation is likewise a curiosity. Cuts are made with laser-like precision. Why want animal insides and leave the beef? If the aliens were so intelligent, couldn't they have taken the whole cow with them instead, or chopped up the meat using their laser beam into tenderloin sizes? Or will this be considered double-dead? Hmmm. Drop by Crystalinks' Cattle Mutilation page for a sample. (photo above credited to them)

Religious implications
Did you know that even in rennaisance paintings, there are indications of UFO existence. It is even deduced that the star which shone on Jesus when He was born came from an alien spacecraft. Of course, that kind of thinking will lead you to the obvious line of thought about the origin of Jesus. Out of this world, isn't it?

Or even before that, when the Virgin Mary received news of important role of becoming the mother of the Saviour of mankind, a UFO-like structure was visible.

In other paintings, the objects depicted are look so much like saucers floating about with lights emitting from them.

I learned about the above things way back in college (the late 90s). The SLU library had this huge book about UFOs in the Reference section, along with lots of nice books on paintings.

Just recently, I read about Christian iconology that refute the apparent presence of UFOs in these paintings. Very intriguing and illuminating! After more than 20 years, I realize that what I read in those books years ago were nothing more than flights of fancy! Alas! Read about this on Art and UFO.

Oh, before I forget. The UFO photo at the start of this post is a fake. It was very famous way back when due to the detail of the ship. Very rare in UFO photos. (photo credit: ufosrus)

Hmmm... I was supposed to write about all of the weird things that fascinate me as a kid and until now. But this UFO topic alone is worth an entire post by itself!

There are loads of other sites waiting to be discovered in the Net. A simple Google search will reveal lots of other references.

I believe that something is out there, watching us. And it's not just the Star Wars / Star Trek / ET / Close Encounters movie fan in me that's talking.

What about you?

07 August 2007

Lapu-Lapu Shrine in Mactan, Cebu

The Lapu-Lapu Shrine in Mactan, Cebu is testament to the Filipino courage and is monumental because it is the first ever massive opposition to foreign domination. Who would have thought that cannons and swords will be no match for the native's crude weaponry?

But while it is indeed such a heroic moment in the protection of the Mactan shores, one can't help but wonder about the underlying factors behind the event. Not far from Mactan is the island of Cebu where Rajah Humabon reigned supreme. He befriended the Spaniards and accepted Christianism. But in the end he encouraged the Spaniards to go to Mactan and overcome Lapu-Lapu, who was not exactly in speaking terms with Humabon. And so the battle ensued, resulting in the beheading of the famed Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. Poor Magellan caught in tribal politics.

Consider the irony. One day we were at Magellan's cross marvelling at the birth of Christianity in our country, and the next day we went to the Lapu-Lapu shrine to honor the bravery of those who thwarted the Spaniards.

I really think Philippine history ought to be taught in high school and college for the better appreciation of inquiring minds. Or is it already?

Be as it may, both events profoundly shaped our history. And there we were, walking the usual tourist route to appreciate our country's heritage.

The inscription reads:
Here on 27 April 1521, LapuLapu and his men repulsed the Spanish invaders, killing their leader Ferdinand Magellan. Thus LapuLapu became the first Filipino to have repelled European aggression.

Lapu-Lapu oversees the beach front of Mactan from invaders.

After the visit to the shrine, it's time for a quick "sutukil" (sugba, tula, kilaw), or put simply, three ways you can have your fish cooked. We ordered one big fish and had it "sutukilled".This is a very wide dining area overlooking the mangroves.

Still business as we had our lunch!

Additional interesting reading: University of the Philippines' "The Beauty Within Three Cities"

02 August 2007

Amici di Don Bosco in Makati

I have blogged about Amici before, but they have new things in store for their patrons. They are now open til 10PM! On weekends, they can entertain guests til 11PM. That's really nice, because there were a couple of times when we wanted to have dinner at Amici, only to be turned down at around 8:30PM because it's already near closing time.

Likewise, parking is now more accessible. Park at Walter Mart because for a P300.00 food purchase, you can have your parking for free! And hitting the 300-peso mark isn't really that difficult, especially if you're a group of three or more.

New store hours, same great food! Pasta, pizza, bread and gelato galore!

I couldn't seem to find the photo on the new store hours, but if you're planning to go there, you may also call 893-8232 loc.113 (got this from clickthecity). Amici di Don Bosco is located at the Don Bosco Technical School Makati along Pasay Road, near Walter Mart.

PS For those leaving messages in my shoutbox, thank you very much! Unfortunately, I cannot access my own shoutbox. It seems to be blocked in the office. And I don't go online outside the office that much. So for the latest questions, here are the answers:
1. You may apply at PMA online at http://admission.pma.ph/pmaee/admission.html.
2. Yacon currently costs between 50-70 pesos in Baguio. Previously, it was 30-35 pesos. I t's become quite popular I guess.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...