Saturday, August 30, 2008

Malapascua Island

Finally, I am finished sorting out the photos we had during our "holyweekly" trip in Malapascua Island, Cebu. I've uploaded most of them in my Byaheng Barok Multiply site. BUT!!! I haven't uploaded anything yet in the Holy Week Travellers' site. Ooops! I guess that's where I will concentrate on these next few days. Oh, well...
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Anywayze, most of my Malapascua Island photos are practice shots. C&Cs are definitely be welcome.
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Sunset near the lighthouse
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In front of Dano Beach Resort
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Heart talaga?

Mugs of Accomplishment

My mugs are scattered all over the house. Yup, these are my coffee mugs bought from all the travels I did in the past decade with some given by friends. If other people collect postcards, keychains, pins, antiques, etc. from their travels, coffee mugs are a perfect fit for me. Since I love coffee as much as I love travelling, these mugs are soooo me.

I begged my Mom to vacate several shelves in our living room area so I can situate all my mugs in one place. They used to be in my room, all beautifully arranged as if I have a shrine. But since the number of my mugs kept growing for each trip I made, I had to find a larger area to keep them safe and, uh, well-displayed.

Yup, this time around, I wanted all of them displayed instead of taking shelter in my room. These mugs are my trophies, not merely of my travel accomplishments, but also of battling my life's difficulties. These mugs are a constant reminder that I am blessed.

A decade ago, I dreamt of travelling and seeing the world. But mishaps in life happened and well, I was in a deep shit -- emotionally, financially, professionally. Name it, I gathered all the bad luck in the world. Who would have thought that when I decided to have my son on my own while in a great financial crisis and such an emotional basket case, I will be able to travel throughout the country and in some Asian countries... and with my son at that?

I am truly blessed. The Lord, not once since I had my son, did I feel I have been forsaken. He provided even before I knew I needed something. Nope, I'm not religious. My family and close friends can attest to my non-attendance in church activities. Mabibilang lang sa daliri kung kelan ako nag-simba. But it doesn't mean that I don't pray. Each day is an opportunity for me to thank the Lord for the life I've been living now.

Enough of the sentimental talk. Back to my mugs.

I decided to take pictures of my mugs. But I wasn't happy with the result, but I've posted them anyway. I'll just wait then when my director gets back so I can borrow lights from him (for free!) and take proper photos of my mugs. (Ang arte!) But for now, I'll just have to make do with the picture I took this morning.

Unfortunately, my mugs aren't complete. There are provinces in the Philippines that I've been to that didn't make mugs as souvenirs. Sometimes, I settle with shotglasses and penholders. Lately, I discovered the ceramic city mugs from Starbucks, which can be a great alternative should there no other mugs to buy.

To date, I have a total of 44 mugs, 11 shot glasses, 3 penholders and 1 toothpick holder. Hehehe! And the number, definitely, won't stop there.
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P.S.: This is how important my mugs are. A couple of years ago, a fire broke out from a neighbor's house. The house on fire was like 5 houses away from us. Since the fire was spreading quickly, we immediately packed clothes, shoes and important documents and brought them out on the street. When I finished brining out the necessities and went back to my room, I suddenly had a dilemma. Still in my room were my books and notes from graduate school (at that time, I was suppose to write my thesis and these books were so fundamental in my studies), CDs (original ha!), photo albums, memorabilia from my college theater guild, and my mugs. I was still contemplating then as to which of my things should I bring out next when my Mom told me that the fire has already moved to the next house, that's four houses away. Shocked, I slowly sat down on my bed, not really knowing what to do. What should I bring out next? Teary-eyed, I made a decision. CDs can go, I can always download music from the internet. Photo albums can go, most of my travel photos are uploaded in the net. Books can go, I might never even get to finish my thesis. Mugs are it then. But if I bring them out now, there's a great possibility that some will break from all the commotion happening. I took as many mugs that my hands can handle and sat back down on my bed. I can't let any of it break. I finally heard sirens outside. I slowly placed back all of my mugs in my "shrine" and went out. I watched as the firemen tried to put the fire out. Silently, I prayed... And honestly, it wasn't a prayer for the safety of other people's lives and belongings. It was a prayer not to be in a dilemma about my mugs again. Adik!!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Island Hopping Photos in Virgin Island and Bantayan Sanctuary, Cebu

Virgin Island

Here are some of our photos during our island hopping tour at the Virgin Island and Bantayan Sanctuary. For the complete set of photos, I have yet to update the Holy Week Travellers' site, although I have already uploaded edited photos in my Byaheng Barok Multiply site. Some of the photos there were the ones I took from my camera. There were a few taken by Os and Roselle (or else, wala na naman akong picture! Hehehe!).

Near the Bantayan Sanctuary

Jumping shot ko! Yipee!!!

Photos in Sta. Fe & Bantayan Towns, Bantayan Island, Cebu

Now that we already had our picture party, I have the complete set of all the photos we took in our Cebu "holyweekly" trip. (Deadma na sa camera ni Ramil, I'm sure, puro face n'ya lang yung nasa camera n'ya. Hehehe!) So, here's the first (super!) edited batch in my Multiply site: Sta. Fe and Bantayan towns in Bantayan Island, Cebu. Some of the photos were from Os' and Roselle's camera, or else, wala na naman akong picture sa sarili kong album (parang Sagada! Hehehe!)
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Morning jumping shot

Photo taken by Os Sevilla


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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Stariray's Picture Party

We had our usual picture party last night. But, instead of viewing the slideshows of our recent Bantayan and Malapascua adventure, we ended up taking more photographs... Not of us, but of Stariray!!! Kawawang bata... She can't sleep cause the first batch of would-be Ninangs who saw her played with her as if she's a doll -- dressing her up, giving her different hair styles, etc. She got so tired that she ended up sleeping on her own, at the bed, without being carried. And when the second batch of would-be Ninangs came, no type and level of noise can wake her up from her deep sleep. She was too tired to wake up even for her milk! He! He! He!

Ang cute!!! Inggit ako :-(
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Costume change number one

Fashionista

Sleeping soundly while holding Mommy's hand
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Click here for more of Stariray's photos during our picture party.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

And She was 88...


My Lola Naling died the other day. Oh, I'm not grieving so don't send me condolences. I barely knew her. She was the sister of my grandfather and she lived in different places here and abroad so I never get to spend that much time with her. I knew her simply because she would stay at our house whenever she's here in Manila.

Last August 2, while I was on my way to Sagada, Mountain Province, I received a call from my brother telling me that Lola Naling had an accident and she was in a critical condition in a hospital back in the States.

A couple of days ago, relatives in the States decided to "pull the plug" as my Lola's conditioned worsened. Even if she gets better, life would definitely be a whole lot different from how she used to live it.

She died at the good age of 88.

This morning, my mom set straight the story on my Lola's accident. She said, according to our relatives, my Lola booked for a group tour going to Colorado bringing a stroller-type of luggage. While pulling her luggage, she accidentally tripped on a platform and fell down. Hands still holding her luggage's handle, the luggage swung up into the air and landed straight on her back.

What a good way to die.

Don't get me wrong, but I'm glad she died the way that she did -- she died while she was out for another travel adventure.

That's why I barely know her. She was always in some place travelling, sometimes alone, sometimes with her sister, Lola Edith. When I was younger, I remember her calling my Mom saying she'll be in Manila for a vacation. A few days after, she's there outside our house, knocking. And it's not like we had to prepare for her visit. Oftentimes, she's out meeting other people or going to other places. She always had some place to go to.

I envy her. Old age never made her stop travelling. Old age became a part of the adventure. And though she died accidentally, at least, she did while doing what she love most. That's life living to the fullest.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Great Blogsites on Macau!


For several days now, I have kept myself busy plotting an itinerary for my next destination: Hong Kong and Macau. Not realizing it 'til this morning, most of the stuff I have researched were all for my Hong Kong leg. And for Macau? Nada. I haven't even booked an accommodation yet!

In panic, I quickly searched the PinoyExchange site (it's really a great resource for anything under the sun). But since there are almost 200 discussion pages on Macau alone, I got tired when I reached page 18.

I also searched Google for a "one day itinerary in Macau" and I came across these two great sites:

Both blogs are worth checking out. It has photos, descriptions, and other important details that any first-time tourist in Macau will appreciate. It's like having a brochure at hand with correct calculations on the time spent for each tourist spot. It was perfect for an "un-harrassed walking tour to take photos of Macau's architecture with a kid in tow". So perfect for me!

Hmmm... But how do I trackback to their sites?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Daño Beach Resort, Malapascua Island, Cebu


For our Malapascua Island leg, Laiza originally booked us at Blue Coral Beach Resort. No downpayment was given (unlike in Bantayan Island) and we just depended on the booking made thru a celphone call. Unfortunately, when we got there, there were no rooms available. One, it was only 10am and we would still have to wait for the other guests to check out before we can check in at 12nn. Two, the reservations were made to another staff who left for Boracay and never gave any instructions or messages regarding our arrival. SIGH... Instead of making a big deal out of this, Laiza and two other friends scouted the rest of the island for another resort that could accommodate all eight of us.
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Os taking photos of Malapascua Island
from the Reception Area of Blue Coral Resort

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We ended up at Daño Beach Resort at the far end of the island.

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Daño Beach Resort is very much like Budyong Beach Resort in Bantayan Island. Its cottages are also duplex types (well, at least, the ones that we rented) that are made of concrete, wood and nipa. We were lucky to get 2 duplex units beside each other (hehehe, and we're neighbors again!). Since it's the lean season, the original PhP 1,000 room for two was given to us for PhP 800 only (yipeee!).


Being at the far end of the island is both an advantage and a disadvantage. It's an advantage because there were lesser people there, plus, it's a good location for sunrise photos (but during the morning when we were there, it was cloudy). It's a disadvantage because we had to walk a bit to get to the nicer restaurants. But then again, Malapascua is such a small island, everything else is just walking distance.

Chismisan sa kapit-bahay in the morning... and in evening.

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We weren't able to get that much contact details of Daño Beach Resort when we were there. The contact details that I have here were searched from the internet when we got back here. I sure hope this is updated:

+63 915 6661584 or +63 927 3817894. Lemuel Daño is the manager.

For more photos of Daño Beach Resort, please visit my Byaheng Barok Multiply site.

Budyong Beach Resort, Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island, Cebu


During the planning stages of our Cebu "holyweekly" trip, I was harrassed with three projects. As much as I want to make a career out of doing our itinerary, I simply didn't have time in my hands. But being the addict that I truly am, I still found time last June to squeeze in one research at Google, a resort in Bantayan Island. And the first blog I clicked with a photo of a resort and contact details in Bantayan Island, I immediately downloaded it and e-mailed to the rest of my friends.

Eventually, it was Laiza who planned the itinerary, made bookings for the accommodation and contacted all our modes of transportation. And Budyong Resort, the one I saw in the internet, was not a disappointment at all.



The resort has individual and duplex-type of cottages, some are fan-cooled, some with air- conditioning units. At first glance, the cottages seemed to be made of nipa (we got there at night), very much like how rooms were like in Camiguin Seaside Lodge. The thought of "tuko" (large lizard) crawling our ceilings scared the hell out of us. But no, the rooms were a combination of concrete, wood and nipa. It has basic amenities, but it's comfortable.

As of last June, the room rates that Laiza e-mailed to us were:

Aircon rooms:
good for 2 - Ps. 1,200
good for 4 - Ps. 1,400
good for 6 - Ps. 2,000

Fan rooms:
good for 2 - Ps. 500
good for 4 - Ps. 1000

Extra pax in a room is Ps. 150

We stayed in a duplex-cottage, very beach front. So beach front that during high tide, the sea was just several meters away from our window. It was great. We could sleep listening to the sound of the waves.... Hmmm... Well, we thought so.


Our first night was spent constantly checking out the scenario outside our window. The winds were too strong and the trees rocked back and forth. Even the galvanized sheets on the roof sound like it'll get ripped off at anytime. We thought there was a storm coming. Good luck! And we're really here at the beach front! But there was no rain, it was just all wind. We desperately tried to sleep, but it was kinda hard hearing so many "windy" sounds.

The second night was more peaceful. It was the kind of night when you can just sleep right there on the beach.

Our beach is also a good location for a great sunrise, although Kota Beach Resort is better simply because it's nearer to a gazebo which can be a good subject for sunrise photographs.

Swimming in front of our cottage is also great. Whether it's high tide or low tide, the water is clean and cool. There are also staff who regularly clean the beach.


The resort is just walking distance from the town plaza. So even if their restaurant was closed during Saturdays (no staff working on Saturdays because the owners are Adventists), going to a restaurant towards the plaza wasn't a problem.

All in all, the Budyong Beach Resort is really a great place to stay. It has a great location, a super-duper helpful staff, and contacts with van and boat transfers. But more importantly, it's cheap. For a fan-cooled room for 4 pax, the cost per person would only be PhP 250.00. Not bad, not bad at all.

Here's Budyong Beach Resort's contact number: (032) 438-5700, 438-9040. They have a website, but the last time I checked, it wasn't working.

More photos of the resort from my Byaheng Barok Multiply site.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Frustrated with Blogger


I've been with Blogger for several years now and with all the social networking and blog sites available in the internet, I find Blogger to be the most user-friendly and reliable of all.

Being a busy-bee these past few months, I seldom get to update my two sites: Byaheng Barok and Holy Week Travellers. But now that I got all the time in the world, I made use of this time to update these two sites, both the content and the design.

With Byaheng Barok, I have updated my Adsense account and post entries, as you can see. With the Holy Week Travellers, I wanted to changed the design layout. Posting new entries will have to be done later this weekend.

But luck of all lucks, I accidentally clicked on "Revert to Classic Template" for my Holy Week Travellers account. It didn't seem to be a problem as reverting back to an upgraded template is also just a click away. Well, it was suppose to...

When I got to the "Customized Design" at the Template section, there was no "Upgrade Template" button. I searched frantically for it as I didn't like the look of any of the classic templates provided by Blogger... But to no avail.
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I also searched in Blogger help and other internet sites but everything points out to clicking the "Upgrade Template". There were no queries answered that pertain to this particular problem. I reckon that this is only a problem encountered today. All the post entries I read were dated today.

SIGH... I hope Blogger will be able to fix this soon... Sooner than tomorrow I hope.

Improving or Tsamba?


Recently, I've started joining e-groups, discussion boards and other social networking sites related to photography. I seldom post queries or photos since I'm not too confident with my photography skills yet.

But since I wanted to know from other photographers if the photographs I have taken so far are on the right track, I braved posting several photos of my recent Paco Park practice. Much to my disappointment, only one gave a comment. Still, I'm quite thankful that a handful passed by my Multiply site to take a look at the other photos I took. Whatever their opinions were, I had no idea.

So, when I took photos of the beaches of Bantayan and Malapascua Islands during nighttime, I decided to post these photos again in Digital Photography Philippines' Multiply site. I didn't post everything, just the photos I thought looked best. And here's what the other's got to say about it:

Night for Day in Digital Photography Philippines

So, am I happy now?

Nope, not quite.

I was trained with film SLRs way back in college. No matter how frustrating it was to practice and not seeing whether you did right or wrong until you had the film processed and developed, it was more comforting to know that a good photograph was taken because it was shot with the correct settings and composition. I corrected mine using Adobe Photoshop CS3. Though the changes I made were limited to rotating and cropping to adjusting the brightness and curves of the photographs, I, somehow, feel like the photograph isn't mine. Is that normal?

Oh, well... I guess I'll just have to keep on practicing then.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bantayan and Malapascua Expenses (as of August 2008)

Availing the Cebu Pacific promo sale, the Holy Week Travellers went on a "holyweekly" trip to the Islands of Bantayan and Malapascua in Cebu last August 15-18. Below are the costs of our transportation, accommodation, etc. Hope this helps you in your future trips!

Day 1

Taxi fare to NAIA Terminal 3 - PhP 100.00
Terminal fee at NAIA Terminal 3 - PhP 200.00
Plane fare from Manila to Cebu - PhP 1,374.00
Private van from Mactan International Airport to Hagnaya Port - PhP 3,000.00 (divided by 8
pax, PhP 375.00 each)
Private boat from Hagnaya Port to Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island - PhP 2,400 (divided by 8 pax, PhP 300.00 each)
Porters - PhP 50
Tricycle from Sta. Fe Resort to Budyong Resort - PhP 150.00 (divided by 8 pax, PhP 18.75 each)
Accommodation at Budyong Resort - PhP 1,000.00 (divided by 4 pax, PhP 250.00 each)
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Day 2
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Island hopping in Virgin Island (aka Pulo Diyot) and Bantayan Marine Sanctuary - PhP 2,000.00 (shared by 8 pax, includes entrance fee and other expenses used for cooking at Virgin Island, PhP 250.00 each)
Cooking fee - PhP 220.00 (shared by 8 pax, PhP 27.50)
Accommodation at Budyong Resort - PhP 1,000.00 (divided by 4 pax, PhP 250.00)
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Day 3
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Tip given to Budyong Resort staff - PhP 500.00 (divided by 8 pax, PhP 62.50 each)
Private boat from Bantayan Island to Malapascua Island - PhP 3,500.00 (divided by 8 pax, PhP 437.50)
Island hopping - PhP 250.00 per pax (additional PhP 100.00 for snorkel rental)
Accommodation at Dano's Beach Resort - PhP 800 (divided by 2 pax, PhP 400.00 each)
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Day 4
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Private boat from Malapascua Island to Maya Port - PhP 700.00 (divided by 8 pax, PhP 87.50 each)
Private van from Maya Port to Mactan International Airport - PhP 3,000.00 (divided by 8 pax, PhP 375.00 each)
Terminal fee at Mactan International Airport - PhP 200.00
Plane fare from Cebu to Manila - PhP 1,374.00
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GRAND TOTAL - PhP 6,381.75
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Less PhP 2,748.00 for airfare = 3,633.75 pocket money
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** Didn't include costs of food here. There's a wide variety of food choices in both Bantayan and Malapascua Islands from a 25-peso chicken barbeque and 10-peso rice to a 250-peso eat-all-you-can dinner.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Night for Day

Went to Malapascua and Bantayan Islands in Cebu this past weekend and took advantage of the scenery to shoot more photos. This set consists of photos were taken during nighttime -- some with longer exposure, others with adjustments made in Adobe Photoshop CS3 (brightness and curve only). More photos in my Multiply site with camera settings in the description portion. C&Cs are welcome.
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The Empty Beach
Taken using shutter priority setting at 25
seconds with aperture at F/3.8 using ISO 100. Adjusted brightness to +150 using Adobe
Photoshop CS3
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Bright and Sunny during Nighttime
Taken using aperture setting at F/3.5 with 17.5 seconds exposure using ISO 100. Adjusted brightness to +150 using Adobe Photoshop CS3.
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Shadows
Taken using aperture setting at F/3.5 with 10 seconds exposure using ISO 400. Adjusted brightness to +150 using Adobe Photoshop CS3.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Was It A Morning Like This?


Yesterday's sunrise was disappointing. Today's is simply spectacular.

For the first time in almost a decade of travelling, I'm glad I have this "travel sickness" of waking up way before I'm suppose to. Yup, for today, the calltime for breakfast was at 9am and I had set up my alarms at 8am. I wanted so much to wake up late and take advantage of a normal vacation without having to worry about projects left in Manila.

But, I woke up at 5:30am. And I'm glad I did.

If you're familiar with Gospel music or Sandi Patti, then you probably have heard the song "Was it a morning like this?" And that's exactly what I wanted to sing when I saw the blue and orange sky outside my window. But I didn't sing the song... baka umulan!
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I stood up, got my camera and brisk-walked towards the beach. I even got to the side of Kota Beach Resort while taking photographs! (Ooops! Binantayan pa ako ni Manong Guard!)

Here are some of my sunrise photos on my second day at Bantayan Island. Sayang, if only I had a tripod and a filter.


More of my sunrise photos in my Byaheng Barok Multiply site.

P.S.: And if you want to know Sandi Patti's "Was it a morning like this?", here's a link I found in YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJ8Ui-YhRKA

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Underwater in Virgin Island, Bantayan, Cebu

Fooling around underwater style using my Olympus Stylus 725 SW point-and-shoot camera. Hehehe!


The Sunrise that Never Was


Although we had an 8am calltime for our breakfast, my usual "travel sickness" got the better of me. I woke up an hour before my mobile phones' alarm tone set off. 6am.

Unable to go back to sleep, I decided to go out and bring my camera. I'll just have to make use of this time to take photos of the beach then.

Unfortunately, it was cloudy. The sunrise was all covered up and there were so many gray clouds above me. So, I just took photos of the beach and everything else that happend that morning.

By the time the sun was all up, the gray clouds miraculously disappeared. Good. At least, we will have a great, sunny day for our island hopping.

Coffee, anyone?

Finally, the sun came out!

Crabs for breakfast? Why not?

My other sunrise and morning photos of Bantayan Island are in my Byaheng Barok Multiply site.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Paco Park


On this Thursday morning, bored from staying too much at home (I don't have a project, that's why), I decided to go to Paco Park to take pictures. It seemed a perfect place to shoot compared to Intramuros (lagi na lang may nag-shu-shoot dun), Rizal Park (mapagkamalan pa akong photographer na nagde-develop ng instant photos), or Quiapo/Binondo (dare to take your camera out). With Paco Park, everything is confined within its walls and not many people would usually go there. I'm pretty sure I'll have the privacy I need. But when I got there, kamusta naman, the entire park is undergoing renovation! Oh, well...

The rest of my photos are in my Multiply site. C&Cs are welcome (but be gentle, hehehe) :-)
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Also took photos in black and white. Sana, tama. Click here to see the black and white photos in Multiply.

Monday, August 11, 2008

New Ringtone

For the longest time, I had the introduction part of the song "A Thousand Miles" as my Blackberry ringtone. I've been wanting to change it but I can't seem to find the perfect song as my ringtone. Either they're too modern, gone old, too cheesy, too loud... Nothing seems to be perfect.

Until one boring day, I chanced upon the lyrics of a year-old song. I knew the song enough to hum along with the tune, but not to sing the lyrics (not that I sing in real life). Since then, it has become a favorite song.

And that part of the lyrics that says:

"Don’t close your eyes, Don’t close your eyes
This is your life, are you who you want to be
This is your life, are you who you want to be
This is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be
When the world was younger and you had everything to lose"

...That has to be a part of my ringtone!

Time for a reflection?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

First Taekwondo Tournament


Today is Francis' first ever tournament. Whatever the title or event that was, I really didn't care. It was a tournament, alright, and Francis will be in it.

If I had my way, I never would have allowed my son to be in the tournament. He's still a baby and he's still too young to be in a fight. But it was my son who insisted in joining this tournament, very much like how he insisted on enrolling in taekwondo versus swimming a couple of months back.

So, with reluctant zealousness over his first official fight, we went to SM Sta. Rosa.

We were told that we should be there before 10am, but we we're late. As soon as we arrived at the Activity Area of the mall, parents who recognized Francis zoomed their way towards us and asked "Naku, tinawag na ba si Francis?" "Alam n'yo na ba kung anong armor s'ya?," "Ba't ngayon lang kayo?" But even before I could get irritated by these questions, each of them were helping me get Francis dressed into his taekwondo uniform. Touched naman ako.


He got dressed in record time and we were directed inside the tournament area where some of the other Bosconians were doing a warm-up. Not sure of where I should position Francis, I told him to run towards his coach and ask him where to stay.

True enough, Francis' name had already been called and he needed to fight right away. The coach asked his assistant to let Francis do a warm-up. But two 45-kicks later, he was already summoned to fight. Nyek! Instant?!

Francis looked disoriented on what's happening around him. I'm not even sure if he understood that he's already in a competition. Everything had been too fast since we arrived, I can imagine it might have seemed like a blur for him. But there's no backing out now, he's here right now in the tournament area, being introduced to his opponent.

I readied my camera to take photos of Francis. Despite the fact that I hated setting my camera in ISO 1600, I had no choice. He was too far away from me to get a decent shot. Not even fully satisfied with the settings I made, I kept firing away as Francis' fight already began.

I don't know a lot about taekwondo. I had no idea if he was making points or not. It was only when I heard his coach shouting "Francis, sumipa ka! Sipa! Matatalo ka n'yan!" did I realize that he's really not making any scores.

After 12 shots later, yes, 12 continuous shots, the fight was over. Francis' score is 1, and his opponent's is 8. In other words, talo.


I didn't know what I should feel at that time. Should I be disappointed over his loss? Should I treat it as a challenge so he'll do better in his next fight? Or should I just see the cuteness of the entire scenario -- it's Francis' first fight and there's really no point in getting too serious with it?


Before I could even process it, he was already ushered outside the tournament area. He's ready to go, according to the Asst. Coach.

As fast as we got him dressed into his taekwondo uniform, we had him changed into his normal clothes. Since I'm not the type of Mom who makes small talks with other parents, we left the tournament area immediately.

To summarize, the travel from our house to SM Sta. Rosa had been longer and more tedious than the actual time spent at the tournament. Hehehe!

As a consolation, I treated my family (well, more like Francis since he didn't get to see this before) to watch "The Dark Knight" and a late lunch in Tagaytay. Instead of going home and feeling lost (because we really did lose), I decided to make the most of the rest of the day.

Click HERE to see more of Francis' photos in his first tournament and in Tagaytay.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sagada Expenses (as of August 2008)


Day 1

Fare from Manila to Baguio via Victory Liner - PhP 455.00
Taxi fare from Victory Liner Terminal to Dangwa Terminal - PhP 40.00 (shared by 4 pax, PhP 10.00 each)
Breakfast at Dangwa Terminal - PhP 50.00
Fare from Dangwa Terminal to Sagada via Lizardo bus - PhP 220.00
Accommodation at Sagada Guesthouse - PhP 1,200.00 (shared by 4 pax, PhP 300.00 each)
Lunch at Sagada Guesthouse - PhP 90.00
Environmental fee at Sagada - PhP 10.00
Guide for Lumiang and Sumaguing Cave - PhP 400.00 (shared by 4 pax, PhP 100 each)
Tip for Guide - PhP 100.00 (shared by 4 pax, PhP 25 each)
Dinner (Lucky Me Batchoy) - PhP 30.00

Sub-Total for Day 1 - PhP 1,290.00

Jane & Val posing along the highway during one of the bus stops on our way to Sagada.

Day 2

Breakfast at Sagada Guesthouse - PhP 90.00
Guide for Echo Valley, Hanging Coffins and Botong Waterfalls - PhP 400.00 (shared by 4 pax, PhP 100 each)
Tip for Guide - PhP 100 (shared by 4 pax, PhP 25 each)**
Bread / merienda along the way - PhP 30.00
Lunch at Yoghurt House - PhP 170.00
Water - PhP 20.00
Souvenir shirts - PhP 320.00 (colored shirts at PhP 170.00, white shirts at PhP 150.00)
Accommodation at Sagada Guesthouse - PhP 1,200.00 (shared by 4 pax, PhP 300.00 each)

** Rich kami! Mahilig kaming magbigay ng tip!!!

Sub-Total for Day 2 - PhP 1,055.00

Jane, Val & Yumi during our souvenir shopping in RJ Souvenirs, Sagada


Day 3

Breakfast at Strawberry Cafe - PhP 40.00
More souvenir shirts - PhP 260.00 (sando shirts for kids at PhP 130.00 each)
Bus fare from Sagada to Baguio - PhP 220.00
Lunch during one of the bus stops - PhP 50.00
Pasalubong shopping at the market - PhP 300.00
Taxi fare from Dangwa to Victory Liner - PhP 50.00 (shared by 4 pax, PhP 12.50 each)

Sub-Total for Day 3 - PhP 882.50

** No more dinner! We still have loads of bread from Sagada. Hehehe!

Our Lizardo Bus bound for Baguio City

GRAND TOTAL = PhP 3,227.50

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Love 'Em All


The Sagada trip was the first time I used my camera in action, that is, during travelling.

Sure, I brought and used it for several times during TV commercial shoots, but usually, there was a "safe" place where I can put my camera when I need to do something urgent. And since TV commercial shoots use delicate and expensive film camera equipments, any crew I leave my camera with will surely know how to handle it properly.

But bringing a camera during a trip is another story. Being new to this hobby (again!), I didn't have that much accessories yet to ensure the safety of my camera. Not only were they expensive, but this Sagada trip was also kinda unplanned. In short, I had no choice but to rely on whatever I had at home.

So, here's a list of the stuff I bought with me in Sagada:

1. Unomat Video-Photo Bag -- This was an old camera bag I bought in Quiapo way back in 2004(?) which I bought just so I can store my Nikon F-301 camera properly. It was the last time I used my film camera. He! He! He!

2. Rubbermaid Waterproof Sling Bag -- Waterproof bags were introduced to me and my friends in 2005 when our guides from the De Oro Mountain Explorers of Misamis Oriental used it to keep our cameras and mobile phones dry as we traversed the Kweba de Oro. Not only did the bag looked cool, but it would be very useful for us, especially since we frequent beaches and island hoppings. So, the following year, we either bought a smaller version of that waterproof bag or Pelican cases at various sizes.

Since I've been bringing my son along during my Holy Week trips, I decided to buy a new waterproof bag, this time, bigger and with a strap. I just bought this Rubbermaid Waterproof Sling Bag just a couple of weeks ago, and the timing was just perfect.

3. Water-resistant jacket bought from ukay-ukay -- Yup! Yup! Yup! This jacket has been with me for several years now and it has been very effective during rainy shoots and stormy island hoppings.
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4. Umbrella -- It's the rainy season! Who goes out without one these days?
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5. Olympus Stylus 725 SW -- When unsure of the weather and the terrain, use this camera. It's my one-year old waterproof and shockproof point-and-shoot camera.

So, here's me fully geared up. Unomat Video-Photo Bag inside the Rubbermaid Waterproof Sling Bag which I can just place anywhere (on the soil, on the mud, wherever!) as I take photos fully covered (and my camera protected) with my water-resistant jacket and umbrella.
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Do I love my stuff? I love 'em all!!! They served their purpose perfectly.