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Monday, December 31, 2007

::. YUP, IT'S A YEAR-ENDER POST .::

I had the compulsion to write a year-ender post coz I wanted to do a thank you speech/reminisce-the-year kind of thing. But somewhere in between going mildly crazy over changing into blogger's new xml template and hearing a guy neighbor sing the "woohoo, yeehoo" intro of Gwen Stefani's Sweet Escape, I lost my blogging mojo. I was going to do this survey thing but it started with a #1 question: "Did you fall in love this year?" So scrap that idea. I'll just write whatever pops into my head now...

THANK YOU's
God - For always protecting me & my loved ones from harm, misfortune and other horrible stuff that I feared would happen but did not. For giving us blessings & good health. For taking care of us in ways we do not even know about. For granting our prayers.

Dad & Mom - For being the anchor of my life. For all the love, support, understanding and concern. I know that you are sometimes tired & weary but you keep providing for this family in every way you can. For the roof over our heads, for the yummy food we eat, for the nice ride we travel in...

Sis - For all the love, support, understanding & concern. For being an inspiration of strength and generosity. Oh and for helping me buy my kick-ass laptop ;-)

Dean - For teaching me utter patience and making me practice my maternal skills -- shopping for kid clothes (briefs!) and teaching homework, forcing me to brush up on my math...

Ate Rosie - For washing & ironing my clothes, for helping out mom in the household chores, for updating me whenever I miss PBB...

Chloe - For being a bundle of joy and an instant cheerio toy when I'm feeling sucky

Forces friends Abbie, Charo, Tin, Mitzi, Ivy - For being the Carrie/Samantha/Miranda/Charlotte to me in my ups and downs, drama queen episodes and madamme moments

College friends Rose, She, Aga, Annray, Rick - For being always the same good ol' friends that will always be there for me despite our rare meet-ups. Special mention to Rose & She who made an adventurous traveller out of me in our CDO-Camiguin trip! Aga, the cool proud momma, stay in touch in Multiply always!

NEW THINGS I DID THIS YEAR
I have never been much of an adventure-seeker due to my squeamish, girly nature but I totally loved the white water rafting, zipping & snorkling that I did with my friends in CDO & Camiguin.

With my girly obsession over fashion accessories, I decided to put up my own online store in Multiply. I have always been such a collector of necklaces, earrings, bracelets and as soon as the Multiply shopping bug bit me, I thought why not make my own stuff and sell online as well? If they can do it, so can I :-) I have become bored with my day job and it's this tiny accessories business that keeps my creative juices flowing.

With much prodding from Abbie, I succumbed and registered in Facebook. I'm too lazy to pimp my profile there though and I find all those apps too tedious. Not a big fan but we'll see...

With financial smarts kicking in at the year when I turned 29 and got more than the usual bonus from 2006's work, I decided to invest my money in mutual funds and also got another endowment/life insurance.

OLD THING(S) I KEPT DOING
Still the same ol' drama queen. I wonder if I successfully made the impression that I have moved on... Hah!

PASSIONS IN 2007
Have gone very OC about ID tags and album covers of my mp3s eversince I got an iPod nano

Have scoured a loooot of websites about the world of gadgetry and infinitechnology as I shopped for my laptop

Have loved Multiply a lot and uploaded tons of mp3s & photos

Have tried to be patient & not be miserable with my job. Have been praying for the big shutdown so we can all finally get that big package and move on with our lives (and get a new job while at it)

THING(S) I PLAN TO DO NEXT YEAR
Revisit my "Things to do before I shrivel & die" list. I have some additions in mind. Stay tuned.

AND SO I PRESENT TO YOU MY 2007 -- THE YEAR THAT WAS...





Sunday, December 30, 2007

::. CALLING IN SICK FOR THE HOLIDAYS .::

Demmit. I can't believe I have not enjoyed the holiday season just because I've been sick. The weekend before Christmas, I already had colds, fever & cough but we had to go to Toy Kingdom to buy my nephew his Christmas present. Half of the time that my family was shopping at SM, I was sitting down in whatever chair I found. We watched The Golden Compass and I think I spread some germs in the Glorietta theater hehe. Anyway, it was the kind of illness I always had... flu and then a bit of asthma which was always diagnosed in the past by my doctor as upper respiratory tract infection. Popped some antibiotics and cough syrup, drank salabat and drank Pei Pa Kua (did I spell it right?).

Come 24th, we celebrated my late grandma's birthday/Christmas get-together with my relatives. I was there but I just ate, hardly made conversation (coz my voice was squeaky) and slept most of the time while sitting on the sofa. Still managed to take some photos of the big family event and even managed to get tons of photos of Chloe our shih tzu while wearing her Santa frocks.

I stayed in bed most of the time, watched a lot of Ellen, Conan & Jay Leno, watched some movies on dvd Knocked Up, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry and on cable: Fever Pitch, The Chronicles of Narnia (I could have sworn, I thought Mr. Tumnus the faun was played by Shia LaBeouf... only to find out on imdb that it was James McAvoy).

I'm totally bummed out that I missed my friend Tin's birthday bash which was just here in the village where I lived! :( I was actually feeling quite fine during the day time and already made plans of going together with Charo. I took a nap around 5pm coz I had this little headache. Still had headache when I woke up to take a bath. Thought I'd be fine when I ate dinner but apparently not! Everything I ate, I threw up. Twice. Gaaah. I was feeling whoozy as I managed to text the girls a last-minute bail out. I felt drugged as I slept with an empty stomach. Woke up around midnight. Funny, my first concern was that I had to brush my teeth coz I went to bed without brushing my teeth. And then I realized I was totally hungry. I went down to the dining room to find my cold half-finished plate of dinner still on the table. Our househelp was still up, watching tv and she still hasn't gone around to cleaning up the dinner table. And so I ate my cold lumpia dinner :-) And brushed my teeth :-) I was wondering if the girls were still at Tin's... sigh... I missed another of Tin's birthday parties :-( I remember not being able to attend last year's party... forgot why... was I sick too? Oh well. Oh and I didn't get to say bon voyage to Mitzi who's now probably back in LA :(

I'm now hoping I don't get sick with the usual asthma with all the air pollution expected of New Year's eve...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

::. SEASON'S GREETINGS FROM CHLOE .::

What better way to spread the holiday cheer than to have Chloe, our dear shih tzu, do the greetings for me ;-)




Saturday, December 22, 2007

::. NIGHT OUT WITH THE GIRLS .::

Last Dec 19, I had dinner with my Forces of Nature gals (friends from high school). It was to welcome our friend Mitzi who has been living in the States and has come back to visit the Philippines for the first time after she left 4 years ago. It was so wonderful to see Mitzi again after all these years that we've been only communicating via email, blog and YM! It's amazing that she can still speak great Tagalog without that American twang ;-) The only giveaway is her "oh yeah"s ;-) She treated us to dinner at Masas where we ate yummy Filipino food which she has been missing. (Oh by the way, while I was waiting to meet up with the girls, I decided to get a long-overdue haircut! Since the bob is back, I decided to give it a go again.... I used to have this same haircut when I was in highschool and college. I only started growing my hair long when I was already working. So basically, I chopped off my mid-back length hair into a shoulder length bob).

dinner @masas

mitzi's pasalubongs!

After dinner, Mitzi gave us her pasalubongs :-) After much picture-taking (yeah, all of us had our own digicams), we proceeded to head south wherein Tin treated us to coffee at Starbucks SLEX. 'Can't believe they weren't open 24hours or even til 2pm! When we got there around 12:oomn, they were about to close up. We managed to squeeze in our orders though after making pakiusap to the staff. We had another round of gift-giving, picture-taking and endless chatting as we drank our coffee.

coffee @ starbucks

more photos on my multiply: http://lilacstardust.multiply.com/photos/album/24/._NIGHT_OUT_WITH_THE_GIRLSWELCOME_HOME_MITZI_.






Friday, November 30, 2007

::. THE NEW SUBIC ORDER .::

I was in Subic for almost a week -- from Tues Nov 20 up to Sun Nov 25 for the 20th Phil. Advertising Congress (PAC). My officemate Vic and I had to be there as an advance party to ensure smooth ingress and make some last minute arrangements at Yacht Club for our industry lunch come Saturday. We also had to deal with some inefficiencies and non-coordination amongst the PAC committees *rolls eyes*. Last week was super exhausting to the nth power!

As luck would have it, Murphy's Law was upon us as we had to make last-minute changes in our booth location due to some misinterpretation of the PAC-issued booth measurement. I almost cried with all that mistake about our booth size! I had visions of Donald Trump saying "You're fired!". Thank God, there were some more empty unsold booth spaces wherein we were able to transfer. To top it off, we were pressed to conduct our judging for our technical excellence award for cinematography (Kenny Rogers "Nourish" TVC won. Coincidentally, Victor Basa -- my fave PBB housemate -- was in the TVC) the day before Vic & I were Subic-bound.

The newly-built convention center wherein the PAC was held was huge and nice but parking was horrible! By the 3rd day, all I could text to Abbie (who was on her way to Subic for PAC) was "I hate this Ad Congress!" The horrible parking plan for the venue was so unfriendly for us who had no drivers to drop us off right at the entrance. We had to walk one freaking block away from where we parked... depending on the weather, it was either a horrible walk in the muddy grass while it was raining or an equally horrible walk amidst the hot sun and dusty street. I didn't even get to use my heeled sandals which I packed! I wore my trusty Nike old skool sneakers all week. The only time I wore heels was during the Araw Awards night.

Didn't really enjoy much of what PAC offered for this year. Totally a big hassle. I wish they'd bring the PAC back to Cebu!

Anyway, here are some snaps:


our nice booth which overcame murphy's law :p

our oh-so-elusive bus that our aussies failed to see...
so they kidded us & told us it might have been just a figment of our imagination.

at the Phil Star booth... right before heading to our Yacht Club luncheon

gasp! we almost thought Akon would be attending the Araw Awards! :p

now this is the problem when i'm the only one being masipag with taking pictures...
i don't get to be IN the frame :-(

waiting for the awards to start...


~* SMACK THAT *~

So Trillanes tried to do an Oakwood 2 again. My officemate (Bianx) and I have just finished a presentation at UP Film Institute when we were told by the faculty that Trillanes has just walked into Manila Pen. Whaaaat the....?!? Trillanes again?!? That was around 11ish am.

We had dessert at Chocolate Kiss in Roces Ave. which was near ABS CBN coz we were supposed to get an MMFF movie artwork from Star Cinema around 1:30pm. I then received texts from my mom, my dad and my boss. My dad's office had already let them go home so I was pretty worried that the situation was getting worse in Makati. My mom told me what has been happening in Manila Pen. My boss told us to be careful since we were out of the office. Still, there was no official announcement that work has been suspended.

So anyway, Bianx and I headed back to Makati where our office were. Traffic was horrible in EDSA due to the non-stop rains and due to the Trillanes chaos. We left QC around 1:30pm and by the time we reached Makati, it was nearing the 3:00pm ultimatum for Trillanes to surrender. It was raining, we sooo needed to pee and there we were at the EDSA-Ayala intersection. I was talking to my boss over the phone when I saw -- not one -- but two (gaaaah!!!!) freaking tanks roll right in front of us. There was also a military jeepful of armed forces that drove by, heading to Manila Pen. I have never seen a tank THAT close so I started to feel really nervous --most especially when I saw the guy atop the tank preparing to aim the huge gun! A totally nerve-racking sight! :-\

Traffic was so clogged at that area so we decided to turn to McKinley and go inside the Fort. It was an extremely tense atmosphere along the Marine Corps Headquarters. We saw armed men on standby along the perimeter fence of the HQ. And then I got totally scared when I saw this bad-ass HUGE tank double the size of what passed by our car back in Ayala! Very scary!

We managed to get back safely to our office in Pasong Tamo around 4pm. My problem then was how to get home (our office announced suspension of work around 3:30pm). My usual shuttle terminal was the one behind Intercon/beside the MRT SM station. I was afraid to go there coz it was quite near to the Pen. Anyway, I had to finish a fascia and billboard artwork that was supposed to be picked up by our supplier over this weekend so I didn't head home immediately. Traffic was horrible at SLEX anyway and I was told by our GM that I could call for a cab service if I couldn't find a way home. I have even told Bianx go ahead and go home without me coz I told her I'll just call up an AVIS cab. However, when I called AVIS, I was told that they stopped operations in Makati (oh no!) and so they refused to pick me up:( Gaaaahd. Good thing Bianx called me up a few minutes afterwards and told me she's been hearing the gunshots on her way to the office of her husband at RCBC. She then offered to come back for me in the office. Traffic was hell so they only managed to get to the office around 6pm.

Rode with them up to Alabang... Traffic was extra-horrible at SLEX and we got to Alabang around 8:30pm. My dad (who was already home after a 3-hour drive fr Makati to San Pedro) offered to fetch me at Petron near Festival/ATC. We got home around 10pm.

Such a tiring day it was. With the 12mn-5am curfew imposed last night, I wonder whatever happened to the people who went to Akon's concert? Hmm. A Konvict night it was indeed.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

::. A THOUSAND WORDS .::

Working for an imaging company, we employees have been encouraged to submit our photos in our company blog "A Thousand Words". Themed photos submitted by employees worldwide are picked and posted every other Wednesday. I submitted mine around mid-year and was notified of my photos' acceptance and posting date lots of months ago. Finally, November 14 has come and gone... and I finally saw my photos being featured =)

They're a bunch of photos I took during our family's Visita Iglesia and I'm really happy that the blog admin in charge of "Picture Wednesday" back in Eastman Kodak accepted my entry =) Yey!


Here's the link: http://picturewednesday.1000words.kodak.com/default.asp?item=683669

::. NOW PLAYING: Fade Into You by Run Run Run .::

I love this version of Mazzy Star's Fade Into You. Run Run Run is an indie band from LA.


I want to hold the hand inside you
I want to take the breath that's true
I look to you and I see nothing
I look to you to see the truth

You live your life, you go in shadows
You'll come apart and you'll go black
Some kind of night into your darkness
Colors your eyes with what's not there

Fade into you
Strange you never knew
Fade into you
I think it's strange you never knew

A stranger's light comes on slowly
A stranger's heart without a home
You put your hands into your head
And then the smiles cover your heart

Fade into you
Strange you never knew
Fade into you
I think it's strange you never knew
I think it's strange you never knew
I think it's strange you never knew

Sunday, November 11, 2007

::. OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW .::

Finally! I got my new laptop! =) Got it last Sunday fresh from the States. I super super owe a lot to my sis who had such a hard time getting it for me in NY. And thanks too to my cousin Maricar for handcarrying it for me when she got back from her sembreak vacation in the States=)

After 2 different Toshiba models, I finally decided on getting this one. It's such a steal for its price! I couldn't believe the big disparity of laptop prices there in the US vs. here in the Philippines--the difference is so insane! I was lucky that the exchange rate had been in the Php44-ish range when my sister got it in Oct so I bought it at such a great price.

The last time I checked back in Sept., there were still no 2GB RAM-Core2Duo Toshibas around here. And the most insane thing is, the 1GB model here was already selling at around Php70K+! Indeed, if you really have the chance, it's better to buy a laptop in the States than locally.

I would have gotten the dream Macbook but (a) my budget's limited! and (b) it's hard to get umm "inexpensive" software for Mac OS! ;p Upon Mitzi's and our office IT guys' recommendation, I chose to get a Toshiba laptop. Mine is the Toshiba Satellite A205-S7464. It runs on Vista Home Premium, Core 2 Duo 2GB RAM, with 200GB hard disk, with built-in webcam, wi-fi capable, HD DVD-ROM/DVD SuperMulti. No built-in bluetooth though but that's alright coz I already have a bluetooth dongle.

It's such a pain in the ass though to migrate all my 15.1 GB worth of mp3s plus my 4GB photos and all other docs :( Since I could not find a portable hard disk to borrow (wala si Tin dito eh!) Abbie suggested that I use my humble iPod nano to migrate my files (still not done! a few more file transfers to go...). Did not have to pay our IT dude to migrate stuff for me! I already installed iTunes and the Kodak EasyShare software... next up would be to install my Adobe Photoshop CS2... So much stuff to do... Anyway, after I copy all my files from my PC, I'll hand it down to my nephew =) And I'll be freeing a big space in my room when my PC's gone=)

Meanwhile, the new Windows Vista would take a lot of getting used to! Argh, that paranoid pop-up thing just reminds me of that funny Mac ad on apple.com... so true! haha!



my Toshiba ROCKS!!! yey! =)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

~* THAT'S WHAT EARPHONES ARE FOR! *~

Argh. I just had another "5 People You Meet in FX Hell" kind of experience on my way home from work. It just so happened that I chose NOT to plug in my iPod for a change. I was blissfully enjoying the silence when this lesbian's celfone beside me cranked up that "Don't give up on us baby..." song. Ugh. *rolls eyes* Really now. Do I really have to listen to that sappy crap of a song?!?! I thought it was his/her ringtone and he/she just didn't want to take the call. But unfortunately, it was not. The whole freakin' song played! Gaaaah. I was sighing and tsk'ing heavily but he/she was too... umm, how do I say this... uncultured? etiquette challenged?... to care about my obvious irritation.

I kinda angrily opened my bag to retrieve my sanity-saving iPod and kinda SHOWED her how to use the damn freaking earphones while mumbling "friggin' earphones!" under my breath. I was contemplating whether or not to let my anger explode an tell her:

a) Excuse me, do you mind?!?
b) Don't you have earphones?!?
c) Don't all mp3-enabled celfones come with its freaking earphones?!?
d) Do you want me to lend you MY earphones?!?

I swear, I had to muster all my energy for anger management. I managed to stay like a silent volcano waiting to explode. I imagined swatting him/her with a gazillion earphones.

Annoyance. Hayyyy.

Oh and I still heard strains of "Got to Believe in Magic" invading my Texas, Coheed & Cambria et al.

Triple ugh.

Monday, October 15, 2007

~* THE EYE CANDY THAT IS VICTOR BASA *~


I literally squealed with delight when I found out that Victor Basa is in Pinoy Big Brother Celebrity Edition. (My nephew who was downstairs said he heard me getting kilig in my room upstairs as the big reveal for Victor was done, hehe). I liked his boyish look eversince he was modelling. His cute chinky eyes and curled corners of his lips did it for me. And since he is a model, he dresses so well and has that prerequisite hot abs. I think I saw him first in Cosmo's September edition (that annual "men" issue). And then of course he made it as a VJ in the revamped MTV Philippines. And then I was surprised to see him appear in some telenovelas in ABS CBN this year.

I had an inkling it was him when I saw the skateboarding thing that was part of his montage. And those cute sleepy/chinky eyes are definitely his. I frantically texted my officemate "Victor Basa is in PBB! Woohoo!" in my excitement.

I was never a super fan of PBB and I only started to really watch it last season when my "cousin-in-law" Gee-Ann was in it. But now, I will most definitely make it a point to watch PBB for the eye-candy that is Victor Basa. Hotness! Yum! *Sigh*



P.S. And he is in Wikipedia already! Gooooo Victor! :-)

images from http://manilagayguy.com





Thursday, September 20, 2007

~* HAVE YOU FACED YOUR POCKET? *~

Have you ever heard about Faceyourpockets.com? Last week, I saw my friend Claire post Faceyourpockets-inspired photos on her Multiply. And then I saw the site being featured in Inquirer's Super. How could I not resist the infectious pixel bug?

Here's mine :-) Can you tell that I'm a bit of an O.C.? Or am I just an over-prepared girl scout?

* click photo for a larger view

~* AJINOMOTO HIGH BY DAMPA *~

Another obscure fact about me is that I've never eaten in the so-called "Dampa" places (I think the original one is in uhh, Parañaque?) wherein you literally shop around for your own seafood desire in a wet market and then have a restaurant cook them according to your fancy. My friends Abbie, Charo and Jako found out about this weeks ago, as we dined at Pancake House after watching the Aga-Maricel-Angelika movie "A Love Story". They hatched a plan to take me in one of those places (there's also a version in Macapagal Ave. and in Ortigas) so I can finally have that so-called Dampa experience. They have been teasing me about the wet market thing coz I am known to be very squeamish :p


tinimbang ka, ngunit kulang!
(pero may smart buddy pa rin! uy, abbie's happy!)

Finally, we pushed through with dinner at Dampa Macapagal Ave. last Saturday. Charo, Jako and I arrived there ahead of Abbie so we were the ones who shopped for seafood at the wet market. I think I gulped the first time I saw the wet market scene. Now don't get me wrong, when I was a kid, I actually accompanied my mom in the town palengke/talipapa which was literally sitting on muddy grounds... by the time we got home, I always had mud all over my feet and some more splattered on my legs. So actually, I knew how it was inside a typical wet market. The one in Macapagal had concrete floors, still unavoidably wet but at least no mud splattering around :-) Of course there was that distinct fishy smell but it's no big deal. The gulp was just because I haven't been inside a wet market for such a long time so I was quite overwhelmed. I told Charo "Sige, carry ko toh!" :-) And then I just realized an important thought: "So who among us knew how to choose the best seafood, judge its freshness and make the so-called 'tawad' sa tindera?" Don't look at me! I only came here to eat, haha! Charo also didn't know how to shop for seafood so good ol' Jako chose & haggled for us :-)


uber-fresh seafood galore!

After purchasing loads of shrimps, maya-maya and bading crabs, we proceeded to G-Squared to have them cooked. Abbie arrived at G-Squared just in time for the sumptuous feast of tempura, shrimp in garlic butter sauce, sinigang sa miso na maya-maya and crabs in oyster sauce w/ onion leeks.

After downing all that yummy seafood, I think I got a bit dizzy with all that MSG. When I asked them if they thought what we ate had MSG, Charo said Jako was a bit dizzy too!:p When I told my mom about it, she said it was probably the MSG and the fat (alige?) of the crab that made us so.

By the way, the entire Dampa experience was Abbie's oh-so-late birthday treat to us. Thanks Abs! :-)

After dinner, Charo and Abbie were lured by the inexpensive DVDs nearby. After DVD-shopping, we struck a pose amidst the wet market :-)

On the way home, we hung out and had coffee at Seattle's Best Caltex at SLEX :-) Talked about memorable episodes of Friends and spoilers of Grey's Anatomy while Jako perused the gadget magazines inside the cafe (hindi maka-relate sa 'min eh! hehe!).



dinner shots inside G-Squared and wet market "glamour" shots :p

way too happy to finally experience eating @ dampa...
... or maybe it was the MSG high :p




Thursday, September 06, 2007

~* GETTING SUCKED INTO THE iPOD LIFESTYLE *~

I don't even consider it a craze or trend. It's a lifestyle for the earphones-fixated generation of today.

A year ago, I didn't even think I needed nor wanted an iPod. Then last February, I got myself a pink Nano. I was probably among the late majority (or was I one of the laggards already? When did the iPod become THE aspirational digital media player anyway?!).

I just checked my inbox and saw this Apple e-blast.

Hmm. I don't really care about the portability of video since I'm more of a music addict than a videophile. But hey, the cyan iPod nano looks cute. And the red one looks really chic. So do I let myself get sucked into this money-making scheme just because of the nice colors? I'm too lazy to Google for reviews and besides, it's just been launched so not a lot of in-depth reviews as of now, I bet.

Anyway, was that Nelly Furtado on the ad?

Anyone generous enough to buy me one? ;-)

********** ADDENDUM ************




*GASP* I just saw that there's a lavender iPod Shuffle! Such cuteness! If I had money to burn I'd buy it just because it was lavender. But then again, I don't have the moolah. *sigh*

Saturday, September 01, 2007

~* FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN FX HELL *~

I don't drive my own car but, whenever I can, I hitch a ride with my dad to get to my office. On my way home, I commute via those white L300's or Nissan Urvans. I also move around via buses, FXs, jeepneys and tricycles. I've been commuting since I've been going to college and now that I'm working, I have encountered a loooot of memorable co-passengers from (probably) all walks of life. And as you may have guessed, the memorable ones are the kind that either annoyed or grossed me out. Let me focus on the ones I usually encounter inside the FX/bus and L300's/vans since I share my seat and oxygen with them for about an hour or so, five times a week.

THE WORLD IS THEIR LIVING ROOM
"Really. Do I really have to see and hear the shrilly-voiced girl in the video playing on your celfone?!?"

Just last night, I was peacefully co-existing with my fellow passengers in the van when I heard an annoying shrilly, crackly voice and laughter coupled with the blinding bluish white light coming from this guy's celfone. It appeared that the guy is letting his friend view the supposedly amusing/funny video. But take note, I was listening to my iPod when I heard it so imagine how freaking loud the volume of the video must be. People! The van isn't your living room! Turn up the volume all you want when you are inside the confines of your own home sweet home. Or get yourself an iPod Video. Earphones, people. Earphones! There's a reason why they were invented!

THE REVOLTING SMELL
"Oh, come on!" *imaginary throwing of arms in the air, rolling of eyeballs*actual holding of breath*

I've smelled it all. Careless whispers of fart. Morning breath yawnings. Shawarma breaths. Garlic longganisa burps. Potent Kili-kili power. Stinky burgers. Kid barf. You name it, I've probably smelt it! I had no way to defend my poor myself but to hold my breath. It kills me softly when someone with BO sits beside me and then holds the rail in the middle (when I ride the L300) such that the aircon is blowing past his/her armpits and then onto my breathing space. *pseudo-faints*

Now regarding kid barf, whenever a passenger toting a toddler sits beside me, I get nervous. I just say a little prayer: "Please God, don't let the kid vomit on my clothes and shoes."


DUDE, YOUR SWEATING ON MY CLOTHES
"Ewwww."

I am a fairly petite/medium built so when a burly sweaty guy sits beside me, his armpits tend to be ensconced on my shoulders/forearms. And in bad days of summer when it's superhot outside and the aircon is not blowing nicely, I dread finding my clothes a bit moist with the sweat of my seatmate. Really yucky. And it's extra annoying when it happens in the morning when I am on my way to work.

THE ETERNAL WHINERS
"The heavy traffic will not magically disappear even if you tsk-tsk yourself to death."

I hope that people will just keep quiet when it's traffic. I know that being late for an appointment while stewing powerless in the midst of heavy traffic jam is stressful in itself. Hearing a pissed "tsk-tsk" and whiny mutterings on my left and right ear like surround-sound theater IS royally annoying to the nth level. Let's just keep mum, people. Hearing you whine is just upping my stress level.

UNWELCOMED VIBRATIONS
"Stop it, will ya?!"

Remember that the seats in public transport are communal. We are sharing the same shabby PUV seat. So when you flip-flop your butt around, fidget or makes kuyakoy with your leg, I can friggin' feel it. It's really annoying when I'm trying to rest during the travel and then I suddenly feel like I'm off-road driving. Stay put and sit properly, people!


When you think about it, there are really more than five kinds of annoying co-passengers. There are also those loud talkers, off-key earphone singers, PDA'ers, ringtone-happy people, burpers who don't excuse themselves, gals whose long shampoo-commercial kind of hair is flapping onto your face... the list goes on. It will take one helluva long blog post to tackle them all.

~ by the quiet iPod-toting commuter

~* MY FIRST ONLINE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE *~

I have never bought anything online until I discovered various Multiply sites offering a plethora of unique pretty accessories. More often than not, the online stores are run by young entrepreneurial Pinays. I have started exploring the possibility of buying stuff online especially when my friend Abbie has successfully bought several shoes from Schu via Multiply. I am still too iffy about buying stuff that one has to actually fit, feel and see on oneself like clothes and shoes. However, accessories are easier to judge and deem as purchase-worthy. All you need is to ask the seller more questions regarding the material used, exact length/size of the piece, etc. and you can already decide whether to buy the accessory or not.

I have included the better ones in my Multiply friends list as business contact. My qualifications were as follows:

  • based in the Philippines
  • has unique accessories (meaning stuff that you don't usually see on tiangges & stores in the mall)
  • with price and product description indicated in the photo (I am annoyed with those sites who don't indicate their prices. Price is the first thing a consumer considers so that should be readily available.)
  • affordable, reasonable prices
  • can be paid via bank deposit (eg. BPI)
  • answers questions promptly
  • can deliver products via courier
I am currently asking one of them to customize a charm necklace for me. We've been exchanging messages and now I just have to wait for her costing & mock-up. In the meantime, my very first online purchase was from Sepa. It is owned by a gal named Josefa Dianne Espera who is based in Cebu. She has a well-presented catalog of products in her Photos section. Her accessories are so chic and in fact, she has been featured in Us Girls and various magazines already (though I didn't hear about Sepa via the TV show nor magazines). I actually just stumbled upon her site while I was searching for charm and locket necklaces. The name rang a bell coz I saw her stuff previously featured in Schu's online store. I totally adore her accessories and if I had more money at my disposal, I would have bought more, hehe!

It was a fairly easy purchase. At first, I sent her a message asking more info about the products I liked. After narrowing my choices to a pair of earrings and two vintage necklaces -- same design but one in vintage gold and the other in vintage silver -- I read her terms and conditions and then filled out her order form. About two days after, I received a text message from her confirming the availability of the items and the total amount of my purchase including Air21 shipping fee. The next day, I went to the bank to deposit my payment in her account. I informed her of my bank deposit and after she checked her account, she shipped out the items. Air21 delivered my order the next day and viola! I have new accessories from Sepa :)

It was wonderful transacting with Dianne of Sepa. She promptly responded to my PMs and SMS and kept me well-informed regarding the shipment details of my order. I was so excited to go home when my mom confirmed that she has received my Air21 package from Cebu. Was quite baffled by the packaging as I tried to remove the blue plastic lock. I was beginning to think how stupid I must be not to figure out how to open it... But then, I just realized it was meant to be tamper-proof! *toink* Yeah, you really have to tear the clear plastic in order to get the parcel inside. Basically, the parcel was double-sealed (the outer clear plastic with the blue tamper-proof lock and then the usual opaque sealed plastic pouch) so that comforted the worrywart in me :) And then, everything was inside a box sealed with scotch tape which was signed over so you'll detect whether it was tampered with or not. I think I squealed with delight when I finally opened the box and saw the beautiful accessories in their pretty packaging. I was impressed with the effort spent in packaging the items with care and kikay presentation :) I definitely recommend Sepa to those who are looking for well-crafted, stylish and reasonably-priced accesories :)

the mystifying Air21 tamper-proof seal

the box of accessories

the pretty packaging

look dianne, i thought of a fourth way* to wear the necklace ;-)


* The vintage necklaces I bought had an adjustable chain which offers versatility. It can be worn three ways as shown in Sepa's photos but I managed to also wear it as a choker :-)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

~* BOURNE HOTNESS *~



I have a confession. I haven't watched ANY of the Bourne series until last Monday. I'm not the kind who'd go out of her way to watch guy flicks so I never really had the burning desire to catch Bourne Identity, Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum when it was released in the theaters. It's just as much as saying that I have never seen any of the Ocean series (Ocean's 11 to 13) coz guy flicks don't really interest me. Having a national holiday to enjoy last Monday, I decided to spend it doing a Bourne DVDthon. With all the raves over Bourne Ultimatum, I got really curious and decided to see what the hype was all about. I hate to watch sequels without watching the first one so I viewed all three movies in order. The moment I was finished with Bourne Identity, I was hooked. And really, playing the Jason Bourne character has made Matt Damon officially hot in my book! I never really categorized him as "hot" previous to watching Bourne mainly because I still get the gay vibe with him and his best friend Ben Affleck :p

I loved the testosteroney awesome car chase and fight scenes! And that fast-paced suspense scene in Ultimatum when he was dishing out quick instructions via celfone to the newspaper writer at the Waterloo Station! Jason Bourne as a character is such a turn on coz he's actually a number-memorizing geek/highly-adept map reader/amazing crazy driver/kick-ass fighter. Verrrry manly!

Actually, I've never been a big fan of Matt Damon. The last time Matt Damon's acting amazed me was waaaay back in The Talented Mr. Ripley. I haven't seen Good Will Hunting though. But, really, watching the Bourne series changed my opinion of him as an actor. So okay, I like Matt Damon now. And I'll be sure to watch out for the next Bourne movie...

~* OH WHEN LIFE GETS TOUGH *~

I was saddened when I heard about Owen Wilson's alleged suicide attempt :-( I'm not a super huge fan of his but I always loved his comedic acting alongside Ben Stiller (think: adorable little cowboy in "Night at the Museum") and enjoyed watching him in Zoolander, Starsky & Hutch and Wedding Crashers. I prefer watching his movies over his brother's (Luke Wilson) ;-)

His smiling eyes, distinctly crooked nose and winning smile... that unmistakable boyish voice of his... his comedic timing are everything that makes him every bit of the extremely likeable romantic-comedy genre actor.

Everything is basically just wild gossip as of now but I wonder how someone who seems to have such a happy disposition in life turned out to be someone desperate enough to (attempt to) kill himself. Was it a cry for help? Sigh. 'Just goes to show that even celebrities who seem to be on top of their game lose their way and stumble into the darkness... With such Hollywood star status, we just forget that they're human human after all. They have pains, troubles and heartaches like the rest of us ordinary people.

I just hope Owen bounces back from this. I would really love to see him get his groove back soon. It would be such a sorry loss to Hollywood if he crumbles and breaks altogether.

Get well soon Owen! (Riiight. As if he'd read this. Hah!)

Friday, August 24, 2007

~* NOW PLAYING: SWANS by UNKLE BOB *~

I discovered this poignant song while downloading Grey's Anatomy soundtrack from Season 3 episodes. It was used in the ep "Some Kind of Miracle". This is the one where dead Denny re-appears in the show...

Unkle Bob is a band from UK and judging from their Myspace comments, they've become pretty famous when GA fans heard their song used in one of the episodes.



Swans
Unkle Bob

By my side,
you'll never be.
By my side,
you'll never be.

Cos I'm fake at the seams,
I'm lost in my dreams.
I want you to know,
that I can't let you go.

And you're never coming home again,
And you're never coming home again.

By my side,
you'll never be.
By my side,
you'll never be.

I wanted to tell you I'd changed.
I wanted to tell you that things would be different this time.

But I see you, you see me,
Differently.
I see you, you see me,
Differently.

You tell me that you love me but you never want to see me again.

Friday, August 17, 2007

~* POST SECRET *~

I looooove PostSecret. I always make it a point to visit this blog once a week. Sometimes it comforts me that I am not alone in this battle called Life. I love this AVP that Frank did and Sia's Breathe Me just gives me goosebumps as I watch the postcards featured here...



Saturday, August 11, 2007

~* MEETING JOE BLACK *~

In the movie "Meet Joe Black", the characters say that death and taxes are the only things certain in this life. Death cannot be anymore real for me than last Saturday when my grandmother passed away. She was 86 years old.

As I met much "senior" relatives during the burial, it occured to me that I was not sure if I wanted to grow THAT old. I tried to envision myself 55 years from now. Granting that I'm still alive by then and not yet choked by the horrible air pollution of the 21st century, I would probably be a skinny shrivelled old lady in a purple dress. Do eyelashes fall off as you grow old? If not, I would probably still be curling my eyelashes. I hope my precious Shu Uemura eyelash curler is still surviving with me by then. Can I still walk when I'm super old? Or will I be maneuvering a wheel chair? Would I be wearing super thick eyeglasses? Would my hearing be impaired? Will my grandchildren talk super loudly at me so I can hear what they're saying to me? Would I have grandchildren? Would I have children of my own? Would I have a husband? Will he live as long as I do or would I be a widow? Would I be married? Will I have a great pension plan all paid up? Will I have a good insurance coverage?

Now the thing about a gathering of relatives you only see once or twice a year is that it would always raise the million dollar question. Remind me to make a shirt that says "No, I don't have a boyfriend." And since my lola was a DECS supervisor, I've met Mrs. Barroso, my English teacher back in high school, during the wake. And imagine how I got thrown off-guard when she asks me: "So who's the girlfriend of K_ now?" Uhh. Okaaay. Must I know the answer to that question? I managed to blurt out an "I don't know" and reasoned that we umm, haven't been in touch these past months. I just updated her about stuff I knew about my batchmates and highschool friends... where they are now, whether married or not, boyfriend of whom, working where, has a kid... stuff like that. I tried to spew out as much update as I can so as to elude prying questions about MY current sorry state. Hah!

Now thinking about my wake and death, I should make sure that a trusty kikay friend of mine would ensure that I won't look like roadkill inside my coffin. When she was alive, my lola had already made some sort of sister-pact with her friend -- whoever "went" first shall be responsible for the other's "coffin look". Hence, her friend even rearranged my lola's hair and ensured her eyebrows were drawn right. That kind of kikay stuff. So whoever will be my designated kikay friend, listen up: Curl my lashes, shape my brows (or draw natural-looking brows if I don't have any eyebrows by then), don't use super red lipstick coz it makes my lips look bigger... use a nude or pinkish brown shade, use lavender/purple eyeshadow, don't forget the cheek blush. And make sure my hair still looks fab.

I'm okay with cremation if it comes out less expensive than being buried. Either way, I'd want a lavender-tinged white coffin. And if I'm cremated, I'd be happy with a pink marble or pewter urn. During the wake, assuming every place is Wi-Fi'd by then, I would like a laptop set-up in one corner of the mortuary where the visitors would be able to read my blog posts and view my online photo galleries. That's gonna be one cool memoir :-)

And during my eulogy and/or burial, for goodness' sake, please don't sing a sappy Hindi Kita Malilimutan kind of song. How about Sarah McLachlan's "I Will Remember You" or Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony"?

~* WHEN AND WHY? *~





from:http://postsecret.blogspot.com/


Did you ever have one of those days when you ask yourself if this is as good as it gets? Will the heartbreak ever heal? Will I be able to move on someday soon? Will I have my happily ever after anytime soon? Why do people leave? Why do people do what they do? Is there really hope for the flowers? Will it forever be a pursuit of happiness? Will I ever BE happy or just die trying?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

~* SIMPSONIZE ME *~

Hey, try this for fun! It's so cool :-)
Go to http://www.simpsonsmovie.com/main.html

Of course, I had to make my Simpson version in shades of purple & fuchsia ;-) My only complaint is that there's no choice for the footwear & pants :-(

Thursday, July 12, 2007

~* HOMEWARD BOUND & PASALUBONG SHOPPING *~

To pay it forward to the blogosphere and forums which helped us intricately plan this CDO-Camiguin vacation, I am posting with complete travel details like time duration, supplier name and cost of various stuff. I hope this'll help future travellers seeking adventure in CDO/Camiguin :-)

more photos on my Multiply...


JULY 1, 2007
3:45 AM - We hired the services of Allan (our Camiguin tour guide) again to bring us to Benoni Wharf to catch the 4:30AM ferry. Van rental from Paras resort to Benoni Wharf was Php 450.

4:20 AM - We boarded the MV Doña Pepita (Php 107/pax) which sailed promptly at 4:30AM. The moon was still up so I braved the cool pre-dawn air to take some long time exposure shots. Quite messy shots though coz it was wavy. Also caught the crack of dawn orange-dark blue skies as we neared CDO Balingoan Wharf.

5:20 AM - Back in Cagayan De Oro's Balingoan Wharf. From there, we rode a commuter aircon van for Php 80/pax upon the recommendation of a porter who accompanied us all the way to the van terminal a few walks away from the dock.

7:00 AM - I think we arrived at Agora market 7ish AM. The van dropped us off right in front of Vjandep Bakery who sells the famous Camiguin Pastel -- a soft bun with creamy custard/yema-ish filling inside. A box of 6 was around Php 56 while a box of 12 sold for Php 100+.

8:00 AM - We rode a tuktuk to Jollibee in Gaisano City, ate a Jolly breakfast and waited for the mall to open at 9:00 AM. Once it opened, we deposited our mala-Amazing Race baggage on the baggage counter. We tried to look for Pines ham inside the Gaisano supermarket but it seemed nobody knew the brand.

After taking some directions from Ces' friend who knew CDO well, we navigated our way to the Pines ham main store via tuktuk (Php 5/pax). When we got there, it was closed! Dang! And apparently, it was actually PINE with an apostrophe S. Surprisingly, when we went back to Gaisano supermarket and asked for PINE ham, the saleslady easily pointed us to where a lone Pine's ham was. What a difference an "S" makes!!! Since we all wanted to buy ham, she pointed us to Robinsons supermarket at Limketkai Mall where there were more Pine's ham for everyone. We rode another tuktuk to get to Limketkai Mall.

In Robinsons Supermarket, there was a whole isle dedicated to native delicacies from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. I don't think they put big markups on the goods coz I checked out the Vjandep pastel there and they sold it for just about +/-Php10 more than the Vjandep store in Agora market.

We bought take-out lunch in KFC where we amazingly been able to get our order right even if the store clerks/cashier spoke to us in Bisaya. I know it's just conversing out of context but She and I were just so amazed that I managed to give a right response and understood what the store manager have asked me in Bisaya. Coolness!

12:00 NN - We left Limketkai and got a cab to the airport. They have Toyota Altis units for taxi! The cab driver refused to charge us by the meter, reasoning that he will not be able to get passengers from the airport so we'd have to cover his roundtrip fare. We hired the cab for Php 250.

12:30 PM - Arrived at the small Cagayan de Oro airport which was under renovation so some aircon units weren't working. Security and baggage checkers were very fussy. Toiletries and any kind of liquid had to be strictly checked in. We had to remove our sandals as we passed through the x-ray. Ate our KFC lunch while waiting for our Cebu Pacific boarding. There were clean restrooms in the boarding area. Terminal fee is Php 30.

1:48 PM - boarded the Cebu Pacific flight back to Manila.

3:15 PM - landed in Manila. Reluctantly home sweet home. We had so much fun white water rafting in CDO and enjoyed beautiful Camiguin so much... We wished it wasn't time to go home (and go back to work!) yet.

could there also be an emotional breakdown area?

~* ISLAND HOPPING IN CAMIGUIN *~

To pay it forward to the blogosphere and forums which helped us intricately plan this CDO-Camiguin vacation, I am posting with complete travel details like time duration, supplier name and cost of various stuff. I hope this'll help future travellers seeking adventure in CDO/Camiguin :-)

* Read about our DAY 2 here. Detailed account of DAY 3 starts hereupon...

JUNE 30, 2007
Upon the recommendation of the Paras Hotel staff, we decided to go snorkling in Mantigue Island (more underwater attractions here than White Island accdg. to the hotel staff) in the morning and proceed to White Island after lunch. We rented snorkeling gear from Johnny's Dive which has a little office inside Paras. The snorkeling mask and the mouthpiece thingie rental costed Php 200. Lifevests were also for rent for Php25.

10:00 AM - We hired a multicab for Php 300 from Paras to the wharf (near the vicinity of Benoni Wharf) where a boat to Mantigue was waiting for us.

more photos on my Multiply


10:50 AM - We rode the pump boat for Php 500 (roundtrip, inclusive of snorkeling) to bring us to Mantigue Island. The boat ride took about 20 mins. The ride was a bit shaky but after that wild white water rafting in CDO, I was not fazed at all by the waves. As long as I had my lifevest, I was quite ok (but still a bit nervous coz we were navigating open sea and I can't swim for dear life!).

11:07 AM - Upon docking on the island, we looked for Roger the Guru (as we were told by the guy who arranged the multicab for us). Roger and the rest of the islanders welcomed us with a smile. It turns out that one of the teenage boatmen was actually Roger's younger brother. We told Roger that we wanted to have our lunch in the island so he gave us a menu. We got the Barkadahan meal package which was good for the four of us (but I think it can feed 5 or 6 average eaters). The Barkadahan meal consisted of grilled fish (huge fish which Roger calls the mantigue fish [yeah, 'could use a little more creativity on the name hehe]... it was just half a fish -- the head part and then some -- and we still did not finish it), rice, seaweed and coke litro. We also ordered shells (halaan) on ginger-flavored soup reminiscent of tinola.

While waiting for our lunch to be cooked, Roger offered to tour us around the island. He told us about his little project on rebuilding their humble school which was ruined and virtually swept away by the stormy waves last year. On his welcoming cottage, he had this small wooden donation box marked as Mantigue Elementary School (or something to that effect). It came with a log book wherein donating island guests are to write their names and corresponding email addresses. Roger promises to email everyone a picture of the new elementary school once it is completed. He had been collecting donations for the school project since October 2006. Oh by the way, there is no internet access in the island. Roger sails to the Camiguin main island for internet access and the villagers also sail to town for supplies like ice, ginger, and other food ingredients. I'm not quite sure if there is electricity in the island coz Roger says there is no refrigerator anywhere there. We heard some guys singing on the videoke though so I'm not so sure. There is a strong cellphone signal in the island (mine is Globe) and there is a solar-powered telephone somewhere there.

We circled the entire island in about 45 mins., inclusive of numerous stops for photo ops here and there. Roger is not only the island's sole spokesperson and resident teacher but he is also a photographer :) He handles digicams with ease, perhaps used to it after numerous tourists visited Mantigue. He pointed good photo spots for us along the way. He also showed us the ruins of their old school and the site of their half-done new school. In the entire duration of our Mantigue tour, two local dogs have accompanied us as if they were Roger's assistant tourist guides. So cute! They never barked at us, they just walk alongside us and frolick here and there as we took pictures.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
click for larger view

We came to a complete circle and ended in a small cottage (see photos above) which Roger offers to tourists for an overnight rate of Php 1,000. He says you can squeeze in as much as 10 persons in the hut for sleeping. There are bamboo fences around the cottage and on the outside is a small lounge area. Inside is a wide open space (where one could probably lay sleeping mats) and a small room with two bamboo beds. For adventure-seekers who are so charmed by the place and want to stay overnight, this is the only place to stay in. The hut is situated near the sea shore and a little walk away from the tourist CR which surprisingly has tidy tiles and ample water on the pail for flushing. You just need somebody to watch the door as you use it coz the door doesn't snugly stay shut as it should. The villagers just get water from the sea and into a pail to serve as one's flushing water. I even realized I asked a funny/stupid question when I wondered: "Saan po kukuha ng tubig para sa CR?" But of course, the sea shore is just a few steps away! *doink!*

Mang Roger (Rogelio Saturos) can be reached thru mobile no. 0920-230-6407 or thru email addy: roger.mantigue@yahoo.com

Mang Roger joined us for lunch as he told us about his frustration regarding not receiving enough support from the local government to promote tourism in Mantigue Island. He thinks that this is due to the fact that the government wanted to declare the island as a sanctuary. Thus, they who have lived in the island for so many years were supposed to leave it and find a home somewhere else. He laments that the local government promotes White Island more than Mantigue Island. When in fact, Mantigue has a much richer underwater life best for snorkling and diving than White Island. No one is helping them rebuild their school. So Roger, with his innate spirit to help his fellow villagers, has taken it to himself to do something about it. He tells the tourists the island's story and hopes for whatever kind donation that they will drop in his small wooden box. Well we just saw a Loren Legarda election poster right beside our hut... so Sen. Legarda, what say you?

Roger is the only island local who has confidence to talk to the tourists. He said that his fellow villagers are too timid to converse with the tourists because most of them did not get proper education. Roger, on the other hand, had finished college (an Education course), worked for some time in Goto King somewhere in Cebu and then went back to his home island to teach the children (all subjects!). He endeavors to teach the children of Mantigue in hopes that he could give them enough knowledge and confidence to entertain the tourists who come to Mantigue and also find alternative sources of living.

He told us stories of kind tourists coming back to Mantigue with school supplies, school chairs and food donations. The Mantigue children's favorite is chocolate. It so happened that She brought a bar of chocolate as snack so we just gave it away to the shy children who were just around our cottage :-)

1:20 PM - We were brought by the boatmen a few meters away from the shore for snorkeling. I'm not good with estimating distances but from where we snorkeled, we could still see about 2 inches of Mang Roger waving at us.

It was my first time ever to snorkel so I asked She (who has snorkeling & scuba diving experience) to teach me how to use the snorkeling gear and breathe underwater. At first, I was gasping for air coz I was not used to breathing through my mouth. My legs were too flappy as per She that's why I got tired easily and used up more air. In a few minutes, I managed to regulate my breathing and calmed myself down with less leg/arm movements. The underwater life we saw was totally breathtaking! Just like in a salt water aquarium as Mang Roger described. I could only name the clownfish and starfish but there were other schools of fishes down there. Hand-size fishes and tiny ones, royal blue, yellow, aquamarine, orange and gray schools of fishes abound. They were all swimming leisurely about a huge coral about the size of 2 cars. Oh and I just learned that starfishes are not colored fleshy pink but a deep violet-blue underwater. The starfish I saw was about the size of an adult's hand. I could only see a blackened abyss on one edge of the coral and that made me panic a bit coz I couldn't surmise how deep it was. In my nervousness and my desire to still venture in that direction, I asked one of the boatmen to dangle a rope which I could hold onto like a security blanket.

We floated pieces of crackers near the surface and in seconds, small fishes swam up near us to partake of the goodies. Didn't experience a fish nibble though like what happened to me back in Camayan Beach (Subic).

I think we took an hour or so just snorkeling. Somewhere in between, two boatloads of incoming tourists passed near us. The boatmen were actually clapping with joy at the thought of new tourists visiting their little island.

SNORKELING TIP: Bring along a toothpaste sachet when you snorkel. Before snorkeling, wash the eyemask with toothpaste to prevent fogging. Also wash the mouthpiece with toothpaste for that fresh minty feeling when you put it in your mouth for breathing.

If you want the fishes to come near you, stash some bread or unflavored cracker with you. Feed the fishes with bits and pieces of these.


After snorkeling, the boatmen took us straight to the Camiguin mainland shores (a much nearer drop-off than where we were previously dropped going to Mantigue). We walked into a seaside village and out onto a main road where we waited for a tuktuk to Mambajao for Php 20. The tuktuk dropped us off on the market area of Mambajao (near the vicinity of the town's church). From the market, we rode another tuktuk back to Paras resort for Php 10. The entire travel from Mantigue to Paras was probably about an hour and a half.

4:18 PM - From Paras resort, we rented a roundtrip pump boat for Php 400. It took us about 10 minutes to reach White Island which you can actually see from Paras' al fresco dining area. It was low tide in the late afternoon so the island was much larger than it was in the morning.

a 180-degree view of white island


In White Island, there are makeshift cottages with tables & chairs for rent at Php 50. There are also some townsfolk who offer freshly cooked food. The sandbar facing Paras had a very fine powdery texture which was a delight to walk on barefooted. The other side of the island which faces the open sea had a much coarser white sand. It had a view of the sunset on one side and a view of the picturesque Mt. Hibok-Hibok on the other. The island "closes" at 6pm so our 1 hour and 15 minutes were busily spent on doing lots of group shots (thanks to digicam self-timers!). We took a lot of time perfecting our group shot wherein we froze a mid-air jump, with the sun setting behind us, thus resulting to fun-jumping silhouettes. A group of onlookers on the other side of the island were watching us jump endlessly and then some were actually mimicking our pose for their own cameras (I presume).

I dumped a lot of sunblock on me for the day's island-hopping so I was not sunburned at all. Not even a visible bikini mark on my shoulders. I really just got sunburned on our CDO white water rafting adventure.

5:58 PM - We got back to Paras resort and ate our dinner in their gazebo. It rained hard so we had to forego the plan to dip in the resort's pool. Besides, there were lots of children swimming in it and we concluded that the pool would have been child-pee by then :p Before dinner was served, Rose had arranged for a reflexology massage with the front desk. They recommended a (third party) lady who offered massages for Php 300/hour. We did 30 minute sessions so we only paid Php 150 each. I think I was already watching PBB's big night by the time it was my turn to be massaged.

~* YAHOO! NAKA TUNOB KO SA CAMIGUIN! *~

To pay it forward to the blogosphere and forums which helped us intricately plan this CDO-Camiguin vacation, I am posting with complete travel details like time duration, supplier name and cost of various stuff. I hope this'll help future travellers seeking adventure in CDO/Camiguin :-)


* Read about our DAY 1 here. Detailed account of DAY 2 starts hereupon...


more photos on my Multiply

JUNE 29, 2007
6:45 AM - We hailed a cab from Casa Crystalia to catch the Balingoan-bound bus in Agora market. The cab driver warned us/kinda scared us with hold-up/bomb scare stories about the bus and having a longer travelling time due to the multiple bus stops (asus! style!). He offered to bring us straight to Balingoan wharf for a contract fee of Php 1,000. We declined and told him that we were on a tight budget. We bargained and finally sealed the deal at Php 800. Still mighty expensive compared to just commuting by bus but we were in a hurry to catch the ferry at Balingoan...

8:20 AM - Arrived at Balingoan Wharf (CDO). Bought ferry tickets costing Php 107. We took a quick pee at the relatively clean tourist hall just beside the ticketing booth. We boarded the M.V. Royal Princess to Benoni Wharf (Camiguin) after that. It was scheduled to leave at 8:30AM but it waited for more passengers to board. We ended up sailing off around 9:30AM. What a long wait! Anyway, I did not feel any motion sickness at all. The waves were moderate and the ferry wasn't wobbly.

10:40 AM - Yahoo! Nakatapak na ako sa Camiguin! We finally arrived at the Benoni Wharf. From there, we were picked up by our tour guide/aircon van diver Mr. Allan Ebarle (Celfone: 0917-253-7878). He drove us to Secret Cove in Mambajao where we checked in quickly and then ate lunch at the nearby Paras Beach Resort. We treated Allan for lunch and we told him which Camiguin tourist spots we intended to see. He then proposed an itinerary to maximize the day.

PRONOUNCIATION TIPS: Balingoan is not pronounced "ba-li-NGO-an" as we had thought. It was actually pronounced by the locals as "ba-LING-wan". Mambajao is also not "MAM-ba-jao" as we wrongfully pronounced. The right pronounciation is "MAM-ba-haw". These'll come in handy when you talk to the locals and ask for directions ;-)


1:00 PM to 6:30 PM - Allan toured us around the island of Camiguin. Our first stop was Katibawasan Falls (there's a minimal entrance fee ... around Php 15/pax if I remember it right). We intended to swim at Katibawasan but chickened out when we saw that there was a bunch of guys in one of the ground tables with a case of beer. We were pretty much been ogled at as we took loads of pictures of the magnificent waterfalls and did kooky poses. The beer dudes left after awhile so we decided to venture on the ground level of the waterfalls. The water was icy cool to the skin and it relieved my sunburned knees temporarily.

After Katibawasan, we went to the Philvolcs Observatory Station situated high above the mountains. It affords quite a bird's eyeview of the island but really not much else to see.

We then visited the now closed Ardent Hot Spring. They said it was closed due to some political hullabaloo. Something about the present political figure not supporting the place (the politician who previously took care of the place just lost in the recent elections). It's a shame coz the place has a potential. The surroundings looked really untidy though due to the fallen kapok/cotton all over the grounds. We were allowed to go in and take some pictures after Allan asked the permission of the caretaker. We were surprised to see a handful of locals bathing in the hot spring so we're not quite sure why it's closed. Dipped my foot into the water and it wasn't that hot -- just lukewarm.

After Ardent Hot Spring, we visited Sto. Niño Cold Spring (again, a minimal entrance fee of about Php 10 - Php 15/pax). The place had lots of people bathing around. We just posed for some pictures, took a quick pee in their restroom and were tempted to drink/eat fresh buko at Php 10/pc. They kept the coconuts inside a net which was submerged in the cold spring (all-natural ref!). The buko juice was sweet and mala-uhog. Yum! After we finished drinking the juice, the tindera cut the coconut with a bolo and using a shard of the buko shell as a scooper, we ate the coco meat. At first, I was squeamish about using the shard of coco shell as a scooper coz I could see remnants of dirt on its edges. But then I saw She, Ces and Rose happily eating away so I thought, what the heck, a little germ won't kill me :p

After our refreshing coconut snack, we headed to Catarman Church Ruins/Gui-ob Church. The historical marker which tells of the eruption of Mt. Volcan was very well-written -- it was evoking to the senses and it painted a vivid picture of what happened. It's a shame though that it was slightly vandalized and some engraved letters were a bit faded. There is a small (new) church inside the ancient ruined walls. It started to drizzle so we only managed to do one kooky group shot which elicited some smiles from the locals nearby.

The last tourist spot we visited was the Cross Marker/Sunken Cemetery. I wanted to photograph it in a duskier backdrop but it was only 5:30PM at the time so I didn't get my most-desired orangey-pink-blue sunset sky:-( It was also drizzling so the clouds were quite gloomy. There were boatmen offering a quick boat ride to the cross marker itself but we didn't venture anymore coz it was already getting dark.

On the way back, our tour guide Allan brought us to one side of the road lined with stores selling souvenir shirts and stuff. He pointed us the rightmost store which he said offered the least expensive souvenirs. We bought shirts for Php 90/pc. (XXL size sells for Php 150). Got myself a shirt that read "Yahoo! Nka 2nob ko sa Camiguin" which was translated to me by the store guy ("nakatunob" means "nakatapak"). The tinderos here were very patient and helpful. They handed us shirt, after shirt, after shirt as we chose our pasalubongs.

For our second day, we decided to transfer to the nearby Paras Beach Resort after being turned off with the customer service of Secret Cove.

SECRET COVE = 1.5/5 RATING (This hotel should just remain a secret! Its only saving grace is the yummy food. But I'm warning you about the scowling waitress as early as now.)
http://www.secretcovecamiguin.net/en/resort.htm

We checked into two twin sharing rooms. Each room costs Php 1,050 (off-peak rate) which meant Php 525/pax for the four of us.

PROS: Room has aircon, hot water, mini bar. Food is excellent! We ordered scallops sauteed in butter, prawns sauteed in white wine and chicken cordon bleu which was crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Had a yummy blueberry apple pie (?) for dessert. They offer gourmet dishes which are definitely not run-of-the-mill. Our dinner total was Php 990.

CONS: Room has no TV (Room with TV is available for a higher price). They say they're a beach front hotel but when you get there, the place is covered with tendrils "roofing" most of the place so even at daytime, the place looks dingy. I didn't feel a good aura/vibes in the place.

The water coming from the shower was too fine that it was hard to wash off our shampoo, conditioner and soap. Thus, it took me more time to finish taking a bath.

Tom the Canadian owner was quite snooty/condescending. The short-haired waitress who served us was masungit and had a scowling look. She started frowning when we asked her how long the brownout will be/if it always happened/why was there a brownout. (We surmise that the island is switching power sources at night because a short less-than-5-mins. brownout also happened when we were at Paras). She also gave us an evil stare when we told her that we would be checking out the next day and therefore cancelling the 2nd day booking. The ultimate kabastusan she did was when she thrust the black bill case on our table... Our bill was Php 990 so we gave her Php 1,000. We were expecting to see a Php 10 coin returned to us as change but apparently, they so assumed that they could just keep it for themselves. Appalling disrespectful behavior! Argh! I don't know what planet she is from but the usual custom is for the restaurant to give back the exact change to the customer and then the customer, upon leaving, would leave an appropriate amount of tip tucked inside the black leather bill case. Argh! Kainis talaga! So assuming! We got totally irritated after that so we didn't care to leave any tip.

And if we give benefit of the doubt for erratic human behavior, then what about that rude-sounding/not family-friendly sign posted on the restaurant? I wondered if I should chuckle or be totally turned off by it upon reading what the sign said: "This is not a playground. If you cannot contain your children, please bring them somewhere else." Wow. Ibang level ang rudeness!

PARAS BEACH RESORT = 4/5 RATING (Very Good!)
http://userpages.websprinter.net/parasbeachresort/main.html
CONTACT NOS.: 0926-944-3606; (088) 856-8562

We checked into a Standard Triple sharing room w/ extra bed. They gave us 10% discount so the total amount was Php 1,864.50. Thus, Php 466.13/pax for the four of us.


the 180 degree-view from the gazebo

PROS: Paras is one of the premiere beach resorts in Camiguin (The other one being the Camiguin Beach Club) and for the price which turns out to be cheaper than Secret Cove, it is way more worth it to spend your night here. Since it is off-peak season, they gave us 10% off.

They have a very accommodating and courteous staff.

There are gazebos facing the shore wherein you can dine anytime and savor the serenity of the beach. They have a sweet mango shake and yummy Pizza Deliciosa. Clean restrooms are near the dining area.

There's a 4ft swimming pool. They offer Php 400 two-way boat rides to White Island which is just across the resort (about 20 mins. boat ride away)

They can also recommend a local masseuse (non-employee of Paras) who can give 1 hour reflexology massage for Php300.


a view of paras beach resort coming from white island

CONS: The day before, I had already signed a reservation slip for 1 standard triple sharing room. They even allowed us to do an ocular inspection of the room so it was definitely vacant. I was to call the night before to confirm if we could do an early check-in. When I called, they suddenly said that no reservation was made under my name. Apparently, the person in charge during the daytime forgot to log my reservation into their computer. They said that there were no standard rooms available for us (somebody checked in on the standard room) so they suggested that we take the superior room which is of course more expensive than the standard room! I negotiated that they give us the superior room at the same rate they extended for the standard room since the problem was due to their incompetency. I was asked to call after 15 mins. as the girl was going to consult her supervisor first. When I called again, the standard room was magically available again (thus, all previous arrangements remain the same). I was like, duh, a few minutes ago she said it was already booked! We thought this was another "style" on getting us to take the more expensive room. Hayyy!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

~* JUST GOT TAGGED: ABCs & Magic 7 *~

I've been tagged by Abbie and Ida...

Let's start with these ABCs about me which Abbie tagged me with.

A - Age: 29 *bordering the oh-no-30!*gasp!*
B - Band Listening To Right Now: The Magic Numbers ... I fell in love with their song "Love is a Game" the first time I heard it.
C - Career: Marketing for Entertainment Imaging business unit of Kodak Phils. Ltd.
D - Drink or Smoke: Drink occasionally when in night-outs; Smoked only once back in college... tried it and didn't like it!
E - Easiest Friends To Talk To: My Forces Friends (Abbie, Tin, Charo, Mitzi, Ivy)
F - Favorite song at the moment: Rihanna's Umbrella/Cinderella remix feat. Chris Brown (?)
G - Gummy Bears or Gummy Worms: bears
H - Have a Boyfriend: nope
I - In love: umm, when you still think about THE person, does that count?
J - Junk Food You Like: NY fries and Potato Corner sour cream fries
K - Kids: sure, when I'm married.
L - Longest Ride Ever: the Baguio roadtrip w/ the Forces gals last year. Sakit sa pwet!:p
M - My Favorite Sports: none! I have neither the innate desire nor physical ability to engage in one.
N - Names For Your Future Kids: Kenneth Edmund, Gwyneth
O - One Wish You Have Now: secret!
P - Phobias: flying cockroaches, ghosts
Q - Favorite Quote: "Life is not measured by the number of the breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away."
R - Reasons To Smile: Chloe (our shih tzu) just being her usual charming self, blog comments/funny posts, remembering our CDO white water rafting (hotness!), crazy out-of-the-blue punch lines in everyday conversations, trying to sing the Seiko wallet jingle (I challenge you to try to sing this entire jingle without breaking into giggles)
S - Sleeping Hours: 10ish pm or even til 2am during weekends
T - Time You Woke Up: today? 8:30AM
U - Unknown Fact About You: If I tell you then everybody will know :p
V - Vegetable You Hate: I'm a fairly veggie-friendly person. No veggie I especially hate...
W - Worst Habit: succumbing to the so-called Canossa syndrome
X - X-rays You've Had: chest, abdomen area, teeth
Y - Yummy Foods: California Maki, Corned Beef, strawberry milk
Z - Zodiac Sign: Aries bordering on Taurus


Here's what Ida tagged me with...

Instructions: Each player starts with 7 random habits/facts about themselves. People who are tagged need to write on their own blog about their seven things, as well as these rules. At the end of your blog, you need to choose 7 people to get tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them that they have been tagged and to read your blog!

1. I am OC when it comes to sharing food/utensils, germs/bacteria in public places. I always carry an alcohol spray with me. I'm also OC with grammar. I check subject-verb agreements in blogposts and business letters, spellings everywhere and I pity those who can't tell the difference between "loose" and "lose". I'm OC with packing. I have different little pouches for toiletries, face gunks, medicines, etc. And I always have an extra undie and shirt just in case!

2. I hate sudden changes in planned meetings/impromptu meetings. I only do special adjustments/consideration when it's regarding my family & friends. But I am still peeved nonetheless :p

3. I don't think I can ever qualify for Amazing Race. I cannot swim, cannot ride a bike, cannot drive (well, 'just got A/T driving lessons from A1), I have no sense of direction, I am hot-tempered and I am squeamish.

4. I turned 29 this year but survey says (in bars/with new acquaintances) I can still pass for 20 and thereabouts.

5. I used to be 95lbs. back in college. Now I swing from 110-100 lbs. My waistline used to be 23" when I was about 13. Now it's 26-27".

6. I used to collect stamps, old coins and angel ornaments/figurines. Now I only collect gigabytes of mp3s.

7. Whenever there's a big event coming up or whenever I'll be travelling, I always have a dry run of my entire outfit days before. I chart my attire per day down to the footwear and accessories. I just don't want to be caught panicking with nothing to wear or finding out that my waist or arm hole is about to burst on its seams.