going home for my long birthday weekend

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as much as possible i try to go home and spend my birthdays at home so i can spend it with my family and friends. this time around i also brought a friend with me. it was her 1st time in Zamboanga City and so we wanted to show as much of the city to her as possible.

as usual we took the first flight out of manila at 550AM. we arrived Zamboanga at around 7AM and checked in at home. after freshening up we went out for satti for breakfast. it is a must-try for visitors.


after the hearty breakfast we visited the fort pilar shrine and lit candles as thanksgiving for the safe flight we had. beside the shrine is the national museum located inside the spanish fort. it is like a mini intramuros. the museum showcased the culture and history of the different tribes that lived in Zamboanga.

we enjoyed the sea breeze for a bit and went off to the climaco freedom park up in abong-abong.

what i love most about the city are the luscious old trees. they are such a refreshing sight, so different from the gray cold tall buildings of the metro. pasonanca park is such a relaxing place to be that i always make it a point to visit everytime i’m home.

the clean air was such a change from the usual polluted air of manila that it had a different effect on us. next stop was the tree house and boy scouts campsite.

after the city tour, we had our late lunch at mano-mano na greenfield.

this was a fun day that ended waaaaaaaaaaay too early. at least for C and me. we had a nap and slept until dinner time. russ was able to go play football with his friends. πŸ™‚

Tagaytay in August

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It was our first time to commute to Tagaytay and with Paul’s help we were able to get there and back safe.We rode the Batman Star Transport and paid P79 each. It took us around an hour and a half as the bus traversed the streets of Cavite.

The conductor of the bus dropped us off in a jeep terminal where we can catch a ride around Tagaytay. First stop was The People’s Park in the Sky. It was such a long and steep ride but the view up there was breathtaking. Walking up the last stretch likewise knocked the wind out of me. My knees were shaking when we got there.


We took some pictures…

and played blowing bubbles.

After the long way back down we headed straight to Josephine’s for late lunch with the view of Taal Volcano. It was good that we were able to take some pictures before it started pouring.


Because there were no bus terminals in Tagaytay, we had to wait by the highway for buses passing through from Batangas on their way to Manila.

Be still and know..

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I wanted to share with you something i read from Our Daily Bread.

Silence, Please!

Our world has become increasingly noisy. But according to a news report, science has found a way to achieve absolute silence: “Scientists have shown odd the blueprint for an ‘acoustic cloak,’ which could make objects impervious to sound waves. The technology, outlined in the New Journal of Physics, could be used to build sound-proof homes, advanced concert halls, or stealth warships.”

When we seek out a quiet place for devotional time with God, we may wish we had an “acoustic cloak.” But even if we could silence all external sound, the internal noises of worry would still reverberate in our minds. We are told: “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). But how do we calm our hearts in practical terms?

God understands our dilemma and has provided His own “acoustic cloak” to quiet our hearts. It involves exchanging our cares for His peace. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).

As we place our concerns in God’s capable hands, we find a quietness that only He can provide.

Dennis Fisher

I hope this will help you in your decisions and worries.

Happyland!

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It’s football weekend!!!

This is the first of a 2 part series (wow, I’m doing a series!) of football-related blog entries.

Saturday, 23 July 2011, Fully Booked @ Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City

The wife and I indulged in a little culture. We went to watch an indie film by Director Jim Libiran entitled Happyland“. This is the second outing of Direk Jim, after getting several awards including Best Film and Best Actor in the 2007 Cinemalaya Film Festival for the movie Tribu. Both films focused on life in Tondo, and non-actors played all the major roles. Direk Jim wanted the movies to be as real as possible, saying no one would have believed Piolo Pascual to be someone from Tondo.

Happyland tells the story of a Spanish priest who gathers boys from Tondo and forms a football team. Apparently, this is based on a true story and happened sometime in the 1980’s with the team gaining legendary status for playing barefoot since they didn’t have the means to buy football shoes. That being the case, the film hopes to break the stigma that football is a rich man’s game. The missionary priest (didn’t get his name, let’s just call him Father) was assisted by Brother Pete (Brod Pete for short. Get it “Brad” Pete? hehe..) who in real life is Peter Amores, founder of an NGO that teaches football, or futkal (football sa kalye, as opposed to futsal or football de sala as our more football-advanced counterparts call it), to poor communities all over the Philippines. The organization aims to build self-confidence and discipline through football for the kids to apply to all aspects of their lives.

It was amazing watching the film and somehow relating to the story’s characters. Although I didn’t grow up in the slums, we had so many things in common. As the film was trying to portray, it is difficult to get football through to the Filipinos. We are so entrenched in basketball that almost everywhere you go, you’ll see backboards and rims hanging from posts with markings such as “Donated By: SK Chairman Mauricio Batumbakal” or something to that effect. What people don’t see is that we are more likely to succeed internationally in football than basketball. Physically, the Koreans and Japanese are pretty much in our range. They have achieved some level of success in the international football scene. So why can’t we do the same? Football is a sport commonly taught and played in rich schools, so they say. Although I wouldn’t consider my family rich, I had the benefit of going to a private school my whole life, where it still is difficult to get people to understand and embrace football. I remember my Economics teacher in college, who also happened to be our coach then, had to give out points to those in his class for attending our football games. He even got his wife, also a teacher, to get her students to also attend the games in exchange for points. It wasn’t just getting people to watch the game that was difficult. Even buying the equipment was so difficult, we needed help from family and friends in Manila, or abroad to get us our football shoes! (IKR?)

After watching the film though, all the difficulties I encountered was nothing compared to the Tondo Futkaleros. These guys had to work as kids to help support their families, driving pedicabs, making firewood, hustling. I’d have to say, I had it easy compared to these guys. Compared to the rising stardom of the Azkals, I put these guys on the top of my list. Even through the difficult lives they had in the slums, these guys played with passion, a true love for the game. True, they see football as something that will help them improve their lives by getting into colleges and making something of themselves. But beyond the obvious, football has changed the way these guys see themselves. Football has helped them more than just getting an education and increasing the probability of them getting jobs after. Football made them realize that that they are not nothing, not basura as they have been treated their whole lives. They have seen what they can become, and that it is up to them to be the person that they can be, the person they want to be. Football made them winners.

In the words of the Spanish priest in the movie, “You are the gold”. More than any trophies, each one of us is gold. It was very inspiring as Father was doing his pep talk for the team before the final game with the team’s loved ones coming to support them even if they didn’t do so from the start. I remember my parents only went to watch me play once. But it was all that mattered. Even though they didn’t watch me play much, they supported me throughout my footballing “career”. And for that, I love them.

It’s Hump Day!

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Thursday was another day at the office. But as my favorite website (thechive.com) calls it, it’s HUMP DAY! (Thursdays in the PI, Wednesdays in the US. Unpaid advertising. Gotta start working on getting paid for this)

My boss in the office happens to own a photo booth that covers events. Somehow, she got the contract from Rough Rider Jeans (not endorsing anything here) for the photo booth in RRJ’s spot at the FHM 100 Sexiest Women 2011 event at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. My office mate, Jun Bordeos, and I tagged along for the show. So we got in the event under the guise of “working” the photo booth. We had to “work” the first half of the night. It was a straight-forward operation. Guys can take pictures with the models of RRJ’s booth. Those who were willing to take off their shirts got free shirts from RRJ (guys who either really needed new shirts or just thick-skinned bozos who didn’t mind getting humiliated), while those who won’t go topless get free caps instead.Case in point, these guys:

Even the girls got in on the action (no girls went shirtless though):

Lolo got into the thick of things as well:

Lo, saan ka nakatingin?

We manned the cameras and had to fend off the throngs of testosterone-fueled crowd fighting their way to the very front of the pack to get better (read: creeper) photos of the models RRJ hired to pose with guys. Well, come to think of it, most were just ogling the girls up on stage. Would you do the same if these were the girls in question:

As the action on the main stage kicked-off, we went behind the RRJ stage to watch the show. There, we interacted with some of the models. We found out they had been there since 8 A.M. and they were quite tired and hungry. As burgers were passed around, we took some pictures of them and they were game enough to do some funny poses.

tired and hungry models get grumpy

Also discovered a clever way to store gadgets on the pocket-less outfits the models wore:

Didn’t get a chance to take pics of the actual Top100 Sexiest Women as they pranced around on stage. Our spot was just a little too far to get decent pics with the lens on the cam. We just watched them on stage and took some behind-the-scenes pics while we were at it.

Since a picture paints a thousand words, this entry would be a novel. In the epic Hangover movie style, the credits shall now roll (quite wholesome though, unlike the movie).

Rainy Saturday

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Everybody looks forward to the weekends.I love the weekends! For the weekends mean no-work, lazy and do-anything-you-like days. I usually can’t wait for the weekends. Lately though, I haven’t seen them coming. Work has shoved my nose so close to the computer monitor that I feel I’ve been living under a rock. Imagine my glee when I realized that Friday has ended and me-days have began. πŸ™‚

However, two low pressure areas have brought rains to the city and dampened most people’s moods. Others have decided to postpone plans and stay at home instead. I spent Friday night watching a good movie while having a delicious bowl of soup. It was snuggle time with hubby too.

We were looking forward to Saturday because we vowed this time no more lazy Saturdays. We had a lot planned for today but today had a different plan for us. The unrelenting rains again forced us to stay indoors. No “early” morning jog for us. And because we didn’t have to get up early, we went back to our comfy bed. πŸ™‚

It was looking to be another lazy and unproductive day. But I wasn’t gonna let some little rain stop me from enjoying a day out with hubby. So I practically forced I-don’t-wanna-get-my-feet-wet Russ to brave the rain and enjoy the rest of the day with me. Armed with an umbrella and fiery determination, we went out into the wet, cold and gloomy world.

Russ hates the monsoon season because of the hassle. Aside from wet shoes and feet, he doesn’t wanna be bothered with lagging around a huge umbrella and its quite hard to get a ride when its raining. The cabs suddenly becomes scarce when it rains. I don’t like the hassle too but I secretly love the rain. The drizzle not only cools us but also slows us down. It makes us take a second to pause. Whether to just open an umbrella or to wait the rain out before continuing on to where we were supposed to go. And I think this is important. We go through life in such a rush that sometimes we forget to just stop, look inside and just be.

I feel like rain is God’s reminder to us to take some time to smell the flowers. Best to heed the warning lest the rains become typhoons and floods. Man can be so stubborn sometimes that calamities are what it takes for us to take notice.

As for us, Russ and I got to satisfy our week old burger and red velvet cupcake cravings. I got to shop some too and got to ogle at Jericho Rosales while he was shopping for some pillows. And we got a ride home with no fuss at all. That’s my rainy Saturday. πŸ™‚

to the land of sweets and inasal..day 2

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After the loooooonng first day in Bacolod, day 2 for us was a relaxing change. First on the list was to return the rented car, check. Next buy some pasalubong at the Bong Bong’s and Sugarlandia, check. Then, waste the time away in this pool. πŸ™‚

You’d think this will be a lazy day of lounging in the pool. But, no. We have too much energy bustling inside that we found ways to make this day exciting. Are you ready for this?

Manang Ros peeled and prepared some green mangoes for us. We were already devouring it when we heard a thud. It was a ripe santol which fell from Chrissie’s santol tree. Santol isΒ a tropical fruit found in the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Maurtius, among others. πŸ™‚ We grinned at each other and looked for a sungkit (a long pole with a hook at the end) to harvest some santol. Here’s Russ flexing to get some.

For lunch we had some grilled liempo, sinigang na bangus and the supposedly healthy red rice.

Of course we had to go out for dessert. This time cakes galore at Felicia’s. πŸ™‚

After dessert, we went our separate ways. Russ and I to visit the relatives while C, Dums and Czaree went to buy more pasalubong and get pampered. We met up for dinner at 21 for some good old la paz batchoy. We didn’t get any though. Sold out. We had some molo instead together with kilawin, soft shell crabs, curry lamb chops and pepper steak.

It was a night of good food enjoyed with great friends. More friends, Nescy and Ruggero, took some time to complete the Bacolod welcome. πŸ™‚