Saturday, December 26, 2009


2 more years and I'll be off the calendar!

A friend said, I should welcome this day as the beginning of a new chapter in life. Officially, he says, the 30th birthday heralds one's adult status with measured indulgence. From here on, a person is a mature and responsible adult who has the necessary wisdom to make important decisions in life.

To be honest, all I could think of is that in 10 years, I'll be forty! And I am closer to arthritis than to anything else!

If there's anything official today, it's that I am a boring, old fart.

But thank you Lord for the last 30 years and definitely wishing for more to come. >

Friday, December 18, 2009

let it snow

And snow, it did!. The heavens dumped several inches of snow late Thursday - early Friday which resulted to this.

I am probably the only adult in the Kent area who is amused and delighted this has happened.

What a lovely way to greet me good morning.

My street. Or what's left of it.

Maidstone was on a standstill. This is a view of my neighborhood.

I didn't mind the fact that it was a nightmare hauling my monkey ass to work today because of the beautiful scenery.

Mc, you would've loved this. 'Di bale, we'll have our winters coming real soon.

Buried in ice.

Snow monkey.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

cebu state of mind

Last year, I was home for a month's vacation. Ketty and I decided to go away for a weekend trip somewhere and we ended up in Cebu, the oldest city in the Philippines and the queen city of the south. That was 365 days ago to this day. Despite the intermittent rains and short time, we had a blast. Allow me to reminisce.

We were billeted at this hotel. Can you feel the Miami vibe?

We woke up to this view. The Hilton Towers in the background.

If only the sky was clear and the sun shining, this would've been perfect.

The missus and I hired a cab and toured the city, stopping by the most famous spots to capture some memories.

We flocked to the Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino

and joined hundreds of devotees to pray.

Lighted some candles and thanked Him for our blessings, we did too.

Magellan's Cross, one of the most important historical artifacts in the Philippines.

We entered the gate to this great fort

and strolled in its manicured garden.

Then, we climbed some hundred steps

to reach the top of the hill for this, the beautiful Taoist temple in Beverly Hills.

Overlooking the queen city of the south.

Our tour guide/cab driver took us to the Casa Gorordo Museum.

And on our way, passed by this lovely bahay na bato. We both love heritage houses.

We went to a guitar factory and learned how the instrument is made.

Shopping for pasalubongs at the Tabo-an market.

Cebuanos sell sea shells by the sea shore.

Finally, a visit to Cebu wouldn't be complete if one doesn't pay his/her respects to the great warrior, Lapu-Lapu, the first Filipino hero.

Monday, November 16, 2009

my trash can be your treasure

Kapamilya stars visited London town last week. Not that I cared. I didn't even know they were here. And even if I did, I don't give a flying f*ck about them anyway.

3 of my Brit friends spent a day with the Pinoy celebs as members of their security detail. According to them, the show at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane was packed, with least 2000 besotted Filipino fans screaming and shrieking when their idols appeared on stage. It was a good show, they added. And a big hit with them was Pokwang, who, they thought was hilarious. My mates couldn't understand a thing she said but she, apparently, left them in stitches.

Anyway, the picture above is an autographed poster of the event. They thought I'd be pleased to have it. Unfortunately, they were wrong. Seriously. And they call themselves buddies, eh? hehehe. So if any of you, my 7 readers, want it. Lemme know and I'll post it to you.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

why do I love glee?

Let me count the ways. (Apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

1. A diverse cast of relatively unknowns but with,

2. as Randy Jackson would put it, mad talent. Pipes, check. Moves, check. Acrobatic skills, check, check, check.

3. Cool tunes. And an even more amazing musical score.

3. Brilliant dance sequences.

4. Inspired performances and production numbers. This is my favorite thus far!

5. Wicked sense of humour.

6. Great quotes and clever story.

7. The New York Times called it "blissfully unoriginal in a witty, imaginative way". Whilst the Entertainment Weekly gave the show an A, posing the question: "Has there ever been a TV show more aptly named than Glee? It both embodies and inspires exactly that quality."

8. It's freaks and geeks meets a Cameron Crowe movie set in High School Musical on crack. For the record, I've never seen the latter. And not planning to either. Seriously.

9. And even if it may be implausible at times, the show has enough reality to make it believable. Moments on the show that make one ask oneself, why don't I do that in real life? Inspire, I think, is the word.

Some people believe that the easiest way to change people's behaviour for the better is to find something mundane, like a really boring task, and make it fun to do. Everyone in glee seems to have fun. And as a viewer, the fun part kinda rubs on you.

10. "With my lost saints, --- I love glee with shallow breath,
dog smiles and crocodile tears, of all my life! --- and, if Fox choose,
I shall but love glee better after it is axed."


If you can't follow it on tv, watch the episodes here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

horn dog

A man's bestfriend he is not. This one is a woman's very, very best mate.

I am assuming this was done in good nature. Otherwise, someone would've helped the poor old woman surely, right?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

dog tired

I am knackered to the bone. Did two 14-hour shifts and I'm soo glad it's over. I still have work tomorrow but I start at 9 and I'm only doing a normal 8- hour shift.

And in case you're wondering what's up with the long shifts. Well, this monkey's got a part time gig. I moonlight as a bartender for weddings and events on some weekends for almost two months now. Shit pay but can't complain 'coz it pays the bills.

I'm off to bed. Ciao.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

don't stop believing

I am sucker for Cinderella stories. And the fact that this one's about someone from my of town makes it even more special.

Arnel Pineda and Journey, I am a fan.

Monday, September 28, 2009

black saturday

On Saturday, 26th of September 2009, the Philippines was hit by torrential rains that resulted in massive and fatal floods. Almost 17 inches of rain fell in 12 hours on Saturday, more than the average for the entire month of September. The waters rose to more than 20ft within a few hours.

The photo was taken by my brother at the condo complex he lives in Manila. My siblings were marooned for almost 24 hours with no water and electricity; they got off easy.

I am overwhelmed with sadness when I see pictures and watch videos of the aftermath of the storm. When Ketty sent me the message last Saturday, I really didn't pay much attention to it because the Philippines get at least 20 typhoons a year and Manila isn't exactly a stranger to flooding.

No one will ever be prepared to a disaster of this magnitude. It is futile to start pointing fingers and play blaming game at this point. But it will also be foolish to forget that there was an inadequate and inept response from the government.

I am sending my prayers to those who lost anything and everything. It's hard to imagine what you must've been going through. I pray for strength to help you get back on your feet. This too shall pass.

Prayers and a few quid to spare are the best I can do for now.

If you want to help, please click here. If overseas and would also like to make a donation, online contibutions can be made through Kapuso Foundation and ABS CBN Sagip Kapamilya.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

palabok fiend

For weeks now, I've been craving for pancit palabok. It's one of the many Pinoy dishes that I truly miss. And since there isn't a place nearby where I can get my palabok fix, I attempted to make some today.

Made from Mama Sita's Palabok mix and topped with boiled egg, pork slices, prawns and deep fried (and crispy brown) garlic and onions, my version is puede na.

Oh, the things I'd do for a Jollibee Palabok Fiesta.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

oye! oye! oye! oye!

It was definitely worth staying up late for.

In a stunning upset, Juan Martin del Potro has ended Roger Federer's run of dominance at the US Open. The 20-year-old Argentine, number 6 in the world, outlasted the Swiss maestro 3-6, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

kid says the darndest thing

This afternoon, a little girl made me laugh and, I must admit, made my day. I was behind the front desk when she walked into the lobby with her mum. And the minute she stepped in, she squealed, "Look mum, it's Harry Potter!" Her eyes wide in awe and with her finger pointing at me, she was so adorable.

Her mum looked at me, chuckled, and grabbed her daughter's hand as they made their way to the leisure club. I looked at the receptionist with me at the time, and she was in stitches. I laughed my head off. "I was really going for Clark Kent. But Harry Potter? I can live with that.", I said to her. We couldn't stop laughing.

Kids really say the darndest things. Hehehe.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

ave Maria

Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee;
blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.

Monday, September 07, 2009

9/11: Phone Calls from the Towers

"Still are thy pleasant voices, thy nightingales, awake.
For death he taketh all away but them he cannot take.

Last night, I caught 9/11: Phone Calls from the Towers on Channel 4. The exceptionally powerful and incredibly poignant and affecting documentary features previously unheard voice recordings of those trapped in the Twin Towers after they were hit.

After the film, I wondered if I would have had the strength to have not made that call if I was in that situation. Would I have been at peace to say goodbye and assure everyone everything would be alright, or would I let my voice betray the fear and desperation that would be engulfing me and let them live with the memory that I could not be saved?

Goodbyes are always heartbreaking. But if you make your every living moment an opportunity to make all those who are dear to you how much they are loved, they would have known you left with love in your heart for them without having to share the pain of your passing.

That's easier said than done. I couldn't have not made that call.

Watch the film here.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

kontra mina

Below is the official letter to the Editor from Godofredo Mintu, mayor of Sablayan, which appeared in today's issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

There is no doubt that large-scale mining operations, like the one being undertaken by the Aglubang Mining Corp. in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro, cause irreparable devastation of farm lands. This was pointed out by the regional executive director of the Department of Agriculture in a July 7, 2009 letter to Environment Secretary Jose L. Atienza Jr.: “The Municipality of Sablayan is one of our major rice- and corn-producing areas in the province and we believe that any major mining operations would greatly affect the agriculture production and endanger social economic conditions in the area. With these, we are supporting the Honorable Mayor [the undersigned] in asking your help to preempt any mining activity in the municipality.”

Recently, as a result of Typhoon Jolina’s onslaught, Sablayan experienced heavy floods, landslides, soil erosion and scouring which rendered its national highways impassable for several weeks and caused huge and serious damage to crops, livestock and property, plus “opportunity loss.” Undoubtedly, large-scale mining would deplete Sablayan’s remaining forest and vegetation cover, aggravate river and coastal deterioration and increase incidents of landslide, soil erosion and, possibly, wipe out its forest cover.

It is for this reason that all of Sablayan’s 22 barangays and its Sangguniang Bayan are opposed to Aglubang’s mining operations and they have expressed their opposition through their respective resolutions and through a municipal ordinance which bears the approval of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Occidental Mindoro.

The people of Occidental Mindoro, and more particularly of Sablayan, prayerfully appeal to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Secretary Atienza to disallow the entry of Aglubang Mining Corp. into our town, in order that our town may continue to be the food basket of Region 4 and provide our people and the rest of the country the more than 300,000 metric tons of rice it produces every year.

municipal mayor,
Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro,


In support of the growing oppositon to the Mindoro Mining Project, The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines posted this position on its website:

Mining has always been repugnant to the residents of communities surrounding the mining sites. And this is true in the case of large-scale nickel- mining operation on Mindoro island which is being strongly resisted by the local folk. They fear the venture would cause environmental havoc. Indigenous peoples, farmers, fishermen, political, religious and civil society leaders in both Mindoro Occidental and Mindoro Oriental are calling for the immediate cancellation of the permit granted to the Aglubang Mining Corp. to extract nickel over an area deep in the mountains totaling 9,720 hectares.

The government approved in 2001 the mineral production sharing agreement of the Aglubang Mining Corp., a subsidiary of the Crew Minerals of Canada. But the Department of Environment and Natural Resources revoked the agreement as quickly as it was granted because the authorities found out that it posed a grave threat to critical watershed that would adversely affect farming, the livelihood and even health of the people.

In canceling the permit, then Environment Secretary Heherson Alvarez said that the Mindoro Nickel Project was one case where sustainability was bound to fail. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is fully aware of the situation. Her administration is committed to create wealth without sacrificing the integrity and vitality of Mindoro’s natural systems. What does it gain the nation to be short-sighted and merely think of money, when an irreparable damage to the environment will cost human lives, health and livelihood capacity of our farmers and fisherfolk, endangering the food security of our people?

But the move to shelve the nickel- mining venture turned out to be only temporary. In late 2005, the Office of the President reversed the DENR decision revoking the Aglubang’s mining permit. The Canadian firm’s president Jan Vestrun trumpeted that there was a change in attitude of the government of the Philippines towards mining, from that of tolerance to active promotion.

The government’s turnaround defies logic because the very law invoked by the project proponents—Republic Act 7942 (Philippine Mining Act of l995)—expressly provides in Section 19 thereof that among the areas closed to mining activities are watershed areas. Since the area covered by the Mindoro Nickel Project is within a protected watershed reservation, where is the justification to reverse the cancellation of the mining permit?

It is an undisputed fact that the Mindoro Nickel Project does not have an iota of social acceptability on the part of the Mindoreños. Without the consent of the people as required by law, the mining venture is deemed illegal and the mining permit issued to Aglubang Corp. is void from the start.

The public opposition is reflected in separate resolutions adopted by the municipal council of Sablayan, Mindoro Occidental and the town’s 22 barangays expressing their vigorous opposition to the mining project. In an open letter to President Arroyo and Environment Secretary Lito Atienza, Sablayan Mayor Godofredo Mintu said any major mining operations would greatly affect agriculture production and endanger social and economic conditions in Sablayan which is one of thee leading rice and corn-producing towns in Mindoro.

Recently, according to Mayor Mintu, a killer typhoon battered the province, causing heavy flooding and landslides that damaged crops and rendered the national highway impassable for several weeks. He warned that large-scale mining would deplete the town’s remaining forest and vegetation cover, aggravate river and soil siltations that would cause an an ecological disaster.


Economic progress at the expense of the displacement of indigenous peoples, food security and environmental destruction is, to put it simply, wrong. I am proud of the Provincial and Municipal governments of Occ. Mindoro and Sablayan for defending the interests of its people and its natural resources. Notwithstanding the pressure from powerful forces and resisting tempting offers (some of which from the National Government, I am certain), your efforts are truly admirable and greatly appreciated.

If you chance upon this blog, please do me a favor and spread the word. Help us save my hometown from further destruction.

Monday, August 24, 2009

new skin

Because my blog is officially three years old today, I've decided to get a new skin.

For sometime now, I've been searching for a template to replace the old one. I found this here and liked the clean and fresh albeit cold look. So much different from the one before which had some strong and warm colors. So please bear with me as I try to iron out the kinks, links and what-have-yous in the coming days.

Monday, August 17, 2009


How is that even possible?!? I can come up with a thousand and one things a man can do under 10 seconds but I wouldn't even think of this.

Living up to his name, Usain Bolt shatters the world record with a new personal best time of a mind blowing 9.58 seconds!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

faux pas?

Freudan slips, a cruel joke or wishful thinking?

If anything, GMA should feel grateful for these blunders. For these booboos might be the only chance she'll ever come close to being accorded such honor, albeit, imagined.

And who can forget Lala Rimando's "guilty" confession?

Gotta love the Pinoy humour, eh?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


Kris Aquino summed it up beautifully, "How do I find the words to say goodbye? Paano bang magpaalam na alam ng puso mo na hindi pa rin sapat ang panahong ibinahagi sa 'yo ng Diyos?"

Filipinos from the world over mourned the loss of our beloved president. And the whole world felt our grief. They offered kind words to honor Corazon Aquino's memory. These tributes have been a source of comfort and acceptance in times of our sorrow. This is specially true for me. Reading their recognition and appreciation for our Mother made me very proud I am a Filipino.

Here are a few of them:

"... she was quiet but articulate; committed to non-violence; insistent that dictatorship should be replaced by democracy." -- the UK Times

" ... the first female holder of the post in the Philippines – Aquino can best be remembered for her noble fight to restore democracy and the systematic dismantling of the worst abuses of dictatorship." -- The Guardian

" ... she left a mark on the history of her troubled country, so deep and so lasting that her death will bring a surge of emotion as the heady days of the short but memorable Aquino era are reassessed." -- the Independent

" The quietly spoken lady in yellow, later described in an official biography as “homemaker, widow, reluctant candidate and elected leader of the Philippines” had come to represent oppressed people's aspirations for freedom across the globe..." -- The Financial Times

" ... went on to gain a worldwide reputation as a fighter for peace and democracy" -- BBC

" It was a fairy-tale revolution that gripped the world and Aquino was hailed as a modern-day Joan of Arc." -- Sky

" Cory Aquino rose above the bureaucratic procrastination that had always bogged it down, reminding her people that they once astonished the world with their bravery — and that they could do it again." -- Time

Monday, August 03, 2009


I'm easily pleased. And it's not because I'm mababaw. I just know what I want. And when these things are achieved, I'm always impressed.

The great iconic music + the amazing voice and an ingenious production and musical arrangement; this video knocks my socks off. I can't believe that even after numerous views, I'm still blown away.


Saturday, August 01, 2009

Corazon C. Aquino (1933-2009)

The news of her death, although expected, still brought a shock. Former president of my beloved country, Corazon C. Aquino, passed away early this morning.

A couple of my working hours were spent on the internet reading obituaries from different international news websites. I felt a deep sadness and great loss as I read tributes from around the world. To them, she was an icon. To the Filipinos, she was the symbol of hope. Her quiet grace and extraordinary courage was an inspiration for most of us.

I was too young to understand what was happening in 1986; the People Power revolution that led to the overthrow of Ferdinand Marcos and the end of his authoritarian rule. At 6 years old, I asked my tatay who the lady in yellow was when I saw a poster outside my lolo's house. Tatay replied, "she is the face of Good".

From then on, for me, Cory Aquino represented everything that is good, honest and decent in the Filipino people. Her term as president may not have lived up to the promise of her bloodless revolution but she made numerous sacrifices for the restoration of democracy in the Philippines and unending fight against tyranny.

Maraming salamat sa biyaya ng Kalayaan.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

there will be blood

After more than a year, I'll be reading something other than Harry Potter. I haven't been "reading" for a while now. I know I should considering all the free time that I've been getting lately. I admit, I spend way too much time on the web and watching telly. And so before I completely run out of brain cells, it's time to feed me some food for the brain. Yesterday, I visited the local library to borrow some books. I picked up Clive Barker's Mister B. Gone and Ryu Murakami's Audition. Both of the horror genre and promise to deliver bloody (pun intended) good stories.

The plan is to read the two books in 3 weeks. Reading a chapter or two before I hit the sack and if I can, just before getting out of bed. The books should be interesting enough to keep me hooked. But with so much distractions around, even the best laid plans can go awry. So help me God.

What's your bedside reading?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

hp 6

Like a true Potterhead, I watched the new Harry Potter film on its first screening day. Together with a few friends, avid Potter fans like me, we trooped to the cinema last night.

I've always treated the HP movies different from the books. Personally, I like the books better. Only because when you read the books, you let your imagination go wild and interpret the words and stories in whatever way you want it to be. But I like movies too. I'm a visual person, first and foremost. So it is a treat for me to watch the stunning details of other people's interpretation of the book.

Before we forget anything, The Harry Potter movies are films based on the novels. It says so in the credits of the film. Knowing this, we must accept that there will be stuff from the book that won't be in the movie. The newest installment is just that. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the filmmakers' interpretation of the book. And I liked it.

Here are 15 things I thought when I sat the entire 153 minutes of the film.

1. The visuals are great; the special effects superb. This is the most picturesque HP film to date.

2. And the most magical film too. The details, omg! From Slughorn's wrecked house to Weasleys' wizarding shop, amazing!

3. They've all grown old. Too old to be 16 year- olds. I mean, is that Neville Longbottom? He looked like somebody else's dad.

4. Question: How tall is Draco Malfoy?

5. In the previous films, I didn't think the filmmakers understood what Quidditch is. In this one, however, they finally got it. And it's bout time because there is no Quidditch in the final book. The Quidditch scenes are probably the most enjoyable parts of the movie. Fast-paced and full of action, an exhilarating experience.

6. Lavender Brown is Stifler's mom.

7. Was the script written by a stand-up comic? There are more laughs here than the first 5 movies combined.

8. Answer: Draco Malfoy must be at least 10 feet tall.

9. The Siege of the Burrow is stunning. S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G!

10. Bellatrix Lestrange is wicked. Helena Bonham-Carter's performance is so good, it's evil.

11. Jim Broadbent shines as Professor Slughorn.

12. Note to Harry: Wear heels if you're standing next to Ginny.

13. After about an hour and a half, you'll slightly feel it to drag a bit.

14. If you didn't read the book, you wouldn't understand why he was called the Half-Blood Prince.

15. The battle of Hogwarts there wasn't. Bummer.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


The outcome was the inevitable but getting there was definitely an amazing surprise. Roger Federer's history making win was nothing short of a classic.

Federer had to work hard for more than 4 hours to seal the victory against Roddick which was contrary to what experts predicted. Pundits expected annihilation from Roger but it didn't come. Instead spectators were treated to a marathon match as the two players matched each other's shots, strides and massive serves.

ARod, the runner-up, played the match of his life and he still came up second best. And I feel sorry for him because the 5 set thriller is dramatic proof how he worked hard to be there. A lot of people already dismissed him and said he was already done and yet he kept on fighting. He displayed a tremendous amount of resilience most especially after the disappointment in the second set. Deep down in mind I know Federer was going to win but as the match progressed, Roddick pulled enough tricks to make one think that he could pull a Nadal. And I'm sure the 15000 people inside the Centre Court wouldn't have minded. But alas, it wasn't meant to be.

Roddick sure had a few chances, especially in the second and a couple more in the last set but Federer was just too good and produced big shots when it mattered. It just goes to show what sort of player Roger Federer is. He is a true champion and unbelievable player; and his latest win further bolsters his argument for Greatest Of All-Time status. Congratulations.

And to Roddick, a big hand. I hope he wins another title in the future. History proves that the brave is always rewarded, perhaps not today but hopefully soon.

one great photo.

Friday, June 26, 2009

the moon walker

He is the greatest performer, if not one of the greats. Michael Jackson is an absolute legend. He changed the music industry and was able to cut across the racial divide. MJ reached people of all age groups, races and nationalities. His life was marred by numerous controversies and for this we may have been unkind in judging him too harshly. He was misunderstood and a troubled man but he was an inspiration to millions too. Michael Jackson entertained and produced some of the best music ever. For this, the world will surely miss him.

His is sheer talent. Utterly genius. And despite all his scandals he is a superstar in every sense of the word. Goodbye, moon walker.


I'm sure I'm going to get a lot of flak for doing this and I'll understand if you give me some lashing. But I just don't think there will ever come a time when it'll be appropriate, so my apologies for thesse offensive bits.

After it was confirmed that the King of Pop passed away I received text messages from my Brit friends. Most of the messages were about shock of the untimely demise and of great loss but there were a few that were definitely done in poor taste.

Here are the messages:

1. Reports of MJ's death are incorrect. He didn't have a heart attack at home as was previously believed. He was actually found in the Children's Ward after a fatal stroke.

2. Doctors at the hospital where MJ died were unsure of the cause of his death. Some blamed it on the sunshine, others on the moonlight. A few on the good times and there were those who blamed it on the boogie.

3. Due to the fact that Michael Jackson was 99% plastic, he will be melted down into Lego blocks so children can actually play with him for a change.

4. In memory of Michael Jackson's achievements, McDonalds has announcedit will be releasing the Jackson Burger- 50 year old meat between 10 year old buns.

Some people can be cruel.


Ketty is pretty bummed out of his passing. She feels sorry that she'll never have the chance to watch him perform live. When MJ performed in Manila 13 years ago, she didn't have the money to buy the ticket being only a high school student then. I told her, I haven't seen him either. Although I did have money to buy the ticket (the cheapest one, if must know), it was impossible to get one. For weeks, I visited the Ticketnet outlets in National Bookstore only to be told time and time again that it was sold out.


Top Five Favorite Michael Jackson songs are:

What are your favorites?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

chapter 3: on the third day, we climbed again

Here's the last part of the buhol-bohol trilogy.

Because of a heavy downpour when we visited Bohol's most popular attraction on the first day of the tour, we decided to go back to the Chocolate Hills again some other time. And so on our last day, that was what we did. Just after 8 am, a coach picked us up and once again journeyed to Carmen, the site of what most describe as one of the World's Geological Wonders.

The Chocolate Hills is a sight to behold. Spread across 50 sq kilometers are some 1,200+ cone-shaped hills in the middle of Bohol Island. And just off Carmen's town center is the largest hill where an observation deck was built where tourists can gaze and marvel at the spectacular scenery. Here, all of us had a blast as we took the wackiest shots of ourselves as we jumped and posed against the hills as our backdrop.

Geologists have long debated about the formation of the hills, resulting in various ways the origin of the Chocolate Hills are stated or explained.

One legend has it that the Hills came about as two rival giants threw rocks and boulders at each other for days. Exhausted, the giants forgot about their meaningless conflict, became friends and left the island without cleaning up the mess they made. The hills are testimony of their great battle.

Another myth tells the story of Arogo, a young, powerful giant who fell in love with Aloya, a mortal girl. When she died, Arogo shed thousands of tears and when they dried up, they formed the Chocolate Hills.

As far as the eyes can see, the Chocolate Hills are not really made of chocolate, but they do look good enough to eat. But we didn't. Instead, we headed back to Tagbilaran and had a quick lunch at the Island City Mall before catching our plane back to the capital.

Our 3 day tour would've been stress free if not for the minor hitch at the airport. Our return flight to Manila via Cebu Pacific was scheduled to depart at 1355. At exactly, 1310 I was at the check in desk only to be told by the attendant that we were "late" for check-in and as consequence, one of us was bumped off the flight in favor of a chance passenger. Boy, did he piss me off.

Let me just say, I am not one to complain. Being in the service industry, I've had numerous experiences when I was yelled at and accosted to for doing my job. I know what it's like to be at the other side of desk. And so it really was hard for me to argue with that poor chap at the check in counter. My point was, they should've realised that as a group there was no way we'd let one of our party be left behind. Especially since the next flight was at least 24 hours away. And the fact that for the 15 of us it was immaterial that we were "late" because they still would accommodate us on the flight.

And the nerve of them lecturing us on time management when their plane wasn't even there when this was all happening. The plane landed in Tagbilaran almost 10 minutes after we were supposed to take off at 1405. Taking up the cudgels for the family, I, with Lorraine, argued with the entire ground staff of the airline. Ang aming dugong Batangueño ay nag-aalab, we held our ground. All for one, one for all, was our battle cry. And after more than 30 minutes of wrangling, the supervisor relented and let us all in to the flight.

Albeit short, our 3 day Boholiday was very memorable. We had lots of fun visiting beautiful places, eating the most delicous food and spending the most precious times together. Travelling with some of the people you love the most was truly fulfilling.

On to our next trip...