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...

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


I am at a loss for words.

Boredom led Ketty to here. Madness drove us to try it.
Thank goodness we have good genes!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

bohol day 2 round up

Our second day in Bohol started at the break of dawn. Four-friking-forty-five early! Dolphin-watching and island-hopping was the order of the day.

The spot where dolphins come out is at least a 45-minute boat ride from Panglao Island’s shores and we have to be there by early morning.

There were at least 2 dozens of them. The marine mammals were greeted by oohs and ahhs everytime they jumped out of the water.

Balicasag is an island off the coast of Panglao. It was a 15 minute boat ride from where we spotted the dolphins.

The island is a popular snorkelling and diving destination. More than half of us went swimming with the fishes in their sanctuary. The rest of us frolicked in the crystal clear waters of the Bohol sea.

Virgin Island is tiny crescent-shaped white sandbar island half an hour from Balicasag. It is postcard pretty and perfect for picture taking. Here, we took hundreds of photos and I'm sure when we left, it was not so virgin anymore.

The banana boat ride that my siblings and a cousin took. For 15 minutes and two taobs, we howled and laughed like there was no tomorrow.

The experience in one word is exhilarating!

For dinner, the family went to the Bohol Bee Farm. We were treated to another delicious meal. We sampled the (in)famous flower salad- with gumamela, bougainvilleas, katurays etc. It was surprisingly good. Or perhaps it was the dressing that made it really yummy. All the dishes served were honey-based and made made from organic ingredients. There was also a mango ice cream which, I shall proclaim, as the best ice cream in the world! It was weird because I don't like ripe mangoes, period. Yet, I abso-frickin-lutely loved it. The ice cream was creamy, smooth, subtly sweet and delightfully tart.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

no to mining

Mindoro's natural wonders are under threat from mining. I am one with my provincemates in opposing the proposed Mindoro nickel project of Intex Resources Philippines Inc. I fear the damages this development will cause to the people of Mindoro and the environment will be massive and irreversible. This is personal because my hometown is the site of the project. Experts believe it will cause destruction of critical watershed affecting the food supply and security of the island. It will also invariably evict the Mangyans from their domain. Please help not to let this happen by spreading the word. Thanks.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


A Batangueño family is like panucha, sweet with a lot of nuts!

Together with only 14 members of my maternal family, the missus and I went on a three-day tour of Bohol. It was a trip that was planned for months and one that I was particularly excited about. You see, I was really bummed out that I couldn't join my parents and siblings on their trip last February, so I was mighty glad we were able to travel with them this time.

We had a wonderful time. For not only I enjoyed the scenery but I savoured my company. Douglas Coupland wrote a book entitled All Families are Psychotic and he could've been writing about us. We are insane! Funny insane. And I love them. Didn't they say insanity is hereditary and that people get it from their kids? Ha!

Anyway, we haven't even left Manila when chaos ensued. We travelled in two groups to the airport, the bagets and the forgets. But for some reason, Ketty and I found ourselves with the latter. We were in my parents' vehicle being driven by the driver to the wrong terminal! That got the other group worried. They were ahead of us and was already waiting at the the brand spanking new NAIA III. After a few minutes, we arrived at the terminal and went in immediately to check in.

At the counters, some of us had an issue with excess baggage. One of them was my Ninang who packed a blanket in her luggage! No wonder she was overweight (pun not intended). It elicited laughters from all of us.

Our plane to Tagbilaran was due to depart at 0825 but we didn't leave until an hour later because GMA was also scheduled to travel that morning. Talk about major nuisance.

After a flight of more than an hour, we arrived at the City of Friendship. We were welcomed by leis and were immediately ushered into a coaster. It was only when I heard a woman introduce herself as the tour guide did I realise that the tour was on its way. She went on to tell us facts about the province and the city which she deliverd proudly. Our first stop was the site of the blood compact between Sikatuna and Legazpi. It was a quick stop which only enabled us to take a few pictures.

We then travelled to the small town of Baclayon to visit its church. The Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is the oldest in the province and one of the best preserved in the country. It has a museum which showcases centuries-old religious relics, artifacts and other antiquities. A 15 year-old lad who very much sounded like a 40 year old spinster showed us around. My cousin Rain gives an uncanny impression of him which amused my Ninang Emma no end.

We were informed by our guide that Boholanos are very religious and extremely conservative. Worldly matters and vices do not escape the vigilant eyes of the church and the clergy. There was even a strict dress code being implemented at the church.

Time flies when you're having fun and before we knew it, it was almost noon. Lunch, however, was an entirely different experience. We were treated to sumptous meal aboard a floating restaurant as we cruised the picturesque Loboc river. I've already told you how we eat, so it really shouldn't surprise you how the 16 of us killed the buffet table. There were at least a dozen dishes but the Adobong Kangkong, Fried Chicken, Pork Barbecue and Pancit Guisado, to me were the stand outs.

Because we took the boat from Loay, we travelled upstream. The whole trip lasted about an hour but none of us mind because we enjoyed the lush green landscape. Thousands of trees lined up the banks which covered any sign of civilisation. It was really an amazing way to commune with nature. Tip: Take the cruise from Loay town as the views are more scenic. And you will never see anything except,trees and more trees. Boats from Loboc, we were told, will pass by houses and establishments thus spoiling the view.

Somewhere along the river was a stop over where a group of Ati tribesmen entertained the tourists. These tribesmen has become a some sort of tourist attraction themselves as they perfomed, danced and posed for pictures. My Nanay must've been confused by the goings on around her when she thought they were a group of Indians. We were probably there for half an hour and it was time to go back.

A skip and a hop from the jetty was The Clarin Ancestral House. The 167 year old house is now a museum housing family collections that date back to the American period. I'm hugely fascinated by the bahay na bato and find the old Filipino heritage houses romantic. Ketty likes them too and we plan to build our own bahay na bato one day.

A visit to Bohol wouldn't be complete without the sighting of the cute tarsier. Although, we only saw a few, the big eyed little creature mesmerised us all. Ketty captured it in mid-wink.

It was then time to head to the world famous Chocolate Hills but not after we drove through the man made forest and brief visit to the butterfly sanctuary in Bilar town. My younger cousins, being teenaged girls couldn't contain their excitement when we entered the butterfly pavillion. I cannot, for the life of me, understand the allure of these insects to young girls.

As our coaster drove past stunning scenes of the Bohol countryside, we noticed dark clouds in the sky. The guide said this summer brought rains in Bohol particularly in the afternoon thus making the Chocolate Hills look not chocolate anymore. Minty-colored, one of us observed. When we arrived in Carmen, it began drizzling. For some reason, all of us still climbed the 250 and so steps to the viewing deck hoping that by the time we reach the top, the rain would've stopped. Was I wrong? For it poured really hard. Drenched, we all left disappointed. 10 minutes after we left, the skies cleared and the rain stopped. Instead of going back we decided to return in the morning of our last day.

Our drive to the resort in Panglao Island was long and it was already dark when we arrived. We were billeted at the Alonaland Resort. Here for two nights was our home away from home.

To be continued.....