Learning and Living

Yesterday, I heard someone (a lady) tell another person (a middle-aged man), “Why do you even bother paying for her matriculation fees? She is not even your child. You should stop doing that.”

There could be several explanations why the lady said those words to that man. The man could be paying the matriculation fees of an ungrateful child. He could be borrowing money in her behalf. Or…it could even be as simple as he wishes to a help a person who is not even his own child.

I don’t know the whole story so I am not in position to judge. However,  if the lady’s statement is related to the third scenario I mentioned, it’s so sad that she harbors such kind of beliefs. Since when there was a rule that we should only send  someone to school if she/he is our child? It violates every value I know about education, and what does this make me, my siblings and every person out there who was   able to study through the graciousness of other people?

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A old Spanish lighthouse overlooking the Guimaras strait:


This is considered to be the 2nd oldest lighthouse in the Philippines. Basing on its appearance alone, it might have stood witness to thousand of stories, and survived several weather disturbances.


It saddens me that since the lighthouse is made of metal… it will surely rot with time. One day, Guimaras will just wake up realizing the their lighthouse has already been a part of history.

More “Relics” at Daily Post.



It’s been a while since I’ve done something extreme. The last was probably my white water rafting adventure in Davao City in December of 2012. I don’t even know what made me do it back then. And I am not sure if I will ever have the guts to repeat that kind of experience.

 Last Friday, I was reminded partly of the thrill I experienced in Davao. I and few of my officemates decided to try out the ramen at Ramenagi at SM Mall of Asia. After dinner, I had a sudden urge to ride a bump car so we proceeded to the SM Mall of Asia Amusement Mark. We first tried a spaceship-like ride where the passengers are whirled in all sorts of direction possible. Because of its action, we even nicknamed it “The Drier”. Afterwards, we tried out the bump cars. The car was slower than I imagined it. I maneuvered it with ease reminding me of all the days I spent part paring for bump car rides in high school. Lastly, we tried the ride where we were bolted suddenly up in the air, then dropped at a rate even faster than we were holed up.

 At one point while suspended in the air, I opened my eyes and saw the bright lights coming from the streets and the mall. I thought it was such a good view but my bigger question for myself…why do we seek such kind of extreme experiences? The obvious answer is the thrill we experience from doing something extreme can be exhilarating…too exhilarating that some even make it as a form of living. But then again, why do we need to feel such kind of thrill? Why do we need to defy every possible law of gravity we’ve known?

 It’s a hard question to answer. I myself can’t explain the elation I feel why I am suspended up in the air while riding a zip line or even when I am just climbing a 500-step stairs not knowing what waits for me at the end of the climb.

 It’s one of the wonders of being human. The extent to which we are willing to put ourselves in just to explore the difference facets of our existence.

Cave and Contrast

There’s a very interesting cave in Guimaras Island cave the Baras Cave. It is situated separate from the main island so can it only be reached via boat. The island cave is full of contrasts…from the sharp and smooth stones inside, to the shallow and deep parts of the lagoon inside it, up to the light and dark contrasts created by several small entrances in the cave.

Baras Cave, Guimaras Island

Baras Cave, Guimaras Island



Check out other “Contrast” entries at Daily Post.

Extra, Extra

I already talked about my adventures in the Ilocos provinces in previous posts. I haven’t come to sharing about Kapurpurawan Rock Formations yet though I will do so in my next travel post… hopefully. The way to the rock formations are surrounded by shallow bodies of water. I don’t know how they come about but they form some of the most beautiful natural attractions I have seen in the Philippines.

Unforgivable Extra!

Unforgivable Extra!

As seen in photo above, the scenery provide such an amazing backdrop.  I have one qualm though…the locals decided to put a stature/monument of a crocodile! When I saw it, I almost shouted, “WHHHHHHHHHHHHHHYYYY?”. I think the status is totally and unnecessary and just destroys the whole  feel of the place. Sorry Ilocos Norte government. I just feel that some natural attractions are better off untouched.

Check out the entries for this week’s photo challenge “Extra, Extra” at Daily Post.


(Travel Diary) The Ilocos Adventure Part 2: Laoag City

In the first part of Ilocos Adventure post, I shared about the places I visited in the towns of Batac and Paoay, Ilocos Norte. For this  part, I will share about my quick stop in Laoag City. I and my co-workers just stayed in the city for a half a day but I can say every second we spent in Laoag was worthwhile. The city proper was smaller and less urbanized then I expected but I was surprised that it was this fact that made me love it even more. So onto my Laoag hullabaloos…

Seat of power in Ilocos Norte

Seat of power in Ilocos Norte

Laoag City

On August 9, during the last day of the conference, most of officemates went back to Manila already while I and four co-workers (Ate Kate, Shei, Sab and Io) decided stay to visit the rest of the Ilocos provinces. We were also later joined by Ate Kate’s husband, Kuya Vince who flew all the way from Manila.

La Preciosa Restaurant

 After checking out of Plaza Del Norte, we proceeded to the city proper of Laoag. We then checked in at La Eliana Hotel, a budget accommodation. We agreed to just stay there for the night since we will be leaving for early in the morning anyway. After resting for a bit, we went out to start to our half day tour of Laoag. Our first stop was the the La Preciosa Restaurant, which was situated just across La Eliana Hotel. They are famous for their cakes and a poqui-poqui, an eggplant dish. La Preciosa seems to be an old Spanish house converted to a restaurant. The interior is reminiscent of old antique houses and is very homey.

La Preciosa Restaurant.

La Preciosa Restaurant.

Since it was just around 2 PM, we decided to try the cakes and reserve poqui-poqui for dinner. We ordered three flavors: carrot cake, toblerone cake, and blueberry cheesecake. All the cakes were good but my personal favorite would have to be the carrot cake!

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What’s the Story Behind the Room?

It’s not unusual to see old Spanish houses in the Philippines after being a colony of Spain for more than 300 years. The best preserved Spanish houses are usually located in heritage cities like Vigan in Ilocos Sur, and Silay in Negros Occidental. I had the chance to visit one of the most famous heritage house in Silay City last May, the Balay Negrense. The museum is also known as the 117-year old ancestral house of Victor Gaston. The room that caught my attention the most from that house is the girl’s room:


According to the tour guide, the things in the room used to be property of the Gaston daughters. I remember being spooked out particularly by the dolls. They remind me of horror movies involving Chucky. I cant’ help but wonder, what were their stories? And if these dolls can project scenes, what stories would they tell?

Check out the entries for this week’s photo challenge entitled Room.

Work of Art

I went  to the provinces of Negros Occidental, Iloilo and Guimaras just a few weeks ago. One thing that stood out during that trip was these provinces has all kinds of churches  imaginable. In fact, I was able to visit a total of eight (8) churches including the Miag-ao Church, a UNESCO World Hertige Site. The strongest points of these churches vary–old age, architecture, sculptures inside the church, etc.  Setting Miag-ao Church aside, the church that stood out  for me the most was the Bacolod City Cathedral, aka the San Sebastain Cathedral. Its’s interiors is a sight to behold, especially at night time. There also seemed to be a synergy in all the elements of the church–the lighting, the altar, the arcs. Truly a work of art.


San Sebastian Cathedral, Bacolod City

San Sebastian Cathedral, Bacolod City



This post is my entry to Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme Work of Art.

(Travel Diary) The Ilocos Adventure Part 1: Batac and Paoay

I’ve been dreaming of visiting the provinces of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur for the longest time. I’ve heard and read about the beauty of the provinces so I feel disappointed every time a travel plan to go there does not push through. In August last year, I finally got of a taste of the best things Ilocos has to offer. We had an work-related event from August 7-9 in Laoag City last year, so I and a few co-workers decided to stay until the 11th so we can also visit the nearby towns.

Plaza Del Norte at dusk.

Plaza Del Norte at dusk.

During our first three (3) days in Laoag, we weren’t able to go around that much in city since the event activities run until nighttime.  On Day 1 though, we had a meeting at the Mariano Marcos State University so I was able to get a quick glimpse of Batac. The school served us a sumptuous lunch consisting of Ilocos bagnet and pinakbet.  Bagnet is just…superb. It looks like the standard lechon kawali but it is more superior because it is already tasty on its own. No need for soy sauce or lechon sauce like Mang Tomas!

Fat? What fat?

Fat? What fat?

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Quarter Life


I rarely do this  but forgive me just this once. :)

Thank you to everyone who extended their greetings!

Thank you to my family, relatives, friends, professors, classmates and co-workers who have in a way or two helped me reach the state where I am today. I can’t thank you enough!

Thank You for giving me the opportunity to live in Your paradise and for constantly reminding me that despite my misgivings, life has so much to offer.

I am not getting younger but I’d like to believe I am still sharper than ever and hopefully getting wiser and lighter. ;)

If a quarter of a century is this fun and chaotic, I am so looking forward to next quarter. :)


On Top

I thought being on school break means more free time. I guess not. I am loaded with work more then even so I am hardly alive these days. Anyway, for a breather I am sharing these two photos for this week’s challenge with the theme “On Top”. These actually do not exude the “on top” perspective discussed by the challenge, but rather a “to the top” and “at the top” feeling. Nonetheless, hope you like them!

The way to the top of the hill.

The way to the top of the hill.

The view from the top of the hill!

The view from the top of the hill!

Belated Happy Easter everyone and I hope I have the time to post something tomorrow for my special day. :)

Recalling Laiya

One year in the making yet I haven’t still talked about our office’s team building last year. It  was a two-day activity  held in Blue Coral Beach Resort in Laiya, Batangas. I could barely remember what happened except for the fact that our team won the games! Ha!

Blue Coral's beach front.

Blue Coral’s beach front.


Having a pool works to the resort's advantage.

Having a pool works to the resort’s advantage.

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A Grandmother’s Story

I still find it unfathomable that I have no more grandparents waiting for me to come home. Barely two weeks ago, my paternal grandmother, my last living grandparent, succumbed to coma and eventually death after suffering from a hemorrhagic stroke. What’s even more even more difficult to comprehend was the rate at which life surprised us. Lola Flor  just celebrated her 79th birthday last February 23 and I was even able talk to her through the phone. Three days later, our entire family was dumbfounded with the news that she suffered a stroke. 

On the last night of the wake,  our family  organized a short program to honor Lola Flor. The family members were requested to share their fondest memories of her.  I placed myself then on a time machine trying to recall significant moments, and I can’t help but be sad because I can barely recall them. During the program proper, I cried ever more, because  I gathered that among the grandchildren, I was the only  who never had a chance to live her. As I hear my  brothers, uncles, and extended relatives speak, I realized that there were many facets of my grandmother that I never knew of. 

I knew she gave birth to my father at  a young age. Yet, I didn’t know  that while taking care of her own children, she also attended to her siblings and even to to her nieces and nephew. She also took a lot of other people under her wing, the testament of which are the people who were present during her wake introducing themselves as either “adopted son” or “adopted daughter”. 

I wondered then, am I no different from a stranger? Every time I go home to Bicol, I visited her. Yet, I never asked or learned about these aspects of her life. I never got to ask how I behaved as a child, or if she remembered the days when I would spend some days at her home during summer vacations. As my uncle had carefully laid out during his eulogy, “I was probably very busy growing up and thinking about my own I life that I forgot Lola Flor was also growing old.” 

I feel sad  that I wasn’t to able to appreciate Lola Flor more when she was alive. However, I am still happy and thankful because in ever in her death, I still got to know her more or perhaps even better. 

Lola Flor, I hope you are at peace now.  And… forgive your grandchild for being so callous and carefree.