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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Old world...Vigan

dateline: vigan, ilocos sur

We arrive at vigan around 9pm. Even at night, one can see the old houses lining up the main streets of vigan. We would have wanted to checked at the Heritage hotel but it was fully booked so we decided instead at El Juliana. There was parking and swimming pool and the rooms eventhough it was small was enough for us. He paid 2,800 for a king size bed plus 2 extra beds. The facade was old indeed, like those you can see in spanish era. The interior was also old, at least in the lobby and the hallways. The rooms are modern enough. Breakfast are free but not appetizing, at least the filipino set.
Uching said, the houses are the stuff of horror movies. When i woke up around 3am, i wouldn't have gotten up from bed but i could not anymore control the need to take a pee so i bravely went to the cr, carefully avoiding not looking at the mirror. The airconditioner was noisy, i thought someone was scratching our walls. I didn't turn the lights back off.
I think that Vigan is the place of the very rich during those times. The houses are just plain big. One wonders where all the poor are concentrated. Bessang Pass is a tricky mountain trail bordering the mountain province and ilocos sur even now. Back then, during Rizal's time and even during the japanese occupation, one wanders how big was japan's invading army if they were able to penetrate such difficult places. My mind wanders again...
We attended easter sunday mass at vigan cathedral. The church also is old and like most old churches, there was variety of antique sculptures of saints and the Holy Trinity. The sound system is not that good. We left Vigan around 12 noon and had our lunch was take-outs from mc donalds. The trip to manila was a sight for sore eyes. I have to give credits to him for being such a good adventurer, driver,provider,etc. The trip wouldn't have been possible if not for his can-do attitude. Indeed it's one of his endearing traits. Thanks be to God for a a holy week full of appreciation for His wonderful creations.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Make-up and people

I receive two freebies today from cris. A NARS mascara and a Rouge Allure Chanel lipstick valued at US$ 23 and 30 respectively.

The NARS mascara lengthens lashes with rich, dense color which supposedly accentuates the eye. It is Fiber free, non-irritating,and Synthetic fragrance free.
The Rouge Allure lipstick is an intensely pigmented lipstick with a satiny effect. The lipstick is beautiffully presented in a black lacquered case. You have to press the bottom for the lipstick to open.

I have never found the need to wear a mascara. Modesty aside, I am gifted with naturally long and thick lashes. Also, when i tried wearing eye-make up, i end up with teary and itchy eyes so there must be an allergic reaction. When i tried the mascara today, everything seemed okay. I'll have to observe it for a few more days. Not that i will be wearing eye-make up everyday now.
The lipstick, is a bit too glittery for my taste but perfect for going out at night. Not that, i go out at night, well except with him and the kids. So now, i have a day lipstick, loreal's moisture extreme brick rose and a night lipstick, chanel's rouge allure.

Let me tell you about the girl who gave me the loot. She's a very unassuming,shy young lady. Quiet, for the most of the time but i think she becomes talkative in the company of close friends. She's tall and model-thin and posseses the natural skin-toned of a typical filipina. She has a charming smile. More than the physical, she is a beautiful person. Before my working at the office, she was the only rose among the thorns. The work atmoshere is a very informal one. Teasing is a natural past-time and more often than not she get's her share more than most because she's the only girl. But she just takes it all gracefully. If she's hurt or offended or if she's on her off mood, she just kept silent. She's always courteous. But then, everybody else in the office is courteous. Bossess will always be bosses. Sometimes, you love them, sometimes you hate them. It's a fact of life. But here,the scale is tipped in favor of affection and certainly a lot of respect for the "gods".

Make-ups are supposed to cover one's imperfections and or enhance one's striking attributes. I thank cris for giving me some to cover my obvious physical imperfections. And i thank my officemates here for free lunches and snacks and a happy, comfortable workplace.They are certainly a generous bunch...I couldn't ask for more.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bontok, Mountain Province

dateline : bontok, Mountain ProvinceSaturday, April 11, 2009
I am overwhelmed with so much calm. Waking up and seeing the mountain with a mist hovering over its peak can do that to me. Going outside just to feel the air really made my teeth chatter. It's been a long time since i saw a mountain with mist and my teeth chatter over cold air. When we spent a night in Bagiuo in 2007, i didn't notice the mountains at all, the cold sure. What registered to me was the houses that took over most of the mountain side.
Here, you can't help but notice the mountains. Bontoc is a plateau. It is flatlands sorrounded by mountains on all side. The trip from Baguio to Bontok was long and winding. I think the beatles wrote this song for this particular piece of road. Magnificent is truly a word to describe God's creation. You would not know what i am talking not unless you will experience it first hand. The roads are in good condition except for some rough patches due to road slips and cuts, mostly in sabangan. One thing is true though, the roads are itched into the side of the mountains so that all throughout your trip, you will feel like one slip and you will fall all the way way way down. It's cliff driving all the way to Bontoc. He is one fine driver and the fortuner is one fine suv. Me, I am just plain cold. I am wearing short shorts, our clothes wet because the galloon containing our water came undone during our trip and we only discovered it halfway before reaching sabangan.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Barasoain Church

I had ambitious plan for Maundy thursday. I was going to suggest to him that we visit old churches. Infact, i already made a list of all the churches:
1. Malate church - Nuestra Senora de los Remedios
2. Manila Cathedral
3. San Agustin church - Church of St. Paul
4. Quiapo church - Minor basilica of the Black Nazarene
5. Twin churches of Bustillos - the St. Anthony of Padua shrine and Our Lady Of Loreto(church of Sampaloc)
6. Binondo church
7. San Beda church - Abbey of Our Lady of Monserrat
8. San Sebastian Church
9. San Vicente de Paul church
10. Mt. Carmel church in new manila
11. Santisimo ROsario Parish aka UST chapel
12. ST. Andrews in makati
13. Sto. Domingo church in Quezon City
14. Church wiiht the bamboo organ in Las Pinas
and a lot more not forgetting St. Francis church in Ortigas.
Wednesday night was fight night. Harsh words were exchanged and i was deeply hurt by what was said. There was nothing new to it except that having heard it again at a time when i expected that he would mellow down after exerting effort to please him and not getting what i wanted, at the same time persistent doubts in my head on why he was not answering my calls, really blow me off.
I made resolutions that night. Early thursday morning, i visited St. Francis church and just sat there at the back pew crying. I would have wanted to do the station of the cross but i don't have a guide so i ended up doing a personal prayer. After that exhaustive silence, i decided i to go to edsa central market to do some marketing.After,reaching the condo, they were still asleep and i also went asleep.
Later that day, he decided that we go to Laoag and so we packed our bags and went. I was just silent all through out this time even when he asked me whether we should go to baguio or to laoag, what i would like to eat. I only talked when i asked him during one of our stop if we could possiby visit barasoain church in malolos. And so we exited through tabang and looked for the famous barasoain church.
Upon reaching the church, we marveled at the various saints ready for procession. We lighted candles.We took some time to pray. We took pictures. I am happy to have visited this church. My maundy thursday has certainly improved. Thanks be to God.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Montevista Hotspring Resort

The very first weekend in manila, we went to montevista resort in laguna. I like swimming there because unlike Timoga spring where it's really cold, there at montevista, the water is just right for nighttime and even for daytime swimming. The place does not have the ambience of most resort but rather it's just a place where's a lot of swimming pool and very much accessible to the public so expect a lot of people sharing the pool. My kids age 4 and 2 enjoyed the pool.

Taken just after waking up at the family room, we had our breakfast at Max's montevista. Although, you can bring your own food and you pay a certain amount for the corkage. There's a grilling area.

Most of the rooms are located at the second floor, and so we have to carry our own bags although there are resort employees who are more than willing to carry them all for you.

The view at the back of the resort was Mt. Makiling. I wouldn't have known if i didn't take the time to lift the curtains. In contrast to the warm water, the air was cold.

Inside, our room was a sunken pool where the water is also hot and you'll have all the privacy you want.

My two babies who are always excited to jump into any body of water. I bought the itsy bitsy teeny yellow-not-polka-dot bikini for aj. If truth be told, i would have wanted to wear that but..


Our flight(cebu pacific air flight 5j392) to manila is a good one except for the fact that we were on air for about 30 minutes more than the expected flight because of some activities on the ground that kept us circling above manila. Circling is my term, i didn't quite catch the exact terminology that the captain used. It must have been a thrill for some who love flying but it was not for me. It wasn't also the first time that it happened to me. i also experienced it with philippine airlines. there was also the time when we were already on air for about 15 minutes give or take but we were told that we have to return to cagayan de oro because a baggage was included in our plane but the passenger did not board. they probably think, it was a terroristic act. oh well, no matter the delay, safety is always the primary concern.

what didn't go well with me though was that there wasn't transportation available to bring the passengers from the tarmac to the entrance of the arrival area which is no sweat at all if you're doing your early morning exercise but quite a walk if you're travelling with two cranky toddlers who want to take a pee, and handcarried baggage,all done walking under the sweltering heat of the sun. And i had to carry my youngest also. I'm not sure if airlines are required to do that, you know, provide transportation, and for what minimum distance, but i would have appreciated that gesture, along with those who have the same difficulty as i did. You can take away the free paper, the snack but at least allow us to be comfortable not only upon deplaning but also until we are able to claim our baggage in the arrival area. i guess, that's why they are able to give low airfares, they have to cut back on some service.

i sure hope it's not on maintenance and safety...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Iligan City Bombing

The latest bombing incident in this city involves the maria cristina bridge which connects iligan city to lanao del norte. According to breaking reports, the left and right side where damage and authorities have yet to determine if the damage to the structure is considerable enough for the bridge to be unsafe to motorists and residents. Thankfully, no lives were lost.

Why, o why these people strike again when life seems back to normal...again? I don't presume to know so much of their ideology or advocacy, i am just a normal citizen trying to live a peaceful co-existence with my moslem brothers and sisters. Why can't they just live and let live. Everybody encounters injustice every now and then, well , others suffer more than most but not everyone kills in retaliation.

Whoever said about an eye for eye and a tooth for a tooth philosophy will leave all of us blind and without teeth?

here's a link to the story:

Friday, April 17, 2009

ucpb customer service

Yesterday, i went to ucpb-san miguel branch to checked whether my replacement atm card is already available. I didn't think of calling first because the last time i was there to apply, i was told that the card will be available 3 days after application. Since they already know that my main account is at Iligan, i assumed that the 3 days waiting period still applies. I applied march 3o, when i went there i was told that my card was not yet available. In addition, if i wanted to claim my card at ucpb-smc, i need to write address to ucpb-iligan requesting that the card be forwarded to ucpb-smc. They didn't tell me when i applied, only when i went there again to claim.

Since, i have bills to pay i needed to make an over-the-counter withdrawal. I filled-up a withdrawal slip, gave 120 pesos as bank charge for inter-branch withdrawals which by the way i didn't get any receipt and was made to wait for more than an hour. The first time that i made an over-the-counter withdrawal, i was also made to wait for the same amount of time except that i didn't sit it out at the bank because i have my two children with me and both are hungry and are starting to be restless. Anyway, i called up an officemate at Iligan if she could follow up ucpb-iligan. Not contented, i even called up ucpb-iligan myself to follow-up the faxed withdrawal slip. The reply i received was that they didn't received any fax from ucp-smc, only to be disputed by a bank officer at ucpb-smc by showing me a report of all fax messages sent.

I don't know where their bottlenecks are but i assume that the bank charge i paid for the interbranch transaction should have been enough payment for the telephone calls they are going to incur to follow up these transactions. If i had been a valued depositor, i probably will get a more prompt service. But i'm not so.... think you only get lousy service from government offices.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ted Failon

I woke up around 3am. I couldn't help but think about what happened to Ted Failon's wife. We were listening to his morning program over the radio and his world seemed alright and then later at night seeing him being the it must have felt to have his world being turned upside down.

IT's surreal how your world can changed in an instant. I felt that during the accident. There's an element of unbelief that how could things happened that particular way. You go to sleep hoping that maybe it was all a dream when you wake up only to find that things aren't gonna be the same again and you just have to live with it.

Regardless of the reason of the Failon incident, his wife must have been at her lowest, to have thought that there's no other recourse to her problem but death. Everyone is responsible to his or her own mental health. But spousal support could certainly go along way in helping the troubled one, in the same way that spousal abuse, even if it's only verbal, could isolate the troubled spouse. I make no judgement here. Only that, nobody should be so lonely as to feel that no one cares about him or her anymore, or that there's nobody who would share the burden, or that suicide is the only option. Especially between couples, because they are half of the same whole. One's pain should also be felt by the other in the same way that what makes one happy also makes the other happy. Sorrow is halved and joy multiplied. In moments of anger, the more important things should not be forgotten.

But all things are easier said than done...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


The trip to Sagada from Sabangan crossroads was only 7 kms upland but since we were traversing a new route over the mountains to Ilocos Sur, he decided we might as well pass on Sagada. Add to that was the fact that we were told that we needed to cross a river before reaching cervantes. We were looking up at the sky and saw rainclouds on the horizon. We needed to pass that river before the rains starts. We didn't know yet how high the waters would be so he was driving as fast as the roads will allow.

Again, the roads are literally breath-taking. I thought that the roads will be different now since we will be going through interior through Ilocos Sur. I thought wrong. Again, we were cliffdriving.

The Bessang Pass in the Ilocos sur was constructed so that it feels like you're in the great wall of china. When you are on top, you can actually see the downward spiral of the road. By this time, all gadgets are low on power so no documentation on that. But my, you have to wonder at government efforts to make the road safe and in good condition and there was even no credits on billboards on whose effort the roads were made. I think, in a few years many will be traversing that road and be in awe of everything that can be seen. It's not your regular tourist attraction but if ever your visiting banaue , i highly recommend going to ilocos sur on road trips via bessang pass. By then, the bridge that they are currently constructing over the river would have been completed already. If you decided to visit it now, i recommend taking only suv. Cars would drown in the river. Thanks to his skillful driving and the fortuner's make and God Almighty for HIS provision, we were able to cross the river. There is something that can be said about overcoming hurdles and barrier. IT makes you believe in yourself even more. And while we were fearful, and happy to overcome those mountain roads and that river pass, when we are only passengers, how much more self-affirming could it be to him who drives us through? A can do attitude could certainly get you places.

Banaue, Ifugao Province

dateline: Banaue
April 11, 2009

We had breakfast at ridgebrook hotel in bontoc and checked out early. When we arrived last night, we weren't able to see Bontoc clearly. At day time, going to the mountains again to banaue, Bontoc is truly at the basin, a thriving community nestled at the foot of every mountain on sight. The houses are quite similar in form, multi-storied and clinging to the mountain sides. Most are made of galvanized iron not only for roofing but also as sidings, probably to keep off the cold.

The bontoc-banaue road are mostly under construction. Again, just like the Benguet-bontoc road, the roads are carved from the sides so there's nothing else but mountain on one side and cliff on the other. The Benguet to bontoc road however are in good condition except for the occasional road cuts. I think our taxes are well-spent on these roads. You have to give it to our government to make these areas easily accessible.

As with all mountain roads, there are passes where only one vehicle can get through. On the road going back to bontoc from banaue, we were forced to back up a trail because the driver of the Innova was afraid to proceed forward. Of course, he was on the cliff side so if he slips...We stopped for nature break at MT Polis. Aj could no longer hold her bladder she urinated on her shorts. Taking a pee costs 3 pesos each and 5 if you need to move your bowels. He bought sweatshirts for aj and abby and matching bonnets. I asked if were staying long since he bought them cold wear, he said no he just like seeing them in traditional mountain attires. Well, that's an insight to his personality. That is something more he could teach me, that would be in living in the moment. But i digress..

I bought a sculptured mountain man who is sitting on his butt for 110.00 pesos only. A traditional pose which allows him to function as a cellphone holder. At the Batad viewpoint, we had our pictures taken with old igorots for a fee. Actually, it's only donation. While we were sitting alongside them, aj blurted out "baho-a uy". The darndest thing children could say. Again, i bought a wooden sculpture of the nativity scene for 500 pesos. He bought banaue souvenir t-shirts for me and the kids and even for yaya.

The banaue rice terraces are simply amazing. You have to give it to these people to find ways to make the mountain work for them. They embraced their environment, make do with what is available. How else would you describe large scale farming of rice on sloping land? I have something to learn from these people. While enjoying lunch at Ifugao Province, we never saw beggars on the streets.

Reflecting on these trip to the mountain and ifugao province, i would say that their life is genuinely difficult only in terms of physical and modern conveniences but more than that their spirit is largely uncorrupted. They found a way to make a square peg fit on a round hole and got away with it. I may have a tendency to romanticized everything but the fact remains that, you can't see what their hands have made out of the environment that they are in and made something so great, that it made it to the 7 wonders of the world.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Urdaneta, Pangasinan

We left manila around 3pm through nlex. We took the tabang exit to visit the historic barasoain church in malolos. We passed through pampanga and tarlac and then we decided to spend the night in urdaneta, pangasinan. I thought we were going to drive all through dagupan and spend the night there. Apparently, he has no intention of spending good friday on the road. Our first stop in urdaneta is the lisland resort but it's fully booked. Probably because the rates are reasonable and the ambience is good. Our second stop is Goldland spring resort but its also fully booked. The children decided to take a dip there but we didnt feel like staying long. After getting our take-out dinner from chowking, we checked in at Urdaneta garden resort.

Urdaneta garden resort is still in the process of completion but most of the cottages near the frontage is already completed. What is still under construction are the expansion areas at the back. The amenities consists of two swimming pools and a restaurant. The accomodations are very nice. The one that we stayed in 'torrey pines is an airconditioned bungalow type with two rooms, a bathroom, a dining area complete with tv and ref for 2,500 per night.

We left around 10 am after having breakfast for Our Lady Of Manaog with wet bathing suits at the back of the Fortuner. The kids doesn't want to leave the place anymore because of the swimming pool but it was just too hot to be swimming in the day and too good a day to waste inside that he decided we go on to visit other places and marvel at God's creations.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Yaya Mary

Yaya Mary has been with us for more than a year now. I have no complaints yet. She is a level-headed kind of girl who is attached to his father for reasons only a daughter can understand. I heard stories that about her father that isn't good at all. But enough of that.

There has been 7 other yaya's before mary. They stick for a while and then left for the usual reasons, better offer and marriage. When the first yaya left, i cried and hubby was angry because i cried that she left. He said there are others who are more than willing to work and said there are no shortage of hired help. I shouldn't waste any emotions on them. He is right, of course. I have a tendency to get attached to people. The second yaya was vivlyn, she was pretty and really mabait. She spoiled AJ too much. She stayed for more than a year. She was the yaya at the time of the accident. I have nothing bad to say about her. In fact, we would have send her to school if not for the fact that her elder brother took her to romblon. And then there were the processions of other yayas.

I brought mary along for the two-months vacation in manila. She stays with the kids at the condo and so far, she has mastered the use of the elevator. She doesn't go far. She goes to the ground floor to have the water galloons refilled, laundry services and sometimes buy food during lunch when they don't feel like cooking. I also bought her a new samsung cellphone with a camera and radio already as she requested because there's no landline in the condo and she fears not having anything to use just in case. I don't mind at all, I'm good to those who are good to me and to my family. She has been to starbucks, haha although i don't think she knows what starbucks represent. She's with us everywhere we go and so far we have been to montevista resort in laguna for an overnight stay at the hotsprings resort, visited fantasy land in lemery batangas where a membership cost P187,000, had lunch at talisay batangas and sipped coffee at starbucks tagaytay.

After office hours, i normally call on her to wait on the lobby so that we could do groceries at Rustan's Supermarket. The kids love her. I hope she really stays with us for a long time.

Yaya mary as usherette during Uching's church wedding
Yaya mary as usherette during Uching

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

morning walks

I like taking morning walks. It's preferable to doing to routine exercises. My walk buddy is mama and sometimes my kids come along with me when they wake up early. But we do it only on weekends and holidays. Our favorite walking place is buhanginan hills at pala-o, iligan city.

There's variety in the trail. You can chose to climb the regular route or you can take the various stairways up the side of the hill.

There's also a reflexology walk, if you want. There's a gradation in the stonewalk, there's the round stones and then the really pointed ones. Most of those who spend time in the reflexology walk are of the older generations, there seems to be no hurry in their movement only intense concentration to make the walk less painful.