Monday, April 30, 2012

Labor Day Weekend

Hello. I went back. The usual. How was your weekend?

The island was teeming with so much hotness it's dizzying. I saw some friends and other familiar faces too.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

At the Pool

These days when stepping out is like getting fried under the sun, there's nothing like an air-conditioned room and a nice, ice cold drink. Not wanting to increase further my already swelling electricity bill and waistline, I decided to go swimming instead. I went with my good friend, Nikki, who does laps weekly at the school pool.

J. Crew for Tretorn

It was a little embarrassing when the security guard flashed a knowing smile upon seeing the pink padlock that I got the at the nearest 7 Eleven for the locker. It didn't help that I was wearing a tank top and red shoes.

"So this is what it's like", I mentally said to myself upon entering the locker room that I thought needs renovation. I settled on the bench and took out my swim shorts from my backpack while two other guys were minding their own business. One of them, a slightly pudgy thirty-something, draped on the opposite bench with his arm covering half his face. He seemed to have dozed off shirtless with his pubes peeking out of his pants. For a moment, I thought he was cruising me.

After a quick shower, I proceeded to the pool area ready to be submerged in cold chlorine-water when security approached me. He told me I was not wearing proper swimming clothes (e.g. tight, Lycra-type trunks). This was embarrassing. Good thing the resident lifeguard let it pass after some convincing. I promised to be in appropriately skimpy attire next time.

It's funny how I felt like a fish out of water. Everyone, including Nikki, did not have any problems swimming the entire length of the pool (and back) except for myself and this boy who looked a little younger than me. When in the water, they mean business. I made sure not to get in anyone's way by swimming across anytime it's clear and even then I managed to cramp my right leg which is still a little sore up to now. Awesome.

I'm not sure if I'll be coming back--whether for the swimming or the locker room views. Maybe when I find the time and it's that hot again.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


After a month, I finally got my watch back from Strap Shop. One of their representatives had damaged the side details so the whole case had to be replaced. Just two weeks ago I was informed that it would take about 3-4 months for the parts to arrive. Naturally, I was not happy about that and I let them know about it.

Frankly, I'm already exhausted calling them so I stopped. Then all of a sudden they inform me that it's ready for pick-up so I gladly dropped by their stall and reunited with my watch yesterday.

I was surprised they still maid me pay for the battery after all this trouble but I didn't have the time and energy to bargain so I just left as soon as I handed my money. I'm just glad to have my watch back.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Like what I tweeted several days ago, "Ang taas ng pangarap, ang baba ng sweldo."

Are you going anywhere for the rest of the hot season? I have plans but I'm worried about the accommodation. Like everyone else, I make sure to get the most out of every buck. I'm certainly not looking for 5-star resorts but I have a few specific conditions.


No Native. I am very iffy about nipa huts and cabanas. Those types of rooms usually smell stuffy and are more prone to molds. I know this because I happen to have stayed in this type of accommodation in the past. Some hotels, like Crystal Blue in Batangas and Canyon Woods (formerly Asya) in Boracay are successfully able to incorporate the native theme to their rooms without compromising the guests' comfort but a lot others tried and failed miserably mostly because of lack of maintenance.

I personally prefer modern and new looking spaces with clean lines and less fuss; clean, light-colored walls, amber lighting, white linens, glass dividers/panels in the restroom, tiles free of stains and stainless steel bathroom fixtures. These are some of the reasons I enjoyed staying at TheTides and Shore Time Boracay.


Good Lighting. Any place deprived of sunlight, or any light for that matter, is likely to attract mold and worse, roaches. *cringe* A poorly lit room may be so because it has undesirable secrets the management wants to hide so I try to avoid such places. It gets tricky so I like to look at as much pictures, and even videos online, before booking anything.


Appropriate Location. This varies on the destination and the purpose of the trip but I personally prefer something that's at the center of the action for convenience. Too much noise is usually the downside to such properties which is why well-appointed, sound-proof rooms are very much appreciated.

When booking accommodation, I always like to make sure that it's something that won't make me miss my own room. Going on vacation is a form of escapism so why would anyone want end up in an uncomfortable situation? An effective way to test if a place is good enough is if I wouldn't mind staying in the entire day in case something unexpected happens, like a typhoon.

I certainly hope the weather cooperates because the way things are going, I may just have to ignore these personal standards soon and just find relief in the company of fun travel buddies. Also, I need a raise.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Within the obscure corners of my mind are hazy memories that would randomly pop out. Some of which I question whether real or I just imagined to be real. One such memory that I know actually existed in real life is that of a movie I saw several times when I was little. All I remember from it is a boy who befriended a little fairy named 'Urugu'--or at least that's what is sounded. I Googled it several times before hoping to relive the somber, weird and slightly creepy vibes I got from that movie but failed to find any relevant results until a few minutes ago when I gave it another shot.

Apparently, the title is 'The Flying Sneaker' and according to IMdb, the movie is from Czechoslovakia/Canada. It also seems to be very popular in Latin America based on YouTube comments.

There's something about this movie that's a little depressing and it's not just the ending. I still want to watch it though. If only I can find the full-length version.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Overwhelmed at Yoki's Farm

When my aunt said she's going to bring us to a nearby farm, I had low expectations. I knew there's going to be lettuce, mushrooms and other produce plus a big buddha but I didn't find that all too impressive.

Kuya made me do this. He was too enthusiastic so I obliged.

The mushrooms aren't ready but I started getting excited when I saw rows of lettuce of different types.

I was so surprised when Manong, our very accommodating tour guide/photographer/art director, pointed out the blackberry tree. Once I tasted it, I was sold. It was my first time.

Rosemary, basil, oregano and friends were abundant. I wanted to bring home pots but  it was too much of a hassle.

 Aside from veggies and herbs, Yoki's also has a "Bird Area" where they keep peacocks, macaws, love birds and cockatoos among others.

But perhaps the finally of the tour is this expansive collection of statues, artifacts and other fascinating trinkets from all over the world. It's amazing. Usually

Another cheesy/tourist-y shot with me and my sister directed by Kuya. That's said to be the biggest buddha in the country.

Tourists are normally not allowed beyond an enclosed area behind the big buddha but Kuya is friendly with my aunt so he gave us full access to the owners' jaw-dropping collection.

I was seriously in awe the entire time. It's amazing how they acquired this much cultural treasure from all over the world. There's India, there's Europe, there's Egypt, there's China. Imagine the logistics!

Old pool tables serve as pedestals to the pièce de résistance. That replica of a ship is said to be made of jade. Those small white balls which are supposed to depict water are actually roll-on balls from a factory that the owners had.

Kuya is responsible for the arrangement and the up-keep of this area. He says it's a work in progress. It was obvious how much he loves what he's doing. He happily snapped our photos and was very chatty. He also couldn't gush more about the owners, who, he says are very kind to them.

This place practically holds the story of the world. On one corner are religious images, on the other are old computers and typewriters.

In a separate building are the family's old books and photographs. In the same room are also awards and plaques of recognition for their philanthropy. Kuya did not want to divulge much about the family but he says they are of Chinese descent.

What seemed to be an ordinary trip to a farm felt like an inspiring immersion down a rich, storied cultural path. It's safe to say Yoki's Farm is like no other.

Monday, April 09, 2012


Today, Easter morning, I woke up feeling like I myself have risen from the dead.

My sister arrived from abroad yesterday and we went to our aunt's place in Cavite to spend the night. Naturally, knowing me, I couldn't sleep until around 3 AM which was obviously way too late when there's a mandatory 8 o'clock mass to catch the following morning.

My groggy state did not prevent me from having fun today though. Our aunt brought us to this farm that's just about a 5-minute drive from her house.

I knew it would be an interesting trip but I didn't expect to find half of the stuff I saw there. It's no ordinary farm.

There's more to this place than just flora and fauna. It was pretty awesome. I was pleasantly surprised.

In the afternoon, we went back to Manila and did a little shopping. Well, she did. Then we spent the rest of the evening catching up over a great, Filipino dinner.

Despite lacking sleep, I'm thankful for today. Happy Easter indeed.

Now, about that sleep.