All The Best To You Mr. President!

June 30, 2010 marked yet again another milestone in our history. That of officially putting into office Mr. Noynoy Aquino, son of the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino and late Pres. Corazon Aquino. Thanks to the first ever automated election held last May 10 that made it almost impossible for cheating to occur, we now have a President truly mandated by the people to assume the highest position in the country.
Let me start of by saying that I did not vote for Noynoy, I went Gibo all the way. The main reason was Noynoy’s “portfolio” did not impress me at all. To me, he doesn’t seem to possess that impressive political track record that I was hoping our next president will have. But then, when the smoke cleared and everything settled down, I came to the realization that in the true fight for presidency, it doesn’t really matter how thin or thick your portfolio is. What truly matters is that big amount of trust you were able to gain from the people, for the rise to presidency is dictated by faith and fate. Noynoy Aquino for that alone rightfully deserves the presidency. I believe that what Noynoy lacks in competence, he more than makes up in character. Competence he can easily acquire with the help of sound political advisers, well meaning friends, supportive family members and a whole wealth of personal and professional experiences that would surely come his way in due time. Character, on the other hand, is something that he already has within himself. A product of virtues and values that he was able to gain over time through his natural inclination towards common good and his deep sense of what is right. Competence will make a very good president but Character I believe will make a very good leader. If we are to determine where he stands right now, he is neither way ahead of us like Pres. Arroyo nor way behind us like Pres. Estrada. He is at the moment, right beside us, clearly in our level, ready to march on with us towards change and progress.
To you P. NOY (as you wish to be called), though I did not personally vote for you, I still wish you nothing but the best. May you possess the courage to go against the tides if need be, like your father, who moved head on and fought for what was right even if the odds proved to be very little on his side. May you always be guided by your faith like your mother, who did as much work as she could with deep fervor in the presence of God. Like her, may you bow down and worship no one but God. May you aspire not to be the greatest president the Philippines has ever seen but instead the greatest leader the Philippines will ever have. May you also LEAD instead of rule, and lead not according to the laws that govern our society, for even that can bend and weaken in the hands of mishandled power, but according to your principles and beliefs that are clearly anchored on church’s teachings. As you lead, use not an iron hand but instead the gentle but firm hand of a true gentleman. May you always always carry with you these three things (which the previous presidents seemed to lack) as you move this nation towards greatness— true Compassion, Concern and Conscience. Make us proud Mr. President, you have the whole trust of the Filipino people behind you. In the end, may you give the whole nation that sense of pride in knowing that they made the right choice in choosing you.
To my fellow Filipino, let’s start working on that change now. It is now or never. P-Noy may have won the presidency but we are still the ones who will call the shots in our lives. The future is way too big for Pres. Noynoy’s hands alone.

Chinatown (Singapore)

Since my recent trip to Singapore was already my second time, you could say that I was not as much scared to venture out on my own as compared to the first time I had been there. I was able to figure out how to ride the bus and the MRT on my second day which surprisingly was quite easy as long as you read and follow the maps available in the stations. I happily explored Singapore while my sister was slaving it out in her office. The one place that I frequented to when I was there was Chinatown. I simply love the place. For one thing, they sell so many interesting pieces at a bargain (and I am a sucker when it comes to shopping)–Jades, Chinese bags, fans and wallets, pashmina, shirts, quirky chinese amulets, I mean they are all over Chinatown. This is, to me, the best place where you can buy stuffs to bring home. You can get great finds for like 3 for 10 dollars and sometimes 4 for ten dollars.

I love Chinatown

one of the best places indeed

one of the shops

rickshaw

busy street

In one of my outings to Chinatown, I chanced upon the Sri Mariamman Temple, a beautiful Indian temple. I got curious and went inside since it is open to tourist. As soon as you enter the gates though, you have to take off your shoes and walk barefoot since you are standing in what they considered as holy ground. If you want to bring your camera with you and take some pictures, they also charge a minimal fee of 2 dollars. I was mesmerized by the beautiful hand painted ceilings and big statues of their Gods.
at the entance

handpainted ceiling

work of art

looks like a tombstone

main door of the temple

worship area

Indian Gods

On the other side of Chinatown stood the Buddah Tooth Relic Temple and Museum, a buddhist temple. I specifically looked for this place because they said it is beautiful. True enough, it left me awestruck. You do not have to take off your shoes here but you have to be careful not ot disturb the ones worshipping. The security team is also very strict with the distances so you always have to respect the line. You cannot go past it or else they will get upset, after all it is their place of worship. When I went there, there was a worship going on so I had to wait for it to finish so I can see up close the giant buddhas made in (sigh!) gold. I made sure I did not miss anything, there is just so much to see. In one of the floors, there is this Sacred Buddha Tooth Relic made in stuppa and pure gold. You can go inside the room but you cannot take pictures so I just stayed long enough for me remember how it looked like since I cannot capture it in film. This Buddhist temple is truly, truly beautiful. I was lost in this place for hours just drinking in the sights.
Buddhist temple

Universal Wisdom Hall (with the giant buddhas)

Pagoda of A Thousand Buddhas

Prayer wheel

just a small portion of the thousand Buddhas (mini ones)

lots of Buddahs around

My Zodiac Sign God

Buddhists in worship

Worship Hall

Posing with one of the Wisdom Buddah

last shot before stepping outside

looks majestic from outside

This is one of the things that I love about Singapore, the abundant culture clearly present there. It is very rich and diverse. Whether you’re a foreigner living there or just a transient visitor, the place, it just grows on you.:)

My Love Affair with Rubi Shoes

I found the ultimate flat shoes paradise in Singapore. There is this funky shop, Rubi, that sells comfortable, durable and stylish flat shoes at a bargain. Think ultra chic flat shoes that come in many fabulous colors for 2 for $25 or a pair for $10 or $15 dollars.

I love flats!!!

I felt like I’ve died and gone to heaven while shoe shopping there. Rubi shoes are also available at this (sigh!) fab shop called Cotton On, both stores are all over SG. You definitely won’t miss it because if you are a certified flat shoes addict like me, you will just know that it is THE SHOP just by looking at the displays.
with my goodies!

That distinct heartbeat when you pick up a pair is something hard to miss. And that sudden rush of excitement that flows through your body which signals you to BUY is something that is hard to resist. In no time at all you will find yourself walking away with a pair (or two) and a big big smile pasted on your face.
My little, as in, very small collection of Rubi flats.
my flats

Looking forward to my future additions (sponsored by sister dear).:)
CLICK HERE for my latest blog update on Rubi Shoes.:)

Universal Studios Singapore

I am way behind my blogs I know. It is already June but I am still stuck in Summer. After my last trip, everything just went crazy. Summer saw me, like I said, in one of my favorite city, Singapore. My second time in this Tiger City actually. For me, the 10 days I spent there were not enough for everything I wanted to see. I guess I’ll never get tired of going there. l was amazed by the many changes that happened since the last time I’ve been in that place which was just a little over a year ago. In the area of Mustafa for example, what was once been a busy Indian street full of restaurants and stores is now the Metro mall which is said to be the first eco mall in Asia. The vast area of contructions along harbor front, which we saw while we were riding the cable car going to Sentosa last year, now boast of Resorts World and Universal Studios. So many developments in a span of one year!

Metro Mall

Universal Studios ahead

Resorts World

The main objective of my Singapore trip really was (well, aside from visiting my sister) to experience Universal Studios, and experience it we did, my sister and I. We arrived at Universal Studios at exactly 10 am, just in time for the opening because we didn’t book ahead. They sell only limited tickets to walk ins so you have to be there early or else they will close out the booth on you. Normally, you have to reserve tickets via the internet. Universal Studios is fun, fun, fun! This particular blog is solely devoted to my Universal Studios experience. The rest of the places I went to in Singapore have to wait.=)
Universal Studios Singapore has six fun filled areas.
tickets!:)

the famous Universal Studios logo

We were welcomed by none other than Mr. Woody Woodpecker himself.

In the Lost World, there’s the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure (a river raft ride), Canopy Flyer, Dino-Soarin’ and Amber Rock Climb. This is where you can watch also the Waterworld, a live water show of death defying stunts and explosions. You will be entertained at the start by some of the actors who would reenact a scene from the movie itself. If you don’t want to get really wet I suggest you stay on the top or at the rear side of the ampitheater.:)
In front of Jurassic Park

Waterworld

In Madagascar, you can try the Crate Adventure (another river raft ride) and King Juliene’s Beach Party Go Round (in short carousel). The cast of Madagascar usually go out every hour to do some meet and greet and to do some nasty moves on the dance floor which is quite amusing, so don’t miss out on that if yu’re there. Get ready with your cameras also because the lines can get really long.
Madagascar!
the penguins!
In Ancient Egypt, there’s the Revenge of the Mummy (a roller coaster ride) and Treasure Hunters for children. There are also tall towering Egyptian replicas scattered along this area which are great for picture taking.
Big Egyptian Replicas

Another Egyptian replicas

Far, Far Away which is my favorite place at Universal Studios, has Shrek 4D Adventure, a must see show for the kids and kids at heart. I totally loved it. It is better than The Pirates 4D Magix at Sentosa Themepark. Donkey Live, another hilarious live interactive show is also a must see. The rides here include Enchanted Airways, another roller coaster and Magic Potion Spin, a mini ferris wheel for kids. We ate at a restaurant in this area, Goldilocks, which serves the yummiest mashed potatoes and fried chicken. They also have other restos such as Friar’s and Fairy Godmother’s Juice Bar with relatively low prices as compared to the others inside Universal. Princess Fiona and Shrek also come out of their tree house to pose with tourists every hour, too bad we weren’t able to catch them.
Shrek's house

Kingdom Far Far Away

outside Goldilock's restaurant
Hollywood area is a nice place for taking pictures with its striking facade. Don’t forget to watch Monster Rock at Pantages Hollywood Theater if you happen to be there because it is an awesome show. They also stage the Kowabunga Kove singing sensation along Hollywood every hour.
Hollywood

Performance to the highest level
New York City has the Lights, Camera, Action by Steven Spielberg, a special effects and sound stage show. It is something worth seeing. It is like being right there on the set of the filming of a major hurricane about to hit New York, it left me dazed. This part also has many picturesque areas where you can take some nice shots. Celebrities like Manilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplain come out ready to pose with guests. The Rockafellas perform some street dancing live also in the streets of New York. A saxophonist can also be seen in the afternoon serenading visitors. It really has that distinct New Yorky feeling.
New York!

Steven Spielberg Studio behind me

Sci Fi City is not open yet when we went there, but there were already aliens going around, ready to greet guests.:)
Aliens at Sci Fi City
Of course, Universal Studios will not be complete without the shopping experience. I particularly liked the Universal Studios Store with its themed collectibles, toys and other apparel. The Brown Derby has some really fun products (think Betty Boop) that you’ll find hard to resist and Fairy God Mother’s Potion Shop has so much cute fantasy merchandise all from the world of Shrek. There is also the Penguins Mercantile that sells silly keepsakes inspired by the Madagascar characters. You can also load up some Hershey’s chocolates at the Hershey’s Store where they come in not just small but big packaging as well.
Universal Studios Store

Hershey's Chocolate Store

trying on hats at The Brown Derby

Penguins Mercantile

We went there for a day and we still missed out on a lot. Although the land area is small and can be toured in half a day, there’s just so much to see and explore. It really is a feast for the eyes. I truly enjoyed my whole Universal Studios experience and I am looking forward to going back there again next year with my little girl.
RATES: When we went there, the rates were 72 dollars for weekends and 62 dollars for weekdays. You will get a 10 dollar meal voucher (meals in restaurants ranges from 14-20 dollars) and 4 dollars shopping voucher. Not bad, not bad at all.
TIPS: Come early if you did not do internet reservations, they only have limited tickets for walk ins. Buy softdrinks instead of the water inside because they only sell Evian which is a bit expensive compared to the softdrinks, you will definitely get thirsty as you go around. Bring extra shirts with you because it can get really hot and humid in Singapore plus you will get wet when you go try the rides. Bring an extra battery for your camera because you will get crazy at the nice places there where you can pose and take pictures. Check out the schedule of shows first before you go around so you will know where and when they’ll be so you won’t miss out on them. Lastly, be nice to the other tourists and graciously accept their request for you to take their pictures. There are a lot of Pinoys working there, it wouldn’t help them at all if a fellow Pinoy becomes haughty in their dealings with other tourists.
Although Universal Studios is small compared to the ones in the States, every minute and every penny you will spend there are worth it because well, the rare chance of being a kid once again in this little place called Universal Studios is to me, just plain priceless.:)

Palawan: A Place Like No Other

The summer that just passed has been to date my best so far. I know this statement has been so overused especially by me but still, forgive me for saying it once again. It is because this summer saw me literally riding the waves in Palawan, one of my dream places to be for as long as I remember and walking the sleek streets of Singapore, one of my favorite cities. This will be all about Palawan though, the Singapore thing will be in another blog. Like I said, I have always wanted to go to Palawan that is why when the opportunity presented itself, I grabbed it without thinking twice. We stayed for four glorious day there. Palawan is, what can I say, simply breathtaking.
We took the morning flight to Puerto Princesa via Cebu Pacific. That was my first time to ride Cebu Pac, I have always been a PAL rider. The flight was so smooth and “uneventful” that Cebu Pac will see more of me in my succeeding trips.


We stayed at Palawan Village Hotel, which I would say is pretty much okay to a tourist like us living on a budget.

First stop was Baker’s Hill for lunch. It is like a little theme park without the rides. It is famous for its delicious pastries such as hopia and caramel ensaymada, perfect pasalubongs for your family. It has lots of pretty pocket gardens where you can pose and take some pictures and restaurants that serve a wide variety of dishes.


After lunch, we proceeded to Aplaya Elementary School for an Outreach activity. Hey this is not solely a leisure trip, we had to put some heart into it right?:) We distributed hygiene kits, food and slippers to the kids, and computers and other essentials to the school. We also did some counseling on some of the children and gave workshops to the teachers.
After the outreach activity, we headed to Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm to hear mass. Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm is the world’s largest open prison. As you enter, you will notice prisoners visibly present within the community but do not be afraid for they post no harm. Iwahig provides detainees hope for a better life in prison by giving them work such as farming, fishing, carpentry etc. that is why some prisoners chose to stay in the community when their sentences commenced.

house of a living-out prisoner inside Iwahig

The following day we left at 5:30 a.m. for the Underground River adventure. It was a good 2.5 hour van ride to Brgy. Sabang, 20 minute boat ride to the foot of St. Paul Mountain and a 5 minute walk along the edge of the forest to the Underground River entrance. We had to register and present our permit first at the Aplaya before we were allowed to ride the small boat. We also have to put on our life vests and hard hats. The Underground River cruise lasted for about 45 minutes. It was like being treated to an amazing nature show. We cannot help but marveled at the beautiful sights in front of us. Our trusty bankero cum tour guide pointed out interesting stalagmite, stalactite and limestone formations such as mushroom, bacon, cabbage, umbrella etc. I particularly liked the part in the Underground River cave where it would suddenly open to reveal a somewhat majestic cathedral complete with a Virgin Mary, Holy Family, Angels and Saints like formations. It was magical in a way that those interesting formations are all nature’s artwork. Underground River is truly a living testimony of how nature’s mighty hands work.
St. Paul Mountain




The next day we headed to Honda Bay for an island hopping escapade. The banca took us to the different islets along Honda Bay. We saw Luli island (short for lulubog, lilitaw depending on the level of the tides), Pambato reef which is popular among divers with its rich marine biodiversity, and Starfish island where you can find many big and gorgeous starfish scattered around the shore. We got off at Snake Island which is a good place to snorkel since it is teeming with fish and Isla Pandan where we enjoyed some deep sea swimming. Honda Bay to me is simply paradise.

Isla Pandan


Endless sand bar at Snake Island

Luli Island

We also visited other interesting places in Palawan such as the Mitra residence, Crocodile Farm and the Balsahan Resort in Iwahig. Of course Palawan trip will not be complete if you do not pass by the palengke to shop for kasoy and some dried /fresh seafoods, we bought a lot! We also shopped for pearls at the Tiange, Tinage, a must see place for pearls enthusiast like me, authentic south sea and fresh water pearls are sold here at a bargain.
view from the Mitra residence

Balsahan Resort

Crocodile Farm

palengke

Tiange, Tiange!

Palawan is truly beautiful because it is not only blessed with abundant natural resources but also with dedicated and concerned people who readily step up at any given time to safeguard their environment and community. They take part in the local government’s drive for a clean environment by taking seriously the strict fines imposed on littering. They actively support coastal clean-up. Volunteer scubaderos (short for scuba and basureros) dive into the water to collect litters and tidy up the sea beds to ensure that it teems with marine life. They also educate and involve tourists in the conservation and preservation process. They encourage them to be responsible caretakers of nature through simple acts of proper waste disposal. They religiously participate in projects spearheaded by Mayor Hagedorn that increase environmental awareness not only among locals but among tourists as well. One such project, the Love Affair with Mangroves, is held every year. Here, local and tourist volunteers plant mangrove seeds to help prevent coastal erosion and form nurseries for fish and shrimp. The Feast of the Forest, also an annual event, takes place every third or fourth week of June. In this project, volunteers of all ages plant various trees in the denuded forest zones in the city.
Palawan’s rise to fame is truly remarkable. The local government has done its job well but I guess, the biggest credit goes to the people living in the community whose deep initiative and involvement made Palawan what it is today. It is through their concerted efforts to preserve the beauty of their community and conserve the wildlife that Palawan continues to thrive in its beauty today. There is still so much to see and so much to explore in Palawan. I am looking forward to my comeback there. When you are in Palawan, its as if God is so near, because everywhere you look, you will clearly see his hand imprinted on nature.:)

GIBO for President

I am proud to share that I voted for GIBO. I like him for his unassuming brilliance and quiet ways. He clearly knows his place. That is at the forefront of change and not in the middle of a giant marketing hype/media frenzy nor at the beck and call of his political party, nor even in the shadow of his family legacy. He never once hogged the headlines of any newspapers or vied for the top post of surveys but his name still resounds in hearts of the many thousand Filipinos out there including youths who believe that he can deliver real change. He is the only candidate I know who has clear cut ideas and well thought out plans in making our country move forward. Though he might not make it to the presidency like what the “wisemen” of the surveys predicted, I am still proud of the fact that, that one chance of a vote that I casted did not go to waste because it went to (for me) the most deserving one among the candidates. Much luck to you Gibo, may you continue the good works you have started and may you make your future plans and dreams for a great Philippines happen.

Why I Love Pacsafe

I have been forever in search of that perfect travel bag that is safe, durable and functional. I was introduced to Pacsafe two years ago and I must say, I have found the perfect travel bag companion. With Pacsafe Travel handbag you don’t have to worry about your passport, money or other valuables being unknowingly stolen and picked off from your bag while you are touring the city. It has wonderful features such as tamperproof zipper, eXomesh® slashguard in lower front and bottom panels , slashproof adjustable shoulder strap, and snatchproof shoulder strap that allows the bag to anchor to a secure fixture. I also love how functionable and fashionable Pacsafe travel bags are and how they leave room for internal organization.

I also love their digicam and phone strap. They are the perfect must-haves for travellers. The DigiSafe 100 Phone and Camera Strap is a lightweight slashproof neck strap designed for carrying your mobile phone or digital camera close to you. An additional connector lets you interchange between two electronic devices quickly and conveniently. It has a slashproof adjustable neck strap and wire loop to connect to mobile phone / digital camera. You do not have to worry about your phone and digicams being snatched away from you.

Pacsafe products ensures users of a worry-free travel. It gives users a chance to explore their destinations without having to worry about loosing things or being a victim of the mischiefs of others. I truly adore all Pacsafe products. Go buy your own Pacsafe anti-theft travel gears and enjoy every minute of your travel.=)

Epiphany

I asked God for a sign, he did not give me one, but instead he gave me three wrapped in love, in different stages, the last the most resounding one…I felt them reaching the deep crevices of my heart, I felt them spreading to the depth of my soul. Now I realize, He has been preparing the path for me all along and ever so slowly, ever so gently he is leading me to His will. The decisions I’ve made, the circumstances that presented itself, the opportunities that came along, it was part of His great plan. With his skillful, masterful hand, he is slowly revealing it to me…and so like a puppet in the Mighty hands of Her master and with blind faith I accept. Thy will be done…

My Husband's Version of Our Love Story

This entry became a finalist in Fitflop Philippines Share Your Love Story Contest.:)
I always see her every morning in the office doing what she does best—order us around.:) She loves to play boss when the real boss wasn’t around, so I always thought, astig tong babaeng to, minsan sarap sapakin. She was either demanding towards me especially when she wanted a much higher end of the month sale or pasweet kasi me papadeliver na machine. So allergic ako sa kanya. I stayed away from her until that one “fateful night” (hehehe) when we found ourselves in the (unhappy? hehehe) company of each other sa party. It was a night full of wonders. After that we fell into a simple routine of me giving her three mentos candy in the morning before I leave the office and us going home together.
I believe that the whole universe conspired to bring us together. We were opposites. I was a happy bachelor, living it out to the fullest. My life at that time revolved around work and endless gimmicks while she is a snooty brat who just kept to her small circle of friends. I guess tama sila love knows no rules and breaks all boundaries. When we finally admitted to ourselves that we love each other, the earth did not shake, the skies did not open and lightning did not struck, love simply happened to us.Yung kaibigan ko sabi nya I wouldl recognize love right away when I see it. I didn’t recognize it right away but instead I felt it.
After just three months in the relationship, we got married. I never once doubted that she is “the one” because she is the only person who can make me wait “happily” for hours for her, the only person who can wrap me in her own little finger, the only person who can shut me up with just a look (hehehe), the only person who can be brutally honest with me and get away with it, and the only person who can make me do things that a guy in his right frame of my mind wouldn’t normally do like blow dry her hair at 5 o’clock in the morning everyday. She is the only person in the world who can always bring out the best in me and who can make me believe that I can always be the person that I choose to be (split personality?hehe). She is my cheerleader, my fan, my worst critique and my worst enemy (hehehe). She is my life

My Love Story in a Nutshell.:)

Our love story started with mentos candy,
Something that didn’t really catch my fancy
Everyday he would give me three,
Hoping that these would impress me.
He wasn’t handsome and far from being nice
But then I would always notice his happy, sparkling eyes
I decided at the start that he was not the man of my dreams
He’s more like a character straight out of the movie Scream
We are as opposite as north and south poles
When we’re together we are more like Calvin and Hobbes
I was grumpy, grouchy and always whiny
But despite all these he always made me feeel that he loves me dearly.
Love is really weird or just being true, because after 3 months,
I surprised myself by telling him I am in love with you too.
It must be (I kept telling my friends) that he spooked my drink with a love potion
For me to have that (sigh!) kind of reaction.
Was looking for fireworks? drama? music? or even magic?
But then he made me realize that true love doesn’t have to be so melodramatic
Right after that we tied the knot,
And oh boy! we did go through a lot.
Married life I realized is not a walk in the park
It was more like making that trip to heaven, hell and back
But then again, I would gladly walk those same paths over and over again
As long as I am with my husband and am wearing my Fitflop.:)