Saturday, April 25, 2009

Fun Shot : Prelude to Snorkeling

I think I mentioned in my previous post that I have aqua phobia. It has always been a struggle for me to overcome this fear, and so I'm posting this photo which was taken a few minutes before I finally took the plunge, er, at DJ Beach Resort, Occidental Mindoro. The place is surrounded by the pristine blue waters coming from the South China Sea, and I'm glad that this was where I was "baptized" into the wonderful aqua hobby of snorkeling ;op

That was me in pink swimming top / pink and chocolate brown board shorts by the way :-p

Contemplating how to float in this ten-feet deep aqua paradise

My Own 25

This one's originally making its rounds in Facebook. The non-conformist in me (hehehe) prefers to post this in my own blog where you don't normally get notifications that someone else has posted something.


Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.(To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

So here are my very own beinte-singko...

1. I like cold water, cold juices, and on rare occasions, cold soft drinks. But I dislike it when the air conditioner in the office is on "high mode" or when the current weather starts requiring me to wear jackets or blazers. I don't like places where it's too cold either (i.e., Baguio, cinemas).

2. More often than not, I give the impression that I am too serious and / or I'm snobbish. I think I just don't initiate conversations, especially with guys.

3. I know how to drive a car, but I don't know how to ride a bicycle. My six year old nephew Diego has been teaching me to do so, to no avail hehehe.

4. At the age of two, I already knew I wanted to become a teacher. While all the kids in pre-school were crying on our first week of classes, I was already giving my teacher a headache whenever I would erase whatever she wrote on the board, and pretend that I was the one in charge! Mama said what a sight it was back then! I would write on the board as well as do all the things my teacher would do. Maestrang-maestra na ang dating ko noon pa man.

5. Next to my parents, my sister and brothers are my biggest influences. Whatever they have to say on just about anything matters a lot to me, though we have gone through some fair amount of arguments and disagreements on certain matters, even until now.

6. I miss having family vacations. When my brother was still with PMA, we would drive up to Baguio at least thrice a year to visit him. Come to think of it, that was probably the start of the wandering / travelling spirit burning in me, and which I got to rekindle only this month.

7. The only places I've been to so far are Ilocos (North and South), Laguna, Batangas, Bicol (Albay and Naga), and most recently, Occidental Mindoro. My personal target is to go back within a year to DJ Beach Resort and also to explore Pandan Island again. A visit to Apo Reef is also on top of my wish list.

8. I think the wanderlust in me is beginning to show. I have finally been bitten by the travel bug. I dream of going to El Nido and Coron, Palawan in the next few years. I also want to spend some days in Boracay, Camiguin, Camarines Sur, Bohol, Cebu, Davao, and other awesome places in our country. We have a truly beautiful country, and I want to visit these places before I die.

9. As for places outside of our shores, I am interested to tour Paris, France; Jerusalem, Israel; Sydney, Australia; Agra, India; Phuket, Thailand; and Texas, USA. (Did I already mention I've been bitten by the travel bug? ;0p )

10. I have always been fascinated by the sight of the following: glorious sunrise, magnificent sunset, waves gently kissing the sand, fish swimming in coordinated groups, and just about anything pertaining to nature. It's no wonder I fell so much in love with Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.

11. I have a mild case of aqua phobia. It started when our family swam in one of the beaches in Cavite. My sister and brothers all know how to swim, and they were encouraging me to give it a try. I did, and jumped off the boat somewhere in the middle of the beach, thinking that in the twinkle of an eye, I would suddenly develop swimming skills by the force of the circumstances. I sank almost to the bottom of the sea, and were it not for my uncle, I would have hit the boat propeller and drowned, too. Yes, this is my second life (thank God!), and I conquered that fear in Sablayan when I went snorkelling in DJ Beach Resort, and finally swam without a life vest (yes !!!!!) to watch the pawikan and see the beautiful corals of Pandan Island.

12. I have eale's disease, a rare condition in which I develop abnormal blood vessels that errupt and bleed anytime. I have already had three (3) laser operations to deal with it. Doctors haven't found the cure for it at the moment, but I thank God for giving me the strength to handle this depressing situation.

13. I used to be a very quiet and reserved child. I made friends with only a few and select people, and prefer having their company around, than talking with everyone in the room. I realized only recently this shyness can be a hindrance in the ministry, and I'm trying my best now to be as outgoing and as friendlier as possible.

14. I have been blessed with a loving and ever-supportive family. We're not perfect as most people think, but I am forever grateful to have belonged here. If I get the chance to raise my own someday, I would most probably raise my own kids in the same way we've been brought up.

15. I would like to learn another foreign language soon. Spanish tops that list, but right now I am being immersed in the Japanese language / culture by virtue of an official assignment from my boss.

16. I am very honest with my feelings, and I can be very vocal with how I feel. It's both an asset and a liability, I think. I am asking God's grace to help me temper my emotions and how I get to express them.

17. I love the small, seemingly non-sense / insignificant conversations I have with my family over lunch / dinner. I also like spending some minutes chit-chatting with my mom before we sleep.

18. I hold people to whatever they promise or tell me they would do for me. And I get gravely disappointed when people don't fulfill whatever they said they would do. So just do it, rather than give me all these promises, then forget about them.

19. More often than not, it's black or white for me. Either yes or no. Okay or not. I rarely have anything in middle ground. That applies to almost everything I do and everything / everyone I am involved in / with.

20. I am forever thankful to God for giving me strong, godly women as influences and mentors: Ying, Elsa, Emmylou, Eva, Nanay Mayette, Mommy Beth, Tita Myrna, ate Gina, and now, ate Evelyn. I realized how much God loves me when He gave me such wonderful friends who genuinely accepted, continue to pray for and constantly watch over me. I wish to watch over, pray for and disciple ladies of my own someday.

21. I have a fascination for whatever is blue or pink. Violet too.  Most of my clothes and stuff come in these colors.

22. I am scared to death of dogs. I almost got bitten by a neighbor's pet many times some years back. I also fell from where I was standing when out of the blue this huge dog of my neighbor climbed over me!

23. Sometimes, I can be a little bit extreme when I'm upset or when I'm mad. Either I immediately speak what's on my mind, or I just keep quiet. Either way, those closest to me know that I just need some space and a few hours to myself to think things over. After that, I'm okay.

24. One of my life's greatest joys is seeing, visiting and playing with my nephews and niece. We're a hugging and kissing family, and I think with the exception of the adult males in our clan, our family's love language seem to include touch and words of affirmation. I just fervently wish that Diego, Franco, Enrique and Monique would allow me to hug and kiss them even when they're already in their twenties!

25. There are just a thousand and one things I'd like to do. Write another book. Travel the world. Learn another language. Be good at cooking. Draw and paint. Take up serious photography lessons. Engage in short term missions. Participate in handicrafts exhibits and workshops. I just pray that God would give me wisdom how to live a balanced, purposeful life that pleases Him.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Congrats, Aning!

After four years of hardship, now she's a teacher.

May maestra na kami :-)

Meet our faithful and trusted house help, Ana. Four years ago, I encouraged her to take up college education. After much doubt and argument, I am glad she followed my advice. Months from now, she'll be a full-pledged teacher :-)

These were taken on the night before I left for my Mindoro vacation, and a few days before her college graduation.

Loving her black toga...


Isa pa!

Graduate # 14

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My summer romance

I knew from first glance that it would be a budding romance, and I sure hope it blossoms into a regular date for me. As a matter of fact, if we'd see each other quarterly, I'd be more than willing to go through all the hassles.

I'm talking of Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro, of course, and I just can't get enough of it!

Officially, I filed for a leave of absence for April 7 and 8, but I was already on the road to my blissful and relaxing vacation last April 4. Together with some CCF friends, we drove to Batangas pier a little past 9 in the evening, boarded the roro, then drove some more miles before we reached our first resort, DJ Beach Resort. Then, from April 7 to 9, we stayed at Pandan Island, then went back to DJ before heading home on the 11th. Think fresh fish; fruits; veggies; clean air; white, powder-like sand; blue-green water; and abundant, exotic marine life, and tell me who won't fall for a place like that --- and all for php 6,000!!!!??????!!!!

I have probably 8-GB's worth of pictures and videos, and it's hard to cram all into one blog entry, so let me just share some visual keepsakes from my Southern Luzon la mierda:

Posing for this one wasn't easy. I was scared of getting out of balance and tripping, and bruising myself in the process. It's a good thing Lekoy quickly took this pic to put me at ease. Whew!

Clean, clean water kissing the sands...

I promised myself I'd go snorkeling someday. I fulfilled that wish last April 6, 2009.
Maybe I'd go scuba diving someday. I can't wait to check that in my list as 'already accomplished'.

Artistic rendition from Lekoy again

serene sunset as seen from DJ Beach Resort

How'd you like to go kayaking?

Mid-morning at DJ Beach Resort. The water is really as calm as it looks.

Beautiful, beautiful Pandan Island resort. Truly an amazing paradise!

Pandan Island from the rocky portions of the beach...

Hello, babies

Underwater shot of a star fish. Isn't it lovely?

Fishes coming out from the corals...

That's me at around 10ft deep already... no life vest ha!

at the Wild Lagoon

It's fishy here!!! Check out more schools of fish!

Er... Marimar, is that you?

Jules told me that he shot this pic to show how blue the water was...

The divers are raring to go...

That was me (in pink) --- snorkeling for the first time with Jo.

at the Libuao Lake

a shot of the entrance to the Libuao Lake

the Spanish nose

Er....overweight mermaid washed ashore?

I just love, love this shot by Jo. Candid 'yan, mind you! Tinawag nya lang ako, at paglingon ko, hayun, kinunan na pala ako ng pic.

Exploring the Karung-kaban cave

another view of the lagoon

See how clear the waters are?

jumping at Pandan Island. See how white and powder-y the sands are

resting awhile at the DJ Beach Resort
a quiet morning at Pandan Island

at the Pandan rainforest...

relaxing at the hammock with Jo'
I think I've been bitten by the travel bug, given that I've been talking about my Mindoro romance for more than a week now. After coming home, I just want to pack my things again and hop on to my next destination! But seriously, after Mindoro, I began to appreciate how wonderful our country really is, and how my heart just got disappointed that countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, or Thailand have more tourists every year, when in fact we have far better beaches, far more tourist spots, and far more hospitable people!
Call it crazy and even corny, but anyhow, my short vacation in Mindoro really inspires me to save money now so I could check out these wonderful destinations before I die:
1. Palawan - the nature sanctuary of the world, famous for its white sandy beaches, corals, mountains and rain forests. Friends have been raving about its natural wonders, and I would surely love to explore them as well.
2. Camiguin - a pear-shaped volcanic island famous for its water falls, hot springs and seven volcanoes. This must be quite an adventure!
3. Bohol - chocolate hills! After watching Muro Ami and hearing my brother's praises for Panglao, Chocolate Hills, tarsiers and other tourist spots and attractions in that province, I would surely love to add Bohol in my list of 'have visited places'.
4. Camarines Sur - a great place to go kayaking, or sunbathing, or cave-exploring. Oh, may be a side trip to Donsol would also do, so I could swim with the butanding!
Whew! Back to work na nga!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Party fit for a Princess

Ella Monique's 2nd Birthday
McDonald's Marikina Sports Complex

Happy family :-)

Daddy's little girl

Fairy-inspired cake

Yummy cupcakes!

Tinkerbell hat

Nice shoes :-)


with Lola Chit

Check out the tiara. You first saw them here on her 1st birthday and dedication.
Enrique tries to see if the hat suits him.

Their royal highness

Finally, he wore the hat...

Carl Ricah and JB

Ella Monique with Lola Boots

Monique gets her hand wiped by her great grandmother.

Diego and Franco participate in the pabitin.

me and Hamburglar

Enrique Miguel with Lola Chit and Lola Boots

Iking, Diego and Franco with Ronald McDonald

Lola Boots with her only grand daughter

Happy 2nd birthday, Ella Monique!
We love you :-)