Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Lately, a couple of straight guy friends have been surprising me with their actions. I've always thought that men are black or white when it comes to decision. Apparently, I'm wrong. There are those very rare species who could be one big gray area. Hehe. I found that to be quite interesting. Hehe!
First, there's Lagerfeld Boy. He's a nice guy and all and I am grateful for his kindness but there are times when he gets these moods that drives me nuts. It drives me nuts because when we hang out, I don't know if he's in a good mood or if it's one of those moments when I have to be careful. Basically, I'm still getting used to the moods and walking on eggshells is something I don't really like to do. I mean, come on. We're almost 30 and if we're still having the tantrums of a teenager, something must have gone haywire a decade ago.
The other guy who's been making me crazy for quite some time now is Undecided Boy. I was quite sure he didn't play for the team, but there are also those moments when I wasn't sure. This weekend, Undecided Boy is leaving Flipland and I'm not sure when he'll be back, if he'll be back, or he'll even bother to stay in touch. I don't think he would. Had I not recently sent him a text message, I wouldn't have known that he'll soon be thousands of miles away. Am I hurt? A bit, but right from the start, I somehow had an inkling of how things will be. I guess there's a really small part of me that thought time could change the guy. I was wrong. Oh well.
Straight boys will be straight boys.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
The summer of 2008 is turning out to be one of the most adventurous and most daring summers of my life. It was so daring (or maybe stupid) that I now have a chipped front tooth. Hehe! Still, the chipped front tooth makes this summer all the more memorable.
Anyway, since we finished early with work over the weekend, Saturday morning was spent doing some recreation at Cagayan de Oro. Our flight back to Manila wasn't until 4 in the afternoon so that gave us enough time to do two Fear Factor-ish things.
First is the trip to the Macahambus Adventure Park. For P300, you can endanger your life (just kidding), you can get a lot of thrill from taking the canopy walk aka sky bridge followed by the zip line aka slide for life. The canopy walk is about 120 meters long and about 150 feet high. You get a view of century old trees and the Macahambus Gorge right below you. If you're more adventurous, you can try rappeling down the gorge.
Next is the whitewater rafting along the wild rapids of Cagayan river. There are fourteen rapids to be conquered and the whole adventure runs for about three hours. On the parts where you're not paddling or holding on to the raft for your dear life (again, just kidding) you get a breathtaking view of the beauty of nature and the local communities along the banks. There are certain parts in the river where you can also go swimming or in one particular part, let the seemingly still water take you on a 1KM drifting trip. Hehe!
You need not worry about safety that much because you'll be equipped with helmets, paddles, and life vests, and state of the art rafts. Before you enter the rapids, you'll be given an orientation on the different types of paddling and what to do if you ever get thrown out of the raft. (Don't let this scare you. You'll survive. For your info, among those that have tried the rafting were an 80-year-old grandma and a 5-year-old kid.)
Now, how exactly did I end up having a chipped front tooth? Hmm, I wasn't prepared for the approaching rapids and I didn't hear the command of our guide so I hit myself with the handle of my paddle. Ouch! It all happened so fast but I did feel something fly out of my mouth, and then I saw that small chip on my palm, and then we were out of the rapids. Hehehe!
I feel sorry about the chipped tooth (I feel like I lost a part of me) but the adventure and the adrenaline rush from the experience was somehow worth it. Hehe! I can have my tooth capped anyway. However, I found out that all dentists are out this week because of the Philippine Dental Association convention. But that's another story.
Anyway, if you do find yourself in Cagayan de Oro one of these days, I suggest you check out the Macahambus Adventure Park and experience the whitewater rafting adventure.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Thanks to colleague/friend Reena, I got tickets to Altar Boyz, which had its final performance at Onstage Greenbelt 1yesterday. I asked Carlo if he was interested to watch it, and I'm glad that he was free to go with me.
The gist of the musical? Think Backstreet Boys or 'N Sync gone Gospel/Pop.
The musical revolves around five young hearththrobs - Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan and Abraham - collectively known as Altar Boyz, who are traveling around the world with a mission to save souls (and if it is God's plan) make it to MTV as a Christian boy band. The entire show is Raise the Praise concert and throughout, the boys sing a good mix of songs. You got ballads, pop, rap, soul. Together with their dance moves, you got the . I can't help but be amazed at how the boys were able to bust the moves and sing praises for the Mighty One without panting or fainting. Hehe! Ah, the magic of youth I guess. Hehe!
Music and lyrics by Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker. Book by Kevin del Aguila. Directing the Manila performance is Chari Arespacochaga, so I was quite certain that it was going to be a must-see theatrical performance! Congrats Chari!!!
These guys sing sweet serenades, flirt, and bust out jaw dropping hip hop moves – all while praising the Lord! And, they’re all set to rock out masses of all denominations right here in Manila.
Uhm, I liked all of the songs but I guess what would be most relevant to my work would be "The Calling." See part of the lyrics below: Haha!
Jesus called me on my cell phone(Jesus called me on my cell phone)
No roaming charges were incurred (ooooo)
He told me that I should go out in the world
And (ahh) spread His glorious word (word)
Way to go, Altar Boyz!
When I was much younger, I thought of joining the Benedictine monks at the Monastery of Transfiguration in Malaybalay, Bukidnon. Yeah, that's hard to believe, but once upon a time, that came to mind. (I even wrote their Abbot to inquire about the Benedictine life.)
Back during my altar boy days, I read an article about the life of a corporate person who left his job to heed his calling, and that somehow inspired me. Anyway, things took a different turn for me and I am where I am now, but I didn't really expect that I would one day get to visit the place I once thought I could become part of.
On an early Friday morning, I decided to do a bit of daring. Because of a reservation confusion, I ended up checking in at a hotel in Malaybalay instead of Valencia. Anyway, my work for the day wasn't to begin til 9AM so that gave me a good three hours to find the Monastery of Transfiguration.
I asked the concierge how to get there, and was informed that I could ask one of the local tricycles to take me there since the monastery was in a secluded part of Malaybalay.
Upon leaving the hotel, I saw a tricycle parked nearby and talked to the guy Manong Ely. After agreeing that I'd pay him P180 to take me to the monastery and back to my hotel, we were off.
The monastery was about 20 to 30 minutes away. From the highway, we made a turn at one of the narrow and winding roads . It was a bit of rough roads, but you get a grand view of the mountains and the fields so that was okay. After a couple of minutes, I was greeted by the wooden sign that read "Monastery of Transfiguration."
We first visited the old monastery. The area where the monks used to live was now converted to a retreat house. The chapel appeared to be small to me but it was still nice. After saying a short prayer, I went back to meet Manong Ely and made our way to the new monastery. It was farther away and the road was a bit bumpy but once I saw the prominent triangular structure from afar, I must say I got excited.
The new monastery was just wow! It was grand yet simple. The new monastery was beautifully designed by the late National Artist Leandro Locsin. As I made my way up to the chapel, I was greeted by a sign saying "Be still and know that I am God." And cheesy as this may sound, the tranquility of the surroundings, the beauty of nature, the grandness of God's work are more than enough to make you feel the presence of a mighty being.
Inside the chapel, I said another short prayer. As I was about to leave, the church caretaker called me and said I should go up and see the Mother and Child image up close. And that's what I did.
Afterwards, I asked for a big favor from the caretaker to please take my photo in front of the altar and outside the chapel. Eeeep! I know I was disrupting him from cleaning the house of God, but I'm sure he and He understand. In fact, the guy seemed to be quite a pro at taking photos of visitors because he told me where I should stand so that I can have a nice photo with the chapel in the background. When I got my photo, I thanked him a million times and then headed back to meet Mang Ely.
Our last stop before going was the Monastery shop. Aside from the usual religious icons and medals, there were a couple of abaca bags being sold. But most of the items were native delicacies made by the monks. I bought some peanut brittle, nuts, cheese sticks, and Monks' Blend coffee. Mang Ely got a small cross for his pocket and I paid for it as a souvenir.
The whole experience, though short, was quite something. I'm really glad that I went out and searched for the Monastery because it was really worth it.
Check out the short video blog I made about the Monastery. (I think making vidblogs is something I might like doing.)
Alright, next entry will be about another daring adventure and how I ended up having a chipped front tooth. Augh!
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Our participation in the 2008 Bayani Challenge ended yesterday. Today, there was a Highway of Peace caravan from Bukidnon to Wao, Lanao but we didn't get to join that anymore.
As I mentioned in a previous entry, Thursday was spent mixing cement almost the entire day. That was fun, even though my entire body was aching the following day. Hehe! At least, I got to help out. And I was really moved by how grateful the beneficiary couple - Arlyn and Randy - was. Arlyn was on the verge of tears as she continually thanked the volunteer students and employees for helping them build their own home. I'm going to write a story about that.
And then last Friday, we joined all the other volunteers from the other house build sites for the start of the culminating activity. We went to the Natid-asan GK Village where we were greeted by the festive mood of people. Tony Meloto was there. VP Noli de Castro was there. Local officials were there. GK volunteers from all over the country were there. It was really a grand thanksgiving and celebration for the success of the 2008 Bayani Challenge.
I'm really glad I got to be part of it, even if it's just for a day.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Here are the first few pics from the Cagayan de Oro-Bukidnon trip. Yesterday, woke up at 3AM to be at the airport by 4AM for the 510AM flight. It was a good flight. It took about an hour and a half. Anyway, when we touched down at Cagayan de Oro, I was a bit surprised with the airport. I guess I thought it would be bigger because I knew CDO was already a city.
From CDO, I had to take a four-hour land trip. Three hours to get to Malaybalay City and then another hour to get to the municipality of Maramag where the site of our company for the Bayani Challenge was.
Though it was my first time in both CDO and Bukidnon, I still couldn't help but fall asleep during the trip. I was just really tired I guess. But I did get to see the lush mountains and the green fields along the highway.
In Malaybalay, I stayed at the Pines Hotel. It was a hotel with an 80s kind of charm. Uhm, the photo above with the large dog is the hallway leading to my room. It felt like being transported to two decades ago. Hehe! But there was hot and cold shower, and the air-conditioning was okay so I'm not complaining.
From Malaybalay, it was another land trip to Maramag. When I got there, the volunteers - a mix of students from a partner school and employee-volunteers - were already at work. It's good that we got a photographer to cover the company's participation in the event because I got to help out in the house build. Wooohooo!
I was reminded of the summers of my college days when I would join Work Camps where we'd build houses for rural communities. I instantly remembered how difficult it was to mix cement. It was literally a back breaker. Haha!
The house build for the day ended a little past 5. Then, we all went to dinner. Afterwards, I went back to Malaybalay to get some much deserved sleep.
Too bad that yesterday was the last day of the house build. I would have wanted to have more manual labor action. Haha! But still, I'm happy I got to help out.
Today, we went to another GK Village where all the volunteers from the various Bayani Challenge sites met for the start of a grand culminating activity.
But that's reserved for the next entry. Together with a tour to a local "community" that I once dreamt of be part of. Haha!
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Tomorrow, I'm taking the first PAL flight to Cagayan de Oro. From CDO, it'll be a three-hour drive to Bukidnon to check in at the local hotel, and then another 45-minute drive to Maramag, Bukidnon, the site assigned to the Bayani Challenge team of our company.
I'm excited, excited, excited.
Not only because it's my first time to go to Bukidnon and CDO, not only because it's another out of town trip, but above all because it's a volunteer activity. I wish I were able to join the company team who volunteered to stay for a week in Bukidnon to build one house. But alas, there are other things that can't be put on hold.
I can't wait though to talk to the volunteers to listen to their stories. I'm quite sure they have a lot of interesting insights and learnings from the four days that they've stayed in the community.
Augh! I miss volunteer work. I volunteered to be part of the summer storytelling program of the company to public school students, but so far, I haven't been able to attend one session. That's because I've been covering similar events these past few weekends. But I do hope that I get to attend at least one session this May.
Anyway, I'm really looking forward to this CDO/Bukidnon trip. Not sure if I can blog from there, but you can be sure that there'll be stories and photos when I get back to Manila.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
* Each blogger starts with ten random facts/habits about themselves.
* Bloggers that are tagged need to write on their own blog about their ten things and post these rules.
* At the end of your blog, you need to choose ten people to get tagged and list their names.
* Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.
1. Coffee makes me sleepy. When it's really late and I still can't sleep, I would drink a cup of coffee.
2. I actually enjoy "me" time. Uhm, when none of my friends are available, I don't mind watching a movie by myself, or eating at a nice restaurant, or shopping, or even traveling on my own.
3. People can say what they want, but I want my own Hermes Man Birkin. Haha!
4. There are moments when I wonder what if I actually settle down and have a family the traditional way, if you know what I mean.
5. Priesthood almost became an option for me after high school. UP was the only university I applied to, and I was prepared to see priesthood as the choice had I not passed UP.
6. Volunteer work is something I can do for the rest of my life. If I need not worry about my family, I would choose to work for a development organization and dedicate a life to that field.
7. Tokyo is one place I want to live in. Or maybe Amsterdam or Canada, for an environment that's more inclusive.
8. I wonder why I never considered a "unique" career - crane operator, closet space organizer, war soldier, personal shopper, textile maker, aquanaut or my favorite of all - artwork restorer at MoMa or the Louvre or any of the grand museums.
9. Silence is a good thing. Just because there are moments of silence doesn't mean it's boring.
10. Happiness would be the day a mini-Angelo utters "Dad".
Hmmm, tagging Carlo, Noreen, Sharon, Monet, Tey, Nick, Dax, Edsel, Suki, Nova. Hehehe!
Monday, April 21, 2008
If the Friday nightout was good, last night's was even, even better. After work, Karl fetched NN and I at the office. Twiggy was unable to join us because she had to fly back to Manila already.
Anyway, our first stop was Krua Thai for dinner. Food was great. I enjoyed the bagoong rice, tom yam, spicy spare ribs, and spicier fish fillet. Then, it was time to start the drinks. We headed to Bourbon, and afterwards to another nearby bar, Flow. I wasn't sure if there was a local Government or Bed but had I known where it was, I would have definitely gone. I was really up for dancing. And I think I've been spending too much time in straight bars. Hahaha!
Bourbon is great for lounging. If you just want to have some drinks with friends, have a good chat, and listen to club music, Bourbon is the place to go to. Beautiful people, too. Hehe! I don'tt know but Ilonggos are really beautiful people, eh?! Hehe! Flow, on the other hand, was TOO crowded. Crowded with college students ( or probably high schoolers), at least on the night we went. Augh! I went to the bar to get a beer and to get a feel of the club, and I got the head-to-toe judgment from a bunch of snooty, pretentious girls. Hehehe! I felt like Dan Humphrey in a scene with Blair Waldorf. Hehe! But I couldn't blame them. I was to be judged because my nightout attire was a Smart shirt, jeans and leather shoes. Shoot me! I came straight from work, and I completely forgot to bring gimik clothes and an extra pair of shoes. Hehehe!
Anyway, by 1AM, the three of us left and feeling a bit hungry, we had tapsilog at a hole in the wall diner. It was okay, for anyone who's hungry at 2AM. Then, back to the hotel where I was really feeling the buzz. You would too if you had what I had.
Three mugs of Singha, one long Island Iced Tea, two San Mig Lights, a pitcher of margarita (shared with NN and Karl). I'm just thankful to the heavens because no gout when I woke up this morning. And no, I don't really have the makings of an alcoholic. Hehe!
So that was it really. It was a really, really, really good night out. (Except for two awkward situations - one of which I will write about, and the other one to be left untold.) Haha!
It sucks that Im flying back to Manila tomorrow already. Huhuhu!!!
Ginhugma ko ang Iloilo! (I love Iloilo.)
Sunday, April 20, 2008
After I was done with work yesterday afternoon at the GK village, I had one of my favorite things about Iloilo - a good nightout. Together with colleagues NN and Twiggy, plus Iloilo-based colleague Karl, we hung out at the hip and happening Smallville. Since it was still quite early, we had dessert at Bigby's. It was a hot afternoon and everyone was up for some ice cream, although I wasn't expecting it to be like I was going to be executed the following day. Haha!
At Bigby's, for only P795, you can order the Titanic Ice Cream - thirty scoops of ice cream (coffee, mango, ube, vanilla, and chocolate flavors) served on a punch bowl with a clever crushed ice base, topped with all things sinful - chocolate chips, fruit cocktails, ice cream cones, barquillos, brownie chunks, chocolate cookies.
Augh! It was a mortal sin I was going to regret, but I was too weak. I know my boxing trainer would make me pay for that dessert. Haha!
From Bigby's we walked to nearby Bourbon for a round of drinks. We got the Kamikaze pitcher. It's only P350 and good enough to be shared by four drinkers. I don't know who's counting how many shots each one was already having, but I knew I was having a bit too much because I already felt a big buzz. Haha!
Afterwards, we all felt a bit tired already. NN, Twiggy and I all had an early activity this morning, so we knew we couldn't stay out till the wee hours of the morning. Hehe!
At least, the buzz from the Kamikaze was enough to put me to sleep immediately. Haha! Good nightout.