Davao City Day 1

June 16, 2012

It was a sunny day in Davao City. We arrived at around 1:30pm via Cebu Pacific from Cebu. From the airport, we went straight to Microtel for the pre-registration. Then after our late lunch, we had our Davao City tour. Here are some pics of the places we visited on our first day. 🙂

with TG Ruby and TG JD at Davao City Airport arrival area

Kublai Cafe at Ponce Suites, the ARTBAHAY of Kublai Millan

One of the unique and artistic cafe’s I’ve been to. It was a very quick stop just to let us take a few pictures of  Kublai Millan’s (the owner) impressive artworks.

Notice the baby oble at the side? cute 🙂 Kublai is a Fine Arts graduate of the University of the Philippines Diliman

D’Bone Collector Museum


 Davao Crocodile Park


We started the tour at around 3pm which left us only a few hours for the tour. We were supposed to watch a fire dance but unfortunately, the dancers had a show in another place. Our first day in Davao was well-spent. A bit exhausting, but the fun was totally worth it. 🙂

One thing Tagbilaran and Davao City have in common- A road named after the 4th Philippine President.

Photos by roxipie

Hello Davao City!

The highlight of my eventful month of June is my trip to Davao City with my fellow BITGAP members. This year’s National Tour Guides Convention was held in Davao City. The first convention two years ago was held in Bohol, then the 2nd was in Palawan. I wasn’t able to attend last year’s convention so I made up for it by going this year. It was such a wonderful trip! I had a lot of fun and I instantly fell in love with Davao! Weeehh!!! ❤

I had loads of first times in this trip. After all, it was my first time to visit Davao. I was very excited for the trip. Funny thing though, for the first time (and hopefully the last time too), I was late for my boat trip to Cebu. I got left behind. I know, it was all my fault. Lucky for me, I could get the next trip on the same day without having to pay for another ticket. What started not well turned out just fine. But I swear there will never be a next time. Haha!

Let me give an overview of what we did in the trip:

June 15 (Friday) -We spent overnight in Cebu since we didn’t want to have any problem with our flight to Davao on the next day.

June 16 (Saturday) -First day in Davao City! We pre-register for the convention and got our kits. We also had a Davao City tour before heading to Chataeu de Veronica, where we stayed.

June 17 (Sunday) – First day of the convention. During the day, we had Davao City and Eden Nature Park and Resort tour. Then in the evening, we had a fellowship dinner hosted by Davao City Mayor, Sarah Duterte.

June 18 (Monday) -Second day of the convention. We had the plenary during the day, followed by the culmination program and dinner hosted by the Department of Tourism.

June 19 (Tuesday) -Samal Island escapade!

June 20 (Wednesday) -Flight Davao-Cebu; boat trip Cebu-Bohol; Home Sweet Home

I’ll never get tired of sharing about my wonderful trip to Davao! More pics to be posted! Yay! 🙂

Jeff and Ria

You know how I love weddings. So when I saw this video of my elementary classmate’s wedding on facebook, I couldn’t help watching it again and again. And watching it was not enough, I just had to share it here in my blog. The couple looks really great together and it was such a lovely wedding. Congratulations and best wishes to Ria and Jeff! Cheers! 🙂

Weddings in June

June is a famous month for weddings. I wondered why getting married in June is considered good luck so I googled and found some explanations. Some relates it to Juno, the goddess of marriage, from which the month was named after. Back in the middle ages, June was also traditionally considered as the marriage month because people were clean from their annual May baths. There could be more explanations to this but it’s not really that much of a big deal for me. Choosing the wedding date is all up to the couple.

So, this month I attended two weddings. I love attending weddings. I love seeing the bride in her gorgeous wedding dress, and my favorite part is when she walks down the aisle towards the altar where the groom awaits. I also love seeing people all dressed-up for the occasion. One thing though, in all three weddings that I’ve been to, all of them have the motif of blue. So another question would be, why the color blue? 🙂

Alvin & JL 

June 2, 2012
St. Joseph Cathedral, Tagbilaran City
Reception at Bohol Tropics Resort

The newly weds with some Bohol tour guides

I met Alvin in our tour guiding seminar a couple of years ago. As aspiring tour guides, our group easily got along with each other and became friends. When Alvin’s wife, JL, delivered their first baby, I was one of the first people who visited them in the hospital. Then they chose me to be one of Chelsea’s (their daughter’s) godmothers. Chelsea is my first god-daughter! It was such a delight to be given a special part in her life. After a year Alvin and JL’s second child, a cute baby boy named Basti, was born. What a lovely family! Once again this year I was given the chance to be a part of another special occasion, their wedding. I couldn’t be more grateful. I wish them all the best in life! 🙂

Milbert & Analyn

June 14, 2012
San Antonio De Padua Chapel

Milbert and Analyn are two of my good childhood friends. Our friendship started when we became Altar Servers several years ago. We haven’t been in touch with each other in a long time. I was surprised one day when Manoy sent me a chat msg inviting me to their wedding. I was surprised! I had known that they’ve been a couple for a while now but it’s different when they take it to the next level, the M life. I am utterly happy for them! One more thing, they’re expecting their first baby in September. I am so excited! Cheers to the lovely couple! 🙂

I and the happy couple 🙂

with Almira

my childhood buddies

Attending their wedding also means seeing my other childhood friends. It’s been a really really loooonng time since I last saw them so it was so great to be with them even just for a few hours. We didn’t have much time to catch up with each others lives but really, just being with them was more than enough for me. It was the icing on the cake. I look forward to spending more time with them soon. 🙂

Photos by roxipie

Halfway Through 2012

I haven’t been able to post much lately and I feel bad for it. Whatever happened to that ‘one output a day’ plan that I had? Duh! I don’t want to think about it anymore. I failed again and no excuse can save me from the self disappointment that I feel right now. It’s like I could hear my conscience saying, “I told you so.”–I know, right?!

So anyway, time flew once again and before I even realized it, the month of June is over! Darn! That was really quick! So now that we’re halfway through the year 2012, let me share my eventful first half.

January

  • New year, new home! -We moved to a new house cause our apartment got burned on Christmas day last year. Big news!
  • My brother’s birthday month!
  • My  bday month too!
  • Got a very special present, Klaus 🙂
  • Lolo died
  • Lola died too 😦

February

  • Single-awareness day
  • Batch Six Bomb island hopping adventure -Gathering with my high school batchmates. My 1st visit to Balicasag and Virgin island.
  • BITGAP familiarization tour in Tarsier Botanika
  • BITGAP General Assembly

March

  • Li’l bro’s graduation! Weeh! Family celebration! 🙂
  • Ate Cheryl’s despedida
  • The Hunger Games movie!- Oh yeaaahhh!!!

April

  • Holy week
  • Tour guiding galore!

May

  • Noticed a lump on my neck and discovered I was Darna! (Kidding aside, I found out I have goiter.)
  • BITGAP familiarization tour in Banacon Mangrove Plantation

June

  • Mother’s bday!
  • Sister’s bday too!
  • Alvin & JL’s wedding
  • Milbert & Analyn’s wedding
  • National Tour Guide’s Convention in Davao City! 🙂

There you go! The big things in the first six months of 2012. I wonder what more is in store for me before this year ends. Keep’em coming! Raarrrr!!!  😀

Banacon Mangrove Plantation is Asia’s Largest

Even with my job as a tour guide, there are still places in my hometown that I haven’t been to. That’s why once in a while, our organization (Bohol Island’s Tour Guides Association of the Philippines, Inc.) conducts familiarization tours in some tourists’ destinations. There’s no better way of learning about a certain place/attraction than by experiencing it first hand. This month we went to Banacon Island where Asia’s largest man-made mangrove plantation is located. Yes, you read it right. The biggest in Asia is Banacon Mangrove Plantation!

Our assembly time was at 6am in Metro Centre hotel. Some of the members were picked up on the way. Banacon island is part of the town Jetafe, which is approximately 92 kilometers away from Tagbilaran City (Bohol’s capital). From the mainland, it takes around 35 minutes by boat to Banacon island. It was a fine sunny day then, a bit too hot for an island hopping activity. Considering our job as tour guides, we were supposed to be immune to the surging heat of the sun as long as we had our sunblock. 🙂

Few meters away from the island, we could already see some women dressed in Filipiniana customes. We were surprised when these women welcomed us with leis made of shells. It was unnecessary but very sweet of them. We were used to being the ones who give welcoming leis to the guests and not the other way around. It felt nice being the tourist for a change. 🙂

We were advised to have the Banacon mangrove forest tour before lunch since the tide was getting low. We rode on bangkas (small river boats) by pairs and took a tour in the mangrove forest. The tour normally lasts for 30 minutes but the sea level in some areas was too low for our bangka motors to run that our boatman had to row our boat manually, thus making the tour longer than usual. The heat from the sun was harshly piercing to the skin, especially that we did the tour on midday. Thankfully, Ms. Sarah (my partner in the bangka) cared to share her sarong with me. Despite the burning heat from the sun, it was still a great experience.

The Banacon Mangrove Plantation is the biggest man-made mangrove plantation in Asia with an area of 484 hectares, plus an additional 200 hectares is planned for expansion. They started planting mangroves in 1957, lead by Mr. Gaudencio Padin.  There are 15 mangrove species in the plantation.

The exhaustion from the tour was immediately relieved by a seafood-rich meal prepared by the island folks. We feasted on luscious crabs, shrimps and other seafood.

They also prepared a short program to entertain us. The women in Filipiniana costumes presented some Philippine folk dances, in which some of my org mates gladly joined. It was really nice of them to prepare something for us.

The People’s Organization hosted our fam tour in the island. The Banacon Fisher Folks & Mangrove Planters Association (a.k.a. BAFFMAPA) president, Mr. Dioscoro ‘Dondon’ Canlubo III, gave a speech about Banacon island and the lifestyle of the island folks. We learned that the name Banacon came from a fish called Banac, which used to be very abundant in the island.

Banacon island has a land area of 11 hectares and 1700 hectares gleaning ground. The population is 1,300, and there are 325 households. The source of electricity is a privately owned generator. People pay 10 pesos per light bulb and 15 pesos for the TV. Power is available from 6pm-10pm only. Water is not readily available in the island. They have to buy it from the barangay for 8 pesos per container.

They have one elementary school.  They don’t have a high school so students have to ride on bangkas to cross to the mainland where they can study high school. Other students opt to study in Cebu island since it’s only an hour away by boat and the fare is 50 pesos.  The main livelihood in the island is fishing. Fresh seafood goods are shipped to be sold in Cebu island. They also sell dried seafood at affordable prices.

For a girl like me who was born and raised in the city, living in the island is tough. I can’t imagine life with limited supply of water and electricity. But feeling the warm welcome of the people in the island, and seeing the friendly smiles on their faces tell me how they’ve embraced their simple life. To me, that’s quite remarkable.  🙂

photos by roxipie

Aya’s Litre of Tears

“As I think about the past, the tears will come out. Reality is too cruel, too brutal. I don’t even have the right to dream. As I think about the future, the tears will come out again.”- Aya

I’ve heard from my friends that watching 1 Litre of Tears (1 Litre no Namida) would really make you cry like literally a litre of tears. So I had made a mental note on including it in my Thou-Shall-Not-Watch list. I used to dislike watching heavy drama series cause they’d make me feel depressed for at least a couple of weeks thus making it difficult for me to move on. But last week, just for no particular reason, I decided to watch it with my family. My friends were right, the show was indeed so emotional that it moved me to tears. I felt awful! But I’d still say that it was one of the best shows I’ve watched. I’ve learned some important lessons from it.

First, that life is unfair and that there is nothing we can do but to accept that. We can keep asking questions like why it has to be us? Or what if it had been different? But as much as we’ll never really know the answers, we also can’t do anything to change it. So whatever it is that life throws at us, no matter how hard and painful it may hit us, the best way to deal with it is to accept it first. And from there, we’ll learn to be brave to face it. Just as Aya cried a litre of tears when she found out about her illness, we can also cry even more than a litre if that’s what it’ll take to ease the pain and frustration. After all, crying is a way of facing reality.

“I really don’t want to say things such as ‘I want to go back as how things were before.’ I recognize how I am right now, and I will continue to live on.”- Aya

Second, that no matter how unfair or miserable life may be, we should still value it. Why do we keep fighting to overcome the challenges in the first place? We do it to survive, because we want to live. So despite the big problems we face, we shouldn’t forget the most important thing. –We are alive. We’ll never know what exactly’s going to happen tomorrow, or the day after. So we shouldn’t let the big problems conquer our life today. We should always remember that aside from the bad things, there are a lot more good things in life. We musn’t allow the darkness to blind us. Instead, let it be the reason to make the good things even brighter.

“What’s wrong with falling down? You can always stand up again. If you look up at the sky after falling down, the blue sky is also today stretching limitlessly and smiles at me… I’m alive.” -Aya 

Third, instead of wishing life to be better, we should be thankful of what we have now.  Some people have it worse. We should celebrate and make the most of what we have. Just recently I discovered a lump on my neck and found out that it’s goiter. I was so devastated. For a moment, I questioned God for the challenges He’s been giving me and my family recently. I thought my life couldn’t be more miserable. But after watching 1 Litre of Tears, I realized that some people have problems that are way bigger than mine. Challenges that I wouldn’t even know how to handle them myself. After some consultations and tests, my doctor confirmed that it’s not very dangerous and that it can be treated with medication. I felt so relieved. I realized that I overeacted. I don’t know what else life would throw me but, I’m sure of one thing. I’ll be braver and stronger next time. That no matter how ugly the problems may be, life would still be beautiful. Aya’s litre of tears taught me this.

“Even though I have been hurt before by those heartless glares, this also helped me to understand that around me, there still exist some gentle glares. Therefore, I definitely won’t run away. That’s what I’ll do. Definitely. Always.” –Aya

Shocking Deaths in The Vampire Diaries Season Finale

SPOILER ALERT!!!

One word to describe The Vampire Diaries Season 3 finale is– SHOCKING! There were deaths that I didn’t see coming. I honestly did not expect to see Klaus getting staked and Elena drown to death. All throughout the third season, Elena, Stefan, Damon and the rest of the team, had tried different ways to kill Klaus but our beloved Original Hybrid always managed to outsmart them. I couldn’t expect less from my favorite, and probably the hottest villain I know. The season finale was by far the best episode of this series. Watching it once or twice is not enough. I wanted to know for sure that I did not miss anything out.

Again, I have to say that I was not ready to see Klaus get staked. So when dark Alaric successfully staked him through the heart, I was like– NO!!! I swear I could have screamed louder than Rebekah if only I didn’t have to worry about people thinking that I’ve gone mad. So, my poor Klaus died which means, Tyler, Stefan, and Damon, would eventually die as well. On the other hand, if I remember it right, I think it was Damon’s blood used to turn Caroline. So I wonder why Caroline was only worried for Tyler. She was supposed to die too along with them. (Somebody, correct me if I’m wrong.)

With Klaus’ death was the possible doom of the Salvatore brothers. Hence, Elena had to make her choice between the two. She chose Stefan. (Of course, she did! Duh!) She might have developed some feelings for Damon but she never stopped loving Stefan. She said this to Damon over the telephone since she was headed back to Mystic Falls where Stefan and the rest of her friends were. She tried consoling Damon by saying, “Maybe if I’d met you first…” But it was then shown that she actually met Damon first. This revelation was unbearably painful to me. Damon did make an impression on Elena. To think that she even flirted with him on their first meeting! I wonder how Elena would react when she remembers everything that Damon compelled her to forget.

Elijah and Rebekah mourned the death of their brother, wondering how it was that the Salvatore brothers were still alive. Little did they know that our super witch Bonnie casted a spell to protect Klaus, who’s now possessing Tyler’s body. I was actually celebrating when I found out that Klaus was not dead after all. But I prefer seeing Joseph Morgan play the role.

And then the last shocking moment of the season finale was Elena’s death. It was also the most touching scene for me. Because of Rebekah’s doing, Elena and Matt drove off  the Wickery Bridge. While underwater, Elena had flashbacks of what happened when she was in the car crash with her parents. Stefan came to save her but she insisted that he save Matt first, which then lead to her own death. Damon then came rushing to the hospital where Elena’s body was taken. Meredith told him about what she did to help Elena recover from her serious head injury earlier that day. She had given Elena some vampire blood which means, she’ll come back to life as a vampire. And then goes the last scene, a dead Elena suddenly gasping back to life. After seeing that scene, my first thought was, “Breaking Dawn ba etech?!” 😀

Wish I Knew Marilyn

“I have feelings too. I am still human. All I want is to be loved, for myself and for my talent.” – Marilyn Monroe 

I wasn’t really interested in the life of Marilyn Monroe until yesterday when I saw the film, My Week with Marilyn. I know that Marilyn Monroe is one of the famous icons in international entertainment but I didn’t really know much about her. I’ve heard that the cause of her death was suicide. I didn’t know about the controversies surrounding her death, and neither about the difficult life she had. I was surprised to see in the movie a Marilyn who was different from the one that I’ve always had in my head. Watching the movie made me very curious about her that I spent long hours online last night, reading about her life. Knowing more about Marilyn has made me admire and respect her not only as an actress nor as a famous icon, but also for being who she is behind the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. It makes me sad thinking about how her life ended but I hope she has found the true love and happiness that she deserves wherever she is right now. Time may pass but Marilyn Monroe will always be remembered and will serve as an inspiration to many.