Archive for May, 2008

Images from Sipalay

This is how the beach looked like when we arrived:

Shots of Langub Beach in stormy weather:

And here’s a little romance caught on camera:

And the castaways:

More images here.

Day 2

Saturday, May 17, was Tintin’s birthday. I set the alarm for 5am so we could go sunrise-watching. Still no luck. It was raining hard when the alarm sounded. We woke up at around 8am. The rain had stopped, but there were still dark clouds overhead. After breakfast, we finally had the chance to spend some time at the ocean – not to swim and do usual things people do in beaches, but just to take pictures and look, walk and play around.  The waves were still huge and the water was still chocolate brown from the bad weather.  Every now and then, we had to run back inside since it would suddenly rain hard for a short while then stop again.  The rest of the day was spent exploring Takatuka and taking photos.  It was really fortunate that Takatuka was such a crazy, creative resort such that we never got bored and we never felt like our trip was a waste because of the bad weather.

Day 3

The sun shone for the first time!  Alas, the sunrise was behind the resort.  I really felt like screaming, “Come on, give us a break!” Haha!  The sun was up, but it was still a long way off from “beach weather”.  This is one beach trip wherein we never got to wear swimsuits and we went home with all our clothes dry.

We finally took the car service back to Bacolod City, and the trip took only 3 hours.  We left Sipalay at 10.30am and was at the Silay airport at 2pm, after some stops at in Bacolod to buy our favorite treats and pasalubong.  And then…

…our 5.20pm flight was able to take off at 8pm!!!  Our consolation was that at least the airport was nice.  Imagine being stuck that long in the old Bacolod airport!

Misadventures aside, it was still a good trip.  Out of the ordinary, if nothing else.  In fact, it seemed like every stage had a twist.  Loved it!

Next up: photos!

On Chapter 14 already. Let me clarify what I said in an earlier post that I’m enjoying it. I’m enjoying it not in a sense that I find joy in the events in the story, but in the sense that I’m not having difficulties in understanding it in spite of the deep Tagalog.

It’s actually quite painful to read, seeing the parallelisms to what’s actually happening in Philippine society today. The novel was set in the period shortly after World War II, but it seems like nothing has changed since then. The villains, their traits and their stories still ring true to this day. You would think that there would have been some improvement given that the events happened at a time of war and shortly thereafter, when the moral compass tends to go awry. But now, at a time of relative peace and progress, you would have expected better of government, civic, and society leaders. Instead, the cancer apparently was never cured. Maybe it just went on remission for brief periods, but the tumors always grew back.  I wonder if the cure will ever be found and when it will happen.  Will we have to wait another century?

Whatever happened to festive May? Cyclone, typhoon, cold-blooded murder…just some of the events in the Philippines and across the globe that happened in the supposed month of fiestas – at least in this part of the world.

The cyclone in Myanmar is bad enough, but the worse is the government’s refusal of international aid mainly due to paranoid reasons. What kind of government would put selfish interests ahead of the citizens’ welfare at a time of great crisis, when the only choice is between life and death?

Cosme is just another one of the typhoons that hit the Philippines year-round, but at May? Pagasa predicted May to be the hottest month but where’s the heat? Instead, we seem to be having a very early start to the rainy season. I don’t know if I’ve just been cooped up inside an air conditioned office most of the time, but I feel like this has been a short summer. Another topsy-turvy weather condition due to climate change?

And the worst atrocity so far – the RCBC robbery-murders. It was the headline that greeted me when I read the papers after we got back from our rained-out vacation. How could someone/some people just be so merciless? Especially towards people they know, if it was indeed an inside job as all signs seem to point. Why couldn’t they just have taken the money and run? They did their work in the most cowardly fashion – shooting the victims when they were face-down on the floor. Why is it that most of the worst crimes also reek of great cowardice? The mind of a criminal is a very interesting but stomach-turning study.


On a lighter note (as compared to the incidents above), there has been an issue about Amado Hernandez’ novel, Mga Ibong Mandaragit. Read about it here and here. So now I was challenged to read it again. Confession time: It was assigned to us as book report back in 4th year high school. We didn’t discuss it as thoroughly as we did El Filibusterismo. Since it was towards the end of senior year already, when we had a lot of other requirements, what our class did was to divide the chapters to read and then just had a storytelling session so we could all do the book report and not fall behind on the other requirements. I don’t know if our teacher ever found out.

Anyway, now I’m starting to read the entire book. I’m only at Chapter 12, but I’m understanding and enjoying it so far. It’s been a long while since I’ve read a Tagalog novel. The last one was Carlos Bulosan’s Nasa Puso ang Amerika, a birthday gift from my cousin, who also wrote a dedication in beautiful Tagalog.

I don’t really get Connie Veneracion’s gripe about Mga Ibong Mandaragit being a difficult read. Sure, it is difficult if you read it word-by-word without taking it into context. There are a lot of deep Tagalog words never used by today’s generation, but the idea of reading is to get the story and get the point. That is not really difficult to do with the novel. In fact, I’m actually enjoying it. I may not get the exact meaning of every word, but I understand them in the context of the sentences and the paragraphs, and I have no problem with the story as a whole. I guess it also helps to visualize the characters and the events in the story instead of just reading the words.

So now I’m ending this un-merry, rainy month of May on the hopeful note of finishing this novel and greatly appreciating it. God, I love to read while it’s raining!

Here’s the tale of our trip to Langub Beach in Sipalay, Negros Occidental last weekend. We stayed at Takatuka Lodge, which is a very interesting place. A separate blog post is needed to give justice to the resort, so more on that later.

We wanted adventure on our Negros trip, and adventure poured – literally! Our beach trip was rained out, hence the quotation marks in the post title. But that wasn’t really the start of the adventure (and MISadventures!). Here’s a clue: in just half a day, we were able to ride a plane, a car, a bus, a tricycle and finally, a boat – in that particular order.

The plane ride. The night before, Tin found out that her friend’s flight to Dumaguete that day had been cancelled.  That was already one hint of bad weather.  But we had been planning this trip since the beginning of the year so there was no going back.  Our 4.40am Cebu Pacific flight took off as scheduled.  There was some turbulence as we neared Negros, and we were in the clouds for most of the flight. Another hint of bad weather.

The taxi ride. There are no regular metered taxis at the new Bacolod-Silay airport. Passengers have two options: hired taxis/cars at a fixed rate depending on the destination, or the shuttle to Bacolod City for P100/passenger. We took the taxi (P400 to the Ceres South Terminal in Bacolod City) since there were 3 of us anyway and we wanted to pass by McDonald’s to get breakfast first.

The bus trip. To get to Langub Beach, you should take the bus going to Hinoba-an and get off at the Sipalay bus terminal.  According to the information from Cebu Pacific’s in-flight magazine, where we found out about Takatuka and Langub Beach, the aircon bus service starts at 8am. It turned out that it actually starts at 2pm! We took the first flight in so we were already at Ceres South Bus Terminal at around 7.30am. We had no choice but to take the non-aircon bus. It was one long, bumpy, crowded bus ride with PLENTY of stops. It took a little over 5 hours to get to the Sipalay bus terminal. Judging by the distance, it would have taken only around 3 hours by private vehicle. We could have chosen to take a car service, but it was quite expensive and we wanted the adventure of a bus ride. Well, we certainly got more than we bargained for.

The bus left Bacolod at around 8.30am and arrived at the Sipalay terminal around 1.30pm. We walked down to the beach toward Driftwood City Restaurant, where Takatuka’s boat was supposed to pick us up. Well, there was no boat because the waves were high and so huge. I would still be afraid of going out into the ocean with those waves even in a SuperFerry!

The tricycle ride. After finding no one at the designated meeting place, we called Takatuka and they directed us to take a tricycle to Nauhang, several miles back down the highway and into the fields. There was a river there parallel to the sea, where we can get on a boat to the resort. It drizzled when we were on the tricycle and the portion of our bodies that were partially outside the tricycle (it was TINY tricycle) got a bit wet. At the end of the road, we crossed a broken foot bridge, which was repaired using four bamboo poles tied together, then had to do some sort of limbo rock to get under the railing and into the boat.  It’s good that some of the boatmen helped us by taking our backpacks and loading them on the boat then assisting us aboard.

The boat ride. We rode a tiny pump boat, about 2 1/2 persons wide. It was a nice river, lined with thick mangroves on both sides. I think it would have been prettier in the sunshine with green water (pretty much like the Loboc River in Bohol). Instead, it was a murky brown due to the rains. Anyway, the boat ride lasted for about 10-15 minutes. We docked at a residential area, climbed up and went down a mini-rock formation; then walked along the beach for 10 minutes to finally reach the resort. There was a Lonely Planet/Survivor feel in the air. We were the only people in that stretch of the beach, which was littered with driftwood, coconut husks and other storm debris.

We were finally at the doorstep of Takatuka Lodge at past 2pm. Whew! By then, we were so tired, hungry and thirsty – and a little damp from both sweat and the weather. We ate lunch-cum-merienda, which also turned out to be dinner. Once we were settled in our room, we no longer had the energy to venture out again. Plus, it was raining quite hard so we still couldn’t go out even if we wanted to. Rebs and Tin were asleep even before darkness set it. I stayed awake due to the coffee I drank with our meal. Rebs woke up after a couple of hours and we just chatted away until we fell asleep again. And that was Day One.

To be continued…

Back to Dumaguete

Finally!  October 17-19 it is.  I already have the ticket in front of me right now.  I think Jeff got over-excited and printed it already even if it’s still months away, haha! 😀 My original plan was to go alone, but my officemate Jeff tagged along when he found out about it.  Then Tricia couldn’t resist and therefore will also be coming with us even though she just went there last February. Can’t wait!  This is time first time we’ll be traveling together.  Who knows, it might not even be the last.  Now, the problem is how to get that leave from the office when we all belong to the same team.  Hmm…tiny, insignificant detail, haha! 😉


Out of the calendar, but still in the lotto. 😉  A happy day to all who share my birthday! 🙂

The Old Gang

I had a great Friday night – an impromptu dinner with high school friends! It’s been a while since what’s left of our original barkada were complete for a meal outside of a special occasion. I was just supposed to meet with Trina to sign something, then it turned out that Anna, Rebs and Claudes could make it. Trina’s husband followed, and Rebs brought along her new boyfriend. It was a fun evening filled with laughter and stories old and new.

We had dinner at Burgoo at The Podium. Nothing beats a great Friday evening with some of my oldest friends. Since we all share a common passion for traveling, a Baguio travel plan was immediately hatched, complete with seat plan, taking less than 10 minutes. We’re taking 5 kids with us (aged 8-4 months), with only 1 yaya. I can just imagine what a chaotic, happy bunch we’ll be. We’ll just be using 2 big vehicles and we’re staying in 1 house. Fun! I hope we’ll really get to go on the date we planned. If not, we’ll just have to keep postponing until we finally get to go! Baguio or bust. When I told my dad about it, he laughed and said he was so amused that I’m already doing that kind of stuff. He said he and my mom were veterans at such kind of trips. Indeed, they were! I still remember all those Baguio trips of my childhood.

Anyway, here are the pics:

I’m really loving the move to WordPress. More than a year ago, this blog was on another host, but I moved over to WordPress primarily because of its nicer themes. I didn’t really review all the features before I moved. Now, I’m really enjoying blogging here. And now they have this great new theme – Monotone. It’s best for photo blogs because it analyzes the uploaded photo and creates a background complementary to the color scheme of the image. It’s a chameleon theme, so there’s a different background for every page! The archives are also presented in a different manner – like a photo album, with thumbnails of the uploaded images. You’ll only get the full effect of this template on a photo blog. And so…

I’ve created a photo blog! I can’t really let this cool template go to waste now, can I?  It’s still a work in progress, and I’ll write about it again when I’ve fixed everything.