Friday, May 30, 2008

PRC Express

   I wish I knew about the PRC Express ID service earlier so that I didn't have to go through the manual process of professional license renewal.  My ID actually expired last Feb. , but I was too pre-occupied to arrange the processing of renewal.  Plus, I really dread the long lines and red tape involved in the process so I procastinated and procastinated until I heard that you can ask a representative to do it for you.  I filled up the form that a friend got for me and asked our messenger to go to PRC today.  In less than an hour, he came back with the claim stub that says I can get my new license on August 1, 2008.  Aside from the claim stub, he also handed us this flyer about PRC EXpress ID renewal service.  It claims that all you have to do is call their hotline number:  8544848 and arrange for LBC to pick up your application for renewal, then go to an LBC branch for payment and they deliver nationwide to your doorstep once it has been processed.   This is good news - an answer to the dreaded lines and hassle of processing license renewal.  

Monday, May 26, 2008

BIG family trip

       Last Sunday, we had a family outing trip to Punta Fuego in Batangas.  We were 50 plus in the group including the yayas and kids.  The last time we had this kind of trip was in 2002, when Julia was just a baby.  From 2002 up to 2008, there had been a significant increase in our family's population.   (New babies come along each year, with 5  baby boys in 2004 alone).  Our group was so big that we had the staff at Punta Fuego arrange an exclusive tent and buffet tables for our party of 50 something. When we occupied the jacuzzis at the club, there was literally no room for the others.  They had to wait until we decided to leave before they could use the facilities.  
     We were quite lucky the weather cooperated with us.  It was cloudy  and it occasionally drizzled but no big rain that would have ruined our trip.  The beach was nothing spectacular - especially if one's idea of  beaches are those of Boracay.  Despite this, the kids had a lot of fun.  It was a good break from just being  in the metro with practically nowhere to go except the malls.   This is one of those trips that that wouldn't be worth it if you go alone as it was really the company that made it worthwhile.  

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Julia's Art Exhibit

     Julia had her oil pastel exhibit at My Little Art Place last mid-May but since I got so busy with the teacher workshop preparation, I only had time to arrange the pictures these past few days.   Being held on a Saturday afternoon, it was just Julia, me and yaya who went to the exhibit.   Compared to the first exhibit, this one was more organized and less crowded.  However, I think there was a lack of air conditioning in the place as it was a bit humid with all the people there.  

      I got to talk to Teacher Stan during the exhibit.  He was recommending Julia to take up 'Pen and Ink" class for the third module.  He said Julia was 'matiyaga' with doodling and had a lot of details in her illustrations.  Here are some of the examples of her work at the exhibit.  My favorite is that of our family picture inside a heart.  I'm planning to make use of her artworks and put them on our personal gift tags.  Julia is just too thrilled with this idea.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bright and Sunny

     I've been meaning to post the whole week, but wasn't able to because I was really busy.  My excuse is that I had to prepare and give a 3 day workshop for teacher training.  I've sort of gotten used to my flexible hours at home so I underwent some adjustments for this week's full schedule.  It felt like I was back at the weekly grind from grad school preparing for presentations.  

    Actually, I'm not done with grad school yet.  I still have the humongous task of research work for my thesis before I finally get my degree.  Friends and relatives have been asking me if I'm done with my studies.  Those who don't know me really well have this assumption that I'm planning to open up my own school after I graduate.  When I let them know that I don't really plan to, they give a surprised response that seem to say, "But why did you have to study?".  They become even more confused when I give them the reason "I just wanted to, for personal growth."

     To be honest, opening up a school did cross my mind.  But this was before I became a teacher and found out that it wasn't as easy as the ABC's.  It entails a lot of responsibility, to say the least.  My experience this past year helped put me in perspective.  In some way, it got me to prioritize what I needed to do.  I'm so looking forward to do the things that I love and enjoy.  I'm all bright and sunny about everything - which is how things really should be.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

I'm a slave to the computer...

     Yup, I admit that I am.  I eat, breathe and sleep the computer.   I recently discovered that turning on the computer is the first thing I do when I reach home, while turning it off is the last thing I do before I leave.  I spend most of my awake hours on the computer to surf, shop, check mails, research, blog, talk to friends through ym, watch videos, listen to music, arrange photos and so much more.  Yesterday, I purposely went out of the house to take break from being on the computer the whole day, but I still found myself using my iPhone to search  and check my mail and updates.  

      There's no denying that all these advancement in technology have shaped our lifestyles and habits.    In our house, the ratio of family members to the computer is 3:4 ( 3 computers to 4 of us).  Despite this small ratio, I sometimes wish it was 1:1.  Nico's almost always glued to the computer like me.   And over the years, he has wowed us on what he has learned to do by himself using the computer.  A few years back, he surprised his dad by preparing him a birthday powerpoint presentation.  We did not even realize he knows how to use it - no one taught it to him and he did not learn it in school.  He just tinkered with it and figured it out by himself. Early this year, he came up with a video clip  of the American Army game that he's so addicted to.  He accomplished this despite the fact we did not have any programs for it.  He downloaded the tools he needed and learned by searching You Tube!  My point here is that everything's a fingertip away with computers.  Its so easy, convenient and so addicting.  But lately, I found that its so easy for me to loose my sense of time when I'm on the computer.  I keep wondering where all my time went....  I think I have to set limits for myself and stick to it.  

    Since its Sunday today, I'm going to sign off and spend it with the family.  Its my day off today.  On Monday, I can go back to being a slave to the computer:-) he he he


Saturday, May 17, 2008

“Don’t wonder why people go crazy. Wonder why they don’t. In the face of all we can lose in a day, in an instant, wonder what the hell it is that makes us hold it together.” - Meredith Grey

Sometimes, terrible things happen that are so unbelievable and crazy that we don't have any explanation why it took place. It pains so much that trying to deny it happened can make you loose your mind. I think of the family and loved ones of the victims from the tragic events found in the news these days... Cyclone in Myanmar, earthquake in China, RCBC bank robbery/murder in Laguna and other gruesome crimes that have been on the news and papers recently. It makes you think how we as humans can handle the pain;how difficult it is to be vulnerable. But life goes on and people to learn to cope. We get by somehow...we have to or we go crazy and disillusioned.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mommyfest Party

    There's a party going on.  Stop by at to join.  Its my first time to get involved in something like this so I'm a newbie here. This is a really cool way of meeting people.

    Welcome and feel free to browse around.  Don't forget to drop me a line or just say hi before you go :-)

Grey's Back

       After several weeks of absence because of the Writer's strike, Grey's Anatomy is back.  I only discovered yesterday that they resumed the showing of episodes late April.  So, before I left the house, I downloaded the 3 episodes I missed and had a marathon last night to catch up on what's going on at Seattle Grace.  
        The last episode in Feb left me hanging about the Derek-Meredith breakup.  I still can't get over the fact that the reason for the break up was that Derek was seeing someone else.  I'm not so much of a fan for Meredith but I wasn't expecting Derek to initiate the break up.  He was building a house just the day before!  And for him to be casually dating the nurse right after...I just feel for Meredith.  But then again, who wouldn't date McDreamy if you had the chance?  I know I would. lol

         I can't wait for this Thursdays episode and the season's finale. :-)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Rant

Its useless to elaborate.  It won't get through his thick head.  So, I'm here to rant.  

Inconsiderate and insensitive.  And he doesn't have a clue that he is.  Trying too much to please others gets you to become the opposite to those who matters.  The balance is lost somewhere.   

And its not true he does not have a choice.  Its a matter of wanting and prioritizing-which he is very poor at.  Same is true at making decisions.  I hope oneday he realizes this...
Sometimes, I really think we speak a different language.   I'm tired of this.  Its the same issue over and over.  There.  I wrote it down here and I feel much better.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Batad/Sagada Day 2

     We were dreading the hike back to 'saddle point'. Our muscles haven't recovered from yesterday's abuse and the massage last night did little to relieve the ache. See where I'm pointing at? We hiked all the way up to ride the jeep going to Banaue-Sagada.  

    Along the way, we found stops that sold "I Survived Batad" t-shirts and felt the need to express ourselves with those shirts.  In a way, we survived Batad in different and numerous aspects. Aside from the hiking and climbing, we also survived the cold 'tabo' showers, the lack of cell site and charging outlets for our gadgets and the limited amenities that was available to us during our stay.  For us urbanites, that itself was a challenge.  
We finally arrived at 'saddle point' after an hour and a half.  It took us another 4 hours of rough roads and zigzags before we finally reached Sagada. When we got to St Joseph's, the first thing I checked was the toilet.  It takes deprivation to really appreciate something that we have. Thanks to the cold shower in Batad, I now have a new found appreciation for heated baths. lol

We all found St. Joseph's to be really  nice. Aside from this, its location is also very accessible to the municipal hall and other restaurants in the area.  The resthouse's restaurant was under renovation so we had to go somewhere else for our late lunch. 
     Since it was late, we decided to go to Lake Danum to catch the sunset.  Many have hailed this place a must see, but we were quite disappointed. Firstly, there was no sunset because it was drizzling.  Second, the brown and muddy water looked more like a pond than a lake.  There wasn't much too see so we were back at St. Joseph's in less than an hour.

    We then visited St. Mary's Church which was right across St. Joseph's.  The church garden was abundant with flowers and the pine tress surrounding the area gave the place a rustic feel.  

     While the boys went back to St. Joseph's, the girls went to the "Log Cabin" to make dinner reservations for the night.  There was no one at the place when we got there.  The doors leading to the kitchen were open so I had to announce, "Tao po. Tao po." By the door we found a sign that said, "Attention.  This kitchen will be closed today on account of illness.  I'm sick of cooking." :-) We thought we won't be able to make reservations as the place was often fully booked.  Luckily, someone came when we were about to leave so we were able to make a down payment for our reservations.
     Normally, the Log Cabin only serve dinner buffets every Saturday night when the chef gets fresh produce at the Saturday morning market.  So, it was more of an exception that we were having buffet on a Friday night. The place was full and we even saw some walk-in customers who were turned away because they were not accommodating anyone anymore.  The food lived up to our expectations and more.  For P290 per person, there were soup, salad, main dish, desserts and coffee/tea.  I especially liked the wild mushroom soup and even had 2 servings of it.  The ambiance at the log cabin is country and very cozy.   It feels just like having dinner at a friend's home.  I highly recommend it to anyone who's visiting Sagada - you don't want to miss this.  Just make sure to make reservations in advance.  It was definitely a nice ending to hectic day. :-)



Thursday, May 8, 2008

The case of the missing shoes

      I'm taking a short break from the Sagada travel stories...will still write about them but let me just tell you first about something mysterious that happened on our Day 2 in Banaue. Read on...The case of the missing shoes!

      I was busy packing things in our room when DH barged in and asked, "Where's your Crocs?".  I sensed the panic in his voice so I shrieked, "Outside where I left them."  "Its not there!", said DH. "What do you mean its not there?", I said in disbelief.  We both went out through the hallway and tried looking for it by the entrance where our muddy shoes from the hike were suppose to be left.  A few seconds of trying to find where it is, we both confirmed that it was missing.  Why would anyone be interested in my old 'Crocs'?  Just then, a man with eyeglasses came down holding my Crocs and said, "sori, sori!" with either a Korean or Vietnamese accent.  
    DH said he saw the man wearing MaryJanes and thought it was mine.  He couldn't confront him coz he wasn't sure.  He just felt it odd coz they were for girls.  Whew!  I can't loose those Crocs especially since they're my comfort travel shoes.  I'd gladly wear them despite their bulky look as long as my feet are comfy.
     A few minutes later, DH was at the veranda with his camera taking pictures.  The man passed by wearing my Crocs again!  That was it- DH followed him and had to tell him that those were not his shoes.  When DH handed me back my Crocs, I kept them in our room, lest he try to wear them again.  I gave him the benefit of the doubt the first time, but its obvious it wasn't a mistake.  

    Over at breakfast, we heard that 'he' also wore the slippers of my girl friend.  This guy was going around the inn wearing whoever's foot wear! Our guess was, he did not have any slippers or easy take off shoes to use around the inn.  When I saw him again, he was wearing sneakers with laces. But then, it wasn't an excuse to wear other people's shoes or slippers.  Good thing he was wearing socks the whole time this shoe swapping took place.  Grrrr!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Batad/Sagada day1

    Since the roads leading to Banaue/Sagada have been dubbed dangerous and rough, we decided to take the night schedule via Autobus in Sampaloc.  Had a bit of difficulty finding exactly where the Autobus station was since it has relocated three times.  We got several different contact numbers from the internet but they were all out of service.  Finally, we decided to ask a messenger to personally find the new location of Autobus and to purchase our tickets.  A week before our trip, we found  that the 10pm schedule was full. It was a good thing they opened a second trip at 1045 pm.   

Autobus Transport Systems, Inc.
1455 SH Loyola St. corner F. Cayco Sampaloc, Manila
Telefax:  4934111 7407959
mobile no:  09212685526


       We arrived at the station around 1015 pm.  We wanted to be early since it was our first time to take the bus and we didn't know what to expect.  It was not a very good experience as we had to wait for the 'mekaniko' to change the bus's  alternator. It was around midnight when we left for Banaue.

    I wasn't able to get any sleep during our 8 hour bus ride to Banaue.  The aircon was too cold and I was expecting the seats to be more comfortable.  The zigzag roads made us sway from one direction to another.  Upon arrival at Banaue, I immediately reserved our seats back to Manila. 
   We hired a jeep to take us from Banaue to Batad - a small Ifugao village which has the amphitheater type rice terraces that we often see in post cards. The jeep brought us to 'Saddle Point' where we started our hike to get to the Hillside Inn - the place where we'll stay for the night.  The hike was suppose to be around 45 minutes but because of the rain and our pace, we arrived after an hour and a half.  It was a good thing they had porters to carry our bags for us. Each bag was charged P150 oneway, meaning another P150 going back. But it was well worth it.  I don't know how I would have managed if I had to carry them all the way up.  The walking stick we rented at P10 each was also a big help.  It gave us support and balance along the hike.
   After a short rest and lunch, we headed for the Batad Rice Terraces.  It was not practical to  use the umbrella while trying to balance on the terraces, and we didn't bring any rain coats so we had to make use of garbage bags to protect us from the rain.  Thanks to Maleen who's thought of everything we needed for the trip. :-) As we made our way on the terraces, the paths became narrower and steeper.  It was an effort to concentrate on the path as a single wrong step could be fatal. Once in a while, I would pause to just enjoy the wonderful scenery. At one point, it just took my breath away.  I couldn't help but be enthralled by its beauty and wonder.  

While we were trekking back to the Hillside, one of us mentioned that better roads and facilities should be made so more people can see the terraces.  I disagree. This place has maintained its beauty because no roads were built to disturb its existence. The accommodations and facilites that we had were the very basic.  If 5 star hotels and buildings were built here, then there would soon be no terraces to see in Batad.  I will never forget this experience.  It is defintely different from the travels I have made in the past.  My only regret is that we were not able to see Tapia Falls... 

    If there was one thing I learned from this experience, it is that beauty has its price. Going through the hiking and climbing was just a minimal price to pay for the beauty that we all experienced.  Those who appreciate such beauty will not haggle over a few discomfort in exchange for this.  

   I'll soon write about our other adventures in Sagada. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 5, 2008

I Survived Sagada!

   Last Labor day weekend, DH and I, together with friends went up North to Banaue and Sagada.  We have been talking and planning about this trip for months and despite some minor conflicts in schedules, we finally pushed through.  
   After doing research from the internet and getting feedbacks from friends who have been there, we had a set of expectations from the trip.  We knew there will be hiking and climbing. We expected the rough roads and only expected the basics from the accommodations we made.  

   But, even when our minds were conditioned for this trip, our bodies were not. The 9 of us on the trip had an average age of 38 and after the our first day hike to the Batad Rice Terraces, we all agreed that we should've came here in our twenties.  This came along with the realization that despite the fact that we feel young, our bodies contradict it.  The proof for this is how our first dinner conversation included things like Alaxan, Bengay, Ponstan and Salonpas.  Then we started to talk about things we should do while our bodies will still allow us.  

   Maybe that was what we were thinking when we decided to do spelunking at the Crystal Caves of Sagada.  The adventures we had there are dubbed to be for the strong, experienced and the fit spelunker.  The irony of it is, we are none of the 3 adjectives mentioned.  We were in fact, new to spelunking.  Someone from our group even asked, "What exactly does spelunking mean?"  This not only illustrate how little we knew about what we got ourselves into but also meant that it was several "firsts" for us.  First time to do rapel, to climb down small holes, to get into knee deep cave mud and many more...

    I can probably say that this trip is the most different, adventurous and tiring experience I have had.  I don't regret being there but I doubt if I'll do this again. As of now, what i really what to say is "I Survived Sagada!".  

    I have more stories to tell about Sagada, will post them in my next entires :-)