Monthly Archives: May 2010

Candelaria weekend 2: Family

A week after my Zambales trip with my friends, I was back. This time, I was with my family for a long overdue trip.

Very early Saturday morning, Todel, Tarose, Miel & I left Manila for the five hour trip to Zambales. We had breakfast at Delifrance along NLEX, and had a pretty much uneventful ride all throughout.

Historical stopover
We passed by the Magsaysay ancestral home and decided it would be a good idea to stop by for a look. I’ve been passing this place for years and this is the first time I’ve ever been inside.

It wasn’t much different from the old house we have in our town. It had many similar designs, like the lower part of windows that open, or the very spacious second floor. The house was turned over by the Magsaysay family to the government so it can be preserved. I don’t quite like the mint green color though, but the house is full of interesting things.

365/May 22: Magsaysay Home

Candelaria again
Upon arriving in Cande, we stopped by at home to say hello to my grandpa, and take a much needed toilet break. I grabbed some swimwear and we went to the beach where my parents and sister were waiting for us with lunch. Needless to say, we all dived in with much gusto.

After an hour or so of chatting and rest, we went to the market to buy booze and ingredients for our dinner. We hung around by this man who was selling homemade fishballs that tasted really great.

Back at the beach house, we saw that the videoke machine my parents rented had arrived. So while waiting for a good time to swim (late afternoon again, so we won’t get sunburned too much), we sang our hearts out. I was the first (and for a long time, the only) one to get a score of 100.

We went for a swim just as the sun was going down. The water was calm and warm, which was very relaxing. Later we took a walk to Lolo Vering’s place (where we stayed in my last entry) and got to talk to one of our uncles. Making our way back, we ran into friends of my parents and another aunt. After a few minutes of talking, we headed back inside for dinner.

Miel’s parents and her brother Dan arrived just as we were getting ready to eat. We had our dinner while listening to songs courtesy of the videoke machine. Afterwards, we brought out the Absolut Vodka, Sprite and some pulutan. Unfortunately, all of us couldn’t make it past midnight so after several rounds of drinking and music, we all went to bed.

Day II: Potipot Island again
The sky was already bright when I woke up and to my surprise, Otki, Miel, Tita Ruth and Tito Vic were already up. I went out and found them taking pictures of the sunrise. This was the first time in a while that I’ve seen sunrise from the beach, because most of the time, trees were blocking the way. We were lucky to have an obstructed view while the sun rose from behind the mountains.

After breakfast, we went our own ways. Tita Ruth wanted to take pictures, while Miel, Dan, Otki, Tita Rose and I wanted to go to Potipot. So Todel took us to the same place were we got the boat the last time. The water was a bit more rocky this time, and I was a lot more nervous than before. We arrived at the island just fine though, and after scouting for a spot, we dove right in.

There were still a lot of people, but slightly less than last weekend’s. We had a nice time just enjoying the water, taking jump shots and talking about responsible tourism. Later, we got up to find another spot and eventually we arrived at the driftwood again. Thankfully, there weren’t much people so we were able to take several shots. The water was low too, and we were able to get to the rocks just a little off the shore. Wish I had my aqua shoes though.

As we made our way back, we couldn’t help but pick up trash along the way. There’s really quite a lot of it, and we managed to gather about three plastic bags worth. We even picked up trash that was right in front of these people talking. This led to a discussion again of suggestions of how responsible tourism can be implemented.

Our trip back was really rocky. The waves were higher, and I was truly, truly scared (even if I had a life vest). When we got back on dry land I could just kiss ground. We met with Tita Ruth, who had halo-halo with Tito Vic and Tito Del at Dawal Beach Resort. We headed back to the beach house for lunch, then I headed home to fix my things.

Back to Manila
Before leaving for Manila, everyone passed by the house to say hello to Lolo. It was around 3PM when we left. It was a rather quiet trip, but somewhere in Castillejos, we got caught in traffic, thanks to a Santacruzan. Because it really took a while, Miel and I got off and took some pictures. It let ToDel get some sleep too, so it was all good.

We met up with Tita Ruth at SBMA, where we had dinner at Xtremely Xpresso. It was as good as I remembered. Once again, we had the giant burger (which was already a meal in itself) and their delicious pizza. We took home the leftovers and after one last stop at the Petron station to refuel, we continued our way to Manila.

It was nealy 10 PM when we arrived, tired but still on a high. It was really great to have been able to hang out with my family, and I hope we could do it again soon.

Candelaria weekend 1: Friends

Regular readers of my blog will notice that I often talk about my dad’s hometown, Candelaria, Zambales. Over the years, I’ve been inviting people over and so far only my two best friends have taken me up on that. Ironically, a few other people I invited went to visit on their own because they wanted to go to Potipot Island.

Anyway, fast forward to last weekend. I had invited some friends for a visit and we thankfully were able to push through. After a few delays, we got on the midnight trip to Candelaria.

Thus begins my rant.

In my past night trips, the lights were often turned down and music was kept to a minimum. The bus company also tries to limit extra passengers so, I presume, the trip would be quiet.

Well, that wasn’t the case in this trip. There were more than ten extra passengers, all who yapped until their stop. We couldn’t sleep at all.

I hope that people would realize that as much as it is their right to have fun while on vacation, they should also respect the other people who are on vacation as well, whether or not they know them. Oh, there’s a part two of this rant.

Anyway, we arrived home, got a few hours of shuteye then headed to the beach. We stayed at my great-uncle’s place for lunch, then headed for a swim later in the afternoon. Plans of staying overnight was ditched in favor or sleeping in actual beds, and we decided to just wake up early to head to Potipot the next day.

On to the island

When I was younger, Potipot Island wasn’t really given much attention. It was known as a resting spot for fishermen who, instead of going back to the mainland, would stay in the island until their day is done. Over the years, it’s been basically ignored by the locals, including my own family, for personal reasons. Ownership has changed hands so many times, it’s quite hard to trace back the original owners.

In the past few years, Potipot has become a popular vacation spot for anyone who wants to experience white sand beaches without having to compete with the crowds in Boracay or Galera. It’s also known for those who want to “rough it” without having to travel long distances (from the mainland it’s only a five minute boat ride).

During my first visit to Potipot several years ago, there were about less than ten people on the entire island: me, my sister, my parents, my friends Den & Ching, our banca man and one or two fishermen. We were able to go around the island in thirty minutes. Silly me forgot to bring extra film so I wasn’t able to take pictures.

My parents took us to Potipot Gateway, where we initially thought of getting a boat, but it was way too expensive for our budget. The place is nice though, much better than when I first saw it years ago. We decided to go to Dawal, where we could rent boats at a more reasonable rate.

In the end, we got a friend of my mom to take us to the island. We had fun swimming and heckling people, especially those who were hogging the big driftwood. We also aired our frustration at how people were so inconsiderate to just leave their trash on the beach. At first glance you wouldn’t see it, but at a closer look you’ll see bits and pieces like cigarette butts, chips and candy wrappers etc. It was so maddening that I’ve got half a mind to tell the governor to close the island to visitors. Haha, swapang.

Be responsible tourists people. Being there is a privilege. We should be thankful that the island’s owners are letting us use it for our enjoyment.

It was around lunch when we headed back and I was so glad to back on terra firma. We cleaned up, had some lunch and prepared ourselves for our trip back to Manila. The bus was full, but after a few minutes we got seats. Slept for most of the trip, then when I woke up, had a chatfest with Lorna.

Thanks for the great weekend girls! I hope you enjoyed it!

Halalan 2010: Cast your vote

Took us three hours to get our votes cast, but it was worth it. Let’s pray that there’ll be very little hitches in the next hours. Voting will be open until 7 PM.

Details later.

My parents woke us up early, saying that we should start getting ready for so we can be at the precinct before 7 AM. We managed to get there around that time, and there was already a small queue. I was pretty excited to vote as this would be the 2nd time I’ll be doing so for president, third time for the local government (if memory serves me right).

Let me say that since this is a fairly new system, it’s understandable that there would be glitches and such. However, it would be nice if volunteers could think of a better way to facilitate faster voting (discounting the possible issues with the PCOS machine). In our precinct, there were two tables where voters could verify their precinct number, and that was already a problem on its own. One was supposed to be just a inquiry table for those who didn’t know what to do, while the other was the actual table for verification. Needless to say, there was a lot of confusion until it was sorted out.

After getting your number, voters would have to line up and wait their turn to vote. Since there is only one machine for our precinct (roughly 800 voters), they had to do it in groups of ten. It would’ve been fast, if not for the system slowing down and the voters rather clueless as to what to do.

There should also be more volunteers to oversee the queue for voting. I’ve seen one very tricky woman who managed to sneak into the line with us. She was ranting about how senior citizens should go first, then later she was saying “Dito lang ako sandali ha? Mainit sa baba eh.” Until finally she was in the room with us waiting our turn. What was irritating is that we’ve been waiting since 7 and she arrived around 9. Nakakainis. Even if someone told her, she just ignored them. I felt really sorry for the people who were patient enough to wait their turn.

The voting process itself was fast. The ballot was hella long, thanks to the party-list. My hands were shaking as I filled in the oblongs (hindi siya circle!). I was worried that the pen would stain on the back page, and it was visible. I just hope it won’t create any problems.

So after I filled in my vote, I went to the machine. I breathlessly waited for it as it said “Scanning,” then “Verifying,” then “Congratulations!” I went back to the BEI, had my finger marked (it’s so unslightly but I can bear with it) and did the thumbmark thing to verify that I voted.

And we were done. The voting process didn’t take more than ten minutes. Had there been little delays, we could’ve been done in less than thirty. But given that this is the first time this system has been implemented, it’s still pretty ok.

So, for improvement?
1. More machines in precincts to lessen the wait time.
2. Better verification process. Have the verification table present at the entrance of the precinct.
3. COMELEC should have verification booths available about a week ahead, so if people can’t find their names and they’ve voted before, they still have time to fix it.
4. More volunteers to watch over the voters and make sure they follow the guidelines. Many voters in our precinct loiter just to see what others are doing, causing confusion. Many also cut in line because they don’t want to wait.
5. Back-up plan should the machine fail (which I hope won’t be the case).

You have until 7 PM. Please vote. It really matters.

Me, my parents, my sister and one of my brothers. By next election, all my siblings and I will be voting. That’s five of us, plus my parents and my grandpa. 🙂

Techie Mom

I brought home a Nintendo DS a few months ago. I showed a few games to my mom, namely: Professor Layton and the Curious Village, Cooking Mama and Brain Age. She played them and enjoyed it.

I returned the DS to its owner, and just today, when she spotted my Professor Layton Revoltech, she asked, “When will you borrow it again so I can play?”

Here’s to my techie mom, who is so talented in so much more things than she thinks. I love you.

Labor day events

My Labor Day events anyway.

Fristine told us about this food tour event at Bonifacio High Street happening last Saturday. I dragged Presea and Ching along, but it turns out we didn’t make the cut-off even if we were early for the sign-up. Pfft. Although I was disappointed, I didn’t feel it much of a loss, as opposed to this woman who said she was from McCann-Ericsson and was informed that someone else already signed up for the tour in her name, and brought along a few other people to boot. Talk about stealing identity.

Ching, Presea and I ended up at Conti’s. Afterwards, we walked around and met Den, who decided to go to Taguig to beat the heat. We got her books (may bagong convert haha!) then she got into a conversation with Presea about writing, and along with Ching, decided to establish something that’ll combine our interests and earning.

Franco live in Eastwood
I went home with just enough time to freshen up. It took me roughly ten minutes to get from the house to Eastwood, where I met Miel and Vero, and their friend Pieter (who is Belgian, likes beer, can speak Tagalog and Cebuano, and thanks to Vero for the lesson in the differences between the Visayan dialects ^_^).

We stood for about 30 minutes before the band played. It was awesome. From the first, they really rocked the place. I love Franco’s aura. He kept saying “positive vibes!” and I really believe in it, coming from him. Think about this. All my photos of the band members were blurred. With Franco, even if he was moving around, I managed to get clear pictures (as clear as you can get with a compact point and shoot).

Anyway, I love this group. Nunik was already sharing with us Franco’s songs even when he was still with Inyo, but to hear him live, wow. Get his cd, purchase, not download.

Passed up on Route 196 (glam rock night) with Miel, Vero and Pieter.

Professor Layton
I went to Greenhills today to pick up my Revoltech Professor Layton. The ride was pretty quick from our place, but when I arrived at Virra Mall, I was in shock. I’ve been to Greenhills on and off the years, but I’ve never stepped inside Virra Mall. Gone is the old, dark and rather dangerous mall that I know, replaced by a bright and very busy commercial complex. If it weren’t for the fact that I was entering from the garden, I wouldn’t even realize where I was.

The National Bookstore I know is now an appliance store. The Dec and Baker’s Fair is some shop I can’t remember. The area where C.A.T.S used to be is now Banco De Oro and the Metrobank outside was now a cafe of sorts. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Post Office was still there, but it was rather sad to realize that when I stand in front of Virra Mall, I can’t see my high school anymore. I told it to David (my high school guy best friend) via SMS, and he couldn’t believe I haven’t been back since then.

Shoppesville, on the other hand, is more familiar than Virra Mall. Even if it had a facelift of sorts (the lighting’s brighter for one), it still had many of the same shops that I used to visit back then. The Mercury Drug was still there, and the shop above it that was full of knick-knacks. I didn’t see if the Booksale was still there, but the fabric store where my grandma used to go was still around.

I spent a few minutes getting lost, then got my toy, then got lost again. But all in all I was in an out of Greenhills in less than an hour. I didn’t feel like going around. Maybe next time.

Cooked some pasta for dinner. Not bad. Now I need to catch up with some work.