Sunday, November 2, 2008

Death of a bird

My daughter, Angel, found out how to lose someone she loves yesterday. No, its not a person. Its her pet mynah bird, Ak-ak. We went to her mother's home town in Laguna last Saturday, Nov. 1 to visit her dead relatives in the cemetery and returned home yesterday afternoon, November 2 to find my daughter's bird dead in her cage. Apparently, someone placed her cage outside and forgot to put her under the shade in the afternoon. I guess she died of heat stroke.

When we got home, she immediately went to check on Ak-ak and we were startled when she started crying aloud. She ran to us and said that her pet is already dead. This was the first time I saw her crying this hard and for so long. She went to our room and just sat on the bed and continued crying. Her mom cried along with her.

I promised Angel that we would just buy her another Mynah and she replied that she doesn't want to have a pet anymore because it will just die as Ak-ak did.

We explained to her that death is inevitable and that she will just have to accept that her pet is now in heaven.

Ak-ak was already learning how to speak and her first word was "hello" together with the usual whistle.

Later in the evening, Angel was supposed to sleep with her grandmother and in fact already brought her toys and pillows there. But when it was already time to sleep, she went back to our room and told us that she missed us and her pet. So, she just lied there between her mom and me and we talked some more about her pet until she went to sleep.

I think that the whole experience, although sad, was good for my daughter in that it taught her how to handle losing someone she loves.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Journey to Culion, Palawan

One of the benefits of my previous work is I get to travel for free around MIMAROPA (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) as part of my job. A chance to travel to Culion materialized this month. We were to conduct a semestral performance review of one of our agency coverages and its attached hospitals, Ospital ng Palawan (ONP) and Culion Sanitarium (CS).

When one hears Culion, he is immediately reminded of a colony of lepers thrown in a faraway and isolated island. Culion today, however, has changed a lot since the Sanitarium there was established over a hundred years ago.

The travel to Culion is not a simple one. You have to travel by air, land and sea. First, we took a Cebu Pacific propeller plane at the NAIA Terminal 3 bound for Busuanga, the airport that services the entire northern Palawan.

our team waiting to board at NAIA terminal 3

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Campaign Manager and the Miting de Avance

Angel was chosen as a campaign manager of one of the parties in her class in Grade 1 at St. Scholastica's College: the Party of Students with Good Manners (PSGM).

During the Miting de Avance, she had to introduce their party candidates for Class Leader, Assistant Class Leader and Class Representative. She also presented their party platform as well as introduced their class jingle participated in by the candidates, some of her classmates and her.

Angel's mom and I had to skip office just to watch her first political speech, ha ha ha. Anyway, the miting de avance, which was originally scheduled to start at 9 AM actually began at 9:30. As we had to report to work, we excused ourselves from the miting right after their party's presentation.

We will try to include a short video of the miting de avance once we had downloaded the video from the camera.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Angel is now a Kulasa

Angel finally goes to a big school, St. Scholastica's College (SSC) in Manila. On June 9, 2008, Tuesday, we woke up very early (5 am) to prepare for her fiirst day of school since the school bus service told us that she will be picked up at around 5:45 am. We hurried up to dress her up and serve her breakfast.

At 5:30, we were already in the garden waiting for her school bus only to find out later in the circular issued by SSC that classes for Grade 1 will start on 11 June 2008, Thursday.

So, we told her to change clothes and get back to bed. She was mad at her mom and me because she said she was so embarassed as she had already said goodbye to her cousin that day.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Trip to the Bird's Nest (El Nido, Palawan)

We had planned to go to El Nido ever since we visited Puerto Princesa about 2 years ago. So it was good news when our office announced that we will be going there and that we can take along immediate families (of course at their own expense).

Our office was able to get a round trip fare for around P4,000 each: via Cebu Pacific going to Puerto Princesa and via Superferry returning to Manila. The entire trip would take 6 days which includes the trip via the Superferry that will take more than 24 hours.
boarding our flight to palawan

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Kiddie Crew Angel

Angel joined the Kiddie Crew program of McDonald's in Quezon Avenue, Quezon City, which is just across our office. She will be going to the fastfood restaurant for 2 hours each day for one week. She will be joining the fifth batch scheduled for May 5 - 9, 2008.

Unfortunately, we will be in Palawan from April 30 - May 5. So, we made arrangements that she attends the 1st day of the 4th batch, April 28 and the rest of the days after we return from our holidays.

According to the orientation she attended for the program, the kiddie crew will be assigned to different posts like the drive thru counter, receiving area and the counter where they will be taking orders. There is a graduation on the last day but her mother and I won't be able to attend it because I have to attend an official function in Ermita, Manila, while her mom works quite a distance: Pasay City.

Anyway, I will try to ask someone from our office to take Angel to the graduation and take pictures. Will try to post it afterwards.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Viernes Santo

Good Friday, or Viernes Santo, is one of the days which my wife dreads whenever we stay in Pangil, Laguna during Holy Week, which she labels as the "Penitencia" Capital of Laguna owing to the number of men (and sometimes women) performing the rites.

"Penitencia" or penitence is the act of hitting oneself with a "panghampas" consisting of wooden pegs attached to a rope and hitting the bloodied back from side to side.

People try to avoid the penitents walking along the roads not out of fear but to avoid the penitents' blood from staining their clothes and since the odor of the drying blood is not really good.

The ritual is performed apparently as a "panata" or promise for an answered prayer or to atone for one's sins. The Catholic church frowns upon the said ritual. Bishop Iniguez, of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, said that devotees should go beyond such practices and adds that what is important is to carry one’s daily cross and face challenges of life in faith and guided by God’s grace. (

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Pabasa 2008

You know it is the Holy Week when you hear somewhere in your neighborhood some people singing/chanting verses from the Holy Bible.

Its called the "Pabasa" or "Pasyon", the reading of verses from the Bible which recounts the Passion of Christ and is held during Holy Week. The Pabasa starts in the Book of Genesis and goes through the birth, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is usually done as a "panata" or promise by the faithful for an answered prayer from God.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Angel's Graduation and our Tagaytay Trip

Angel finally graduated from the Little Ranch Learning Center finishing her Prep and moving on to Grade 1 next school year. She will be studying at the St. Scholastica's College in Manila.

There were only 4 in Angel's class: Paolo, John, Karen and Angel. Everyone was given an award and Angel got the Most Talented award. Probably because she had already started taking violin lessons.

After the graduation ceremonies we talked about going to Tagaytay and decided to go there the following day. We attended the anticipated mass at the church near the Mall of Asia and had dinner at Aristocrat's Restaurant to celebrate her graduation. More photos maybe found here.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

DBM RO IV-B Satellite Office in Calapan City

Our office had established a satellite office in Calapan City as mandated under Executive Order No. 682, designating the city as the Regional Government Center of MIMAROPA by July 2009.
Each of the three technical divisions in our office will be send a technical staff in our satellite office on a two-week rotation. This week was my turn and I got to meet the first three staff to man said office.
I left Manila yesterday at around 4:45 AM and after 2 jeepney, 1 bus, 1 boat and 2 tricycle rides, I finally got to our satellite office. It took me more than four hours just to get here.
I am still not sure what I will be doing here for the next week as I have already finished the pending work which I brought from Manila although someone followed up a release earlier this afternoon, the status of which I still have to ask with our Central Office.
I hope the following days will be more exciting as far as work is concerned.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Seair: Go to places where no other airlines can go

I have gone to Boracay via the nautical highway and also on board the Superferry but I have never been there via a plane. I know its a hassle not going there by plane but what can I do considering that budgetary constraints prevent me from doing this. Wouldn't it be great if I do get there via Seair this time?

Actually, I have already flown Seair twice, one is the El Nido - Busuanga (Palawan) and the other is the Manila - Romblon route. It is a nineteen seater affair with a complement of two crew.

The El Nido-Busuanga
flight was one leg of our journey when we visited various campuses of state universities in Palawan from as far south as Bataraza to Busuanga in the north. The Romblon trip was upon the invitation of Romblon State College for the DBM Secretary and our Regional Director to be keynote speakers in their commencement exercises.

The 19 seater twin-engined Let 410 UVP-E experience was very different from the jet planes that I have ridden. For one, they weigh you in before you board the plane. This I still don't know the reason why? Were they weighing you to determine the seat assignments in order to have an even weight distribution on the plane or to determine the quantity of fuel required for the flight? Anyway, on the way to Busuanga, I was fortunate enough to sit just behind the pilot (yup, the flight cabin was only divided by a curtain from the rest of the plane) and looking back towards me he tried to point to the direction of the Malampaya well. How personal can you get with the flight crew? ha ha ha,

I understand that on the Boracay route, Seair uses the bigger 32-seater Dornier 328 plane and that ivanhenares is giving a free return trip ticket to Boracay. Now, wouldn't it be great if I get to ride on one of this bigger plane?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A day at SM MOA

Vangie works at the Heritage Hotel and on Saturdays they have office from 9AM to 1PM. We usually pick her up at the hotel and go to SM Mall of Asia (MOA) to do our grocery as well as attend the anticipated mass at the nearby church and have dinner there.

This Saturday, after doing the grocery we went back to the car park to put the things we bought in the car. We had went to Sbarro for some pasta and pizza.
This weekend the 15th PTAA Travel and Tour Expo was held at the SMX Convention Center. So after our meal, we proceeded to SMX to check out the expo. There was an entrance fee of P50 per adult. Booths showcasing both domestic and foreign travel packages were present. We got some pamphlets of some domestic destinations which we might visit this summer vacation.

At around 5:30 PM we left SMX to attend anticipated mass at the nearby church. After the mass, we returned to SM MOA to watch the fireworks display at 7PM. We also went to Time Zone, a video arcade, because Angel wanted to play some arcade games.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Angel Goes to the Dentist

Angel visited a dentist last Saturday, 9 February 2008 for the first time. She was hesitant at first because she said she was afraid that the dentist might use a needle to extract her tooth. I assured her that the dentist will just be checking her teeth and have it cleaned. Angel told me that I should be the first to have my teeth checked, to which I agreed.

However, when we got to the dentist, I had Angel's teeth check first. The dentist found out that she had a lot of dental carries and that it had to be filled. I asked the dentist how much it would cost and was told that it would be P3,150. I only had P1,500 on hand so I had to rush to the ATM to withdraw cash as the dentist does not accept credit card.

When I got back, Angel was seated on the dental chair and was having her teeth cleaned and filled. It took more than 30 minutes and she looked like she was not enjoying it. At least, she did not cry and was very brave. She followed the instructions of the dentist and kept her mouth open so that it would be easy to clean her teeth.

The dentist told her to avoid sweets and gums so that she won't have tooth decay and that she should always brust her teeth. She now brushes her teeth after every meal.

I think that was one of the good things that happened: she does not complain anymore when I tell her to brush her teeth.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mabuhay and G'day Mate!

An Australian classmate of mine, Andrew, from the University of Queensland visited the Philippines this month to do some research for his thesis in Master of Development Practice. After 3 weeks in Palawan, he returned to Manila for a week before his flight back to Brisbane. Together with another Filipino classmate, we got to meet him last week to catch up on things. He brought along his Japanese partner, whose name had now escaped my memory.

Anyway, we had dinner at the Glorietta foodcourt and he was game enough to try a native delicacy: the balut. It is a fertilized duck egg which is boiled and eaten with a pinch of salt. Andrew and his partner tried it. My Filipino friend declined to have one.

Andrew said that if he returns to Manila, we wants to visit the northern Philippines to visit the Banaue rice terraces and I told him he might wanna try to wear the G-string worn by our native brothers.

Hope to see you back in the Philippines soon, Andrew. Mabuhay!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Smart Bro, anyone?

We finally got our broadband internet at home. After a year and a half of suffering with dial-up service, we now have a relatively fast connection. It took us that long since we got back from Australia to finally get one. All I need to do now is set-up a local area network so that we can share the internet at home.
My wife, daughter and I are still fighting as to who will have the right to use the desktop computer with the internet connection. Maybe its because of the novelty of the thing and beside its unlimited compared with the hourly rate of the dial-up.
With the broadband, we get to upload more pictures in our multiply account, update our friendster accounts, and finally start with my blogger account.
Abangan ang susunod na kabanata.