Friday, May 29, 2009

Puerto Galera 2009: last summer outing

This post is the second of 2 posts about my 2009 summer at Puerto Galera, White Beach in Mindoro. Read the first post here.

The end of summer

2009 Summer is over for the Philippines when it's supposed to be just beginning. (It's only May!!!) Our trip to Puerto Galera (although in retrospect was quite headstrong) would probably be our last summer outing to the beach, or rather, anywhere which requires you to ride a boat to reach the beach.




For now, I'll be happy that we got to go to at least one beach this year. :D I love the beach. When I'm filthy rich, which is soon, hehe, I'll buy the whole Boracay Island. Haha!

Anyway, on with the story...

Relaxing Day

On our second day in Puerto Galera (Sunday), our friends Paolo, Princess & Jenny left early in the morning for Manila because some of them needed to work the next day.

Liz, Bing and I agreed to spend the whole day relaxing. As opposed to the first day, we did not make any plans on the second day, we just swam around, slept and walked around the beach. The sun was still strong, and even though the sky was still a bit hazy, you wouldn't think that just a couple of days ago there was a storm here.


There was a host of things to do in Puerto Galera: aside from the normal snorkeling and island hopping, diving and swimming, you can also para-sail, kayak, ride a banana boat, hike up the mountains, visit the waterfalls, get a tattoo or a henna tattoo, get piercings, or get a massage on the beach. At night, they have a lot of bars and pubs along the beach coast, most of them play dance music, some with live bands.
In the afternoon, while the ladies were taking a nap, I went by myself and walked the length of White Beach. I took my camera and snapped away at the sand, the water, and the people. There was not a lot of people left that day so I got a good relaxing walk.

More shopping and more swimming after that, and a massage on the beach at sundown was the perfect way to end the day.

Sunset at Puerto Galera is one to watch out for. It begins like a candle light and then spreads quickly like wildfire across the sky. To me, watching the sun set is a rarity. Often, I come out of the office when it's already dark.

A good thing to note to non-Filipino readers is that sunset in the Philippines is very quick. It begins at around 6PM varying depending on the month, and it can be over in as short as 10 minutes.

Dancing the night away

More grilled food for dinner (yummy), and more drinks too! We tried the new Carlsberg drink, and danced around our table until we got sleepy. I find dancing is a great way to loosen up and relax and forget about the troubles at work. Too bad there's not enough good, clean, dancing places around (or maybe I just don't know about them haha!)

In the bar where we stayed, there was this gay waiter/waitress who did stunts (lol), he/she jumps and then lands on a split, or climbs this pole and hangs upside down. He/She looks like a bat! woot! Check it out ----

Hahaha!

Back to Reality

On Monday, we slept in, packed our bags slowly, and made our way to the beach to catch the 12noon boat to Manila. Tudoy (my really kind and good looking friend! hehe!) agreed to pick us up from the Batangas Pier. The trip back took longer than we expected, but we arrived safely nonetheless.

I leave you then with a couple more photos of Puerto Galera. You can click on any of the photos to see them in their original size.

And, if you're going to the beach, take me with you! :D

Charice enters the Billboard Hot 100 at #44

Filipina singer Charice's first single, "Note to God" which she debuted on the Oprah show on May 18, enters the Billboard Hot 100 chart today at #44. The #1 spot is still held by the Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow" who also has a Filipino member, rapper Apl de Ap.

Here's Charice's Oprah performance video in case you haven't seen it:




Charice will also be appearing in 20th Century Fox’s "Alvin and The Chipmunks 2," slated for December 2009...

Charice's singing is of the "birit" diva style reminiscent of other divas like Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and the younger Mariah Carey. She has a huge voice despite her small frame and can reach up to the heavens with her vocal calisthenics.

She became famous on YouTube where her video (and her story) was picked up by Ellen Degeneres and Oprah Winfrey. Charice's career was put into high gear when multi Grammy winning songwriter David Foster took her under his wing.

CONGRATULATIONS Charice! We are proud of you! :D Go Pinoy!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I won the lottery!!! ...i mean, IF

Over lunch today, the topic was the Lottery, or here in the Philippines, "Lotto." Or more specifically, what will you do if you win the lottery?

Most of the people in that table said they were going to resign, with much drama, packing their stuff in a box and lashing out at difficult bosses and officemates, slapping people with bundles of money to pay for loans (hehe), buying everything they want in the world...

So, I took a quick look at the Philippine Charity Sweepstake Office Website (because I was curious how much we are really talking about here) and found that the grand prize for today's draw for SuperLotto is a staggering Php 182,000,000.00 (or about $3.7 Million).

Holy ef! I never knew it was that much! Haha. (Seriously, this is the first time I checked...) Let's put things in perspective here... that much money can buy you either:

  • 10 of the 2009 Ferrari 599 cars (and still have enough gas money for a lifetime), or

  • One of these islands, or
  • Around 9,000 Google shares at $400 per share :D

Which brings me back to my first question:

"WHAT WILL YOU DO IF YOU WIN THE LOTTERY?"

Seriously, here's what I will do (aside from get married and have twins!)

  1. Try my best to keep it a secret from everyone other than my immediate family and loved ones (no, I won't blog about it, haha) because I want to be alive to enjoy all that money!
  2. Buy a corner lot on a busy street and put up a Kentucky Fried Chicken or Jollibee franchise
  3. Buy a beachfront property in Boracay and put up a resort/hotel (because I want to have a place to stay when I go there!)
  4. Take a month's leave (or two) from work and travel around Europe to visit friends (yep, I won't quit my job until my businesses are stable!)
  5. Take my Masters Degree in Business Administration
  6. Set up businesses (instead of give money) for all my family (so that they all have sustainable incomes!)
  7. Buy a condo unit in Alabang
  8. Get a bodyguard. (just in case!)
  9. Set-up a charity that helps children by keeping them off the streets and teaching them music.
  10. Build a new spa or wellness center. :D

These are just some of the thing I will do. Haha. How about you? What will you do? Reply in the comments section below or blog about this and link to this post!

Monday, May 25, 2009

12 dead in capsized boat en route to Puerto Galera

On my last post, I spoke about the weather being not so good before we left for Puerto Galera earlier this month. Then just last week, this happened. The boat we took was not overloaded, far from it, but still... it could've been us. I remember our boatman saying that our boat cannot sink because it's made of wood. True enough, but then again, the boat below did not sink either. In fact, it's still floating now.

Let's pray for the souls of the departed.

M/B Commando 6, a 12-ton, 21-meter outrigger boat capsized on May 23, Saturday off the coast of Batangas while on its way to Puerto Galera Beach. Coast guard officials estimate the boat's capacity at 42 passengers and 5 crew, however various reports of the actual number of passengers say the boat was overloaded by over 20 passengers.

The accounts of survivors explain that the weather was okay, but the waves were quite big, and so the tarpauline covers were pulled down to prevent the passengers from getting wet from the waves. When the right outrigger broke it caused the boat to tip over. Most of those who perished were trapped inside the upturned boat because of the tarpaulines.

As of this time, 12 people have been confirmed dead including 3 children (two 2-year olds and one 3-year old) and a Japanese national.

Survivors also talk of 2 vessels that passed by but did not stop to help, and had instead taken photos and videos of the tragedy.


Photo from Inquirer
Source 1
Source 2
Source 3


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Finally Off to the Beach!!! Puerto Galera Summer 2009.

The storm before the calm


This has got to be the most stressful vacation preparation I ever went through.

On the day before our scheduled trip to Puerto Galera, I was closely monitoring the PAGASA website for updates on the weather. They lifted the storm signal warnings just in time for me to convince my friends that it's safe to take the boat through the shark infested waters on the way to White Beach, Puerto Galera in Mindoro. :D

On May 2, onboard Paolo's dad's pick-up, we drove to and parked at the Batangas Pier and made our way to the boats. It was a quick enough trip, only about and hour and a half, but that didn't stop Liz and Jenny from taking a nap, and Princess for finishing her "baon" Romance Novel (yep, she was crying like a little girl over it too!)

The Beach


We arrived on the cream colored beach too early for the 2pm check-in time... but the good people at White Beach Guest House allowed us to check in at no extra charge. It was not a beachfront resort though, the place was okay if a bit far from the beach. It's clean and quiet at night. There's a kitchen, and even a place to grill. The path from the beach to the house was a bit difficult to traverse, especially if you're a bit drunk (haha, yes this was based on experience!) and there was this spray of water coming from who-knows-where!



"...the water was a deep turquoise and the islands a lush green..."

We had an early lunch then went straight to island hopping and snorkeling. The water was a deep turquoise and the islands a lush green, but the sky was a bit grey, remnant clouds from the storm that just passed. Nevertheless, the view, the waves and the wind was relaxing, and we were grateful the sun was not too glaring and burning.

We went first to the Coral Gardens, awesome place. Fishies all around. Unfortunately, a few minutes off the boat and I hit my foot on a coral; one small bit of coral punctured the side of my left foot. Ouch. Anyway, we still swam around, fed some fishies some toasted bread (no, really) until they were full. (Basta, Mama! Molto pieno! - sosyal ng Italian fish :p )

After that we went to The Sandbar, this strip of sand with water on either side. After some camwhoring picture-taking, we stayed a bit and had some halo-halo there too to cool down and relax.




Tricky Boatman



When our boatman asked if we could skip Bantayan beach, we thought we were going straight to the next snorkeling spot, but he took us back to White Beach and we ended up just paying him less than what we were supposed to. Bummer, because we still wanted to find Nemo.

We just settled on swimming around at white beach, which was not bad at all, my friends got their massages and Liz and Bing and I went to get our Henna tattoos. Mine was a huge paw on my left shoulder.


"...we were all set for a night of booze and partying..."

Grilled food dinner is always great on the beach! With our stomachs full, we were all set for a night of booze and partying. :p There was actually a beach party going on, something Rubber duckie productions with the featured band being Urbandub.

But we didn't like the music all that much so we opted to go to this bar playing more dance-able music. Turned out it was an all-gay-waiters/waitresses place, and when Buttons by the Pussycat Dolls played, they all went to the front of the bar to dance. Haha! Whoa!

We ended the night drunk and happy, (some of us just drunk, ehem..) and slept like babies, looking forward to a second and more relaxed day...


Read part 2 here - Puerto Galera: The last summer outing

Top Earning American Idol Alumni 2009

 

Kris Allen, the new American Idol for 2009, has something big to look forward to: a big paycheck! Here is Forbes' compilation of Top Earning American Idol Alumni in the past year, computed by Forbes' through earnings from album sales, concerts, merchandising and other income sources.

Kris Allen is American Idol winner for 2009


Adam lost!!! Whoohoo! :D
I think I'm happier about that more that about Kris Allen winning. Haha.

But yeah, about half an hour ago, they crowned the new American Idol: KRIS ALLEN.
Great!


Photo from NY Daily News

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Whoops!



I was goin' to write a post,
my brain brimming with a host
of possibilities, a most
exciting Thursday worth a toast!

But I'm sitting here instead
my home internet is dead!
No one paid the monthly bill...
No one had the urge nor will...

So my friends, 'tis my short note
In a hurry, this I wrote
I don't want my boss to see
My screen on 'Born a Syzygy'!

...whoops!



A Theme Thursday post

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Singing at the Madz et al and cheating on Korus

Our company choir will be singing today at the Madz et al Festival.

Despite having been a choir singer for 6.5 years, this will be the first time I will attend this festival.

Because I'm not a "Madz", I'm a "Korus". :D Haha.

Now, now, don't start debating about whether one is better than the other. Both choirs are wonderful in their own right. A couple of years ago, the Madz brought home their second (!) European Grand Prix victory in Italy. In the world of choral singing, that's definitely a feat! And I am really truly proud of them. The Korus, on the other hand, completed their 18th International Concert Tour last year to Europe. They have been going on tour (each 6 or 7 months long) since 1974 almost regularly every 2 or 3 years!

Both choirs were established at around the same time, officially about a year apart. Now just by the age of both groups, you can conclude that both have something special. Not all choirs live to be over 40 you know. With members fueled by passion for excellence, and a solid fan base (hehe), both choirs flourished in the 1970's and 80's, the height of development of choral music in our history.

The Madz and Korus have very different personalities as choirs. The Madz trademark is their "sitting down" formation, and the Korus' is their choreographed choral singing.

I've sung together with the Madrigal singers before (and it's always a delight), but singing with them as a Korus member of course. It's just a weird feeling to be singing in a different choir now, and then to be performing in Madz et al which is really not a Madz concert, but a Madz sponsored festival. Not to bring down my current group, I think we are doing quite well for a young choir.

It's just me I guess. I keep thinking, "Am I cheating on my choir?"
What do you think?



PS
Gah! We've lost our internet connection at the house and I can't blog! Waah!
Hopefully it will be back up again soon, I haven't put up a post about Puerto Galera yet...

Friday, May 08, 2009

Ako Mismo



What will you do? Make a pledge now. Visit http://akomismo.org/

----edited 08-May-09----

First off, let's agree to disagree.

I've seen a lot of discussion on this, some quasi neutral like Now What, Cat, some quasi positive like Martin Perez and some negative like Bikoy.

So many what ifs, so little time.

Do I think this advocacy will change the world? Nope. Do I think it matters? Not really. It's like a New Year's resolution that you try to do for a few months, then you fall off the bandwagon...

But surely, if this sudden wave of Nationalism gets 5000 or 10000 people to the voter's registration, if for a few months more Filipinos will think there is hope for our country's Judicial system, if after watching the ad on TV, 20 policemen feel guilty for extorting money from motorists, or 10 Angel Locsin fans think it's cool be proud of your country... then I would call that a success.

Some are concerned about required info they gather on the site, well, whatever statistical info or "feel of the majority" they get from this campaign, let them get it. They've spent so much money for it they probably deserve it. Haha. A lot of other companies and groups get statistical info from numerous sources and for numerous reasons we do not know about! Who knows, maybe for this, they're going to use that information to further their cause and influence more Filipinos to do good for themselves.

Of course there's a LOT of money involved here, but MONEY is involved in everything. If this one generates money for them, then good for them. Congrats. Then maybe they can use that money to help others. Why shouldn't I think that? They're a charity org aren't they? I'm not worried if all of a sudden we find out it's backed up by a political group and will push for an agenda that we do not agree with. If that happens then I'll stop supporting them. No deal.

Their campaign appeals to the idealists in us, and as cynics always are, they do not comprehend how this can affect anything at all. But I think it already has.

In any case, I've registered and put my little pledge on that cute little space on their site.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Blown away by Clean Energy: Bangui Windmills

A Theme Thursday post.
Bangui Wind Farm in Ilocos Norte, Philippines.


On the way to the Pagudpud Beach, north of the Philippines, we stopped by to take photos of the Bangui Wind Farm. The sun was about to set so we had to hurry to catch the last sliver of light. We were just in time. :D

According to WikiPilipinas, the Bangui Windmills are located in Bangui, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. It was a project by the NorthWind Development Corporation as a renewable energy source and ...to help reduce the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. The project is the first “Wind Farm” in the Philippines consisting of wind turbines on-shore facing the South China Sea and considered to be the biggest in Southeast Asia. This clean energy source provides 40% of the power requirements of the whole Ilocos Norte province.

Personally, I was just blown away by how clean energy could be so cool. ;)

This photo of me and my dad, actually won for me a feature at our monthly e-Newletter sent to all sites in the world. :D




Want to read more about our trip to Pagudpud? Read this "Pagudpud and other related Adventures"

South Korea's 40 Richest in 2009 and Korean crazy Pinoys

If you check out my sidebar, a few Koreans visit my blog! (lol!) Most visitors are Filipinos or Americans, next are Canadians, and then Koreans! I wonder if they come here by accident or are really looking around Filipino blogs. If you're a Korean reading this, please leave a comment!

A lot of Filipinos have become Korean crazy, from the soap operas, to the clothes, to their hairstyles and even Korean food (kimchi anyone?). I even know a few people who work part time as English tutors for Koreans! They say Koreans go here to learn English because it's cheaper here than anywhere else. I think they like it here because people are not rude to them, and even treat them as special most of the time.

Because of the tremendous increase in Korean tourists in the country, almost all the tourist destinations now have Korean signs, Korean restaurants, Korean spas, Korean everything. The net effect, give it a decade or so, you'll now have a generation of Filipino-Koreans (like Filipino-Chinese are called "Chinoys" or Filipino-Americans are "Fil-Ams", maybe they will be called "Korenoys" or "Fil-Kors").

Anyway, as a welcome mat to my Korean visitors, I've found this for you! Forbes Magazine released on May 1, 2009, their list of 40 richest people in South Korea...

Here is the first 10 richest in South Korea:
1. Lee Kun-Hee - former Samsung Group Chairman
2. Chung Mong-Koo - Hyundai MOtor Chairman
3. Chung Mong-Joon - Korea's richest politician
4. Lee Myung-Hee - heads retailer Shinsegae (sister of #1)
5. Shin Dong-Bin - vice chairman of Lotte Group in Korea
6. Shin Dong-Joo - vice president of Lotte in Japan
7. Jay Y. Lee - senior vice president developing Samsung's global business
8. Chang Pyung-Soon - owns Kyowon Group, an education company
9. Koo Bon-Moo - Chairman of LG Group
10. Shin Chang-Jae - Chairman of Kyobo Life Insurance

See the complete list at Forbes here!
Leave a comment!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Poor Britney

Last Saturday, a Britney Spears fan went up to the stage of her Circus tour concert in Connecticut, apparently wanting to dance with her and maybe get a little bit of spotlight. Well, he did. Kyle King, the 20-year-old man, was arrested, but was released after posting a $250 bail.

Here's the video of the incident, the man comes in at 2:19 and freaks the hell out of Britney Spears...



She was obviously lip synching because the microphones didn't catch any of her "Oh, my God!" screams. She was also stunned that for a few moments she stopped dancing altogether.

Being myself a performer in the past, I can somewhat imagine how much she freaked out. While you're up on stage, you're adrenaline is pumping, you're concentrating on doing so many things at once: singing, dancing, making sure you go to the right places on the stage, you don't trip on the stairs, your face portrays what you're singing, listening to the music, and everything else. And then seeing this stranger there right in front of you in shadows, that must've been really surprising. Add to that the fact that she is a huge celebrity, so her initial reaction was probably that the guy was going to harm her.

That to me was not funny at all.

Why Filipinos love Manny Pacquiao



I am not a big boxing enthusiast, I've never boxed my whole life, but whenever Manny Pacquiao is in the ring, I make it a point to watch: I shout at every punch and cheer every time he lands one on the face of his opponent. I even cuss when he gets one himself. "Ow!" "Wooot!" "Shat!" "Iyown!"

And I'm not the only one. In fact, every Filipino is like that. It's widely known that every time Manny Pacquiao fights, crime rate is ZERO in the Philippines. Everyone is tuned in to support and pray for his victory. Manny's victory becomes our victory, as a nation, as Filipinos.

"...because he is a Filipino..."