Sunday, December 25, 2011

I Read from this Side of the Story

10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. (Matthew 2:10-11)

Much like the magi, I am continuously amazed by the reason of the celebration. One thing I've learned this season is the fact that I won't be able to truly share the gift of love until I learn to recognize His grace, be overwhelmed by His love and be yearnful to constantly allow Him to fill my heart.

Merry Christmas, everyone!!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I Race for My Life

Photo courtesy of Real Life Foundation
I arrived barely 10 minutes before the run. A lot more people were already at the starting point and, most probably, have done enough stretching, unlike me. Do I have to worry? Not a bit, I thought. This run, after all, is not outdo them, but to set a benchmark for myself.

I heard the queue and, with the rush of adrenaline, I wanna run ahead and create a good start. But good thing, though, I have been reminded not to exhaust myself too early in the game as this can tire me throughout the run. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Where is home?

I have been busy looking, thus it has almost been two months since I last blogged. I thought I did enough to finally get a home, but this season has instead tested that very lifelong desire of mine. Am I making the right decisions? Am I taking the right direction? Indeed I questioned -- and not just the fact that I'm still as transient as before, but I questioned the very essence of why I had dreamed of having a home. 

So much has been revealed since that victorious day, but I have to admit the heart is still in the process of mending, and that I am still constantly asking. I am asking to the point that I again started questioning and, worse, rant about all that's happening. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Exhibir en Galleria Taal

Exhibit at Galleria Taal.

I was about to wrap up my Taal tour upon visiting the Villavicencio houses when the lady caretaker informed me of the newly re-opened Galleria Taal. It was just a walk straight ahead from the house  (along Agoncillo St.) so I gave it a shot anyway, and I was just so glad I did.

Graflex Graphic Century camera, 1950; USA

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Visita Brgy. Balisong

I've always declared myself a proud Batangueño and so I felt the obligation to discover the Balisong Capital of the Philippines. And finally it happened when I came to visit the Taal Town.

Brgy. Balisong

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Viva Villavicencio

Viva - (adj.) living, enjoying life, active; (int.) hurray!

A well-deserved description indeed! Villavicencio's heritage houses at 33 Marella Street in Taal, Batangas is probably one of the most popular destinations in the town.  The pre-1850 ancestral house was the abode of Gliceria Marella de Villavivencio or "Aling Eriang." Aptly referred to as the "Forgotten Heroine of the Philippine Revolution," she and her husband Eulalio Villavicencio contributed a great part of their fortune to help the revolutionary forces against Spain. 

Gliceria Marella House
Aling Eriang donated the family ship, the "SS Bulusan" which was purchased in 1893 and it was the first warship of the Revolutionary Government.

Friday, July 22, 2011

El patrimonio de Taal

The Heritage of Taal

My tour of Taal Town last July 15-16 was surely an eye-opener of a heritage unknown to many of us. It is listed as a heritage landmark by the National Historical Institute, much like Vigan. Unlike Vigan, though, the whole town is in itself a well-preserved Spanish Colonial Town and walking around it brought me a reminiscent of a rich cultural past that we've learned only through the books.

At the center of the town is Basilica de San Martin de Tours or commonly known as Taal Basilica, said to be Asia's biggest Catholic Church. 

Taal Basilica
Original church was instituted on 1575 and current church structure was constructed on 1856.
Church is said to be Asia's biggest Catholic Church

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tour de Taal Town

My two-month vacation is almost over and so I thought I had to make a trip somewhere before I start on my new job. As I ought to still save some of my backpay money for my condo, I had to make sure the tour will be less than a 5K budget. And since I owe some obligations to my relatives in Lipa City, I figured out I'll just travel within my own province of Batangas.

Since I am not a beach bum (and that summer is really over despite the heat), I thought of one place where I can just walkabout and simply appreciate the sights. Only one place come to mind -- the Town of Taal!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Harry Potter's Guide on Achieving Victory over Voldemort

Movies are especially designed to lull our imagination, prompting us to wish for scenes to befall as actual personal moments. Ever experienced times wherein you and your friends would stay silent after exiting the movie house? That's due to "movie hangover."

Excited for Harry Potter 7 Part 2
Expectantly, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 also brought me some sense of association. In the hope of waking a dead man, Harry Potter taught and reminded me of the following top tips:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How to Awaken a Dead Man

Waking the Dead: The Glory of a Heart Fully AliveFor some reason he found it funny to flick on his cousin's ears. He was giggling as he stared at his target's irritated face. "He's sleeping so he couldn't fight back. It's a chance to bully," he thought. He was enjoying the moment when, all of a sudden, his cousin's mother saw what he was doing and she eventually stormed out on him. It was family siesta time so the rest of his relatives were made known of the act and everyone came to a conclusion that he became very cruel at that time.

As it was the norm when a kid would made a mistake, they shouted at him and, as he was trying to defend himself, they voted to throw him out of the house as a punishment.

"This is injustice." he thought, so he screamed "Di na kayo naawa sa bata! (You did not even show any pity to a kid like me!). All the while he thought that would convince them to allow him a re-entrance, but lo and behold, to make matters worse, he heard and saw their neighbors laughing at him because of too much drama.

It was as if the camera zoomed in on his face, marking a big blow that has since robbed his whole self. He felt Rejection. And that was what deeply wounded his heart.

That was how I became brokenhearted, and that was John Eldredge's target -- aimed to provide healing and restoration -- on his book Waking the Dead: The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive

Monday, July 4, 2011

Season 2

I am removing the -ing on my blog's name. This means finally removing the "progressive aspect" of my goal to bring back the habit of writing. I believe now I've made myself committed into using the talent that God gave me.

I used to say that this blog was created due to unexplainable stress; however, recounting the moments when I was on my most vulnerable state, I believe that, touching based on my faith again, I was actually commanded to do so. And I am very glad I listened and obeyed.  

I'm done keeping my old self, the writer in me, alive, so now I am bound to continue on keeping tracks of life's journey. May it be a travel destination or moments in my life that are worth of posts, I hope to write more than facts, rather a couple of bits and pieces to inspire.

If you have been a reader of my blog, I'm sure you've seen a lot of changes on its look and layout. The writer has earned a new heart so now he is presenting a brand new site. 

This is Bring back the habit: Season 2.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Heart

A boy sights a young man chilling while slowly sipping his hot coffee. He was probably influenced by the cold December air, coupled with the frizzing effect of the food chain’s air conditioning.  Whether or not the nippy air has something to do with, he was surely the coolest the boy has ever seen. The boy thought he was probably in his mid-twenties, at the right age to be independent and has the all the right to look hippy in his blue regular-fitted shirt, black jacket and faded jeans. The boy was thinking his girlfriend must have adored his height and posture. And he must be there waiting for her. “Cool,” the boy wandered if he will be the same 15 years from that moment.
The young man was clearly who the boy envisioned he wanted to be when he grew up – a sight of independence and courage, virtually alone in the middle of a busy crowd.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 - The Story

This is getting really exciting! Click the video for preview of new footages!





07.15.11

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Home

It's about time to live in my own.

I've had 6 different residences, thus I would always find it hard to decide what to put as my mailing address when I fill out an application form. Good thing that's the only concern I have now. Imagine a young kid forced to adjust to different rules, different cultures, different families.

Since then, I've longed to call an actual place my home


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Characters

This blog was created because no one was always readily available for a talk. For someone who's not used to sharing life's miseries, that moment was comparable to a James Van Der Beek meltdown in Dawson's Creek.  And just like when Dawson finally decided to accept his fate, I embraced the drama and looked high above the situation I was on. I finally realized I was the one curtailing myself from the world.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Job

I thought I always knew what I wanted to achieve. After college I planned that I'd be a manager at the age of 25 and I was able to do it. But that was my plan, not His.

Five years may be uncomparable to anyone who could have stayed longer in their respective companies, but the fact that even for a freshman like me (way back in 2005) opportunities of growth were well within reach, it was certainly enough to engross myself to the job.

Yes, call me workaholic but I believe I was more than that when it comes to my career. I actually thought I made a god out of it. While I would always declare that I received all these blessings after I became a Christian, I know that, all this time, I was trying to achieve success to yearn for other people's approval. The motive was wrong. I should be asking for His approval instead.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Free E-Book: Backpacking Tips for Southeast Asia

I was in my usual state of writer's block when I thought of finally reading Flipnomad's Free E-Book: Backpacking Tips for Southeast Asia. More than giving me information, the e-book inspired me again to pursue my dream of exploring the world and, yes, continue my series again.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Look

This was supposed to be a vanity post, but I couldn't bear seeing too much of myself.

If I am changing my haircut, it's mostly because I wanted to scream changes in my life. But since this time I could only do a semi-military cut, I thought I'll wear the change instead.

New glasses

Monday, May 30, 2011

Farewell Getaway

For a change I was merely a participant during our May 21-22 company team-building summer getaway, and, yes, I enjoyed it a lot. For the first (and "last") time I was able loosen up and appreciate more the company of my co-workers and former subordinates.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Entering A New Season

I suddenly found myself taking a different route. All that has happened (and is happening, as of this writing) seemed to have conspired to totally open an all-new season in my life. While some are planned, most events transpired without even the slightest hint -- in fact all are too drastic that I can't even keep up and I just had to let it slide.

The moments are too unprecedented and I just realized I am in a story arc that's bound to end yet another chapter. It's season finale indeed. But as much as I hate to create a big deal out of these moments, I know they had to matter. After all, the outcome may either build or destroy my character.

While I don't intend to shed my whole life to the world, these series of posts are meant to record the emotion and thoughts that I know I can sentimentally value, gushing on that crazy, zealous idea that I can surreptitiously inspire others.

Hit the episodes below:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Victorious Weekend


When's the last time you felt more than overwhelmed? It's the moment you know your emotions are beyond words, and in all of that you care very little about exaggeration.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Firsts in Tagaytay

We were supposed to be in Baguio for the last weekend of April 2011 but, as usual, planned getaways are bound to fail. And so I suggested Tagaytay -- still a cold place, though, and such was needed for a hot summer temperature that ranges from 34 to 36 degrees celcius!

It may be a common destination for many, but for me, the trip was a first -- at least my first to actually be familiar with what the place can offer.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bringing back the habit: Traveling

Passport received! This is the sign. I should be hitting the road (and air) anytime soon. It pays to drag yourself and finally fulfill a dream!


Main goal no. 2 for the year down!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 Trailer

I am lazy when it comes to random posting, but I am doing one because I am very excited for this film.

I am dedicating this post to Harry Potter since he's ending his story this year. This is movie history in the making!

Photo courtesy of painters.celeboutfit.com


Mark your calendars -- July 15, 2011!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Conquered Mission

I was never really good at teaching kids. And yet I have been a part of our church's Children Ministry for more than a year now. I guess that's the irony of life. It's a fulfillment for a bullied kid like me to finally feel being appreciated by kids.

That's why I felt so challenged when we held last April 18 to 20 our 2011 Children's Camp, a first for the whole JIL Area 25. I just can't take away the fear of failing to deliver as I still consider myself a newbie Christian.

But who would say no for an opportunity to share the Word and at the same time touch base again to the kid in you? It was an exciting event. Too exciting that I felt restless till it was over.


The truth is, because of my notion that it's very sensitive to teach kids -- more so teaching them the Word -- I would usually find myself undeserving to pitch. It takes more than the usual preparation; it's not as easy as conducting product training. It takes more than the talent or the experience; you have to have the heart to be effective. After all, it's not just a job; it's a responsibility. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Crunchy Surprise

I have been trying to look for another alternative "northbound bus food" (a coined term here -- watch out for details and a list soon!) as I feel a lot of guilt when I eat a nakamamatay na chicken skin (deadly chicken skin -- don't be bothered by the description; it's the exaggerated glutton in me). The thing is, unless I have time to prepare and eat a meal before going to work, I am confined to purchase either an edible street food or  any available cheap fast food product. You see, traveling to and/or from work is the same as meal time for me.

Then came Jollibee Crunchy Chicken Burger. While it triples the cost of a chicken skin, Php39 is considerably cheaper than that of KFC's Chik'n Fillet Burger, Zinger and, of course, Double Down.  Yes, Wow Burger should have been a better option (Php29) but I'd have to admit it doesn't have the ideal crispy taste. While not exceptionally flavorful, Jollibee Crunchy Chicken Burger is relished with a delightful mayo dressing that compliments its crunchy chicken patty. Yes, it's really crunchy! Try it with ketchup to further savor the burger experience.

P.S. I reckon this is Jollibee's answer to McDonald's Crispy Chicken Fillet Sandwich. Though similarly priced, McDonald's version looks and tastes bland while Jollibee charms theirs with a special dressing.

On second thought, I only juggle between Jollibee and KFC. Hope McDo plans to join the competition in Pacita.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I Find It Hard to Speak Up

I guess that's why I am blogging. Nevertheless, despite that, I hate sharing problems. I just used halo-halo and tithing to release all my negative emotions at that time.

I guess it's the ego in me -- that I have been used to solving my problems alone (or at least with so little help from others). I was just lectured at work yet I don't feel like throwing the lecture down to my subordinates. The bad thing is, I feel like most people are misunderstanding me.  I just can't be angry. I DON'T LIKE getting angry at all. Last time I acted too emo, I almost lost my good friends.

And so they say I'm too aloof; I say I prefer to reserve my thoughts till I have the right words to use.

And so they say I'm a snob; I say I'm not used to being noticed, and oh, by the way, it's not my fault that my eyebrows meet halfway.

And so they say I'm too assuming; I say I don't like doubts affecting my goals.

This is for the people asking. I'm sure my friends would agree that I'm too good of an actor when I am around others -- and I dare say we all are. We value trust so much, and I am no difference.

And so they say I'm too emo; I say again I just find it hard to speak up. Isn't it obvious that I am writing instead?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Top 5 PSP Games - Part 1

I am no games expert but I greatly appreciate all types of virtual gaming -- interactive, online, handheld. After all, boys are bound to grow up addicted to gaming. At one point in time I'm sure most of us became so preoccupied with playing Super Mario Brothers, right? (Or at least those who grew up in the '80s and '90s). And we all know that boys don't just easily outgrow this behavior. I remember staying up overnight during college days just to enjoy Command & Conquer: Generals and bumming over WarCraft III: Reign of Chaos the summer after I graduated.

This post is a dedication to the kid in me that still enjoys simulated gaming. Furthermore, it's to show my appreciation to the first "gizmo" I purchased out of my own sweat, my 2006 Sony PSP.

This is Part 1 as I intend to do some more gaming in the future.

Toy Story 3 The Video Game
More of a commemoration for the movie, playing Toy Story 3: The Video Game is to delight my nostalgia for the third and best installment of the most beloved children's film franchises of all time (It sounds like a PR statement but I stand by the description!). The game shows another-point-of-view retelling of the "toys' story," taking us firsthand on the adventures of almost every character during each period of the film. Aside from Woody, Buzz and Jessie, you even get to play as Squeeze Toy Aliens and as Green Army Men, thus eliminating redundancy despite an almost routine gameplay in story mode. Of course it gets exciting as you go further into the story -- and again character switching is the best part of it all! If at some point you get bored, there are mini games for Woody, Buzz and the Aliens that are equally entertaining. On top of that, the visuals certainly feel like you are in Pixar universe!

4.) God of War: Ghost of Sparta
God of War: Ghost of SpartaWhy only the sixth God of War game (or second for PSP) of the series? Well, it's because this is only the God of War game that I was able to finish! LOL! My first take on Kratos's adventure was its "first," released via PlayStation 2 (which was not even mine; I was lend some hours to try it). I was fascinated by its engaging visuals and challenging gameplay that I instantly installed God of War Chains of Olympus on my PSP. However, I lagged within the middle of the story mode and got frustrated with it, thus I quit. Nevertheless, when I heard that a new one was coming to PSP (again), I readily gave it a try. This time, though, it was surely a blast! Putting all my learnings from playing some of its predecessors definitely helped me all throughout the game. What sets apart God of War series entirely is that you get to still enjoy all its signature trademarks on different yet entertaining stories.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Tithe Testament

14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him. 1 John 5:14-15 (New International Version, ©2011)

I have been reassured, and it is not a false promise. Last week's emergency would have left me ranting until now if I have not put my faith in Him.

Five years ago I had a different notion about tithing. I considered it as a church's "cover-up" just to get money. Yes, that's how evil I was, but I was proven wrong, very wrong.

Going back to God was my greatest turning point. I had my greatest realization; I was incredibly changed.

03.31.2011, within that day -- actually approximately within 8 hours -- we had to urgently raise a big amount of money (apologies but I am not giving details to maintain some privacy). After getting that emergancy call, I had to struggle over all sorts of thoughts and emotions, to the point of thinking halo-halo would help. There were sadness, anger, blaming, questioning and even a feeling of excitement to a new life challenge -- it was crazy. While at that moment I became a worrier, for some reason, there was calmness overall. If I were the same person, I would have felt hopeless.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I am a fan

Thia Megia wowed the judges 
by singing "Out Here On My Own"
Escapism via TV. It is this part of the year that I always get excited to catch a new season of American Idol. I became an avid fan, though, only since Season 5. At that time I fell in love with Katharine McPhee. But, of course, I was aware it's been in existence for 10 years now - wow, 10 years! My first glimpse was in Season 3 which made Jasmine Trias a celebrity. It was a breakthrough for Pinoys. And this year, yet another Pinoy made it - only till Top 10, though. Sadly, Thia Megia didn't make it further into the competition. Nevertheless, she won a fan out of me. Yes, I am digging her voice much like how crazy I am with Adele at the moment.

Let me share her AI journey via her i-Tunes music:

UPDATED: Thia performing "Chasing Pavements" on Live with Regis & Kelly! Whoa! If she could have sang some Adele, I wonder what would be the outcome. Hmm... 

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Halo-Halo

It's a mix of sweets. The concoction for summer. A treat to a swelling heat. And so I took one from KFC, yes Kentucky Fried Chicken. Their version via KFC Krushers blended all the usual halo-halo ingredients with their dairy slush. I had to take one - I even waited for more than an hour as I ordered too early - just to ease my scorching head! Despite costing Php65, I reckon it'll overpower more than what the weather had induced that day. I badly needed a cool booze. Remember a day when you can't even define how and what you should feel? It's like "drinking" halo-halo - a mix of all the right and wrong elements.

Why I value a one-day leave

03.18.2011 - This date was a "gem" since it was my second one-day leave for the year. Yes, I know, it's a shame. And so I valued this very rare opportunity to spend a fulfilling day off:
 
1. Passport Application - I  took a leave originally entirely for this. I was scheduled at 9:30 and before I knew it I was off the road 1 1/2 hours after. DFA rocks, as I have twitted, being very satisfied with their service!

2. Coffee Night with Barkada - Because my friends value me so much (or so I assume LOL!), they scheduled our coffee night on the same day. Lucky me. I love you friends! We agreed to meet at Anj's place, for a change. Her pad is located at Palm Towers Condominium, a very memorable place as I stayed in the same building before for more than two months (I will share this in a different post).

Jaja asking for a White Pizza! LOL!
3. White Pizza Treat - I have to include this as an event because it felt heaven eating Brooklyn Pizza's White Pizza. This one's a real treat, folks! A real value for your money!

4. Overseas Conference Call with Jaja - Valuing the time we could spend as a complete "barkada," the date was saved to see and hear our friend who's now based in Riyadh. As usual we did not lack any interesting stories (or, more so, life updates) to share. My laptop Miguel was used so I was so proud of my baby!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Four Seasons

In awe to Jaja's tumblr entry, I couldn't help but grab a four seasons drink from a local fruitshake stand in Plaza Pacita. I used the opportunity then to take my Saturday food trip fix by matching it with takoyaki and siomai.

It has been my habit to take a stroll over the local palengke before finally going home. And it is not without intention - there's always a slice of hope that something exciting would eventually come my way. But seasons have passed yet I still take the same route, seeing the same faces, walking as the same me.
Vis Maior Cafe at Centro Pacita

And so I was inspired by Jaja's reminiscent of our college years and, as usual, I have to take all that inspiration somewhere, somehow. So then that day, for the first time, I sat on one of their tables to drink my fruitshake and munch over takoyaki and siomai. It's not a big event, not even a moving one, but it sure felt comforting to stop being an expectator and just grace the everyday events.

Since I am eventually moving out of Binan, I thought of using the remaining months to finally experience the usual places I see. And to further fulfill that vow, I am writing this entry in one of Pacita's local cafe's, the Vis Maior Cafe at Centro Pacita. I am soon entering a new season so why not make some encounters with the locals before welcoming new characters into my life?

Random Thoughts: Travel Dreams

I am thinking of giving up my job and just travel for a living. Am I in my right mind? 2011 has kept me thinking after the much stressful corporate drama I had to go through (no details, sorry). But one thing is for sure -- I miss traveling! My best of friends from college made me realize there's more to life than a successful career. Indeed, despite the achievements, I don't feel I am fulfilling my thirst for real "fulfillment."

I have been reading travel blogs and it's an amazement for me that these folks can still find time to bust out of the city and enter new worlds when I can't even squeeze in a time to update this blog!

I originally planned to travel in Malaysia this summer and as usual I am rescheduling it. I still have that notion that traveling requires extensive budgetting, on which I have allotted for my much-dreamed condominium. My broker said I am getting it this June (hopefully). After that, maybe I can go back to traveling, rethink of my options and finally become my real old self again.

Or do I really want to become my old self again? I really don't know. That's why this is also labeled under "random thoughts."

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Nameless Heroes

02/25/11. 25th Anniversary of EDSA. But I am not feeling it; maybe I am just too stressed or too preoccupied that I didn't even twit about it as form of commemoration. I guess idealism lessens when you age. Reality's too harsh that sometimes you can't help but just give in.

I wanted to be a hero. Altruism kicked in way back when I was very young - maybe 8 or 10; I really don't remember, but I was very enthusiastic back then. In fact, I thought I was destined to be the next Jose Rizal or Ninoy Aquino. I believe I am not alone into thinking that way - Efren Peñaflorida was named 2010 CNN Hero of the Year. The diference is, he had the guts to risk a corporate career over teaching kids on the streets. And I don't have the boldness to do so - worse, I would usually end up thinking of good ideas and not act on it. And so I blame myself.
Bob Ong's Kapitan Sino

Nevetheless, just like the old saying, it's never too late. I am naming here my new inspiration, that is, Kapitan Sino. The who? He's Rogelio Manglicmot in person. Thanks to Bob Ong, his story is up for grabs in National Bookstore.
My nameless hero

I was so moved that I needed to release all the positive energies in me. But I don't have a venue and I ended up drawing my own nameless hero.

And so I am writing this on EDSA's 25th Anniversary and just realized that I am commemorating it in my own way. We knew EDSA as where about 2,000,000 individuals - most of them nameless workers, parents, yuppies, teens, etc. - risked their lives for freedom and so someone else can benefit.

But I wonder, what if everyone would think as a hero? I guess that would bore us then since struggles are what make our lives so fulfilling. And I love fulfillment. I wanted to feel it in my job, in my family and in every aspect of my life. You can't always have it your way but no matter how difficult, unpleasant, depressing, humiliating it may be, I intend to make a difference. I don't need to be named; each mind remembers anyway.
Happy 25th EDSA Anniversary!
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