Monthly Archives: February 2010

February pic(k) of the month

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Life’s a beach.

Dear Boracay:

I will never tire of basking in your sunny and sandy glory.

By the beach, I lie on a chair under the palm trees.

By the beach, I watch the sun set, flood colors and cast shadows on the landscape.

By the beach, I come to rest after frolicking in your surf.

I will keep coming back.

xoxo,

Kiss

Beaching in solitude

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Willy’s Rock in Boracay

Boracay will always be my favorite retreat. Most see it as an island of raucous parties and hot bodies. My own parents for one think this island has all kinds of people and risks.

But for me, I take refuge in a tucked away portion of White Beach. Away from the hustle, bustle and noise of D’ Mall, Station 2 and Station 3, my hideaway is Blue Waves Beach House. The four-room beachfront resort is sandwiched along the high-end strip of Fridays, Discovery Shores and Pearl of the Pacific. Its location at the northern end of Station 1 plus its affordable rates made it my best choice for a tranquil and laidback break.

From my room (which incidentally was the same room we had when we first stayed there in 2005), only a glass sliding door with pretty curtains separates me from the blue skies, the powdery white sand and the gentle lapping of the waves.

continue wandering here…

Tirad adventure

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The summit looks pretty tiny from the saddle.
But really, it’s not.

I almost missed this climb. If not for the heavens who conspired to reschedule an exam and to give me my boondocks. Nope. I wasn’t off to a good start.

Last February 6 and 7, my 2 girlfriends and I joined the 2nd Annual Charity Climb of the Pinoy Mountaineers. Last year’s charity climb took us to Mt. Pulag (2,922 MASL). This year, the published destination of the trip is Tirad Pass (G. Del Pilar, Ilocos Sur) with a traverse to Quirino.

The destination piqued my interest as usual. The site is very historical and commemorates the courage of Gregorio del Pilar’s “Battle Above the Clouds”. At 22, the Philippines’ youngest general, along with about 60 guards fought the Americans who were pursuing then Philippine President Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. The Pass traces the lonely trail and the numerous caves used as refuge by our Filipino soldiers in the battle. Eerie and poignant at the same time.

continue wandering here…

Electronic pass to the world

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“Ma’am, huwag kayo maniwala sa mga sinasabi ng mga buang na ‘yan (Ma’am, don’t believe a word those crazy people are saying).” With an exasperated look, the manong guard addressed my worried question if it was indeed true that the DFA’s electronic encoding machines were out of order. Well, I guess I wasn’t the first one to complain.

My question stemmed from the fact that fixers tried to coerce me to have my picture taken at their office. This after berating them: no, I am getting an ePassport and no, I don’t need printed photos for the application form.

In their desperate attempt to fool a customer, they resorted to saying that the ePassport encoding machines were down and out for the next two weeks, so my only recourse was to get an MRP. Being the “calm” monster that I am, I counted ‘til 20 (beyond the usual 10), before I blurted: it’s okay, I’m not in a hurry to renew my passport and that I’ll just set another appointment.

This occurred while I was a mere few meters away from the DFA entrance. I wonder why these opportunists are not being penalized and banned by the Department. They even have the audacity to wear IDs to make them look legitimate.

I pity those who are easily swayed by their persuasive and fraudulent deeds.

On the plus side, I’m starting to love the GRP’s initiatives to digitize and to make accessible the renewal of government documents. I mean, who doesn’t fancy the LTO’s Driver’s License Renewal Centers located in SM malls? No lines and a new license card in 30 minutes. Now, here comes the internet appointment system of DFA. Fast processing and short queuing in 15 minutes (and if you know me, you’ll know I mooove slowly).

The ePassport project is part of the DFA’s modernization program that started in 2007, with the launch of the Machine-Readable Passport (MRP). Launched late 2009, the biometric passport has advanced security features which costs only Php950.00 (versus the MRP priced at Php500.00). Both are compliant with international standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, of which our beloved country is a member.

continue wandering here…

My first time

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Much has been heard and written about Binondo’s good food and cheap finds.

So I won’t go into that. Besides, I’m too lazy and I don’t consider myself a foodie nor a shopping junkie. :D

The second leg of Rediscovering Manila brought our wandering feet to the historical (cultural? ancient?) and (oh my) despondent streets of Binondo’s Chinatown. Last weekend’s rendezvous presented a lot of firsts for me:

1. (well, obviously) I’ve been in that side of Manila;
2. I crossed a big concrete bridge on foot (Jones Bridge);
3. I ate near an estero, and;
4. I realized, how lucky I am to have superb friends who are crazy enough to put up with me, my whims and my plans. :D