MY BLOG ENTRIES

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Risk

"You can never cross the ocean unless you lose sight of the shore"

A very helpful excerpt provided of course that you would be riding a vessel and not swimming, because in that way, what is the use of losing sight of the shore when you won't last swimming to cross the ocean anyway?  Risk is good...  Risk takes courage...  Risk can make you succeed.  But in taking risks, you would also have to weigh the consequences and be aware of what you are capable of in order to achieve success.  There is a difference between risking because you have the courage and risking because you are stupid or simply do not care.  In business, the bigger the risk, the bigger the returns you get when you succeed.  But businessmen do not gamble away money and assets just for the hell of it.  It takes certain amount of research coupled with intuition to back up these risks.  When you risk, it is better to expect the worst so that when you don't get to win, you would be ready to face the losses.  In life, you take every kind of risk.  You risk being hit by a bus when you cross the street, you risk heartbreak when you commit into a relationship,  you risk side effects when you drink your medicine...  But of course you don't cross the street when the light is green, you don't commit yourself to a well-known rake, nor drink medicine without consulting the doctor.  Like everything else in life, risking has its merits... provided that you respect its limits.

Marriage

What is happening to the world! Everybody is getting married! I say this maybe because it seems that I'm the only one who isn't.  How many women around the world envisioned their perfect wedding? I see my perfect wedding as standing by the beach in my flowing spaghetti-strapped white dress with garlands in my head and white tulips in my hands.  I walk down the aisle to the sound of "Standing Right Next to Me by Karla Bonoff" being sang by the choir and my dream man waiting at the end (probably with tears in his eyes caused by happiness) all the while gazing at me with love in his eyes.  The sun setting in the horizon as the wind carries all my fears, all my disappointments, all the loneliness of the past from my chest.  And voila! that's it.  We live happily ever after.  End of story.  Yeah right, that's not how marriage works.  Marriage is not a one-time choice you make.  You don't just think on it and say "yes" to the proposal and expect everything else to work out because you've already made your choice.  In a marriage, you make choices everyday.  The children are whining,   the house is in shambles,  you meet your gorgeous neighbor,   you suspect your husband is cheating, bills need to be paid and you fall short on cash...  The list goes on and on.  There will always be someone more perfect who will come along.  There will always be an opportunity of a better life that will present itself.  But you make the choice of staying and committing yourself to the marriage.  I have heard a very moving speech on a wedding I attended.  The bride said that she was sure she found the right man because he is her "anyway man."  That no matter what happens, no matter what hurtful things they might say, no matter what imperfection she might see in him,  she loves him "anyway".  That is marriage.  It is committing yourself to the person you love and continuously loving him no matter what.  It is a decision you make everyday through good or bad times.  It is a lifetime choice.

no arms... no legs... no worries

video part 1
video part 2

I would like to share with you this video about one of the most admirable men I have come across with.  Far from ordinary, a man from Australia born with no arms and legs.  He went beyond rising to the challenge that fate has dealt him and inspired thousands of people.  I cannot help the tears from falling...

We are bereaved  when others taunt us...  But what degree of mockery did he withstand?
We grumble about things we cannot buy...  But what use are things when you don't have the means to use  them?
When we are ignored by loved ones, we get broken...  How much more rejections has he faced?
We curse life, we curse fate, we curse God...  Yet the man who has most reasons to do so embraces life...  Preaches hope...  Advocates faith.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Love on the internet?

Online dating is big business, and growing more and  more in credibility every year. Surveys claim that 50% of single people believe they will meet a suitable partner this way. The stain from dating agencies seems to have gone, and more people are attracted by the advantages of online dating. This type of dating provides the privacy to look around from the comforts of their own home and not needing to go to an actual dating agency office, which in turn would take a lot of courage.  Of course, there are many areas of life in which the internet seems to be taking over like classified ads in selling cars, finding houses, and planning holidays. But the boom in online dating is not simply a more efficient and flexible way of doing things that we would otherwise have done. It reflects an essential shift in how people are encouraged to think about their personal relationships and organize their personal lives... with intimacy acted out in public and subject to the norms one might associate with buying a car, a house, or a holiday.  The fashion for finding “love online” represents a redefinition of what we mean by “love”. No longer is love a spontaneous emotion, an extraordinary state of being, a necessary evil on the path to self-fulfillment. Rather, it is remolded as a therapeutic practice...  Something to be planned and managed in the way one might plan and manage one's career, in the awareness that it might not last forever and moving on is no bad thing.  People seeking love online might not be looking to develop an emotional CV, but that is what the process sells them.  Search a guy, interview, and hire.

how do I talk to women?


Are you the type of person who blanks out when faced with your crush?  Do you sweat like crazy when a woman you like sits next to you in a bar?  Unlike popular opinion, it's actually pretty easy to approach women and  initiate conversation. The problem is being able to continue the conversation and get them interested  in what you have to say.   As you probably know, once you  run out of things to say, the conversation is finished!  Bye bye romance... Potential lovelife... poof!  So what's the solution?  Well the truth is it's simple to find topics of conversation. All you have to do is ask a woman a few questions about herself then relate them to stories from your own life.  As you probably know, women LOVE interesting and funny stories. You can take advantage of this trait by relating events from your past and tying them up to her own experiences. The best way to get started is to craft your own stories.  No matter what your life has been like at this point, you've probably had atleast a few interesting stories.  The important thing is to put a humorous and higher status slant on each story.  A great story should follow the same format and presentation as a great joke.   Obviously your goal is to craft these stories WELL before you meet women. In fact, practice them enough so you can build drama and humor each time you tell them.  Now when you're talking to a woman, you can literally "fish" for conversation topics. Simply ask women questions about her background and interests. Then look for topics which you can relate to one of your stories. All you have to do is demonstrate the common thread between your experiences and her life.  This type of conversation works well because you're relating something from your own life to something she has done. Furthermore if you tell your story well, you can demonstrate core traits like humor and high status.  In addition, since you're making a connection to a shared interest, it'll increase your chances of developing rapport. It's human nature to like people who are similar to ourselves. So a woman will like you because your stories will show how much you have in common.  So if you want to increase your conversation success, then I recommend you craft a few interesting stories from your own life. Then when you first meet a woman, you can latch on to her experiences and relate them to the exciting things you've done in your life.  Ofcourse, nobody likes a liar and women can smell miscreants so you must tell real stories about you because anything less and you would be cheating yourself in finding the right woman for you .  You may not know it, but maybe that woman you’ll sit beside the bus next time might be THE one and you would want to be ready for it.

beauty or brains?

If you were given the choice, would you choose to be beautiful but dense? Or an ugly genius?  What is really more essential in life?  Would it that this question be asked in a beauty pageant, the typical answer would be that the mind makes a person seem more beautiful.  But does society in actuality really believe this?  Beauty impels attention, but so does a bright mind.  Jobs demanding beauty are as well paid as jobs requiring intelligence.  People make fun of physical flaws but also look down on idiocy.  Maybe on that score, an idiot may be less affected because he does not understand the mockery he's being subjected to.  As a result, he has less reason to acquire insecurities and self-doubts.  But on the other hand, being beautiful instigates vanity whereas quick thinking and wit endears a person to others. So which then is better?  Being dumb enough and not knowing you're the butt of jokes or being too smart thus assimilating just how your ugliness matters?  Pretty ugly pictures of each right?  Both may be positive traits but encourage intimidation and negativity.  Maybe that is why there is a balance to life.  A lot of white is overly bright whereas an abundance of black gives darkness.  So next time you see a gorgeous girl or an Einstein replica, don't go pointing at the heavens and cursing fate...  Think a moment...  Everything at the extreme is detrimental. =)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Jobs

People regard jobs in different perspectives.  Most people see it as a means to earn money. Some to find fulfillment... Some to have power...  And for some lucky few born in the higher echelons of life, to just pass the time.  For most of us lucky enough to have the means to finish our studies and get degrees, landing a decent job is the ultimate goal of the years we've spent studying our asses off.  As a student, I did my best to earn good grades but never really grasped the idea of the "real world" looming at the end of my university life.  The "real world" is full of the pressures of proving yourself, of competition, of politics in the workplace and diverse people with conflicting interests.  In our country, where job opportunities are scarce and two out of three Filipinos are unemployed, you go through rejections and disappointments that the weak of heart would surely concede defeat.  Cutthroats meander the corporate world that you always have to be at the top of your game and be steadfast in your goals.  You work your hardest but still sometimes you get beaten.  You move on, work even harder, and learn.  Until the time comes when your efforts are rewarded.  It is the sweetest thing to receive a raise for a job well done;  to be praised by superiors for great performance; to earn the respect of your colleagues; to simply reap the fruits after a tough grind.  People often say, "it is only a job".  But our jobs define us.  Our performances, our goals, our drive, our priorities define who we are and how we view life itself.  It does not matter what kind of job you have or how much money you earn but the important thing is how your job makes you feel and how a job molds you as a person.  Two persons who earn little may be molded by a job differently.  One may stay content and one might be motivated to strive harder.  One may hate serving others and one might be honored by it.  How you view your job defines you.  That is why it is important to find your niche.  Find something you know you're good at and somewhere you know you would be happy in.  A job is not viewed as work if you enjoy what you're doing and feel duly rewarded and "seen" for your efforts.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hundred Islands









A trip to Hundred Islands National Park and its home, Alaminos City, is a great diversion from the hustle and bustle of the busy, urban life.  Definitely one of the highlights of Philippines’ ecotourism, it is about 7 hours away north of Manila. The long drive was definitely worth it by the time we got there.  On our way to Lucap, we passed by the San Jose drive to view the old colonial houses in the area.  We booked a room at the Maxine by the sea lodge which I can say is rather decent with air conditioning, two queen-sized beds and cable tv.  We arrived around 1pm and spent that first day enjoying the view of the islands from a far while relaxing by the sea deck at Maxine's.  We bought some souvenirs by the Lucap Wharf and visited the Pantalan lighthouse; "pantalan" meaning pier or port.  While we sit by the port talking, I was able to capture the amazing sun set view.  We had dinner at Maxine and I must say I was disappointed because I was expecting much from the good reviews about the place and the food turned out a little bland and much too pricey basing on the lack of taste and flavors.  The next day, we got up before dawn to capture the sun rise and partook of our free breakfast.  The breakfast was a big improvement as compared to dinner since we chose the Filipino style breakfast consisting of one viand (longganisa, bangus, tocino, etc..), 2 eggs, rice and juice.  We boarded our rented boat around 7am to start our tour of the islands.  The nearest islands from the Lucap Wharf are Sulpot Island, Monkey Island, Abad Santos Island and Hernandez Island, which are all 15 to 20 minutes away. The major (and developed) islands, Children's, Governor's and Quezon can be reached after a 25 to 45-minute boat ride.  Our first stop was the Quezon Island. It is one of the most developed islands and is known to have the best swimming beach.  (personally, I would prefer the more fine sand and secluded beach of the Governor's Island) Quezon Island is the best destination for families as there are two dining pavilions and grilling areas.  There is a bridge that leads to a viewing deck on the other side of the island and a giant clam and coral nursery close to one of the dining pavillions.  We snorkeled near the island where giant clams can be seen and it was remarkable!  We passed by the Children's Island and Turtle Island on our way.  Children's Island was amply named because of its shallow waters mostly knee-deep, making it safe for children.  It is also mostly for budget travelers as it consists only of screened bedrooms with electricity, fresh water and linens. Kerosene lighting is provided for after 12 midnight. We continued on and went spelunking on Cuenco Cave which is also ideal for campers as it provides big spaced shelter where travelers can pitch their tents.  Of the 3 major islands, my favorite was the Governor's Island.  It is the only island there who keeps a guesthouse ideal for family use. We took the hundred or so steps up to the viewing deck where you can behold the majestic view of the hundred islands...  It was breathtaking.  There is also the popular Pinoy Big Brother house situated at the middle of the island giving a great view of the shoreline and nearby islands as well.  The beach at Governor's island was like a dream.  Very secluded and picturesque with fine white sand and great rock formations.  You could also have a shot at scuba diving since Alaminos houses great marine life and equipments and lessons are being offered on the governor's island  It was a trip really worth the effort and money.  No doubt about it, Hundred Islands is truly an awe-inspiring beauty to the ones who experience it.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Club Balai Isabel


It was my birthday that day and my friends and I were looking for someplace near just to unwind and be together.  I scanned the internet and came up with this amazing resort with breathtaking views.  We booked for an overnight stay.  When we got there, it was as it seemed on the photos.. beautiful indeed! Lush vegetation welcomes guests as soon as they enter and it offers an up-close and personal view of the lake and its world-famous volcano.  This picturesque setting makes it a popular wedding and pre-nuptial photoshoot destination.  We were given a room in the Orchard Lane with 4 double beds and a kitchen.  The clubhouse is at the heart of the resort and looks out over the infinity pool and the lake and volcano beyond it. The resort offers numerous big-sized pools, all situated to provide a great view of the taal volcano.  It is also great for company outings and large corporate gatherings since they offer needed facilities and function rooms.  Water activities are also available like kayak and jet skis and a trip to the taal volcano by motor boats.  We lolled by the pool, basked in the serenity of the place and I must say that our mere overnight stay was not enough.  The only thing I could impart a negative comment on was the food served at the restaurant.  It was really bland and pricey.  However, the resort allows guests to bring their own food and each room is equipped with a kitchen and needed utensils.  This place for me is a perfect getaway and I must say.. brides to be.. take it down for your future weddings.

Rizal

There are so many places and must-sees in Rizal that I have yet to explore.  One particular visit took me to the
Thunderbird Resort in Rizal which is a few miles outside of Manila. It is a Mediterranean-inspired hotel that isn't really that big but has some of the facilities needed if you're a leisure traveler. They have a casino which is one of its main attractions. Their rooms are quite big and spacious as compared to hotels in Manila and they offer suites with 2 double sized beds. There is also a golf course (east ridge), a driving range, clean pool with a round pool jacuzzi type, a little playground for kids, pool restaurant and free wifi (intermittent connection in the afternoon).  They also serve really great food and breakfast buffet. One thing that separates the staff at Thunderbird was that they were all super hospitable and accommodating. It is a resort that purports first class treatment.  Thumbs up to Thunderbird Resort Rizal.

Antipolo

Antipolo is one of the nicest place near the Metro to visit, whether to hang out on the popular bars dotted along the city, chill out on coffee shops overlooking the great view, or visiting the numerous resorts the city has to offer.  I've been to Antipolo countless times,one of which was to visit the Villa Cristina resort which I could say is a disappointing experience. It was very fortunate that I had really enjoyed the company I was with or I might consider the outing as a waste of time and money. We checked in for an overnight stay then and it was indeed a big place and has a nice view overlooking the whole metro since Antipolo is set in high altitude. The view was indeed astounding, but the pools are not as great as I expected and were only open until 11pm. They only have about 3 pools, big in size but are not very clean when we got there.
The hotel rates were reasonable, though I have to say that the hotel room is not very clean, the toilet bowl is stained, and the shower floors are not as presentable as others I have seen. The bed sheets are not as “white” too. I felt as if there was something in the sheets that kind of made me feel itchy at times. Not to be too demanding, but the first thing I noticed was that the room is not very spacious, there was no television, the cabinets were not clean because we found some tissue left-over when we opened them.
Talking about the resort, it is clean as a whole, leaving out the details of the hotel rooms of course. The cottages would have been a great place if you are not very particular where you would be able to leave your things unattended. As a whole, the Villa Christina Resort and Hotel is an acceptable place to relax, enjoy the view and be with good friends, but more preferable for a day tour excursion.

Subic


I have been to Subic a number of times and been to White Rock Resort twice.  That first time, our annual company outing was held at White Rock and I was really excited to go since it has great reviews and seems like a very nice place.  The sights were wonderful but our place was not that impressive. The hotel itself was quite simple and comparing to accommodation prices, I felt as though it was not adequate.  We also had to wait awhile before our rooms were prepared which infuriated most of us since the place we were asked to wait was scorching hot.  Though it is an open field, the trees and plants were not enough to make it a cooler place. As for the beach, it is very clear and inviting. I dipped my feet through the water and felt it calming my nerves. Since it is noon time, I did not take the risk of swimming under the hottest sun. The sand was fine and white as advertisements boast.  There is a vast range of water activities to choose from like banana boats, jet skis, and kayaks and a lot of entertainment to occupy yourself with.  Overall, it is one of the best places to visit in Subic especially for beach bummers like me.

Corregidor















Corregidor is one of the best historical spots I've been into.  The place itself is scenic and very well maintained and they have preserved the original barracks and mortars used during the war.  We took a short ferry ride at the docks near CCP and arrived in Corregidor around 8am.  Tranvias (named after the electric trams that criss-crossed Manila before the war) were waiting for us as we alighted to tour us around the place.  There used to be a bike rental shop on the island, before the one-two punch of injury liability and the Asian Currency Crisis of 1997 shut it down. Bikes are still welcome on the island, provided you bring your own.  We were assigned one tour guide per tranvia to walk us through history and explain the story behind the place.  The first stop on the tour was the Middleside Barracks, a large military barracks made up of two three-story buildings which was referred to as the Middleside Barracks because it was constructed in the middleside sector of the island. Personnel of the 60th Coast Artillery Regiment and the 91st Philippine Scout Coast Artillery Regiment were billeted in these barracks. It was also briefly occupied by elements of the 4th Marine Regiment upon their arrival in Corregidor on December 1941. We were able to snap a few photos and then went on with the tour.  Battery Way was the first gun emplacement that I saw on the island. I was able to climb around on the guns and go into the ordnance storage facilities. An interesting bit of trivia that I learned while on the tour was that there used to be a railroad network on the island which was used for transport of all the ordnance to the different batteries.  Battery Hearn was the finest gun to see on the island for several reasons. First, it was the largest gun on the island. Also, when the Japanese captured the island from the American forces they took a photo of their troops standing around the gun to be used for propaganda.  Battery Grubbs and Battery Crockett were known as "disappearing guns" because they could disappear from sight after firing.  After seeing the major batteries in Corregidor, we headed to the part of the island known as Topside.  It is the highest geographic sector on the island where the terrain elevation above sea level ranges from about 400 feet and higher. Topside is said to be the nerve center of the island fortress. It is where you will find the ruins of the Mile-Long Barracks, Post Headquarters, Cine Corregidor, and a number of buildings previously used as quarters for bachelor officers as well as the senior officers of the garrison. All the major gun emplacements are also located around this high ground. The parade ground, a small golf course, the old Spanish flagpole, and the reconstructed Spanish lighthouse are similarly located at Topside. The more recently constructed buildings and structures that are now found at Topside are the Pacific War Memorial Dome, sculpture of the Eternal Flame of Freedom, and the museum.  By noon, we were all famished and we ate our lunch at the Corregidor Hotel and the food was actually really good, although it might have tasted that way since I was extremely hungry.  After lunch we drove up to see the site of a former Japanese Cemetery. The American forces created the cemetery when they recaptured the island from the Japanese in WWII. After 40 years of jungle growth, the exact location of the cemetery became unknown. In 1985 a photograph of an unknown American GI standing at the entrance of the cemetery was found in Oregon, and historians and archeologists were able to pinpoint the cemetery's location. With the permission of the Filipino Government, the remains were exhumed and returned to Japan in 1986. Today the site is a Japanese Memorial Garden. Also, a great 10-foot statue of a lady Buddha stands at one area representing fertility.  We also went up to see the Spanish Lighthouse. From here I was able to have a view of Corregidor Island, Manila Bay (sight of the famous Battle of Manila Bay fought between the US and Spanish naval forces), the South China Sea, Bataan Peninsula, and Cavite. The final stop on our tour was the Malinta Tunnel.  Construction of the tunnel took about 10 years.  The tunnel has been dug through solid rock and offered complete protection from artillery or air attack. Command communications and medical units were located there.  The tunnel was originally designed to house huge quantities of ammunition, food and supplies, and an underground hospital with a 1,000-bed capacity. The location of the tunnel beneath Malinta Hill made it ideal as a bomb-proof headquarters for the embattled Filipino and American defenders of Corregidor during World War II. During the siege of Corregidor, a number of shops and storage areas were added. The tunnel complex was described as damp and poorly ventilated and except for the hospital, it was not designed to quarter humans. Although it was safe inside, morale of the personnel was lower than elsewhere in Corregidor.  Our tour guide also told of the story about the Japanese soldiers caught inside the tunnel.  American troops barricaded the tunnel trapping the Japanese with no other option but to surrender.  The Japanese, valiant and fearless to the end, committed suicide by bombing themselves and destroying most of the laterals of the tunnel. Overall, although pretty exhausting, the trip to Corregidor Island was awesome. I have learned so much about history and empathized with the hardship that the Filipino and American troops went through during the war.  I would recommend the trip to any age group as it has something for everyone. The trolley makes it easy to travel for the young and old. If given the opportunity to come back, I'd like to try to stay overnight at the hotel and spend two days there so I can explore more of the island as there were tons more we were not able to explore and do.