"a caterpillar doesn't just grow into a butterfly. a caterpillar must undergo metamorphosis, and a cocoon is where a caterpillar risks it all: enters total chaos, undergoes total rebuilding, and is born to a new way of living. only in taking the risk of entering that inert cocoon can the caterpillar go from dormancy to potency, from ugliness to beauty."

Thursday, May 31, 2007

destination: tinago falls

"It's possible to believe in something
and still fail to live up to it."

-- Dr. Wilson of House, MD

manman, one of my ids99 buddies in manila, wanted to take his canon eos 400D (digital rebel xti) "out for a walk". since he wasn't able to count on the company of his usual gimmick pals here in iligan, he decided to "pester" me one monday morning (may 28, 2007) with a series of one-liner text messages: "val, naka-adto na ba ka sa tinago recently?" followed by "tinago ta ninyo karon."

05.29.07 tinago falls tinago refers to tinago falls, one of MY iligan city's majestic falls and, as such, a tourist destination. from where i live here in iligan city, tinago is quite far and getting an invitation to hie off to where it is in such short notice is not my idea of a morning/wake-up greeting.

i was interested to visit tinago but i wasn't keen on going that day. i made use of my negotiating skills (read: bratinella powers) and convinced manman that the trip be moved to tuesday -- a day after. so last tuesday, may 29, 2007, three of us ids99 peeps went -- manman, naomi, and i.

getting there
we met at the city proper. jollibee abalos, hello! then, we boarded a jeepney bound for brgy. buruun -- a 12-peso ride away. in brgy. buruun, we took a habal-habal (motorcycle) ride which cost us PhP20 each. the habal-habal took us up the mountain -- all the way up to tinago nature park. we could have hiked the entire distance from the foot of the mountain to where the nature park is. had we done so, however, we would have used up much of our chakra (haha, blame naruto!) -- energy, i mean -- and it would have taken us longer to get to our destination.

we wanted to get there fast and with less effort. thus, the fun motorcycle ride up the winding road...

tinago falls
one of the things iligan can really boast of is the abundance of water. on one side, it is bounded by mountains where cold springs and cascades of freshwater come from, and on the other side, it is bounded by seawater. the city has 23 waterfalls -- tinago falls is one of the better known ones among them.

waterfalls i have to admit that it sounds kinda ironic that, in my 24 years of existence, i -- an iliganon, by heart and by breeding (haha!) -- have only been to 5 (or 4?) of these 23 waterfalls. i need not be ashamed of this "tragic" truth though. i know of a greater tragedy and it is this: an iliganon afraid of going into the water, not knowing how to swim!!! hahaha. fortunately for me, i don't have this kind of problem -- thanks to the drowning episodes i went through when i was sillier and younger -- they surely made a braver kid out of me.

owkey, back to my tinago talk.

peek through tinago is so named because of its location and accessibility. it is hidden (thus, the name tinago) deep in a ravine and in order to see the cascading waters, one has to go a long, long way down first. with "long, long way down," this means that visitors have to be physically fit to make the energy-zapping trip to and back from the falls alive.

actually, the walk down to the falls isn't as difficult as it used to be. when my mama went there for a tree-planting project many years before, there were no defined steps and they had to cling to roots and branches of the trees growing in the area. there is a winding staircase leading to the falls now, which makes the trip easier and, yes, less dangerous. however, those with respiratory or cardiovascular problems are not advised to go. to see the hidden waterfalls, one has to take all 300 steps down the steep ravine -- not for the faint of heart and spirit. BUT the wonderful sight of tinago's cascading waters and blue lagoon is a lure worth pursuing and "toiling" for.

05.29.07 tinago nature park: going down the steps

we've only gone halfway down when my acrophobia got the better of me and my knees started shaking uncontrollably. i toyed with the thought of "pwede magpaligid na lang ko?" but, good thing, photo moments were there to distract me from minding my knees and my fear and all that queasy feeling. ehehehe! hooray to my most recently recognized "anti-acrophobia" medicine.

manman insisted that we use his camera only... but i knew that it would take time before he'll upload copies of the photos from his toy (waaaaaaaaaaah, i want a canon eos 400D / digital rebel xti, too!). so i insisted on playing with the point-and-shoot camera i brought along with me.

05.29.07 tinago falls

ain't tinago a marvelous sight? cool, clean and clear water, as freshwater should be. it's fun to swim to the foot of the falls and meet the waterdrops there. wait, what waterdrops? they're more like jets of water beating down on your head and body -- free natural massage with cool ouch factor.

a word to describe the place? paradise!


(1) from tinago, we were supposed to go to mimbalut falls that day, too. however, we started our day late... so no "falls-hopping" (ehehee) for us.

(2) pictures that appear on this post are point-and-shoot outputs.

(3) pictures of us a-frolicking and a-swimming in tinago's 55-foot deep lagoon will have to wait 'til manman makes the pictures from his camera available.

Monday, May 28, 2007

happy birthday, bloggy!

as of today, this baby is three years old! ahahaha... i'm damn so proud.

thank you readers, commenters, lurkers, and once-upon-a-time chance visitors who now keep coming back. thank you, too, virtual huggers!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

big tree

nope, not this tree the bus came to a stop. through the bus window, i saw this big old tree which really fascinated me. it looked like acacia but it also looked like mahogany. i'm not sure which of the two it really was, but it was standing tall, imposing, and attractive. i felt it would be good to climb it. i thought, "the tree's mine if i could reach the first big branch. i could claim it as my own."

i set out to climb the big old tree. this, despite the fact that my tree-climbing experiences had only been limited to climbing guava, cacao, and talisay trees that don't really grow so tall.

as i started my way up, he -- who must have watched me as i got off the bus and followed -- also started to climb the tree. to each other, we're friends yet we've remained strangers and we climbed in silence. he reached the branch -- my chosen branch -- ahead of me and offered his hand to help me up. the next thing i knew, i was already sitting on my branch and enjoying the sights before me to my heart's delight.

he was there beside me... but to me, it was just me, the spectacular scene that being up on the tree gave me, my branch, and my tree. his presence wasn't getting in the way (even though i felt bad that he beat me to my branch. grrrr). when i sighed -- tired from the climb -- he gave my back a very brief rub. at that moment, even though we're strangers, we're friends. up there on my tree, we shared in silence an atmosphere of comforting strangeness and awkward familiarity.

then the time came for me to go down. he must have sensed it. he made his way down the tree ahead of me. i didn't follow.

although i so wanted to find my way back to the ground, my acrophobia kicked in the moment i looked down and became fully aware of how far i've gone up just to reach my branch.

he was back on the ground, perhaps watching, waiting for my next move, although of this i couldn't be too sure. i was more concerned about my safety. there was no way i could find my way down on my own.

i allowed my voice to break the silence. i called out for help and one of my able-bodied uncles came running. (now don't ask me where my uncle came from -- this was a dream and we all know everything is possible in a dream.) by some twisted stroke of genius, i figured it was easier to jump off from the tree and i only needed someone to catch me. so i jumped off from my spot on the tree and was caught safely by someone who was family. after seeing to it that i was alright, my uncle left, went on his way.

soon, it was just me, him, and my tree again. friends yet strangers standing in silence under the canopy of my tree and surrounded by comforting strangeness and awkward familiarity. i felt happy.

i walked away from the tree and back to the bus. he followed and walked beside me.

as we walked back to the bus together, i thought of what the peculiar smile on his face was trying to say through the silence. i don't know if it was "i was willing to catch you, you could have asked me... but hey, i'm glad you're safe" or "i'm glad you asked somebody else." i realized i don't really know him well. to me, he's a stranger but i also know we're friends.

something in the air told me he claimed ownership of the tree before i did. i wasn't able to pursue this thought though...

...because just as we reached the bus, i woke up.


just a few questions from here on...

what does it mean when one dreams of a big old tree? of climbing a big old tree? of claiming it?

and the bus, does it have significance?

is this a dream worthy of an interpretation? or is this just one of those... uhmmm... inconsequential dreams which my subconscious playfully created for me?

oh well. "goodnight, dear void."

truth be told, i don't have the ability to climb a big old tree without the aid of ropes and ladders. even with ropes and ladders, i know i'd still find it difficult and daunting.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

another one of those posts

"No amount of worldly success could ever compensate
for a failure in the family."

the last three (3) entries were posted merely for the sake of posting something. this entry is like those previous entries. please bear with my yakkity-yakkity-yak.

:: society's measures of success: high-paying job, big house, expensive car and gizmos, smooth-running career -- these are the "conventional" measures of success which my friend and i would say "duh" to.

i like what she said in defense of the unconventional measures of success: "these unconventional successes are well worth my 'poverty' as the world would call it and well worth the pain i had to endure just because i fell in love with the stars and everything else essential but not easily seen." i find her statement pretty bold and noble. no wonder, we're friends.

:: here's for reggie! reggie who? fans of prison break would surely recognize him as secret service agent bill kim. i was able to watch seasons 1 and 2 of prison break again (a clear sign of addiction!) and i found bill kim so pro and so annoying that i ended up checking him out. as a result, i found out that the actor who plays the part, reggie lee, is not korean american like bill kim is in the series. reggie lee is a filipino american who can speak tagalog, english, and cantonese.

:: once, when my labmate and i were walking around the campus in diliman, a korean pair stopped us and asked, "do you know the way to the sexy station?" what a question to ask in broad daylight! hala, taymsa og sa dihang naskandalo jud mi sa pangutana -- ding, red light district thoughts. we gave them the benefit of the doubt though. so we had to beg their pardon before we could say something off. it turned out, their question was actually: "do you know the way to the taxi station?" ehehe...

:: my art mentor shared this:

What Money Can't Buy
by Daniel Olsson

Money Can Buy
A job, but not accomplishment.
A house, but not a home.
A pet, but not a friend.
Medicine, but not health.
Decorations, but not happiness.
A ring, but not love.
A book, but not a story.
An education, but not knowledge.
Glasses, but not sight.
Toys, but not fun.
Clothes, but not beauty.
A piano, but not a song.
Paper and pencil, but not words.
A bed, but not sleep.
Food, but not a meal.
A window, but not a view.

:: those who really value the concept of home and family know that flirting with wreckers, in whatever form they come, is a no-no. things that will most likely bring forth the erosion of good relations in the family are not worth it. no matter what one gains, for as long as he/she ends up with a wrecked family (or wrecked family relations) because of his/her actions, he/she ends up losing.

:: we may not always have much but we would always have enough because we have LOVE and FAMILY! and that is why we do great things! with much love, we can do great things.

:: from phd comics: "in academia, never say you have problems. it is a sign of weakness. call them challenges or issues but never problems." uhmmmm... makes sense. renaming problems "issues" or "challenges" will make you feel better and on top of the game. but then again... a problem, by any other name, is a problem.

:: no wonder my labmates wanted me to join them in their naruto craze! but i only got into the wagon just recently, thanks to my sister who borrowed the dvds from our cousin. naruto, the character, is sooooo annoying. i find him so annoying but i always end up rooting for him episode after episode. hahaaaay, the great irony. in this case, "the more you hate, the more you love" applies. my sister and i are planning to watch bleach and one piece next.

:: the most viewed photos in my flickr account:

673 views: yey, they love herbie!*

363 views: indulgence!

:: i managed to accumulate so many pictures in just a short period of time. this is what i realized when i finally got around to organizing my online photo albums in photobucket. i already uploaded close to 2000 photos and i still have to transfer the photo albums i have in friendster and those i hid in multiply and flickr. hala, so now i still have to labor for the fruits of my and my friends' labor (read: "posing and picture-taking").

*about the image: i merely added the texts that say "1960s" and "herbie" to the original herbie photo i found somewhere on the net. the image was used among with images of other 60s vehicles for our dorm's open house early last year.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

signs of the times

"Love is the ability and willingness to allow
those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves
without any insistence that they satisfy you."

--Wayne Dyer

every now and then, we find a special friend who never lets us down, who understands it all... no, stop. i mean, every now and then, we encounter signs that are just somewhat... -- for the lack of a better term -- off and, therefore, "interesting" and laughable.

here are two examples of such signs i saw with my own two eyes...

in sm city - cagayan de oro
december 2005

really, it's FREE???

hala, pasaway! add P10 for FREE drink. hihihi. who're they kidding? mwahahaha... talk about redefining the meaning of FREE!!!

in a hotel in pampanga
september 2006

the sign at the back of the door of the guys' room, ehehe

so, what was i doing inside that room? hmmm...

there're two of us gals in the group. we two were assigned to a different room but we had to go to the guys' room for a late-night brainstorming session.

i got in there (the guys' room) ahead of my other gal pal and after she arrived, one of the guys (there were four of them in our team) finally noticed this "interesting" sign... and we all had a good laugh over it.

we couldn't resist but take a picture!

that sign really piqued our interest. plus, it really caused amused laughter among us. for a moment, i had doubts about us being really housed in a hotel... but, yeah, we were. the sign's just soooo... -- what's the word -- kinky?

note: there are a lot more photos of signs like the two i shared here. i usually encounter them -- "interesting" signs -- during travel adventures, when my keen powers of observation are upped a notch or two higher. i still have to upload the rest of them to this album.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

hail may

"We could never have loved the earth so well
if we had had no childhood in it."

--George Eliot

"just like that, i'm up in the clouds..."

nice pun i have for a title, eh?

that's my way of saying i love the month of may -- eventhough it could never topple down december's position as my favorite month of the year. weeeeeeeee... it's may already!!!

what better way to start it than with a heartwarming and fun activity with the family?

kinhas time with the family:
this is definitely a happy dose!

so for those wondering what swake is, up there it is!

fresh swake is quite an exotic gastronomic delight. it looks yucky and repulsive to the uninitiated but, trust me, its edible parts are very tasty! it really gets me excited everytime i see one of them on my own. not only do i get the right to eat my own find (eheheh), discovering a swake under a sea rock or amidst tangled seaweeds makes me feel like i'm an accomplished manginhasay!

ok, i have to scurry. i just dropped by to post stuff like that.

there's a long way to go 'til the end of may. who knows what experiences and adventures i have up my sleeve to mark this month? hmmm...

'til my next blog entry!

about the first image: a late afternoon seascape photo taken on may 1, 2007 at rupagan, bacolod, lanao del norte during low-tide.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

trip lang

"The simplest questions are the most profound.
Where were you born? Where is your home? Where are you going?
What are you doing? Think about these once in a while and
watch your answers change."

--Richard Bach

the "me, mine" photo collection:
from diliman to corregidor to davao to samal
to lanao del norte to cagayan de oro to...

...because wherever i go, there i am.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

saturday high

"So listen, touch, and look around - in the air and on the ground. And if you watch all nature's things,
you might just see a fairy's wing."


i did it again! i did it again!

i went whitewater rafting again. yes, i've just had my second whitewater rafting adventure and it hasn't been a year since i had the first one. so how's that for some summer fun?

whitewater rafting. challenging rapids. cagayan de oro river. easy and hard paddling. happy adventure. wonderful time with friends! woohoo!! high five!!!

i'm tempted to just let the pictures do all the talking but...

last saturday, i got reunited with my p6 friends and with them, i got to navigate through cagayan de oro river's 14 whitewater rapids again. the last time i went whitewater rafting in cagayan de oro, i was with my ids99 gal pals, yoni and haniko. the fee for the adventure then was PhP1200 per head, now it's down to only PhP500. cool deal!

whitewater rafting adventure assembly area
divisoria, cagayan de oro

as early as 7 o'clock, our group was already in divisoria, cagayan de oro city. we -- randz, naoms, kuya eli, ma'am edith, mikmik, ma'am jinx and her twin sons, and i -- were all excited and quite ready for the day's great adventure!

04.28.07 looking ready and just waiting

04.28.07 signing the waiver as if it's a qualifying exam, haha! :-)

04.28.07 we're going, going, going...

from divisoria, our rafting outfitter, cagayan de oro whitewater rafting, inc., took us all the way up to brgy. mambuaya -- the adventure starting point. but first, we made a stopover in macahambus.

04.28.07 macahambus adventure park and us!

04.28.07 3 p6peeps in macahambus: naoms, val, and randz

mambuaya is quite far from cagayan de oro's city proper. but the trip going there is far from boring. as the jeepney goes further uphill and through the narrower country roads, the scenery that unfolds outside the ride is breathtaking.

whitewater rafting adventure starting point
mambuaya, cagayan de oro

when we arrived at our destination in mambuaya, the place was already bustling with activity. there were a lot of other people who decided to also experience whitewater rafting that day. good thing, there's room for everyone there. there was excitement all around and the sight of many other people did not diminish in any way the beauty of the place. there, i really felt that it was a wonderful sunny day -- definitely fit for an awesome adventure with friends!

what fun!!!

04.28.07 wish you were here!

after donning our safety vests and putting on our safety helmets, we were given a brief orientation on the exciting adventure that lay ahead. then, it was time to board the rafts and we soon started our way down the river and paddled through the rapids.

randz, naoms, kuya eli and i shared a raft with our guide, reynold -- if you've seen GMA7's kay susan tayo's feature on whitewater rafting in cagayan de oro earlier this month, you've seen this guy -- yes, he's had his tv exposure! ma'am edith, mikmik, ma'am jinx and the twins boarded another raft with their guide, jund.

despite the dangers of getting the camera wet, i brought the gadget on board our raft. there was no dry bag in sight so i placed it, along with my cellphone, inside an ordinary plastic bag and kept it in my safety vest's pouch. hehehe.

04.28.07 snapshots of us while navigating through calm waters

navigating 12.32 km of cagayan de oro river in a raft and conquering all 14 major rapids (and several minor ones) was exhilarating! from the first to the last whitewater, my friends and i enjoyed the adventure a lot -- as you can see in the pictures, all the good and happy feelings are written on our faces. our whitewater rafting experience was worth all the "mishaps"!

mishap #1
there were times that our guide permitted us to go overboard to happily swim in the river and to allow the relatively strong current to carry us downstream. of course, everytime we were given permission, overboard we went!

04.28.07 weehee!

there's this exciting part where the current directs the swimmer towards a wall of rock. randz gagged going through that part after a swimmer from behind him kicked him and the water pulled him downward -- he went underwater despite the safety vest he was wearing.

fortunately, he survived to tell his story. hehe.

mishap #2
kuya eli fell off the raft as we navigated through one of the rapids. i think he forgot to "lock" his feet. good thing, he was able to rejoin us without bruises and scratches. actually, it was a "haha" moment. as his body was thrown forward, he looked as if he wasn't going to fall all the way but he fell into the water, anyway. nyehehehe... kay nganong nagbinam-i?

i could still hear what naoms said oh-so-amusedly: "one down!"

mishap #3
while i was able to keep my camera dry, my cellphone got accidentally thrown into the water.

i went swimming in the river and survived the exciting wall-of-rock phase with both the camera and my cellphone secured inside the ordinary plastic bag i kept in my vest's front pouch. talk about being relentless and reckless! soon after we all got on board the raft again and felt the urge to take more pictures, i checked my gadgets -- minions, i call them -- and got so pleased that they're still dry after all. yehoo!!! so we took more pictures... posed for the camera... and in my excitement, my arm accidentally swept my cellphone away. the gadget fell where water freely seeped through our raft. yes, my minion went swimming, too! the consequence? both the front panel and the keypad got disengaged from the main frame, lcd panel's wet, battery's wet, internals're most likely wet -- definitely a very wet cellphone!

04.28.07 so what if my phone got wet? ;-P

mishap #4
at one point during the second time we were allowed to swim around, i had to struggle to keep water from going up my nose. i kicked the water hard and in the process, hit something else... hard. i soon had the idea what i hit with my kick when randz, who was swimming near me, shouted out in real pain, "aray! val---, imong nasipaan ang ako!! waaaaa... malumos ko dinhi sa kasakit!!!"

"ay, sorry gud. wala jud nako tuyo-a. hala ka, sorry. sorry jud."

not missing a beat, naoms said, "decide unsa'y buhaton, randz, scrambled or sunny-side up?"

i said, "taymsa. ngano diay? pila diay ang nadisgrasya? isa or duha? pwede man tingali scrambled ang isa tapos sunny-side up ang isa pa." hihihi...

randz told us to stop making everyone laugh. but he was actually the one who started laughing. and laughter is contagious, you know. besides, pain or no pain, it was a laugh trip!

04.28.07 hmmm... rafting models?

there were other "mishaps"-turned-funny moments. for instance, we got stalled in one of the major rapids because one of us forgot to paddle with the rest. instead of heeding the "forward" command given out by our guide, randz just kept shouting "woohoo" as our raft encountered the turbulent waters. result? the rapids got the better of us and our raft hit a rock -- hard!! all five of us in the raft were thrown forward and randz and kuya eli almost fell off. had their bodies left the raft that time, it would have been a second fall for kuya eli. hahaha!!!

most of the 14 rapids already have names: makabundol (so named because of all the rocks there and all the potential risks of bumping into them). washing machine (so named because the most fun manoeuvre in that part of the river is to make the raft go spinning). chris' drop (so named because a guy named chris fell there). pasyon sa dalit (just because. the guide did not explain why). kiss the wall (so named because the most likely mishap in this part of the river is hitting the wall). brave's way (so named because the other way is fit for the not so brave ones). bernie (so named because a guy named bernie lives nearby. in fact, we saw bernie sitting on the riverbank soon after we passed by!). paolo santos (so named because paolo santos fell there). surprise (so named because of the "surprising" nature of the rapids in that part of the river). amusing names.

04.28.07 our river adventure's final pitstop: kabula, cagayan de oro

after our rafting adventure, we -- mikmik and the twins, naoms, kuya eli, and i -- went wallclimbing. actually, the wallclimbing activity wasn't part of the plan. just the same. like our whitewater rafting experience, it sent our adrenaline rushing and we had fun, fun, fun!!

04.28.07 one challenge after the other: down the river then up the wall

noooooooooooooo, wallclimbing made my arms hurt!

i told naoms that next time she should remind me not to go wallclimbing after a 3-hour paddling/rafting adventure. it's too much for the arms.

a rafting adventure should be followed by another rafting adventure, not a wallclimbing session. hehe.


(1) account of my first whitewater rafting adventure in cagayan de oro is here.

(2) my phone's still working. however, i'm experiencing problems with the navigation key as a result of the gadget's unfortunate encounter with water... here's hoping i'll be able to fix it on my own.

(3) some of the photos that appear in this post are from kuya eli's camera.

(4) dili lagi ko laagan. samoka sab ninyo oi.

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