"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."

Monday, December 21, 2009

a small wish come true

".o0 (happy thoughts, happy thoughts. holidays are coming!
all in a row, all in a row --
11, 18, 25, 1 | wish kong makita si piolo :D)"

-- my tweet of the day for 8th of december 2009

on december 13, 2009, sunday, my tweet of the day was:
.o0 (i got my wish! i finally saw piolo in person, nakausap ko pa. if ang gwapo n'ya sa tv & print, super gwapo n'ya sa personal.)

proof? oooops! i was sooo starstruck -- i forgot about having my photo taken with him or even just taking a close-up photo of him. i got him to sign my copy of his decades album though. here, originally posted in my facebook account on 13th of december 2009:

signed album package
this is what we call christmas and birthday gift
thank you, kuya piolo!!!



Merry Xmas!
Happy Birthday!



Piolo: Val... na walang malay? :-)
Val: Hahaha, hindi. Syempre meron! :D

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

bicol trippix and through it all

a long weekend spent in the philippines' bicolandia

sharing 86 of the 1000+ pics (gasp!) taken while visiting caramoan, camarines sur and legazpi city in albay and the places in between and along the way with anthony and don and our new friends -- neil and rachel

places hit: naga city. sabang. guijalo. el centro, caramoan. paniman. lahos island. matukad island. balinan island. minalagos island. tabgon. lahuy island. cotivas island. sapitang lahi island. malilipot. legazpi city. daraga.

i missed the action in CWC but was able to catch up with the group in naga city (i told anthony and don that if they don't show up and meet me in naga for the caramoan-then-legazpi trip, i won't hesitate to have their names included in bicol's police blotter :D haha!)

why caramoan? it's the place of choice of survivor spain, survivor france, survivor israel, and survivor bulgaria -- yep, survivor the reality tv show

why legazpi city? to see mt. mayon in full glory and to try the zipline in lignon hill!

we have plans of going back to bicol for more of CWC, to see the butandings in donsol, sorsogon, and to explore parts of mayon while riding ATV's. hehe.

see you in my multiply for the rest of the photos and see you in the next trip(s) -- batanes days 2010 are coming near!

meanwhile, you gotta love experiencing,living, singing, hearing, and humming this...

You are forever in my life
You see me through the seasons
Cover me with Your hand
And lead me in Your righteousness

11.21.09 thank you, Lord for this big beautiful rainbow
picture was taken using my mobile phone while i was making my way out of batangas for manila | vantage point for this particular scene: the spacious vacant lot of the pamilihang bayan ng sto.tomas, batangas

And I look to You
And I wait on You

11.27.09 wow, rainbow!!! | sabang, camarines sur

I will sing to You, Lord
A hymn of love
For Your faithfulness to me

11.28.09 another rainbow sighting on a saturday afternoon | as seen from sapitang lahi island, caramoan, camarines sur

I'm carried in everlasting arms
You never let me go
Through it all

11.28.09 through it all! | the sky gifted us with this awesome sight of the sun rays as we raced for paniman from sapitang lahi island, caramoan, camarines sur

Monday, October 19, 2009

taal trek happiness!

"Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember,
and remember more than I have seen."
--Benjamin Disraeli

after i first set foot on tagaytay and got the feel of the place in 2002, there was never a year that i missed visiting the place. i've experienced the birth of many life-long bonds and heartwarming moments there -- intangible stuff which, aside from the uniquely tagaytay ambience, i look forward to in every visit.

i relish experiencing the beauty of tagaytay and the wonderful sights to see there and from there. from the numerous viewdecks (each one of them unique, i say) of tagaytay, one gets to see the taal lake and the islands in it -- one truly inspiring sight to behold, especially in the early mornings when the fogs let up and reveal the distant islands and during sunset when darkness slowly creeps and blends seemlessly with the mesmerizing scenery making it fade, but with the promise of being seen again along with the next rising of the sun.

with my yearly visits to tagaytay, those distant islands in the lake always caused me to wonder and to imagine a lot of great things. seeing them always reminded me of those times when i used to look into my sibika at kultura book in grade school and i'd be lost in those pages where pictures of the volcano in a lake are printed. for me, back in grade school, the sight was reachable and can be viewed only, at best, in full-colored postcards. needless to say, that changed and i got to see with my own eyes what i only used to see in pictures -- a lake and, in it, distant islands, beckoning.

taal lake as seen from the ridge

one of those distant islands in the lake and the most popular of them all -- by name, at least -- is the taal volcano, reputed to be the world's smallest active volcano. if that does not make taal volcano interesting enough, read what the travel guides say about it. it is believed to be a volcano within a lake within a volcano -- the ridges of tagaytay being remnants of a big, old crater of what used to be a big, big volcano in the biggest island (luzon) of this volcanic archipelago (the philippines) in this part of asia (southeast asia).

last october 11, 2009, which was a sunday -- and a sunshiny sunday to boot -- i laid my what-ifs and what's-in-that-island-thoughts to rest. i set foot on taal volcano and walked all the way to where i could get a full view of the crater, which is hidden when viewed from tagaytay.

setting foot on taal volcano | following the path to see the crater

it was a 4-kilometer uphill walk under the direct heat of the mighty sun with the awesome company of equally adventurous and travel-loving people, most of whom i first met and made friends with in el nido, palawan. for us, a trek is a trek is a trek is a trek...

taal trek buddies!

while most other tourists would opt to rent horses to reach the taal volcano viewpoint, we went for the old school alternative. we spared the horses and exercised our legs and lungs instead.

part of the 4-km regular path going to the crater of the taal volcano

we chose to walk the 4-kilometer regular path up and the 4-kilometer regular path down -- encountering earthworms, mountain snails, crows, malnourished papaya plants, one dead baby cobra, and lots of horse manure along the way. the volcano is gently sloping so the trek isn't really difficult. in fact, our tour coordinator walked with us on her wedge sandals. yes, wedge sandals! way to go.

the taal volcano crater

the sight of the crater is breathtaking. what's interesting about it? it has an island. imagine this: an island (vulcan point) within a crater (taal crater) within an active volcano (taal volcano) within a lake (taal lake) within an old volcano.

vulcan point in taal crater

apart from the sulfuric-smelling steam steadily coming out from some of the rocks we passed by, there's not much to see along the way that i haven't seen in other places. maybe, it's because it's the regular path, after all. i believe taal's secret trail (yes, there is a so-called secret trail which is not really so secret but so named because only a few people opt to take that less popular but more challenging path) would be something else and would reveal a lot of things that are really uniquely taal. there's always a next time, right?

two-hulled sailboats | taal lake yacht club

oh, i love, love, love the boat ride and the sight of colorful catamarans (two-hulled sailboats) in talisay's taal lake yacht club. the lake looked so big and blue and yet so calm; crossing it on our bright yellow boats felt so perfect.

crossing the taal lake on board the yellow boats from the yacht club in talisay

when our boatman lost control of our boat, dalag, and we hit the rear of pawikan (the other boat) even before we could reach taal volcano, i had the time of my life. it was one of those could-have-been very dangerous moments that i ended up enjoying because i had so much faith that the boats will hold together and the big, deep lake will not dare eat us up.

taal trek happiness!

(1) may tumalo sa tour coordinator namin... inakyat ang taal na naka-fishnet stockings and high heels! winner!
(2) na-dehydrate ako that day kasi nakalimutan kong uminom ng tubig during the uphill hike. ano ba? haha
(3) mabibilis kami maglakad pero tumagal lang kami sa trek path kasi picture kami ng picture.
(4) ok, ok, enough of this... next trip!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

forever october

hey, i miss you.

i can't tell you, of course. i gave you my word that i won't bother you anymore. here, in my little space, i dare write because i know you no longer come here.

when this month rolled in, my thoughts redirected back to you. you've become the character in my prevalent thoughts -- i can't help but think that, maybe, i'm starting to go crazy. wow. what is it with you that refuses to completely leave me? why can't my mind be totally free from remembering you? why do i have to miss you still?

it's been -- what? -- since the last time i saw you? four years? yet it now again feels like it was only last week when we spent time together for the first and last time.

for the first and last time. will there never be another? come to think of it. we never had real time together except for that afternoon we had on your 25th birthday. everything else we shared only existed in our minds, in virtual compartments with elements that neither you nor i could touch. despite that, i could say that our times together -- whether real or imagined -- brought my heart so much joy. i began to believe things were gonna go uphill from there. i ended up having to accept that i was wrong. so wrong.

i was badly hurt when you told me you already left. i didn't think you were leaving -- i assumed you'd stay. worse, i had to find out the hard way. i wasn't ready for pain when my heart started breaking. it made me sick but i went on with my life. in mind, body, and spirit, i was shaken but there was no other option but to move on. so, i did -- at first, with feeble steps. then, in big leaps.

i'm sorry if i couldn't accommodate your invitation for that adventure which, in my heart of hearts, i also wanted. i wasn't playing hard to get. i wasn't deliberately trying to avoid seeing you again. it's just that you extended the invitation rather late. i also have my own adventure plans and although i would consider re-charting them (or dropping them, for that matter) so i could spend time with you again -- even for just a little while, that time when you asked was that one time when i could not change paths. i wanted to see you then like i've been wanting to see you all this time. but. but. but... i did not feel that you really wanted to see me. you merely wanted an adventure partner but not really me.

you've allowed more than four years to pass. gone where the buzzes that i used to get, gone were the times when you initiated our conversations, and the butterflies in my stomach have all fallen asleep.

do i still dare to hope? right now, i wish i matter to you. i wish you care. i wish you would seek me to see me and make the butterflies fly again. i miss the way you made me feel.

it was also october when you first sought me and deliberately made your path cross mine. it was nine years ago. it's already so many years ago.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

puerto princesa and el nido, palawan adventure

last august 27-31, 2009, i was in palawan for a 5-day fun, fun, fun adventure in puerto princesa and el nido.

puerto princesa is about an hour (by plane) from manila. el nido is 7 hours away (by van) from puerto princesa.

glimpses of puerto princesa and el nido

puerto princesa and el nido adventure

27th of august 2009
thursday in puerto princesa
first day of a five-day adventure in palawan

from puerto princesa airport to sabang to the subterranean national river park...

una muna, puerto princesa!

into the big, dark cave -- to experience the subterranean river national park adventure -- and out again

the puerto princesa subterranean national river park is a UNESCO world
heritage site. the underground river tour requires tolerance for the smell of bat dung, ounces of imagination, and respect for nature's ways.

puerto princesa subterranean national river park

28th of august 2009
thank God it's friday in el nido
second day of a five-day adventure in palawan

day 2 in palawan: island hopping adventure day 1 in el nido

starts and stops: marina garden beach resort. small lagoon. big lagoon. island
where we had lunch (what's the name of that island?). island and snorkeling spot where a strong gust of wind sent us back to marina garden beach resort (i missed getting the name of that snorkeling spot in el nido, too).

el nido friday adventure

after our island hopping adventure, we walked around el nido town to get glimpses of the local life in this neat place.

walking around el nido

29th of august 2009
cloudy saturday in el nido
third day of a five-day adventure in palawan
day 3 in palawan: island hopping adventure day 2 in el nido

one, two, el nido!


starts and stops: marina garden beach resort. snake island. cudugnon island and cudugnon cave. cathedral cave. lagen island (we merely passed by). our coconut island.


coco el nido!

in this album:
~ how to do jumpshots and be not successful (laughtrip!)
~ how to compensate for unsuccessful jumpshots
~ how to optimize the usefulness of a resilient coconut tree
~ how to have fun with the tripod and the remote control: "thank you, tripod and remote control" shots


after our 2nd day of island hopping adventure in el nido, we explored el nido town again to get to know more about the place.

30th of august 2009
sunday in el nido
fourth day of a five-day adventure in palawan

day 4 in palawan: island hopping adventure day 3 in el nido

starts and stops: marina garden beach resort. miniloc island. snorkeling cove
(i forgot the name, tsk). matinloc island. helicopter island. 7 commandos.

woohoo, el nido!

helicopter island fun

why helicopter? from afar, the island looks like a helicopter!

after our 3rd day of island hopping adventure in el nido, we explored el nido town again -- we went to marber's resto along brgy. masagana's
beachfront to celebrate our last night in el nido.

our last night out in el nido

31st of august 2009
holiday monday in puerto princesa
fifth day of a five-day adventure in palawan

day 5 in palawan: back to puerto princesa after 3 days of el nido adventure

we moved out of el nido so early in the morning -- a little past after 2am
-- and braved the dark, bumpy, long stretch that led us back to puerto princesa.

we had some tire trouble shortly after we started our dawntime trip. we stopped over for breakfast at tawnsayt.

we were finally back in puerto princesa at around 9am and we had enough time to experience and see more of puerto princesa: the public market, ka lui, iwahig prison and penal farm, and the crocodile farm and nature park.

memories of a holiday monday spent in puerto princesa

personally recommended musts when in puerto princesa: (1) experience dining in ka lui and (2) visit iwahig!

Monday, September 28, 2009

reminiscing yesterday

"we will go from strength to strength
until we see you face to face"

i never really fully understood just how much i and my companions have been saved from the waters unleashed by typhoon ondoy until i saw videos and photos of how high and strong the floodwaters were in a lot of affected areas.

yesterday, information about the typhoon, road conditions, and floods got to us via text messages, calls, and the reports and updates blaring from the radio. before all those, we were just trying to gauge the extent of ondoy's "signal no.1" with our eyes -- sky condition, falling rain, tarp and living plants' reaction to the winds -- as we entered the south luzon expressway (SLEX) from alabang shortly after 1pm. everything seemed according to the usual "signal no. 1" except for the alarming, more-than-the-usual, flood-unleasher heavy downpour we witnessed in alabang.

our driver had the good sense to avoid the southwoods portion of SLEX and diverted our route to one of the exit roads. as a result, we found ourselves caught in slow-moving traffic at that exit point. despite getting us stuck in that traffic because of that turn, the driver made a good call there. with whatever little i could see through the island of trees that separated our exit road from SLEX, i saw the build-up of heavy traffic on the expressway shortly after that and it was worse than the traffic that we were stuck in. then, too, one of the managers sent an alert message about SLEX-southwoods being already flooded and that in canlubang there's already a 5-foot deep flood. we knew our driver was enlightened to choose the safer track. just how much safer? i was only able to fully understand more than 24 hours later when i saw on video how the SLEX-southwoods portion resembled a wide river with all that huge volume of murky water flowing from who-knows-where. whoa! i didn't know and i found it hard to believe that SLEX could really look like that!

despite avoiding SLEX and taking the unusual route, we were not totally spared from encountering the floodwaters unleashed by typhoon ondoy. we passed through roads that were also slightly flooded. as mentioned in my previous post, navigating the water-filled roads on a van was akin to a combined jungle log jam and rio grande rapids experience minus the amusement park brand of fun, fun, fun all the way. we were clearly aware that the sprays that we saw through the closed windows as our van wheeled through the wet roads were from treacherous floodwater. despite that, we managed to somehow enjoy and not be panicky through the "adventure".

river or road? yup, we're still on the road!

we saw, too, the swollen rivers and their raging torrents threatening in vain to breach the bridges. i felt comforted to see that the bridges we passed by were built high away enough from the river level. if those were not, i dread to think about the destructive possibilities.

if there was something beautiful i saw during the time that we were finding our way back to batangas via the town roads of laguna, it was the sight of rain kissing the rice fields. yes, you read that right: rain kissing the rice fields! it's as if a gentle wind brought rain to slowly creep over the fields and to caress the top of the rice plants -- a sea of beautiful natural greens, slightly bowing with grains, ready for harvest slowly touched by rain. it was an awesome sight! i just hope that those rice fields did not end up being ravaged by heavier rain.

we got a bit lost when we got to silangan. we made a wrong turn somewhere and got on another slightly flooded road that seemed to lead us to nowhere familiar. at that point, we had to stop and turn back so we could get back to SLEX and then to the road that we're 100% sure will lead us to batangas. we were thankful this man was out and he helped us find the right direction:

thank you, kuya!

it was around 4pm when we reached the YT (yazaki-torres) portion of the highway connecting calamba and sto. tomas, batangas. we got caught in another close-to-non-moving traffic there. it was already past 6pm when we finally saw our way out of the gridlock. whew! to keep our minds from being idle, we listened to the radio news feeds. in the background, we also had praise songs playing.

massive flooding in metro manila and surrounding provinces. too much water. too little help coming. people on their rooftops, hungry and cold, waiting for rescue. rescue couldn't be mounted to reach people needing evacuation. lack of rubber boats, a lot in the way. stranded and flooded vehicles in major thoroughfares. too much rain, lack of visibility hinder helicopters from being flown. difficult to get first-hand info and scoop -- media men couldn't get to the affected areas unless they're already there and victims of the flood themselves. 3 kids escaped flood only to be bitten by snakes which were disturbed by the floods. barrage of frantic pleas for help here and there. nighttime is falling, ondoy is still dumping rains.

it was around this time -- when we were hearing all these unhappy bits -- when we got additional report that the jollibee-sto. tomas area was flooded, too. now, that's just a block away from where our apartment is. i decided not to accept the probability of our very area, our unit, being flooded, too. true enough, when we got home at around 8pm, my housemate and i found our apartment and the immediate surrounding area just as we left it -- no floodwater. wow! thank You, Lord. and thank You for the rice fields!

27th of september 2009

update on 09.28.09: the public market of sto. tomas, which is of higher elevation and also just a block away from our apartment, was also flooded with waist-deep water last saturday (september 26, 2009). being aware of that now, i'm totally amazed that no floodwater got to us.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

signal no. 1

"you have turned my whole life around
thank you, thank you."

i had an amazing day today. i learned a lot of good stuff in just a span of a few hours. it's been awhile since i last had that kind of overwhelmingly pleasant and bountiful learning experience and i am very, very thankful. i'm talking about stuff that have to do with human relationships, basic life principles, and financial prosperity.

then, too, today is also amazing because of my first hand experience of this supposedly signal no.1 typhoon in metro manila and nearby areas -- a typhoon named ondoy (international code: ketsana) -- which, despite not being a super typhoon, poured so much water and caused massive flooding.

road travel from alabang to where i live in batangas would normally take 45 minutes to an hour via the south luzon expressway (SLEX). today, however, it took us 6 hours to reach batangas. some parts of SLEX had waist-deep floodwater and deemed not safe anymore. we had to resort to the roads less traveled -- most of which were slightly flooded, too. navigating those water-filled roads on a van was akin to a combined jungle log jam and rio grande rapids experience.

because of our unusual travel route, i personally saw for myself some of the swollen and raging rivers and flooded parts of the laguna and batangas (laguna border) areas. they're disturbing sights.

based on radio reports, with ondoy, metro manila experienced flooding it has not experienced in a long while -- 20 years? in some areas, people had to climb all the way to their roofs just to get away from the rising, raging floodwaters which make rescue plans and attempts very daunting.

my newswriter friends will have to pardon me for saying this but, this time, the news bureaus' articles that i've read so far regarding typhoon ondoy are not telling it like it really is. the online pictures/videos, the minute-after-minute, area-after-area radio feeds, and my friends' updates are.

earlier today, as floodwater crept and rose, even the mass media people and rescuers couldn't get to those affected places -- too much water, too much rain, wind too strong/visibility too bad to fly helicopters. the available videos, photos and news bits are from people who are already in the affected areas.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

once upon a time: a photoblog

"each breath i take is by your grace"

i was praying the graceful moving creatures would wait for me to finish my ice cream but -- nooooooooooooooo -- they have a world of their own.

they've come closer to the edge

and, just like that, they changed formation...
...before going off to another part of the lagoon to entertain (and, perhaps, to be entertained?) by a korean family enjoying a boatride and they didn't come back -- oh well, just when i've already finished my ice cream. i had to wait... wait... wait.

i finally had the opportunity with these two...

pretentious creatures
here they look like they had nothing to do with each other... but just a few moments after this, the brown one got on top of the white one. i wasn't able to capture that brief action with my camera -- i had to dig for backup battery. hmmm.

aha! flapping after some triumph

la mesa ecopark photowalk with D60Krew
09.21.09 holiday monday

Sunday, July 19, 2009

so much for being smart

to cut what-could-be-a long story short, i lost my mobile phone, k770i steward (which i fondly refer (referred?) to as ube) earlier today.

ube and a fellow k770i

along with ube, i also lost a memory card with 1GB capacity and my smart prepaid SIM -- 09xxxxx1021.

the lost items were not forcibly taken away from me (thank you, Lord) and i most likely lost them when i let my guard down upon stepping off the taxi in front of the manila ocean park. either the taxi driver or whoever got into the taxi after me gained custody of the phone, which i think i unintentionally let go of when i was gathering my trusty backpack and umbrella. i wasn't able to take note of the taxi number or the plate number so boohoo...

i've asked two of my friends to try and establish contact with my SIM. until late this afternoon, our attempts were in vain -- we only got "out of coverage area or unattended" and the constant ringing with no one picking up. i've requested my friends to continue trying. hopefully, something good comes out of that. if not, fine -- i'll try to survive without a phone (haha!)

i'll update this note and send out emails if ever i get the phone and SIM back. until then, please do not entertain any communication from the 1021 mobile number unless it has something to do with returning the phone.

maybe now i can switch back to globe.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

quick note: prior to having braces

me: doc, i'm just wondering because i counted my teeth and i only have 28 of them. adult dentition is at 32. i looked at my scan and there seems to be no teeth hiding in my gums. when will i have my wisdom?

the ortho took a look at my scan and smiled. then, he non-chalantly said, "you don't have any."

me: ha?

ortho: there are people who don't have any and isa ka sa kanila.

me: ha? pwede pala 'yun?! di ako magkakaroon ng wisdom tooth? sure?

ortho: (looking at the scan) wala talaga. the scan is clean. swerte ka nga eh. maraming tao nag-s-suffer dahil sa wisdom tooth.

fine. it took 26 years for me to learn that there are people who don't develop any wisdom tooth at all. i found that amazing. i happen to be one of them. doubly amazing.

--originally posted on june 15, 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009

farm town talk

the first time a friend told me to try farm town in facebook around a month ago, i politely declined. i wasn't interested. however, things that are meant to happen do happen. on june 5, 2009, i opened one of the piled up farm town invitations in my otherwise forgotten and unchecked facebook list. after that, there was no turning back. it took just a few clicks and i was won over by the farm town world.

i am an avid farm town fan. buddies would refute that and insist that i am a farm town addict. haha! i confess. i do not deny. farm town is addicting!

oh, yes, i still have to talk about farm town. what is farm town?

it is a game. it is relaxing. it is fun. there is no violence in it. it promotes cooperation, creativity, and industry. it involves strategy and wise use of resources. it instills in its players the discipline of being diligent and following through when starting things. it is a very neat game that develops in its players a sense of community. it also brings to life farming experience and appreciation of natural greens. play it!

my farm town-related tweets so far:
jr3 is delighted with her growing farm in farm town. gi-career! she experienced begging for jobs at the marketplace and from her friends. swell!
7:04 AM Jun 8th from web

jr3 is thinking, "adik na ba ako?"
5:46 PM Jun 9th from web

tweet of the day: "if it's not about farm town, please don't bother me in FB." see you in farm town. addiction na ito.
6:58 AM Jun 10th from web

jr3 is singing, "adik sa 'yo awit sa akin nilang sawa na sa 'king mga kwentong marathon tungkol sa 'yo at sa ligayang iyong hatid..." ang tindi!
8:52 AM Jun 10th from web

jr3 wants her FBfriends to have their own farms in farmtown. pag todo na ang FT topak nito baka di na kayo bati at mawala kayo sa friends list :P
7:53 PM Jun 10th from mobile web

jr3 is officially busog. tara, let's share a big bang theory marathon. :-) major farm town harvest tomorrow.
7:20 AM Jun 11th from web

jr3 is an avid farm town fan. you're not IN if you don't have a farm. :-P it's not yet too late to have one but soon it will be. :-)
7:07 AM Jun 13th from web

jr3 got hungry after plowing and planting. it's already 10:42 pm and she decides to cook and eat again. hala!
7:42 AM Jun 16th from web

tweet of the day: give me 7 days and i'll buy that farm house in 3 days. haha, sandbag! i only need 300K and i know i'll earn it :P
Jun 19th from web

pumpkin. naks! hihi. (",)
Jun 20th from web

my farm as of june 20, 2009 19:00

Thursday, May 21, 2009

a gift named prayer

in times of vulnerability, seek Him.

may you always find abundance and protection in His grace.

may you find the audience of His earth angels
in times when you need attention.

may your troubles tremble in His presence
when you are in no shape to fight back.

may He do your battles for you when you call
and even when you don't.

when you are down and reduced to crying,
may He pick you up and give you a comforting pat.

in times when you're feeling you're about to hit rock bottom,
may sad memories loosen their clout and give you up
so the happy ones He already laid on your path will redeem you.
there is no hitting rock bottom for people who fully understand what happiness is.

in times of shaking, may you be unshakable.
keep the faith. He has your riches.

may you always honor that He planted the best in you.
mediocrity is not His mark, excellence is.

may you find yourself always in the crowd of champions.
may you be inspired unceasingly.

in everything you do, may excellence be your standard
not for anything else but for His glory.

may you make His will your will --
it's never meant to be the other way around
or any other way, for that matter.

may the biggest and grandest room in your heart be for Him,
put Him first and He will honor you.

when He honors,
there are no hell days nor boring days.
there is prosperity and a life lived effortlessly.

may He always honor you.

may His favors always overtake you
so you will never ever find yourself in want.

may you always be tuned,
let Him work on every aspect of your life.

allow Him His ways in you and He will fill your cup.

may you grow in strength each day
and may you live immensely blessed 'til the end of your days.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

DISC Me: High D and High C Personality

"When you stop growing, you start aging."

In my quest to better understand myself and to keep growing as a person, I dig opportunities that allow me to assess my personality better. One of these opportunities is the DISC.

DISC is a four quadrant behavioral model based on the work of William Moulton Marston. It explores people's behavioral style based on personality and situations. DISC stands for

D (Dominance)
I (Influence)
S (Steadiness)
C (Conscientiousness)

When I first took the test for DISC mapping last year as part of our company's strategic planning workshop, I ended up being categorized under "I". Our Chief Technology Officer, who happens to be a "High C" person and who also happens to be one of those people that I report to, questioned this result and told me that I was definitely not an "I". I agreed with him. Even I was wondering why I got "I"!

I'm a High D and High C kind of person. This is confirmed by the test results of the DISC mapping exercise we had today.

Just so you know, these are what define the D. I. S. C. personalities:

Dominance: relating to control, power, and assertiveness. direct and decisive. independent. results driven. strong-willed people who enjoy challenges. problem solver. demanding. forceful. egocentric. driving. determined. ambitious. aggressive. pioneering. high ego strength. risk taker. self starter. bottom-line organizer. challenges the status quo. innovative. weaknesses: tendency to overstep authority, argumentative attitude, dislikes routine, attempts too much at once. fears being taken advantage of. motivated by: new challenges, power and authority to take risks and make decisions, freedom from routine and mundane tasks, and changing environments in which to work and play. ideal environment: innovative focus on future, non-routine challenging tasks and activities, projects that produce tangible results, freedom from controls and supervision.

Influence: relating to social situations and communication. outgoing and optimistic. enthusiastic. trusting. persuasive. talkative. impulsive. emotional. convincing. magnetic. political. warm. demonstrative. great encourager. motivator. negotiates conflicts. peacemaker. weaknesses: concerned with popularity than tangible results, inattentive to detail, tendency to overuse gestures and facial expressions, and tendency to listen only when it is convenient. fears rejection. motivated by flattery, praise, popularity, and acceptance. ideal environment: practical procedures, few conflicts and arguments, forum to express ideas, group activities in professional and social environments.

Steadiness: elating to patience, persistence, and thoughtfulness. favors stability and status quo. team player. supportive. cooperative. helpful. calm. relaxed. patient. possessive. predictable. deliberate. stable. consistent. tends to be unemotional and poker-faced good listener. avoids change and conflict. reliable. dependable. empathetic. weaknesses: resists change, takes a long time to adjust to change, sensitive to criticism, tendency to have difficulty in establishing priorities. fears losing security. motivated by recognition for loyalty and dependability, safety and security. ideal environment: practical procedures and systems, stability and predictability, tasks that can be completed at one time, few conflicts and arguments, and a team atmosphere.

Conscientiousness: relating to structure and organization. cautious. focused on details and quality. careful. exacting. neat. systematic. diplomatic. accurate. analytical. fact-finder. precise. high standards. anchor of reality. even-tempered. thorough. defines situations. weaknesses: needs clear-cut boundaries for actions/relationships, bound by procedures and methods, gets bogged down in details, prefers not to verbalize feelings. fears criticism. motivated by standards of high quality, limited social interaction, detailed tasks, logical organization of information. ideal environment: tasks and projects that can be followed through to completion, specialized or technical tasks, practical work procedures and routines, few conflicts and arguments, instructions and reassurance that they are doing what is expected of them.


Thursday, May 07, 2009

love letter

because i have yet to acquire the patience to clean up somebody else's mess and i am very territorial..

i left that on my desk. i hope that come tomorrow morning my desk is just the way i left it.

p.s. i want patience, now na! hahahaha.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

deflated pride, yey!

last saturday, 2nd of may 2009, i blew my pride into a balloon and i managed to make my balloon so big -- i was afraid it would end up exploding in my face but it didn't and i was kinda disappointed. a huge part of me was actually relieved because it meant that i could take home the balloon with me. yey!

in a way i was proud of my "pride". i was able to effectively blow air into my balloon (which is why it grew so big, big, big) which means (1) i have healthy enough lungs, (2) i am good at blowing, and (3) i am good in keeping the air inside it.

one thing i realized during the duration of the exercise though was this: i would have saved myself the effort of puffing and puffing and from feeling the pain caused by the resisting balloon material on my fingers if i'd just simply given up on my pride and let the air out -- let things be, so to speak.

anyway, i brought home the balloon. i placed my "pride" on a strategic spot relative to where i sleep, so i could have a glimpse of it just before i close my eyes at night and see it as soon as i wake up in the mornings.

yesterday, 3rd of may 2009, i didn't notice a change in the size of the balloon. today, 4th of may, i woke up early and saw that the balloon has finally slightly deflated. tonight, just as i'm about to sleep, i'm glad to know that the balloon has already shrunk to the size of my palm. i'd like to think the same thing has happened to my pride since saturday.

deflate pride, deflate. i don't want you to be blocking any access to my blessings.

p.s. i'm thinking of inflating that balloon again -- just so i could have a concrete reminder that i should always root for curbing the manifestations of my "high" pride.

Friday, May 01, 2009

destination: mt. pinatubo

19th of april 2009 | sunday
mount pinatubo
tarlac | zambales philippines

through water, through land...and dust!

breathtaking sight of the crater lake


early morning meet-up in mcdo quezon ave. early morning arrival in capas, tarlac. 1.25-hour 4x4 ride. 45-min trek which we accomplished in about 30 minutes. awesome sight of the crater lake.

complete set of photos here: http://kulitjr3.multiply.com/photos/album/471/destination_mt._pinatubo

destination: sagada and the few hundred glimpses of it

april 9 to 11, 2009
another wow trip | this time, up north!

places hit: sabangan, bontoc, banga-an rice terraces, bomod-ok falls, lemon pie house, kiltepan viewpoint, sugong, lumiang to sumaguing cave connection, lake danum, yoghurt house, calvary hills, echo valley

super memorable adventures: 24-km hike to and fro bomod-ok falls (through banga-an rice terraces). topload riding (wet and rained on, as if the cold,cold temperature in sagada wasn't enough). 6.5 hours of death-defying spelunking. experiencing both sunrise and sunset of the same day. bonfire at the lake.


p.s. panis ang spelunking sa sagada kung sa sumaguing cave ka lang... go for the lumiang to sumaguing cave connection adventure and prove your worth. it's not for the faint-hearted. as a fellow adventurer in sagada puts it: sumaguing is for photo op. lumiang is for real spelunking ;-) i agree!

imagine scaling slimy huge, huge rocks without head gear, harness, carabines, and grips. safety officers would definitely give an "unsafe" callout. haha!

simply put, the difference between falling (and meeting a likely accident) and staying safe during the cave connection adventure is defined by this combo: trusting makeshift footholds will hold, reflexes, guide's know-how, following instructions, God's grace


photo sets related to this trip are posted here (click on the links):

i checked the map which i bought prior leaving sagada and i realized that there are still a lot of places there which i have yet to experience. hehe, i have reasons to go back!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

how i ended up in coron, palawan

"if you want it, decide on it"

coron, palawan was not in my list of dream destinations. i added it to the list during the last quarter of 2008 -- even bumped it up all the way to the priority part of the list -- after my friend, sealdi, posted photos of her coron trip in her multiply album. i saw through the pictures that she enjoyed the experience. because of those pictures, i got to think this way: "coron is something that i have to see for myself even if it means i have to 'go solo on a group tour' like sealdi did".

it was a few days after my birthday when travel factor posted their 2009 first quarter schedule. i checked the lineup of tours, saw three coron trips for march, and decided there and then that, as a birthday gift to myself, i will sign up for one of those march 2009 coron trips.

so it happened that during the last days of 2009, i forged my decision for my first ever palawan trip. i purchased my manila-busuanga-manila roundtrip ticket online and immediately forwarded my registration form to travel factor. where i was concerned, it was "all systems go" for my coron adventure. take note, this was as early as december 2008.

"best laid plans..."

when i made my decision, i was blind to my first quarter work schedule. i was aware though that, at some point, there'd be things coming up that could possibly endanger my "best laid plans" for march. one of the first things i did when i got back to work after my 2-week december leave was to tell my immediate superior and our HR that i'll be taking another leave in march. i was so looking forward to the trip!

then, jeopardy came. one of our company's project partners pushed for an activity schedule that fell within the very dates that i've already blocked off for coron! when i saw the communication, i was no different from chicken little who felt that the sky was falling down on him. inwardly, i panicked. being one of the activity's focal persons, i had more than enough reason to be troubled. my mind was ringing with this: "if the higher ups would agree to the proposal, then for sure i'd never be allowed to go!"

"...the universe conspires"

as they say, "every cloud has a silver lining." i saw my silver lining days after when, through a conference call, our chief technology officer told our project partners that we could not push through according to their proposed schedule just yet. there were technical stuff both sides had to iron out first; bear in mind that the decision to postpone the activity was not because of me. but, haha, it was what i wanted! i could not contain my feeling of relief, i let out a gleeful smile while the concall was ongoing. i was no different from a child who has just been given lotsa candies!

jeopardy number two came, too. on march 9, 2009, just about three hours after i deposited my tour fee for coron, i received a forwarded text message from my younger sister. it said: "Te gic: la n jud si lolo at 3:20." i'm normally able to process a lot of information in one go but that line -- though limited in letters and words but full of clarity as a message -- really clouded my thoughts.

i knew in my heart that i had to fly back to mindanao for my lolo's wake and funeral but if i had to do it that very week, i would have ended up with a nervous breakdown. i had work piled up to my neck and i couldn't just go off because i was set to put in ten days' worth of effort that week in lieu of the days that i'll be absent due to the coron trip.

i was saved from the dilemma of having to take an emergency leave by family demographics. three of my lolo's children -- two aunties and one uncle -- had to fly in from US and canada to attend the funeral; for this reason, the interment couldn't be scheduled until after the 17th of march, the day of my aunties' and uncle's return to the country. the 17th of march also happened to be the last day of my "march 14 to march 17" coron trip with travel factor.

someone up there really didn't want me to miss anything!!! someone crafted things for me so i can have my cake and eat it, too! to do my part, i purchased another roundtrip ticket (manila-cagayan de oro-manila) and filed another leave, an extension -- from march 17 to march 21 for lolo's wake and funeral. so it happened that it was again all clear for my coron adventure!

if the universe conspires for you, you don't just sit back... you also have to do your part.

the night before my flight to busuanga, i didn't sleep. i spent most of the night completing reports which i knew some people at work might look for during the week that i'd be away. after sending the reports out, i packed my stuff for coron, took a bath, fixed myself, checked where my money and tickets were, and called out to my housemate that i was going. i left batangas at around 6am in a bus bound for manila. i had a 9am flight to catch at the ninoy aquino international airport terminal 3.

at this point, i'll have to direct you to my multiply albums. the photos i posted there can do all the talking for me... at least until i find the time to write about the awesome experience.

i forgot to say that this trip was actually my first travel adventure with my new travel buddy, steward, the nikon d60 dslr.

go here:
from busuanga airport to kayangan lake
banana island, palawan
bulog island, palawan
coron sunrise and waves
finding africa in palawan
north cay, coral garden, and wreck site
sunrise at mt. tapiyas and the flight from busuanga to manila
coron, palawan tour groupies
coron, palawan memories... reloaded!

i'm sharing the photos with the hope that you would be inspired to travel, too. biyahe na!
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