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Posts Tagged ‘Philippines’


Just my simple observations.

We are observing and commemorating our 119th Independence Day today where we are supposed to be united once again as a nation.  I salute our heroes who sacrificed their lives to gain our independence. In the past, we have seen our former presidents present at the symbolic flag raising ceremonies in Luneta  but this morning,  Duterte was not there as planned, no reason given.  It was Vice-Pres. Robredo and foreign Affairs Secretary Cayetano who graced the occasion. Some were clearly disappointed, like he was trying to avoid his presence there but most people rejoiced in not seeing him there. The division among the people is blatantly obvious. Malacanang is mum about it 😦 .

There were these reports that he grudgingly thanked the US in helping  our AFP  and PNP  in  the Marawi siege.  He said he was not aware of it. Goodness gracious, he is the commander-in-chief who is supposed to be on top of the game.  You mean, “tutulog tulog lang”? (sleeping on the job). The AFP and PNP know that he wants the  NPA (the communists party of the Philippines) and the two Moro groups MILF and MNLF to help them in their fight. How could he even think of having those three enemy groups to be in the camp as our brave soldiers up front? The nerve. Sure the drug menace needs to be stopped but I am alarmed at the extra judicial killings  happening almost every day.  Is it a case of protecting the drug lords but disposing the lowly users and pushers? If the government is serious about it, why is it that until now, no drug lord has been arrested. I think they are freely  roaming around.  By the way, martial law is not lifted yet in Mindanao.

What’s happening to us?  Are we really free in the true sense of the word?

 

 

 

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I know I shouldn’t be blogging about this. I am not much into political blog. You can count on your toes and fingers how many times I did before. I just watched retired SPO3 Arthur Lascanas being  interrogated by the Senate on his involvement with Davao Death Squad.  He said he killed almost 200 people while he was active in service. Wow, what a shame.

One senator, a famous boxer at that lectured Lascanas on “spiritual renewal”.  Is that the only thing he  can talk about? My goodness, he even tried to move that the latter should be cited in contempt but he was stopped by another senator. They wanted to hear what Lascanas was going to say. Another one wondered why in his testimony, there  are different fonts used.  That senator got popular before in copying and pasting his speech…haha.  Funny guys, doing their ugly thing in the Senate. Some of them are really laughable but the other senators were well prepared and have researched before they  came to the Senate. They tried hard to discredit the hitman. I do think he is telling the truth this time. I understand there will be a third hearing soon.  I do hope the whole truth would come out in the end.

Our foreign  affairs secretary keeps on denying at first that he was not a US citizen then he admitted that he was…finally. My goodness, how could you handle a local position if you are a foreigner? In addition, our esteemed president (kono) asked why the House didn’t include rape and plunder to their watered-down version of  the  “death penalty”. It’s as if he really does not know about it. Funny, funny, funny.

I could go on and on  but then  like before I don’t want to mention their names. Suffice to say, we have a country run by idiots. Sorry, I didn’t vote for them.

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The first words I heard from my son when he came home from a week-trip to Boracay were,  “Enjoy talaga,  umitim ba ako Ma?” I laughed and he embraced me and said, “I’ve missed you Ma”. Of course I’ve missed him too.

He said he was sorry he was not able to find sea glass for me. It was just a lovely powder-white  sand all throughout. That’s okay though because based on his accounts, he enjoyed his one-week stay there and that what really counts. He didn’t take pictures but took videos of the activities they did there. Aside from swimming and exploring the place,  he enjoyed parasailing, one of the many things they did with his friends. When I saw the video, it was really, really beautiful.  Imagine yourself high up in the air with just the blue ocean underneath.  One thing that he would like to experience again if he ever has the chance to come back was the helmet diving. It was his first time to dive. They  were briefed on how to equalize pressure in the ears,  taught  hand signals to the divers and just enjoy the gifts of the sea. They gave a small packet of bread to feed the different species of fish they saw there and he enjoyed that too. The corals are just so lovely. The diving package comes with a CD where you will see yourself  feeding a school of fish and admiring the lovely corals. They tried the ATV ride (buggy cars, one of the many options to go around the island) but it was not much of a challenge compared to helmet diving and parasailing. The place is open 24/7. The whole story-telling itself was just as exciting.

Parasailing....

Parasailing….

Banana boat ride...

Banana boat ride…

About to experience the best of all....helmet diving!

About to experience the best of all….helmet diving!

So there is a grotto there, an image of Mama Mary..

So there is a grotto there, an image of Mama Mary..

Boracay is one of the many (if not the best) tourist attractions in our country. A lot of tourists, foreign and local visit this place throughout the year. To view some photos of the place, just click this link. It is one of the world’s top beach destinations.

He brought home sweets, lots of key chains for me, for Nissa and for his office mates and t-shirts.

My Boracay loot

It’s more fun in the Philippines.

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Last Saturday Nissa showed me the photo book that she made using a hundred photos of their trip to Siquijor and Dumaguete last year. I was impressed. She chose the pictures, did the layout and write-ups and edited it online.  She’s been into arts and craft since she learned how to use a crimping scissor and make her own greeting cards. She has a cabinet full of art materials and invested in a good and sturdy cutting mat, scissors, pens, paper cutters, beads and what have you’s. She is into scrap-booking too. I remember the photo book she made before she got married using their prenuptial photos taken by an official photographer. She is planning to make another one for Nate. I told her to include Nate’s pictures since he was born until perhaps he reaches three in five months.  She got a discount from Photobook Philippines. The book was printed in Malaysia and was mailed directly to her a few months ago.

this is the front cover of the photo book.

this is the front cover of the photo book.

She has a way with words...

She has a way with words…

IMG_6742

I love these shots....father/son bonding at the beach.

I love these shots….father/son bonding at the beach.

Silliman University, published in 1901, a private research university in Dumaguete.

Silliman University, established in 1901, a private research university in Dumaguete.

IMG_6763 IMG_6771 Nate probably could not appreciate this yet but he is lucky that his childhood adventures are being documented by his mom and Nonna. Wherever life takes you, appreciate what it brings. Between words and photographs, there will always be some lessons learned, memories cherished, moments treasured.

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The Pope’s Arrival

This is it! Today is the day  we have been waiting for, the arrival of Pope Francis to the Philippines. The past days, I’ve been glued to the TV screen on  news on what the government and social media has done in preparation for the Pope’s 5-day visit which starts today at 6pm. Just like the rest of the Filipino Catholic community I am excited to see him. I could imagine the warm welcome from a predominantly Catholic nation.

The route for the arrival motorcade

Thursday, Friday and Monday are special non-working holidays here in Metro Manila since most roads are closed to give way to the motorcade and masses that would be held at the Manila Cathedral and in Luneta. The most important event would be his visit to Tacloban  and Palo, Leyte and meet the survivors of typhoon Yolanda, saying mass there and  having lunch with choiced families from different barangays in the province.

UST Papal Visit

The Pope would visit University of Santo Tomas to meet the youth on Sunday at 10am  and the campus is open to the public. There will be a motorcade inside the campus. They have allotted separate gates for the Thomasian community at the Espana side, the football field where the grandstand is would be exclusively for the youth participants though. The youth delegates will come  from the Archdiocesan Commissions on the Youth, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on the Youth, the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), member-schools of the Association of Catholic Universities of the Philippines, and the 2nd Philippine Conference on New Evangelization. The public are allowed to enter the back gates of the campus.  Gosh, even old/expired Thomasian alumni IDs will be allowed. I have mine but it expired three years ago and haven’t renewed it yet. Spiritual renewal is the core of Pope’s Francis visit to UST this coming Sunday, January 18.

A lot of people are asking “why UST, why always UST?” “How lucky can UST get?” When Pope Paul VI visited the Philippines, he went to UST. When Pope John Paul II came, he also visited  UST.  Pope Francis  will also visit  UST. Here’s the answer  provided by the Central Media Committee for the Papal Visit.

The University of Santo Tomas is a pontifical university, directly under the authority of the Roman Pontiff—the successor of Peter, the first pope. Aside from its function as a regular university, a pontifical university has a special mission of spreading the Gospel and promoting the teachings of the Catholic Church. The Rector of a pontifical university is appointed by the Vatican, and whenever the pope travels to a country where there is a pontifical university, it is his duty and pleasure to visit this university not only to see how it’s doing but also to inspire and encourage its students, faculty, and staff in their evangelization efforts.

Photo credit: Paul Quiambao  (UST)

Photo credit: Paul Quiambao (UST)

UST Papal Visit 1970. I was here and I remember those moments, we wereeven made to wear our gala uniforms. I was in high school then.

UST Papal Visit 1970. I was here and I remember those moments, we were even made to wear our gala uniforms. I was in high school then. (Photo credit: UST FB page)

UST Papal Visit 1981. It was the first time Pope John Paul II visited UST. (Photo credit: UST FB page)

UST Papal Visit 1981. It was the first time Pope John Paul II visited UST. (Photo credit: UST FB page)

UST Papal Visit 1995 during the  the celebration of World Youth Day held in the Philippines.

UST Papal Visit 1995 during the celebration of World Youth Day held in the Philippines.

Mercy and Compassion

Remember, O Lord, thy tender mercies and thy loving kindnesses; for they have been ever of old.- Psalm 25:6

Mercy and compassionI love this logo. According to the official website of the Papal Visit to the Philippines,  this symbolizes the following:

COLORS.

The colors of the logo (blue, red, and yellow) are the colors of the Philippine flag. The colors therefore represent the country and its people. It is in solidarity with the victims of recent calamities that the Pope is coming to the Philippines.

CIRCLES.

The innermost circle resembles a pearl, and again it symbolizes the Philippines, which is known as the pearl of the orient seas. The white Cross symbolizes the Christian faith, and our fervent prayer that the center of our country be our Lord Jesus Christ. It serves as a reminder as well that more than a State Visit, the primary objective of the Papal visit is a religious one. He comes to show and share the Lord’s mercy and compassion with the Filipino people.

The red circle symbolizes Mercy, one of the themes of the Papal visit. Red is the color of blood and recalls the sacrifice of our Lord on the cross for our salvation, a holy sacrifice that manifests and exemplifies Divine Mercy for sinful humanity.

The blue circle means Compassion, the other theme of the Papal visit. Blue is the color of divine presence – it is the color of the sky and the sea that surround our life, much like God’s presence, that is, God’s compassionate love that permeates and sustains human existence.

The sequence of the colors follows the order of the colors of the Philippine flag: Yellow at the center, blue on top, and red at the bottom.

The red and blue circles appear like arms embracing the yellow circle. These are the merciful and compassionate arms of the Pope, the Vicar of Christ, embracing the Philippines, the pearl of the orient seas. The current Pope is well known for expressing his love and care for people by spontaneously hugging and kissing them. The red and blue circles or arms therefore symbolize the Pope’s Merciful and Compassionate Embrace, and by extension, Christ’s loving embrace. The Pope now comes to the Philippines to embrace us with his arms of love.

Finally the blue and red circles appear like ripples, or waves emanating from the inner circle, from the Cross. We pray that the Papal visit will indeed create ripples of compassion and mercy throughout the Filipino nation and beyond January 2015.

THANK YOU POPE FRANCIS. Praying for your safety and looking forward to your visit here in our country. We are indeed blessed.

Welcome to the Philippines!

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Sunset scene at Calayan

Sunset scene at Calayan

Lovell sent me this picture a while ago, a dramatic shot of a sunset in Calayan. He said it is his birthday gift to me.  Calayan, when will I see your shore?

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“Come over and experience the peace and quiet, see the pristine beaches, just be”, he enthused.

And I said, “I wish, I wish, I wish.”  I wish I have wings to fly and visit this wonderful place and enjoy what nature has to offer.

My priest son and I were in  a long, long chat a few nights ago and he reiterated his invitation that we go visit him and see Calayan Island while he is assigned there in one of their Dominican Missions in the North.  I am writing this from memory, from what he shared during our occasional but lengthy phone conversations. You’re right, I spent a few nights searching for videos on Calayan and visiting some blogs written by travel bloggers who’ve been to the place. I still dream of visiting Batanes of course but Calayan offers the same lovely, unexplored places  which make my soul dream of it more.

Posted with permission from Estan Cabigas, a travel blogger who writes for international and local travel magazines. Thanks Stan for thse lovely images.

Posted with permission from Estan Cabigas, a travel blogger who writes for international and local travel magazines. Thanks Stan for these lovely images.

Who would not be impressed by this scenery?

Who would not be impressed by this scenery?

 

“We’ve just harvested corn”, he continued and “enjoying the cold weather now”.  I jokingly answered “Send some via LBC”.

Unfortunately, they don’t have LBC there. Every day, they only have electricity from 12pm to 12am but they don’t complain, they are used to it. I love the idea of  fishing when you need food to eat, growing vegetables on one’s backyard and they come fresh everyday, planting rice the traditional way (and Lovell tells me that he will try using it – the plough hooked at the back of a carabao), breeding chicken and pigs for meat. I was so surprised when he said that they don’t have a public market in Calayan. The people peddle their  produce from house to house.  Sometimes, the parishioners give lobster, fresh veggies  or live chicken to the parish.

Children walk to school and they have the luxury of time to just admire the sunrise and the endless blue sea an hour before classes start.  You could never do that here in the city. Tricycles and motorcycles are the popular means of transport. The best time to go there is during the summer months of April or early May.  Twelve-hour bus ride, (unless you take a plane to Cagayan) and four to six hours boat trip to the island.

Here is a Wiki description of the place.

Calayan (Ibanag language, meaning “where laya (ginger) abounded”) is a municipality in the province of Cagayan, Philippines. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 16,200 people in an area of 49,453 hectares (122,200 acres).

It is located in the South China Sea, in Luzon Strait north of Luzon Island. The town is composed of four of the five major islands of the Babuyan Islands namely: Calayan, Camiguin, Dalupiri and Babuyan Island. Calayan Island is the largest of the Babuyan Islands. Fuga Island, the fifth island within the Babuyan Islands, is part of Aparri municipality.Calayan is home to the Calayan Rail, a flightless bird identified as a separate species in 2004 and endemic to Calayan Island.

Lovell says, you cannot appreciate it enough through pictures. The best thing is to go there and see the island for real.

 

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