Remembering Davao as the summer began

It may be a tough start for us but it surely was the most memorable adventure we had to date. And what made it more exciting was the fact that even if my friends went to Davao for the first time, still we chose to begin our first day with a ‘risk-on-risk’ activity – the ‘white-water rafting’ at the Davao River. From the Davao International Airport, we went straight to the Davao Crocodile Park where the Davao Wildwater Adventure is stationed. After gathering our gears, collecting our lunch on the road, and undergoing orientation of the safety measures, we then just allowed Davao River change the rest of our lives.

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After having the chance of finally seeing the albino python, the tamaraw, and the Philippine Eagle, we filled ourselves with the most ‘exotic’ food we could find that day. We ate crocodile and ostrich burgers. And it didn’t end there! We also tried the ostrich vanilla icecream and the crocodile pandan icecream. And it does taste and feel unique on the palate (you really have to taste it yourself!).

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And we capped our first day in Davao City with a jaw-dropping fire dance by the Tribu K’Mindanawan, also at the Davao Crocodile Park. They perfected each stunt with their choice of element, solution, and material. Both the locals and foreigners alike were just amazed of this wonderful spectacle.

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With a short ferry ride to Samal Island, we basked ourselves with lots of photo shoots and poses. We went to see the Montfort Bat Sanctuary, the Hagimit Falls, and finally, experienced the nerve-racking 40 meter water slide and do ‘cliff-diving’ at Maxima Aqua Fun. With it, make it hundred times the photo shoots and poses as well.

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An evening dinner in Davao wouldn’t be called as such without visiting Jack’s Ridge. And true to what my friends would say, the place haven’t lost its charm. It’s already my second time visiting the place, but the experience is as breathtaking and memorable as my first time. We didn’t miss listening to the classics of the 80s during dinner and concluding it with durian cheesecake and durian coffee for dessert.

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It was rather hard for us to leave Davao as we traversed through breakfast of chicken ‘inasal’ and grilled tuna ‘panga’ at Luz Kinilaw Place, specimens of D’Bone Collector Museum, historical and cultural artifacts of Museo Dabawenyo, Shrine of the Infant Jesus, Aldevinco’s souvenir shops, and sweets of Lola Abon and Apo ni Lola (and I love the latter), and the discipline and pride displayed by the People’s Park. Truly, Davao City is an icon in itself – a place you wouldn’t mind going back to over and over again.

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23 Photo Picks of 2013

Photos that I’ve taken that left a memorable moment of my 2013.  Some marked ‘first-times’, adventure, love, and even social relevance.

Photo pick #1: Good morning, sun, road, and dear! (March 2013) – on my way to work, I decided to take a photo of one of the blossoms that I managed to preserve from my first Valentine’s day bouquet from my dear.

3rd monthsary greeting

Photo pick #2: Summer is for everyone! (March 2013) – lying by the beach of Bantayan Island, Cebu wishing time would just stop even for a little while. Everything so clear, blue, warm, and summer!

Basking under the sky

Photo pick #3:  Highschool is a lifetime (April 2013) – even as the host, me and my highschool friends ‘crashed’ a party with cakes, chips, pasta, and lots of drinks and singing!

Together

Photo pick #4: Ready, set, hit! (April 2013) – covered my grandson’s birthday at the time. There is so much joy when you watch kids play.  No doubts, no setbacks, just YOLO (you only live once) moments. Here they are about to play “Basagang Palayok”. Funny how I realized that the kid in front still smiled even with a blindfold on.

Basagang Palayok

Photo pick  #5: Tourist (May 2015) – While walking around the shores of Boracay Island, I noticed the lady tourist with a local helping her to take her photos. She got the apparel, the looks, and the background. Solo traveling for her seemed ideal.

Tourist

Photo pick #6:  Fire dance (May 2015) Now a typical evening tourist attraction in Boracay island. Just imagine how fast these youngsters turn the fireball chains. It’s risky but that’s what made it a hit.

Fire dance

Photo pick #7:  The local (May 2015) – Behind the night lights, buffets, souvenir shops, white sand, and fire dances in Boracay, there are the locals who have the meager means to make a living. The man has amputated legs, while the child appears to have inherited the same impoverished state as his parents.They both ask alms especially in the evenings, garnering sympathy and apathy among tourists and locals at the same time.

The actual attraction

Photo pick #8: Goods (March 2013) – My Tabo-an Market experience in Cebu City.  It was not as crowded as it used to be that time. Almost all types of driend seafood products can be found here.  Smelling something fishy means something sumptuous.  And yes, the danggit is my favorite! But take note, if you are looking for affordable souvenirs, this is the best (and really bargain-best) place to be. I was able to find quality and affordable chicharon Carcar and dried mangoes IN BULK.

Market

Photo pick #9: Bride and Bloom (June 2013) – A momentous wedding event of a friend I managed to cover. Of course, shooting moments with the bride is my favorite.

Bride and Bloom

Photo pick #10: Jogyesa Temple (February 2013) – This is my first time to enter a Buddhist temple and what more, it was during my tour in Seoul, South Korea with my family.

Spiritual

Photo pick #11: Seoul eats (February 2013) My family and I fought the winter cold with tteokbokki and soondae and good old fish stock.

The real food

Photo pick #12:  Korean food hangover (March 2013) Just weeks after our Korean trip, my brother and I headed to Don-Day Korean Restaurant in Maginhawa St., Teacher’s Village in Quezon City (the other one is in Timog) for a samgyupsal (grilled pork) fix.

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Photo pick #13: Dinners and conversations (March 2013)  It really feels great when you manage to catch-up with your friends you haven’t seen for quite a while.  My friend here treated me for a Japanese food dinner.

dinner with friends

Photo pick #14: Best buds (December 2013) I like to share how my best buds (featured here is Bambi, an Aspin) make me come home everyday, smiling. Unlike you, for them, you are their world.

Loyal friends

Photo pick #15: First finisher’s medal (February 2013) This will forever remind me that to do the impossible is also starting small. And from then on, running changed my life forever.  I began running for 10K’s and vied for a 15K where thankfully, I managed to get my first medal.  Whenever I look at this, I just can remember the struggles I had with my legs and feet and how God guided and protected me in every step of the way. Just thankful!

1st finisher's medal

Photo pick #16: 27 years (December 2013). Our family celebrated my parent’s 27th wedding anniversary.

27 years

Photo pick #17: Best tourist attraction (July 2013) That moment when your tour guide just told you jump and you just followed. That moment, however felt crazy, just felt great.  Me, my friends, and my dear, made goofy expressions as we stole Mt. Mayon’s moment in the background.

Jump

Photo pic #18: Kaedee smiling (December 2013) This sweet child just made everyone smile when she joined our office Christmas party.

Kaedee smiling

Photo pick #19: In the moment, in style (December 2013).  This is just me and my office friends tag along the Winter Sonata Christmas theme. It’s just a beautiful sight when we see each other pouring those efforts in and making the most out of it.

Winter Sonata Christmas party

Photo pick #20: The arrival of the Nifty Fifty (November 2013). And my dream of capturing those moments full of color, expression, and story came to life when I was able to buy my dainty 50mm prime lens.  Just loved playing with it.

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Photo pick #21: Romance captured (December 2013). Think of my lens still open, and my eyes roaming around the crowd. There, captured!

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Photo pick #22: Siblings (November 2013). Left alone with our parents on official travel, my brother and I celebrated his birthday over his favorite pizza, fried chicken, and cookies and cream icecream. And thank you, tripod!

Siblings

Photo picks #23: Maayo (July 2013) My favorite shot as it was my first travel with Dear and my first time to see the beauty of the famous Mt. Mayon. Truly, maayo!

The couple

Just like a debut of memories, the 23 photo picks marked new beginnings and realizations in life.  With that, I am more eager to experience 2014 as it continues to unravel another set of memories.

Songs and Ardency

Music is an art form with sound and silence as its medium.  Music comes in various profiles.  May it be as an instrumental music or a song, it certainly reveals many silhouettes of creativity.  It is significant to different cultures (geographic and virtual) as it is a tool of communication; an interpretation of what is now and what would become; and most of all, a way of life.   I may not be considered among the talents of the art nor someone who is musically inclined (such as the likes of DJs and even videoke stars).   And even in these times of music players, docks, and torrents, I may not still be an audiophile but I can assure you that music is very important to me.  Between the two mentioned (since the only ones I am really familiar with), songs are the ones I can most relate to.  As a lay person of both popular and independent culture, I understand that songs can be in acapella or accompanied by music.  I find music to be either for the cause or an accompaniment to the effects of my feelings.  When taking songs as causes like if I want to see rays of sunlight through the gray skies, I pop my headphones and press on my trusty Smartphone to listen to the digital genre brought by Owl City.  If I need to be defiant in what I’m about to do, I click on the marching rhythms of the songs of my age.  It wouldn’t matter if it is Fun or My Chemical Romance and Radiohead.  Most of the time, I play songs for causes.  It really helps me communicate and even manage my stress (and excitement at times).  This I apologize for the people around me if I ever pump the speakers up (and sometimes, even desperate to find one at almost anywhere when the plugs allow).

An equally important reason for me in listening to songs is for the purpose of effects of my feelings (TM).  I seldom do this because it does happen less frequently.  And when it does, it will take me time to find the right song/s and will burn my devices because I will have to set it in loop and play it like a hundred times.  I can remember my seatmate really going crazy and mad at the same time because the song, “Defying Gravity” by the Original Wicked cast is pounding in her head like nails already.  I would find myself interchanging speakers and headsets with that song.  At times, I would rest my ears to other pieces like, “I dreamed a dream” of Les Miserables and “Don’t Rain on My Parade” of Funny Girl.  But don’t get me wrong, I am not musicale (or even Glee-cast) fixated.  These songs just came at the right moment and I love them.

And this is one of those right moments.  A moment of letting go of uncertainties and fears.  This is a moment when I finally realized that someone is very important to me.  Came this time when I felt that I do care for him and see myself being with him if not forever, but at least every day of my life – sharing the all the cause of my happiness and letting him know that he is one of those reasons.  It was a very earnest situation that I found my emotions bursting with happiness and excitement.  In this stretch I found myself smiling almost every second of every day.  I’m probably smiling even at sleep and yes no one can arrest me for doing that so I might be keeping that up.  It came to me.  How was he when he’s waiting for that actual moment for me to feel the same?  I can only imagine the perseverance and importance he has for me.  It was already a glorious fourteen years that he is my best friend.  He is always there to listen even to my woes and just go along with my craziness.  It is now more of an exuberance that I can see that he can be more than that.  As I once told to a friend about my feelings, I only concluded that he waited so long to just give up; and I must hold on because I’ve learned to wait as well to just allow that.

Just recently, I also looked for the letters and cards my friends gave to me way back in highschool (even those that were given during college).  There I found some of his cards and letters.  I finally gave myself a chance to read between the lines.  There, I found his heart. I restrained myself as I noticed my eyes starting to water.  Indeed, I was and still am blessed.

With these moments that have happened, I patiently looked for THE song.  I rummaged through my drives and players for an eternity.  Then I found the very song that presses those very feelings in between the rhymes and lyrics.  I can’t believe that come a time that I will be doing this.  That song is “I won’t give up” by Jason Mraz.  The feeling was not the same compared to when I first heard it.  It wasn’t another song for me anymore.  I am reading and rereading the lyrics; listening in loops with the rhythm.  I am connected with the song.  Ultimately, I saw myself in his eyes when I listen (and even sing) this song.  I am praying that soon, I will be able to reciprocate the waiting I caused him.

And again, yes, “I won’t give up” because he waited so long to just give up; and I won’t let that happen because I’ve learned to wait as well to just allow that.

Lyrics of “I won’t give up” by Jason Mraz

When I look into your eyes
It’s like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise
Well there’s so much they hold
And just like them old stars
I see that you’ve come so far
To be right where you are
How old is your soul?

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up

And when you’re needing your space
To do some navigating
I’ll be here patiently waiting
To see what you find

‘Cause even the stars they burn
Some even fall to the earth
We’ve got a lot to learn
God knows we’re worth it
No, I won’t give up

I don’t wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I’m here to stay and make the difference that I can make
Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use the tools and gifts
We got yeah we got a lot at stake
And in the end,
You’re still my friend at least we didn’t tend
For us to work we didn’t break, we didn’t burn
We had to learn, how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I got, and what I’m not
And who I am

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up
I’m still looking up

I won’t give up on us
God knows I’m tough, he knows
We got a lot to learn
God knows we’re worth it

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up…

More than Kimchi

I remember my time in Korea last November of 2011. That wonderful experience really deserves to be shared. By definition that it is wonderful, you get to enjoy the cool winds in the morning or get to see the soft light coming from a local bakery just by the corner of the street.  The test for blogging one of the most sought experience of a Hallyu audience.  There is no austerity in taking the usual scenarios into a digital monument.  Truly, a life-changing environment when capturing moments while enjoying every spectrum of it.

You can’t help but notice her focus on preparing all Korean food is famed for.

The Government of South Korea has long-put their effort in restoring the Gyeongbokgung Palace.  It was told that it is now at 40-50% restoration rate.

You will find any piece of nature as their art.


An authentic “black bean noodle” rich in seafood, rootcrops, and sesame seeds.  One will definitely go back for this.

Reconstructed omelet, rice, fries, deep-fried meat, and pickled vegetables.  An east meets west encounter.

Korea displays their very love to fancy accessories.  Shots of artists can be seen to help one see how can this be best paired into.

Vintage and antiques can be today’s art.

The tower represents the odds that can play against the surreal feel of dry leaves and bare branches.  Taken at 5:00 PM, the sun bids for another 12 hours for the city to play with the neon, coffee, and shopping.

If there is the bargain, definitely they have the high-end.  Shopping districts can always find a convenient, if not affordable, store for you.

Bohol, it is!

Can’t you just forget Bohol?  Everything tells the story of speaking with nature and attaching humanity’s longing for adventure into it.