Lessons I Learned in 2009

It is just a few hours away before the first seconds of 2010 will be ticking in our clocks.  In this time, many people are busy in making their New Year’s resolution and hope that they will be able to accomplish the goals that they set before the end of 2009. People are busy looking forward that they most of them forget to look back. 2009 had been a tumultuous year to most of us, it is not good to let it come and go without any of us getting something meaningful before it goes to obscurity.

Aside from New Year’s resolutions, the dawning of 2010 is the best time to look back to the past 12 months and contemplate on the lessons that we had gained. As for me, these are the lessons that I believe I gained from to outgoing year:

1) Friendship is not a Collateral

2009 is a year when I lost a friend because of money. It seems that the saying that friends and money do not mix well is true. My friend’s decision to cut all means of communications between us still baffles me. She gave up on me for just a puny amount. Not answering my calls, e-mails, text messages, and Facebook comments is a signal that she does not want to be contacted. I learned that money corrupts even friendship.

2) Stress is not an Alibi

It is true that the transactions in any Smart Wireless center are slow and the queue is quite long during rush hour. It is also true that Smart should do something about this problem so as not disappoint their clients. However, this problem should not be enough reason to be rude to anybody. A Smart Wireless center tested my patience during my most stressed day. I showed one of their agents my grumpy side, which I regretted later. The lesson is patience and this lesson is quite hard to learn. At least I am wary of my impatience and I am now trying my best to keep me from losing it.

3) Prepare for the Worst

Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng caught many people unprepared. For the long time, many people suffered and that includes my family. Ondoy’s wrath taught me to be prepared for the worst that might happen, especially now that PAGASA told us to expect more extreme weather conditions in 2010 due to climate change. I learned the importance of radio, of keeping the lines of communication open, and being ready to give help to those who are in dire straits.

These are just three of the many lessons that I had learned in the past year. I know that I have more things to recall and more lessons to brand into my head. As the 2009 is waning, let us reminisce the past 12 months and keep all the lessons that it brought.

How about you? What are the things that you learned in 2009?
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My First Award in Blogging

I just want to express my heartfelt gratitude to Bluedreamer in giving my very first award in my two years (or so) as a blogger. I am glad that he found me worthy to receive such an honor.

The blog award that he gave me is the “Blogging for Friendship Award.”

This award made me contemplate on my reasons on blogging. Why do I blog? What are the reasons that compelled me to create Before the Eastern Sunset? Are my current motivations in blogging the same with the motivations I had when I began blogging?

I do not blog for friendship. I created this blog to find an outlet to all the loneliness that was locked up inside of me after my very first break up in my very first intimate relationship. During those days I posted works that chronicles my regrets and anxiety that grows everyday. That was a long time ago, now I blog because I love blogging. I like sharing my experiences to anyone who cares to read my posts. I like to help those who need information on the same things that I experienced, the places that I went, and the problems that I solved. I also love the conversation that ensues every time a blog post is made by me or my blogger friends. Blogging enables me to have a distraction on the monotony of my routine of home-work-home. It keeps my head sharp and makes the creative part of me alive by creating loads of articles each week.
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I do not blog for friendship, but then again, my motivations for blogging only proves that, just like the way I am in the real world, I love having friends online. Blogging enabled me to do just that.



Bluedreamer is a wonderful blogger, visit his blog, Feed Your Mind.
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Bad Broadband Installers

Regular readers of this blog know that I, for a long time, had been trying hard to have an internet connection for my home. I did an extensive research and considered broadband, line connection, and even satellite internet. I applied to major internet service providers like Smart and Globe for their broadband services. Both of those two telecommunication companies responded to my broadband applications and sent their technicians to try installing their broadband receivers for my home computer.

My internet application adventures allowed me to meet some bad eggs.

The Enterprising Technician

I first applied with Smart Telecom for their Plan 999 in their Smart Bro. The application process was fast and after a week’s time installers came to our place.

The problem with our place is that the line of sight with the tower of Smart is blocked by the mountain. The technicians tried in finding a place with good broadband signal for hours, but in vain. They even used a 20 feet pipe to prop up the broadband receiver, but the signal is hard to come by.

One of the installers told me that he could add another 10 feet pipe to increase my chances of getting a signal. He claimed that Smart charges 3,000 pesos for 30 feet high pipe that is used to prop up the receiver. He added that he could issue a receipt for the additional pipe but I could avail a discount if I will not ask for a receipt. He even claimed that Smart prohibits receivers being propped up to 30 feet.

The offer left me thinking. 3,000 pesos is too much for a 30 feet pipe unless their pipe is made of gold. Another thing that I thought is how he can issue a receipt if Smart prohibits a 30 feet high installation. The installer contradicted himself.

When the technician felt that I am adamant to his offer, he called up on his buddy on the rooftop and told him pack their things up. I am glad that they left quickly; I almost accepted the offer of the technician.

An Installer with an Attitude

 Because of Smart Bro’s lack of signal, I tried applying to Globe Broadband for an internet connection.

The technicians of Globe lack coordination. One of them went to our home without informing me. My mom did not let them in because she was surprised. Thievery are rampart in our town so as a precaution, my mom did not allow them to go into our house. The next, two installers came and I received them. They are nice and tried all possible things to get a good signal but to no avail. I have no problem with them.

The night on that day, the group of technicians, the ones that my mom barred, came. One of the technicians, maybe because he is tired for the day, told me in a loud voice, “Ano ikakabit na natin?!” (What? Shall we install now?!). I almost said, “Oo ikabit na natin sa puwet mo.” (Yeah, let’s install it in your ass) but said, “May pumunta nang technician kaninang tanghali eh. Natingnan na nila kung may signal.” (Other technicians already visited us this afternoon. They already checked if there is a signal). After that, they just left without any word.

How very rude of that technician. Even if he is tired, he should not have shouted at his client. That is never a good way to treat customers.

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No Refund? No Way!

Is it the fault of the customer if the product that he/she had bought is not functioning? Isn’t it the fault of the company that made the faulty product?

These are the questions that whirl inside my head as I feel exasperated with CDR – King. This company is popular for selling affordable computer accessories and gadgets in the Philippine market. I also know that this company is popular for manufacturing gadgets that lasted only for some months.

I have been searching for a 5 meters long USB extension cord for my personal computer. The one that I was searching is a USB cable that has a signal booster. Apparently, this item is rare because other computer shops do not have this item. Fortunately (as I thought), the Cd-r King branch along Ongpin Street in Binondo has one remaining stock of the extension cord that I was looking for.
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CDR King

That Cd-r King branch does not have a personal computer that could be used to check if the USB cable is functional, so I place my trust in the company and believe that the cord is not faulty.

I was wrong. The cord can’t be recognized by my home computer and my office computer. I even went to other Cd-r King branch to have the cord tested. The technicians said that the USB cable is indeed faulty.

I went back to the Cd-r King branch along Ongpin for a refund, just to be disappointed because the clerks insisted that they do not do a refund for their faulty products. What they only offer is the exchange of other items. Any product will do, as long as the total amount of items that I chose will equal the price of the faulty item. I protested, but they keep insisting on their stand and told me that I will be stuck with their faulty item if I hadn’t made an exchange within the one-week warranty period.

Luckily for me, I found an alternative for the item that I need. But how about other customers that could not find an alternative? This no return policy causes them to be stuck with the malfunctioning products or with products that they do not need. This policy is wrong and an injustice to their customers.

Is the “no return policy” a company policy of Cd-r King, or is it just the whim of their clerks at their Ongpin branch? I need some clarification. Maybe sending a complaint to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will straighten things out. Abangan…


P.S. Never buy Cd-r King products at their Ongpin branch because the clerks there are not “customer friendly” and they do not have computer to test the products that you are buying. I recommend the branch at Cyberzone in SM North because the staff there are approachable and go the “extra mile” to serve their customers.

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In 2012 the World will End in Boredom

I did not expect that our world will end in year 2012 as predicted by the Mayans, thousands of years ago. I also did not expect that our own world will die because of boredom. Death by boredom, this is what I think is the hidden message that the apocalyptic film 2012 is telling the filmgoers.

2012 is about the catastrophic death of the world in the year 2012 because of the sudden increase of activity of our sun that triggers the heating of the Earth’s inner layers, causing the instability of the Earth’s crust. What you will have is the sudden movements of the crustal plates accompanied by strong earthquakes and tsunamis. Your eyes fill feast on falling buildings, exploding volcanoes, big cracks on the earth, and large waves that eat up large coastal cities.
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The graphics and special effects of the film are cool. It is nice to see building dropping like dominoes in the first part of the film, but as the film goes on you will be bored and the continued catastrophes will only make your eyes glazed. The focal characters do not also help much and their problems, as shown in the film, are puny in relation to the catastrophic events that are happening all around them. The beginning of the film is also turned me off because the scenes are too slow in directing to the focus of the film.


Another problem that I had is their premise of who can only be saved. Only the G8 countries (the 8 richest nations in the world) were informed of the catastrophe. Is the group of G8 countries equate to the whole nation of the world? Where is the United Nations? Are they saying that the poor nations do not deserve to know that the apocalypse is coming? Is the gene pool of human beings living outside the G8 countries not worthy enough to continue in the post – apocalyptic civilization?

The information black-out on the information about the apocalypse is overrated. Other nations, outside the G8, also have the capacity to collect information about an event as large as what occurred in the film.

2012 taught me one thing: never watch a movie showcasing large scale catastrophes ever again.

Radio is Back

One of the many things that Typhoon Ondoy had taught the victims of flooding and prolonged power outages is the importance of the radio. During the onslaught of the typhoon, many people experienced the loss of the most popular source of news of information: television. Even the handy cellular phone became useless after the typhoon as many cell sites became un-operational due to power outages and flooding. Many of us became exasperated as we are cut-off from the outside world and our friends. The loss of TV and mobile phone highlighted our dependence on real time communication and information especially during calamities.

In contrast, radio is more stable and sometimes became the sole voice of information and news in communities ravaged by Ondoy. I remember how I wished to have bought a transistor radio before the Ondoy came. How I envy the lucky neighbors who have a radio blaring inside their homes, filling their moments with music and updates on the calamities wrought by the typhoon.

Having learned our lessons, we bought a radio and now we rediscovered the fun of listening to this small voice box. Every night, when my parents got tired of the usual dramas offered by the local TV networks, they turn on the radio and listen to music and get some laugh from local FM stations.

Also, as a preparation to future calamities, we made sure that the radio we bought can be operated by various energy sources. The best radio that we chose is the one that can be plugged, operates on battery, and have an internal re-chargeable battery. Now, even if the TV became blank during the assault of typhoons, we have the reliable radio to keep us informed and entertained during power outages.

Picnic Grove, Tagaytay City

In one of my previous Explorer’s Notebook blog post, I talked about People’s Park in the Sky in Tagaytay City. Now, I will be writing about another tourist spot in the so-called Baguio of the south and this tourist spot is the Picnic Grove.

The first thought that entered my mind when I stepped inside Picnic Grove is “renovation.” The park is indeed in great need of a facelift and restoration just like the People’s Park. I have noticed that park’s administrative building (which is shaped like a “salakot” and smartly called as Salakot Building) is in woeful condition. The ceiling are falling off, patches of plastic sheets were placed to prevent leaks due to rain, the comfort rooms is filthy, and the inside of the building is dim. Visitors are welcomed by unpaved streets.
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However, the park is still beautiful and is better than People’s Park. Picnic Grove offers different amenities and activities that will make the visitor’s stay enjoyable. Just like the People’s Park, Picnic Grove boast of the great view of the Taal Lake and Taal Volcano.
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A nearer view of Taal Volcano

How to Go to Picnic Grove


There are many ways to go to Picnic Grove. One can ride a tricycle or a jeepney if you are commuting. Riding a jeepney is better since the fare is much cheaper than that of the tricycle. The only advantage of riding a tricycle is that they could be seen everywhere in Tagaytay City, unlike the jeepney that only have definite routes. The best place to ride a jeepney is on the Tagaytay City market because the jeepney terminal is located there.

From Olivares Center, in Tagaytay City, you can ride jeepneys going to Picnic Grove at the terminal located few meter away from Jollibee. You can also try riding the tricycle but be warned that tricycle drivers will offer you unreasonable price if they found out that you are a tourist. So, be sure to ask the tricycle driver first and strike a good deal with them before riding.

To know how to get to Tagaytay City from Metro Manila, go to the blog post about the People’s Park.

Entrance and Parking Fees to Tagaytay Picnic Grove


The entrance fee for Tagaytay Picnic Grove is 50 pesos per person. The park also has parking space for the vehicles of their visitors. The fee cost 30 pesos for each car or van, 50 pesos for one jeepney, and 100 pesos for each bus.

Picnic Grove's Amenities and Activities


Aside from sightseeing and picnicking, you could do many things inside the Picnic Grove. You could go horseback riding with your family. The park also boasts of zipline facility.
When you entered the park, you will immediately be approached by many different people offering either horseback riding or a room that you could rent for the night. Horseback riding usually cost about 200 pesos per hour of riding on the horse, but some owner of horses lower their offer up to 150 pesos. I advise that you try to haggle with the horse owner so as to get a cheaper price when you decided on horseback riding.
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Picnic Grove Visitor enjoying the zipline.

The zipline is the most exciting facility in Picnic Grove. You could feel the cold Tagaytay wind rushing onto your face as you fly down the zipline. This can also be a test of courage because you will have to cross a wide chasm between two mountains with just your  security rope tied to the zipline.

You could also ride the cable car if you are too afraid of the zipline. The cable car is like a big birdcage, letting you see the beautiful Taal Lake and the green land below you. On ordinary days, the cable car and zipline cost 100 pesos and 200 pesos for one-way trip and two-way trip, respectively. During weekends and holidays, the one-way trip is 200 pesos and the two-way trip is 300 pesos
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For family and barkada picnics, you could opt to set your picnic on the green grass of the park or rent a covered table. The price for each covered table ranges from 15 pesos to 20 pesos. People who do not intend to rent the picnic facilities can still use the facilities as long as they are just there to sit and don’t have any packed foods with you. The park’s personnel inspect each user of the picnic facilities and ask people with food to pay the corresponding fee.

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There are also shops inside the park that sell foods and souvenir items.


Picnic Grove is better than the People’s Park. It has a wider space and a better and nearer view of the Taal Volcano. Plus, it has many things to offer like horseback riding and the zipline. The park is ideal for family picnics and little children will enjoy this place more.

I just wish that the city of Tagaytay will make this place better and fix the admin building and many things inside the park. Picnic Grove is good but there is more room for improvement.

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Another Use for the Pink Fence

Bayani Fernando implemented great and innovative ideas as the chairman of the MMDA. The famous of his many ideas is the MMDA pink fence.

In his stay as Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman, presidential aspirant Bayani Fernando built many pink fences throughout Metro Manila. There are pink fences on the sidewalks, on the streets, on the islands and in any place within the Metro imaginable. Aside from the usual use of fences, that is to serve as boundary between two areas, Bayani Fernando thought of many ways to use it. In Cubao and other areas, his pink fences serves as a tool to herd commuters and public buses like cattle. It also serves as a blockade to the pesky jaywalkers all throughout the Metro. The fences also serve as blockades during rallies. It was even used by MMDA as public bulletin boards where MMDA can notify the public of the latest concerts of their chairman.
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MMDA Pink Fences along EDSA, Cubao, Quezon City

I also have a novel idea for Bayani’s pink fences. My idea is to use the pink fences as a prison. The form of the pink fence prison can be likened to the pink fence below:
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My proposed pink fence jail.

This will discipline the Filipino drivers. Instead of just issuing tickets, all the MMDA officers and traffic enforcers have to do is to lock – up each traffic violator for thirty minutes for each violation. Motorists, commuters, and pedestrians can be imprisoned inside the pink fence. If a jeepney driver unloads/loads passengers at “no loading/unloading” area then he can be imprisoned for thirty minutes inside the fence. Jaywalkers will also be imprisoned for thirty minutes inside the fence.

Imagine the inconvenience of the time lost for traffic violators and also the shame of being imprisoned publicly. This scheme will deter traffic violators and make traffic more bearable.

I know that this is still impossible to implement in the current settings. However, if Bayani became the president, I believe that this is possible since he will rule with an iron hand.

Hope that the MMDA peeps will read this post. :-)

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InPhoto: Prevent Those Little Accidents


One of MyPhone handlebar ads at the LRT 1 trains says:

“Helps prevent those little accidents.”

The words with smaller font add:

“MyPhone S72 Duo Slider keeps track of your menstrual cycle so you don’t have to.”

My question now is, “What do they mean by ‘little accidents’?”



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Fixer Fixer Everywhere

Applying for a Philippine passport at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Pasay City is really some sort of experience. I still couldn’t believe a colony of fixers is literally lying in wait to all unwary passport applicants. Thankfully, my girlfriend warned me about fixers and she insisted that I must go directly inside DFA and ignore them.

I went to the DFA last Thursday to apply for a passport. I went down at the LRT Libertad Station and rode a DFA bound tricycle there. The moment I went down the tricycle, hordes of fixers surrounded me and tried to pull me to their stalls. The fixers offered application forms, passport holders, and rush ID picture service. Another fixer tried to trick me by pulling me to stall just beside the DFA entrance gate. He said that I should get a number slip first before I can enter the DFA. I did not believe him and went directly to the guard and asked him what I need to do to apply for a passport. The guard promptly gave me an application form for free and let me in.
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Philippine passport

The passport application inside the DFA is fast and organized. The only problem is the fixers outside DFA. One applicant was tricked into buying an application form for 100 pesos. The applicant became angry when he discovered that the application form is just given without any fee. He asked the guard to catch the fixer but the guard just said that they do not have the jurisdiction outside the DFA.

The guard is right. The Pasay City government is responsible for any activities outside of DFA. Many people had been tricked by these fixers since many of them are wearing fake DFA employee IDs. Even the tricycle drivers are working with the fixers because they point the applicants to the stalls and tell them that those are the right place to get the application form.

The Pasay City police should stop acting blind and capture all the fixers outside DFA. What are they doing? Or is it possible that they also receive kickbacks from those fixers. The mayor of Pasay City should stop being inutile and do something about it.

May this serve as a warning to all passport applicants out there. NEVER EVER BELIEVE ANYONE OUTSIDE THE DFA. Always think that no DFA employee transact official business outside of the DFA office. ALL TRANSACTIONS ARE DONE INSIDE THE DFA. Another thing is that facilities, like shops for the Passport Picture, are available inside DFA. It is better to avail these facilities inside the DFA so as to avoid the fixers outside of DFA.
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Of My Plans and the Future

“We are getting old.”

This is what smacked me during a small gathering with college friends last Saturday night. I just believe that it is already two years since I graduated from college and most of us are turning 24 next year. It is not a wholesome thought for since getting old is one of my greatest phobias. I just want to keep my youth as long as possible. I want to be 22 for the rest of my life. That is impossible, of course. We are not in Neverland and I am not Peter Pan.

So there we are, talking about the past and future. The male friends all decided to work abroad and they are betting on who will be the first to go to the other countries and live as an OFW. The female friends are still undecided and do not have concrete plans on whether to work here or abroad. Most of our friends from the college batch before us already work and live abroad. As of the moment, my male friends are still waiting to end their contracts and also for a good opportunity to come up. As for me, I am still stuck with a two year contract with the government.

“So what is my plan?”

They could have asked that question and give them my usual answer: “Just waiting to finish my two year contract and see what will come up.” That is my best and safe answer.

Actually, I do not have the answer. I am turning 24 next year and still do not have a grand plan like my college friends. Sometimes, I feel like I was drifting aimlessly, tempted to look for opportunities abroad, all the while wanting to stay home with family and loved ones. Being a drifter in the future, that is my real phobia, the reason of wanting to stay young, unchanged.

So far here is my plan: (1) To continue working in the government even if my two year contract ends, (2) Look for a good opportunity that will enable me stay here in the Philippines and be with my loved ones, (3) If that “good opportunity” proved to be quite profitable in the long-term, I will leave my day job and focus more on it, (4) If all else fail or if my situation get desperate, find a work abroad and be an OFW.

As of the moment, I am contented with my life. I am happy at work and in my home. I am happy with my relationships and with my friends. I am happy blogging and reading blogs of my online friends. I am still on the look-out for that “good opportunity” (actually, I am already working on one and I hope that it fare well).

Last Saturday’s small gathering make me to look deep to myself and compare my plans with my friends’ plan with the future. I believe that the Divinely inspired chain of events placed me in current position now and that same Divine Providence will take me into a good place in the future. The small gathering also make me look deep inside my soul and study the past and how it affected me and my friends, but that will be in another blog post.

Shopping for an Internet Service Provider

My weeks of wait, my efforts of contacting the customer service, and the anxiety and hope all came to naught last Sunday as the technicians confirmed that my home is indeed beyond the reach of Smart Broadband’s signal. The mountains are blocking Smart’s tower and so signal can’t be obtained even if they raise the Canopy to thirty feet above the roof of my house.

Too bad for me since I am back to zero in my goal to install an internet connection in my home. I am back at looking for an alternative to Smart Bro. PLDT MyDSL is out of the choices since my area is banned by PLDT because many evildoers are stealing telephone wires (there is one time that our street experienced a blackout for a whole day because the thief stole the electric wires). So here I am again, researching and planning my next move.

So far, here are my other options:

Globe Broadband


This is the internet broadband counterpart of Globe Telecommunication. My problem with it is the high probability that our home is also beyond the reach of Globe’s signal. Last year, I used Globe in my cellphone but I am forced to shift to Smart because Globe’s signal is very weak if I am inside the house. The weak signal always forces me to go out of the house just to call or to receive a text message.

The good news is that the broadband’s signal is different from the signal used by 3G phones so it is also possible that we have a Globe Broadband signal in our area.

Sun Broadband


Sun Broadband offers more affordable plans than Smart and Globe. However, I am thinking that Sun Cellular has limited coverage in our town. I bought a Sun Cellular Sim months ago to avail their Sun to Sun unlimited call, but the signal is choppy and I am forced to walk a block away from our house just to get a clear signal. With this, I believe that my area is also beyond the reach of Sun Cellular’s broadband internet.

 

Smart Plan 799


This is another offering of Smart Telecom, which uses a USB dongle as a modem. The dongle has a SIM inside. Plan 799 allows the subscriber to surf the World Wide Web for a maximum of 80 hours per month. My brother already has this dongle and it works well inside the house. The Smart Bro technician mentioned that the dongle uses the signal used by 3G phones to connect to the internet.

I plan to experiment on this dongle and have it installed outside of the house and connected to the computer by a long wire. If all goes well, then I am thinking of applying for Smart’s plan 799.

Satellite Internet


This is my last option and I will only choose this if I am desperate enough. This option is the most expensive of the four. I am yet to research on this, but I already saw that Dream TV is offering this kind of internet connection. My brother also mentioned of Green Cell, which costs about 3,500 pesos a month with a really reliable internet connection. However, many people in an online forum insist against satellite internet because it is not ideal in the Philippines. Satellite signals are affected by weather disturbances like typhoons and heavy rains. The Philippines are frequented by typhoons, thus the monthly cost will not reciprocate with the benefits that I will receive.

I am sad that Smart Bro did not work in my area, especially now that I really want to have an internet connection in my own house. Renting PC in an internet café is costly for a blogger like me. The set-up also restricts activities in the net and is risky because of the viruses that are present in most internet café. I do hope that one of my options here give me the internet connection that I need. As for now, I will pester Smart’s customer service representatives and ask for a refund of my payment for their botched up Plan 999.
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People's Park, Tagaytay City

Tagaytay City is one of the famous vacation get-away of people living in Metro Manila. It is the closest alternative to Baguio City and offers a refreshing atmosphere and cold temperature that is good for people looking for refuge from the heat of Metro Manila.

Tagaytay City is located at the highest location of the province of Cavite. Full urbanization of the area is still underway, which makes it a good place because the City is not yet suffering from the polluted atmosphere that is prevalent in Metro Manila.

Picnic Grove and the People’s Park in Tagaytay City are just some of the popular spot in this city. I only went to People’s Park during my visit to the Tagaytay City.

How to Go To Tagaytay City


There are many ways to reach Tagaytay City from Metro Manila. There are public buses that have direct route to Tagaytay City. Buses going to Tagaytay City could be found in the terminal station in Lawton Area in Manila City. There are also buses going to Tagaytay at Pasay.

As for me, I took the longer route. I boarded the Jam Bus going to Balibago, Santa Rosa in the province of Laguna. The Jam Bus Transit is located along EDSA just few meters away from GMA Network Building. The fare cost to Balibago is 67 pesos and the travel time is about two and a half hours. The travel took a long time because of the traffic situation in South Luzon Expressway.

Go down the Balibago Market and walk to the jeepney terminal located at the back of the market, then board the jeepney bound to Tagaytay City. The fare cost to Tagaytay City is 45 pesos and the travel time is about 45 minutes.

The terminal point of the Tagaytay City jeep is the Tagaytay Market. Jeepneys going to the Picnic Grove and the People’s Park could easily be found there.

People’s Park, Tagaytay

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The People’s Park is the highest place in Tagaytay City. In sunny weather, you will be able to see the three great bodies of water, which are the Manila Bay, Laguna Lake, and the Taal Lake. It is also a good vantage point of viewing Tagaytay City and neighboring towns, which offers a refreshing view of greenery of the whole place.
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The gate to the park. Pay 15 pesos or else.....

The entrance fee to People's Park is now thirty (30) pesos per person, as updated to us by one of the commenters to this post. Many visitors enter the park to get a good view of the city. The place also serves as a fun place for families and it also serve as picnic area for the people living in Tagaytay City and neighboring towns. 

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People going up the park for relaxation

The inside of the park is not that first-class. Actually, the park is need of a major repair. Ceilings are falling off and some parts should be re-modeled so as to become more appealing to tourists. People’s Park has souvenir shops and a restaurant. However, local visitors tend to bring their food because the price of food in People’s Park is quite expensive. During my visit, I noticed that a simple Tapsilog (a Philippine dish of fried meat, fried rice and fried egg) cost about eighty-five pesos. That price is astronomical for a tapsilog.
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Shops in the park have an array of souvenir items for everyone

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What I like about People's Park is its shops that offer various souvenir items ranging from handmade bags, toys made of wood, key chains and other items. We bought a nice handcrafted bag made of water lily at a cost of one hundred fifty (150) pesos after a haggling with the shop owner (It is a Filipino habit of negotiating prices with shop owner or the sales clerk. It is called in the local language as “tawad” or “tumatawad.” It seems that my girlfriend is excellent in making “tawad.” What a nice talent).

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Live roosters for sale! Err...these are toys.

People’s Park is quite high up in the mountains and no malls are near it. However, this a good place for picture taking, relaxation, and “catching-up of things” with friends, family, and love ones.

Here are more pictures of my People’s Park, Tagaytay City trip:

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Ishmael went up the hill...
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View of Taal Lake. Taal Volcano is at the right part of the photo.

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A view of greens of Tagaytay City.

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Its windy up there!

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Garden in the sky. Taal Volcano is at the background.
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Pineapple in the sky.

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The highest point is located at the place where the image of Jesus is, as seen in this photo.

Read about my visit to Picnic Grove, which is another popular tourist spot in Tagytay City.

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Follow me in Facebook and Twitter.
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Losing a Friend Just for 2,120 Pesos

It is sad to know that one of my friends decided to break our bond just at the amount of 2,120 pesos.

Last month, a friend of mine texted me if I could lend her some cash so as to complete her money to buy a laptop. She asked for 2,000 pesos and promised to return it after three weeks. I sent her the money thru LBC and told her that she have to shoulder the 120 pesos fee. She agreed.

However, three weeks came and went but she’s still not paid with her debt. I texted her and e-mailed her in Facebook. Her cellphone number suddenly became unavailable and she is ignoring me in Facebook, even though she updates her account every single day. It is plain that she is avoiding me.

I texted her that I will move her payment if she still doesn’t have the money and I also told her that I do not want to lose my trust on her for a mere 2,120 pesos. My last communication to her fell on deaf ears.

What is 2,120 pesos for a good friendship? I am willing to write off her debt if she just say so, but this wall of silence that she placed between us gives me a signal that we are not friends anymore.

God's Reminder

I had this terrifying vision nights ago, before I fell to sleep. I had seen God, in His glory on His throne, judging the living and the dead at the end of days. The unworthy was picked out from the faithful children of God and was cast away to hell.
-0o0-


The following vision is that I am one of the damned. I feel so hot. I begged for just a drop of water from those people from above but they can’t give me any. (This is very much like Jesus’ parable of the rich man and Lazarus wherein the rich man was damned to hell and Lazarus went to heaven. Lazarus can’t give the rich man a drop of water, even if he want to, because there is a great barrier between heaven and hell).
-0o0-


I began to shiver after realizing that it was just a dream. The vision, or rather God, let me feel the terror of being sent to eternal damnation. No one should go there. I do not want to go there.


Now I am thinking that it is wrong for anyone to wish that a person should go to hell, no matter how bad they are.


Now I appreciate more the merciful act of Jesus Christ on the Calvary. He died for us so that we will not be damned to that terrible place. He loves us so much and H really cares for us so much that He offered Himself as the payment to all our sins.


I am thinking that the Lord is reminding me to turn away from my sinful ways and follow His commandments. I also care for all of you, that is why I am sharing this to all of you.


I am about to launch a new blog named Ahab Reviews and Tips where I will dispense reviews and tips based on the experiences and information I gathered in my daily life.
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The Walled City of Intramuros

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At last I got the chance to visit the most historical site in Metro Manila. That site, of course, is Intramuros. It is located at the heart of Manila and stores the large part of Philippine history.

Intramuros is the center of the Spanish colonial government during the time when the Philippines is under the rule of the Spanish Empire. Intramuros is both a city and a fort and is protected by thick walls made of adobe and cannons that were used to repel foreign invaders and Filipino revolutionaries. Now, Intramuros serves as the country’s largest open-air museum showcasing different relics of the past.


I visited Intramuros during my birthday, accompanied by a friend. I thought that I will tour the whole Intramuros by foot. Thankfully, a pedicab driver / tour guide offered us a ride.
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View of Manila City Hall on the walls of Intramuros


Touring Inside Intramuros



A visitor of Intramuros can visit the many points of interest by walking. However, this is not recommended for those who have a limited time to tour the place. Intramuros is a big place and walking will tire you out before you enjoy the sites and the relics within the whole city.


What I recommend is that you hire a pedicab driver (note: pedicab is a bicycle with a sidecar covered from sunlight and rain) to take you to the many places in Intramuros. The pedicab driver/tour guide knows the ins and outs of Intramuros. The one we hired, for instance, is armed with a pamphlet showing the historical places within the walled city. Thus, you could rely to the pedicab driver to tour you around the place if you are not sure where to go. The pedicab driver charges 100 pesos per hour. In the end of the tour I paid him 200 pesos for the two hours of service plus a tip of 50 pesos.


Aside for the pedicab, you could also hire a “kalesa” (a horse drawn carriage) to tour you around the city, but it is more expensive than hiring a pedicab. You may also opt for a formal tour offered by established tour companies and associations in Intramuros. The formal tour offers a ride on nice kalesa (probably a model of kalesa used by the affluent during the Spanish period) and a certified tour guide. However, it is the most expensive of all the touring options in Intramuros.
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Kalesa in Intramuros
A foreigner enjoying her tour on a “kalesa”
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Baluarte de San Andres


Our first stop is Baluarte de San Andres. It was built in 1903 to protect the Old Real Gate (the gate facing the Manila City Hall) and reinforce the Southeastern part of Intramuros. The Baluarte suffered two major destructions; the first is during the British siege of Manila (1762) and the Battle of Manila (1945). What I like most in this site is the set of cannons that were preserved since Spanish times. I couldn’t help but imagine a scene where our Katipuneros were being bombarded by these deadly cannons.

Here are some of my pictures of the cannons in this baluarte:

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On the Walls of Intramuros
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Cannons of Intramuros
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Puerta Real and Revellin de Real


These two places serve as a mini-museum of Intramuros. Puerta Real and Revellin de Real contain old bells, samurais and kabutos (armor of a Japanese warrior), ancient guns, small cannons and cannon balls. These ancient relics were unearthed within Intramuros. However, you could only look through the window to see these relics since entering the room holding these things is prohibited.

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Old weapons in Intramuros
A room filled with cannons, guns, and helmets. The ball on the table on the lower left corner is a cannonball.
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Spanish era bell in Intramuros
This is the largest of all the bells present in the room.
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Samurai swords in Intramuros
Here’s the few of the samurais unearthed within Intramuros.

San Agustin Church


The San Agustin Church is one of the churches that were built inside the walled city. Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to see the altar and the other things inside the church because it was locked. Because of this, I just contented myself at looking at the beautifully engraved doors of the church.

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San Agustin Church in Intramuros
The locked doors of San Agustin Church.
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Chinese lions in Intramuros
Attempts to enter the church were thwarted by the threat of being eaten by the Church’s guards.

(Note: After 4 years since uploading this post, I got the chance to enter this church during our wedding preparations. Read my post about San Agustin Church. Also read about my visit to San Agustin Museum)
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Manila Cathedral


The Manila Cathedral was the place where the late President Cory Aquino was interned before she was sent to her final resting place. The cathedral serves as the office of the Archbishop of Manila. Located at the heart of Intramuros, the cathedral symbolizes the importance of the Church in the Philippine society.

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Manila Cathedral
The entrance to the Manila Cathedral.
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Inside Manila Cathedral
Inside Manila Cathedral. The altar is too far be seen.
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Door of Manila Cathedral
This is the best church door that I had ever seen.
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Engravings on the doors of Manila Cathedral
Arca Salviis on Manila Cathedral door
The Church, the ship of salvation.

(Note: In other posts, I talked about the giant bells of Manila Cathedral and also its pipe organ)
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Fort Santiago


Our last stop is none other than Fort Santiago. The fort is the oldest fortification in Manila and dates back to the time of Rajah Soliman. Various places could be found inside Fort Santiago like Jose Rizal’s prison cell before he was sent to his execution in Bagumbayan (now known as Rizal Park), Rizal’s last footsteps, and the Dungeons. There is also a well-maintained park with food and souvenir shops. There is an entrance fee of seventy-five (75) Philippine pesos to enter the fort.

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Statue in Fort Santiago, Intramuros
If you see this iron sculpture, then you know that you are in For Santiago.
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Entrance to Fort Santiago, Intramuros
This is the real entrance to Fort Santiago.
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Rizal's footsteps in Intramuros
Rizal’s “footsteps”
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Jose Rizal in Intramuros
I didn’t know that I am much much taller than Jose Rizal.

Other Interesting Places in Intramuros


We also saw other places inside Intramuros. Here are some of them:

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Gallery of Philippine presidents in Intramuros
Gallery of Philippine Presidents.
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General Douglas McArthur in Intramuros
Replica of General MacArthur and President Quezon.
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Street of Intramuros
Streets of Intramuros
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Big cannon in Intramuros
Guns and cannons of Intramuros
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Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila in Intramuros
Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, which is under renovation.


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Of One Million-Peso Dinner and Hungry Filipinos

I recall the days when we had to resort on scavenging plastics, can, and rusting metals around the house that could be sold to the junkshops just to have a dinner for the coming night. I also can’t stop recalling those days when Pa had to climb our coconut tree so that we could eat the coconut meat for our lunch. I just couldn’t help myself to recall those days and shake my head whenever the details of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s lavish dinner at Le Cirque in New York spring up at the news. Whatever explanation or “palusots” that they can come up with, the only thing that is clear is that the expensive dinner is plain wrong for the president of a third-world country that have a large segment of population experiencing starvation and malnutrition.

It doesn’t matter if it was a gift from an ally congressman or “palibre” of a private citizen. It doesn’t matter if the dinner is not delicious (as had been the “palusot” of Lito Lapid) or that the food in New York City is quite expensive (which is quite unlikely since middle class Americans can live inside the city). What matters is that President Arroyo and her friends have the heart to spend large sums of money on expensive dinners despite the fact that many Filipinos are hungry, that many Filipinos are experiencing the brunt of typhoon Kiko during her foreign travels, and that former president Cory Aquino just died. Where is the face offering sympathy to the Filipino people who lost a “mother?” Where is the PGMA who, in many photo-ops, shows that she is a caring mother of the Filipino people? When did it occur that a decent mother will stomach eating expensive food while her children are experiencing an eternal crisis?
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Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo counting money

How many Filipino people will benefit from $ 20, 000 worth of money? Pundits computed that the same amount of money can feed hundreds of children, print thousands of school textbooks, and could give the needed medical care of the poor patients. But instead of giving it to the people, PGMA and friends chose to spend it on a dinner that leaves a bad taste to the mouth of the Filipino people.

I can’t stop myself from pitying this country. This is the style of leadership that our politicians offer. I couldn’t help but be sad for the people who had to scavenge for food, for the people who have to scrounge the trash cans just to eat, and for the Filipino people who died because of starvation. That is just bad, too bad. :-(


Image was lifted from Manila Bay Watch blog.

An Outpour of Love for Cory

Last Wednesday’s funeral procession of the late Philippine President Corazon Aquino showed how much the Filipinos love this iconic woman. From 10 AM to about 8 PM in the morning, people from all walks of life joined the funeral procession and exhibited their support to Cory. Many of them wore yellow t-shirts and flashed the “Laban” sign, which was popularized during the first People Power.

Many scoffed, I included, that many people went their just to become “usiseros” and “usiseras” (oglers) since the event is occurs very rarely. However, the mere fact that many people braved the harsh weather waiting for the procession to pass by is evidence to the contrary. These people who suffered the changing moods of the sky, crushed by mass of people, and waited for very long hours really love the late President.

The procession became a version of the Feast of the Black Nazarene with people pushing one another just to get near the truck where Cory’s coffin was mounted. There are those who climbed up the vehicles and overpass just to have good vantage points. Street vendors and pickpockets took advantage of the event. The business of the street vendors is so good that many of the street vendors selling bottled water, fried nuts, and snacks along Espanya Boulevard opted to go to the procession. The PNP, on the other hand, caught many pickpockets during the whole duration of the procession. Camera and celphone cameras were all brandished by the people and the event became a photofest.

The procession also showed how “pasaway” the Filipinos are. Many of the kept on pushing and shoving other people just to get near the procession. The aftermath of the procession showed many properties trampled and upon and lots of trash that will be dealt with by the street sweepers.

President Cory Aquino proved to be the only person who could unite the Filipino people aside from Manny Pacquiao. Her battle against the Marcoses fostered unity in the waning days of Martial Law. Once again, she united the people in the midst of a threat for a new Martial Law.


P.S. What I liked the most during Cory’s funeral is the giving of military honors to the dead president. They are very snappy and I’ve never saw such an activity before. And I couldn’t imagine how Cory’s honor guard survived the long hours of standing on the funeral truck.


P.S. Read this again after 5 years and my reaction is -_-. I am so naive back then and I didn't know a lot of things. I don't believe in Cory anymore especially with the way she replaced the cronies of Marcos with her own cronies. She allowed the oligarchy to foster and the dirty politics to continue. What more disappointing is that People Power became the symbol of the Aquinos as if they're the ones who made it happen. No! It is the Filipino people who made the People Power successful. The political enemies of the Marcoses hijacked it for their own benefit.

Ninong All Over Again

Baptism, especially Catholic Baptism, is a solemn and serious ceremony. It is a holy sacrament of the Church. Those who are taking part in it should be strong in their resolve to do what they promise to God during the baptism. The mother, the father, and the godparents should have no hesitation whatsoever to accept the responsibility of rearing the child into a worthy person in the eyes of God.

I am talking about baptism because one of my not-so-close friend and neighbor invited me to be the godfather of his daughter the night before the baptism. Obviously, I was trapped not to decline his invitation unless I want to put enmity between him and me.

I was disappointed in the day of the baptism. The parents are not ready and the other ninongs and ninangs (godfathers and godmothers) are not serious. Apparently, the parents do not understand what they are subjecting their daughter into.
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Catholic baptism

Catholic Baptism is not just an event when the priest pours water on the head of the baby. It is the event consecrating the child into the Church, the bride of Jesus Christ. In this sacrament, the Holy Spirit comes down to bless the child and usher the child’s entry to the Catholic family.

Aside from the grace accompanying this sacrament is the responsibility for the parents and the godparents to guide the child to grow into a faithful Christian.

However, I had seen that that truth did not sunk in to the hearts of the parents and other godparents because they are still in their teens. They are still immature, biologically and spiritually to the faith. It even baffled me why did the parents, who are both members of other religions, allowed their child to have a Catholic baptism. Yes, they are being prodded by the child’s grandmother but if you stand in your faith is strong enough then you will not allow your child to be baptized in other church. I have a feeling that everything for them is just “wala lang” (nothing) even in caring for their baby.

My second godchild came to me in a disappointing way, but I believe that God is giving me a responsibility and a chance to help this child grow pleasing in His eyes. A person worthy of His love. Because of this, I am taking her as a challenge. If her parents are not serious for her, then I am serious as his godfather. (So help me God).