The Town of Lucban

I consider the town of Lucban as a big open museum. The place is oozing with history to the point that I saw National Historical Institute markers on the buildings, parks and churches of this town. Aside from its historical significance, the town of Lucban is also famous its tourist spots. One of these spots is the mystical Mount Banahaw.
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Jose Rizal Monument at Lucban
Jose Rizal Monument in Lucban.

Lucban's colorful Pahiyas Festival is known throughout the country. The festival showcases the artistry and ingenuity of the people of Quezon. In this festival, the citizens of Lucban decorate their houses with kiping. Kiping was made from rice and was formed and colored according to design that is being made for the house.

I got the chance to visit Lucban due to a company outing. All I can say is that the town of Lucban is beautiful! Their streets are well maintained and almost free of garbage. Those who have asthma can have some respite from the fumes of Metro Manila. History geeks will enjoy touring the town's historical spots. Backpackers can opt to climb the mountains.

Our company outing was held in Batis Aramin, which is just few kilometers from Lucban. I just visited this town for at least an hour to buy my pasalubongs, which allowed me to peek at some of its interesting spots.

How to Go to Lucban

Going to Lucban, Quezon is not difficult since there are many bus companies that have trips toward the town from Metro Manila. The roads going to the town are well paved. A commuter will have ample time to catch up on their sleep or feast on the greenery of rice fields and mountains on the way to Lucban. Heavy traffic could only be found at the entrance and the exit of the expressway.

There are many ways of reaching Lucban, but what I experienced is the path that passes through the SLEX and Laguna (Calamba, Pagsanjan, and Cavinti). It took me at least four hours of travel time (including the traffic and stop-overs) before reaching Lucban.

Upon reaching the town, one can go to various parts of Lucban by riding the tricycles.

Here some of the places I visited in Lucban:

Lucban Church

Lucban Church

Lucban Church is one of the oldest Catholic churches in Quezon. The first church was built in 1595 and was ruined in 1629. It was rebuilt in the years between 1930 and 1940 but was again ruined by fire in 1733. The current church was completed in 1738. The nearby convent was finished in 1743.
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Aisle and altar of Lucban Church

The walls and ceiling of Lucban Church is just in plain white. Sadly, I do not have time to enter the church and pray. I didn't even got the chance to take the photo of its altar.
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Bell tower of Lucban Church

The bell tower is connected to the church. How I wish that I heard the tolling of the bells of Lucban Church. I do hope that no more catastrophe will happen to this church.

Batis Aramin Hotel and Resort

Batis Aramin Resort at Lucban

This resort is located at the outskirts of Lucban. It boasts three swimming pools, a river where visitors can boat, and a large nature park. The full story Batis Aramin Hotel and Resort is on part II of this blog post.

Kamay ni Hesus Shrine

Kamay ni Hesus Shrine in Lucban

A new spiritual get-away for the religious. In this place, you will feel God’s love and mercy through the various sculpted scenes of Jesus Christ’s suffering and crucifixion. The grotto has no entrance fee and was built from the donations of Catholics under the leadership of Father Faller. The centerpiece of this shrine is the large icon of the risen Christ atop a mountain. A must see for those who want to restart their relationship with Jesus Christ. My full story on Kamay ni Hesus Shrine is on Part III of this blog post.

Lucban Poblacion

The poblacion of Lucban is the place where pasalubongs and souvenirs can be bought. There are many shops and bakery in downtown Lucban. Pasalubongs that are for sale are broas, apas, tikoy and many more. I recommend the broas because it is very delicious. The pasalubong are not expensive. A plastic of broas is only 45 Pesos, while the apas is 35 Pesos. Other products are within that price range.

So, those are the places that I visited during my one day visit to the town of Lucban. I know that I missed a lot of interesting places. I mean to visit Lucban in the future because I want to climb Mount Banahaw and see the other spots in Lucban.

Finally Done Reading It

Finally, after many years of intermittent readings, I am through with the Harry Potter series. Kudos to J.K. Rowling for creating this wonderful book. Harry Potter series is one of my favorite literary series of all time.

In Harry Potter series, Rowling created a world inside a world. A world of wizards and witches which are hidden from ordinary humans. She used the common and mundane things in Britain and transformed them into objects where magic is brewing. Her work is so captivating that it is no wonder that a big movie company took her story and made it into a thrilling film.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The Story

Harry Potter series is the story that capitalizes on the commonly used theme of “Battle between good and evil.” The story is centered on the two polarizing characters, Harry Potter and Tom Riddle (the one who called himself as Lord Voldemort). Harry Potter is the represents the good while Voldemort is the representation of evil. What is great about this series is that even though Harry Potter is the representative of good things, he does not fall into the template of the usual good guys – persons with clean heart and couldn’t heart anyone (Harry used unforgivable curses many times in the series).

The series also harped up on the theme that is also present in the society of Britain and Europe. That is racism. The pogroms of Voldemort are like the pogroms of Adolf Hitler when he is in his full might. It may also be said that maybe, Rowling used the evil leader as her template for Voldemort. Voldemort seen the non-magical folks as dirt upon the feet of wizards and witches. Those of with pure magical blood should be allowed to exist.

Another beauty of the series is that it is a series for teenagers. Because of this, many teens feel that they could relate with the main characters like Harry, Ron, and Hermione who were also in their teens. They read them experience some things that they are currently experiencing, like having crushes and falling in love, of being heart, of the hardships of exams and school projects, of the bullying inside the school, and many things.

All in all, Rowling intricately spun those threads and created a wonderful story.

Favorite Characters

The series is full to the brim with interesting characters. A half-giant and half-human (I just wonder though how Hagrid’s father copulated with his mother), A werewolf, a stern school mistress, a student who rushes to the library for answers, a ghost who spent her time in bathroom, a talking giant spider, and many more. Amidst those characters, I think that these people stood out.

Luna Lovegood – who wouldn’t love Luna? She is unique and her uniqueness is her power. I am glad that Rowling (through Harry) find her worth. Her best bit in the series? Being a commentator in the Quidditch match in Hogwarts. My brother says that Luna already had an online fan’s club. I had to find it though.

Albus Dumbledore – the all powerful wizard who defeated the evil wizard Grindelwald and the only wizard whom Voldemort is scared of. I like him because he is powerful. There no other powerful wizard than him. Anyways, Rowling revealed that Dumbledore is gay and there is something between him and Grindelwald. Ha! This is surprising.

Severus Snape – the most hated of all Hogwart’s professor. What I like about him is that he kept on doing what is right, even if it means sacrifices like being branded as a traitor. He is a great character, and he truly love Lily (Harry’s Mom).
Fred and George Weasley – they are the light of the series and the bringer of funny moments. Their best bit? Making Dolores Umbridge’s life miserable in Book 5.

Fleur Delacour – a half-veela and half-human. I like her because ---- well the book says that she is really beautiful.


So that’s it! I am done with Rowling’s books. It is a great read and a real page turner. It caused me so many sleepless nights. The problem with the series is the epilogue. It really sucks.

Now it is time to turn to other books. J.R.R. Tolkien, here I come…

Saving the Environment, A Piece of Paper at a Time

I have this personal commitment, or one might say obsession, to save waste paper as much as possible. I have observed that paper is one of the most wasted materials in office and in schools. From school to office, I have noticed that reams and reams of paper were being thrown away. I imagined hundred of trees that were put to waste because of this wasteful scenario. Because of this, I have a bag in a corner of my room where I can place waste papers. When the bag is full, I hand over the bag to a magbobote (a person whose job is to collect or purchase recyclable materials and in turn sell them to junkshops) in exchange for money.

Paper is one of the easily wasted materials by our wasteful society. Metro Manila is flooded with it, and in many forms like pamphlets for advertising, food packaging like in boxes of pizza, receipts from ATMs and many more. As easily wasted, paper is also one of the easiest to recycle. The only problem is that many of us do not mind about the environment and are still wasteful in their lifestyle. The government is also not committed to absolutely reduce, reuse, and recycle the garbage that is being generated by the society. Everything is being left for the current system of junkshops and people scrounging the streets with saleable garbage. It is no wonder then why our streets and rivers are so polluted.

Trees being transformed into paper should have served a better purpose like shielding the lowlands from calamities like floods and landslides. Trees also serve in balancing the environment. Killing a single tree also means depriving animals and other organism of their source of food and shelter.

Saving the environment does not require a person to be a super-rich personality that can establish an environmental NGO like Chin Chin Gutierrez or a member of a radical group that grabs headlines like the Greenpeace. It all starts from the collective effort of every individual to save the environment in his or her own little way. What we need is a mindset that is conscious of the environment.

Saving waste paper is my commitment for the environment. What’s yours?


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Announcement:

I have old school books on my shelf and I do not know what to do with them. As a bookworm, I think that it is a waste if those books be send to the junkshops and be recycled. There are elementary books, high school books. There are also some college books. Pre-school books of Dr. Seuss is also available and some novels.

I had decided to donate these books. Since it is the start of another school year, I know that this is very timely. The problem is I do not know where to send it. Is there are an NGO or school that are willing to accept my books? If so, please point me in the right direction.
Thank you.

Tagged Too

Ha, so May is ending soon. With it is the school children’s vacation and the season of Santa Cruzan. The summer solstice is coming too (that is in June). What’s with Summer Solstice? Nothing but the words sounded beautiful to my ears.

Anyways, Tin tagged me and this is my first to be tagged by a fellow blogger that is why I am trying this one out.

The rules of this tag are:

1. Write anything about 15 persons you know.
2. Don't mention the names of these 15 persons you are referring to.
3. If someone would ask who these persons are, don't tell them.
4. Tag 15 persons but don't include the persons you included in your post.

So let’s start this, shall we?

Person # 1 – Thank you! That is the sum of my message for you. You stayed with me for a total of 22 years of my life and up until now, you are still here beside me, together with him, who always loves me no matter what. Pa-hug nga…he he he.

Person # 2 – We have a long way to go, and I know that in your heart you are somewhat afraid of how will things develop between us. Don’t worry, we could do it.

Person # 3 – I do not know who did that to you, but you became a better person. You became closer to God, dragging me along. I am happy.

Person # 4 – You are not texting me anymore, nor sending me messages in friendster. What is the cause of that? Pray, tell me. I wanted to know since it is unwise to speculate.

Person # 5 – It is good to found an ally inside the office and someone who is good to share some laughs with, thanks. But sometimes I think that I had said too much, sorry too.

Person # 6 – In college, you are cute. Now that you had graduated, you are still cute. I had to agree, you are the cutest classmate I ever had.

Person # 7 – I never thought that the best of my friends will be found from a land far far away. But then again, the distance did not diminish that friendship between us. I am glad.

Person # 8 – I am warning you, focus on your studies or I will stop helping you. Just balance your academics with your extra-curricular and you will be fine. You are free to go wherever you want, up to some extent.

Person # 9 – You joked that I could call you my darling, and me yours. Thinking of that makes me smile, but I also think that I might go overboard.

Person # 10 – You shall pay dearly! Very very dearly! You little miss muffet with a mole on the tuffet, and your sons, and your kamag-anaks, and all your filthy henchmen. Maybe not today, not tomorrow, but in ever after.

Person # 11 – Whenever you are extraordinarily drunk, you kept on saying the things that pain you and in your dreams you keep on mumbling that you are sorry. If you have an ESP, you’ll know that on my part I forgave you.

Person # 12 – I still have the feeling that you do not want to see me.

Person # 13 – If you just know, you are my favorite college batch mate.

Person # 14 – I know that you want to be my best ally when we are in college. Sorry but I chose solitude.

Person # 15 – Thank you for atoning for my faults. Thank you very much for dying for me, even if I am the one who murdered you. I have this fervent wish: To see your face in the end of days and in ever after.

So here they are, the top 15 person plus the comments that I want to say to them. I hope they read this, but they have to find this by themselves because I am somewhat secretive. This tag is like Post Secret wherein you could send your secrets and somehow lighten up your baggage.

That’s it for now.
Now I am tagging Claire, Azil, Megumi, Guia, Mai-mai, Xprosiac, Cindy, Tina, Jezira, and Cha.

Happy Mother’s Day Mama

Angelina Jolie
This is my Mom. Ha, just joking. Actually my Mom is sexier and much more beautiful than her. She is the best mother in the whole wide world. That is why I am very happy to greet her on this special day for all Mothers.

I am thankful for my Mom, Even though we are poor, she did all that she could do to ensure that we finish our schooling and enable us to live better lives. I am especially grateful for her perseverance during my infancy. As a sickly baby, she cared for me even if she does not get enough sleep. I am also thankful that she chose to forgive me for all of my transgressions and misgivings. Because of all of those things, I am offering this simple prayer of gratitude to God:


Dear Lord,

Thank You for blessing me and giving me to this wonderful lady to be my mother.

Thank You for giving her a loving heart, an understanding mind, and a healthy body that allowed her to care for us, her children, lovingly.

Thank You Lord, for letting me grow up under her care. Her love made me the person that I am now.

I am very grateful, Lord. I pray this, in Jesus’ name. AMEN.



On this day also, let us greet Mother Mary a happy Mother’s Day. Let us thank her for allowing herself to be overshadowed by the Lord and let the world receive God’s greatest gift to human beings: Jesus Christ.

Also, Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers around the world. Happy Mother’s Day Claire, Mai-Mai, and Tina. Happy Mother’s Day to your mom Tin, Azil, Megumi, Lantaw and Bluep.

One of These Days I’ll Punch Bayani in the Face

You are a simple employee doing a hard day’s work. After your shift, you pack your things and leave your workplace to go home. You are tired and stressed, all you need is a bus and then it is home at last. But no --- you still had to contend with Bayani Fernando’s wonderful system of herding passengers to their bus: The pink fences. So what if you are tired, you had to follow Bayani’s iron rule. Or you could imagine punching the MMDA lord in the face while trying to figure out how to pass through a throng of people and get to the bus you want

I am, of course, lamenting about MMDA’s pink fences in Cubao. According to the powers that may, those fences were placed so as to organize the people loading and unloading on the public utility buses. I don’t know if that’s the truth or they just want to make things hard for the people. I, for one, find it hard to follow their so-called system since I had to climb their metal barriers so as to reach the bus I need. The place is miserable, and Bayani’s pink fences are an added ugliness.

There are many of these fences all throughout the Metro and there are some which seems to be useless and a total waste of money. The pink fences along Commonwealth Avenue are examples of this. No one uses those fences. It seems that Bayani earned millions of pesos from those fences.

Those fences needed to be tore down or else, I may not stop but punch dear Bayani out of the face of the Earth.
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“Pangontra” for Babies

Last night, while browsing the statistics for this blog (courtesy of Blogpatrol), I happen to notice an odd search engine keyword that was used to reach my blog. Amidst the keywords as “operation valkyrie” and “laiya aplaya” that are used in reaching my site I saw this keyword:

“Where can I buy pangontra for babies in Binondo”

The answer for that is: plenty and vendors beside Quiapo will be happy to sell some. However, I am not here to dispense advices for those who are looking for “pangontra for babies.”

What is this person thinking? Is he/she planning an unforgivable act of murdering a fetus? Or planning to find some method so as to prevent pregnancy?

Whatever it is, I do not like it.

I am appealing to the person who typed this keywords. Please do not succumb to aborting an unwanted fetus (if that what that person intends to do). If you are a man, then stand-up and be a responsible person and be a father to this baby. If you are a woman, then please don’t kill that fetus, your own flesh and blood.

Aborting the fetus, whatever the circumstances are plain murder. The fetus is already a living person and already has a soul and, as such, is subjected to the same right rights and privileges experienced by people outside the womb.

Joint Security Area

JSA (Joint Security Area) still photo.
I have seen this movie first in UP Film Center and it became one of my instant favorite movies. Since then, I had pored over many DVD shops to acquire a copy of this movie. Finally my great brother tracked one copy of this in UP Shopping Center and once again I watched this movie at the comfort of my home.


Joint Security Area



 Joint Security Area (JSA) movie poster

Joint security area or JSA is the area at the both sides of the boundary of the two Koreas. The North Koreans guards the northern part of the JSA while the South Koreans have the jurisdiction over the southern portion. All in all, the JSA is being administered by the Nuetral Nations Supervisory Commission.

This is the setting of the movie. JSA is a high-tension area where the opposing North Koreans and South Koreans are seeing each other face to face.

This movie is about the friendship (or some will say as fraternizing with the enemy) of four soldiers stationed in the JSA and the subsequent tragedy that ended their happy moments. South Korean soldiers Sgt. Lee Soo-hyeok (Byung-hun Lee of the Koreanovela "Stairway to Heaven") and Sgt. Oh Kyeong-pil became friends with North Korean soldiers Nam Sung-shik and Jeong Woo-jin. The two SoKor soldiers leave their post every night to visit their NoKor friends. They spend their happy moments by sharing stories, drinking, playing cards and any other antics to while away their duty time.

Tragedy started when a NoKor official discovered their friendship, which started a confusion that left the official dead and one of their NoKor friend. Fighting between the NoKor and SoKor troops ensued.
To protect one another, the SoKor soldiers lied that Soo-hyeok was kidnapped by the NoKor soldiers. Kyeong-pil rescued Soo-hyeok, leving two NoKoreans dead. Sung-shik, on the other hand, says that the two SoKor soldiers attacked their post during that night.

Maj. Sophie E. Jean (Yeong-ae Lee of "Jang Geum") of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission was sent to untangle the mystery of the incident. She found out the truth and the forbidden friendship between the four soldiers. To protect the survivors, Maj. Jean decided not to submit the true story. In the end, Soo-hyeok killed himself.

What attracted me initially to this movie is the fact that I saw the two famous Koreanovela stars to act in the big screen. And I was awed. Yeong-ae Lee and Byung-hun Lee are excellent artists. They portrayed their roles well. Tae-woo Kim (Sung-shik) is also excellent and one of the jewels of the movie.


The cinematography, which is evident in various Koreanovelas, is present in this movie. The placing of elements in a scene is what I admire in most of their works.

I like the scenes where the four soldiers play and exchange stories upon stories regarding the war and their animosty with one another.

The scene when Soo-hyeok stepped on a mine and cried in front of the two NoKor soldiers is very funny as well as other scenes like the when Soo-hyeok and Woo-jin spat each other playfully during their morning duty.


All in all, I am giving this movie a thumbs up. Nice plot and all the wonderful elements of the Korean films had to offer is present and very nice to watch.

Procession of the Virgin of Antipolo

I happened to drop by Quiapo Church while I'm on my way to NAIA Terminal 3. I was surprised to see many people inside the church even though it is not Friday.
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Many people inside Quiapo Church


When the Mass ended, I saw the image of Mama Mary being carried from the altar to Plaza Miranda amidst the throng of devotees waving their white handkerchiefs.
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Our Lady of Antipolo inside Quiapo Church

What I witnessed is the start of the "Alay Lakad" of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, who is popularly known as Our Lady of Antipolo. The procession proceeded to the image's permanent residence in Antipolo Cathedral.
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Close encounter with Our Lady of Antipolo
A devotee's close encounter with Our Lady of Antipolo.

The "Alay Lakad" is done in the evening of April 30th until dawn of May 1st. The procession done to commemorate the return of the blessed image from Quiapo Church to Antipolo Cathedral on 1945. Our Lady of Antipolo reached Quiapo Church when she was evacuated from Antipolo Cathedral during the Second World War.

The faithful devotees, with their great gratitude to God, join the yearly Alay Lakad in honor of Mama Mary.

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