Welcome to the Christian World Little Ahab

Catholic Baptism

Today is the day when our Little Ahab joins the mystical body of our Lord Jesus Christ. Halelujah to our God for he made this day truly blessed.

5 Perfect Places for Father & Son Bonding Moments

Today I celebrate Father’s Day for the first time (it’s the second time actually if we count the time when Little Ahab was in the womb). It felt so good to be greeted by friends and family and, of course, by My Beloved Wife Lei. Little Ahab can only utter “ah”, “gah”, and “waaaaah” but I took that to mean “I love you Dad. Happy Father’s Day”.

I spent this day playing Little Ahab’s favorite games like Peek-a-Boo, Pull Mommy’s Hair, and the classic Pee on Daddy. We both enjoy those games and seeing my son’s smiles and laugh makes me happy. However, I know that my son’s likes and favorites will change when he grow up so I prepared a list of 5 places where Little Ahab and I can have our bonding moments:

1. PAF Aerospace Museum

PAF Aerospace Museum

Aeroplanes! Who doesn’t like airplanes? I bet that Little Ahab will like this place. The warplanes in PAF Aerospace Museum would be the life size version of his aeroplane toys. He can ride on some of the warplanes and helicopters and then we imagine flying over the city.

2. Enchanted Kingdom or Star City or any amusement park

Pink train at Dreamworld Bangkok

My parents brought me once to (now defunct) Fiesta Carnival in Cubao when I was a kid. I want Little Ahab to experience that. That's why we will try the roller coaster, the Ships Ahoy, and other scary rides that will make Mommy faint. We can go to Star City or Enchanted Kingdom or even the local perya.

3. Museo Pambata

Display in Museo Pambata
(Source: Museo Pambata website)

Museo Pambata is truly for kids because they are allowed to play and touch the displays here. Of the 8 Theme Rooms, I will bring Little Ahab to “My Body Works” where he can see big displays of internal body organs. This is the place where by little boy can learn and play at the same time.

4. Manila Ocean Park

An aquarium in Manila Ocean Park

The colorful fishes, the amazing jellyfishes, the sea lion show, the penguins, and many more are what Little Ahab will see in Manila Ocean Park. The aquarium tunnel will be the highlight of our day here. I really want to see his reaction when he is surrounded by fishes.

5. The Beach

Beach in Bulan, Sorsogon
Beach in Bulan, Sorsogon

My Beloved Wife Lei loves the beach so this is place will be for our family bonding. I will let Little Ahab taste the salty sea, and then teach him how to swim. I will ask him to bury me under the sand. Of course, we will build a sand castle. We can visit many beaches: Boracay, Puerto Galera, Camotes Island, Davao, Palawan – any beach will do as long as we’re together.

This list is not only for me but for all of the fathers who want to spend quality time with their toddlers. So, take a day or two off for work and bring your little one to any of the places listed here. Savor the moments while they’re young because they grow very fast.

A Peek in the Historic Halls of Aguinaldo Shrine

The white house of El Presidente Emilio Aguinaldo is always an eye-catcher whenever I pass by the town of Kawit. It always arrests my eyes partly because of its towering presence but mostly because of its historic appeal.

Aguinaldo Shrine on 5-Peso bill
The declaration of Philippine Independence immortalized on the old 5-Peso bill.

The house stands tall in Philippine history because this is the house where the declaration of our independence was read; where our flag was first unfurled; and where our national anthem “Marcha Nacionale” was first heard.

I didn’t get the opportunity to enter the Aguinaldo Shrine even though I visited it twice. My first visit was 3 years ago after an office errand in Cavite City. The second visit was last year when we watched the Christmas Lights and Sounds show.

Aguinaldo Shrine

My Beloved Wife and her kumare was more fortunate than me because Aguinaldo Shrine was open during their very first visit.

Entrance to Aguinaldo Shrine

The house was built in 1845. The current design was made between the years 1919 and 1921 to perpetuate the 1898 declaration of Philippine independence to the hearts and minds of the Filipino people.1

Historic balcony of Aguinaldo Shrine

The house of Emilio Aguinaldo is the cradle of Philippine Revolution not only against the Spaniards but also against the Americans. This is the reason why Aguinaldo Shrine is replete with the symbols of the Revolution like the three Ks, representing the Katipunan, at the top of the balcony. Another symbol is the carabao below the balcony.

White carabao of Aguinaldo Shrine

The Aguinaldo Shrine is not just a national museum but also a family museum of the Aguinaldos. The kumares entered the Shrine as if they were just entering a big house. They even entered the room where President Emilio Aguinaldo and his second wife Maria Agoncillo slept.

Emilio Aguinaldo's bedroom in Aguinaldo Shrine

The room has plenty of secret exits. Two of the secret exits are located inside the bathroom and the closet.2 I also read that there’s a secret tunnel connecting Aguinaldo Shrine and Kawit Church.3 These exits just shows that Emilio Aguinaldo prepared his means of escape. I guess being the enemy of both Spanish and American governments required this level of precautionary measures.

Bedroom of President Aguinaldo in Aguinaldo Shrine

Aguinaldo Shrine is divided into three sections: the Main House, the Tower, and the Family Wing.

Inside the Aguinaldo Shrine

The Main House is possibly the section where the Aguinaldo Family welcomed their guests. Being a president means that many people come and go. I don’t know what My Beloved Wife felt when she walked within this historic halls. As for me, I will feel elated because I know that I’m stepping on the same floor as the towering figures of our history.

Inside the Aguinaldo Shrine

I can imagine Aguinaldo hosting a dinner to the members of his cabinet. I can imagine Aguinaldo and the hot-blooded General Antonio Luna planning their war against the Spaniards. There’s so many things that happened inside this house that directed the course of our Nation.

Inside the Aguinaldo Shrine

Aguinaldo Shrine was visited by almost all Philippine presidents, especially during the Independence Day. Each president left their photo and message in this house.

Old photos of presidents who visited Agunaldo Shrine

The ceiling of the Main House is also replete with symbols like this map of the Philippines:

Philippine map on the ceiling of Aguinaldo Shrine

This map is incomplete since it didn’t include Sabah, which is still being claimed by our country. The map should also include the Kalayaan Islands in the West Philippine Sea.

Stairway to the tower of Aguinaldo Shrine

The Tower is located at the center of the house. It six floors and composed of the music room, library, and another room of Emilio Aguinaldo.

The Family Wing is the most private part of the Aguinaldo Shrine. There’s a terrace here that was said to be personally named by Emilio Aguinaldo as the Galeria de los Pecadores (Hall of Sinners) because of the subversive plots hatched here. It’s peculiar that Aguinaldo considered their plotting sinful. Did he regretted the revolution he hatched against the Spanish government or the trial against Andres Bonifacio?

Old photos of Emilio Aguinaldo in Aguinaldo Shrine

A wide garden surrounds the Aguinaldo Shrine. In front of it is a plaza where Caviteños can have their picnics or just enjoy the afternoon.

Garden outside of Aguinaldo Shrine

The plaza is the best place to take the photo of the whole Aguinaldo Shrine.

Aguinaldo Shrine

The car which I think was used by Emilio Aguinaldo was also on display. Too bad that it’s in a glass case so visitors can never experience a ride in this historic car.

Vintage car used by President Emilio Aguinaldo on display at the Aguinaldo Shrine

Emilio Aguinaldo’s car reminds me of the old warplanes on display in the PAF Aerospace Museum in Pasay.

There is also a souvenir shop near the Aguinaldo Shrine where visitors can buy some memorabilia. One interesting item for sale are the books defending Emilio Aguinaldo.

History books for sale at Aguinaldo Shrine

Emilio Aguinaldo is one the most hated man in Philippine history. He is pointed as the mastermind in the death of Andres Bonifacio and General Juan Luna. I too hated him in the past but I realized that what I read are mostly biased. Aguinaldo’s side of the story is mostly ignored. So now I think its better to look at our history objectively.

Handa Tagalog 1896

Aguinaldo Shrine may be reached by riding any bus going to Cavite City and Noveleta. Just tell bus driver or the conductor that you want to go down the Aguinaldo Shrine.

The Shrine is open to the public Tuesday to Sunday at 8 AM to 4 PM. Admission is free.


Read my other blog posts about the Aguinaldo Shrine.

The Historic Aguinaldo Shrine
A Christmas of Light and Sound at Aguinaldo Shrine



1. Information sourced from the website of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Their website is down, unfortunately, because of a hacking incident last Independence Day.

2. Information sourced from the information board inside the Aguinaldo Shrine.

3. Traveler on Foot mentioned the secret tunnel from Aguinaldo Shrine to the church (or cemetery) 

La Familia Ahab is Now in La Laguna

The birth of Little Ahab brought big changes in our lives. One change is my instant entry to fatherhood and My Beloved Wife Lei to motherhood. Suddenly we had to shift our focus from ourselves to our unico hijo.

Another major change is the transfer of our residence from Metro Manila to the province of Laguna.

Map of Laguna
(Source: Wikipedia)

We moved to Laguna to avoid the pollution in Metro Manila. We don’t want Little Ahab to have lung problems because of the dirty air of the Metro.

Laguna is not alien to me. In fact, I frequently visit this province because Lei lived here for a long time before she got a job in Metro Manila.

Laguna is located south of Laguna de Bay and is bounded by the provinces of Batangas and Cavite, and Metro Manila. Laguna is famous because of its most illustrious son: Jose Rizal.

In our 4 months of residency, I can say that Laguna is a good place to raise our family. It’s less polluted. It’s safer. Lastly, it’s convenient because of the presence of major commercial establishments.

Despite these positive comments, I still have complaints like Laguna being so far away from Manila (traveling 4 hours each day is truly exhausting). Another complaint is our house is poorly made. The real estate developer is baloney. The truth is that many homeowners in our subdivision are not satisfied with their work. I might talk about this developer in the future.

Another thing that I like with Laguna is its numerous historical and tourist spots. I already visited the Majayjay Falls, Splash Island, Nuvali, and the churches in Sta. Rosa, Cabuyao, and Biñan.

Majayjay Falls in Laguna

I know that Laguna has more surprises for me, Lei, and Little Ahab. Well, they just have to wait a few years so that Little Ahab and I can explore and discover the surprises.

5 Minor Reasons Why I Remain Catholic

There are, of course, major reasons why I’m still hooked with the Catholic Church. One is that the Catholic Church is the only church founded by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. The Church has an unbroken succession of leaders from Peter (who was personally commissioned by Jesus Christ prior to His ascension) to Pope Francis. Another major reason are the sacraments which gave me opportunities to be included part of the church, to receive forgiveness, etc. There are more major reasons which are articulated by better Catholic bloggers like Ate Stef and Doc Dicky. I suggest that you head to their blogs for more profound reasons.

Here I list the shallow reasons why I remain Catholic.

1. Ancient Churches

Malate Church
The old church of Malate.

Frequent visitors off this blog know that I like visiting Catholic churches. I always make it a point to enter the church of the town I’m visiting.  In the Philippines, only the Catholic Church can boast of old places of worship some which were built in the 16th Century. These ancient churches serve as the keepers of our culture and faith.

2. Saints

Paradise by Giusto de' Menabuoi
Paradise by Giusto de' Menabuoi

Protestant Christians always accuse of idolatry because of the saints. The truth is that they’re missing the truth. We are not worshiping the saints but we’re just asking for their intercession. The saints (like the Apostles and Mary) proved their fidelity to Christ and so got a slot in heaven. They are much closer to God than us who are here on earth. It feel so good to know that there are hundreds of holy people praying unceasingly in my behalf.

3. The Glue that binds that Philippines

Carta hydrographica y chorographica de las Yslas Filipinas by Pedro Murillo
Carta hydrographica y chorographica de las Yslas Filipinas by Pedro Murillo (Source: US Library of Congress)

No one can deny that the Catholic Church played a major role in creating the Philippine nation. The Spaniards came to this archipelago composed of thousands of tribes with various belief. The conquistadors subdued the pre-Filipino tribes but it is the Catholic missionaries who planted the root of nationhood. The Catholic faith united the Filipinos living in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao despite the differences in languages and culture.

4. Church leaders may be criticized

St. Catherine and Pope George XI
St. Catherine and Pope George XI

We recognize our bishops and priests to be special because they are God’s representative on earth but this doesn’t mean that they’re untouchable. Our priests, bishops, and even the Pope can be criticized or admonished (respectfully and charitably of course) especially if they’re straying away from the Faith. In other denominations, criticizing the chief minister or head pastor is considered blasphemy. This is not so with our Church because we know that our church leaders are humans and they’re sinners too.

5. My suffering has meaning

The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ

Jesus told us to take up our cross and follow Him. The Church took this command seriously that’s why Catholics (and other Christians) in ISIS occupied lands chose to suffer than abandon the Faith. Their suffering is united with the Lord’s suffering on the cross. Even though I’m not persecuted, I can also offer my daily sufferings to Jesus. The inconvenience I experience in LRT, the stress I get every end of the work day, and all the petty pains will be accepted by the Lord. Hopefully in the future, the Lord will find me worthy to suffer for the sake of the Name.

These are shallow reasons but I believe that these are heavy enough to persuade some non-believers. In fact, I read that one person was converted by a more shallow reason: Catholic Memes. Well, the Holy Spirit really moves in in mysterious ways.

5 Chiang Rai Attractions You Shouldn’t Miss

Chiang Rai, the northernmost province of Thailand, is off the radar of tourists. In fact, its western neighbor Chiang Mai is more popular and attracts more tourists.

I visited many spots in Chiang Rai and I can say that I enjoyed the place. We visited temples, an art house, and even climbed a mountain. Chiang Rai has plenty of things to offer and here are the 5 of Chiang Rai attractions that you should not miss.

Doi Tung Royal Villa and Mae Fah Luang Garden

Chiang Rai Attractions: Doi Tung Royal Villa and Mae Fah Luang Garden

Doi Tung is a mountain in Chiang Rai that became the home of the King’s Mother. This is the best place to know more about the royal family through the visit in Royal Villa and the Hall of Inspiration. Another must see attraction in Doi Tung is Mae Fah Luang Garden, which features hundreds of different varieties of flowering plants. Know more about this Chiang Rai attraction by visiting my blog post about Doi Tung Royal Villa and Mae Fah Luang Garden.

Phu Chi Fah

Chiang Rai Attractions: Sea mist of Phu Chi Fah
Sea mist at Phu Chi Fah (Source: Chiang Rai Times).

Phu Chi Fah is the mountain at the east edge of Chiang Rai. It provides a spectacular view of Laos and the surrounding hill. The best time to visit Phu Chi Fah is in the months of November to January when you can witness a breathtaking view of the sea mist at sunrise.

Wat Rong Khun (White Temple)

Chiang Rai Attractions: Wat Rong Khun (White Temple)

Wat Rong Khun is not a typical Thai temple. This is where you’ll see pop culture icons displayed inside the wat. The best part of Wat Rong Khun is the sea of outstretched hands below the bridge to the main temple. The White Temple is a good place to relax  after visiting thousands of Thai temple in a day. Know more about this Chiang Rai attraction by visiting my blog post about the White Temple in Chiang Rai.

Golden Triangle

Chiang Rai Attractions: Golden Triangle
(Photo by Deror Avi)

Golden Triangle is the area where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos meet. The place is also the area where the Mekong River meets the Ruak River. Golden Triangle became infamous in the past because of its vast plantation of opium.

The Black House

Chiang Rai Attractions: Black House

It is not a temple. It is not a set from a horror movie. It is an art house. The Black House was built by the Thai national artist Thawan Duchanee as he tried to interpret the somber parts of Buddhism. The Black House features a long table with snake skins as runners, a room where devil-worshippers can meet, and (my favorite) the big black boar which actually served as the private room of the artist. Know more about this Chiang Rai attraction by visiting my blog post about the Black House.

There are other Chiang Rai attractions like the northernmost Thai town Mae Sai, the hill tribes, and the Mekong River. These attractions, the culture, and the food will make your visit to this northernmost Thai province truly memorable.

Know more about Chiang Rai by reading our adventures in North Thailand.


Information about Phu Chi Fah and Golden Triangle was obtained from Chiang Rai Sawadee.Com and Wikipedia.

North Thailand Road Trip (Part 9): Flower Overload at Doi Tung Royal Villa

I jokingly said, prior to my departure to Thailand, that I plan to meet the King. Well, my jest remained a jest because I didn’t meet the King nor any member of the royal family. Even my visit to the Grand Palace is a disappointment because I didn’t get a glimpse of the royal rooms. I just entered some rooms filled with guns and ancient weapons and that’s it. No big deal.

I didn't expect to enter any royal residence until we climbed up Mount Doi Tung for the last leg of our North Thailand Road Trip.

Doi Tung Royal Villa, Chiang Rai, Thailand

Doi Tung Royal Villa was built as the residence of Her Royal Highness the Princess Mother Srinagarinda. Mount Doi Tung was chosen because of its cool climate, which resembles that of Switzerland.

The Royal Villa is the centerpiece of the big project that the King’s Mother initiated in Doi Tung and surrounding area. The King’s Mother noticed that the hill tribe people in Northern Thailand are in grave poverty. She personally helped these people by bringing food, medicine, and other basic needs. She reached remote areas of North Thailand by riding a helicopter that’s why people call her Mae Fah Luang, which means Royal Mother from the Sky.1

Srinagarinda came from a poor family. Both of her parents died when she was 9 years old. This is the reason why the Princess Mother is concerned especially to the poor people in Thailand.1

Doi Tung Royal Villa, Chiang Rai, Thailand

The Royal Villa is deserted now because the Princess Mother died in 1995 years ago.2

The King opened the Royal Villa to the public to allow Thais (and tourists) get a glimpse of the life of their beloved Somdet Ya (Royal Grandmother).1 Photography was prohibited so I can’t post any photos of the Royal Villa’s interior here.

All I can say about the interior of the Royal Villa is that it’s simple but elegant, which I think perfectly fits the character of Srinagarinda.

I read that the villa had a good view of three countries: Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos.

A view from the Doi Tung Royal Villa

The Royal Villa is interesting but what I liked better was the Mae Fah Luang Garden.

Road sign to spots around Doi Tung Royal Villa

It felt so refreshing to be surrounded by greens. It was the same feeling when I visited the Phukhieo Wildilife Park. It was a good respite from the concrete forest of Bangkok.

Path to Mae Fah Luang Garden of Doi Tung Royal Villa

Mae Fah Luang Garden has scenic spots like this small lake…

Lake near the Doi Tung Royal Villa

…inhabited by ducks.

Ducks at the Doi Tung Royal Villa

Srinagarinda personally planted some of the flowers in the garden. Gardening was one of her hobbies, which she used to do at their house in Switzerland when they are in exile during the Second World War. This hobby of hers cultivated her concern for the environment.

Doi Tung Royal Villa as viewed from Mae Fah Luang Garden

Mount Doi Tung suffered deforestation due to the slash-and-burn activities of the people living in the area. Sangwan wants to restore the forest and uplift the life of the hill tribe people. The flowers in Mae Fa Luang Garden are harvested and sold, thus a source of income to the people.

Mae Fah Luang Garden of Doi Tung Royal Villa

My Beloved Wife will surely like this place because of the flowers. It feels so good to be surrounded by God’s beautiful creations.

Statue of Continuity in Doi Tung Royal Villa

Located at the center of Mae Fah Luang is a sculpture of kids as a human pyramid. Srinagarinda called it “Continuity” because she believe that continuity is the key in the success of all endeavors.

The sculpture was presented by Thai Airways and sculpted by Misiem Yipintsoi.

Hill Tribe banners at Doi Tung Royal Villa

Another interesting spot in Doi Tung would be the Hall of Inspiration.

Hall of Inspiration at Doi Tung Royal Villa

This is where we learned how Doi Tung rose from being a deforested and poor area to a premier tourist spot in Chiang Rai.

Some displays in the Hall of Inspiration, Doi Tung Royal Villa

Srinagarinda’s labor bear much fruit and is now enjoyed by the people living in Doi Tung. Tourism gave people jobs like these vendors on the road to the Royal Villa.

Street vendors along the road to Doi Tung Royal Villa

There is also a shop where tourists can buy flowering plants. I didn’t buy any since I will not stay long in Thailand.

Beautiful flowers for sale at Doi Tung Royal Villa

I only bought one ref magnet as my souvenir from this place.

I truly enjoyed our visit in Doi Tung. It was a refreshing end to a long road trip in North Thailand. Srinagarinda is a true inspiration and I believe that she is one the reason why the Thais revere the Royal Family.




1. “Srinagarinda” in Wikipedia
2. Milestone of Doi Tung in Doi Tung.Org