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.
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.

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.

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


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.
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. 

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.
Shops in the park have an array of souvenir items for everyone


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).


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:

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


A view of greens of Tagaytay City.


Its windy up there!


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


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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