The Wimpy Kid is Really Wimpy

Finally, I got the chance to read the book, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” Actually, I already read the first and second book of the Wimpy Kid series.

The second book is titled as “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules.” Rodrick is the brother of the book’s protagonist, Greg Heffley. I don’t know how many books are there in the Wimpy Kid series. I still have to lay my hands on those books.

I first learned about the Diary of a Wimpy Kid when I saw an image (shown below) from the book, which is printed on a bus.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid

That picture instantly made me interested and after reading the book, I could say that I am not disappointed with it. I had some laughs while reading the book. I read it while I am commuting home and it took the boredom out of my travel.

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid is about Greg who writes his experiences in middle school in a diary. Yes, the book is in diary format but its highlight is the cartoons drawn on the pages of the book. The cartoons make the story more interesting and funnier. Aside from that, the book has the simple story of a teenager and his experience at school. The book will surely either make love the protagonist or dislike him because of the antics he makes to his friends and classmates.

I did not like the second book much. Maybe, I just got tired with the book’s antics and the novelty of the cartoons inside the story faded away.

Still, I am giving the Diary of a Wimpy Kid a star. It is easy to read, witty, and have enough materials to make you laugh. Anyone could finish this book in one sitting.


Read my review of the third part of this series, which is Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw, at Ahab Reviews and Tips.

Preparation is the Key

I read from the blog of Ate Claire that she loves rain. She said that she loves to hear raindrops falling on the roof of her house. I also used to love the rain, but for now, I dislike it. The reason for this is that the rain always bring floods and I have a hard time going home every rainy day because the streets of Metro Manila is flooded.

It has been raining the past days and Metro Manila is flooded easily. A simple rain is enough to bring waist-high flood on some parts of the metropolis. Thus, many residents suffer and many motorists are trapped and can't go home. Due to the current scenario, it is easy to recall the calamity that occurred last year when Typhoon Ondoy dumped large volume of water in Metro Manila, causing many areas to be flooded. The floodwaters reached even above the roofs of second floor houses. Many people died and many properties were destroyed. Cars and appliances were ruined.

Now that the rainy days are here, it is not an exaggeration for the many of us to be scared of the flood, especially now that the government is not serious in fixing the drainage system of Metro Manila. I could see that there is no serious work to prepare the whole city for the another occurrence of the Ondoy-like flood.

However, it is wrong just to stand scared and do nothing. Now is the time to be prepared. Now is the time for the people living in low-lying areas to store provisions of food, water and medicine. Emergency kits must be prepared and batteries for radio and flashlights should always be at hand. Applying for an insurance policy is also a prudent thing to do. Car insurance, HVG insurance, and the likes will be enough to protect your properties, as long as your insurance policy have the "Act of God" coverage.

It has been that we should always expect and pray for the best. That is good, but there is no harm for us also to prepare for the worst. Preparing for possible calamities should be started now, before it is too late.

Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife: The Park of Empty Cages

One of the fondest memories that I had as a child when my parents took me and my brother to the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife, located in the heart of Quezon City. That was a great day for me then. We enjoyed playing on the swings and the slides on the parks playground. I also remembered that we brought our own lunch and ate under the towering trees. My favorite part of that memory is when Mom brought us to this cage with tens of talking mynahs. We enjoyed speaking to those birds because they answer back whatever we just said.

Well, that memory is all that I had of the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife since the park fell into unbelievable disrepair. The park is now a place of empty cages, which is kind of sad.
The park is named after this guy.
The symbol of People Power welcomes you.

How to Go to Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife

Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center, or simply “Wildlife,” is located along Quezon City Circle and between Quezon Avenue and North Avenue. From the South, the park could be by riding any bus that goes to Fairview. Just go down the Elliptical Road and you will reach the park by walking.

What to See Inside the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife

 The park is dry during the El Nino.

There is nothing much to see inside the park. There are still few birds that remain inside their cages, but most of the cages are empty. The place is famous in TV because the park serve as a refuge for wild birds and snakes caught in Metro Manila.
 Empty Cage. The chitter-chatter of birds are gone.

In the middle of the park is a big lagoon which is a good setting for lovers. The wildlife park is also a good place to hide from the noonday sun because there are many tall trees that cover the place.
The Park’s lagoon must be cleaned.
Dating inside Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife.

Ninoy Aquino Park and Wildlife Center is visited by students who are practicing for their class presentations and by lovebirds who want to have a semi-secluded place. There is also a small grotto inside the park. You could also go there just to while the time away. However, be reminded that the wildlife park is not for sightseeing because there is nothing much to see here.

During my visit in Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife, I saw five kinds of birds and that includes the lone Philippine Eagle.
The Majestic Philippine Eagle
Brahminy Kite
 Is this a wild chicken?
Black-Crowned Night Heron

I am a little bit disappointed with the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife. I wish that the park administrator revive the place so as to make me relive again my childhood memory.


Read about my second visit to Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife in my post, I am Back to See Ninoy Aquino.

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Cover Me from the Sun

I have a little ritual in the office every morning when I reach my desk and before I start doing any work. You see, in our office, my desk is located beside a big window, which is overlooking to an elementary school located behind our office.

My ritual every morning is to look at the sunlight that fall to my desk. I am amazed by the sunlight because I could notice it moving every single day as the months progressed. In January, the sunlight falls near the edge of my table. Now it is almost the end of August and I notice it moved to the middle of my table. In the coming weeks, I know that the sunlight will move further and will directly hit me. Well, I guess I have to order some blinds so that I will be protected from the direct hit of the sunlight.

Looking at that beam of light every day reminds me that time is moving very fast. The month of August is ending and the “Ber” months is about to begin. The days will be accelerated until it is already Christmas time. Another year will end and a new one will be ushered in.

The days indeed move quite fast but as for now, I need to cover my windows up to protect myself from further darkening because of the sunlight.

Time to Get Serious in Blogging

Maybe some of you had noticed that I had new blog post nearly every single day. Well, the reason is that I did not suddenly become an addict blogger. The truth is that I have been addicted to blogging since three years ago and nothing has changed since then. I think, now is the time for me to step up my blogging career and be a more serious blogger.

For the past months, I have been studying the intricacies of blogging. I have read tips from professional bloggers like Darren Rowse. I have applied many of their tips here on my blog, especially on marketing my site and raising its pagerank. I implemented some of the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques that I collected from the World Wide Web. I have also absorbed the mantra of Social Media Optimization (SMO), that's why I joined the social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

I also came out of my shell and I imbibed in the belief that I am a part of a community. This is the reason why I am eager to attend any blogging seminar and conferences that I discover. That is also the reason why I began connecting with my fellow Filipino bloggers, so that I could be a part of the Filipino blogging community. Aside from my Filipino blogging friends, I also got connection from my non-Filipino blogger friends who gave this blog better perspectives.

So far so good. The tips and techniques that I got from the blogging gurus are giving this blog some positive results. Now is the time for me to rise up. I believe that I should continue absorbing tips from the blogging gurus; study the potential of web hosting, like vps web hosting; and continue my foray in the social media.

So here's Ishmael Ahab, getting serious.

Dark Moment in the Philippine History

I am still in shock while I was typing this blog post.

I can't believe that a handful of tourists, our foreign visitors were taken hostage and killed by a police captain that went amok.

I can't believe that the Philippine National Police's Special Weapons and Tactics Group (PNP-SWAT) is totally ill-prepared for incidents like this. I am enraged by the fact that the whole PNP is still green in dealing the crisis that I am worried about my safety if I ever fall in the same situation.

I am ashamed of the Philippine media who chose the ratings war over the safety of the hostages. The government should have issued a total news black-out in the incident to avoid the hostage taker from being informed of the plans of the police and also from being informed by his cahoots.

It is saddening that peaceful negotiations were not prioritized to resolve this crisis. The Police did not fully utilized all the peaceful options available.

Quirino Grandstand is the place where Philippine presidents are sworn into office. Now, the whole world will brand it as the place where innocent tourist are killed.

I am worried with what will happenb to the tourism industry of the country. I am worried with how the world will perceive our OFWs. I do hope that the world will not judge all Filipinos based on the action of Captain Mendoza.

I am still in shock. Today is one of the darkest moment in Philippine history.


Dear God,

I earnestly pray for the peaceful repose of those who died in the crisis. Please do not look upon their sins and let them join you in Your heavenly abode. I also pray for those who are fighting for their lives in the hospital. Please heal them and let them live so that they could still be with their families.
I also pray for my country. Please help us to deal with matter. Please help us reforming the ruined sectors of our country, especially the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces. Guide the Filipino people.

I pray this, in the name of Jesus the Lord. AMEN.


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Dream House, Anyone?

My brother once said that he know if he is smartly dressed if the sales agents for a condominium is giving him some flyers. He said that the better he is dressed, the more those sales agents think that he is a rich guy that have the money to afford an expensive condominium unit in the heart of Metro Manila.

My brother’s experience with those sales agents is just few of the many experiences that we have with them almost everyday. The sales agents of condominium and town houses could be literally found everywhere. They could be found at the malls, on the streets, and even in the palengke (market). They hand out flyers of showing beautiful houses, amazing amenities, and idealized communities. I don’t know how many people are convinced with their flyers or how much they earn from commissions. But whenever I encounter them, I always think of the home that I want to build for my beloved and my future family.

Since I was a kid, I always think of having house that have a front yard and a backyard, which is large enough for my kids to run around and play. I like to have a nice garden so cleanse my eyes of the urban scene that bombarded it during the workweek. I plan to have a two-floored house with many rooms. I want to have a kitchen complete with cooking equipments and implements. I want my living room to have rustic furniture and an entertainment system complete with TV and surround-sound.

That is my dream house and as of now, I am thinking that my dream house will always be just in my dreams. I guess I have to settle in a simpler but happy house for me and my future family.

Filipino Restaurant Unwind

Blogposts ago, I talked about how my youngest brother was drained by the UPCAT. So to make my brother relax and unwind, we brought him to Ayala Technopark located just across Commonwealth Avenue for a heavy lunch. 'Twas a heavy lunch indeed because we decided to dine in a Filipino restaurant and to have sample of Filipino dish. Fortunately, we found one Filipino restaurant and that is the Kanin Club.

Kanin is the Filipino word that means rice. Kanin Club offers Filipino dish in a classy setting.
Empty plate makes me more hungry.

We ordered Pork Barbecue and Lomi. For our drinks, we chose Bottomless Iced Tea. Since Kanin Club is not a fastfood restaurant, we waited for about 30 minutes for the first dish to reach our table. Thankfully, the bottomless iced tea was served while we are waiting for our food.
Bottomless iced tea is bottomless.

The Bottomless Iced Tea cost about 95 pesos per person. To get even with Kanin Club, I decided to drink lots of Ice Tea while waiting for our food. That is a wrong decision since I am already full when our food reached our table.
Yummy Lomi.

The dish are served in large plates and bowls and still hot and simmering. I tasted the Lomi first and it is not that bad. My barometer for this is the Lomi that we cooked in our home. Well, the Lomi at Kanin Club passed my barometer.
 My favorite pork.

My favorite dish for that day in Kanin Club would be the Pork Barbecue. It is cooked well and tasted well. Though, there is nothing special about that pork barbecue.

All in all, we enjoyed dining at Kanin Club. We took a long time to finish our lunch and talked about many things. It is a great bonding time for me and my brothers. The service is fast and the crew are prompt. We spent 112 Pesos for the Pork Barbecue and 239 Pesos for the Lomi. For the person of three, the price is not that bad.
 Kanin Club, Ayala Technopark.

Well, I learned my lesson in Kanin Club. The lesson is not to drink too much Bottomless Iced Tea lest I spoil my dining.

Next time, I will go dine in another Filipino restaurant to have another heavy meal and enjoyable dining.


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Finally, I am Back!

Finally, after four days of intensive work in mapping the middle of Manila Bay, I am back online.

It seems that I missed a lot of things during those four days. My e-mail inbox is full of unread messages and my Facebook account is filled with new notifications. Checking my Google Reader showed me that I have a lot of new blog posts to read. I also discovered that SocialSpark approved my latest paid post for payment within 30 days.

You are right my blogger friends. After a string of unfortunate events, I am now rained by good things.

Since Saturday, we started working to map part of Manila Bay. I am thankful to the Lord that He gave us fair weather during those four days. I am also thankful that I accomplished many things and no untoward incidents occurred.

So, my dear blogger friends, I am sorry if I failed to blog hop these past days. I will catch up on all of you now that I am back in action.

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Free from Disabilities with NMEDA

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of NMEDA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Mobility – this is one of the greatest problems of people with disability. People with disability usually use wheelchairs to move from one place to another. Unfortunately, many people are not aware to the needs of persons with disability and usually use generic mobility solutions available from local stores and the Internet. The problem with using such mobility solutions is that the lifestyle and the specific needs of persons with disability are not considered.

No two people with disability are the same. Each person with disability is unique and so as their needs for mobility. Thus, generic mobility solutions will never satisfy the unique requirements of the people who will use it.

Thankfully, the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) knows the unique needs of persons with disability. NMEDA is a non-profit trade organization that promotes safe driving and equipments for persons with disability. NMEDA is composed of dealers that sell handicap vans and vehicle modifications for disabled persons. If you buy products from an NMEDA dealer, you will be sure of its quality since all NMEDA dealers adhere to safety standards of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Aside from that, NMEDA also has dealers that are accredited by the Quality Assurance Program (QAP). To join QAP, dealers had to follow the strict rules of the program. Therefore, if your dealer is QAP certified, then you will be assured that you will get high quality service and products from that dealer.

To look for a dealer, go to the NMEDA website and use their dealer’s locater. All you need to do is to type in your ZIP code to find a NMEDA dealer near you.

So, do you have a family member that has disability? Or are you the one who requires mobility solutions? What are you waiting for? Visit NMEDA now and find a dealer near you so that you can move around with ease.


UPCAT 2010 is Finally Over

Finally, the moment that my youngest brother prepared for is over. The UPCAT or the college entrance exam of the University of the Philippines was held last week and it seems like my brother found the exam difficult. He got out of the examination building scratching his head.

Well, I am not thinking that he might fail the exam because of that. I had a bad experience when I took the UPCAT years ago. When I got out of the examination building, my father noticed that I am exhausted and I am silent. I found the exam very difficult. Thank goodness that my power of guessing served me well that day so I passed the UPCAT.
NIGS, UP Diliman
My youngest brother’s examination building.

My brother was scheduled to take the exam last Saturday. We went to UP Diliman quite early so we will not be late. Well, we came early so we got the time to walk to his examination building, which is the National Institute of Geological Sciences building.

I instantly noticed that the streets of the university are not heavy with traffic. I have also noticed that the front of examination buildings is not crowded with UPCAT takers and their parents. The increase of tuition fee in the university shunned the poor students from taking the UPCAT.

UPCAT 2010 is a far-cry from the year when I took the UPCAT. The university is crowded back then and there are many food booths around the university. UPCAT back then was like a fiesta. Well, tuition by that time is just a third of the current tuition fee.
Palma Hall, UP Diliman
Not crowded. Parents waiting for their kids in front of Palma Hall.

I guess that the number of UPCAT takers will continue to dwindle. Too bad those poor but intelligent students opt to not enter the university because of the tuition fee.

Que sera sera. I just hope that my brother pass the UPCAT.

There are Those Days...

There are times in our lives when it seems that the heavens are conspiring against you. Those are the times when unfortunate events befall you like the way dominoes fall one after the other. Well, I guess that this week is a week of bad luck for me. Since Monday, a string of bad events occurred. 

The worst event is Wednesday when my LG KU380 fell to the sea. I got the phone back (courtesy of the kids who dived for it in Manila Bay) but it conked out. I had it cleaned by a technician, but still it didn’t work. I have doubts if my phone will be functional again.

I could have left the phone under the sea but I didn’t. It has a sentimental value for me since it is my gift to myself after I received my first year-end bonus. I felt so bad Wednesday night that I thought that I was the most stupid person in the world.

Add that event to the stress and tension I felt for my current mapping project of the Manila Bay, plus the other bad events (which I will not say here so as not to burden you my dear readers), and I can say that I have a hell of a week.

Experiencing unfortunate events is not a problem for me because I know that those events are part of our lives. However, if those events occurred in a short amount of time then it not farfetched to say that the spirit of a bad fortune had me as its target. 


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Fishing in the Polluted Manila Bay

I couldn’t help but feel sad for the current state of the Manila Bay.

Manila Bay is the body of water that covers the seas to the west of Manila City and the nearby provinces. It is the best harbor in the Philippines and majority of sea vessels enter Manila Bay to reach the busiest ports in the country. Before the Spanish Colonization and until now, Manila Bay is the main source of food for many Filipinos. Old people still say stories of how beautiful and clean Manila Bay is. Now, due to neglect and irresponsibility, it only serves as the largest sewage and dumping area of Metro Manila.

Last week, I saw Manila Bay up close, when we did a project at Centennial Park in Navotas City. I could see and smell the sorry state of Manila Bay. The water is totally darkened and volumes of trash are floating everywhere. The smell of Manila Bay is sickening. The bad thing is that the odor stuck to our skin after we did the project for the whole day.
The black sea. Notice the trash floating on the water.

To my surprise, I saw a group of children fishing on the Manila Bay. They told me that they started fishing since 6:30 AM and they are fishing their lunch.
 Kids still fish from the Manila Bay.

They are using nylon threads with hook and weight at the end. Once they feel something tugging their nylon thread, they will instantly tug the thread to catch the fish. They use “ipis dagat” (sea cockroaches) as their bait. A kid said that he have a hard time catching the ipis dagat because they ran very fast. Ipis dagat are plenty on the sea walls and rocks beside Manila Bay.
Ipis dagat everyone?

Fishes still live in Manila Bay. The kids already caught many fishes since early morning, which is enough for their lunch. The fish is not larger than the size of a regular cellphone. They fry it or cook it by vinegar (kilawin). However, I am concerned with those fish because it is possible that it ingested the filth and poison in Manila Bay. It is possible that eating those fish poses great risk to those kids’ health.
Fish for lunch.

Fishing is still a sizable industry in Manila Bay. I saw large fishing vessels coming from Navotas Fish Port. The fish port is still one of the largest drop-off points for fishes and marine foodstuff in the country.
 Fishing vessels berthed on the Manila Bay coastline.

Manila Bay is an important part of the Philippines. However, because of our neglect, it became one of the most polluted seas in the world. I hope that the government’s effort to clean Manila Bay will continue. I do hope that the Filipino people will also learn to respect Mother Nature and stop throwing trash on rivers and waterways, especially the ones that are connected to Manila Bay.


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