End of the Month Roundup - August 2013

We are now at the brink of the Ber months, which means that we are at the dawn of the longest Christmas Season in the Philippines. Radio DJs and morning shows will start the countdown to Christmas tomorrow. Christmas songs and jingles will invade the airwaves very early.

If September is the start of Philippine Christmas Season then August is the month of doom and gloom for the our country. It is the month when Metro Manila and nearby provinces sunk, once again, by the habagat rains.

Jeepney stranded due to flood caused by habagat rains

I am one of those who experienced the horrible rainy days. I almost wade through the flood just to go home. But I'm fortunate that I don't have to get wet by the filthy flood waters of Manila. My predicament was insignificant compared to my kababayans who had their houses and properties sunk. Some even died because of the floods.

Another horrible event is the sinking of a passenger ferry off the island of Cebu. Many people died because of the incident while other lost their loved ones.

Another gloomy event is the revelation that our congressmen, senators and even the President used taxpayers' money, our money, for their personal gain. Yes, folks, our leaders made the government their milking cow.

Pork barrel scam caricature
(Source: Cebu Daily News)

Janet Lim-Napoles' fake NGOs and corrupt practices of some of our legislators are just tip of the iceberg. The Philippine government is corrupt to the core and the revelations are sickening as the issue progresses.

Common citizens, like me, feel so helpless with all the horrible things that are happening. Many are angry and want to beat our politicians to death. As for me, I just tried to inject fun to this issues through my satire blog.

I continued posting about my trip around Thailand and also about our wedding preparation adventures. I posted about two places of worship that I visited in Thailand: the Catholic church in Rangsit and the UFO-shaped Buddhist temple.

UFO-shaped Buddhist temple in Thailand
Aliens came to abduct me.

The Our Lady Mother of God Parish Church in Rangsit served is my second home in Thailand. It became my refuge whenever I miss home.

Our Lady Mother of God Parish Church in Rangsit, Pathumthani, Thailand

I posted about two beautiful places during our wedding preparation adventures. One features old warplanes while the other one is an ancient church in the heart of Intramuros.

In my serious blog, I posted about what I felt after watching an anime series. I admitted that I'm very affected by this anime even though it is a comedy.

Finally, in Ahab Reviewsand Tips I posted mostly about the useful things that you can do with BPI Express Online.

That's all that I have for August. Now let's get ready to deal with the Ber months. I do hope that all of you will be happy as the Christmas Season gets near.

By the way, I'll be talking about my adventures around Bangkok with a Malaysian friend. I promise that you will enjoy my posts next month so please stay tuned.

Chinatown Post-Adventure: Explosive Thai Sticky Rice

 I had a day-long adventure ‘round Bangkok with a Malaysian friend. We visited Wat Arun and Bangkok’s Chinatown. Before we split off, my friend suggested that we go to shop in Robinson Mall near BTS - Saphan Taksin Station to buy a sticky rice.

The shop’s name is Waraporn Salapao located in the lower ground floor of the Robinson Mall.

Warapor Salapao shop in Robinson Mall near Saphan Taksin BTS Station

I took a quick shot of this shop because the lady is protesting. I bet that she thought that I was photographing her.

Waraporn Salapao sells salapao (which we Filipinos call as siopao), dimsum and the sticky rice wrapped in leaves.

I took home a piece of Waraporn Salapao’s sticky, which I partnered with a fruit juice that I bought from Chinatown.

Thai sticky rice with juice

The Thai sticky rice does not look appealing after the leafy-cover was removed.

Thai Sticky Rice

It was a Molotov cocktail. Exploding with flavors.

The sticky rice was mixed with shrimp, egg and other spices. The flavour of every ingredient is very overpowering to the point that my taste buds started protesting.

I guess that Thai sticky rice is not the right food for me. Good thing that I had a juice to wash away the explosive taste.


I started at the end so that you can have a preview of what I will feature in the next month. So, please read about my adventures on Chao Phraya River, Wat Arun, Bangkok Chinatown, and food adventure in the capital of Thailand.

I Thought I Saw Gyarados in Thammasat University

Located near the UFO-shaped Wat Phra Dhammakaya are two reputable educational institutions in Thailand, namely the Thammasat University and the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT).

Thamassat University is very near to the place where I stayed so I go to this place frequently. I usually spent afternoons biking around the campus to shake off boredom or to inject physical activity to my sedentary lifestyle.

A building in Thamassat University

Thamassat University is similar to my alma mater University of the Philippines- Diliman. It has plenty of trees and wide green spaces. Biking around Thammasat University feels good because of this, especially during days when there is no class.

I enjoyed biking around the campus so much that I forgot to take photos. The only place that caught my attention (and was photographed therefore) is this.

Fottball stadium of Thamassat University

At the background is the Thammasat University's football stadium, which is just one of the university's sports facilities. This campus seems to look like a sports complex because it was the location of the 1998 Asian Games.

What actually caught my attention are these two big statues of serpents.

Giant snakes in Thamassat University

These snakes are Nagas, the big snakes living under the earth and water regions of the earth. They often appear in Brahman, Hindu and Buddhist literatures and legends. They guard the hidden wealth of the earth and they can control the rains.

I immediately thought that the statues represents Gyarados of the Pokemon world.

A naga in Thamassat University

Oh well. I'm not in the Pokemon world do I'm stuck with this statue.

Naga is not a unique creature in Asia because they also appear in European texts, particularly in old nautical charts. Cartogphers usually draw large serpents in the water regions of the world. I think that ancient Europeans believe that giant serpents caused the great perils at sea.

My Flooded Adventure in the City of Manila

Around a year ago, I braved the floodwaters along España Boulevard to reach our office. I almost did the same thing today because government was late in suspending work in private and public offices. What made the difference is that the Universal Guiding Star bus that I was riding passed through España Boulevard.

Thanks be to God. I was spared from wading in the dark-colored-filthy floodwaters of España Boulevard.

I managed to take a video of the flooded boulevard, from Blumentritt to San Vicente Streets.

My efforts were in vain because the government declared that work is suspended in Metro Manila. The announcement is very timely! Many employees are already on their way to their workplaces.

The flood in Metro Manila was caused by the rain brought by habagat (southwest monsoon). Many people living in Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Bataan and other provinces were severely affected. Many people are now in the evacuation centers as I type this blog post.

Manila City Hall flooded due to Habagat floods

Lawton area and City Hall of Manila were already flooded. Buses were the only vehicles that can pass through the flood.

Stalled jeep because of Habagat floods
Jeepney stalled in the middle of the flood.

Pasig River already spilled its waters beyond the river banks. I think that this river can’t take in water anymore and that’s why many parts of Metro Manila were already flooded.

High water in Pasig River due to Habagat flood

There is water everywhere. I want to leave Manila but I don't want to wade in the filthy flood waters. The only way that I can avoid most of the flood is by walking on the center island of the street.

Flooded Lawton Area, Manila due to Habagat floods
Flooded Lawton Area,Manila.

I had no choice but to go back the way I came because office work was suspended. I’m fortunate that there are still buses that I can ride back home.


Many of Filipinos are now suffering due to the flood. Some of our kababayans are in evacuation centers. Some of them are trapped in their houses. They need food, water, medicine, clothing, toiletries – in short they need help.

I appeal to your kind hearts. Please help our kababayans in need.

You can send your help through here:

Poster of the University of Asia and the Pacific for relief effort for the victims of Habagat floods

Please visit their event page for details.

Wedding Prep: San Agustin Church

I believe that our wedding preparation started long time ago when my Beloved said that she wanted to attend Sunday mass in San Agustin Church. I had an inkling that my wife-to-be is scouting for the church for our wedding.

San Agustin Church, located within Intramuros, is touted by its website as the wedding capital of the Philippines. I guess that there is a basis for this claim because this church is usually in the list of couples who are planning for their wedding.

San Agustin Church at night

I visited San Agustin Church twice in the past but it was my first time to see the interior of this church. I admit that I like what I saw inside. This old church is beautiful.

The design made the ceiling of San Agustin Church look very high but that is just an illusion. I bet that it will make wedding photos to look good.

The altar of San Agustin Church looks good too. My only complaint is that the Crucifix is not at the center. Well, at least the tabernacle is at the center.

Some friends told me that wedding in San Agustin Church is expensive. That it became too commercialized. I have no comment about it since we didn't asked about the rates for getting married in this church. We didn't choose San Agustin Church because we know that the reception venues in the area are way above our budget.

Tin Solis-Kiok, my friend and fellow blogger, had her wedding in San Agustin Church. I think that their wedding ceremony went smoothly. Her only negative comment is that her entourage were barred from entering the San Agustin Museum for a photoshoot. Couples who are considering San Agustin Church should clarify with the church admin every details, including the things that are allowed and not allowed within the church premises.

San Agustin Church is the oldest stone church in the Philippines and is involved and many historical events. The tomb of the Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi is under the roof of this church. The terms of American occupation of the Philippines and the First Plenary Council of the country were held within this church.*

I think that this rich history and the fact that it is located in the historical Intramuros are the plus points for couples who are considering San Agustin Church for their wedding. Many want to write the history of their love in this historical church.

But for me and my Beloved we chose another church.


*Historical information was obtained from the website of San Agustin Church.

Read about my visit to the San Agustin Church Museum.

The Place Where I Imagined that a UFO Has Landed

A Sri Lankan office mate invited me a lot of times to visit Buddhist temples around Thailand. Busy schedules prevented me to join him on all his trips but one. I joined the Sri Lankan, Vietnamese and Burmese – all of them Buddhists – to visit the Wat Phra Dhammakaya.

I already saw many Buddhist temples in Thailand so I already have an idea of what to see in Wat Phra Dhammakaya. My mind-pictures of Buddhist got shattered when we reached our destination. Wat Phra Dhammakaya is temple that doesn’t look like a temple.

Wat Phra Dhammakaya
Wat Phra Dhammakaya

My Sri Lankan officemate said that Wat Phra Dhammakaya is the biggest temple in Thailand. I’m not sure if what he said is true but this Wat is the biggest Buddhist temple that I’ve seen. Its ground is very big. It has a large hall that can hold thousands of visitors.

Big hall in Wat Phra Dhammakaya

People were praying during the time of our visit. My companions joined the crowd in praying.

Prayers in Wat Phra Dhammakaya

Our visit to the place is very short since night time is upon us. People are starting to leave Wat Phra Dhammakaya. The Buddhist monks retired to their quarters.

I thought that my sightseeing at Wat Phra Dhammakaya is done already. Well, I was wrong. The best view at this Wat can be seen during the night.

UFO or Wat Phra Dhammakaya

And in that time I really imagined that a UFO had landed in Thailand.


How to Go to Wat Phra Dhammakaya

Wat Phra Dammakaya is located in the Khlong Luang District of Pathumthani Province. It is near the Pathumthani campus of the Thamassat University.
Vicinity map of Wat Phra Dhammakaya
(Source: Google Maps)

One easy way to reach Wat Phra Dhammakaya from Bangkok is by riding a van going to Thamassat University at the Victory Monument. You can opt to go to Future Park Mall or even Thamassat University and ride a taxi cab to Wat Phra Dhammakaya from those places.

At Home in a Catholic Church in Rangsit

As a Filipino Catholic, I feel that something is missing when I couldn't attend a Sunday mass while I was in Thailand. There's a lot of Filipino Catholics in the place where I was staying but their mass is being held in a multi-purpose hall. There's nothing wrong in attending a Holy Mass in a multi-purpose hall but it can never beat the Holy Mass in a proper church.

My Pinoy friends told me of a church that is just a bus ride away from our place. And so I discovered the Our Lady Mother of God Parish Church in Rangsit, Pathumthani.

Marker of Rangsit Catholic Church

This church in Rangsit is just a simple one and relatively new compared to the Bangkok Cathedral and Kalawar Church.

Its facade only have a simple cross and nothing else.

Rangsit Catholic Church

The symbol depicting the Mother of God can be found at the top of the door.

Image of Mary in Rangsit Catholic Church

Rangsit Catholic Church was built after Vatican II so it is understandable why this church lack the grandiose of churches built during the Medieval Era or the Rennaisance Period or even later.
Interior of Rangsit Catholic Church

The altar of this church is also a simple one.

Altar of Rangsit Catholic Church

Good thing that the tabernacle was placed in the center.

I felt at home in Rangsit Catholic Church because there are many Filipino parishioners. In fact, majority of the attendees in the English-language Mass are Filipinos. The lectors are Filipinos. The choir are composed by Filipinos. Even the priest is a Filipino.

Attending a Sunday Mass in Rangsit Catholic Church is just like attending Sunday Mass at home.

Missals and prayer books in Rangsit Catholic Church

One thing that I like with this church is the availability of missals and prayer books at the pews. It is very helpful because parishioners can easily follow what's happening during Mass. I think that parish churches should also do this.

Angel in Rangsit Catholic Church

There are many things that I like in Rangsit Catholic Church but the best one is the warmth of the Thai Catholics in parish.

I noticed that there is a sort of division between Thai Catholics and their brethren from other countries due to language barrier. Thais have difficulty in speaking English that's why they don't mingle with the Filipino crowd.

Despite of the language barrier, I manage to befriend a Thai in this parish. I appreciate the fact that my friend tried very hard to speak in English even though he can't construct even a simple sentence. He even introduced me to other Thai Catholics, young and old.

I didn't know how it happened but I got a Thai friend in just a short time of attending Mass in that church.

The Holy Family in Rangsit Catholic Church

I am glad that I found the Our Lady Mother God Parish Church in Rangsit. I am glad that I found friends in both the Filipino community and Thai parishioners. I am glad that our Lord made me feel at home in His church in Rangsit.


How to Go to Our Lady Mother of God Church in Rangsit, Pathumthani

I know that there are many Catholics, specifically those who are studying in Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), who looking for a Catholic church in the area of Rangsit. Here are some way to reach the Our Lady Mother of God Parish Church:

Take note that I never rode a taxi to reach this church. I just commuted using bus to reach Future Park mall and then waled to the church.

Map showing the location of Rangsit Catholic Church

1. The first thing that you should do is to go to the Future Park.

2. You can walk to reach the church.


3. You can ride a motorcycle and tell the driver to take you to Bod Chris. I think that the fare is about 50 Baht.

Just make sure that you turn right from Paholyothin Road when you the arch with a cross at the top (see image below).

Arch to Rangsit Catholic Church

Mass Schedules

Holy Mass in English language is available during Sundays at 10:30 AM. Other masses are in Thai language.

Like a Little Child in Aircraft Wonderland

Mural in PAF Aerospace Museum
Mural backdrop inside PAF Aerospace Museum.

The “last minute cancellation” policy of PAF Aerospace Museum is a big downer. Good thing that this museum has real planes that made my heart beat with excitement.

I always play make-believe wars when I was a child. I had toy soldiers, toy aeroplanes and toy ships. I set them to make a scene – a battlefield.

I felt like I was reliving my childhood when I walked beside the war planes displayed in PAF Aerospace Museum. I felt that they are my toys, only that they are much bigger than me!

Philippine flag in PAF Aerospace Museum

I had to control my enthusiasm or else the museum guard might think I’m crazy and throw me out of the place.

So, I just walked and took photos and, of course, touched the war planes.

Warplanes on display in PAF Aerospace Museum

And now! Yes. As in NOW! I can now say that I touched a warplane.

The airplane at the front is the Italian-made SIAI Marchetti SF-260. Philippine Air Force acquired this plane in 1967. Airplane of this type is currently being used as trainer planes by the PAF Flying School.

The warplane that was painted to look like a shark is also cool.

Shark of Zambales in PAF Aerospace Museum

It is appropriately named as the Shark of Zambales.

Hanging from the ceiling is the Cali 233. It also served as trainer aircraft of the Philippine Air Force.

Cali 233 in PAF Aerospace Museum

The fourth airplane that is on display inside the PAF Aerospace Museum is the Boeing Stearman.

Boeing Stearman in PAF Aerospace Museum

One weird vehicle that is on display in the PAF Aerospace Museum is this white conical metallic object.

Replica of Apollo 11 Command Module in PAF Aerospace Museum

It is a replica of the Apollo 11 Command Module. Apollo 11 is the space mission executed by NASA that landed the first man on the moon.

Another airplane hanging from the ceiling is the replica of Flyer, which is the first airplane built by the Wright brothers.

Replica of Wright Brother's first successfully flying airplane in PAF Aerospace Museum

Of the many vehicles on display, I think that the best is the Dodge Command Car that was used by President Marcos during parades and ceremonies.

Command Car of President Ferdinand Marcos in PAF Aerospace Museum

There are other big warplanes, commercial planes and helicopters displayed on the grounds at the back of the museum. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to check those out because our mission that time is to inquire about wedding reception venues.

I promise, however, that I will bring my son or even my daughter to PAF Aerospace Museum. I am sure that my child will enjoy this place. The PAF Aerospace Museum will be perfect for bonding time of our (future) family.

How to Go to PAF Aerospace Museum

I have been to NAIA Terminal 3 and passed in front of the PAF Aerospace Museum a lot of times but I didn’t know that this cool place exists!

Vicinity Map of PAF Aerospace Museum
Vicinity map of PAF Aerospace Museum.

Commuters coming from MRT – Taft Station can reach the museum by riding the jeepney with “Nichols” placard. Just alight at NAIA Terminal 3 then ride the Villamor Ikot jeep to reach the place. Just tell the manong driver that you want to go down in front of Air Force museum.

Take note that the PAF Aerospace Museum is just across the street from Remington Hotel.

Entrance Fee and Business Hours of PAF Aerospace Museum

Entrance fee to the museum is just 20 pesos. It seems, however, that this fee is not strictly collected since no one asked us to pay the entrance during our visit.

The museum is open from 8 AM to 5 PM during weekdays (Monday to Friday). It is only open from 8 AM to 12 noon on Saturdays. The museum is closed during Sundays and holidays.

Wedding Prep: PAF Aerospace Museum

Who would have thought that a museum can also be a venue for wedding reception?

I know that museums are good for educational trips or as stop-over for tourists but never as a venue for parties. So I was surprised and little bit excited, when a photographer that we met in the Wedding Summit told us about the Philippine Air Force (PAF) Aerospace Museum.

PAF Aerospace Museum

I scoured the Internet for information about the PAF Aerospace Museum and my mind was blown away by beautiful pre-nuptial photos that I found. An example would be a prenup shot in Makeup Artists Philippines. Cool photos posted by Anton Diaz on Our Awesome Planet blog enticed me more to visit this museum.

So, one Saturday, me and my Beloved visited the PAF Aerospace Museum to inquire about renting the place for our wedding reception.

I felt giddy the moment we entered the museum. Warplanes welcomed me!

Warplanes in PAF Aerospace Museum

These planes will be good for photos and I bet that our guests will be delighted to see this.

We were immediately informed that the function room of the PAF Aerospace Museum is not allowed for civilian use. To sidestep this prohibition, we were told to look for a backer in the military. The backer or sponsor can be an officer, enlisted man or even a retiree.

What actually enticed us to check this museum as venue for wedding reception is its 5,000 pesos rental fee for 5-hour use. This is quite cheap as compared to other places that we checked, like SM MoA's The Venue that have astronomical price. Another thing is the presence of the old warplanes, which will give our reception a unique feel.

The fee is OK. The presence of old airplanes great. Too bad that I have second thoughts in renting the place because of the horrors that I read on Maqui's blog. I read that the museum admin cancelled her reservation 27 days before her son's birthday party. What's worse is a commenter saying that their reservation was cancelled a week before the event.

Such last minute cancellation is scary and I don't want to experience that. I can't imagine the stress if PAF Aerospace Museum will suddenly cancel our reservation.

We went to the museum despite our knowledge of these horrors. We were hoping that the cancellation policy was already scrapped.

Our hope was dashed to pieces because I read in their “Revocable Permit”, and I quote:

“The PAF Museum Management reserves the right to cancel prior arrangements and to reimburse payments including reservation fee made by the renter for reasons of Command Requirements/Activities. Likewise, the management shall immediately inform in advance the renter of such cancellation at anytime the requested event come into conflict with the Command Activities”

This is disheartening. My decision was final the moment I read this condition in the permit. I will not rent the function room of the PAF Aerospace Museum.

I'd rather forego this unique setting for our wedding reception venue than take the risk of last-minute-cancellation.

Our second attempt to book a wedding reception failed. At least I got the chance to see old warplanes and I will talk about it in the next blog post.