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Archive for January, 2012

gmanetwork.com recently issued a news and clarification that Filipinos can visit 25 countries around the world without the need for a tourist visa.  This is in clarification to the starting-to-get viral Facebook post that Filipinos can go to 60 countries visa-free.  Press Link here for the clarification and list of visa-free countries which if you will actually count is 26.

I have been a believer of my country’s awesomeness but I love being a tourist and I fancy travelling out of the country.  Nengkoy (my mom) in her exasperated demeanor would often tell me that I don’t have kayamanan (investments, wealth and assets) because according to her my kayamanan are the experiences I gained out from my travels out of the country. So when I checked on the list, there have been six countries that I have already personally visited out of the 26 countries listed.

In each of the destinations I go to, may it be out of the country or within, I always make it a point to bring home with me a memento.  A “delicious” budget traveler like me cannot afford to buy exorbitant souvenirs like paintings, crystals or even silver spoons so I would settle for the cheapest.  That would be a ref magnet!  So, without further pomp and circumstance, here’s a look at the treasures of my adventures:

malaysia "truly asia"

morocco "land of the setting sun"

"amazing" thailand

vietnam "timeless charm"

"your" singapore

hongkong "best place, best taste"

Availability of ref magnets in tourist destinations bearing the name of the city or country as a simple memento is an indication that such place or destination is a tourist hub.

Anyway, referring back to the list, I still have a long way to go in covering all these countries.  I still have 20 more countries to go to visa-free.  However, I noticed that Macau is not included in the list.  It’s also visa-free…

macau "a world of difference"

I do not have investments and Nengkoy is correct. I may have zero assets, humongous liabilities and mediocre net worth but the experiences and wisdoms I gained out from these travels are priceless.

Sa Mars at Jupiter kaya may rep-magnet? 

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I just had one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life.  No I did not go to any posh place or meet interesting people in person or tasted the best cuisine in this planet.  I simply just finished watching the most extraordinary series of documentary videos available on YouTube.

The 11-part documentary is about the astonishing occurrences in the life of Emma De Guzman, an Overseas Filipino Worker who was chosen to be the army of God.  The videos were posted in August 2010 yet only seem a few has seen it.  Popular videos would ordinarily hit millions of views but these video series hardly hit the 5,000 views mark.

The video is about the personal encounters of Ms. Emma De Guzman with the Blessed Virgin Mary, with Lord Jesus Christ, with the Holy Saints and Angels.  Her divine encounters and the extraordinary physical manifestations – having facial glitters or escarchas, precious stones emerging out of her face, pieces of the Crown of Thorns popping out of her forehead, fresh stemmed roses emerging out of her chest, the stigmata she had, her writings of the scriptures written in the popular Greek language during the time of Jesus, angel’s feathers, etc. – gave me the largest goose bumps that my body can afford.

I was at a total awe when she recounted how the Blessed Virgin Mary taught her how to properly pray the Rosary, how she saw Jesus in a small chapel and how she gleefully described the Saints that she met.  I completely admire her for not questioning the Devine on the tasks given to her.

But what moved me most is how simple, ordinary and remained down to earth Ma’am Emma is as a person even after she has been chosen as an instrument of God as well as the uncomplicated principles and messages she relayed to those who would have the rare opportunity to watch and listen to her in the video.  I confess that I cried so hard while watching these 11-part videos.

I know that I am blessed to have accidentally bumped into this documentary.  I am so astonished that I have to write and share these… Watch it in YouTube and have your heart be open as well.  Simply type and search for “Emma de Guzman Documentary: The Apparition of The Blessed Virgin Mary

Love you Lord at mabuhay ka Mam Emma… : )

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Tonight everyone in this planet will welcome and celebrate the Chinese New Year.  But according to Chinese Feng Sui, glories of the previous year will wane for those who are born in the Year of the Dog.  It is believed that Dogs have a number of afflictions to deal with this year.

I am born in the Year of the Dog and I will not just let and allow this ancient belief to be taken lightly.  So to protect and prevent myself from these upcoming hardships, I have carried out a couple of things that the Feng Sui masters have advised.

my 7-year-old pi yao (left) and my new pi yao (right) bracelets

Though I already have a Jade Pi Yao Bracelet, which I purchased in Hong Kong back in 2005, today I purchased another Pi Yao Bracelet.  This time it’s the Yellow Jasper type which I plan to wear all throughout this Year of the Dragon.  I plan to interchange the new one with my old as days passed by.  According to the ancient Feng Sui, I being a Dog is in direct conflict with Tai Sui, the ruling god of 2012.  Therefore, to appease and prevent me from clashing with the Grand Duke Jupiter (Tai Sui) I need to wear this Pi Yao Bracelet.

Moreover, according to Feng Sui not so inviting winds are headed towards those who were born in the Year of the Dog.  To impede this from happening according to Feng Sui, I need to carry with me at all times a Water Blue Rhinoceros keychain.  Along with the bracelet I bought the said keychain and immediately attached it to my keys!  Also, I purchased a Blue Elephant and Rhinoceros amulet and hanged it at the Northwest section of my unit.  To fully supplement this protection, my cellphone’s wallpaper now is a downloaded Blue Elephant & Rhinoceros keychain photo.

blue elephant & rhinoceros (hanged in the northwest section of my unit)

blue rhinoceros in my key chain

my cellphone's new wallpaper

What seems to be amazing with these trinkets that I just purchased is that it seems to be instantly taking its positive effect.  As soon as the short ceremony was done by the salesperson who sold me these items – placing the items in a brass bowl, hitting the bowl with a wooden pestle, asking me to place my hands to cover the bowl and wish 3 things, salesperson praying over and blowing onto the bowl – and brought these trinkets with me, I instantly seem to encounter positive occurrences.

On my way home, everyone who walks out of the mall where I purchased the trinkets were in a hurry.  There was a massive number of people waiting and hailing for a cab.  But as soon as I crossed the street and hailed one, the cab just stopped in front of me and let me it.  I say to myself that this could be a good sign.

While inside the taxi, the cab driver was suddenly signaled by a traffic enforcer to stop to give way to a long Chinese Street Parade.  I and the driver watched patiently enjoying the vibrant procession of colorful Dragon and Lion dances along with marching majorettes twirling their brightly colored flags.  Ironic as it may seem but I never felt the edginess and irritation of having to wait for the parade to finish.  I just sat inside the cab, watch the parade and thought to myself that the colorful procession may be a sign of good luck and a successful year.

Surprisingly, even though the parade has not fully passed by, the driver was able to maneuver his car and found a narrow alleyway to make a detour without crossing the parade to lead us and drive me back to my place of stay.  While riding the taxi on a detour, I thought to myself that the heavens must have conspired and this could be another good sign of positive things ahead this year.

When the taxi reached the building where I live, I paid him my fee and greet him Kung Hei Fat Choi while I get off his cab.  I entered the building and then rode the elevator to bring me to the floor of my unit.  I rode the elevator with a young girl who noticed my new bracelet and the green shirt I was wearing.  She uttered, “You’re wearing green! That’s a lucky color, the color of money.  I will wear green later tonight for the Chinese New Year.”  Then the elevator stopped and opened its doors for her to get off.  She greeted me Kung Hei Fat Choi with a smile while she gets out of the lift.  I smiled back and thought that this must be the third and last sign that the New Year ahead will be satisfyingly good…

Pero ika ng ng bruhildang Zenaida Seva tuwing umaga… “Hindi hawak ng mga bituin ang ating mga kapalaran.  Gabay lamang sila.  Meron tayong pri wil, gamitin natin ito.” Hmp!

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I am not a professional photographer and I may not shoot the best photo in the world but today’s beautiful weather in the Philippines just egged me on to take a shot of today’s magnificent sunset.

manila bay sunset (jan 21, 2012)

manila sunset (a shot from my unit)

The afternoon today is so orange and the rays of light that touched my skin made me look so radiant.  The sun today is superbly amber it made me feel light and happy.  How I wish this beautiful weather is the same weather we have at all times.  I also wish that a magnificent sunset – may it be 50% or 98% amber – can at all times invoke a person’s light and positive feeling.  Too bad a good feeling is just like the colors of the sunset.  It fades in the night.  It is not like a photograph that you can keep in a box.

Maalab na hapon sa inyong lahat.

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Watching the full recorded YouTube video of Day 2 of the impeachment trial of Supreme Court’s Chief Justice Renato Corona made me fully awake until the video ended. Battle of the brains and the not so brainy practitioners of the law raged on.

One thing is definite after watching the video I was made and transformed to become a fan and admirer of the chief lawyer for the defense, former Associate Supreme Court Justice Serafin Cuevas.  I was in awe on how mentally sharp 83-year-old Cuevas delivered his stand.  He was articulate, extemporaneous and was in full control of his thoughts and reasoning based on logic, provisions of the Constitution and the prevailing laws on due process.

Judging from the video and listening to Cuevas, I saw glimpse of how the Senator-Judges (especially Senator Lito Lapid) has gone amazed and astonished with the way Cuevas delivered his quick-witted manifestations. I myself was nuts about how Cuevas aired out and stressed his keen points and antithesis. Watching Serafin Cuevas perform him duty was an eye-opening experience, that when a person reached old age one should keep the pizzazz and sparkle in everything that he or she does.

I pray to God that I would be blessed with the same acumen when I reach that age.  Two things though, Atty. Cuevas badly needs a good stylist and a more decent haircut.

Aydol kita Manong…

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A couple of days from now, all earthlings will get to enjoy and listen to Give Me All Your Love, the title of the soon to be released first single of my favorite artist Madonna.  This dancey song’s release-highlight will be the much anticipated ala-Cirque-Du-Soleil Madonna’s performance at the Super Bowl Halftime show slated early next month.  Too bad Super Bowl is not gonna be held in this “more fun” assuming country.

But before everyone start dancing to this soon to be released single that will mark the start of this year’s worldwide invasion of The Queen, let us first listen and fell in love to the gorgeous song of Madonna entitled Masterpiece.  It’s so gorgeous it is nominated (and amply predicted to win) for Best Original Song in the 2012 Golden Globe Awards.

I actually have yet to hear this song being played on local radio.  This splendid ballad was never officially released but was instead used as one of the official soundtracks of the movie W.E. which Madonna herself directed. Give a spin to Madonna’s “Masterpiece” …

Ang pagbabalik ng Reyna ay parating na. Nag payl ng bekeysyon lib si Leydi Gaga kahapon. Hehehe

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"bourne legacy" teaser poster

Every working day, travelling from my 350 divided by 10 square meters condo unit to my office, I would instruct, demand and insist the taxi driver to traverse the streets of Leveriza, San Andres and J. Bocobo so as to reach my office located just across the Remedios Circle in Malate, Manila.  These highly populated streets are the shortest and speediest way for me to reach my office on a regular basis.

However, according to local news these streets and locations are the very sites where Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton and the other stars of Bourne Legacy will shoot the film on January 18 and 19.  Now this posts a problem because for sure these narrow labyrinthine roads will either be closed for or filled with traffic.

repairing the Remedios Circle lamp posts

Just yesterday, I noticed that the rickety and long-overdue-needing-repair lamp posts around Remedios Circle were being restored and refurbished.  Moreover, the rundown parking slots in the corner of Remedios Circle and J. Bocobo street is being constructed with high-rise scaffolding which I suppose where the high-tech cameras will be installed and operated on the days of the shoot.

Despite all these, I will still pass by these roads on January 18 and 19 but will not take a cab anymore.  Instead, I will ride the ever reliable manually-operated padyak (foot-pedaled tricycle) while sporting my posh designer office clothes.  I also plan to bring along with me my prehistoric digital camera to take photos of these celebrities as remembrance.

However, I am still contemplating whether to bring me a pen and paper where the movie stars can sign their autographs since getting their elusive autographs seemed too farfetched.  Instead, in keeping with the circa 70’s and 80’s tradition of a true Filipino fan (ala Germspecial or GMA Super Show – famous but now defunct Filipino Sunday noontime shows hosted by German Moreno), I will bring lots of Sampaguita leis to hang and drape around their respective necks.  The amount of these flower garlands that I will put around their neck would be so plenty, only the foreheads of these Hollywood stars would be visible.  Here in the Philippines during the 70’s and 80’s the higher the leis that hang on a celebrity’s neck the more sikat (popular and admired) he or she is.

No way will I instruct the padyak driver to take a different route since I expect to experience rare Hollywood star sightings, the Malate version.

Yihee, may rason na akong hwag umabsent sa mga araw nayan…

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Nengkoy is the nickname of my mom during her pre-school years. Her parents and relatives call her ‘Ang Neneng Ko’. With her pretty charm and appeal, she was usually called in a melodic way using this lovely phrase. Until it evolved for easier articulation of the phrase, Ang Neneng Ko was shorten to Nengkoy.

Nengkoy

Nengkoy is the nickname of my mom during her pre-school years. Her parents and relatives call her ‘Ang Neneng Ko’. With her pretty charm and appeal, she was usually called in a melodic way using this lovely phrase. Until it evolved for easier articulation of the phrase, Ang Neneng Ko was shorten to Nengkoy.