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Archive for November, 2015

El Nido was never in my bucket list.  It is because, before I was able to create mental notes about my bucket list, I have already been to this paradise of a place.  My recent trip to El Nido was not my first.  I was in this tropical paradise more than twenty years ago.  I remember during that particular trip, going to El Nido was even more difficult than how it is now.

it felt like owning the whole stretch of this beautiful beach paradise

it felt like owning the whole stretch of this beautiful beach paradise

cheers!

cheers!

Reaching and travelling now and then to El Nido is like reaching for the stars!  More than twenty years ago, underprivileged tourists like me could not afford to pay for a private plane that would bring me to El Nido.  Me and my friends had to travel first to Puerto Princesa and take a bumpy public transport (a huge non-air-conditioned truck transformed into a bus) that would pass through the never-seem-to-end super dusty dirt road for 12 long hours.  Now the easy, smooth and air-conditioned land travel from Puerto Princesa to El Nido (though still a lot of time) would only take about four to five hours.

What is so distinct about the El Nido tourists more than 20 years ago is that majority of them were foreigners.  Except me, local Filipino tourists then would comprise of either from (i) very rich families; (ii) corrupt political personalities; and, (iii) stylish showbiz superstars.  Now, it is so heartwarming to know that more local tourists from the middle class spectrum of society could already go and marveled at the beauty of El Nido.

beautiful

beautiful

big lagoon

big lagoon

twin beach

twin beach

Local tourists from rich families more than 20 years ago may have gone bankrupt; corrupt politicians more than 20 years ago may have been jailed or whose souls are now burning in hell; and, stylish showbiz superstars may have gone baduy (outmoded) and laos (obsolete) but the majestic beauty, charismatic energy and mesmeric attraction of El Nido remains the same.   Glad to know that El Nido continues to be the country’s superstar tropical destination!

peaceful and very relaxing

peaceful and very relaxing

Because of its splendid attractions, I have just revised my bucket list.  It is because I have included El Nido and that I have to experience all the marvelous sites that it has to offer.  Right now this paradise has four island hopping tours (A, B, C and D tours) plus the inland travels going to a fresh water falls and the Nacpan/Twin Beach.  This now gives me reason to return!

Ang ganda naman kasi.

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believe it or not... i took this shot...

believe it or not… i took this shot…

One romance theory that has been backed up by empirical study shows that playing hard to get is a good way to build desire and romantic attraction.  Case in point for this theory is the hardships that one would have to encounter and endure before reaching the most beautiful tropical vacation place on earth known as El Nido in Palawan.

Unless you have heaps of wealth, getting to El Nido is an exhausting challenge.  Like the theory of playing hard to get, reaching El Nido can be like investing into some emotional and physical investments.

el nido port

el nido port

going inside the big lagoon...

going inside the big lagoon…

inside the "secret lagoon"

inside the “secret lagoon”

super nice.... at the yet to be spoiled, nacpan beach

super nice…. at the yet to be spoiled, nacpan beach

beauty...

beauty…

One would have to encounter the dangers-that-be lurking at the Manila airport, one would have to endure the often-delayed flights of airlines, one would have to suffer the butt-aches and bladder-control agonies of land travel for five to six hours, one would have to bear with the bumpy boat rides when touring the paradise-like destinations, one would have to endure the stings and soreness of a sunburn.

But all these hardships would definitely be worth it!  All these pains and stressors would simply be erased as soon as you see, smell and experience the desirable and attractive paradise known as El Nido.

Kakamangha!

 

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According to the World Toilet Organization, approximately 2.4 billion people lacks access to a basic toilet.  I know this is a serious global matter, but in celebration of the World Toilet Day today, let me feature one unique toilet I found, used and amazed about when I visited Osaka this February 2015.

It is the public toilet found at Harukas 3000 Observatory, the top most floor of the highest building in Japan known as Harukas Abeno Tower in Tennoji, Osaka.

Japan I suppose has the most technologically advanced toilets.  But the one I found in Harukas 3000 Observatory is not about the toilet fixtures and facilities.  It is actually the breathtaking view inside the washroom.

don't be fooled by the minimalist look of the entrance...

don’t be fooled by the minimalist look of the entrance…

one rare view for a toilet!

one rare view for a toilet!

picture muna.  the reflection of the view on the mirror makes me dizzy...

picture muna. the reflection of the view on the mirror makes me dizzy…

you know the toilet is clean in you are willing to sleep in it.  up at the end are the cubicles...

you know a toilet is clean if you are willing to sleep in it. up at the end are the cubicles…

this is the spine-chilling view as soon as you open the door of the toilet cubicle after you relieved yourself

this is the spine-chilling view as soon as you open the door of the toilet cubicle after you relieved yourself

This toilet I guess is not for the faint at heart.  Acrophobic attacks would definitely starts to set in as soon as you enter it.  The walls of the toilet are thick clear glass in which toilet users would not have the choice but to look at the chilling panoramic view of the buildings, roads, bridges and other infrastructures of Kansai area.

Mapapa-tae ka sa lula!

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If usage of high tech armaments could not be the approach for terrorists to be hurt the most.  It would be the powerful words like that of Antoine Leiris that could totally destroy a terrorist’s being.

Antoine Leiris is a loving husband whose wife was killed by yet to be known terrorists last November 13, 2015 in the Bataclan massacre in Paris, France.

This message by Mr. Leiris can be one of the biggest insults a terrorists could ever receive!  Leiris’ mighty words were more than a slap on a terrorists’ face, a bullet shot in a terrorist’s heart, a kick on a terrorist’s butt and a bomb explosion unto a terrorist’s brain.

as captured from leiris' facebook page

as captured from leiris’ facebook page

antoine leiris

antoine leiris

Here’s the complete text of Leiris’ writing as translated in English:

You will not have my hatred.

On Friday night you stole away a life of an exceptional being, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you will not have my hatred.  I do not know who you are and I don’t want to know.  You are dead souls.

If the God for whom you kill so blindly made us in His image, each bullet in my wife’s body would have been a wound in His heart.

Therefore I will not give you the gift of hating you.  You have obviously sought it. But to reply to hatred with anger would be like giving in to the same ignorance that has made you what you are.  You want me to be afraid, to cast a mistrustful eye on my fellow citizens, to sacrifice my liberty for security.  Lost. Same player, same game.

I saw her this morning.  Finally, after nights and days of waiting.  She was just as beautiful as she was when she left on Friday evening, as beautiful as when I fell madly in love with her more than 12 years ago.

Of course I’m devastated with grief, I will give you that tiny victory, but this will be a short-term grief.  I know that she will join us every day and that we will find each other again in a paradise of free souls which you will never have access to.

We are only two, my son and I, but we are more powerful than all the armies of the world.  In any case, I have no more time to waste on you.  I need to get back to Melvil who is waking up from his afternoon nap.  He’s just 17 months old; he’ll eat his snack like every day, and then we’re going to play like we do every day; and every day of his life this little boy will insult you with his happiness and freedom.  Because you won’t have his hatred either. — Antoine Leiris

‘Yan ang totoong Taray!  May laman!!!

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I would like to believe that I must have done something beautiful in my past life that my present one has been so blessed.  One particular blessing is the opportunity to go and visit the beautiful and mystifying Koyasan, a unique Buddhist town nestled high in the peaks of Mt. Koya in Wakayama, Japan.

But what is so amazing by such a blessing is that I did not only visited this UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the holiest places in Japan once.  I was given by the heavens the generous chance to visit  Koyasan twice.  First was during the springtime of 2014 while the second was this year’s richly colored autumn season.

Selected 2014 Photos

with nengkoy and the gang...

with nengkoy and the gang…

at my back is the massive kongobuji temple

at my back is the massive kongobuji temple

breathtaking...

breathtaking…

feeling blessed...

feeling blessed…

right at the heart of ukunoin

right at the heart of okunoin

Selected 2015 Photos

taglagas...

taglagas…

strike a pose...

strike a pose…

mesmerized by the chanting of these monks...

mesmerized by the chanting of these monks…

hugging a massive tree at okunoin...

hugging a massive tree at okunoin…

same alley, same person, different season

same alley, same person, different season

colors of autumn...

colors of autumn…

What captivates me most about Koyasan is the peaceful aura and zen-like atmosphere it emits.  Visitors will truly feel the positive serenity and explicit spiritual side of Japan.  I am not religious, but each of the visit I did in this holy place made me feel so moved, it makes me wanna pray!

Koyasan is one great travel destination, no way will I hesitate if in this lifetime, I would be given the chance again of visiting this holy place for the third time.

Mapapa-Eymen ka sa ganda!

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Thanks to Halloween and the tradition of dressing up to be someone else on this day.  It is because it is one day in a year when the young ones and young at hearts got to exercise their wonderful sense of magical imagination.

I have always been the “I don’t care about Halloween” type of a person.  But my Halloween this year is totally different!  I spent this year’s Halloween in Osaka, Japan.  And I had a blast!

i got to be The Riddler

i got to be The Riddler

It was the night I got to be someone I was not.  I got to be The Riddler!  It was the night that no soul stopped me from looking weird and acting strangely.  It was one night that I just took all my cares away.  And the best part of it is that I got to party with some of my monster pamangkins (nieces & nephews)!

What is so awesome about the Halloween in Osaka is that herds of people wear costumes for the occasion. The array of costumes are just unbelievable!  And they would walk the streets of Osaka in a very cheery mood creating an awesome street-party-like atmosphere!

aylavet!

aylavet!

super fun!

super fun!

amazing!

amazing!

one with the osaka halloween

one with the osaka halloween

Me and my pamangkins, in our respective costumes, walked and went to the Triangle Park known as Sankaku Koen where people in their amazing costumes converge to see and be seen.  A lot of people say that walking the streets of Osaka in costume during Halloween will be incomplete if you won’t pass by Sankaku Koen.

One extra ordinary thing about this Halloween tradition in this park is that there seem to be no planning, no advertisement, no organization nor program being followed.  But everyone just turns up to this park in their costume so as to amaze and be amazed!

nemesis galore...

nemesis galore…

bongga!

bongga!

the queen of hearts and the joker

the queen of hearts and the joker

the riddler and the stormtrooper

the riddler and the stormtrooper

party! party! we owned the dancefloor at balabushka!

party! party! we owned the dancefloor at balabushka!

After witnessing the colorful, amazing and unbelievable costumes in Sankaku Koen, me and my pamangkins went to Balabushka – a dance club – where we all danced our Halloween cares away!

Kakaibang gemba! Kakamangha!

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I know that it already have stores here in Manila, but if destiny would grant my wish of travelling someday to the United Kingdom, I will never miss the chance of going to John Lewis.  This is for the simple reason of being so touched every year by their Christmas ad.

John Lewis Christmas ads are so awe-inspiring, it seem to have become a tradition for Britons to look forward to its annual release.

This year’s edition is entitled “Man On The Moon”

tear-jerking...

tear-jerking…

Ang Es Em kaya maka-gawa ng ganyang ka-tatching na patalastas?

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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.

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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.