Sunday, June 29, 2014

Fun and meaningful time at #BoomPH, the 3rd Social Media Day celebration in the Philippines

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The Philippine National Anthem playing at the start of #BoomPH's main event. Cool lights, huh?

Yesterday, June 28, hundreds of netizens trooped to the Samsung Hall at SM Aura Premier for the 3rd Social Media Day in the Philippines. Social Media Day (#SMDay) is an annual global event launched by Mashable in 2010 "as a way to recognize the digital revolution happening right before our eyes," where people and communities are encouraged to organize local meetups in their respective cities.

In the Philippines, in Metro Manila in particular, the first such event was organized in 2012 by Tweetup Manila (@TweetupMNL), an online community of people who I can say are genuinely into social good, be it about disasters, rescues, and many more. It's their passion, one that's good and one that brings even more good.

Anyway, yesterday was the third, which was dubbed #BoomPH, short for "The Best of Online Media in the Philippines." Since 2012, #SMDay has gradually made its way into the Filipino consciousness and this year, more and more communities have joined in and staged their own celebrations in cities like Baguio, Cebu, Davao, and General Santos. And I'm sure there were more. The official worldwide #SMDay may be June 30 but hey, it's best celebrated on a weekend, right?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Bringing back the old glory of the Bocaue Pagoda Festival

Technically it's called the Kapistahan ng Mahal na Poon ng Krus sa Wawa (Feast of the Holy Cross of Wawa). It's called many names actually but it's arguably the pagoda branding that people recognize the most. As an age-old tradition, the cross that was reportedly fished out of the river in Wawa in Bocaue, Bulacan is paraded annually down the river in a festively-designed pagoda. All this grandness, however, came to a screeching halt on July 2, 1993 when the pagoda gave out and sank in the river, killing around 500 people, mostly children and women.

At the office last Tuesday, the topic came from out of the blue and a colleague who hails from Bocaue told us that their new parish priest is reviving the festivities of old. It's been 21 years since that fateful evening that came to be known as the Bocaue Pagoda Tragedy, and maybe it was time for everyone to move on.

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June 27, 2014: The revived grandness of the pagoda tradition makes its way through the river on the first night of the 9-day novena in the Holy Cross's honor. (Photo from St Martin of Tours Parish Facebook page)

Legend has it, according to my colleague, that more than a hundred years ago a fisherman from Wawa found a black cross in the river and brought it home. His family's life soon turned out for the better, which he attributed to the cross that he found. Later more people would join in the veneration until the cross was entrusted to the parish church.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

[Throwback Thursday 06.26.2014] Mabanban na maulan

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Natulog sa presinto (Slept in a police precinct).

Oh yeah, that's me sleeping in a police station in the town of San Antonio, Zambales in the wee hours of one rain-soaked August morning in 2005. Well, it's not like I was apprehended or something that I had to spend the night in jail. Definitely not. It was probably around 2am and we just got off the bus from Manila, waiting for daybreak before we begin our ascent to Mt. Mabanban.

The mountaineering club we helped establish at our company, I'm happy to say, will be celebrating its 10th year anniversary this Saturday, June 28 at the foot of this very same mountain. I can't help but reminisce the two times I've scaled this mountain, each one with a different story to tell. This post is about my second time, an exploration climb with just four others. It was the height of the rainy season and we basically checked out if it would be a suitable venue for our 2nd batch of inductees, taking into account the logistics, the conditions, and the would-be impact on the mountain.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The simplicity and laid-back charm of Aloguinsan, Cebu

My Bibe's short work-related trip to the southern part of Cebu province last month netted her a lot of really nice Instagram photos that had me exclaiming "I wish I was there." They visited a couple of towns and dropped by a couple more on their drive back to Cebu City. This may just be a second-hand account but it's something I simply want to share.

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In Aloguinsan they can teach you basic banig weaving.

Their first stop was Aloguinsan, a small fourth-class municapality about 59 km southwest of Cebu City. It's an old town, dating back to Spanish colonial times, with a watchtower atop a hill as testament that this place has had its own share of history.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

[Throwback (Travel) Thursday 06.19.2014] Under the sea in Cebu (but not the city)

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Fun time with these guys. Quick, find me in the photo!

A photographer-friend has been egging us to try diving, ever so zealous in talking about it and trying to convince us that it really is something else, that it's a totally different world down there. I know it is because I've tried it...once upon a time on March 10, 2002. Then I realized I once wrote personal accounts of some of my travels, and here's what I've unearthed:

Cebu and its neighbor, Mactan, are both blessed with excellent beaches and wonderful dive spots.  Having spent my whole college life in Cebu, it is such a shame (and pity, I might add) that I never got to “really” explore its beauty.  A couple of years after my graduation, I was back in this queen city of the South for a work assignment.  Never had I expected that I would be seeing more of Cebu, far beyond its metropolitan lifestyle and nightlife.  This time, though, I would be seeing it from underwater.

Tasteful home design at Lucina

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The Lucina store fa├žade cleverly makes it appear like there are four different stores but which actually correspond to how items are arranged inside. And yes, there are four different doors.

Thanks to My Bibe's Instagram-hopping, I got introduced to a nice little shop for home furniture, art, and decor called Lucina in Sta Rosa, Laguna. It was the perfect time as we spent the weekend in Tagaytay and the store was right along the highway. We already spotted it while driving to the upland city and made a quick stop on our way home.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Lake Hotel Tagaytay: A hotel with a great view

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Fantastic view of the Taal Lake at The Lake Hotel.

Another last-minute decision to spend the weekend in Tagaytay and we ended up at The Lake Hotel Tagaytay. It was our first time here and so here's a rundown of our experience.

Booking and check-in
The hotel has its own online booking facility though I made mine through Hotels.com since all the rooms allocated on their website were already taken. At least it's nice to know you can book online since there are still places in Tagaytay--bed and breakfasts especially--that don't have such a facility, which would require you to make a bank deposit.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

[Lookbook 06.10.2014] Stuck in summer

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Rains have started to become more frequent again. Add to that a tropical depression in the northwest area of the country, there's no denying the rainy season has arrived.

In light of such a gloomy weather, I thought of "summer-fying" my outfit with a bit of color and some show of ankle (okay, the cats are a bonus). The snug fit and cropped cut of the trousers are just begging for some skin to be exposed, so I ditched the socks.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Big cat heaven at Phuket's Tiger Kingdom

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"Please don't eat my tail. Please don't eat my tail. Oh please, please, please don't...please," begged the poor tiger as I held on to his tail, ready to take a bite. His eyes were closed, praying he won't be someone else's lunch.

Yeah right, like I'm not supposed to be the one on the worrying end that this tiger would suddenly turn on me and I end up as his lunch! But I was confident the beautifully striped big cats at Tiger Kingdom wouldn't do such a horrible thing. They were so miming and just utterly adorable.

Undoubtedly the highlight of our recent trip to Phuket, Tiger Kingdom is actually this specialty zoo's third branch in Thailand already, the original being in Ubon Ratchathani (which houses other animals as well) and the second in Chiang Mai. They had to expand to earn additional revenue and sustain their breeding program, which sounds fine to me as I couldn't imagine how much meat those cats consume in just one day.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

[Lookbook 06.05.2014] Blush

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I almost already forgot I had these red wingtips, so I decided to get some dirt under them. It's a tricky color for shoes, and perhaps the easiest way to pull them off is with jeans. I once wore these red shoes with a brown outfit and today I'm trying something different.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Defending the Caveman: Funny, familiar situations about opposite sexes

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Thanks to a friend, we found ourselves last night in a small building in Makati for a preview of the one-man play Defending the Caveman. I didn't know what to expect or what it was about in the first place. Turns out it's just Broadway's longest running one-man stand-up comedy show and that this will be the 5th time it will be staged here in the Philippines.

The preview was set in a dance studio, quite intimate with just a few rows of monoblock chairs all facing an all-black stage and no sound system was used. The play itself, however, will be staged at the RCBC Theater in Makati.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Maleficent: It's Angelina Jolie's show

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"It is done."

Okay, so let's just get past whatever feeling of disgruntlement you may have about your childhood being ruined by this revisionist take on Sleeping Beauty, shall we?

I won't call it a spoiler because we were already made to expect something different from the classic Disney villain, that perhaps Maleficent wasn't pure evil after all. The film explores Maleficent's early days as a young fairy, how she befriended the peasant Stefan, how this guy would later break her heart--and steal something from her--and of course how she ends up cursing Aurora into a death-like sleep.

Aided by costumes and prosthetics, Angelina Jolie essays the title role with perfection. I couldn't imagine anyone else playing the role but her. She even doesn't have to do much because even when the scene just requires her to sit or stand, it's Maleficent that we see. But of course Jolie nails those action sequences, and ably shows emotion when called for.
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