Monday, January 31, 2011

Come Hell or High Water

That phrase perfectly describes my adventure last Saturday.

For the past weeks I've been begging for the rain to stop because I'm saving a trip.

Early last year I've been planning to visit Camiguin. I envied my friends who kept on going back while I haven't made a single, tiny step in that volcanic island. Yes, you heard it right. Camiguin is home to seven volcanoes. That's how it got the name : The Island Born of Fire.

But before I go on with my little story, let me tell you why I almost did not make it there. It's been raining for almost like a month now. Anyone in her right state of mind would definitely discourage a trip because the weather is unpredictable and not just suitable for travel... but, it's just NOT me. So I said to myself : If it's not gonna rain on Friday, then I'm going there! (huh! confident)

Friday came... And it was raining very hard. Damn! I conceded the fact that I'm going anywhere on the weekend. But wait. My lucky star is not giving up on me. The rain stopped and for the first time in weeks that I haven't seen the night sky dotted with stars, that was actually a good sign. So I went early to bed hoping it's not gonna rain at dawn and indeed when I woke up at 3AM, the stars were still up in the sky. I knew then it was time to go. I hurriedly packed my things and went straight to the airport.

We arrived at Cagayan de Oro by 6AM and took the 1.5-hour bus ride to Balingoan. There's actually a direct fastcraft from Cagayan to Benoni (camiguin) but since it will take us 2.5 hours in rough waters, we decided against it and took the 1-hour ferry ride in Balingoan instead.

We hired a multicab that will take us around the island as soon as we disembarked in Benoni. Our first stop was the Tanguines Lagoon. Unfortunately we didn't stay long coz it was starting to rain and our stomachs were growling. We proceeded to Sto. NiƱo Cold Spring for a cool, refreshing bath and a sumptous lunch. There we enjoyed the cold spring that sprouted from the sandy bottom of the pool. The area is full of native cottages for family picnics and a cookout facility that mostly serve seafoods.

Next stop was the Soda Water Swimming Pool. Well, yeah it's just a swimming pool but instead of using chlorine-treated water, they are using Soda. Don't ask me what it means coz I haven't figured it out even after the lady who was at the gate explained what is Soda. All I can remember is that she was saying it can heal diseases. But I'm still not sure if I heard her right, but anyway. The rain was incessant with its downpour, the coldness was growing and we were starting to shiver when we decided to proceed with our itinerary.

The Ruins of Gui-ob Church.
We're going down history this time. This is the remains of a 400-year old church that crumbled into pieces when the old volcano erupted sometime in 1871. Hundreds of homes and thousands of lives perished in that unthinkable tragedy. Even the city of the dead was buried deep into the sea when their cemetery sunk during the eruption. At present a cross marker was built along the area to commemorate their once community cemetery. Years ago, gravestones are visible during low tide. But now it is nothing but an interesting dive site.

From the Sunken Cemetery we went straight to old volcano. They made a walkway where you can climb to the top of the volcano. The volcano has been dormant for centuries. I guess there's nothing to worry about climbing it but I'm paranoid and I like to imagine the worst of things so I'm kinda hesitant to do it. Anyway, the walkway has the stations of the cross where devout Catholics flock during Lenten Season. This is the most visited spot in Camiguin on Good Friday.
Our last stop was the Ardent Hot Spring. It is located at the foot of Mt. Hibok-hibok, the only active volcano in the island. The water temperature reaches up to 34 degrees. Quite hot and is very ideal if you had a long day.

We were supposed to go trekking to Katibawasan Falls but we cancelled. Our guide told us that the way to the falls was closed because it's dangerous to go up there. The road is slippery and muddy because of the rain. Hmmp!! Maybe next time if I'll have another chance to visit Camiguin, I won't miss it.

And it was indeed a long day. I immediately hit the sheets as soon as we arrived at the place where we stayed for the night. One thing's for sure, Camiguin has an unspoiled beauty that would leave everyone in awe. It's very natural, historical and simply magnificent.

Monday, January 24, 2011

My Friends and their Diabolical Plan

I don't know if I should be grateful for having a bunch of supportive friends coz sometimes they feel like a curse. I'm talking about my friends at work. Actually they're kind, cheerful and trustworthy. But they also have a dark side (exaggeration) and I'm often the victim of their wicked, viscious plans (puppy eyes). I guess they really love me like that.

Anyway, since it's almost February, our HR announced that we will be having a 2-week Valentine celebration starting next week. Cool, right? No. Not anymore when I found out they are up to something.

Our HR came up with "Battle of the Singles" game. Here's how it goes : All names of single ladies (which I am one) and men will be posted. On the first round everyone will cast a vote who they want to eliminate. The top 2 ladies and top 2 men who have the least votes to elimate will qualify for the next round. In the next round, employees will vote who they want to win. They will drop one peso (Php1.00) in the ballot box whenever they cast a vote. Whoever accumulates the highest sum of money goes on a date, with of course the money they've accumulated as the prize.

I can't believe I just explained the rules.

After the announcement, the three of them looked at each other, eyes sparkling, smiling scornfully. And I knew then they were up to something. I could actually smell it.

Their target? ME!!! Who else would be a better prey?

Their diabolical plan : For me to win that date!

Pathetic. I know!

Before I'm gonna divulge their strategy, you might wonder "what's in it for me?". If you have read my previous post you would know about Mr. Someone, right? Right. Mr. Someone-is-a-colleague-who-happens-to-be-my-partner-in-that-fashion-show-which-I-refused-to-join-at-first-but-my-sinister-friends-forced-me-to-and-now-I-don't-know-if-I-should-thank-them-coz-you-know... arrggghhh!!! fill in the blanks coz it's going to be another post.

During our lunch break at the cafeteria they were campaigning to everyone and I mean everyone inside the cafeteria. They're making rounds on all tables, telling everyone they meet at the hallway or wherever to vote for me and Mr. Someone! They are that crazy.

I know I shouldn't bother coz it's just a little thing and I would look so childish if I'd let the teasing get into my  nerves BUT SERIOUSLY IT BOTHERS ME. I just don't like being exposed or put myself into the limelight. It feels like "showbiz" and I hate that. Not just my kind of thing. I'm the type who doesn't crave much for public attention.

And speaking of public attention, my friends are on their feet and they're serious about getting the voting public. They're devising a poster with our picture on it and they're going to post it in the bulletin boards. Whoooaahh!!! This is NOT so cool. I should do something to thwart their plan but it seems my tactics won't work. I tried bribing, treating them to dinner and booze but I get snubbed. Grrrr....! They are ridiculously serious. Or aren't they? Maybe I should start beating them until their bones crack... But 3 against 1? Nah! I won't stand a chance.

So let's just wait and see what will happen on Valentines Day. Before we went back to work I heard them talking about shelling out some cash just to make sure we'll bag the highest sum of money. Damn! This doesn't look so good. Tsk...tsk...tsk....

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I want to scream at the top of my lungs!

This is one moment in my life where I’m walking on sunshine, brimming with elation and smiling all to myself looking like a fool. Sorry, I have tendencies to overstress words and feelings but all I wanna say is that I AM HAPPY. This is indeed a good year for me. And I want to claim that! With the many good things happening around, I would say I am truly blessed and finally the tables have turned.

2010 ended up with good news from our management. We’re having a raise! Wow!!! Isn’t that amazing? The global financial crisis had crippled a larger sum of the import industry and we were no exception. Our annual increase had been suspended for two years and it had seriously left a dent on managing our finances. Every single thing from basic commodity to clothes to transport fares went up except for the pay. I’m glad we were able to get past the obstacles and managed to emerge as stable and as strong as we are.

Another reason why I seem to be on cloud nine most of the time is because someone is just making me happy. Wait, the next sentences are going to be mushy. So puke all you want until your eyeballs pop out of their sockets. No, seriously, I met someone. When I was dealing with heartbreak and trying to get myself back I met him. We instantly became friends despite the fact that we were two different worlds. I drink, he doesn’t. I love going out and traveling, he’s a home buddy. I talk fast, he’s soft spoken. I’m crazy, he’s well-behaved. If I’m going to put it bluntly – I’m the bad girl, he’s the good guy.

I’m starting to believe that opposites do attract. I never saw it coming and I never thought we would have the potential to get along. Our differences were making it exciting for us to discover one another. You can tell me I’m on rebound, but something deep inside tells me this could be something. We are not officially an item yet but we’ve been communicating and seeing each other since October. Everyday is a new day which brings us closer together. Though it’s quite evident that we both feel special, I still don’t want to rush into things. This time I wanna make it right and assure myself that I’m ready. All that’s important to me now is that I’m soaring through rainbows and I’m happy. And it can be hard to contain. :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Some Thoughts on Writing

Not only once did I profess my passion for writing. It has become my venue for letting out my frustrations, the sadness, happiness and everything in between. It made me become articulate on the things I struggle to impart. Writing for me, has always been easy like breathing. It's a way of life. But ask me if I ever dreamed of becoming a writer. I would give a straight NO for an answer. 

Most people who indulge in writing often aspire or see themselves as professional writers. Others dream of publishing their own book. Or write a column in a magazine. I always have tremendous laud for these people. A writer isn't just a noble profession. It is sacred.

A priest once said in his homily that there are 3 ways to leave a legacy in this world. First, you've got to have kids. Second, plant a tree. And third, write a book. I wondered if I would qualify for that. I mean, I don't have kids - yet, but I have planted trees and been able to keep this journal for a year. But seriously, does that give me the right to call myself a writer? Does that warrant me the spotlight should I choose to heed on that direction? Do I have that gift to influence others and touch their lives? That fact remains at large.

A recent opportunity humbled me and had me mulling over the past days. Our company is relaunching the newsletter next month. I was astonished to find my name as part of the elite editorial circle. Honestly, I don't know how I ended up being on the list, but maybe the essay I wrote two years ago paved the way. I was thrilled and anxious with the news. Thrilled because I will cater a bigger audience. Thrilled by the fact that aside from blogging, I will explore a different perspective and a new path. I couldn't be more ecstatic! But I'm anxious. Anxious because it seemed such a huge responsibility. A chip on the shoulder. I'm anxious by the looming commitment ahead which is entirely on top of my regular job. The expectations, the series of brainstorming, interviews, proofreading and deadlines. Argh.. they're running through my head right now.

I'm deeply honored and grateful for the opportunity. Late last year I was appointed to lead the Scrabble Club which is a great achievement for me since I'm a certified scrabble enthusiast. And now, this! I'm thankful for the management's confidence and trust on my knack for writing. As far as "feeling the pressure" is concerned, well, yes I am.

Love to write and writing well are two worlds apart. What if I'm not able to convey the right words, the exact details, the focal point of the article? I've had contributions on school paper befere but that was like eons ago. I totally forgot how it's like. Article writing isn't quite the same as blogging. In blogging, I do my own rules and the scopes are usually subjective. With this new challenge, I shall learn to be straighforward, objective and oh, no cursing this time.

Though sometimes I feel like I'm a commitment-phobic, I do my best to gear up for the challenges that come my way. What better way to start a year than taking writing to a higher level? I may not trust myself fully on this. I may not be that confident. I may not be able to pull it off. But one thing is certain, one thing would remain constant, and that I'm sure - I'll always go after writing whenever there's an opportunity, whatever it takes.

Cheers to writing!


Please Rain, I already have issues. Don't add to it.

There's no doubt about it... Rainy days are here!!! Well, looks like I'm going to miss Mr. Sunny for a couple more months, or a month if I'm lucky. It's no secret that I have more affection to Mr. Sunny but he's out there hiding beneath the gloomy clouds. It's alright though, I'll have plenty and more of him when summer comes.

So the rain doesn't have plans to stop anytime soon. Doesn't it ever get tired from pouring all day and night? I missed Sinulog because of it! Errr... I decided against going to the streets and watch the street dance because : (a.) it's unbelievably crowded. (b.) the long walks! damn. haven't I learned my lesson? if I'm going to sum up how far I have walked, it will translate into miles. that far! (c.) i figured i'm going to walk my way home (like last year). yeah! the roads were blocked and streets were jump packed. you've got no choice but to walk. (d.) crappy weather.

       this is me striking a pose with one of the hundreds of contingents for the sinulog street dance. (taken last jan. 2010)

Actually, I can manage the crowd and the long walks. When you see people dancing in the street in their colorful costumes, it gives you a boost of excitement and you'll forget how tired you are. Oh and not to mention the stinky smell of some people around you. But the crappy weather? No! I've had enough. Last year we were soaking wet and our toes were draped with dirt. Besides, my partners in crime don't think it is a good idea for us to be out there so we just settled.

I missed a yearly event because of you RAIN! Don't tell me you will not let me enjoy my trip next week. Come on! Have a little mercy on the poor girl...

Okay. I'm going to compromise and make a promise that I'll stop cursing you and I will no longer write rant posts about you in this blog. Now do we have a deal? I'm fucking serious here! Just take a break and let Mr. Sunny fill your absence okay? A week without you is just what I need. Please! I'm dealing with lots of issues in my life today and you don't want to be part of it, do you? Thanks.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hello Sunshine!

I woke up this morning with sluggishness on my feet. My watching of movies late at night is starting to cause me trouble getting up. Then I noticed a faint band of light coming from the outside trying to get  into the window pane. I gasp. For almost two weeks  now I haven't seen the mighty sun. If it's not raining whole day, the sky is gloomy, dark and covered with angry clouds threatening to drench me with the heavy rain. 

I don't hate the rain, nor do I love it. It just fills me with disgust when it dirts my favorite shoes with mud. When I have difficulty hailing a cab because it's all occupied and I'm soaking wet. When it leaves catasthrophe and so much misery.

Despite my less fascination of the rain I long for it on hot summer nights where the sound of raindrops make sleep more inviting. When it wipes my tears and hides me from crying. When I needed a good excuse to just stay home, sit in front of the TV and sip my coffee.

Well rain, you're overstaying. I missed the sun already. For two weeks your presence is dominating and I've seen you poured your wrath in different parts of the world. So imagine my surprise when the sun finally showed up this morning. I've always loved the sun. It warms my heart and makes me smile. It lightens me up when I'm having a rough day. 

Hello there sunshine! I hope you'll stay throughout the day, tomorrow, the next day and the day after next. Damn! Can't wait for summer to come...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hopes, Wishes, Resolutions...the things I need to do this 2011!

I'm going to list down a few things which I think I need to do, focus more and hope to achieve this year. Not really a resolution coz I know I'm not good at keeping them. This is more of a "wanna" list and hopefully I'll be able to fulfill 60% of it.

Are you ready?

Ok, here we go.

First, I need to lose weight ASAP! When I slipped into my jeans this morning I had to breathe in radically so I can button it. I told you I've been eating a lot during the holidays and I'm too lazy to shed out some pounds. So now I'm suffering the consequences.

Exercise. Aerobics. Gym. Gosh! I've got to do something... Gaining weight is costly. Why? Coz you need to buy new clothes. Please, I don't have money to spare.

Next, I hope to realize my career plans this year. I'm up and ready for a new challenge. I'm just waiting for the right opportunity to roll in. 

Also, I hope to travel and visit more places this year. Oh well, I think I'm going to work harder for that. Wait, I should consider a career on tourism. They should hire me!!!

Fourth, I'll try to be up early. I hate getting up early (except on weekdays coz I have no choice but to get up early for work). I found out that waking up early is beneficial - because you can do and finish a lot of things. So starting this weekend and on days where I don't have work, I'll wake up at 6AM (crossing fingers). Uhm.. can I just make it 7AM? Alright.

I also need to catch up on my reading. Seriously, when was the last time I read a book? When? I could not remember. My goal : read at least one book every month. Not just any book, a good book. Maybe I'll try classics (as inspired by Ratz) (wink)

And lastly, I hope to write more post. Last year I was able to make 104 blog posts. I was averaging on 12 posts a month but halfway through the year it went down to 5. I don't know what happened.

Well there's nothing life-changing on my list. Nothing crucial. It's because I decided to live one day at a time. For the past years, I lived my life based on plans I set for myself and on people's expectations. Now, I don't wanna plan anymore. I want to take and embrace whatever fate offers me and make the best out of it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Adversities and Challenging Times

Note : I'm gonna try to write this post in a sober way.

Okay, I'm not intoxicated (at least that I'm sure). I just came from a 12-hour boat trip from home, and believe me, it wasn't fun.

Two years ago, I swore I'll never ever take a boat no matter how much cost it would save me. After that island hopping incident where the ferry almost capsized, I developed a trauma on big waves and bad weather. But some two years ago was different. It was sunny. There was no storm. Not a slightest rain. But an hour after we departed, the ship began to rock and dance to the tune of big waves. I'm serious.

I've never been so afraid in my life. I couldn't remember how many Hail Marys and Our Fathers I prayed just to spare us from an impending mishap. I've traveled via ship countless times before but that was the worst part of them all that I would curse the wind and the waves everytime it clashed with the vessel. So I made a firm resolution : No more third time for me.

Then came last night...

It was raining nonstop in my hometown for four days already. And when I say nonstop I mean whole day and night. Because of the annoying, unforgiving rain - all flights going in and out were cancelled. And that left me with no other option but to take the boat (unless I'm planning to extend my vacation for another week, then I shall wait until they decide to open the runway). So that explains why I fee like I'm wasted today. I only got 3 intermittent hours of sleep. Why? Can you sleep when it feels like you're being tossed or riding in a swing? Roller coasters are indeed fun, right? But when you're in the middle of the dark sea and you know for a fact that you can't swim or even do the floating in the basic sense - it's a different story!

Thank God we arrived safe and sound. But that's not the end of my worries. I got a news back home that it's starting to rain again. Oh did I tell you that the streets were flooded and in our neighbohood the flood water was on knee level? What a great way to start the year! I'm worried coz word has it that they will release water from the dam anytime today. It could only mean one thing : flood water will rise and with the constant rain, only God knows what will happen next.

It fears me coz it's just my mother and my younger brother left at home. It fears me coz it's a disaster waiting to happen and yet some people would quip about it like a ridiculous joke. Hell, if they've got nothing good to say in their facebook shoutout then they should shut up. It infuriates me when some people are making fun of the current situation and posting stupid comments. It isn't funny!

Mother Nature has always her way of getting back at us for the things we've done. And when she does, it's not going to be pretty. I couldn't forget the time when our country suffered a massive flood and landslide. I don't want it to happen again. How soon do we realize it's time to take care of our planet? It's the only place we have and the only place we can live in. It's sad to ponder that it takes a calamity before we heed the warning. It takes a disaster to claim lives before we take a step. The signs are everywhere. We see and feel it everyday that something is not just right. But we are too busy to even listen what Nature is telling us. She's speaking to us and she's channeling it the way we will never forget.

To those who are reading this post, please include in your prayers those who are severely affected by flood and landslide in some parts of Visayas and Mindanao in the Philippines.


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