January 23, 2012

the most powerful woman in the world...

not marian rivera for heaven and hell's sake...

i am talking about amaya the character in the gma epicserye. i wish it should have been played by angel locsin instead who looks more filipina than the half spanish, marian rivera. nonetheless, it was a great move by gma to unearth pre-spanish history for the filipino to watch so i am buying this dvd. i just hope more shows such as amaya will be created.

for years, we have been duped into believing our history textbooks that our country has only been visited by foreigners when in fact, it was more than just visits. we had civilizations which catholicism destroyed and one of the hallmarks of those civilizations were warrior women like amaya and urduja. pre-spanish history can be traced via the filipino martial art called, "kali" or "arnis". it was during those times that women have the responsibility to protect the home while the men are away to hunt food so all women should be knowledgeable in handling bladed weapons. the spaniards despised this idea so they tamed the women immediately thru religion as soon as they were able to learn the language. the "maria clara" is the epitome of a woman back then. until now, you still hear the old people saying that what a woman should be is a maria clara, someone who follows her father and her husband and someone who should always stay indoors to take care of the children and do household chores. not someone who travels alone, earns double phd's, knows how to fight, and contests with men.

with the advent of industrialization, manpower -- in the literal sense of man power -- wherein the use of body skills are lessened as machines took over most of the jobs, more mind-based workers are needed and these type of jobs were more appealing to women. more women became workers as the university opened its doors to women thereby, in the world we have now, we have more women fussing over the streets of manila to go to work. we have different urdujas and amayas now but the greatest question is, will the church be conquered by women soon? will there be priestesses? will they let women run religion? this is definitely something worth witnessing. i just hope i am still alive by then.

gung hei fat choi.. the binondo walk


the chinese new year, also known as the "spring festival", happens every first full moon after the 12th winter solstice moon. it is during the chinese new year when chinese families have their reunion dinner called the "eve of the passing year" or chu xi when they eat sticky rice cakes called nian gao or "tikoy" as we call it in filipino and fortune cakes called huat ke. the chinese people believe that eating these food will bring luck and cohesiveness in the family for the entire year. this event is ended by another event called the "lantern festival" which is 15 days after.

for those who doesn't know yet, binondo is the oldest china town in the world and was established in 1594 to keep unconverted and converted chinese immigrants, their filipino wives and children and the spaniards' filipino wives and children near the walls of intramuros. today, binondo is a hub businesses of filipino and filipino-chinese people and it is where chinese new year is mostly celebrated in the country.


i did not spend a single peso for food as someone treated us for late lunch but 200 to 300 pesos will already give you a hearty meal. less than a thousand pesos for commute, food and souvenirs is a good sum if you are not extravagant. during this day, i had to buy some stuff for the family, friends and for myself that's why i spent quite a lot. nonetheless, here are my expenses for the celebration.

42.00 = bus ride from las pinas to sta cruz
600.00 = 4 pieces of huat ke. 150 per cake
450.00 = 3 pieces of chinese stress balls
42.00 = bus ride from las pinas to sta cruz


for southern people:
ride a bus going to sta cruz. if you can't find one, ride a bus or fx going to lawton and from lawton, ride a jeepney going to sta cruz.

for northern people: 
from edsa corner ortigas, ride a bus going to quiapo. usually these buses are the ones traveling from cainta passing thru ortigas. from quezon city, there are plenty of buses and fx cabs going to quiapo. from quiapo walk your way to avenida (this is the only way i know going to the place) passing through quiapo church and through the  to get to sta cruz.

from sta cruz, you will see the filipino and chinese friendship arch. pass through it and start walking.


i had an open itinerary for this event. january 22, 2012 was the eve of chinese new year. festivities start later in the afternoon which is opened by dragon and lion street dances. on the said date, the first china town pedestrian show was held with performances from filipino-chinese and friends of different ages. there are still festivities on the 23rd but i wasn't able to attend them.


there are times when you intentionally leave your camera at home but suddenly find yourself lost in a picture-perfect event, as for my case, chinese new year festivities at ongpin. despite of it, i had my itouch with me but i only limited the shots to a few photos as i have stored a lot of apps and songs already. at that time, my only agenda was to meet a few friends, who one of them celebrating her birthday at manosa. as i waited for them to arrive from quezon circle, i walked the streets and took photos then frustration hits me... damn i did i leave me camera at home!

while i waited, i witnessed dragon and lion dances, watched the chinese orchestra, ... basically, i just walked around to see stuff. since i was frustrated and all, i was deleting more photos than keeping them. it really sucks not to bring my dlsr as it has always been my eye for such occasions. to ease myself off the frustration, i called my friend ronald and told him that i'll go to lao zhou la mien to reserve seats for us but the place was jam packed with a lot of people. so i called him back again and ask for another place and he suggested manosa. at manosa, i was welcomed by a long line of people with the guard and store owner giving priority to chinese customers. i'm glad that my chinese-like features fooled them in spite of me wearing black and i was given priority to save seats good for 8 people. three lion dances have passed, my friends came but still there are no seats for our number. it was after 30 minutes when we get to have our seats and had our orders taken.

in binondo, if there's one thing you have to remember about food is that they give huge servings. one food is equal to 2 pinoy servings unless you are very hungry or just have a bog appetite. but since most of us are hungry at that time, we swept everything. manosa is famous for their maki (not the japanese food), which is steamed pork in thick broth, and their tennis ball-sized siomai. 

before going home, we watched the chinese pedestrian show where we have seen performances from students of chinese schools such as st stephen's college and chiang kai shek college and also people from different chinese organizations. we were told by the people there that the show ends at midnight so we left at 20:00.

January 16, 2012

mts maculot and macatmon day hike


Jump-off point: Brgy. Poblaction, Cuenca
LLA: 13°55'15"N; 121°2'30"E; 706 MASL
Days required / Hours to Rockies: Half day / 1-2 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 2/9, Trail class 1-3


mt maculot is one of the mountaineering destinations in the philippines where you can survive with less than a hundred pesos in your pocket. despite of the low cost, i am not encouraging everyone to bring a tight sum but i highly advice bringing extra cash if shit happens.

124.00 = bus ride to lipa via tanauan
35.00 = bus ride to cuenca (bus flat rate)
20.00 = tricycle ride per head to jump off
10.00 = police registration fee per head
15.00 = quick bath at mountaineer's store
50.00 = refreshments (softdrinks and crackers)
20.00 = tricycle ride per head to wet market
20.00 = jeep ride to lipa per head
65.00 = chicken lomi
350.00 = 100 proof lambanog 
154.00 = bus to manila via the express way 


it's been my 5th time in maculot and this has what i have followed most often. i drafted a different itinerary going to lipa instead of lemery since we're picking up an office mate who has been staying at lipa every weekend.

0500  assembly at lrt buendia
0600  etd for cuenca; ride bus to lemery 
0800  eta cuenca wet market; ride tricycle to jump off and register at police mini station en route
0830  eta mountaineer's store; repack; do last minute preps
0900  start trek
1000  eta campsite
1100  eta summit; lunch
1200  descend to campsite (or go to traverse route.. this is a different post)
1300  eta campsite; ascend to mt macatmon aka "rockies"
1330  eta mt macatmon summit
1400  descend to campsite
1430  start trek back to mountaineer's store
1530  eta mountaineer's store; prep up for home
1630  ride tricycle to cuenca wet market;
1700  ride bus to manila
1900  eta manila


from manila, ride a bus going to lemery, batangas. the bus stations where these buses are located ar at lrt buendia and kamuning. from lemery, ride a tricycle going to jump off. all the motorists there know where the jump off is.


last 2010 was the last climb i organized for the entire department and later 2011, i discovered that a lot of new hires are outdoor people. i risked sending an invite to the whole department in hopes of attracting people to join my climbs and was happy that i got quite a handful. we pegged january 15, 2012 as our first climb and have chosen mt maculot as the first mountain. a lot of people asked if they can bring their so's and other friends but handling more than 10 people is a stress for me. i could organize 20 maximum but most of the people who i trust for assistance (those i have trained last 2010 or were mountaineers ever since) had to attend to family duties so i have decided to limit the trip only to people within our company. since most of the people who will be joining are still aspiring mountaineers, i drafted a chillax-paced itinerary with more time for rests, cam whoring and bonding.

they agreed that we meet at 04:00 during our pre-climb; thus, i arrived 04:00. ram first came and joined me for a quick breakfast at jollibee where we also bought our packed lunch. i had the fastfood crew put my food in my biokips lunch box. it was amazing for me to look at the crew and the branch manager figuring out how to put one hotdog, one sunny side up egg and one cup of rice in such a small container. then i was later informed that they try to keep pieces of their food whole when serving them to customers. the branch manager and the serving crew chuckled when i told them that cutting the hotdog in half won't be a hindrance for me in eating their food since i'll be hungry by lunch time and won't care how it looks like. thirty minutes later, joey came and ate with us. since this is our first climb, i didn't mind extending for another hour as i have drafted my itinerary with one to two hours allowance. we have been waiting for isau to arrive but we have received no correspondences from him via phone call or sms so we left at 06:00 to arrive lipa at 08:00 to pick up eva. since most of us came from saturday office over time, we just rode the batangas bus that parked right in front of the fastfood. the bus would still pass tanauan but we needed time to sleep and the long ride will help us rest a bit.

we arrived lipa at 08:20 due to the traffic jam at tanauan. eva wasn't there yet so we had our second breakfast at red ribbon (didn't i mention that this was a chillax climb?) to wait for her. as expected, we got a message from isau. he told us that he turned off the phone and forgot to set the alarm. with a lot of exclamation points in his sms, he was definitely frustrated. joey told me that he even bought a pair of hiking shoes just for the climb which aggravated his frustration. eva came at 08:45 with her duffel bag of clothes for another week in manila. she is a local in batangas and has to go home every weekend to visit her home. in fact, the next barangay to mt maculot's jump off is where her family lives! she knows the place pretty well so i gave her the task to help us explore the place for good food after the climb. at 09:00, we rode a bus to cuenca. we could have rode a jeepney instead but we have already waited too long for one going to cuenca.

we arrived at cuenca wet market at 09:30 and took a tricycle ride to the jump off. we left our homeward bound clothes and most of eva's stuff at the store near the jump off. the locals there are honest and trustworthy that most mountaineers can leave almost anything there. but just for safety's sake, i had everyone bring all their valuables. at 10:00 we started trekking. we were blessed with a fair weather so it was easy for us to gain back our stamina in just a few minutes of rest. nonetheless, i still gave the team a 15-minute break as requested in the nearest flatland to enjoy the greenery only to find out that the nearest coconut juice pit stop is just a few steps away. we talked about office stuff -- how stressful work is and how we wish to bring the fresh air back to manila. most of us had call center backgrounds so we talked about the highs and lows of being an agent but mostly the happy ones.

we arrived at the campsite at 11:45 just in time for lunch at 12:00. in spite of the long rest, we had a good pacing with eva as the fastest climber not because she didn't bring anything with her but she grew up going to school and back at home crossing rivers and mountains. ram is a seasoned mountaineer and gets to climb almost every month while joey runs at roxas boulevard with her dad every weekend. while at rest, i gave them the option to go to the summit or just climb the rockies. ram suggested not to push for the summit because there's nothing to see there... and i agree. we ate our lunch, had a good snooze at the campsite, then resumed trekking towards the rockies at 13:00. coincidentally, the climb against cancer group also had their climb at maculot and there i met sir gerry, the ass behind the cancer kissed my ass foundation, in real life. we have been chatting mostly about our projects in facebook but never get to set up meetings due to our conflicting schedules.

we arrived at the rockies at 14:17 where we enjoyed the view overlooking taal lake. sacrificing the summit for the rockies was a good choice because eva and joey enjoyed it. while at the rockies, joey was chatting with her korean boyfriend via iphone facetime and showed him a picture of her at the rockies. we only spent a few minutes there due to the heat of the sun. we left the campsite at 15:00 and arrived at the mountaineer's store at 15:45. we had a few snacks, a quick bath and a quick snooze, and repacked our stuff for home. we left for cuenca wet market at 17:00, rode the jeep for lipa and arrived at the bus station at 17:30. for dinner, eva took us at the nearest lomi stall were we ate lomi for less than 100 pesos. i got myself a chicken lomi which kept me full for the entire night. the stall has big servings that there were still enough leftovers to give to the begging kids at the streets. we left for manila at 19:00 via the expressway and arrived at 20:15. before parting ways, we agreed on starting training climbs on february in preparation for our department's first pulag climb this april.

January 09, 2012

before the end of human race...

i just thought i should post this because it popped out of my head...

2012 marks my 5th year in mountaineering. to be exact, it was a day after my birthday when i first climbed so i will dedicate the entire month of june to reminisce those days when i was still starting and to that very day i bartered pc games with the great outdoors. there have been minor outdoor trips before and a hike at mts manalmon and makiling way back high school but june 2007 was a catalyst for what i am now. or perhaps, i should just create a countdown starting may with another mt daguldol climb as my finale to celebrate my 5th year in climbing as well as my 26th birthday.

aside from my 5th birthday climb, another event to look forward to is the 30th anniversary of sirs edwin gatia, fred jamili and art valdez's first ascent to mt guiting guiting. although i was given an invite to join, i prefer not to since i want to spend my birthday with a few close friends. i don't want to steal the scene by having my friends shout at everyone "hey, it's also her birthday" leaving me all red trying to look for a way out to avoid myself being teased into buying everyone a second round of drinks. let the oldies enjoy their event.

another thing to look forward to this 2012 is the list of my solo flights here and abroad. i'd like to spend more time with myself this year as dealing with a lot of people has caused me some sort of anxiety. in my list is hong kong, bangkok, cebu and bohol and i just hope with utmost optimism that my budget would suffice. speaking of traveling alone, i might also buy myself a wedding ring, just what bps and mayo did, to protect myself from strangers asking me why i travel alone and so for them just leave me alone (so i should scout for cheap deals on wedding rings at ongpin this weekend).

having typed all of these makes me realize that my plans for 2012 are all traveling back to myself. this must be the middle 20's crisis that people talk about wherein people ages 24 to 27 reflect on what they have done with their lives. so far, there are no regrets on my part. not going straight to grad school was the best choice i did since i was able to discover what i really want in life. what i should do moving forward is to do what a person should as his/er days go by -- become a better person everyday.

Cancer Kissed My Ass: My Damn Ass at Mt Damas

another shameless promotion. proceeds of the climb will go to chosen cancer patients. for those who are looking for adventure, you may visit the Cancer Kissed My Ass page for more information.

January 08, 2012

cancer is an ass kisser

in movies and in television, when the actor or actress combs his or her hair and pulls quite a number of strands, he or she has cancer. the sappy instrumentals come in hopes to make the viewers cry as the doctor tells him or her that he or she has only x number of months to live. then they fight it but still die in the end.

some years ago was not a telenovela cliche. my godmother lost weight because of some slimming pills she had been taking and was happy about the results until one day she bled. all the while, it was pancreatic cancer which sped up her weight loss. she was battling it happily. she was neither sobbing nor combing off her hair excessively in the bathroom. no sappy music. the last time i saw her was she was planning our next out of town trip. it could have been a wonderful trip had it happened. next in line was my grandfather. if there's one person whose stories i'd like to hear over and over, it's him. he survived the japanese war and told us of stories about how life was back then.

but not all cancer patients die.

some months ago, in an outdoor community i subscribed myself to, there was a member who keeps on spamming the board with his own story of unrequited love and his... ass. the story is ok but his ass was a sell out. he posted photos of his ass exposed at the mountain peaks, waterfalls, in house parties, basically in all places he's been to, he showed his ass. as far as bmc101 is concerned, he violated most of the rules. moreover, he offended the ladies. of course, you can't expect everyone to be tolerable so some people hurled in tirades. the next day, he posted his picture in a purple lab gown showing his ass. he explained that the doctors removed his rectum. he is a colon cancer survivor! his renegades, including myself, became one of his fans; thus, i support his cause.

there's a reason why some of us were given strong bodies. there's also a reason why some people are given a second chance. now geronimo "rectum" pablo is using his renewed body to help a child fight cancer by organizing climbs and conquering peaks in the philippines and abroad. for those who are interested to help, just go to his page and click "like". his bank information is posted there. you don't have to worry about your donation going to his personal pocket because the money that comes into his bank account is audited by three different people.

the normal mind

"if you just duel and shoot with the a normal mind, you should not have no trouble with the bow and you should be able to wield the sword freely. the normal mind, not upset by anything, is good for everything, if you lose the normal mind, your voice will quiver whatever you try to say, if you lose the normal mind, your hand will quiver if you try to write something in front of others.

the normal mind keeps nothing in the heart, but lightly relinquishes the past , so that the heart is empty and therefore is the normal mind..." - miyamoto musashi

so yeah... last christmas, i whined for "the book of five rings" as a christmas gift at the office wishlist and i'm happy that the person who got me bought it together with another book i requested, "the kite runner". thanks, mate. 

according to most translators of miyamoto musashi's "the book of five rings" (sorry guys.. he is not a ninja), the book was exclusively written for martialists and martial artists due to its focus on tactics unlike sun tzu's"the art of war" which focuses on strategy and is more broad and can easily be applied in other disciplines such as business. however after reading the book, i reckon that musashi's teachings, in spite of some translators' claims, can also be applied to one's personal life and how he/she deals with. thus, let me bastardise his work and forcibly apply it in the discipline of mountaineering.

like some very few bookworms i know who have the most obscure ways in reading books, my preference would be reading the table of contents and leafing through the book until i get to the chapter with the most interesting title. as for my case, "the mind is like the moon in water, the body is like an image in the mirror" caught my attention. in this chapter, he said that in the Buddhist thought, the mind, being an instantaneous formless thing reflects in all things. this is similar to us day dreaming we're in japan or thinking that a certain task is easy; while the body as the static form reflects whatever is in the mind. to wit, whatever we are "minding" or "thinking" or "feeling" reflects what our body does - mind and body coordination. in physical activities, we can see this in doing conditioning exercises in such a way that we teach our bodies techniques for countless times and countless hours until such time that the mind and body becomes one. 

of course, aside from teaching the body what to do, the mind should know where to focus. it was also stated in the book that the mind should be a "free mind" or a "normal mind" therefore it should not be attached to a belief or a phenomenon but instead just become aware like "a dead wood watching the birds and the flowers". the wood is there perceiving its surroundings but is not delving neither on the flowers nor the birds. in most cases, we tend to have preconceived notions about a certain thing that we miss out the big picture. in fighting, the tendency would be to just focus on the opponent's hands and have almost forgotten about his/her legs which have the longest reach or, in climbing, thinking too much about the heat and the comforts of home in spite of the beautiful view that awaits the climber. this is what musashi calls "sickness", which are distractions of the mind which hinders the body to move efficiently.

ergo, in physical endeavors, one should have a disciplined mind to teach the body what to do. without a sound and empty mind the body falters and succumbs to weakness. moreover, one should be aware of his/her surroundings for him/her to know the next move but should not be stuck by his/her environment. thus, for a mountaineer with a normal mind reflects climbing.

so what's in your "normal mind"?

starting again... for the nth time...

introductions have always been the most difficult part of a blog and i have to do it again...


i was thinking of reviving my old blog which i maintained when i was in college. however, tracking back and reading my old posts was the funniest thing that happened today as i discovered i was emotionally dysfunctional ten years ago. haha. if i revive the blog, people would know i was an emotional wreck way back but what can i do if the only thing i can write back then was rantings about professors, thesis, and my past love life?

so here's a new blog... again but the difference is... I GOT SOMETHING ELSE TO WRITE ABOUT. aside from the emotional stuff and the books i read, i can write about the places i have visited. i regret the three years that i wasn't able to document the many places i've visited and the people i met. i think it's about time that i write about them.