Saturday, March 29, 2014

What I Think About the Philippines and the Filipinos (My comment on Raul Dancel's article)

A few days ago, I stumbled upon a viral article in Facebook about a certain Filipino correspondent who wrote the article titled Back home in Manila, and feeling out of place. At first, I thought, it was a good read. I must admit I can mostly relate to the things he mentioned. As a Facebook-article-worm, I just thought it was one of those articles I can read and leave and move on to the next one. I actually did. However, tonight, I saw an article again that Raul Dancel got some bashers from writing that article. Oh okay, typical Filipino behaviour. If anyone criticizes Filipinos or the Philippines, prepare to get stoned to death. I kid you not.

Going back to his article, comments have already flooded his page. Needless to say, he was being attacked but it was also refreshing to see that a lot of Filipinos were also being objective about their criticism to Raul. Fortunately, you can easily profile the majority of his audience. I have noticed that people who have given their humble opinions about his article that is basically comparing Philippines to Singapore have obviously traveled or if not, lived in another country. I can honestly say that their comments and opinions are valid and I couldn't agree more.

So, Raul Dancel, in his mid - 40s has been living in Singapore for 7 years now. He was sent back to the Philippines for work and and so this article was born. Some points in his article are honestly quite petty like Philippines using "take out" instead of "take away", "elevator" instead of "lift" and "comfort room" instead of "loo" or "toilet". What comes into my mind is 'hello, American english vs. British english please.' I can strongly relate to this as I have also been lost in translation when I lived in Sydney. Traveling back and forth in Sydney for the past couple of years and have technically lived there for 9 months had made me a victim of the American vs. British war of terms. And should I say that my spelling was a collateral damage? (Criticize vs. criticise, travelling vs. traveling, labor vs. labour, and the list goes on so pardon me if some of my spelling in this entry will stab you.) But the challenging part is trying to completely change my American orientation to British because I live with my Australian boyfriend, I hang out with his friends and I spend time with his family. I am not complaining. Absolutely not. But what I'm trying to say is when you start spending every second of your life adjusting to the new environment, new culture, new people, new sets of words, it is one way of educating yourself. Challenging, yes! Fulfilling, yes! But most often than not, being accustomed to the new world is just a matter of getting used to. Although it's kinda tricky when you live a double life. I am a semi-British/ Australian Asian girl when I'm in Australia (oh yes, I love using the word toilet than C.R. and I love how everyone is orderly on the escalator) and I am an Americanized Pinoy when I'm in the Philippines. I'm using the term Americanized Pinoy because I am a home grown Filipino but (as we all are) educated in an American way. Going back to our history, we were once an American colony, thus, the education system, our constitution and our love for basketball were all gifts from the Americans. So whenever I come home after 3 months of staying in Sydney, I would usually say "take away" from Jollibee. Thankfully, Jollibee's crew are trained to know what "take-away" means. Sometimes, it would take a month for me to revert back to my Americanized self and start saying "take out" or "fries". On a lighter note, Filipinos are not dumb to understand what a lift means or a toilet. It's just that WE DON'T USE THEM. In my opinion, whether we use the American form of the British form of words, no one is actually politically correct.

Photo by Raul Dancel

So what two things I actually want to raise from Raul's article? Escalators and pedestrian lanes. I admit that up to this day, the first thing that really annoys me whenever I go to the malls are the people using the escalators. The escalator, in its truest essence, should help people get from point A to point B the fastest way possible. Although it is moving, people who would want to rest from striding could take a rest on one side, however, that leaves one more lane for those people who want to keep moving. To sum it all up, one side is for stationary human beings while the other side should be left open for people who don't want to waste their time. In the Philippines, an escalator is treated like a luxury ride. Couples standing next to each other smooching or an entire family and/or a group of friends blocking the entire way are my deal breakers. Worst thing is whenever I say "Excuse me, coming through," they look at me like I am a disrespectful person trying to cut through their moment. Sometimes, they just don't hear me. Even if I repeatedly trying to excuse myself, to them, I am non-existent. Often times, I would like to rant about this on Facebook but I am scared that people might think I have become obnoxious since I have been to a first world country. But seriously, the root cause of the problem is the ignorance and attitude of the people. Ignorance that maybe they don't know the escalator etiquette and attitude because Filipinos don't respect time. Next is the use of the pedestrian lanes. Filipinos are hard headed and daredevils. To be honest, the word Safety is not in any Filipino's vocabulary. This month, the city where I was born and grew up with imposed the anti-jaywalking policy. Jaywalkers will be fined Php500. For me, it's a significant sign of how progressive my beloved hometown has become. However, 2 days upon the implementation, people are complaining; that they need to walk another 30 meters before they can get to their destination or the government is making them poorer by collecting fines. Alright, bunch of idiots. All these people think is to complain instead of looking at the bigger picture that this policy is for everyone's safety. And by everyone means those who are crossing the streets and those who are driving. In Manila, MMDA (Metro Manila Development Authority) spent millions of pesos for footbridges and big signage saying "WALANG TAWIRAN, NAKAMAMATAY". As if that is not clear enough for everyone, if you notice, that's in tagalog, and yet the cases of hit and run in highways are hundreds per week. So Filipinos, no matter how our government is trying to keep us safe, we are overboard risk-takers. I just don't simply understand this. And as someone who has very well adjusted to being safe in another other country, more than it shocks me every single time I see someone risking his life crossing on the road, it does make me wonder why will they ever risk doing that. I think I know why but I think I am in denial to the answer to my real question --- "Will these people change?"

Photo by Mike Ong Chua of digitalphotographer.com.ph


Photo by Dennis Villegas of Pinoyexchange

So going back to the comments from Raul's article, I would have to say the attitude of the Filipinos - being pessimistic, reluctant to progress and lack of discipline drives this "culture shock" that Raul is talking about. It is so ironic that we often praise foreigners who would see the Philippines as a country of opportunities but us Filipinos are obstinate to change for the better and make those opportunities work for us. We are settled with our own mischievous and traditional beliefs that they take us away from being open-mindedness. One doesn't need to live in a better country for a month to realise how much the Filipinos are missing. That's why I often tell my siblings and my friends to invest on trips to other places, other countries to see what our country is like in the real world; learn from other cultures so we can adapt to it, bring it home, practice and share to those who lack knowledge and experience. What I'm trying to say is that Raul's observations are valid and true. While his article seemingly puts our country to the ground, despite these not-so-admirable traits, there is more to being a Filipino. Filipinos are still the warmest and most hospitable people in the world. This country is thriving on the happiness of its citizens. As they say "It's more fun in the Philippines." Filipinos are friendly, hardworking and committed people. And as far as the development of this country is concerned, we also have to take into consideration the role of the government, politics, economical circumstances, employment, religious beliefs and what not. Classic case is the RH Bill. Years of fighting for this to be approved and we are still stuck. We still argue over this because of science vs. religious beliefs that prevent us in moving forward and save lives of women and babies. And why is this still an argument is because of the lack of knowledge and materials in educating everyone what this bill is fighting for.

I seriously pity our country. Simply put, there's a better life outside the Philippines. But why would foreigners love to come here? Why would I still love to come back and visit my country? Because anyone, Filipino or not, feels at home here. Filipinos are accommodating, funny, loud, loving, caring and thoughtful. But that's it. Home is comfort zone. We all need to be outside our comfort zone to grow. Every time I go to a progressive country, I would secretly wish that our country would keep up. I know it is possible and would probably take decades to hit the benchmark but we can. We surely can make that change. We just have to start within ourselves.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Review: Starting Over Again (with spoilers)

So I've finally watched Starting Over Again after waiting for ages since the cinemas are always fully booked since Valentine's Day. People have been posting a lot about it on Facebook and I have to admit, it really intrigued me. They even said that this was better than One More Chance so I definitely have to see it and judge it myself. I've seen the trailer and I find it quite interesting so I planned to watch it on Valentine's Day but to no avail. Even the last full shows have zero-ed the cinema seats. So I was a bit tad excited to get seats tonight although we were seated on the far right row of the cinema. Bummer but it was alright.



While watching the movie, I struggled. It's cos I have high expectations from this movie, I thought I can fit into someone else's character. But I was wrong, I was able to relate to both Ginny and Patty. When a character is someone I can relate to, I immerse myself into that character to feel her emotions, thus, the sobbing while I'm on my seat. With Starting Over Again, it was a push and pull of my emotions because I felt Ginny's desperation but at the same time I am feeling Patty's strength. But at the end of the movie, I've come to terms with the fact that I am a Patty. Needless to say, I was once a Ginny and just like her, I've hated myself at some point in my life and needed a closure. But all I really needed was acceptance and to forgive myself. It was difficult. It took years. But after constant praying and trying to focus myself to something positive, I've learned that I have finally moved on.

While I was dragged by Ginny's character (I hated her actually), it was a relief that I can relate to Patty because I find her strength and wisdom very admirable. She was calm, mature and understanding. She accepted the broken Marco for who he really is  and supported him of his dreams and passion. My favourite line of hers was "My love for you is bigger than your failures...", after she found out that Marco slept with his ex, Ginny.  Damn! It takes a real strong woman to say that but what she has is a selfless love and she can conquer anything.



So what have I learned from this movie?

1. In love, there is no fear. For Ginny, she was a coward. She got scared that Marco is slowly turning like her father who is a loser. For Patty, Ginny was a threat but she completely trusts Marco. She loves him and she's not giving up on them. She was fearless and her feistiness proved otherwise of Ginny's assumptions.

2. Everyone thrives on selfless love. Whether we are the giver or the recipient of this love, it  must be the kind that seeks for the benefits of others at the expense of self. For Ginny, it was a selfish kind of love. She only thinks of redeeming herself from the past while Patty loves Marco completely despite of his weaknesses. We are all at some point broken and all we need is understanding and acceptance and the only way for us to carry on with our lives is to be loved by other people. And in as much love as we need to be able move on is also the amount of love we need to share to our significant other in order for them to grow as well. Mutual growth is essential in a relationship.

3. Past is past. We can never bring back the past. We may have second chances but it will never be a continuation of the past. It is in second chances that we start all over again but it will never be the same from the past. But then again, we may also never have a second chance so while you have something good going on right now, make the most out of it.

4. Never assume of someone else's feelings. This is why I hated Ginny's character because she hijacked Patty's feelings by assuming that Marco would want her back. Even though what they had before was truly magical, she forgot the fact that she completely hurt Marco and ruined him. She was left at the assumption that Marco still has strong feelings for her thanks to that stupid letterlater.com. Just because her strong feelings for Marco remained after 4 years, she forgot that that length of time was good enough for Marco to move on and fall in love with someone else. Plus, she completely underestimated Patty.

5. Give your all when you love. You only have one chance. Ginny got scared and forgot that she loves Marco too. But it was too late when she left for Barcelona to pursue her dreams and to run away from her fears. Often times, when problem arises in our relationships, we tend to give up. We tend to forget why we love the other person. We give up without even asking ourselves "have we given our all?" Yes we do get tired but until the other person is non responsive to our efforts, we have to constantly give what we can truly give.

6. Treasure what we have, hold them and nourish them. Especially if it's love. Again, we might only get to have one chance to let it grow in our hands so we keep it for as long as we can. Never let it slip away because the odds of that special kind of love ending up in someone else's heart can kill us.

7. We all move on. There is just one way to go and that is to move forward. Whether we choose to rekindle our past relationship and start all over again or we let go of our past to find ourselves again, it is a brave passage of moving on. The important thing is never linger on something that you have from the past that you no longer have on your hands. It might be worth going back to start anew or choose to leave the hurt behind, never look back, find peace within yourself and learn to love again.

I am quite happy with the ending. Ginny deserves the closure and Patty deserves Marco. I'm happy because I've realized that I was once a mess (Ginny) but eventually became a Patty. I think that the whole hurt and pain I've experienced before had contributed to what I have become today - someone who is capable of loving unconditionally and accepts the past and failures of my partner and even loving him more for his flaws and imperfection. With the right amount of trust, love and respect and with even an allowance of mistakes, I'd say I love fearlessly (thanks, Patty).

So, are there really second chances? With me comparing this movie to One More Chance, I can say that each of these movies have different stories and target of emotions. I was able to relate more on One More Chance. I admit, until now I still sob whenever I watch it. So, second chances? Both stories taught us that there are never really second chances with that one love. And yet you can never unlove. You love that one person once, you get hurt, you are broken. Your scars are healing but you can never go back. The only chance you could get is to find peace within yourself, forgive and start to love again. 


Friday, October 18, 2013

I'm back!

This is a shame post to be honest. The title above has been in this blog for a few times already. I admit, it has always been my title whenever I get back after a long hiatus or in this case, my laziness. Although when I do an outfit collage in Polyvore, it automatically uploads in my blog, does it even count? My last honest-to-goodness-from-the-bottom-of-my-heart post was last April when I uploaded something for Zeke's birthday. I couldn't believe that I haven't updated this despite me being unemployed for the longest time.

So what happened to me? Well, after I got back from Sydney, I went back to my hometown in CDO and stayed for a month. Then went back here in Manila to lodge another visa application that turned out to be as one of the most unbelievable experiences I've had with the embassy. The first time my visa was granted, it just took 4 days for the case officer to review my application and even deliver my visa grant notice.  Yep, that quick that I don't even have the time to get nervous. Then the second time, it took them a month to review my application. Technically, it was granted in three weeks but for some reason, the case officer was such as slack that I didn't get any notice even after a week when she called me up for an interview. I emailed the embassy a couple of times and even got my visa grant notice through email. I have left the country when my actual notice was delivered to my home. I missed our anniversary but nevertheless, I was reunited again with my love. I stayed in Sydney again for another three months. This time, it was WINTER! Brrr.... So that's it. I spent a month being a bum with my family, a month of waiting for a visa and three months of doing gf duties :)

Went down to Geelong to attend Kelly's (Zeke's sister) 40th birthday. It was a super fun costume party!

He was Batman and I was Catwoman

Drinking with Zeke's siblings

Winter photoshoot at Jodie's place in Shelford

We're on a tree?
So it's been 5 weeks since I got back and I'm actually pretty proud that I'm a bit busy. I went straight to CDO for my mommy's birthday but stayed with my family for only 5 days. I came back here in Manila to lodge another visa application as what Zeke and I have agreed and luckily, we got my notice after 2 weeks. So now is just a matter of deciding which date I should get for my flight back to Sydney. To be honest, I'm quite a bit busy here. Not really busy busy but I am doing something that I really do like. You know how I made reselling as a sideline before? It was really my bread and butter for my lifestyle. Now I've made it as my full time job. Yes, I'm back in selling and it really feels good to be doing this again. This time, I am not doing it alone but I have a partner which makes it more fun. We started last August (while I was still in Sydney) selling one brand of tote bags but now we have expanded and diversified. We have bags, shirts, shoes and watches from multiple brand names. Business has been good so far. We deliver goods almost every other day and we have resellers as well. I can honestly say that although I don't earn as much as I did back when I was still in Convergys, this humble business of ours pays some of my bills and my food. It's just been almost two months and I can say this one is very promising. It actually makes me really happy. I think I was really born to be a businesswoman. With 881 Likes on Facebook and 28 followers on Instagram (just signed up recently), we have pretty much established our market. So this is one of the reasons why I haven't left for Sydney yet. I want to be able to establish our business first, make it stable so when I get back to Sydney, our order processing would just be as smooth as silk. It's a guarantee that I will still be working for our business even when I'm out of the country. I'd like to see that although I will  be working from Sydney, it will be an opportunity for me to look for some more products to sell in the Philippines. While I was in Sydney, I was sending chocolates to sell back in the Philippines. I will definitely continue to do it and this time, I wanna add surfing and beach apparel. Wish me luck!

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Happy Birthday to the Love of my Life!

video

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart! I pray that you will have whatever your heart desires.

Although I may not be there on your birthday, trust that my heart is always with you. I wish all your wishes will come true.

I love you. Always and Forever.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Oh My Sydney!

Okay so now I'm a bit embarrassed as I haven't been blogging for... get this, 5 months! Well, I was busy. Not really the kind of busy if i would've said this a year ago but the kind of busy --- enjoying life :)

My last entry was in November. I still remember those days when I was preparing for the requirements for my visa. I was granted a visa before November ended so I left the country 10 days later. And that's when I started became "busy".

It was my first time to visit Australia. I arrived in Sydney on a beautiful Thursday morning. Zeke took a time off from work that day to pick me up at the airport. The Captain of our plane had said it was 13 degrees in Sydney. I was like "really?" I thought it's summer. Or maybe he had said 30. But as soon as I got out from the plane, I know it wasn't 30 degrees. So I went in line for Immigration, got my whimsy suitcase from the carousel, went through Customs (I declared my medicines) and have myself filmed for Border Security. Joke! Although they were filming that morning, I just won't like to delay myself from hugging again the love of my life. I exited out, called Zeke on his phone and a few minutes later, there he is came rushing towards me. We hugged and kissed and it was all like magic again.

We took a cab and went straight home. We rested for a while and we started going around the city. My first day of touring the city was like in a daze. I couldn't remember things. I was lost. I have poor sense of direction. Or maybe because I was busy taking pictures. Or maybe because I was just fascinated with my environment --- I've never seen so many white people in my life. Chinese, yes, but whiteys? they're just everywhere. I probably would sound ignorant but hey I'm not ashamed to say that as a lady who grew up in a third world country, seeing different people in a first world country for the first time is actually overwhelming. So Zeke is my private tour guide, pointing buildings, telling me what they are, their stories (his personal stories) and history. We really didn't go through all the tourist attractions in Sydney on that day. We only had a brief tour, cuddled up at home and the next two weeks, Zeke was at work so most of the time I explore the city on my own. After that two weeks and some crazy partying, we went to Zeke's hometown in Geelong (my favourite place in Australia!). Stories about Geelong will be in another blog though :) After Geelong, we went back to Sydney and there I spent 2 months going around the city. So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, our personal pictures of Sydney, Australia.

St. Mary's Cathedral
The Sydney Tower with perfect blue sky as a background

The Sydney Westfield Tower
Hyde Park. A Wedding Photoshoot happening right there.
Beautiful Sydney

At the tower looking at Sydney in 360 degree view
ANZ Stadium at the Olympic Park during The Colour Run.

Stadium at the Olympic Park during The Big Day Out Music Festival. Highlight of the day? Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The famous Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge on Christmas Eve
I'm in-love with this tree at the Botanical Garden.

Manly Beach. My fave one.

People swimming at Manly Beach. Waves are very beautiful.
Bondi Beach. Famous for surfers ;)
Huge Rubber Duckie at Darling Harbour
Of course, we don't wanna miss out The Sydney Opera House.
Circular Quay
I actually forgot what this building is (maybe QVB) but just showing you the kind of buildings they have.


There are actually a lot of places to visit in Sydney. There are museums, malls, parks and others. Other places that I've been to will be in another blog though as they are worth the space, post and effort. Just standby ;) But I really can't believe I missed Taronga Zoo. It'll definitely be on top of my list when I go back there next month. I know it will be worth the wait. 'Til my next entry!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Club Serena in Moalboal, Cebu

This resort deserves a special shout out in my blog. Zeke and I totally loved the place because it was quiet (they only have 12 cottages in the resort), the staff are nice, the food is great and the cottages/ suites are unique and clean.

We stayed in an old cottage for 2 nights when we realised on the second night that the aircon isn't too cold for us. We then decided to move to the Chairman's suite as soon as we saw how gorgeous it was.

Although we slightly felt an incovenience on our old cottage, moving to the new suite was totally worth it.

WARNING: This entry is picture heavy.

That's our suite!

Our bed

The ceiling

Our bed

Private area

We have our own pool

The highlight:  the outdoor shower

The outdoor bath at night. So romantic.

One of their cabanas with swans.

Their beach

For more details about the resort, please go to their website: http://clubserenaresort.com/

Cebu Love

To date, Zeke says Cebu is his favorite place. Why? Read on and you'll know.

Dusk at Cebu by Zeke McKenzie

Zeke came back last October to visit me again. Yey! I always LOVE when he's here. I love that we're together and we spend a lot of time with each other. Makes me kilig all the time :) He was here for 11 days to spend time with me. We spent the first few days at home and met some of my AT&T friends. Then we went for a 5 day vacation in Cebu.

The Queen City of the South - Cebu, is located in the Visayas region of the country so Zeke and I have to take a plane ride to reach our destination. Uhm, so yeah, that's our destination. But what do we do? We have absolutely no idea at the start. But since we both love the beach, we first decided to go island hopping. But Zeke doesn't seem to buy the idea of island hopping since we've done that in Boracay. Then it suddenly hit us; tick an item from our Bucket List. Let's go SCUBA DIVING! Wooot! We got excited that we pegged our entire trip for this activity. It's just funny because we did everything the last minute --- from booking our flights, accommodation, planning our itinerary. We booked our flight October 8 and left Manila on the 9th. We arrived in Cebu in the afternoon and I had to make phone calls to the resort to have someone pick us up from Cebu City later that night. Why? Later you'll find out.

First off, visit the Magellan's Cross and Snr. Santo Nino Church. Visiting this place is a must whenever one visits Cebu. This is one of the famous landmarks in Cebu and the church is really very old. Zeke even told me that the church is older than his country. Visiting the Sto. Nino church is very personal to me. When we were younger, my entire Saldua family would come to Cebu to celebrate the Sinulog Festival. Sinulog Festival is a yearly celebration for the feast of the Sto Nino. It's a lavish party held every 3rd Sunday of January. The main streets will be closed all the way to Sto. Nino church for the parade. Then at the end of the parade, all the people will gather in the church to receive the final blessing. I have experienced that whole thing when I was still young that's why it was very special for me to take Zeke to a place where I consider close to my heart.

We first went to the Magellan's Cross then the church. Zeke took a lot of photos while I was praying. After I prayed, we went to a courtyard adjacent to the church and we took some more photos. I also lit some candles for special prayers.

Magellan's Cross

Zeke the photographer and Sto. Nino Church

Me praying

Zeke trying to talk to Jesus

Have mercy on us

Light a candle for a special prayer

After visiting the church, we went straight ahead to Crowne Regency Hotel and Tower. This is why we asked our driver to pick us up at 10pm.

Sky Experience Extreme Adventure

This was one of a kind experience for the both of us. We both enjoyed all the activities as we were challenged both physically and mentally. It's been years since my last climb and yes, I have fear of heights. I mean, who doesn't? So the more we did the activities in that place, the more I let out screams from the top of my lungs. And obviously, Zeke was enjoying the whole time I was terrified. Zeke loved our activities from that night. He could've been happier had the shooting range made his rifle available on that day. Unfortunately, we have to go back on a Saturday. We ended our extreme adventure with a sumptuous buffet dinner at the hotel. Great cos we're both famished. At 10pm, we were on our van en route to Moalboal, Cebu. The trip took us 2 hours to get to the resort and as soon as we enter our cottage, we immediately hit the sack. zzzzz....

The Edge Coaster. I didn't scream. Promise. ; )

A foot on the edge. I couldn't do it. Great job, baby!

Can you see the guitar?

Our guide pretended to fall and it wasn't funny. He apologised to me later on.

Zipline from Tower 1 to Tower 2

Rock Wall Climbing. "Aah, I can hear Ma'am's nails..."

We survived the funny Skywalk Adventure

Day 2: We woke up to a very beautiful morning at Club Serena in Moalboal, Cebu. Our cottage is situated near the resort entrance so we have to walk a bit to see the beach. The beach is not as fabulous as Boracay's. This is because Moalboal is known for diving. So intead of having fine sand, all you can see is a pebbly, rocky beach. But don't complain yet! Wait 'til you see the underwater. We had our breakfast, took some photos and then we had our intro course for diving. At 10:30am, we were at the dive shop, watching a video presentation about diving, filling out forms and taking tests with our dive master Mark Russell. Whew, that was easy! Then off we went to the pool to do the actual exercises. But ooops, I had a few issues before going in the water. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with MVP (Mitral Valve Prolapse). It's a heart condition which actually means that my heart is not pumping regularly. Instead of the lub-dub lub-dub beat, sometimes, it goes lub-lub-dub or lub-dub-dub. Sometimes, my heart forgets to stop beating. Joke! Seriously, I have been previously told I can't do strenuous activities. If I try to run, which is my usual exercise, I should do it with a buddy. But obviously, I've managed to run by myself for years. Going back, I was really scared our dive master won't allow me to get into the water. He asked me questions, a couple of times thought of it and finally he said we will take it slow. Yebah!!!

Club Serena's boat

Good Morning kiss

So we put our wetties on, booties, flippers, (heavy) belts, tanks and BCD. We then did some exercises in the pool. I struggled a lot. It's because we were asked to "breathe normally" when we're in the water but my problem is I don't breathe normally. I few times I am very conscious with my breathing because the swimming part is tiring. Man, the kicking with the flippers is a lot of work! I did a few rounds in the pool and it was like I had a 2k run. I had to get off from the water to breathe abnormally. Hahaha! And because I was very conscious with my breathing, I was literally turning around like a dead fish as I can't control my bouyancy. As for Zeke, my darling was a PRO. He was like a handsome merman in the water. As a matter of fact, our dive master encouraged him to take the full course in diving cos he's very good. So jealous! And me? after a few rounds, I finally got to swim in the water.  We apologise we didn't have photos of our diving lessons. Zeke had left his camera in our cottage as there's no one who can look after his precious possession as we get in the water.

Sexy on our wetties

At 2:30pm, we were introduced to the ocean world. Did I mention we walked from the pool area to the beach with our tanks on our back and guess what, the tank I think is heavier than me so Zeke helped me held my tank in his other hand because I really couldn't walk. He looked like he's holding a pretty turtle on its shell. Now this is the part that I hated most in this trip. I was assigned to another diving instructor. And as we were going down in the water, I was trying to equalize cos my left ear started to hurt when this instructor pulled me down in the water. He was trying to get me at some depth but I just couldn't because my ear was just hurting. I went up a couple of times trying ease the pain on my ear then go down again. I eventually told him if we could stay at a certain depth and I will try to equalize again and once my ear is clear we can go further down. So he agreed but I know that he still keeps on pulling me down. And at 9 meters, I was cruising but I was in tears because my left ear really hurts big time. It almost felt like my left brain got numb too. So I gave up. I was so pissed off with my instructor and so disappointed with myself. I only spent less than 10 minutes under water. Boooo! I had a bad first diving experience. :( And again as for Zeke, I never saw him until he came out of the water after almost an hour. He surely had fun in the water. He went as deep as 12 meters and he almost ran out of air. I can see from his face he was very happy as he came out of the water and showed me pictures that he took. He went so deep when diving that his underwater camera gave up and was broken.


Zeke with our Dive Master, Mark Russell

Yey! We got our certificates

Day 3: River Climbing at Matutinao River. So what is actually a river climbing? We have no idea. From the pictures we see from the brochure, it looks like an upstream trekking. But what the hey, we are always ready for adventure so at 9:30am, a certain kuya picked us up from the resort and we rode his single motorcycle going to the town where we would meet the other people who would also do the same activity. So it appeared that in the group, excluding the guides, I am the only foreigner. *wink*


The Waterfall

Our guide took a sneaky pic of  us

The first bamboo bridge. So cute!

First swim

Hold on to the vines or else...

Couldn't get up

Finally, a happy swim!


Jump!

That's a huge log!

Going up against the strong current

So how do I define River Climbing? Start with putting life vest on, helmet and booties are actually very useful. Then start with walking. Then crossing a bamboo bridge, a lot of walking, crossing a hanging bridge, jump in the water, swim, swim swim, walk, climb a mountain, go down, climb a rock, jump into the water, swim, walk and walk. Did I say that we were going against the strong current of the river? And as we go further, the current is becoming stronger and stronger and the obstacles are getting harder. The river is getting deeper and deeper, pathways are more narrow, rocks became boulders and at some point, there was a snake in the water at the end of the trek. The whole thing took us 4 hours and it was a lot of work. After the last climb, we realised we were so famished. The entire group settled on a cottage to have our lunch. We had grilled fish and pork, fried chicken, vegetable salad, puso, coke and beer. Burp! I had 3 puso while Zeke had 1 I think. But he loved the grilled pork and beer. After our lunch we head back to the town so that kuya can send us back again to the resort. We dropped by at a pharmacy to get us some Betadine, alcohol and cotton balls for our injuries. Ouchie! Back at the resort, we spent the rest of the afternoon swimming in our private pool. At night, we were treating our injuries, had some chocolates, tried to watch a DVD but since we were so tired and our bodies are so sore, we fell asleep sooner than we thought.

Day 4: We were supposed to go for another diving session and have asked our dive master Mark if he could be the one accompanying me as we go underwater and he said yes. Unfortunately, when we swam the day before at our pool, my ears hurt again. It hurts so bad that I got out of the pool because I could no longer even put my head on the water. So we decided to cancel our dive and go to an island instead to do snorkeling. We hired a boat to take us to Pescador Island. The trip going to the island is about 45 minutes and the waves are a bit scary. After that long boat ride with our engine halted in the middle of the deep blue sea, we finally arrived at the island. Pescador Island is a limestone island and surprisingly home of many fishermen. In fact, when we went snorkeling, Zeke had to remind me to be careful with some areas because there are a lot of fishing lines.


Pescador Island


Find the cat

I'm so ready!


His mask was too tight

Happy after the afternoon date

We snorkeled the entire afternoon. I totally enjoyed it. It was a wise substitute from my hope in giving diving another shot. I was able to see the diferent types of coral and fish without getting myself hurt. At some point, my left ear hurt but it was tolerable. And I can always rest if I ran out air for breathing. Zeke is again like merman swimming to areas where he's not supposed to go. A funny story I can tell is when Zeke went to the other side of the island to snorkel, he saw something. While I was leisurely looking at the coral near the boat, I saw him swam all his might towards the boat. He took off his mask and said "I saw 2 big fishes out there with sharp teeth! They were looking at me as if they were about to eat me!" I just laughed it off. Who knows, the fishes that he saw were the kinds we see at our dining table. A few moments later, he invited me to see the pods in the other side of the island. And so I went, when all of a sudden, behind him were the 2 creatures that he was talking about. All I did was just to point out the fishes and swam back. It was literally a swim race back to our boat. Hahaha! All in all, I would consider that afternoon date as very romantic. It was just me, Zeke and the ocean. I had fun and I consider it very special.

Day 5: Last day. We left the resort early so we can spend more time in the city. Zeke made a few arrangements with the shooting range at Crowne Regency for his M4-Rifle on that day. So my Zeke is the one who's excited to check out from the resort early and head back to Cebu then go straight to Crowne Regency. Our trip going back to Cebu is interesting. Instead of arranging a private car from the resort to the city, I let Zeke experience VHire. VHire is a public van used by people when traveling to towns outside the city. So instead of paying a hefty amount for a private car, we saved about 66% of the total cost for that ride. VHire fare costs 100 pesos per head. Really cheap! The trip took us more than 2 hours and when we finally get to Crowne Regency, just like a little boy so giddy with his toy, Zeke fired an M4 for the very first time. Seeing him enjoying it makes me really very happy. I was very excited for him! And I knew he's gonna get extra rounds on top of what he was paying for the deal. And he did. He always does that. It's obvious that my Zeke loves guns but it's just unfortunate that firearms are not allowed in his country so I understand that shooting guns is a must activity whenever he's here in the country. And oh, I get to experience firing an M4 too even on auto. But I looked funny because I am so small and when I pulled the trigger, it gave me some kick. But I really enjoyed it. If it wasn't that expensive, I would've fired more rounds. But it doesn't matter. What's important is I get to see Zeke fire and fire and enjoying it so much. I'm just like a mother looking at his little boy playing with his toys. Selfless love.


Look who's excited

My boy is having fun
Another round?

Woot!

We look sexy with the rifle

After our last activity from the shooting range, we headed to CNT Lechon near SM for our late lunch. Cebu is known for their yummy lechon and well, they didn't fail us. Zeke's fave food now is LECHON. After our lunch, we went straight to the airport only to find out that our 5pm flight was moved to 7pm. It was a blessing in disguise because by that time I was already behaving like a junkie because I had an allergic rhinitis attack and I didn't have meds with me. We checked in at the airport, rode a multicab and went back to the city to get my meds. I was able to buy my meds but I was still sick even during our flight and even when we reached home. I slept with 37.8degC temperature. I had a fever.
Although I got sick at the end of our Cebu trip, all in all it was fun. We love how we were able to do fun and adventure stuff but at the same time have some relaxing time by the beach. Although Zeke still likes the fine sand of Boracay, he definitely prefers Moalboal because in Moalboal, we feel connected with nature. And I couldn't agree more. So scuba diving and river climbing on our second trip - Check!!! What's next? Hmmmm..... My turn to visit his country. Interesting? I'm more of excited so please stay tuned. :)