Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cheers to the graduates!

'Tis the graduation season once again. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, will celebrate the relief (or not) of finishing college.

I have two brothers who graduated this March. Louie graduated with a Management degree from Ateneo de Manila University and Marty graduated from high school from ADMU as well. Before any other sentiments come pouring out, I want the world to know that I am so proud of the both of you!

Let's start with Louie, or Luis, as his friends call him. Louie is two years younger than me and he is a true blue Atenean. He was not supposed to go to Ateneo for college but I guess he wanted it that much that he failed the UPCAT (on purpose???) and did not even bother to get the results for a chance of reconsideration. Anyway, I think he may have a couple of aspects in his college life that I envied (no bitter feelings here, I'm also happy for him that he did those things). For one, he was very active in his organization, he was VP I think. Well, there was a time that I was also active, maybe for a sem and over one summer? Hahaha. This is something that employers look for in applicants (trust me). Companies want leaders and a position in an org would indeed be helpful.
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Next would be him being a part of Ateneo's rowing team. It's no dragonboat but it's still pretty impressive. He even got to represent Ateneo (or pati the country ba?) three times in an annual competition in Malaysia. Now, that's something really great!

Row, row, row your boat!
And last would probably be the leniency of my parents. During my time, and maybe because I'm a girl, I had to be home at a reasonable time on weekdays and I can rarely go out past midnight on weekends (thus the hundreds of sneaking out incidents).

So my bottom line is, Louie, if you are reading this, you have so many things to be thankful for. Not just those stuff that I mentioned but about a million other stuff as well. I know you do not always get what you want but believe me, mom and dad are doing their best to give us what they think is best for us. And given your background, I am sure you will snag a great job (even if it will kill me if you land a better job than I did). Just don't waste too much time on your networking thing. Take a breather and then start looking for work! (pressure? Haha. Take your time).

Next brother is my least favorite. Before he came along, I was the star. Haha. But really, Marty is a genius. He is a consistent honor student and he even claims that he barely studies! Anyway, Marty will definitely do well whether in UP or Ateneo. Just a couple of tips. Don't give in to peer pressure and don't do anything illegal! Haha! Kidding!

Note: Sorry I have no photos of Marty, I can't access his photos in Facebook.

But seriously, I love you both even if I seem indifferent at times.

P.S. Jaime and Nikki I'll also write a post on your graduation when the time comes.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Boracay 2012

*another long overdue post*

This is only my second time to Boracay. But boy oh boy, it’s very different from my first experience. For one, this is a company outing, a reward for good sales and performance. Yey, for qualifying! Second, we took the Kalibo route. That’s an additional two-hour bus ride to Caticlan, after almost an hour of delay because of runway traffic. Did not matter though since I was asleep most of the time. And lastly, for this trip, I had no wallet!  I went shopping the day before and left my wallet in Tani’s bag.  I just had a couple of hundreds at home and my lola was in Philam so I had no one to borrow money from.  

Nevertheless, I had a great time.  It was fun to mingle with my colleagues, some about my age, some older by at least 10 years.

with my colleagues
sunset. photo courtesy of ms. ann.
We stayed at Willy’s in station 1 and our room was so convenient since it was on the first floor.  We hit the beach right away and enjoyed the sun.  Noeme and I went for a walk and guess who we spotted? Dennis Trillo and Bianca King sporting a tan and holding hands.

Dinner buffet at Astoria was definitely a treat. I loved the different kinds of salad and the grilled seafood! There was a band and one of our Beauty Advisers sang a couple of songs. And as usual, the fire dance.  I was even asked to stand in front while the balls of fire were dancing in front of me, just a couple of inches from my face. I was so freaked that my pictures sucked big time. Haha.  There was also a little bit of dancing.  But the spotlight was on a middle-aged Korean or Taiwanese lady. Now, this lady joined our group when we were dancing. She had really funny and exaggerated dance moves and her energy was unbeatable.
Myra with the Asian lady
The second day was valentine’s day and island-hopping day.  We went snorkeling.  I was one of the first who jumped since some of our companions were a bit hesitant.  I was also one of the few who went back to the boat early since I was not that fascinated with the marine life. I’ve seen better reefs and fabuluous fish in Coron, Puerto Galera and Batangas (I’ve been snorkeling since I was about ten years old). We had lunch in a shack in one of the islands and then we visited Crystal Cove. Now, that’s a first time for me.  The place was beautiful. We had tons of photos in this place. Check out this gif, it’s so funny! Let the waves roll in!

Find me. I'm the one without a life jacket.
The buko vendor

After the long and exhausting boat ride, we ended the afternoon with a banana boat ride! Woohoo!

For the evening, we had dinner at The Sandbar. Food was pretty ok and the fire dance was a bit of a drag. Hearts and glitters were a bit overrated. Even so, we had a good time partying at Cocomangas. Went back to the hotel extremely tired and dozed off instantly.

Valentine's dinner
Party rock!

Last day was really crazy.  A tiring two-hour bus ride back to Kalibo and then lunch at Sampaguita Gardens. I had to lead half of the group since we were split into two batches. I had a little trouble since they were so excited to take pictures and it took quite some time before the tour started.  Because of exhaustion, I had to really control my patience and I was on the verge of snapping.

At the airport, we bought crabs. I bought “2 kilos” for only P400. Still worth it even if there was something fishy with the weighing scale.

This trip was indeed worth the effort we exerted. I wonder where next year will take us?

Bye! Where to next year?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Coron 2012

I should have posted this ages ago but I got caught up with work and other demands of life. Anyway, here’s a recap of my Coron trip.

Day 1:
Before landing at the Busuanga airport, I was amazed with the view from the plane. Lush greenery was everywhere (well, maybe except for some hills which were a bit barren). Nevertheless, I was impressed.

View from the plane
Upon arrival, a van brought us to the Busuanga Island Paradise, about 30 minutes away from the airport and 20 minutes away from the town. The trip cost us P150/head. The ‘resort’ was a bit like a rainforest hotel on the outside. It sits on the foot of a tiny mountain and is surrounded by hundreds of trees.

Busuanga Island Paradise's restaurant
For a little over P3,000 a night,our room was very spacious and relaxing. The contrast of the white linens and the brown furniture gave the room a rustic feel. The hotel restaurant was just across our room so food was very accessible. Haha. Since there’s no other establishment near the hotel, we had no choice but to eat at their restaurant. Food is pretty good, just steer clear of any dish that has shrimps. I think they use frozen shrimps bought at the supermarket so there is an aftertaste of some sort.

There is also swimming pool and we took a dip after lazing around for a while. After all, there’s not much to do since they do not have cable TV (they have a wide VCD collection though).

And after the tiring swim, we capped the night with steamed crabs (very big ones) and a movie marathon afterwards.

Day 2:
Busuanga Island Paradise has two trips to and from the town everyday. We headed to the town and did a little bit of exploring. I was a bit shocked when I first saw the town and thought ‘is this it?’. The streets were a bit narrow and there were not that many establishments aside from a few good hotels, and there’s no Starbucks. There’s no other phrase to describe it but probinsyang probinsya with tons of tourist activity.

I read somewhere that there was this cashew house and you get to watch the workers peel the cashews and everything. So we asked around and I told the tricycle driver to bring us to the cashew house. The driver looked at me with a blank expression and asked his fellow driver where is the cashew house. Turned out that they know the place as ‘bahay ng kasuy’. Haha. Lesson learned: use the Filipino term! And once in the ‘bahay ng kasuy’, I found out that it was just a tiny place selling cashews. No workers peeling the cashews, nothing. But then, one wall was filled with pictures of the lady selling the cashews (I forgot her name) with different celebrities and icons. The cashews were good and we bought some for pasalubong.

In the sweltering heat, we bought some stuff to bring home. I bought this very cute capiz frame with a ship on it. Very good craftmanship. We looked around for some tours and we were very happy to find out that there’s no need to rent a boat for ourselves. We can just join a group tour for a lower price.

We had lunch at Bistro Coron. I read this from Smile Magazine (Cebu Pacific’s Inflight Magazine) and I thought that we should check out the place. It was a quaint little bistro a few blocks away from the town center. We ordered the Bistro Pizza. It was ok but I ended up wanting something else. The other table’s orders seemed more delicious – gourmet sandwiches. Yumyum.

Back at the hotel, I was supposed to do my homework for an online course that I’m taking but I had a pretty long nap. The trip to town was really exhausting, considering the number of shopping bags I had to carry. I ended up doing my homework in the middle of the night. What a vacation!

Day 3:
Island-hopping day! Woke up really early, had breakfast and headed to town. For only P850/head, the trip included 5 destinations and lunch!

First stop was Kayangan Lake –the picturesque view of Coron. We had to climb almost a hundred steps (how many steps was it? It felt like a hundred) to see the magnificent view. It was so striking and I was simply in awe of the beauty surrounding me. Took a few photos then headed to the actual lake for a swim.

What a beauty!
Kayangan Lake
Next stop was Banol beach where we had lunch. The water was very clear and the sand very fine and white – a hundred times better than Boracay.

Lunch at Banol beach
Twin lagoons, the Skeleton Wreck and another beach (sorry, I forgot the name) were also part of the itinerary.The Skeleton Wreck was a bit creepy but the marine life was very exciting towatch. We fed the fish our bread (for snacks) and it was definitely worth it,they were eating from the palms of hands. Some of the fish were really fascinating – bright colors and in different sizes.

The sky, the rocks and the trees
Overall, the trip was so worth it. Went back to the hotel with darker skin and exhausted bodies.

Day 4:
Time to go home. After all the shopping, sightseeing, food tripping and relaxation, all vacations must come to an end. Waited in the non-airconditioned airport for less than an hour and then we’re back to Manila in no time.

This is one place that I would definitely love to visit again. Every peso spent was worth it. The hotel was very relaxing, the staff were very accommodating and the people in the town are simply helpful.

Til my next adventure! Ciao!