Saturday, January 25, 2014

Looking Back

For my first post this year, I would like to look back on the year that was. 

The latter part of 2013 was emotionally stressful.

 It all started when a colleague died. She was robbed, and shot multiple times a few kilometers 
away from her home. What's worse was, her mother was waiting for her to celebrate her birthday.

Then calamity after calamity, hit our country. 
There was the pork barrel issue which involved big names in politics. 
There was the Zamboanga siege, where hundreds of innocent people were used as human shields. 
A 7.2 magnitude earthquake which struck the provinces of Bohol. 
And lastly, the most devastating of all, there was Typhoon Yolanda, who killed more than 6,000 Filipino people.

Philippines was in total darkness that time, but somewhere, light managed to shine its way through.
Giving hope was the undeniable aid and support coming from all parts of the world. There were also the international wins of Megan Young in Miss World, and  Manny Pacquiao in boxing.

Just when the things were lightening up a bit, I faced the worst nightmare of my life.
At the age of 22, I experienced injustice in our own country. I lost a battle which I fought for a long time.
 I felt small and helpless. It was a mental and emotional torture.
I was on the verge of losing my mind.

That moment proved me, that power and money rule this world. 

With the help of family and friends, I moved on with hope. Hope that one day, our Supreme Ruler, will judge us on the truth. And I know, that no amount of power or money can change His judegement.

2014 is a new year. The first few weeks were not so good either, but looking back at 2013, I know now where to focus all my time and energy.
 I now look at what is really most important in my life. My family.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Surfing at Baler Bay

The much awaited part of the trip...surfing

While surfing seems to be fun, it is still considered an extreme sport.
Beginners are highly encouraged to to train and surf with a coach. 
Remember, it pays to be extra careful.

The first thing the trainers do, is teach us the basics. 
We already experienced a coaching session like this before but at a different beach

If you are a newbie, expect that all you get to do for the 2-hour training, 
is standing up on your surfboard.

Sometimes, you make it.

And sometimes, you don't.

In those 2 hours, I managed to get a mix of both,
and for the last 10 minutes, an unfortunate accident happened.

My trainer was teaching me how to maneuver the board (left/right).
I did a few attempts, but failed so many times.

For my final attempt, I lost balance when a wave sent me tumbling down. 

I wasn't able to control my landing, and ended up with a sprained ankle.

My coach said I was still lucky enough because earlier that morning,
 a woman fractured her knee. 

After doing some first aid, our tour guide Cassie, treated us for lunch to brighten up my mood. 

Afterwards, I just watched other surfers enjoy their wave. 

Til next time Baler! 

I really enjoyed the 2-day-trip because it was so jam-packed,that it felt like we spent 3 or 4 days already.

Our Maria Aurora - Baler trip was very educational and exciting.

I learned more about our history, got to know some of the locals,
 appreciated the beauty of different water creatures, and most importantly 
rode a surfboard that lead to an injury I never incurred in my 20 years of dancing. 

With that, I must say, this trip was one short-but-memorable adventure. :)


Thank you Cassie of I-tour Baler for assisting us in our adventure. 
We enjoyed it, and we will surely visit again. 

Diguisit Islet & Museo de Baler

After passing by Baler Fish port and Diguisit Falls, we have now come to our next destination
 -- the Diguisit Islet.

An isle or islet is a small Island. 
It was my first time to go to an Islet and I never knew the many different water creatures that inhibits it.

I noticed there were different kinds of rocks. 
Some of it have piled up on top of each other.

The experience was educational, not that I learned the name of each species there was,
but because now I know they exist.

Diguisit Islet is like a museum, the only difference is that, these creatures are in their natural environment. :)

So for people who would love to see different water creatures, and maybe even discover one, then I guess you'll enjoy Diguisit Islet.

Make sure to ask your tour guide if the creatures could be touched. 
It's not only for your safety, but for the creatures as well. 

If you'll ask, I was not the one who touched the crab-like creature, I am fine in taking photos. ;)

From what seems to be a museum, our next stop was a real museum --Museo de Baler.

From sea creatures, we now go to Philippine history. 
At the entrance of the museum is a monument of Manuel Quezon, the second president of the Philipines

He was born in Baler. 
His presidential car can be found in the museum.

Some of the items inside the museum are from the Galleon Trade. 

While most of it are from the Spanish Period.

The photo below is like a blueprint of a house.

You can see the words, Cocina , Sala, Corredor , and Coarto which closely resemble the tagalog words  Kusina, Sala, Koridor, and Kuwarto. 

From there we can see how great the influence of Spain is in our local language, Filipino

That's all for Museo de Baler. 

This last photo gives a clue on the last destination. 
What-else other than.. surfing! :) 

Baler Fishport & Diguisit Falls

Third stop in our itinerary for our second and final day in Baler was at the Baler Municipal Fish port. 

The view by the fish port was a a never-ending space of blueness. 
Blue sky. Blue Sea.
If not for the thin line that separates the two, you would never know the difference.

There were a number of boats, both big and small.

The say almost all places look the same, its the people you are with that makes the experience different.

While fish ports might look all the same, it was this boy that made the experience different.
His name is Borris.

He was very problematic because they were fishing the entire morning and only caught a small fish.

He says he always goes fishing with his dad, so that someday he'll learn how to fish too.

He says they'll eat the fish for lunch, so he hopes that more fish will take the bait. 

Thank you for sharing your story with us Borris! 

I know one day you'll make an excellent fisherman. 
You will not only catch fish for your family, but maybe even for your neighbors as well. ;)

Good-bye Borris!

Our next stop Diguisit Falls. 
Unlike the Mother falls,  the Diguisit falls is much easier to access.
It is just by the road going to Diguisit Islet.  

Like us, there were lots of passers-by, wanting to take a quick plunge in the water.

We even saw a family, who brought with them their baby. 

The climb to the falls is steep, so if you are not used to climbing,
 then I suggest you leave your bags in your car. 
There is a parking area right in front of it, but can only accommodate a couple of cars.

It's dangerous to bring your babies!
So unless your an expert at climbing like these locals, 
then I suggest you just take turns in taking care of the baby at the bottom of the falls. :) 

On to our next destination...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mini Zoo & Ermita Hill

For our 2nd day at our Maria Aurora-Baler trip,
we woke up early, to make the most of our time.

While waiting for the tricycle, we walked around the Mini Zoo at the Inn we were staying at.

Try observing monkeys, and you will see how similar their actions are with us humans.

Next stop is  Ermita Hill.

Among all the historical places I've been to,
the history in this one is very memorable.

A long time ago, a tsunami struck the province of Aurora.
The seven statues you see below the hill, represent the seven families who survived the Tsunami.

They survived by climbing to the top of the hill
and lived there till the catastrophe was over.

Thus, most of the people in Baler are descendants of these seven families.

At the top of Ermita Hill is this huge cross which can be seen from anywhere across Baler.
They say it was built as a reminder to the whole city of Baler of Christianity.

Next stop...

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