I’m relocating!


All of my posts are here on my new website, http://www.journalyn.com.

I’m hoping you all could visit me there.

Thank you for following and supporting me for the past years.

This is one big step I’m taking to bring my writing to a new level.


See you, there. 🙂

A Dip at Malangaan Spring


The bluish-green water of Malangaan Spring. This also serves as the starting and end point of Malangaan Cave adventure.

          It’s pretty much impossible not to see Malangaan Cave without Malangaan Spring. To start, let it be known that the spring, more than a tourist destination, is a spring in its truest sense. It provides water for the locals of San Rafael, Bulacan for several beneficial purposes. I’m  not sure if it’s potable but water here is colorless and odorless.

           People do their daily errands here like washing their clothes and their vehicles – mostly motorbikes and tricycles. Their domestic animals also benefit from the spring and recently, the spring also provides another source of income to the locals through tourism.


Malangaan Spring is an essential part of the every day lives of Bulakenyos in San Rafael.

           I literally just took a dip to Malangaan Spring. I brought a spare set of clothes with me but Patrick just cannot have a cold bath. He’s a baby standing 5’11” tall! Anyway, two men were enjoying their baths at the spring and from the looks of it, water level can be as deep as 6 feet or more. It was low tide when we got there.


Best visited during summer, the spring is a tad too cool for the weak during colder months.

          Maybe because we were the only visitors that time and the locals were actually doing their own things with the spring, taking a bath was a bit intimidating. We had our quick lunch on one of the cottages by the spring free of charge. In preparation for the summer, more new cottages are being built when we went there.

           Bring your packed lunch if you want to make sure you won’t get hungry. But just in case, there’s a small sari-sari store in one of the cottages beside the spring. You can buy canned goods, bottled water, alcoholic drinks and chips here.

            Depending on the situation, you can park as near to the spring as shown below for free.


Basic toiletries and food for survival are available in a cottage just beside the spring.

            If you would be driving to Malangaan, you might find your car out or low on gas. Don’t fret, as this mini gasoline station can be found just a few kilometers from the spring.


Mini-gasoline station to pacify that blinking fuel alarm.

There are more places and things to explore in San Rafael. Maybe by our third or fourth trip here, we may not be lost anymore. Hopefully. Our first trip here was back in December, 2016 at San Rafael River Adventure.

In case you missed it, our Malangaan Cave is featured on my previous post. Please check it out.


Malangaan Cave: Spelunking in Bulacan

          Let’s start by saying we wasted too much gas trailing the wrong highways. We started our trip from Tabang Guiguinto Bulacan. I knew in the beginning that Plaridel Bypass Road is the fastest route but since we had to grab breakfast and packed lunch at a fastfood in Sta. Cruz, Guiguinto, we took the highway passing through SM Baliuag instead. As a result, travel time going to the cave took additional 1 hour. Going home, we purposely took this route again as we intended to watch Matt Damon’s “The Great Wall” at SM Cinema. Good movie, by the way.

           One good advice when lost is to might as well enjoy the view of your own path. Bulacan is a probinsya but these parts of San Rafael offers really luscious views of greens with all its mango farms, rice and vegetable fields. I am a promdi by heart and our own house in Malolos has a vast yard of forest-like tableau but I couldn’t help but be amazed by San Rafael’s distinctive charm.

I even saw old houses like that of my Lola’s before it was renovated. So the view going to Malangaan offers a free trip down memory lane of some things cheery about my childhood. Let’s stop at that as I could get more sentimental and corny than necessary. There is a resort named Mango Farm along the way and that got me curious. Maybe one of these days we could side trip there.

Here we go…


After 2-3 minutes of trek from the spring, we already reached this prominent rock formation of Malangaan. This spells and smells spelunking already.

           We went to Malangaan Cave and Spring in San Rafael, Bulacan on a Tuesday. I just felt like January, though really productive and rewarding at work, was too darn long (because it had 31 days perhaps?). So I took this weekday on a vacation leave then set Patrick, though unwillingly, and I for an adventure. I was researching blogs on this. Some of the blogs I found helpful were that of Pusang Gala and Justin Vawter.


Cave has water and mud in it but nothing that a good sturdy rubber shoes can’t handle. By its physical appearance, the rock formations are sedimentary. Please comment below if I’m wrong. What I’m sure of are the vandals on the cave walls.

From blogs, I found out there’s no need to actually look for a guide as any local would be willing to serve the purpose. There is no registration nor entrance fee on the cave and spring. Even the cave guide fee isn’t fixed. In our case, before we could even park near Malangaan spring (parking fee was also free that time, we were the only visitors), a local guy already approached us and asked us if we would be going to the cave. We said yes and right and about he ordered his around 10-year old niece whom we later known as Mylene to get his flashlight. Both he and Mylene, who uses the cave as her everyday playground, accompanied us during spelunking. We paid them Php300 plus food (just an extra burger from our packed lunch) for less than an hour of their service.


Just look at how easily Mylene ascend the rocks like their actual stairs and how a weakling like me was able to do it as well.

           Yup, that’s just how much time it takes to explore the cave, maybe even faster since I’m a relatively slow hiker plus I wanted to document each adventure through pictures. I’m a proud social media mountaineer, by the way. I have no qualms to prove anything else or otherwise.

           This is a very easy spelunking I should say. I was wearing a trek shoes and Patrick was just on his slippers but we both successfully managed to get by without injury nor scratches, just a little mud on my bum and that was all.

           Before you know it, you’re already descending to some wildflowers and tall grass to be greeted by this unexpected panorama.


There isn’t much to see inside the cave to be blatantly honest. But I thought these rocks are amazing! Malangaan is surely one chill adventure.


On a bright day, the white rocks are magnificent on a dark blue sky contrast.

            The sad part is, while we were spelunking, we kept on hearing loud fireworks-like sounds and you guessed it right, the noise was coming from the area’s quarrying activities.


Nothing is truly black and white but these rocks rock!

            A few more minutes of walking and we’re back on our starting point, Malangaan Spring.

Mt. Pinatubo: Nature’s Beautiful Disaster


What   : Mt. Pinatubo Trek (daytour joiner through a tour organizer)

When   : Sunday (12MN – 11PM), January 22, 2017

Who    : Nath (my favorite sister) and Len (my post-college friend as she endearingly terms it)    img_6672

        This was a hike I long wanted to do and thanks to these two I was able to tick off this one particular item on my bucket list. Here’s to sharing with you our experiences so you can minimize the avoidable blunders and appreciate the gift of nature on this side of the planet.

     Call time was 2AM in Ortigas. If you’re not familiar with being a “joiner” of an organized tour, as a start you should know that all joiners shall be pooled or fetched from a single point. In most cases as in our case, we met at a 24-hour Mcdonald store. Because we had to prepare food, double check our packed bags and shower, we woke up at 12 midnight. My travel buddies did not sleep at all anymore.

     We paid the fee in full upon meeting our tour coordinator, grabbed super early breakfast, then load one of the 4 vans assigned to us. Here we had the chance to catch forty winks.


     Travel from Ortigas to our base camp in Botolan, Zambales took roughly four hours. There is another base camp in Capaz, Tarlac where you can also ride 4×4 rides but to where your base camp would be depends on which tour organizer you’ll get. The trek – its difficulty and view – of course varies with each base camp.

View from the 4x4

Sun was barely up when we started our adventure from Zambales base camp.

     A short briefing was done by our coordinator then we loaded our assigned 4×4 trucks. Put on your sunblock, leave things you won’t use during the trek inside the van to lighten your load. Do not bring backpacks which are much heavier than you could actually carry then punish your poor tour guide by having him carry your entire group’s excess baggage! Be responsible. It’s called adulting.


     You have to take this 4×4 off –road ride seriously. You will cross streams, go on deep dive and climb steep curves in this 4×4 truck for 2 hours (or more if you’re unlucky to be assigned on a slow and malfunctioning truck such as ours) amidst all the lahar (mudflow of lava) dust. A face mask or anything that can help you cover against dust is surely a must. And prepare your upper body for some major stretching before the hike with this ride.

We greeted the beautiful sunrise inside this truck.

We greeted the beautiful sunrise inside this truck.

     Comfort rooms won’t be a problem as there are lots in the base camp, at the jump off point of your hike after this 4×4 ride, another on 800 meters before the reaching the crater and on the crater vicinity itself. Sanitation is the problem and we cannot tackle that without going deep into Philippine society’s social fiber.

This is where vans stop and where the 4x4 ride begins (above). There are comfort/bathrooms at the base camp and on the starting point of the trek (below).

This is where vans stop and where the 4×4 ride begins (above). There are comfort/bathrooms at the base camp and on the starting point of the trek (below).


     Yup, it took us this long to reach the crater and we’re not even the last group to arrive. Normally this should take 1.5 hours -2.5hours. The trail view was stunning!  Going up isn’t really hard due to lack of steep assaults you might have already experienced with climbing mountains of 2/9 difficulty.

   The trail was a very gradual assault and because on the first few parts, you would be walking on lahar sand, you may still feel a toll on your legs. Plus you would have to do this for hours so endurance is really the name of the game here. I’d say it again, pack light.

The stunning trail view using Zambales route.

The stunning trail view using Zambales route.

     Len and I wore sandals without socks but you can still opt to wear shoes then change into slippers when the parts where you have to cross rivers/streams come. In our case, given that it was January, the river parts came after the registration stop.

rocks all around

More rocks on this part of the trek. Registration is done at this point. Fee is already included in our package.

The Watery Trail

She changed into slippers during the stream/river part.

        We came upon an Aeta village. Actually that was just 4 nipa huts and a basketball ring. A Filipino village won’t be complete without a basketball court no matter what happens! You will find in these Aetas the purest traces of Filipino hospitality. Their warm smile they wear as they welcome hikers with English phrases such as “Good morning!” and “Goodbye” cannot be ignored.

Aetas kids playing with rocks, having the mountains as their playground.

Aetas kids playing with rocks, having the mountains as their playground.These kids can talk short english phrases and one of those is “I love you”. They told me that after they asked for my name.

a small community of Aetas

You’ll pass by this small Aeta village and somehow you’ll have hope that the crater’s near.


     We ate our packed lunch here beside the crater, rested for some 10 minutes lying down on concrete, and went down to the crater itself through some less than a hundred step of stairs to see it more up close. All these in less than an hour.

Rest beside the crater lake

10 minutes of rest after a hearty feast of home-cooked adobo

     I recommend trying to go to Mt. Pinatubo by forming a group of 5 then go on a DIY trip so you own your time. Our group and the other joiners felt that we were so hurried by the organizer. Most joiners did not even had the time to go down to the crater because even before you can actually regain strength, you had to go start your way back to base camp already!

Edge of Crater Lake

Edge of Crater Lake. With other guests who made it a point to go down near the crater.

     I have confirmed it with my own eyes. Mt. Pinatubo is a beautiful disaster. Whenever I travel especially if it the destination is either sea or mountain, I can’t help but sink into my deepest reflections and utter my most honest adoration. You tell me now that there’s no one supreme being out there who created the beauty such as this.

   The mountain tells a story. There’ll be days when everywhere we look at, our surrounding environment is the same shade of grey. Those who feel like their world’s erupting, or their sanity exploding any time, those who are losing breath due to sulfuric acid haze of their own hate and mistakes should look forward to how God can create something beautiful out of all the mess. He will allow problems to shake you, spew hot tears and blood out of you only to rise as powerful and as exquisite as Mt. Pinatubo. Charmed but dangerous. This volcano’s appeal comes from being boastfully lovely with the whole world knowing how tough it can get when necessary. Pretty much like a life peg for me!

A Beautiful Disaster

Lesson learned from this beautiful disaster: make forecasting what you’ll do next a challenge even for experts

      As I hurriedly stare at it for one last time to fight another battle of grit going down it whispered an art-of-war tip: make forecasting what you’ll do next a challenge even for experts. ^_~

12:43PM – 3:07PM

     For me, descend was more challenging. I’m already tired, and because there were around 3 slopes downwards going to the  crater, this time around, it’s time for some climbing action. The trail going back to the base camp is the same so I was glad that the mesmerizing view has a rewind.

A glimpse of the trail's level of difficulty.

Since the trail going to and from the crater lake is the same, we had to both descend and ascend on these rocks.

        If it weren’t for the 1991 eruption, the second most destructive volcanic eruption of the 20th century, the trail won’t be there. What was once a forest is now varying pits covered with trees and plateaus of rocks and streams.

3:07PM – 5:20PM

When the road ends, the journey begins.

When the road ends, the journey begins.

          After your leg workout, be in again for some upper body exercises. Since we barely had sleep, all I really wanted was to catch some nap inside the 4×4 ride. Admittedly, I was a fool for even thinking that was possible! Halfway through, all the sleeplessness I felt was erased by the rough ride. You will be rewarded by the view of beautiful sunrise and sunset during both 4×4 rides.

5:20PM- 6:30PM

         We could have taken a bath before our van takes us back to Manila but we chose to just change clothes. We grabbed some hot instant noodles and crackers being sold by a pop up store in the base  camp. Certificates of conquest were also distributed by our tour organizer.


          Travel time back to Ortigas. When the van took a stop in a gasoline station in Subic, we grabbed some fast food and ate dinner inside the van.

Tour Organizer Review.

           There are a lot of tour organizers for Mt. Pinatubo. We booked through TRIPinas and I do NOT recommend them. Though they are cheaper, take into consideration the service and most importantly, your safety. This isn’t some juvenile, irresponsible rant as our group was able to voice out what we have experienced to the tour organizer face to face before we packed home. Unfortuantely, the organizer did not respond at all. No consoling words, no apologies nor action whatsoever.

          I won’t go into the details of how other tour organizers could make the trip more fun and informative and more concerned in their approach to their guests and will just focus on safety.

Safety should be number one priority.

What is this piece of wood doing inside a 4×4?! Apparently the organizer also do not know why. Talk about safe practices.

     The 4×4 ride assigned to us was slow, somehow malfunctioning as the driver had to stop more than 4 times just to check its condition (prolonging the ride). What made it worse was the wooden log placed unattached inside the truck for some unknown reason. So when the truck made sudden stoops, that log randomly hits the passengers and my sister was one of the victims. It must be with the driver or the 4×4 itself, either way that is the tour organizer’s responsibility. Our 4×4 ride on the way back to the base camp is exceptionally rough that passengers are already bumping on and hurting each other. The driver said no warning, no apologies and even blurted out, “Dapat kasi kumapit!”. He has a point as it was an off-road ride after all but just as with the coordinator, I didn’t like his approach. I have a high standard when it comes to customer service as my job involves heavy client interface and that’s just not how you respond to inquiries, concerns, issues, etc. I’m not saying they’re way too bad but surely you can find better  from the plethora of tour organizers out there.

     Another of their 4×4 ride got stuck in one major river crossing and that’s fine and definitely part of the fun and adventure but oil splattering out from the exhaust to your skin and clothes is definitely unsafe.

         The beauty of the trail and the crater itself, the company you are with, the experience, the Aetas’ warm welcome, the adrenaline rush, the memories, tons of instagram-worthy pictures, and that sense of fulfillment of conquering yet another mountain would be more than enough to feed your travel hunger. Mt. Pinatubo is a great way to start a series of 2017 travels. I hope you also enjoy as much as we did when it’s your turn to gaze at Mt. Pinatubo’s allure.

       More photos of our adventure below:

a segment of the trail

When I think about it, I may not be that weak after all.

Goofing time at a stop in the Aeta Village

We passed by what they call Aeta Village though we only saw 4 houses. Judging from the number of Aetas we passed on by, there must be a larger village off route the trail.

The trail won't be as it is today had it not been for that 1991 eruption.

The trail won’t be as it is today had it not been for that 1991 eruption.

Orange stream of sulfur

I thought this was mineral deposits disturbed from possible mining/quarrying in the area. One noticeable thing from the trek is the denuded forests. But this orange spec is from sulfur spewed out from the volcano, according to our guide.

Sisters on Trail

Our second mountain to conquer together. We took it slow. Anyway, it’s the journey, not the destination. ^_~

Your body age according to Mt. Pinatubo

Your body age according to Mt. Pinatubo

Overlooking the beautiful disaster.

Kid at heart overlooking the beautiful disaster. Do you see Song Joong Ki?

Glamping at San Rafael River Adventure

Regular Glamping Package at San Rafael River Adventure

Regular Glamping Package

      I first heard “glamping”, a portmanteau of glamorous +  camping from a resort in Visayas maybe two years ago. Fortunately, I didn’t get the chance to really give it a try until the 17th of December this year, which is also a day before Weak and I celebrated our 8th anniversary as a couple. I chanced upon San Rafael River Adventure on the internet, checked it out, saw that it was good, affordable and in Bulacan so I had our reservation pencil-marked.

     Weak and I seldom gets the opportunity to travel somewhere far away together, specifically by plane, because of differing priorities. There would be no use in trying to book a because I knew he would decline. So I intentionally looked for a quick day tour getaway just around Manila and luckily, the ideal location happened to be in my beloved Bulacan.

     Nowadays, a number of resorts offer glamping already. It allows a unique experience reminiscent of girl/boy scouting days when you had to pitch a tent and set up  a bonfire. Since glamping claims to be glamorous, you don’t have to sweat it out and figure out how to pitch a tent because the resort will do that for you.

Inside the tent of SRRA Regular Glamping Package

What’s inside the tent of SRRA? Two mattresses, pillows, a roll of tissue and dental hygiene kits.

     If you’re looking for something really low-key but at the same time, convenient, comfortable and still has that lazy and cozy vacation vibe, then glamping is worth a try. Anyway, for most day tours where there are a lot of other activities to do outside of your accommodations, who would want to stay inside?

     Just to set out your expectations, here are the pros and cons of glamping at San Rafael River Adventure:


  • Easy to book. Its Facebook page  is responsive.
  • Ideal for couples, intimate family gatherings like reunions.
  • Accessible being very near Metro Manila.
  • Affordable. We just spent Php3,500 including gas. The glass villa is cost-efficient if you’d share it with a group of friends.
  • No corkage. Staff would even start fire for grilling for you, and will provide free iced tea and drinking water.
  • Clean shower rooms. For those who would avail of the Regular Glamping package, you would have to share the same rest room with guests from 5 other tents.
  • Good customer service by staff from receptionist to food handlers to water activities personnel.
  • With AC power. No need to worry about dead batteries nor powerbanks.
  • Camp in Style

    Camp in Style. With mattress, foods served, electric fan, ac power and parking space in front of your tent. How convenient can camping get!


  • It still being developed. If you hate traces of construction going on and consider that an eye sore, you might be just a bit bothered. Like how it was in Dos Palmas when we were there 2 years ago, they are still growing the trees and flowering plants in some areas. This might actually be a good point, because it still strives to cultivate beauty more charming that how it is now.
  • Too silent bordering to boring. It was fully booked then, being a Saturday in December but still it was as if no one’s really there but us and the staff. But then, it’s a matter of preference. Personally, I like vibes like that.
  • No restaurant inside the resort. What they’ll do is they’ll get your order for all the meals during your stay as well as the time when you want those foods to be delivered. They’ll order it for you outside.

    San Rafael River Adventure Menu

    San Rafael River Adventure Menu

     Visit their website here for more details. More photos of us goofing around below. That is, if you’re interested, haha. As I’ve said we tried SRRA for our eighth anniversary. I threw in bits of information to make this less annoying. ^_^ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Check Mates. We found unique chess pieces beside the inifinity pool.

Check Mates. We found unique chess pieces beside the infinity pool.

Team Building Facilities

Goofing around for photo ops. Guilty as charged. Background photos of flowers are from their garden which I found really attractive. Plants there are for sale!

Happy 8th Anniversary

Happy 8th Anniversary! Pool is clean and is up to 6 feet deep with small jacuzzi. One hour kayaking is included in the package.

Kayaking at SRRA

Kayaking (free for day tours), ATV, jest ski, banana boat are among the water sport activities for additional fees.

Glamping with a Twist

“Glamping with a Twist” is staying in a tent floating on the river.

Forgiving Marcos as Catholics

     Why can’t we just forgive if we were Catholics?

     A question was raised if the Philippines, which prides itself for being the only Catholic country in Asia (which technically speaking isn’t true anymore since South Korea and China are now following suit), cannot just move on, respect and forgive Ferdinand E. Marcos (FEM), the president who declared Martial Law spurring several human rights abuses and corruption of Imeldific proportions.

     What we feel collectively is a summation of individual experiences. Consider a typical story among 324o killed, 34,000 torutured and 70,000 imprisoned.  For decades now, a family still tries to figure out the location of their father’s body. This member of their family, during Marcos regime had been abducted because of perceived rebellion and was never to be found ever since. Up to this day, although they cannot be clueless on what happened to their loved one – what with all the horrible tales of tortures worse than death to people with similar fates- they are still looking for answers and justice to their presumably dead. Until this day as well, no one from the Marcoses who had full control of the military back then by virtue of Proclamation 1081 has been held accountable. Not one from their family even had the decency to say a genuine sorry.


Never again! Never forget! Photo from http://www.change.org.


     EDSA revolution happened and somehow it helped ease the pain because the perpetrators were ousted from the highest seat in the land. The entire country and the rest of the world mourned with this family for their loss by the way of People Power. Every Feb 21 and All Soul’s Day then, they pray for their dead and cry that silent cry for this kind of abuse not to be forgotten and not to be repeated ever again.


     Then came the new presidency. Few saw it coming that the change this fresh administration promised will come in ways that has been unthinkable before. True enough, it did something that’s unprecedented and as one witty celebrity puts it, comparable to the unpredictability of the majority of Game of Thrones episodes. An electoral debt had to be paid and Duterte proved to be quick at that.  The Marcoses, reportedly,contributed a hefty percentage of Duterte’s campaign fund (from the mouth of the babe). Therefore, even though for so long, it has been fairly  common sense not to entertain the thought of FEM being laid to rest in the ground reserved for the heroes of this country, legalities albeit without morality found its way to do otherwise. We had supreme court justices voting 9-5 in favor of  the Marcoses –  and should I say, in favor of the new president.

     After 9 days, like a thief in broad daylight, the late dictator’s remains were buried in full military honors but without the knowledge of the unsuspecting public and the protesters who are still waiting for the result of the motion for reconsideration which could have been filed up to 15 days after the supreme court decision.


Unannounced, FEM’s remains were buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, 9 days after a supreme court ruling. Photo from http://www.philstar.com

Expect the news and the streets to be all about this most shocking turnaround of events in our recent history. Arguments are louder  in social media where almost everyone can give a piece of their mind regardless of sense and sensibility or the lack thereof. Anti and pro-Marcoses are all at rage, hurling stones at one another, each having their own hits which are far less than their tons of misses. Intelligent exchange of differing opinions is still so far from the Filipino consciousness. If it were for any consolation the rest of the world stands the same. Each netizen is either hiding behind anonymity or false identity or deriving courage from being virtual safe from a most probable punch as compared to if the argument was conducted face-to-face. Social media reveals true identities- without censorship and without consequences.


     Let me dedicate this blog post on answering a religion-specific attack. For the record, in any intelligent discussion, whatever irrelevant personal preference should remain untouched. This preference will ubiquitously emanate from  the arguments of person indirectly and need not to be a target of any offensive attack.

     So back to the questioning of how Catholics cannot move on and forgive. The victims have long forgiven but now the wounds are being made new. Had FEM continued to be laid in Batac, Ilocos Norte mausoleum  underneath its wax replica, Martial Law horror would have not come back to haunt us with this intensity. Filipinos are unparalleled when it comes to moving on, believe me. Bongbong Marcos’ almost-win to the vice-presidency is a testament to this.

     Martial Law victims who settled for injustices are being told to move on. They are forced to forgive without the culprits apologizing. They are doing exactly those things, being the better persons in the dire circumstances they are in. Then suddenly they will be slapped with the supreme court ruling that the dictator who started this all will now be revered as a hero. Don’t tell them FEM deserves this as a former president. He was ousted because of grave actions unbecoming of a president. He has long forfeited this title. For most of Filipinos who have nothing to be proud of but the marks their clean names made in history, label is everything. Don’t force us to regard him as what he is not. Marcos is no hero.

     For once let us not abuse the meek and the victims who chose to just settle this on their own accounts alone. They had no body to bury, no answers to their questions, definitely with no closure.

     Don’t tell them to just forgive because they are religious. Mercy and justice should meet as they did on the cross. As St. Thomas puts it, “Mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution. Justice without mercy is cruelty.” We must forgive. We must forget the pain, the hurt, and anger for our enemies’ and  our own’s sake. You can tell that that’s the hard part of forgiving.


Mercy and justice go hand in hand. Image from http://www.americaneedsfatima.org.

      But you know what Christians also have to do? They have to show love by correcting the sins of their neighbors. They should call out wrong doings and never tolerate it by regarding their deeds as heroic. They should also not turn the blind eye just because they thought they benefited from sin. What shrieks me the most from all of these circus is when people scream that Marcos had done so much for the economy. Whatever good that is, clearly it is not long term. Need I remind you we are still all paying for the debt his 21 years of presidency incurred. And if it were true, so what? Never mind that he killed and tortured thousands just because he once made the Philippines “great”?! He was 21 years in service. He made use of our money for those long grueling years. At the very least, It is only expected that he was able to erect some hospitals, bridges and museums of worth!

     You know what else Catholics should do aside from moving on and forgiving? They should have an opinion. It is more so (not even though) because they are Catholics and religious, that they should take a stand. They should feel this burning desire to contribute and participate on nation building. The language of silence is always the easiest to speak but it is the most dangerous as well. Yes, Jesus was someone you can call rebellious during His time and it is for good reason. Catholics should not expect to fight the good fight unscathed! To people who say that CBCP is saying a lot, well let me tell you, the general silence we’re hearing now, it is deafening.

     Catholics  should speak out not only when they are the ones being abused but also when their neighbors  are. We should not tolerate injustices whether made to us or to other people. They should use their heads and use it really well because the devil is cunning.

     It will make no use to exhume his remains. We can move forward. By moving forward, it means bringing justice to all the victims. It means retrieving all the wealth of our country that was ill-gotten by the Marcoses when they were in power up to the very last cent and the last piece of precious stones from their vast shoe collection. It’s time to make every one accountable and answerable by conducting a real investigation this time. Spare no one from the rule of law be them from Marcoses, Aquino or any political clan. Let us settle history once and for all. We deserve to know the past as our nation, who, being lost for so long may only have to know its real identity so it can move forward correctly. Lastly, let’s teach the new generations the truth. Let them not be confused by unfounded conspiracy theories that makes Wattpad really jealous.


How to Replace Lost SSS UMID

My cellphone together with my Unified Multipurpose Identification Card was snatched from me a few months ago. More about that here. I had a “free day” this week which I decided to use productively by re-applying for that lost/stolen card.

Here are the steps for re-applying for a lost UMID card. I hope this helps those of you with the same predicament.

sss-umidI fist secured an affidavit of loss from Bulacan Provincial Capitol in Malolos, Bulacan then proceeded to SSS Branch in Longos, Calumpit , Bulacan inside The Cabanas. I had a very fast and smooth transaction in that branch. Staff were courteous and knowledgeable with their job – even the security guards were so useful/helpful.

  1. Click this link for a downloadable copy of UMID Application Form. From the “Instructions” on the second page, the list of identification documents (primary and secondary) required are listed. Any one primary document will do. For the secondary, you have to submit any two. Print the application form and fill out.
  2. Furnish an Affidavit of Loss from any Notary Public (Php 100). No need to prepare anything to secure this affidavit. Just be clear on stating what specific document or card you have lost and check on every details of the affidavit before signing as “Affiant”. Usually you just have to provide your name, civil status, and complete address. You should be given two (2) notarized, signed and dry-sealed copies upon payment.
  3. Head to any SSS Branch with a Teller or Cashier section. I first tried SSS Branch in Waltermart Guiguinto but I was told that they don’t transact anything which includes payment in that branch. Malolos Branch is open as early as 7am during weekdays so that’s where I went.
  4. Head to the information desk and state the purpose of transaction. Show the filled out form so you can already be given a que number to booth #7 where you can obtain R6 Form Form (Social Security System Miscellaneous Payment Form).
  5. Go to the Teller Section and line up there as you fill out four copies of R6 Form. Pay three hundred pesos, Php300.00. That’s all you have to pay for this entire replacement of ID transaction. Two copies of R6 form will be returned by the teller.
  6. Go back to booth #7 (without queue number this time, just wait for the seat to be vacated). She’ll get one copy of R6 Form then you will just be given another queue number here for lining up at the Data Capture section.
  7. In the Data Capture section, someone will input the details on your application form. Check all data inputs on the screen in front of you. They’ll also get your thumb and index fingerprint biometrics on both right and left hands. You would have to provide your signature specimen (don’t hesitate to ask for a retry if your signature came out like it isn’t yours the first time); and finally a camera headshot of you without eyeglasses, earrings or other unnecessary accessories and with your hair pulled/put back. If you can, wear a top with sleeves and collar.photogrid_1478165845992
  8. Expect the Acknowledgement Stub to be given to you. Keep this while waiting for nine (9) months for your new UMID – to be delivered at the address you specified in the application form. Yes, nine months! As in long 9 nine months equivalent to one full-term human gestation. If you were on Day 1 of pregnancy when you applied, baby’s already coming out you still don’t have your UMID card. This is based on my own experience. I followed up through email twice. They reply but I’m not sure if you have the patience for their response. They’ll tell you that after 4 months, they’ll be sending the card to the courier already, expect it in one month more. You’ll follow up again and they’ll quickly reply telling you to wait for one or 2 months more – they’re still sending the card through the mail. I wish my case was the worst. I hope you really get yours in 4 months as they promise or even less.

How to Save a Flushed Cellphone

           Sometimes life hands us a series of unfortunate events to which we respond to stupidly. I just burnt a pair of pants. Some 12 hours later, I flushed my Samsung J5 2016 in the toilet bowl. Flushed. My Cellphone. Into the Toilet. Wow!

             It just dawned on me that when I am happy I seem to act overly ecstatic. As a young kid, after my parents came home from Manila to buy us new clothes and Lego toys, I bumped my head into wall as I happily and haphazardly lie in bed. Now, from the relief of how my report at work is going, I mindlessly went in to the restroom and did something stupid that could’ve caused me my third cellphone in the span of a year.


            My Cherry Mobile Flare S4 got snatched from my Jansport bag after one Sunday Mass when I was so happy because of a conversation between me and a priest. I went to Malolos market feeling light, positive, happy and all that. Maybe my faith in the goodness of people was just all too out there that evil took notice and wanted to take  that happiness away. That was my first time to be snatched off of something. My SSS UMID ID was in the pocket of that cellphone’s cover.

            So I moved on and replaced that stolen cellphone with LG G4. This time, I used it without any protection whatsoever and broke its upper right corner screen. I was pissed off with a coworker at that time, then come break time I headed to a bank to withdraw money. I was about to enter the bank’s door but my cellphone slipped from my hands.

            I knew the replacement will cause me thousands but since it was still working so fine, I did not bother to have it repaired. Some months after, it had trouble recharging until it heats up alarmingly. Logo will appear longer than usual when being started until time came that the only thing it does is to restart and restart. I was told by the service center that the motherboard has to be replaced already since reprograming it won’t be of help. Replacing the motherboard also meant me paying cash which is also tantamount to a new LG G4. Warranty was void because of the broken screen and I couldn’t do anything.

            Nobody, even LG and Smart would want to listen to my concern and reasoning. I later found out that LG really has this very bad reputation when it comes to replacement of parts and aftersales. That’s unfortunate as its camera is really good if not the best there is for mobile phones. When I purchased G4, it was the only handset which could shoot at raw.

          journalyn So I moved on to Samsung J5 2016 after giving it much thought. I bought it for 12,000Php just maybe 3 weeks after it was launched in the Philippines. The moment I bought it, I already received a screen protector and a cover as gift from a friend. I promised myself I would take much care of it and was doing just fine until what happened last Thursday.

            Imagine me seeing on my Facebook memories that I had just bought my LG G4 a year ago and here I am again, settling on Myphone J1 Mini, a bestseller of this low-end cellphone brand while waiting for my Samsung to dry up completely.

            I decided to write this post to drop you guys some tips on what to do when you accidentally had your phone soaked in water and injected it with pressure at the same time (ex. you flushed it in a toilet bowl, forgot to remove it from your laundry and tossed it inside a washing machine, jumped to a swimming pool while cellphone’s inside your pants, flood).

            It was a blessing in disguise that the accident happened inside a restroom. There were plenty of tissue paper and there was a hand dryer.

  1. Do not lose your presence of mind as you have to be on top of the situation. You got to act faster than the water can short circuit the device. Remember that you have only one goal: dry up the device completely to avoid the electronic parts from short-circuiting.
  2. Immediately turn off your cellphone. In my case, I wanted to long press the power off button but my phone doesn’t seem to want to do that as it had to prompt this message that one sim card is already not recognized. Then, it vibrated. Somehow vibrations on cellphones already traumatized me as this was what was happening to LG G4 before it completely malfunctioned.
  3. I dried the exterior with toilet paper before opening it just to make sure I don’t add up to the water inside. Remove the sim cards, micro sd cards and battery (if you can).
  4. Bury the phone in uncooked rice. For me it helped because it absorbs moisture plus it served as insulation from too much heat as I had the phone sleep overnight inside the office’s generator room. This was the first 24 hours
  5. I did not turn it on until 3 days have passed. On the second day, it was sitting on room temperature, still buried in grains of uncooked rice. On the third day, I removed it from the rice letting natural air dry it up some more.
  6. I turned it on and thank God that it’s still working. Sim card settings for MMS and mobile browsing had to be set up again. This usually doesn’t occur if I just removed then reinserted the Sim card so that got me wondering for a bit but I think things are still working fine. So far so good but of course I’ll still be on the lookout for things that could go wrong because of unseen corrosion of electronic parts.
  7. I did not get to do this on the first 3 days, but I got some sound advice to wipe the phone with isopropyl alcohol to lessen chances of corrosion when the phone dries up. I did that after just because.

          Samsung earned my trust. For android, it’s still the way to go when resiliency is what you’re after. For the next 7 days, I won’t go to the restroom with my phone. I’ll be glad if this phone works and won’t get snatched for at least a year more. After that, I’ll accept its fate which lies in my hands, no matter what it is.


A Lot Like Christmas

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! Every year when the Halloween frenzy is over,the market and media seem to also agree that we can again turn our focus on Christmas. Traditionally in the Philippines, there’ll be anticipation about the season as soon as -ber months starts to kick in on October 1st. Technically, though,  Christmas starts at the eve of December 24 and will continue until the Sunday of the Baptism of the Lord (between January 2-9, depending on the year and the diocese). For me, there are already tell-tale signs that the most thrilling rush is yet here again.

  1. For one, traffic goes from worst to worse than worst. Case in point, as I am typing this blog on mobile phone, I am now stuck on this seemingly long journey from the foot of North Ave. MRT station to the actual train. That’s after queuing to be loaded inside the 8th UV Express in Tabang terminal which also consumed half an hour sans the actual NLEX trip. Travel time is now prolonged but not necessarily painful, at least for me. I have to credit the flexible working hours I now have with my new company. No pressure.
  2. It’s in the air, in the cold of morning, the sun’s rays at the breaking of dawn. Somehow, I am no astronomical or geophysical instrument but the heart really knows those little solar irradiance differences brought by the winter solstice – even thought I live in the tropic.


    Santa Hat Dark Mocha has got to be the best Starbucks offered during Christmas. Hurray! Those 9 beverages won’t taste like punishment. ^_^

  3. Starbucks Holiday Cheers is here. November 2 usually marks the start of next year’s planner-sticker madness. We gotta gulp on on Christmas beverages again which usually just taste like paper so we don’t miss on the chance of getting that planner which we vowed not to get but we’ll still want anyway. My only consolation is that I really get to use the planner throughout the year. I use it for work because somehow it’s more acceptable to be seen with Starbucks planner in the corporate world than that of Belle de Jour.
  4. Office mates start reviewing basic employment laws regarding 13th month pay and in our minds we already have it spent down to the last cent. Just a reminder for you and for me to put a portion of it for paying debt, for savings and/or investment.
  5. Vacation plans. Talks on how to spend the Christmas vacation are silently lurking right on every corner. Rumor has it that in my new company, I’ll have 2 weeks of paid vacation without slashing it off my VLs or SLs.  How’s that, baby! That would be a good time to reunite with old friends and former office mates. I don’t plan om splurging but I owe some people little tokens of appreciation for helping me transition to where I am right now.
  6. Gratitude and hope and all the positive vibes. I’m conducting a partial summing up of the year that has been. Many blessings came pouring in -some were brought with the help of my most fervent prayers and still more were given through God’s amazing grace alone. It’s not even over yet. The best days are yet to come and that sends chill to my bones. My family is up to a major purchase this year so *fingers cross*.
  7. Songs. In malls the airwaves are slowly being controlled by Christmas carols. I’m arranging my playlist, too. My cellphone’s been flushed and salvaged recently and it’s a little sweet early Christmas surprise that I still have it working. What are your favorite Christmas songs? The First Noel remains my favorite because of its melody.It doesn’t matter if it’sung by kids, grown ups, by a chorale, soloist or plain instrumental. I love it. I want to discover more songs, though, that’s reminiscent of my most favorite time and yet is still playable the rest year. Any suggestion?

Let’s have the best Christmas yet, shall we?


The Blind Sees

So, I just burnt a black pair of pants I use at work and in church. It’s one of the 5 pants I had tailor-made this year that actually fits and whose zipper works but then, life happens. You know what I was doing when the incident happened? I was googling tips on how to safely operate a steam iron. Seriously. I bought a new one for our house in Bulacan last weekend, similar model to the one I have in our condo though I had always used it as a dry iron. It’s saddening and it scared me a bit because even after I turned the iron off, the burning continued, with smoke quickly filling up half the room. Good thing I did some a lot of shopping yester night. Before I lost, I already gained. Could it be that subconsciously I was thinking I have no need of those pair of pants already? Enough of this. I’ll let it go from here on.

Anyway, have you heard of Amazing Grace by Hillsong? I cannot share a video but there’s the Youtube link with more than 2M views already. Hillsong is a Christian worship singing group and have very good, heart-felt and well-meaning songs (the last three adjectives are all understatement as my vocabulary finds no words for the songs). I first liked “I Believe” when I discovered it last Holy Week. It’s my first favorite from the group. I’ll research more of their songs in the next few days but for now, I just want to play Amazing Grace on repeat all day long. The chorus is my favorite which goes like this:


Sometimes, when I like a melody, I don’t want to know the exact lyrics of the song. I invent words which seems more personal according to my interpretation of the music.It’s just that this time, I can love both lyrics and melody.

Last Sunday, we were commissioned again as Lectors and Commentators. It’s an annual thing. It was a Sunday like any other special Sunday, that is, before the 11AM Mass started. But when we started walking down the aisle it felt, different. As usual, I cried silently because of joy. There’s something about like more than 50 of us, dressed in the same garb, and me just staring at the altar while walking straightly an approximate of 200m stretch. The opening song also mentioned about Christ being the “joy in our song” and it just moved me because it’s indeed true. He is the joy in my song!


The newly commissioned Lectors and Commentators (Leccom) of Immaculate Concepcion Parish. It’s the second year of us being commissioned after St. Pope John Paul II’s Feast on October 22. He is our patron saint.

I must say it’s a blessing to have this Leccom family. Aside from being given a privilege I so not deserve, I get to know a lot of people, a way of God bringing me back to the society much like what He did to a leper (that’s another story). Honestly, I’m really bad at names and facial recognition. Years of being an introvert killed those brain cells responsible for good social skills. But the few that I know, are all a mix of interesting, kind-hearted sinners who continuously opens up their hearts to the Lord.

Pretty much all of them are my mentors, trust-worthy substitute and volunteers of aid to my weakness. Pretty much all of us are a mess as well. When people ask how my weekend went, and when I tell them that I sometimes attend one Sunday mass three times, and they tell me that I might get way past heaven, I just accept that as a  pleasantly-said snide remark because we both don’t know any better way to react.

You should have seen how disorganized we were come lunch time after the commissioning and you can say that that’s how pretty much messed up our lives are too. But then, nobody promised that life following Jesus is ever going to be easy. As the song above goes: We’re all lost but found, we were blind but now we see.


For two years now, our ministry arranges the exhibit for the feast of St. John Paul II. This fishbowl of quotes is a part of the exhibit and the displayed one, of a dear priest’s homily.

In my case, fatigue is still my number one enemy when it comes to this ministry. There are mornings when I really have to battle it out with the devil just so I can wake up out of bed. There are time when I’ll sleep at 2AM and have to wake up at 4AM, then travel more than 2 hours to reach the cathedral. I work in the corporate world and sometimes I feel like this ministry is meant for retirees. But as Ate Conching said, “The Holy Spirit wakes me.” It is God’s amazing grace manifesting every waking hour of each day.

Father Mameng, our rector and the priest who commissioned us, said, ” Hindi ka lektor dahil maganda ang boses mo o dahil gandang-ganda ka sa sarili mo.(You’re not a lector because you have great voice or because you think you’re beautiful). I know each one of us, especially those who have served for decades now find deeper and more meaningful reasons already. For me, not walking away from God’s grace is one. Serving also paved the way to teach me how to be thankful, to let go of burnt things no matter how much I thought I needed them because now I know that I really don’t, to recognize God working in all of our lives every day starting every morning and even in our sleep. All the pieces, broken and scattered, in mercy gathered, mended and whole. I’ve been set free and I’m not going back. Never again. Never again to that worst prison which is a closed heart.




Lola Payat

          Lola Payat (thin grandma) is how my siblings and I call her because of her slim physique. Natha and I coined that term because we have another Lola who was fat. My two younger brothers, one 7 years and the other 13 years younger than I, acquired that term from us.

            When Natha and I were toddlers, we often went to Lola Payat’s house. Lola Payat, by the way, survived my Lolo Pacio (Bonifacio) by more than a decade. I remember Lola Payat serving me the best of their Christmas Noche Buena food, reserved especially for her apo who doesn’t live with her on the same house and compound much like the rest of her grandchildren. One of my earliest memories of my very first travel was with her, when she bathed me, combed my wavy dark tresses and dressed me up prettily 80’s style, to go to Sta. Maria where her siblings used to live.

           Her death came at a point in my life that I consider the most challenging. I was preparing for the board exam and was literally buried in piles of books and equations. Our family was so financially broke at that time, details of that point was so painful, I refuse to remember. I was studying at a friend’s house when I received a text message informing me of her passing away. I couldn’t help but blrt my feelings out through the loudest of sobs.

           You can tell that she’s one of my deepest regrets in my relatively easy life. Sayang. Kasi hindi umabot. A few weeks after her death, had she waited a bit more, she could’ve seen her firs grandchild who finished college also successfully passed the board exam to be a registered engineer.

           Lola Payat was 70+ when she died but I knew the cause of he death wasn’t just old age. Like many Filipinos who aren’t financially well off, she died from lack of good (if any) medical attention.

          My phone alarmed me that October 3 is her death anniversary. I thought, if she were alive today, what could have been the things we were sharing? I could’ve given her gifts, bought her food and clothes, taken her to a movie and dinner every once in a while. Sadly, I didn’t get those chances. All I can do now is to include her and Lolo in Mass intentions whenever I can.


            I had a great and happy childhood. I grew up knowing I was loved and that’s largely because of Lola Payat. Most of my moments with her are also blurry in my mind, too. My father has her eyes, that I can remember. Even up to this day, her children love and respect her. Respect. I think that’s a rare thing to see with children towards their parents nowadays so it was really remarkable of her.

         Pray for us when you get to heaven, Lola. Let the scent of incense replace the tobacco’s smell you used to smoke. In heaven, you’ll find amusement  more satisfying than that of solitaire. You’ll wear there the finest skirts we didn’t get to shop here and even if you eat a lot, you’ll maintain that slim figure I unfortunately didn’t inherit.

Remember, Lord, those who have died

and have gone before us marked with the sign of faith,

especially our Lola Payat

May she, and all who sleep in Christ,

find in your presence

Light, happiness and peace

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Faith Healing

Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. James 5:14

Is Anyone Among You Sick?

We all are. We all need healing.

One week before the healing mass, Ate Conching already told me that next Saturday’s mass will be extra special. There’ll be more than one priest leading the Holy Mass and maybe she thought that as a relative newbie I’ll be more comfortable as a lector. So she volunteered to be the commentator, even if it wouldn’t be her turn.

 Ate Conching is a 60-year old something woman, someone who must be enduring the aches and pain old age is accompanied with. She always wear this smile that reaches her kind eyes. When I am nervous about reading the word of God inside Mass, because up until now the nervousness doesn’t fully go away and some days the nerves are even stronger, she would tell me, “Don’t be afraid. Just pray, God is in charge.” She also has one daughter who is a monk and during some Saturdays when she couldn’t make it to serve, she probably went to the monastery to visit her.

Then came Saturday! It fell on 24th of September, Padre Pio of Pietrelcino’s feast day aka death anniversary. You can tell that Padre Pio is a very well loved priest and a modern saint for very good reasons. The first time I knew him was because of My First Pilgrimage. Invoking Padre Pio of Pietrelcino’s help in prayers is known to grant miracles of healing among many other types of other answered prayers.

Of course all Holy Mass are healing mass. What’s different, as I observed, was that some parts on the Liturgy of the Eucharist were said in Latin and there was that extra part I’d like to call a pray-over led by a second priest. I’m sure there were a lot said that were needed to be heard by the mass goers. I myself was holding back tears. Trust that most who attended really needed healing. I felt it in the air. Ordinarily, Saturday morning mass has a lot fewer attendance but that morning, what was different, too, was that the cathedral was as full as a Sunday.

Legion of Mary was also in attendance. Legionaries the world over are known to do acts of kindness for neighbors in need at least once per week. They assisted on the praying over for the healing session after Mass.

From Father’s homily, I got it that when Legion of Mary applicants are officially installed as members, they also officially and symbolically lift everything up to the Lord. Totus Tuus is a phrase (Latin, meaning “totally yours”) I would often associate with St. Pope John Paul II and his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. By surrendering all to God, we trust God to handle everything. We trust that He’ll never leave our side even pain from illnesses seem not to subside. We trust God to take care of worries and ignorance, from fear of not knowing for sure if technology and science and the doctors are already competent enough. We also lift up to Him our emotional pain from knowing too much – that the medication, the operation, further tests will hurt the body, the spirit and finances of ourselves and of our family and loved ones, from the knowledge that all efforts to stay alive can still eventually lead to death! We lift up to the Lord our perceived useless and short life, our regrets of what could’ve been and what should’ve been, of remorse and guilt, of not doing and feeling enough. But above all, “Totus tuus” is a phrase for an act of surrender, that despite all these negative things, God only has to say the word and our soul and body shall be healed.

Faith may be some people’s either last or only resort. But it’s the only thing that offers real healing. Most people fear death and I know in my heart that I fear death and pain too. But I’d still tell my parents, who are ageing as much as every person in this world, that death and sickness are inevitable truths. Everyone must die, in ways and time no one can really tell.Psalm 30:2-3

What I know is that the Knight of Columbus (KofC) in Malolos conducted their annual Lingap Kalusugan also on that same Saturday. They offered basic components of an executive checkup for just Php290. Weeks before this, I inquired at Sacred Heart of Malolos through phone if they offer packages with similar testS such as Urinalysis, Fasting Blood Sugar, ECG, etc. They said tests are done individually. In Clinica Manila in Megamall, packages are at Php5000-Php8000. This Lingap Kalusugan program is very timely and practical so I urged my parents to avail of it. Results can be obtained a week later on the same Sto Nino KofC Chamber. KofC has this thrust to provide brotherly love to its neighbor by serving God through the community.

Pray, hope and don’t worry. These often quoted words from Padre Pio must be very comforting for people who are fighting sicknesses. Many diseases are born out of emotional turmoil and spiritual emptiness. Going to Mass, the Church’s highest form of prayer can really help with whatever complication we are facing. If it couldn’t make one physically healed, it can teach ways on how to face our battles, on how to carry our cross each day similar to as how Jesus would do given the same circumstance. Because in reality, who can boast to have it all easy?

After Mass, I ate at the Lay Minister’s area the breakfast that thoughtful Ate Conching brought me, while she lined up for the healing session. Not for long, she then went back to the sacristy passing by me, smiling with her usual confidently peaceful smile. She did not simply tell me that she was done with the session. She could’ve just told me, “Let’s go. I’m done.” Instead, in a silently profound manner she declared to me, “I am healed!”

She believes. She is healed.That to me is Faith Healing.

Feel Like Resigning? Take It From Me.

          I’ve been working for more than six years now. I have resigned twice, both on July. Before I handed out my resignation letter, Facebook even reminded me of “memory to look back on”. It was of my declaration of freedom from my first company. I’ll update you if on July,  3 years from now, I would be resigning again from my third company.

          mockup Work is really a big part of our lives and if we’re not happy there or not happy anymore, we should move on to the next of other endless possibilities available out there. We are only limited by the walls we build ourselves  (I’ve read that somewhere). So before we turn into the bitter people who are always blaming their employer, the government, the system, the society at large for their own unhappiness and life choices, let us resign. Whooooh!

 Yes, the pasture is always greener on the other side.Because we are in this world for continual improvement. Sometimes, people are in the right job, right company, early on in their career life. Maybe the improvements they aim for can already be found where they are planted at the moment. It may just take a little tweak like new faces to work with, new clients, new projects, and the adventure that adventurous people like me seek is available at their reach. But for some like me, I had to experiment, test the water, taste the nutrients in the ground, then move on if I don’t see myself in that company for the long haul. I am not a plant anyway! Do not settle until you find your rightful place under the sun. God, I’m pretty sure, laid down something great, really great for all of us. As for me, I don’t mind spending a lifetime looking for that purpose and perform it really well, with real passion.

Good managers take resignation professionally.They will support the growth of their employees even if it meant letting them go. I learned one good managerial attitude from my soon-to-be-former-boss. He said, “No worries. Whoever among my employees resigns, I am ready, anytime.” The reality is that people come and go. A manager should always have backup plan. Tasks have to be delegated to a role, not a personality. My boss also took the time to thank me for all the services I’ve done and the relationships I built with him and the rest of the team. If your superior doesn’t react positively to your decision, then there’s all the more valid reasons for you to leave.

Get on with your next adventure.I was sure I wanted out but I was hesitant on how I’ll do it, or how I’ll break the news to my boss. I assumed it will come to him as a surprise as I told not a single soul in the workplace that I was actively looking outside for a job. My manager was surely the first to know about me resigning. I was hesitant to tell him not that I think that I’m irreplaceable, no one is. It’s just that I know he has a lot of plans including me. But that was the operative word , “including”. He has plans for the business but he’s definitely not doing that “for” me, just “with” me. My own growth, there is no one who would genuinely think about it by my own self. Wish the company more success but don’t let it happen at your expense.

The world will go on without you.Actually even without your boss. Bottom line is that the only indispensable person in the business is the owner, no one else. Chances are, your manager also has plans to leave the company, if not now, maybe a little bit later. Most managers will want to run their own businesses as well, doing the same things they do when they were employed; the difference is that they’ll no longer be mere employees when they leave. Some would go on just like you when they find a better opportunity. So yeah, they can definitely afford to lose you.

Your job deserves the best of you.I’ve been fulfilled with my past 2 jobs. Every day happened with ups and downs but the satisfaction was there, and there was money for bills. The day I feel like I’m no longer happy, that’s when I start looking for another job. There’s just no use in doing work half-heartedly. To be honest some work are easy, but easy is not what I’m looking for. I want something that’s worth it, something that will drive me wild from 8-5 and even beyond those working hours. Before I left, believe me that I tried my best to experience that in my current work, it’s just that me and my job, we weren’t made for each other.

          Stop second guessing. Do what’s best for you. In the corporate world, you should always be your priority. The company will take care of its own, with its interest as its own priority as well.

Product Review: Olay Skin Whitening Bar


Olay Skin Whitening Bar from BDJ

One fine afternoon, I received a pleasant surprise from Belle de Jour. The Olay girl in me rejoices.

Olay Skin Whitening Bar from Belle de Jour

     Its fragrance is hypnotic, calming, and sensual all at the same time. With its scent, it was evidently a pick-me-upper the moment I unboxed it. That prompted me to purchase Olay Skin Whitening Bar with Rose and Milk weeks before. So when I was sent a sample by Belle de Jour, it excited me as a very welcome treat.

     The soap moisturizes my dry skin, leaving it supple to touch. More importantly, it is helping my skin to recover from the ugly tan lines brought by the summer. It’s affordable too at Php34 for 60g, Php46 for 90g and is actually cheaper than most whitening soap from grocery stores.

     Olay, needless to say is a most trusted brand when it comes to skin care products. I, myself, am an avid user of Olay Total Effects 7in1 Anti-Ageing Moisturizer. Since this whitening bar boasts of ingredients also present from Olay’s another day cream, the Olay Natural White All in One Fairness Day Cream, it’s definitely a must buy for me! I highly recommend it and it will definitely occupy a space on my everyday bathing routine.


  • Fragrant
  • Moisturizes without the greasy, sticky feeling
  • Easy to rinse, good for on the go girls
  • Affordable
  • Made with rose and milk, natural
  • From Olay. Period.


  • No drastic whitening effects

Traces of Summer

     Summer was fun with the out of town trips and all, but sometimes it leaves nasty marks on our skin. This particular summer, though, my skin got darker than usual and for some reason, my complexion is having a hard time returning to its natural tone. I purposely do not use whitening soaps as I love my natural skin tone. I’m not mestiza nor morena so I think I strike a really good balance of both.   To be honest, most whitening soaps scare me as my skin is sensitive and prone to excessive drying so I purposely shy away from those. The mere mention of acid in kojic acid is intimidating and glutathione is something you should overdose with orally to take effect. But lately I noticed that the harsh tan lines are bothering – it has been months since my last beach trip and they’re still here! They’re not the sexy kind of tan lines, I got uneven skin tone from wearing tshirt on the beach so yeah, it’s more than unflattering when wearing sleeveless.

      Are you experiencing the same? Nowadays, beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and color so I’ll be far from advocating whitening skin to look and feel more beautiful. But will you be one to agree that even skin tone is beautiful? And who would say no to glowing skin?

     So there comes Olay’s #onewashwonder campaign which promises to make skin look fairer from the first wash. That’s because of the illusion brought by the micro shimmer in the bar. Of course,it is still recommended to be used on a daily basis if you want effects that last longer. For immediate effects and long-term skin goals, this is it!

One Wash Wonder

Olay Whitening Bar

Remove traces of summer!

     Olay Skin Whitening Bar with Rose & Milk claims to reveal NATURAL white skin all over; GENTLY exfoliate skin and wash away dead skin cells; and EVEN SKIN TONE to make it look clean and clear. It’s not chemical-ladden, it doesn’t sting, and it accomplishes my goal of evening skin tone. Summer should remain in my memories and photographs, not on my skin!

     This bar is formulated with Egyptian Rosa Canina Rose Petals and milk. You may have heard by now that oil and water extracted from roses have several skin benefits. On higher concentrations, rose oil can even treat certain skin diseases. Milk of course won’t be used by Cleopatra for no beneficial reasons. Milk hydrates skin, exfoliates old skin and helps lighten it. If you think natural ingredients are still best for our bodies in the long run, then give this bar a try.

     It’s a big plus that this soap is easy to rinse. Lately, I go to the gym in the morning before work. After every workout it’s important for me to finish bath time in the most efficient manner.

My Verdict

     It’s 4.0/5.0 for Olay Skin Whitening Bar with Rose & Milk and I will definitely repurchase. After all, for bellas like us, living life to the fullest is sometimes just a #onewashwonder away.


Pope Francis on Instagram

An Instagram post of Pope Francis under the handle, “Franciscus”, showing him with three young people taking selfie. It goes with a caption in six languages which in English says, “Your happiness has no price. It is not an app that you can download on your phones.” More than 172,000 of his 2.4 million followers liked this photo.

Popes on Twitter and Instagram   

                It was December 12, 2012 when Pope Benedict XVI made history as the first pope to join Twitter. The Pope used the handle @Pontifex, which means bridge builder, with at least 9 extensions to translate his tweets in several languages. He was able to compose 39 messages (an aide typed the tweets) until he stepped down on 2013. On March 17, 2013, his successor, Pope Francis, took over the same handle and from then on became one of the most influential personalities on this micro-blogging site, with more than 25 million followers. March, 2016, Pope Francis shook Instagram, with 1 million followers, merely 12 hours after joining this photo and video sharing application with the handle, “Franciscus”.

Reason for touching this new digital continent

                So why does an institution as old as 2,000 years decided to step into this digital realm? An obvious answer could be because a large member of the Church’s flock is in social media. Case in point, there are now more people on Facebook than there are Catholics! The need to evangelize this new “digital continent” is now being presented as both a major task and an opportunity to spread the Good News.

                 Pope Benedict on his message for the 43rd World Communications Day (May, 2009) acknowledged the benefits of this new culture of communication by means of the internet. He cited that its popularity should not surprise us, as the desire to connect and communicate with other people is a “call that is imprinted in our nature as beings created in the image and likeness of God, the God of communication and communion”. The following year, Pope Benedict presented to priests the challenge to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources alongside traditional means to open up the new “agora” or public square for dialogue, evangelization and catechesis.

Guidelines and Reflections

                    Numerous ministries and church organizations responded to this call and became active in this new media ushering in a large pastoral presence in the world of digital communications. Guidelines and reflections, consequently had to be shared both to religious and lay people to ensure that contents are in accordance to parish and diocesan policies and of course, the Church’s teachings; and that communication amongst online community members are being conducted according to certain rules of conduct.

                 The youth, often dubbed as the digital generation who has an almost spontaneous grip of social media, are being called to be heralds of new evangelization.

                Catholics are encouraged to make good use of their digital presence. They are being warned of the limits of digital communication such as “the one-sidedness of interactions, the tendency to communicate only some parts of one’s interior world, the risk of constructing false image of oneself”.

                Time and again, Catholic citizens of the net are reminded what social media is not: it is not a substitute for face to face encounter; it is not meant to further widen the gap between the privileged and the marginalized; it should not be an instrument to demean people of different views; or to in any form diminish human right. Instead, Catholics are encouraged to communicate in honest, responsible and respectful manner.  In a world of speedy flow of information, we are also encouraged to intently listen and consider silence, too, as an effective way of communication.

New spaces for evangelization

                 Technology can be beneficial or destructive depending largely on how it is utilized. Social media with its tremendous effects is undeniable. It is clear that we must proclaim the Gospel there, too. By our own actions online we define a factor of our response on the call to “Go into the entire world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation.”

                 Social media clearly provides new spaces for evangelization. The means by which people connect and communicate is always going to evolve. What is more important is the message than the means by which that message is conveyed. To quote Pope Benedict XVI, “if our efforts to share the Gospel bring forth good fruit, it is always because of the power of the word of God itself to touch hearts, prior to any of our own efforts. Trust in the power of God’s work must always be greater than any confidence we place in human means.”


This article was originally published in our parish’s official newsletter, “Ang Gintong Uhay”, released July 03, 2016.



         It’s not hard to find the walled city but it’s a far 20 minutes walk on heels. We headed here after the 8am ceremony on Rizal Park for the celebration of 118th Philippine Independence Day.


Fort Santiago has entrance fee. For adults it’s Php75.

         There is a store right after the gate for refreshments and some souvenir shop of paintings, native handicrafts, tshirts, etc. We decided to take a break in that store when I saw and found Manong’s kalesa charming. And his costume is, too! The horse looked healthy unlike the ones outside of Intramuros or the ones in Baguio. I figured out the Php300 ride to take us round the walls then back again to Fort Santiago may be worth it. And it is!


After about 15 minutes, we were back at Fort Santiago.

         We saw a number of souvenir shops and restaurants along the way, saw glimpse of CBCP Office up close, located Manila Cathedral and were at awe at how huge it is in person. We saw religious teenage boys in costume(?) or in their religious habit(?) of brown loose cowl and belt. For a moment it surely felt like the 1800s.There were offers of less- or more expensive tours, some with guides and some were through pedicabs. Up to you to decide which suits you best.


“Is this it?!!” was my reaction upon seeing the wall behind the carriage on above photo. This is where some Filipino films were taken and I can understand why. It’s picturesque.

          Below are some snippets of our educational trip of Rizal Museum inside Fort Santiago which is inside Intramuros. I had to explain that to my probinsyana self.


This is heroic if not holy ground. I can imagine what tortures our soldiers went through. I just can’t imagine their pain. More so, I can’t imagine it happening to someone I actually know.




Dambanang Rizal sa Fort Santiago.

         I am a fan of Rizal. He’s a very interesting man who lived an extraordinary life. For foreigners who have heard of him for the first time or for Filipinos who have known him all their lives, this museum is worth a visit.


Rizal was a writer with works that inspired the revolution and changed the course of our history. The pen is indeed mightier than the sword. #inspired


Josephine Bracken, Rizal’s wife and a woman of her own,I am sure,though it’s not publicly announced in what ways.


The one face of Rizal in numerous frames.


The real thing! Noli Me Tangere in its original cover, in Spanish, and which is not a high school textbook.


We managed to hear 11AM English Mass in Manila Cathedral. This is by far the largest church I’ve been into. Immaculate Concepcion, like in Malolos Cathedral is their patron.

         Foreigners seem to be more interested in Intramuros  judging by the number of Koreans and westerners vs. Filipinos on that day. One good reason, though, why we should look back at the past is because experience is not a very good teacher. Reflected experiences are. Collectively, Filipinos has this tendency to be forgetful. We do not learn despite the rich sources of heroism on our history pages. We even managed to forget completely who we really are as a nation. If only we value our heritage, the lives of our ancestors and their sacrifices, no one would even dare spit on the same streets where battles were once waged for our sake. Greatness runs in our veins. To unleash it is seems to be the really hard quest.

Philippines’ 118th Independence Day

IMG_20160612_190149          For the past months, my boss and I were constantly meeting with a Canadian partner regarding this business we are starting. Every time we meet with him, a discussion regarding our Filipino culture and politics will be more than brushed upon. He has a lot of not so good comments regarding the Philippines and if it’s the first time you’ll hear him talk or if you are the sensitive, defensive type, it wont take much effort to retaliate by punching him on the face. He is unabashedly honest, based on his around 7 years of staying in the country traveling back and forth to Manila, Subic, Iloilo, and other provinces to attend to his business ventures.

          So once we asked him, “Why do you still stay here in the Philippines?” He said followed by some giggles, “Well, in as much as you’re all pain in the ass, I love it here!”

          He didn’t answer the question directly but I understand him. In my heart, I know what those giggles mean. Foreigners choose from a couple of countries they can afford and fancy. Some choose the Philippines. Most Filipinos, though, if given the chance would choose another country they want to live and work in. But as for me, I’m staying. Like our Canadian partner, I may not have a direct or even logical reason to stay here in our country. I just have this lame reason that I love it here, or that not-so-lame reason that basically everything I have in life happened here in my native land.


Date at Luneta.

          As a child, I loved history. Blame it on my elementary school days when I had to memorize facts to compete with other schools for history quiz bees, fascination with Philippine history has been inculcated in me. I was the girl, who, if asked by the teacher when Jose Rizal was executed, can answer with the date and hour and minute his  walk started. Now that I’m a grown up, I’m glad to revisit Fort Santiago, trace Rizal’s footstep from his prison cell on his way to Luneta, look back on our history, armed with some decades of life experiences, faced with a 6-year administration which no one can figure out yet for sure, exactly 118 years after our independence from 333 years of Spanish rule. Breathe!

          My sister again went out of the country for a 1-week business trip. My parents and I saw her off to the airport, we all grabbed early breakfast in a Chinese restaurant, then bid my sister goodbye. In time for the 8am wreath laying ceremony of the outgoing President Benigno Aquino Jr., we decided to wait and watch before heading to Intramuros. My mother wanted to go in the walled city thanks to the documentary shows she had watched months ago.


Photo c/o http://www.philstar.com. PNoy at Luneta on celebration of 118th Philippine Independence Day held every 12th of June.

          It’s different when things are live. The simple loud commands of the troops or platoon leaders sounded differently in a really cool way. It has been years since I last heard someone made those commands. And some fighter planes flew above us right after the last note of Lupang Hinirang. Its sound and the canyons and guns being fired meters around and above us made the experience of watching the ceremony felt like “4D” cinema. It was also the first time after a long while that I saw Girl Scouts, high-flying Girl scouts at that, since their sash had no more space for more badge; men-in-uniform who were actually looked upon as respected men. Pedestrians whom I always hear blaming every single thing to the government are nowhere in sight, just patriotic citizens waiving their little flags, glad to still see that national symbol still being raised  in its right color scheme.

Now there will be a debate whether we truly are independent. But there is no doubt we are not yet free from poverty and here and there we are being struck by disasters brought upon by too much liberty (throwing litters everywhere, violating traffic rules, online bashing, etc.) For now, I’ll take Independence day literally, thank the many Filipinos who died for us by living like how they aspired the future generations to be.

Many non-democratic countries are rich and maybe some foreigners are right one way or another – democracy should only be given to people who can handle it well. Democracy is dangerous. In my mind, though, I still think we Filipinos deserve it.

The ceremony ended. Some streets are not yet passable so we had to walk our way from Luneta (Rizal Park) to Intramuros through Roxas Blvd. to Anda Circle then entered through Soriano Ave. For our Intramuros trip, please click here.

Misfortunes of Raped Beaches


Fortunately(2)I don’t know with you but for some drama queens like me, music and scent can teleport me into a different space and time.For this another quick beach get-away, Modest Mouse’s “Lampshades on Fire” was on my playlist big time.The melody is catchy and just kind of get you on the groove for some adventure and exploration. When you dissect the lyrics and meaning, though, it will strike you with guilt and realization.It speaks of inhumanity to our common home and calls for care for the planet we live in.

I have a spiritual approach to traveling so I decided to make this Fortune Island post revolve around parts of this song’s lyrics.  As it had been with my other travel posts, this isn’t so much about directions, itinerary or budget. There are other blogs who are better at that purpose.  There, I just made a disclaimer.

We’re all goin’, we’re all goin’


Well, the lampshade’s on fire when the lights go out
The room lit up and we ran about
Well, this is what I really call a party now
Packed up our cars, moved to the next town

Joy, my best friend from college, joined a pool of travelers last January at Bato Springs. We decided to join them once again this time for a daytour at Fortune Island in Nasugbu, Batangas. I was hearing this island last year from my officemates but I wasn’t able to go with them since I was scheduled for a Hongkong Macau trip that time.

We just paid Php1,680 and that includes all transportation, island entrance fee and  hosted lunch. Two vans and two boats took all 24 of us to Fortune Island. We left Manila at 4am.

PhotoGrid_1461844136168Well, the lampshades’s on fire when the lights go out
This is what I really call a party now
Well, fear makes us really, really run around
This one’s done so where to now?

It’s fun! Just the idea of hopping from one beach to another sends chill to my bones (beneath my already sun-burnt skin). I had been to Calaguas just two weeks ago and here I am again on another adventure. Tourism is in bloom, it’s summer, and a lot of people aside from me are making rounds on these “unspoiled” beaches. You know, just about anywhere but the already super populated, Divisoria-like Boracay or Puerto Galera.

received_1003345089754821Our eyes light up, we have no shame at all
Well you all know what I’m talking’ about
Shaved off my eyebrows when I fall to the ground
So I can’t look surprised right now

This “unspoiled” beach isn’t that unspoiled after all. When you look back at this island’s past, you’ll discover that it has been a place where a luxury hotel was erected. After that business did not become successful, it has been a place for campers and backpackers.

7Pack up again, head to the next place
Where we’ll make the same mistakes
Burn it up, or just chop it down
Ah, this one’s done so where to now?

3Buh, buh, buh, buh, buh, buh, buh-duh-dah
Duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh-duh-dah

We’re all goin’, we’re all goin’

The ruins of the hotel, the swimming pool, the heliport, the remains of a shipwreck and a displayed skull which served as the island’s former attraction and unique selling points are still present. And that’s okay. What will sadden you is the garbage on the white sand beach and in what was left of the old hotel’s cottages. The island is being raped at the moment, not screaming yet, because naive as she can be, she still doesn’t know what’s happening.

4Well, the lampshade’s on fire when the lights go out
This is what I really call a party now
Well, fear makes us really, really run around
Ah, this one’s done so where to now?

Denuded forests because of illegal logging and building of residential subdivisions are old music now.  Crystal water with floating sanitary pads and beer bottles, white beaches turned to burnt sand because of bonfires, garbage-filled campsites, these are all the rage now. We’re blessed to have 7,107 islands. I’m proud knowing that I cannot keep up in exploring all those in this lifetime. But really?8Our eyes light up, we have no shame at all
Well, you all know what I’m talkin’ about
The room lights up, well, we’re still dancing around
We’re havin’ fun, havin’ some for now

1Pack up again, head to the next place
Where we’ll make the same mistakes
Open one up and let it fall to the ground
Pile out the door when it all runs out

I’m glad that there are beaches aside from that of Boracay, Palawan and Puerto Galera which offers a more serene and less commercialized vibe. But seeing Fortune Island now, it will make you wonder just how short people will get to enjoy this beach. It won’t be long before we need another Calaguas and Fortune Island, and it’s all because of man. Bantay-salakay. The creatures assigned to take care of the environment are the same creatures abusing it.

20160424_143817-01We’ll kill you off and then make a clone
Yeah, we got spines, yeah, we have bones
This is how it’s always gone
And this is how it’s goin’ to go

At least for the time being, there’s no other habitable planet yet. One traveler who was with us in this trip suggested that travelers should have licenses! And she has a point. Without proper education on how to care for yourself and the environment, training, tests and sworn obligations, maybe people should not be allowed to travel after all. Be responsible travelers.  Let’s not wait till all the world is just ruins.

Spend some time to float in outer space
Find another planet, make the same mistakes
Our mind’s all shattered when we climb aboard
Hopin’ for the scientists to find another door.