www.journalyn.com

I’m relocating!

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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.

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See you, there. 🙂

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A Dip at Malangaan Spring

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

2:16AM-6AM

     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.

6:22AM-8:45AM

     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).

8:45AM-11:30AM

     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.

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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.

11:30AM-12:43PM

     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.

6:30PM-11PM

          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:

Pros:

  • 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!

Cons:

  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.