Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Blind Horse

Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it. From a distance, each looks like every other horse. But if you stop your car, or are walking by, you will notice something quite amazing.

Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind. His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home for him. This alone is amazing.

If nearby and listening, you will hear the sound of a bell. Looking around for the source of the sound, you will see that it comes from the smaller horse in the field.

Attached to her halter is a small bell. It lets her blind friend know where she is, so he can follow her.

As you stand and watch these two friends, you'll see how she is always checking on him, and that he will listen for her bell and then slowly walk to where she is, trusting that she will not lead him astray.

When she returns to the shelter of the barn each evening, she stops occasionally and looks back, making sure her friend isn't too far behind to hear the bell.

Like the owners of these two horses, real friends do not throw us away just because we are not perfect or because we have problems or challenges.

They watch over us and even bring others into our lives to help us when we are in need.

Sometimes we are the blind horse being guided by the little ringing bell of those people placed in our lives.

Other times we are the guide horse, helping others see. Good friends are like this.

You don't always see them, but you know they are always there.

Sharing this inspiring story by one of the speakers in a Christian meeting's public talk. My dear friends, please listen for my bell and I'll listen for yours....

Ride Momma, Ride!

Thou shall not ride if you’re over 3 years of age.

But wait, momma wants to ride, too.
Oh well, the love of a mother for her child is always, a justifiable exemption.

Photo taken using Nokia E71 at WOF, Riverbanks Mall

Roses are Pink

Pink – not as bold as red, but signifies happiness, romance, admiration and sweetness.

Deep pink roses are perfect choices to show someone how grateful you are to have them in your life.

The pink blooms bundled with surprises brought a faint blush on the fair maiden’s cheeks.
She looked intently at the giver and gave a sweet, blissful smile with a future in it.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wacky's Story

“It’s a dog’s life!’ Mine was really a dog’s life – was born with my siblings and shared resources with more than 5 dogs in the house. After more than a month, I was given to a family who lost their beloved dog named Charcoal. I didn’t have enough time to know Charcoal before he passed away but I was told he was my uncle (I guess to some degree). Please click here to read Charcoal’s tear jerking story.

Anyway, I was warmly welcomed by my new family and they call me Wacky. I don’t do somersaults, make funny faces, nor wag my tongue every time Bess (the daughter) takes pictures of me, but I was labeled Wacky by Mommy (I can call her that now) for no reason whatsoever. First choice is Bruno, to jokingly create an impression of a huge dog (which is in fact the opposite), but thank goodness Wacky is what I was fondly called now.

I hear them saying I am well-behaved and not craving for much attention as their old dog. I just want to be cradled in my master’s arms and given food. They had lots of dog food and I love it! Then the big change came.

I was brought to another house, heard I was to meet Mommy’s son and his family. Whew! The first time I saw their 2-year old baby Mishi, I felt home. She became a playmate and a good friend. We watched cartoons together and playfully ran around the house. When the time to leave came, she cried so hard that I had to stay in their house for a couple of days. I don’t know how, but there suddenly sparked an emotional attachment between a little girl and a dog. Every time she wakes up in the middle of a long sleep, she’ll ask, “Where’s Wacky?” and when they assured her I’m nearby, she’ll fall asleep satisfied. And so, this goes on and I now live in their house. That 2-year old girl became my master and good friend.

That was the beginning of a brilliant career as an entertainer and playmate. And thanks to that, I am better fed and cared for than ever. Looking forward to years of being with this family. Anybody for a dog’s life?

This is the beginning of my story.

With lots of love,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Explore. Dream. Discover.

Travel inspires us all. An we return from our journeys with a better sense of who we are. We’re all a company of travelers beefing up ways to make travel a richer experience for others.

Sometimes, we have to let our memory be our travel bag. It's not about wearing the most beautiful footwear or checking in the most luxurious hotel. It's about learning to remove your shoes and letting your feet explore freely, unmindful of the sand on your toes nor the heat of the sun; but laughing your heart out and exploring the beauty of life.

"A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles." - Tim Cahill

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -- Mark Twain

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

HongKong - Thru My Eyes

Minutes before we landed in HK, roughly before 10AM, last 10th of September 2011, I breathed out a silent prayer of thanks for having a safe flight. Though we’ve talked about all sorts of enjoyable and near-death experiences we’ve encountered, my comic seatmate resisted my gratitude and mentioned “Too early to be thankful”.

Agree. I cannot blame anyone part of this trip to have second thoughts of visiting HK. After a year of the scandalous HK tourists-hostage-taking in Manila, there have been various talks searching for justice and peace. But while I’m writing and posting these photos now, I feel earnestly sorry the victims and their families. However, we don’t have to generalize – time and unforeseen occurrences befall us all. True enough, these issues were forgotten and a new story began as the plane touched HK’s airport.

HongKong - from a Cantonese name meaning "fragrant harhour"

We arrived at L’Hotel Nina, a 5-star hotel situated in Kowloon and checked-in.

Being nested on the 51st floor gave us a view of the harbor
and the breathtaking skyscrapers outside.

A little fast forward. Since the trip was settled thru a corporate agency, we didn’t have any problem going to our destination. However, being a bit adventurous during our free time, we ventured throughout the bustling streets of the city and that’s when we were exposed to HK’s real world.

A tourist has an option to ride the MTR (HK’s version of a railway transit) and independently express bravery in a Cantonese-speaking world, or simply ride a cab. Oops, not “simply”. Every ride is a challenge since most of the drivers cannot understand English. The strategy is to show the Chinese characters (request from tour guide/hotel) of your destination. And remember, don’t block driver’s view of the side mirror unless you want him knocking on your head and getting your out of the way.

Avenue of Stars - honors celebrities of HK film industry

Jackie Chan's handprints

HK's version of the Statue of Liberty :P

Jumbo Floating Restaurant

Victoria Peak view

Shopping is one of the most-loved activities by tourists in HK. I am not a fan of their MongKok night market, but admittedly the shops in the malls offer less expensive branded products than in my hometown. If you want to go shopping for branded items, explore the shops! :D

Overall, I admire HK for being an independent city-state of China. It truly is an "East-meets-West" place reflecting perfect mix of Chinese and British cultures.

Mh-goi HK!

Loving a Flower

"We say we love flowers, yet we pluck them. We say we love trees, yet we cut them down. And people still wonder why some are afraid when told they are loved." - Anonymous

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

When Photoshop Fails

I am avid fan of Photoshop and other photo-editing software tools. However, when integrity is at stake, that’s the time we have to acknowledge boundaries of digital manipulation.

Though for the past years Photoshop has became popular and has evolved into a “verb” (edit and enhance) and a “skill and talent” applauded by many, today we are faced with a brouhaha of how Photoshop can damage integrity.

This is the controversial photo of DPWH officials on their Facebook page.

It may look ordinary at first sight, but controversy has shown us that this is not the real scenario. A “proactive” DPWH employee ‘photoshopped’ and posted this on DPWH’s Facebook page (at his own risk). People reacted at these manipulated photos and even tried to spread more enhanced photos of the officials in different scenarios. (Courtesy of Yahoo News)

The “artist’s” wishy-washy job teaches us some lessons:

  1. Be careful of things you post, especially when it involves other prominent individuals.

  2. Do not underestimate the power of proofreading/checking.

  3. Never ever publish a lame creation.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hong Kong Food Trip

From street-style comfort foods to rich king's meals, we roamed the bustling streets of Hong Kong looking for the foreign taste that will satisfy our palate. Here are HK edibles that fulfilled our cravings.

Fishballs, etc.

Who says street foods are dirty? You’ll forget about this when you tried HK’s fishballs – noticeable for their firmness. For almost every street that you’ll see, you’ll find a shop that specializes in this beloved snack. And if you’re really desperate, go to Tsim Sha Tsui, a major food district in Hong Kong. Enjoy the HK version of fishball sauce - intense curry flavor.

Egg tart

Though egg tarts may only be considered as snacks, they may be eaten any time of the day. Be it a breakfast starter, dessert after lunch or as take home after dinner, egg tarts can be seen around HK and the ones they serve have been adapted to local Chinese tastes. We were able to taste two varieties of egg tarts - one with a flaky puff pasty shell and another with a sweet shortbread crust. The former was from a local bakery and the latter was from KFC. Both are filled with a rich custard that is eggy and creamy.

Milk tea

It's love at first sip. You could argue that milk tea is a tool to intensify your tummy’s activity, but it’s all worth it. A good milk tea in HK is a bit bitter, full-bodied and velvety smooth. It can be served hot, but a cold glass after a long tour will healthily quench your thirst. Too bad, they don’t offer it bottomless in HK.

Noodles, etc.

Be it wonton, egg, seafood or rice noodle, the taste and texture makes it special. Noodle shops in HK have been in business for various decades. Never miss a noodle meal in HK, together with fried rice and other Chinese viands.

Moon cake and other mini cakes

Just in time for the mooncake festival during our last visit, these cakes are indispensable delicacies on this occasion. May sound weird, but it tasted like the Filipino ‘hopia’ for me, but richer in flavor. And oh, thanks to my sweet friend for her mooncake souvenir. :)


Oh well, the famous fastfood chain is (as usual) present in HK. What’s different from the branches in the Philiippines? The jam, some a la carte and the price. Haha

Proud to see the Filipino's "Love Ko 'To" tagline displayed with English and Chinese.

Other must-tries: Congee, Peking Duck

Suggested Restaurant:
Chiu Fat Restaurant
G/F 48 San Tsue St. Tsuen
Telephone Numbers: 26122787

Wednesday, September 07, 2011


In a series of events around the globe, there is a surge of natural disasters; which includes great floods, devastating tsunamis, tornadoes and uncontrollable weather instabilities. After these disasters, affected people became clad in a dramatic stress and then media proactively presents the occurrence to the whole world.

However, silently being established, there is one career that goes skyrocketing. The leaders of it are the scavengers. When nothing is more important than survival, there are people who think outside the box and surprise us with their acts. Although a scavenger is originally an animal that searches for dead plants or animals on which to feed, an individual becomes a scavenger once he possesses the human behavior to roam and scour the streets looking for something beneficial for him.

A barefooted old man collects items which will provide his family days of survival.

A young boy smiles proudly as he quantifies his precious collections to his ‘colleague’.

This “career” has no age requirement, pre-requisite course nor any overwhelming qualifications. The only important thing for an individual to enter this business is perseverance, determination, a strong cause why to scavenge and a conscience to know when lines should be crossed.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Chocolate Kiss

Chocolates? Kisses? You can have the best of both worlds!
Wanting to revive the satisfying Katipunan experience, I ventured again to meet one of my favorite restaurants - Chocolate Kiss!

This restaurant (especially the branch they have in Bahay ng Alumni, UP Diliman), has played a big role in the lives and memories of many regular diners.

Personal Favorites:
  • Hickory Baked Spareribs (only P195 with rice)
  • Chicken Kiev - love the cream cheese inside each slice of chicken (P205 with rice and veggies)
  • Bottomless House tea (only P70) click here to see their delightful mix-your-own-tea
  • Devil's Food Cake (P70/slice)
I think they're a bit underestimated when they claimed (as slogan) that they are "serving the good stuff", because they are serving the best stuff in the area. Chocolate Kiss, you wouldn't reach 13 years of service if you do not serve the "best". Looking forward to more of your sprouting branches in the metro! ;)

For the complete info, you may want to check out their website.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Man's Best Friend

WELL, many call me that. I’m sure my family agrees. I was given to a girl when I was a puppy only a few weeks old. That happened around 2006. And now after 5 years, by their own admission, they would be at a loss to know what to do without me—a sentiment I heartily agree with.

And why not? We dogs are loyal to our adopted family to the end. Man cannot say that. We never come home drunk, never get mad, never hold a grudge, and even though you may beat us (which you should never do), a pat on the head will cause our tail to wag and let you know that all is well between us.

We are usually the first to greet you when you come home. I love doing this to Bess every time she returns home. I wag my tail and enjoy it every time she tickles my tummy. As for my bro named Jen, I can pick out the sound of his car from all the others passing by. My family cannot understand how I do this, but it’s easy for me. Neither can they comprehend my ability to pick out their scent from all other people who may have walked by and follow it. For instance, I know if my “Mommy” will go to the market, to the mall, or to ministry. I can tell from her scent and clothes, and she can never lie to me. Another thing, although sometimes I feel a little jealous with the 2-year old baby Mishi, I still love playing with her, kissing her on her chubby cheeks, and enjoy hearing her say “Hello Sharrr-kull!”

I can say I am a pampered dog. I get the best dog food in town (which never ran out – Thanks to my sponsor). My Mommy spoon feeds me most of the time, without missing a dose of vitamins, vaccinations and yummy chews. I’ve got a dog house very much bigger for a small dog like me, showing how my family wanted me to enjoy space and comfort, yet I was in the house most of the time. I was well-groomed with the best fur – thanks to my family’s care. Yes, I am a star in the family.

However, my life is not all roses. One thing that confuses me is when I’m punished. If, for example, the door of the house is accidentally left open and I run out, I’m angrily called back. Then when I come back I’m punished! Why was I punished for coming back? Once I jumped on the table and ate an entire package of delicious meal. To put it mildly, my family was upset with me. “No Charcoal!” they scolded. No, I didn’t, but I do now. I understand now that the table is out of bounds for me.

In my house I make no distinction in age. My devotion and loyalty are extended to all family members, young or old, strong or not. Sometimes I am pressured because they want be to bark if a stranger tries to get close to our house, but I cant help it. I am a toy dog and I am friendly. I just wag my tail and smile. Yes, I am willing to provide love and companionship, give purpose and meaning at a time when people are lonely. I want to leave a mark in our home. I always tell Mommy, “If you are a bit depressed and need cheering up, I can be the shot in the arm that will bring you out of your loneliness.”

Lastly, since I am barking about our virtues, I must remind you that I am not forever. They say 1 year in a man’s life is worth 7 years of a dog’s. Hmmm.. that makes me thirty-ish! At least I already have legacies (thanks to the beautiful pet of Mommy’s friend, I was able to bring kids into the world). Of course, I may lose my life loving my family and others. But we dogs are like that.

With lots of love,

P.S. Charcoal died today at around 6:45 AM. He was accidentally hit by a car when he ran out rapidly.I had a difficulty finishing this entry since tears blocked my vision.Charcoal, thanks for almost 5 years of making our home wonderful. You will always be the best pet dog for me.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Extraordinary Sunrise and Sunset

We may all have portfolios of sunrise and sunset snapshots but there are shots to be treated as extraordinary. Yes, there are once-in-a-lifetime moments that are worth treasuring.

Sunrise at 5AM - while everyone else was asleep on-board, we took snapshots of Mr. Sun rising up and diffusing its breathtaking light for the world to have a brand new day.

Clear sky, equally-scattered clouds, perfect timing, strategic location, best seatmates = PERFECT MOMENT

Mr. Sun saying goodbye, solemn clouds looming overhead, ship passing by, great seatmates = Once-In-a-Lifetime Sunset

In the days to come, we may experience how to be in one with Mr. Sun every time he shows up and says goodbye. But every sunrise/sunset is different. Never will a moment be repeated. So don't just glimpse, but look and be mesmerized by Mr. Sun.

Love In The Streets

The street is not just a venue for chaos and darkness, but is also a setting for positive feelings to flow.

LOVE is visibly seen.

Old couple sharing their “obento” lunch meal, with stories for each other despite hectic schedules.

Unmindful of heat and burden, Daddy selflessly carrying little boy to see the parade.

HHWW (Holding hands while walking)

Comfort in the arms of significant other

But avoid too much PDA.

Disclaimer: I am no paparazzi, but I just find it uplifting to see expressions of love in the streets.

Let's Drink To That!

Is it wrong to drink alcoholic beverage? The answer is NO.

Research has shown that moderate consumption of alcohol may have several positive effects on your health:
Relaxing quality - Alcohol has the ability to help one endure distress.
Good for the health – Doctors: “A glass of wine a day helps keep heart disease away.”

Though these benefits should be considered, we should not forget the fact that alcohol certainly does have many negative effects. Many deaths are alcohol-related (either from driving accidents, illness, or even violence). Many lives were even destroyed by alcohol. These negative effects have caused an alcoholic stigma on our society, making others frown over the looks of people holding a bottle of brandy.

But these negative effects occur due to OVERUSE of alcohol.
Lesson? Drink responsibly and in moderation. Plus, drink with the right people at the right time.

What's Your Love Story?

After 14 years, they met again. Guy living in California, while girl used to live in Singapore. And today, they will exchange vows – a lifelong commitment of love.

Boy met girl. They spent their entire college days as lovers but broke up after graduation. Years passed by and one ordinary day their paths met, making that day start of the most special love story ever.

Guy let stranger enter the elevator first. Stranger smiled at him. Hours later, guy was surprised to see stranger in his office. Now, stranger is the mother of guy’s cute children.

Funny how love stories start and continue making people’s lives colorful. The real-life stories above are cases far from each other but have one common perfect ingredient– selfless love.

What’s your own love story? It may not be a perfect fairy tale, but no matter how simple or complicated love stories may be, I do still believe in the power of selfless love. Distance, time, and differences cannot break down a strong bond.

Love, love, love!

P.S. Inspired by my friend’s wedding today, I can’t help but feel romantically-inspired by the portfolio of weddings, pre-nuptial shots and love stories by wedding professionals. Congrats Ate Ness! I’m sending all the love for you on your SPECIAL DAY! May all the days ahead of you be filled with happiness ever after!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Flying Pig

A much noticeable restaurant in Eastwood Mall, The Flying Pig is a headturner for hungry stomachs walking along the Ground Floor. Almost right across Eastwood’s dancing fountain, this restaurant is a must-try for pork lovers. Inspired by super heroes from famous movies, the theme features “Mr. (and Ms.) Porky” in various costumes – Green Lantern, Superman, The Torch, etc.

Though The Flying Pig sounds like an all-pork-lovers-place, it offers leafy and healthy meals such as salads and soups.

Must tries: Mr. Pork Sampler (the Hungarian sausage is spicy and yummy) and specialty liempo with 2 types of sauce plus the bagoong rice.

Though pigs don’t literally fly, The Flying Pig will surely amuse, ignite the super hero-aficionado-aspect in you and satisfy your cravings! It will almost make you believe that pigs don't just walk, they fly...and land in your stomachs. ;)

If you eat at The Flying Pig, you may also order from the adjoining restaurant “Blufish” (belonging to the same owner (which serves seafoods as their specialty).

Monday, June 27, 2011

Rain, Rain, Don’t Go Away!

This seemed to be the little boy’s chant as he felt every drop of the refreshing rain on his skin. For tropical countries like the Philippines, June marks the end of the summer season and paves the way for the rainy days.

Little boy-next-door playing in the rain

I’m sure a lot of people look forward to bidding the intense-37 degree-Celsius heat goodbye, but of course don’t want a catastrophic typhoon like Ondoy. The rainy season has its own perks and downfalls, but like the little boy, may we always take time to enjoy the simple pleasures of rainy days.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Nueva Viscaya: The Adventurer’s Paradise (Featuring Prianas Farm and Resort)

This northern jewel reminded us that an idea of paradise doesn't always include beaches and soft sands. It was the cradle of lush mountains, rolling hills, winding rivers and streams that appealed to the adventuresome like us. It was truly a relaxing experience to be up close with nature and its marvels.

Being a frequenter of the North (including Viscaya), I came to saw this province in a different light. Thanks to Prianas Farm and Resort – a wellness paradise in Masoc, Bayombong, Nueva Viscaya. Prianas Farm is an ideal place to relax, unwind and de-stress with the beauty of nature at its best. It offers a great Biscayan experience! :)

Welcome to Prianas Farm!

Such a homey accommodation. Look out of the window and feel at ease.

You may choose to dine inside...

...but dining outside is even more inviting.

Trailing and plunging into the fresh water spring is a most-loved experience.

The infinity pool offers a natural running fresh-spring water bath.

There's even a dip pool for kids.

Sun bathing or nature bumming?

Health and wellness is really a must, so go for long morning walks on the therapeutic path.

Prianas Farm amenities:
  • Infinity pool
  • fresh water spring trek
  • yoga area
  • mountain top
  • therapeutic path
  • activity area - great venue for weddings, team buildings, recollections or any large group gatherings
  • log cabin
  • herbal garden
There are other tourist spots within the area, which you might want to visit:

Ecopark Zone

Ammungan Festival - Capitolyo (Go boat riding or try the zipline)

For reservations, here are the details:

Office Address:
2F VICS Blg., Bayombong, Nueva Viscaya
Tel. No. (078) 805-1829/ (078) 321-2358
Mobile Number: 0917-5720728
Manila Booking: 0917-8016114/ (632) 681-3150