Walang Katulad…

JP Domingo. He’s odd. Looks strict. Very Unorthodox. Not the usual boss you’ll find in an organization.

My first day into his team, I cannot forget the first thing he asked me to do. I remember getting so excited coz finally I now belong to a new team and that means a chance to collaborate and work together towards a single goal. So imagine how confused I was coz the first thing my boss assigned me to do was to sort out all emails from tool suppliers and gauge if there’s something in there that’s useful and worth trying out. My heart sank and I said to myself “eto na ba yun?!? Wala bang something exciting or something that has some kind of purpose or use?” I frown and thought of here we go again. How am I supposed to learn and be productive by doing nothing but to check emails and reply to suppliers? But then again, I need a job that can pay my bills and feed my family so I suck it up and started to go through the emails one by one. Now looking back, I can say I did learn from that experience. It did not only polish and put my comms and writing skills to a test, it also taught me to be patient for good things comes to those who wait. 🙂

Days progressed into months and to my surprise, from being the custodian of supplier emails, I progressed to data analyst. Ang cool, ano? Who knew that I can be good at something that I don’t like and despised all my life, data and numbers. And this will never be possible if not for the training and supervision I got from JP. 🙂

So where do I start?

He’s like the “Kuya” that I never had. Totoo yan. 9 years in ABS-CBN and not once did I ever attempt to fix my life. I just go with the flow and just do what was asked of me. Ganun lang. Parang mindless zombie coasting through life. Then JP came in and showed me the possibilities I have never seen before in ABS-CBN. He may not know it but he practically fixed my life & career by showing me another perspective to explore, play with, and be good at. In his sobrang casual tone he said “try mo lang, malay mo you’ll excel in it.”

I was in awe after our conversation not only because now I have some kind of direction, I also realized that this boss care! Finally, there’s someone in the organization that cared enough to fix things and make my work life a little bit less miserable. He genuinely wants what’s best for me.

Alam mo yun? For the first time in years, may nagmalasakit sayo. Someone is willing to train you, teach you, and guide you towards the proper direction. I felt happy and realized na “wow may saysay pala ako dito. I’m not just one of the employees. I have purpose, I have goals to achieve. Di ko alam what did I do to deserve such luck. Kaya it pains me to see him go. Today is his last day in the office and since I cannot effectively express what I want to say through spoken words, isusulat ko na lang.

Sir JP, it’s an honor and a privilege to have battled dragons and moved mountains with you and the SP-BI team. No words can express how grateful I am for the chance, the opportunity you gave me. It was a gamble taking me under your wing. Nung time na yun, kahit gumawa ng deck at magpresent hindi ko alam paano gawin. Halos walang-wala akong alam but you still made the decision to take me in and for that I am forever thankful. Salamat po sa lahat ng aral na naituro ninyo sa akin, both in life and at work and sa pagdamay nyo po when my dad died. Palagay ko po, anywhere you go, you’ll always be that voice of sense and reason and that rare inspiring light for everyone around you. Ganun po kasi kayo sa amin and I guess nobody can ever replace that. 🙂 Don’t worry and let us step up to the challenge of trying to fill in the void you left. Mahirap, yes. That’s why I pledge my full support to your team, my former family and home (well I still believe na part pa rin ako ng team kahit adopted na lang!). I know we got this. 🙂


Salamat Sir and see you around! 🙂

Jannet 🙂

P.S: We’ll surely miss you! 🙂






Gone for the weekend: The awesome Majayjay Roadtrip!

Because my work has been overtaking my life, I opted to travel near this year. So instead of the usual long drives & road less taken, me and some friends from the office head down to Majayjay, Laguna! 😀

a stone throw away from Lucban, Quezon! :))
a stone throw away from Lucban, Quezon! :))


2am and we were up and about at the DLTB bus terminal in Gil Puyat! Since there were no ticket reservations for the bus, the only way for travelers to be able to arrive to Laguna early, they have to be at the terminal by 2am and line up for the bus bound to Sta. Cruz, Laguna. Fare is Php140.

I’m an advocate of packing light when traveling, just bringing the essentials and nothing more so to limit the stuff we have to carry to Majayjay, the team opted to just shop at the local market of Sta. Cruz, Laguna. Prices of commodities may be a bit higher than usual as some of the stall owners there took advantage the downpour of local & foreign tourists in the area. Like the price of raw chicken eggs on the first stall I asked, it was Php10 whereas the usual price is just around Php4 to Php6 each. My tip: Be wise, haggle. 🙂

Scenes from the local market:



The town of Majayjay in Laguna is a bit far since its already situated near the boundaries of Laguna and Lucban, Quezon. From the town proper you can already see the two infamous mountains, Mt. Banahaw and San Cristobal. Aside from kesong puti, Majayjay is also famous for its crystal clear waterfalls, one of which is called Taytay Falls.

the majestic Taytay Falls...
the majestic Taytay Falls…

Nestled at the foot of Mt. Banahaw, it’ll take about 45 minutes to almost an hour of tricycle ride from town proper to get to the location of Taytay Falls and that does not include the 15-20 minutes trek up the rainforest. It is a fairly easy travel to plan especially to those who wants to have a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the Metro. The only downside is that since its just near Manila (plus its summer and we went there last Labor day 2015), you can expect a lot of people flocking the place and enjoying the cold (around 15 to 10 degrees) and refreshing water from the falls. People were everywhere, every nook and cranny was almost full to the brim. We actually had to wait a couple of hours before we were able to pitch our tent! :))

People everywhere on Labor day weekend! :))
People everywhere on Labor day weekend! :))

Us setting up the tent.

Us, trying to set camp after waiting for almost 2 hours! :)))


I’ve been hiking and camping all my life but my travel buddies were first timers to what I call “buhay fungus”! hahaha! but proud of these people for keeping an open mind about camping. It’s tough especially for beginners since when camping, you’re deprived of everything – the usual comfy beds in a bedroom, toilets and bathroom for your convenience, food properly served on a table, etc. It’s back to basics, period. You have to do things the simplest and the hardest of ways. But that’s the beauty of it though and a plus that after a camping experience, you’ll be twice a street smart than you were before. And nothing beats the tranquility and peace that camping can give you since there were limited mobile phone signals and intermittent mobile data signal in the area. You can avoid those unwanted calls from the office asking you to work on a weekend! :))

Though its a challenge to cook food, ours was as good as the food you can order from a hotel kitchen (thank you to the resident chef of the team, Wea!). Tip on what to bring and cook when camping: easy to open cans, ready-to-eat meals, and marinated food should be on the list since are the food that is easy to prepare and cook. Plus you are sure that it won’t get spoiled (especially the marinated ones) before you can cook it.

Liempo! yum! :)))
Liempo! yum! :)))


Spartan cooking! :))
Spartan cooking! :))
No fridge? No problem! :))
No fridge? No problem! :))

The water coming from Mt. Banahaw was just freezing cold so cold drinks was not a problem at all! :))) Just secure it with some nylon cord, tie it and dip it in the water.

Essentials when camping aside from food & water – sleeping bags! I am not a fan of sleeping bags. I’m content with my malong and the tent when camping but for trips of high altitude and in a forested area, expect a cooler climate where jackets and sleeping bags are needed. Like in Majayjay. I think it was a little around 20 degrees (or less) during the night up until dawn of the next day.

Minus the hassle and all the people who went there, this is what we have, the crystal clear, icy cold waters of Taytay falls. Its just majestic. To describe how clear it is despite the volume of guests bathing there, Taytay falls is in 3 shades of blue and you can clearly see the bottom of the catch basin of the falls. That’s how clear it is!


yep, 3 shades of blue it is! 😀

here’s a sample itinerary for those who wants to see for themselves and experience Taytay falls:

Majayjay Trip pic

Majayjay Trip picGoing to Majayjay, I recommend, though it is a bit pricey, to take rented tricycles. Especially if your group will shop for food. This will give you extra convenience plus an open view of Mt. Banahaw & San Cristobal while traveling to your destination. Tricycle rent price range: Php600 to Php750. Again, try to haggle and negotiate to get the best price. As for the budget, we spent less than Php1,000 for this trip. Savvy, eh? 😀

I’ve always loved the outdoors, camping, and traveling with friends and this trip definitely tops my list of favorite travels thus far. Good food & destination plus an awesome company of great friends! couldn’t ask for anything more. Life should be spent more with friends, traveling, and discovering places and not getting yourselves confined and stuck with pile loads of work. find the time to take it easy, breathe, travel despite your hectic schedules.


props to duey for the awesome photos of Majayjay trip! :D
props to duey for the awesome photos of Majayjay trip! 😀

I’d like to thank my good friend and officemate, Duey Guison for allowing me to use his awesome photos of the trip. He’s working as Lifestyle section editor for ABS-CBN Lifestyle, also contributes for Choose Philippines & ABS-CBN Sports. Photography is his hobby too! 😀

So until the next travel adventure and keep on movin’ your feet! 🙂

That long and winding road to peace…

**To my readers, I have to apologize for not posting as much these days. Work caught up with me and there’s been a lot happening in this side of the world where I live. So please, please bear with me. I’m going to post travel blogs soon as summer is fast approaching in the Philippines. Abangan. 🙂

I just have to pen down my feelings and ask this question: Is it worth it? Is the lives of the 44 PNP-SAF troopers who perished in the Mamasapano carnage worth exchanging for peace? Children lost their fathers, wives lost their husbands and parents lost their sons… So now I am asking, is it worth it?

While it maybe true that I really don’t know the horrors of war since I grew up in Manila and not in Mindanao, I guess I’ve seen and heard enough. Growing up, I’ve seen enough in the news – the 1975 Martial Law, 1986 EDSA Revolt (I am in fact an EDSA revolution baby), the countless coups during former President Cory Aquino, I have friends displaced by the war of territory between Muslims and Christians in Mindanao. They came to a point where they were forced to flee their houses, go to Manila and struggle to survive here. Why else do you think there are so many Muslim brothers and sisters living here in the city? They wanted a way out of the war, they’re having none of it. War is also a reason why despite Mindanao having an abundance of natural resources, still remains to be the most “poverty-stricken” island in the Philippines to this day. So forgive me, especially those who were saying we Manilenos don’t know a thing or two about the war, if I can’t help it but say my piece about this recent Mamasapano carnage. I just refuse to keep mum and say nothing when I see mothers & wives weeping, children now orphaned by their fathers, standing beside the caskets. Some of them were even too young to know what’s going on. That broke my heart knowing that these young ones were stripped off the chance to get to know their fathers and growing up will never be normal. I grieve and I weep with them. Again, I ask, is it worth it?

By now I know many of you have heard the news of the 44 PNP-SAF soldiers who were massacred in MILF territory in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. The news were all over the TV – CNN, Bloomberg, Al Jazeera, and online, repeated in all possible writing angles but not one news was able to answer the questions: What happened? What went wrong? Who ordered this mission. Then as days progressed, it became clear; the chain of command was broken and that sent this 44 men to their final mission, losing their lives in the process.

The fallen 44 PNP-SAF elite troopers who sacrificed their lives for the country & its people. (Photo credits to Rappler)


Heart-breaking. You know at first, I understood that this is part of their job as law enforcers but what’s infuriating to know was that this mission was sanctioned by the still suspended PNP Gen. Alan Purisima and that he was directly reporting to the President of the republic. These two opted not to divulge the mission to PNP OIC Gen. Leonardo Espina and DILG Chief Mar Roxas. The question is, why? The latter names should be the first one to know if there’ll be commissioned police operations of any type. And why would you let someone who is currently on suspension to lead such sensitive operation? The President opted to go on national television to explain. Unfortunately his explanation was not enough. It yielded more questions rather than answers said with no remorse at all and not acknowledging he is responsible (coz after all he gave it a go). This is insane. This is just purely unacceptable.

Now, 44 is dead and 44 families were left without the support of their loved one who perished. Ano na ang gagawin natin sa kanila? How would they live? How would they survive? Paano na? And let us not forget the 14 SAF members severely injured with little hopes of ever going back to their jobs and earn keep for their families. Paano na sila ngayon, Ginoong Pangulo?

I wanted peace, just like everybody else. But how can there be peace without justice? How can there be assurance if questions are not answered? How can we all move forward if there’s no trust at all. Don’t get me wrong, I still am for the signing of the peace agreement but on the following conditions: First, let’s resolve and give justice first to the fallen 44. Let’s answer first the how and why they end up dead and let all those responsible be tried and convicted by Philippine Law. Second, And this is a brave challenge to the MILF, show us your provisions, put it in words to be signed too in the agreement, on what you intend to do with other rogue Muslim rebels in Mindanao coz clearly, not every Muslim is on the same page as the MILF are. Walang taguan, walang lihiman. Every cards laid on the table. No more intelligence reports of terrorists being harbored and cared for in your area. No more news of hidden firearm plants. No more senseless killing, no more retaliating. Ako po ay nanawagan, nakikiusap. We demand accountability, not just to the Philippine government, but also to the MILF. There should be accountability on both parties – be it with the President who went out of his way to break the chain of command and went on with the operations, with the troops who did not heed the order to cease and desist when the ceasefire committees ordered them to, or the ground commanders who failed to control his men in the area. I don’t want to hear another statement saying they cannot be held responsible for this. If not them, then who is responsible? Us? Just infuriating.

Sa labanan po ng teritoryo ng mga Muslim at Kristiyano, wala pong panalo. We too wanted peace. Who wouldn’t? Would you want tanks & firefights marauding your area? Killing dozens of people, Muslims and Christians alike? I’m having none of it.

Photo credits to Rappler.

Photo credits to Rappler. 


Photo credits to Philippine Daily Inquirer

There’s no easy way towards peace and the carnage in Mamasapano will always be a dim reminder of that. But I would pray every day that little by little, everything will come into light and be resolved. Everyday I would keep on hoping that the fallen 44 did not and will not die in vain coz we are at least a small step towards peace. Come 2016, I would try my best to elect proper people who can do things right, who would be man or woman enough to accept and acknowledge their failures, and brave enough to continue fighting for peace. I hope to see that day where no more wives and mothers weeping, no more children left orphaned by unfortunate circumstances of war, no more nation mourning for their fallen sons.

To the fallen 44 of PNP-SAF group, gone but never forgotten. My thoughts and prayers goes to you and your family at this trying times. I know how hard it is for a family left by their breadwinners. My Lolo was once a law enforcer and he too died early while doing his duty for this country. He orphaned my mother and 4 other siblings. All of them were left to the care of my Lola who was a plain housewife, therefore forced to accept laundry and house help jobs to feed the family. Mahirap. Sobrang hirap that not all siblings of my mother were able to go to school, there’s not enough food on the table, not all needs are met. I know the feeling of dreams broken because the head of the family was taken away from you. And sad too that I was deprived of the chance to meet & play with my Lolo. But be assured that in my own little way, your invaluable contribution will not be forgotten and shall always be honored. Respect and salute to each and everyone of you. You did us all proud, putting country first above everything else. and with that, MARAMING MARAMING SALAMAT PO. Rest well and afe travels to heaven, my brothers… Salute!

It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Ode to the best buddy in the whole world…

The past few days, I kept asking myself: “Where’s the “good” in goodbye?” and to be honest, I’m not really good at it, in saying my farewells to anyone but yesterday, I came to a point where I have to say it out loud. I have to let go.

About a week ago, my 10 year old Aspin mix Bodie became so sick that I had to rush him to the nearest vet on a very ungodly hour of 12 midnight. He couldn’t walk and was lethargic, just sleeping through the day but at least was eating his meals. Then his tummy got so bloated that he doubled his weight. I couldn’t carry him without breaking a sweat. Before the emergency vet call, I was already suspicious. Labored breathing, crazy rapid pulse & heart beats, and that bloated tummy. Then worst, t’was confirmed. Bodie got bloat, that deadly condition of dogs where their intestines get twined and twisted that water or air gets packed up on one side thus producing that bloated tummy. I was close to crying but decided to remain unfazed. Bloat is really fatal especially for senior dogs like my bud. But I was hopeful, thinking that we’ve been through a lot together, we can get through this. The hardest part was, after everything that needs to get to be done, chances remain slim. And I saw him struggle through it all. It was heartbreaking. I prayed so hard, asking God, if its already his time to go, I am accepting it. I’d rather see him go than see him struggling to stay alive. Yesterday morning, God answered my prayer. My dog of 10 years passed on in his sleep…

I’m at lost for words on how to describe the pain of losing my dog. My best buddy. My number one fan. I buried him despite my Dad telling me to just hire people to dig the ground. I wanted to do it, even if it means I’m gunna break my back trying to dig up Bodie’s grave. It somehow eased the pain a bit but the grief and the loneliness that comes with it stayed…

I dug the grave and said my prayers then I laid him off to rest. I haven’t cried for so long but yesterday, I just couldn’t contain my tears. I poured my heart out bidding goodbye to my four-legged best friend of 10 years…

It helped that my Mom & my Dad was there, they too were grieving for Bodie has been their kid for the past 10 years. It was heart breaking for my Mom most especially. She was the one who took Bodie home and christened him with that funny name. It also helped that my neighbors were there too, expressing their condolonces and remembering that sometimes naughty but overall a good dog of ours. It helped that I listened to Pope Francis’ talks & homilies while he was here. I remember the Pope saying that we always have to remember that God is with us whenever we are lonely. Our pain is also His pain and that in these trying times in our lives, He’s there. I also remembered Pope Francis saying that we need not be afraid to cry. You have to cry when you need to and that crying is an expression of compassion, love and mercy. I take comfort in those words and did exactly that, I cried coz I lost my best friend and I cried for every pet parent who have lost their pets.

Bodie and I, we’ve been through a lot through the years. We battled Typhoon Ondoy together and lived to tell the tale of how he learned to swim in the murky flood waters or how excited he was when he first learned how to use coconut lumber bridges to get around the the house while still flooded. A couple of times he fell but he bravely find his way back to the wooden bridge.



Bodie is sometimes camera shy but still finds that frustrated model in him, allowing me to get some good photos of him. I love the feel of his luxurious brown coat especially after baths.




This was the last photo of Bodie I took using my Nikon D5000. Taken a couple of years back. A little bit old and tattered but still remains my best bud and my number one fan. 🙂

To my best bud, I’m going to miss you lots and I think I would be sad for a while. I know you don’t want to see me sad, you always put your head on my lap whenever you see me sulking just to comfort me but please allow me to grieve your loss. From the deepest recesses of my heart, THANK YOU! Thank you for that 10 wonderful years with you. Thank you for tirelessly listening to all my problems and those tiny celebrations we do for my every win in life. You gave me that unconditional love –> loving without judging and without expecting anything in return. You were my number one fan, taking my socks off every after game and just sitting by my side during ice baths. You were there at the lowest points of my life cheering me on. You were my alarm clock and you know that if I don’t get up by 7am, I’m going to be late for work. Its not gunna be the same and not gunna be easy without you but I take comfort at the thought that now you are not in pain anymore. A house is not really a home without a dog to be honest. I’m gunna miss all those running around, all the fussing and messing up the house, the loud barks and the endless face licks from you. Run free, Bodie and go to the rainbow bridge. All your dog friends are there waiting for you. If one day I’d be lucky enough to get to heaven, I’m going to look for you in that rainbow bridge and will ask St. Peter if I can take you with me. 🙂

Mahal kita, alam mo yan at hinding-hindi magbabago yun… Until we meet again my friend… =’)

Going Japanese at Pioneer Center in Kapitolyo! :D

Kapitolyo in Pasig has been booming with restaurants here and there that it is now being tagged as the next “Maginhawa” of the metro. For the longest time I’ve been wanting to explore what it can offer coz I’ve only been to one resto so far (yeah, what a shame that is! hahaha!), that all day breakfast resto in the heart of Kapitolyo named “Milky & Sunny” and all because they have unli breakfast cereal meal for Php180! :))

So last weekend, I scheduled a dinner get-together with cousins. I was desperate to catch up coz it has been so long since we all went out and have a chat so I did some research and I chose a little resto near the Pioneer supermart named “Takashi.” It boast of modern Japanese cuisine at a very affordable price.

Verdict. I like the resto and enjoyed the food. You know I am not a picky eater and it doesn’t have to be a top notch super expensive restaurant to impress me. I like that 1) Takashi is very accessible from my place. For someone who doesn’t own a car and is not appreciative of the Christmas rush, accessibility is very important criteria for me. From Pasig, Takashi is just one jeepney ride away and it’ll only take you 20-30 minutes to get there. 2) Japanese food means simplicity and Takashi can offer you that. Not one item in the menu is as fancy as Mayweather so it’s pretty easy to choose your meal. And 3) It’s delicious and comes with a very reasonable price. If you just broaden and open up your mind, often times you’ll find that it doesn’t have to be expensive for the food to be delicious. Sometimes the most delicious food are found in those hall in the walls and not so main stream restaurants around and that’s what Takashi is!

Kani Salad & Salmon Sashimi
Kani Salad & Salmon Sashimi

I can eat this for a whole solid month! :)) and sashimi is my most fave thing in the whole wide world! :))

Tempura and Hokkaido Ramen
Tempura and Hokkaido Ramen

Although Takashi passed my standards, I don’t get it why their Hokkaido Ramen became the best seller. Not convinced at all with how it tastes. :))

Well, if you fancy Japanese food and you want to dine in peace, far from the hustle and bustle of everything plus food at a very reasonable price, you go & pay a visit to Takashi in Pioneer Center.

Next up for me in Kapitolyo? Gotta try Volcanoes’ player Gaz Holgate’s resto near HMR, Tasty Tucker! so until the next great food adventure! 🙂


Disclaimer: Views are my own and nobody else. And please to the band wagoners, Respect. This is a free country, everyone is entitled to freely express himself/herself in any means or form of communication so back off. This is one pissed blogger and football supporter.


“As long as Coach Dooley will lead the team, I won’t wear the jersey of Azkals again…” – Stephan Schrock

Official statement released on social media by Stephan Schrock
Official statement released on social media by Stephan Schrock

and shortly after, statements posted by Dennis Cagara on his twitter account:

cagara1 cagara2

Neil Etheridge too voiced his dismay on twitter then deleted it shortly after he posted this:

“I’ve never felt so disrespected my whole life… Kick a man when he’s down…”

If you are a true blue fan and lover of the sport and supporter of your very own National Team, you’ll be heart-broken needless to say. You will lose some sleep, lose a couple of pounds, and maybe refuse to eat, might go catatonic and just spiral down to the depths of depression… Yeah, you get my point? This is the worst that can happen to a team, a communication breakdown with management not being able to talk to players before making announcements, things not being clear to everyone, players being way too selfish and too full of themselves that they put themselves first before the team and the country… This is my worst nightmare happening right before my very eyes.

When rifts happen to your beloved national team, whether it’s Football or Rugby or can be Basketball, and it unfolds to your very eyes, you just can’t help but feel sad about it. It’s like you see your family falling apart and you can’t do anything about it but to watch it, watch while the players, the management, and the coaches throw shit at one another. There’s no resolution to it, nobody wins.

And as if fate wants to play the cruelest of games, I found out about it in the most excruciating way. Click and you find everything on social media. Stephan Schrock, one of the most celebrated players in the Philippine National Team, the guy whom most of us look up to coz he is such an amazing player, seems like a nice guy, always all smiles for fans and supporters, very approachable granting so many photo opts and signing autographs, and seems to flaunt and proud that he is Pinoy (so yeah what’s not to like about him), has just announced he resigned from national team duty because he doesn’t want to play for Coach Dooley. He apparently despised the newly appointed coach and no clear reason was given as to why. Ouch. My first thought was, I thought he’s one of us? I thought he loved us? Then why is he ditching us? Coz I don’t know but somehow his statement came to me just like that, he’s calling it quits and don’t want to play for the Philippines anymore for whatever reason. Masakit. It’s like getting stabbed a number of times with no apparent reason or getting punished for something that you didn’t do. Then as if to add insult to injury, another player followed suit, Dennis Cagara who said the same reason he’s quitting, it’s because of the Coach. Wow two announcements in a day. Then there’s our goal keeper who wanted to do just the same. Why? He’s not included in the line-up for the Peace Cup 2014 happening this September.

I can understand Etheridge coz he’s always been like that, thinking so highly of himself, living bigger than Hollywood. I was not surprised at all by his reaction and I actually saw this coming. You are as good as your last game, my Coach once said. Etheridge only played once during the Challenge Cup and he was benched throughout the tournament coz of an injury he had. He’s not 100% fit so do you think it’s proper to bring him in, play him, though he’s not fit and you have 3 other keepers who got season long exposure, 100% fit and can step up & man the post? It does make sense when Coach Thomas Dooley didn’t enlist him to be part of the Peace Cup. And to throw a fit like that, on social media nonetheless with thousands of eyes watching, saying you felt disrespected by the Coach, isn’t it a bit irrational and way too childish?

What hurts the most is what Schrock and Cagara did. To be honest, I didn’t expect this from this two. I have so much respect for them, I think highly of them and it never crossed my mind that they’ll be doing something like this. I expected it from anyone but not these two. I saw them as proud Filipinos and would do anything for this country, always putting country and team first more than anything else. But heck they proved me wrong. I was an idiot for idolizing people like these two, for looking up to them and making them role models. My heart was broken, twice and I felt like I was insulted and cheated. I was made believed in a façade of goodness & patriotism that turned out to be nothing but a farce. 😦 And the statement from PFF, Manager Dan Palami, and Coach Dooley confirmed it and it doubled the hurting.

But the biggest insult of all is that they ditched us, the country because they are not getting enough playing time in the NT. All of this mess happened just because you’re not fucking getting all the playing time that you want. All because of that fucking playing time! Damn it.

I am asking these players now, what do you actually get from this? Any gratification or satisfaction you get out of making your selfishness public trying to get our sympathy, saying shit about the Coach, disrespecting him and his decisions therefore putting the team and the federation into bad light. Then breaking the hearts of so many of your supporters because you’re not playing coz you can’t get enough of that damn playing time? Happy now that you are putting so much stress on the team, even claiming there are other players who’s feeling the same and would want to have a say? Happy now that by doing just that, by being so selfish, you are destroying the team that we’ve put together by blood, sweat, and tears all these years? Happy now? Ego fed and happily sated? 😦

Just a piece of unsolicited advice from a fan who was hurting from all this drama but got no say at all and was ruthlessly pulled to watch all this horror unfold; Football is a team sport, you win and lose as a team. You gain glory as team and not as an individual player. Like what Coach Dooley said we don’t need the best players, we need to have the best team. We always have to remember that there are 10 more players on the field with you and you have to work for and with each other towards a common goal to be on top of everyone else, to be the best there is. Now, these things – not getting a call up, not being lined up, getting a snub, Coach took you out of the game or subbed you, not getting enough playing time, criticisms from the Coach, these things are not meant to insult you or belittle you and your contributions to the team. You won’t feel hurt or disrespected if you understand perfectly the goals and direction of the team and if you really know what’s good for the team and not what can feed your ego. You always look at how you perform during the last game, your fitness, what you can bring on the plate now and not 5 years ago. You also have to look at the future coz for sure, you are not going to play in the national team till you are 80 years old and you’d want the youngsters to get proper training and exposure in every game, train & pass on your knowledge to an apprentice coz that is what will sustain the NT. Its legacy, you want to be remembered by the team and the fans as the selfless player who shares what he knows and put the welfare of the team first above everything else. Somebody who helped build the team from ground up. Be professional. If you have issues, go straight to the manager or the coach, sit down and talk it within and amongst yourselves and not go straight to Social Media and rant. We would have been spared of all this heartaches and sleepless nights if these players have the decency to just make a call and iron out the differences between them and the coach in private. Now they took it out there, damage has been done, some of it irreversible. Also, what do you do when after you rant in public and ensued an issue of statement from the Federation and the Coach? You stay silent, you keep mum and not go to social media again and post an answer to every statement. You don’t put more fuel to the already burning fire. Again what you can do is phone the people concerned and talk to them, sort it out in private. Lastly, to say that you won’t play for the country as long as he’s the coach, its absolute. No turning back. So now what if he gets to coach the team for 3 years? 4 years? Then it is a guarantee your fans won’t see you wear that jersey again. That’s just unfair and totally irresponsible comment to make.

So where does this leave us? Can our NT be the team to reckon with without the big guns? Yes, I’d like to think so. I would daresay I remain hopeful when I look into that Azkals bench. We have quality players, only lacking is the opportunity to showcase these talents. This is a call for challenge to those players, new and old, to step up and prove that we can make it without the supposedly best players of the team. That the fans can rally behind a team that won’t break even without the cream of the crop. To those left behind, this is your time to shine, take it, seize the opportunity, own it and make something good out of it. And as for the broken-hearted fan like me, I will always support our national teams regardless of the issues they’re tangled with. Coaches and players come and go but the team remains. My loyalty is to the team and the country, not to any coach or any player for that matter. Country and team comes first before anything else.

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change…” – Charles Darwin.

Sincerely Yours

The Disgruntled and Extremely Disappointed Fan

Roadtrip to Bicol: Discovering my Bicolana roots…

Why I would always say I understand how our Fil-Foreigners feel towards living here and trying to discover their Pinoy roots? Coz I too is a mix of race. Mum is “Chinoy” – Filipino Chinese. Her dad (my grand dad) hails from mainland China, from a family of Chinese traders who migrated to the Philippines in the 18th century to do business of course. While the other half of my mum is Filipino, from the land of spices, Bicol. My grandmum hails from Legazpi, the city capital of Bicol in Region 5 of the Philippines. From my Dad’s side, it’s just Pinoy which I am very fond and proud of. 🙂

I’ve already had my fill of family history on my Chinese decent. Since a small kid, the sister of my grand dad regaled me with stories of how our Chinese ancestors migrated here and all, met most of my Chinoy relatives too, but I’ve known little about the other half of me, the one that hails from Bicol. Sure, growing up there were throngs of relatives from Bicol vacationing in our quaint little house but I haven’t been there. I haven’t met and seen everyone.

So I was uberly excited when mum told me we’re going to Bicol. A grueling 11 hours of land travel but it only takes 45 minutes in a plane. Mum opted that we do land travel though, said I’ll be enjoying the sights going there.

What I discovered while in Bicol…

1) I love all the food that has coconut milk & spices in it. Sobrang sarap! :)) And if you happen to like good spicy stuff with coconut milk, you’ve gotta try “pinangat” for Php45 per order in a local food place in Camalig called “Let’s Pinangat!” From Legazpi City (centro), ride a jeep going to Guinobatan, stop at Camalig, Fare is Php25. The quaint little restaurant along the highway is very popular so just ask the manong jeepney driver to drop you there. Another amazing thing, you can bring home Pinangat to Manila coz they have frozen versions of it. Just pop it in the microwave when you get home! Awesome, noh?! 🙂

the best Pinangat in town! a must try.
the best Pinangat in town! a must try.
they got awesome Bicol Express too! Delish! :)
they got awesome Bicol Express too! Delish! 🙂

2) Mayon Volcano, although very active and highly dangerous, is the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in my life. For the best view of Mayon, you can hike through Lignon Hill. It’s a 30-minute steep hike but the view is just majestic at the top of it. Do it early in the morning (around 5 to 6am) so you can fully see the volcano, no clouds covering the tip of the mountain. Lignon Hill is near the city center. From Centro, you can ride the jeepney or tricycle (special ride for Php50), going there.


top of Lignon hill. sigh. so many clouds to see Mayon in full. :(
top of Lignon hill. sigh. so many clouds to see Mayon in full. 😦
canteen at the top of Lignon Hill! food, refreshments, and souvenirs are available there.
canteen at the top of Lignon Hill! food, refreshments, and souvenirs are available there.

3) If Tiwi, Albay is famous for its hotsprings, in Guinobatan (my Lola’s place) there are a lot of cold springs in the area. Water is good enough to drink, that’s how clean and cold it is.


one of the hidden cold springs near my lola's home.
one of the hidden cold springs near my lola’s home.
people bathing in the cold water.
people bathing in the cold water.

Locals call it “Sagurong” but I call it manna from heaven! :)) an ample solution to cool down on a very hot summer afternoon. The water is just freezing cold and fresh. This is where the locals bathe, do the laundry and occasionally drink water.

4) It’s fun to travel via commute, just riding public utility vehicles, asking around for directions. It’s pretty cheap too!

5) Bicolanos are the most trust-worthy, quirky, and highly-accommodating bunch of people.

6) It’s also better if you just DIY your trip in Legazpi. I don’t recommend hiring tour coordinators coz their tour prices are ridiculously high for a fairly easy travel. Just do your research and plan your trips. It’s easy. 😉

7) Philippines truly is the basketball capital of the world. why? I saw 1 makeshift Basketball court at the foot of Mt. Mayon. Seriously.

Basketball at the foot of active Mayon Volcano, anyone?! :))
mayon at the backdrop.
mayon at the backdrop.

I’m pretty sure if those  NBA stars will see this, they’d be elated! :)) awesome. just awesome. I think we are a bunch of awesome island people with a swagger love for sports, especially basketball! 😀

8) You can find the most delish rice porridge in Guinobatan! Just 2 house away from my Lola’s home is a makeshift restaurant cooking the most awesome lugaw in the whole of the country! For a very affordable price of just Php12! it comes with tender beef strips too. 🙂

Lugaw! :)
The best Lugaw ever! 🙂

9) Legazpi and Hawaii has a common thing about them. They both have awesome black sand beaches! Those popular black sand beaches in Maui and Honolulu, yes we have it here in the Philippines too!


Fine black sand from Mayon Volcano, check.



our view from our cabana. since summer is almost at its end, most of the tourists have gone home. we just owned the resort, not one soul was there during our stay! :))


one of the black sand beaches we visited in Sto. Domingo, Albay. More can be found in Tiwi and Bacacay. Words and pictures just couldn’t do justice on how beautiful and serene the place is. Don’t mind my cousin modelling there. :))))

10) A must see: Embarcadero de Legazpi and Legazpi boulevard. Too bad I ran out of batteries while were in the boulevard so I got no pictures at all. 😦 more dining choices, a bit of nightlife, ATM stations, grocery and department stores, you can visit Embarcadero. Its an open-air mall, pretty muck like how SM Baguio is. There’s a duty free there too so if you wanna shop, just don’t forget to bring your passports so the guards will let you in. Shop or you can just chill and feel the breeze along the boulevard or watch the sunset.

Welcome to Emarcadero de Legazpi!
Welcome to Emarcadero de Legazpi!

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stalls to shop! yep its right in Embarcadero! my cousin said: “Civilization, finally!” :)) guess we’re stuck for so many days in the barrio that we are just too happy to see some shops! i am too happy to see ATMs coz I was running low in cash at that time! :))


if we have Jollibee in Manila, they have Bigg’s diner. Its everywhere! 🙂


Duty-free shopping at Embarcadero. Don’t forget your passports like I did! XD


the view along the Embarcadero harbor till the Legazpi Boulevard. plain blue sea meeting mayon.

11) Old Baroque churches are also a sight to see in when you’re in Legazpi. We visited 2, the famous Daraga church with a view of Mayon at the sides and Sto. Domingo church in well, Sto. Domingo, Albay.


the old church made of limestone. This is Daraga Church.


the side view of the church. I think this church will be perfect for pre-nuptial shoots. 🙂


Sto. Domingo Church. I just love its old world charm. 🙂

12) There’s just Pili nuts everywhere! Delish but a bit pricey. Good thing we have loads of Pili trees in our backyard! :))


eating Pili nuts require hard work. but in the end its all worth it. :))

after all the hard work! pili nuts minus the shell.
after all the hard work! pili nuts minus the shell.

13) Cagsawa Ruins reminds you that a beauty such as Mayon Volcano can also bring destruction as worst as what happened in Cagsawa.

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my Aunt told me that there were a few expeditions before, to exhume and restore Cagsawa Ruins to its formal glory, but something’s always happening to those who manages the project, unexplained deaths, mysterious stuff and all. so the local government decided not to exhume it anymore and leave it as it is.

14) You just can’t help but fall in love with Legazpi. Simplicity of life, easy and laid back. Easy smiles of everyone around you. What’s not to love, really? 🙂


Centro. The bustling city of Guinobatan.

my Lolo Berting and his version of tricycle back rides! :))) gwapo noh? 🙂

and of course, its pretty awesome to meet everyone in your family, finally saw where your Grand mother came from. Discovering that you have same quirks like your Lolos and Lolas, that your cousins and aunts & uncles are just as awesome as you. Among all the trips I made in my life, this has been the most fulfilling and gratifying one, finally completing that other half of me that I haven’t had any privilege of meeting and exploring before.

A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it. ~George Moore

Its a rare chance that I travel, I get lost then I find my way back.. More to it, I was able to find myself in the process. This is why I am in love with traveling. So until the next great adventure of traveling and discovering stuff! keep on moving your feet! 🙂

Asian 5 Nations 2014: Philippine Volcanoes vs Japan Brave Blossoms and when the scoreboard doesn’t even matter at all

Hot and humid. It was 34 degrees and the sun was just relentless. Heat & exhaustion can easily nauseate you if you’re not used to this kind of weather in the Philippines. And despite all of this, there in the middle of the Southern Plains Football Field, you’ll find the Philippine Volcanoes, our national Rugby Union squad, lined up & ready to face Asia’s top team, the Brave Blossoms of Japan.

A few minutes into the game, we looked into the score board, 7-3 in favor for the visitors. Yes Japan was leading but the meager Filipino crowd still cheered on after team captain Oliver Saunders slotted home a gorgeous penalty around 40 meters out. It was like manna from heaven. Yes we scored!!!

6th minute into the game, Oli’s brother, Matty Saunders saw an opportunity, picked off an awkward pass from the Japanese and just made a run for it and scored again, 8-7, Philippines now up by a point versus Japan. Conversion from Matt’s try was successful and we got 10-7. For a while there, we were on top of mighty Japan and I just couldn’t explain the feeling. I was just so happy shouting and & cheering on for the team. Well done, just well done.

I think right before the game, nobody expected the team to score against Asia’s best after the jittery opener versus Hong Kong where the Hong Kong lads blanked us out, 108-Nil. We didn’t expect the score but I for one, didn’t doubt the team. I always know they have it in them. I know they can, they just have to find out how to. 🙂


We lost to Japan, 99-10 but who cares? Who cares we lost to them & who cares the lead didn’t last? All those Volcanoes supporters, Expats & Filipinos alike, doesn’t seem to care. They don’t seem to be bothered by the scoreline. I think what really matters is that we got into the scoreboard and for a while there, the team shone & gave us a glimpse of what could have been if both 15s and 7s were given equal opportunity in funding, preparation, camp, training, and everything else by the Union. And that reminded us why we need not to waver and get tired of supporting this team. When all else fails, the team can only count on us, the 16th man, to get behind them and cheer them on.

I’m on the verge of ranting again, really. But no… Don’t you go barging the dark side again. I’m pretty sure I share that same level of frustration with some friends in the Rugby community. I take comfort in that and in the hopes that somehow, in the near future, everything will change for the better and for the benefit of the team. So, let’s just leave the ranting to another post and just relive the fun moments last saturday! 😀

This trip and game watching almost didn’t materialized after we found out that all games will be held in Southern Plains in Laguna and not in University of Makati as originally planned by the Union. But thanks to my good friend Nikki, former Liaison Officer for Chinese Taipei (Under 20s) and Sri Lanka, who came all the way from Singapore, we were able to rent a van to take us to Laguna. She is the coolest really! And we really miss her, more than a year away from the Philippines, she spent 2013 in Singapore.

Nikki in the middle wearing light blue blouse & skirt with the girls!
Nikki in the middle wearing light blue blouse & skirt with the girls!


Then a few weeks before the game versus Japan, Junnel, former PRFU Administrative Officer and a good friend of mine informed me that a certain “Volcanoe” is in distress upon knowing that the games will not be held in University of Makati but in the far-flung Southern Plains. “They need a ride..” Junnel said. So I said yes (just cause, I couldn’t say no to any Volcanoe who needs my help)! :)))

lucky Josh he got himself some fan-girls!
lucky Josh he got himself some fan-girls!

Meet Joshua Tolentino, Rugby player who is currently based in Vancouver, Canada. He tried out for the team year 2012 and stayed for the camp but unlucky he wasn’t able to make the cut. Though he never got capped for the Philippines, he remained close to the team and has been keeping tabs on the team’s progress. So needless to say, I’m glad I was able to reunite Josh with his Volcanoes family. I can see & feel he misses the team and really wants to get back to play again. Perhaps in the near future, he’s only 26, still young and can still try out. Hell we have Lolo Austin Dacanay in the team who’s 37 so really, nobody’s too old for any sport!

But right now, Josh is enjoying the moment with his wife. They’re newly weds! Just a week old in marriage and they found themselves in the Philippines watching games and about to go on vacationing La Boracay style! :))) Congratulations to this lovely couple! Cheers to more years of wedded bliss! 🙂

Of course I wouldn’t pass up the chance of taking pictures of the game. It became rare these days when I get to enjoy and indulge my love for photography so whenever there are games, I go for it. (Apologies for the lack of practice in taking shots) Here are some of the photos I got last Saturday:


Taken right after the game. Ze lads gamely posed for the picture taking. :)))) It became pretty hard to take pictures when all the fans (mostly girls) came running to the field right after the game! XD



Really been a while since I last capture photos like this. 🙂



Lolo Austin… uhhhmmm… I just couldn’t figure it out what he was doing? Be like “hey guys, give us the ball and you be spared!” -LOL :)))))))


Scrum. Contesting the ball.
Scrum. Contesting the ball.

The Philippine Power Forwards! All those  eaten cupcakes paid off! (Yes, Lolo Austin, you..) hahahaha!

Stay up high, Japan.
Stay up high, Japan.

This picture, I got it by accident. I was holding my DSLR and accidentally pressed it while holding it up and viola! 🙂



And here’s the team Physio for as long as I can remember, Rico!!! 🙂 He’s the go-to guy for all injury-related stuff. You can see him busy running around and tending on the team’s various injuries. There’s just no “petiks” time for this guy! And to me, he’s one of those unsung heroes behind the team who never gets mentioned and never gets any citation for doing a job well done every single tournament the team is in. He’s the hardest working Physio I know and for that Sir, I am forever grateful for all the things you’ve done for the team! Maraming maraming salamat po for taking care of them! 🙂

Also happy that I was able to take my cousin with me last Saturday (2nd girl from the left). She had a blast and enjoyed the day! It was Jae’s first time to watch Rugby 15s live and I am totally happy to have shared that experience with her. 🙂


and lastly… t’was odd… I find this awesome! :)) awesome that a guy as big as him (#1) made it into the National Team! Buff and chiseled bodies be damned but he can bulldoze opponents in a heart beat! :))) i am so proud! guess you need not to be “model size” to get to play Rugby! and we both play the same position! Prop! :))))) –> can somebody get me the name of this player?! :))

It was a fun day indeed. And really happy to be reunited with the team! Despite what happened before the Japan game (between me and the PRFU Admin and it’ll be reserved to another post), I will never get tired of supporting the Philippine Volcanoes who’ve become a second family to me through the years of doing volunteer work for the Union. They are family, period. And I can always look beyond the score board. Guess you can say, my love for the team and the sport is greater than those numbers & those stats. And like the famous saying in Hawaii –> Family is Ohana.. and Ohana means nobody gets left behind! Walang iwanan, I promise! 🙂

**Please guys if you have time, we still have one home game on May 24th in Southern Plains, Laguna versus South Korea. Please be there and get behind the Philippine Volcanoes! Game kicks off 3:30pm.**

So until the next great Rugby Adventure! 🙂

Respect. Discipline. Proudly Pinoy.




Up the Blues: The Chelsea FC Blue Pitch in Makati! :)

Been 6 months since I last set foot on the pitch so last saturday gate-crash to MSU’s training & pick-up games was a definite treat! 😀 But its just the icing on the cake though. Guess where the venue was for the training & games? T’was held in Chelsea FC Blue Pitch, nonetheless! I was in football heaven to be honest! Couldn’t get it over with till now. :))

The Chelsea FC Blue Pitch.
The Chelsea FC Blue Pitch.

Backgrounder. Chelsea FC is an English football club based in Fulham, London. Founded in 1905, they play in the Premiere League and have spent most of their footballing history in the top tier of English Football. Their home pitch is the Stamford Bridge Stadium, where they have played since their establishment. Blue is their official color and to most footballing fans, they are known as “The Blues.”

Now Chelsea FC, in close partnership with The Younghusband Football Academy, owned & operated by national team players, brothers James & Phil Younghusband, they’ve created the first “Blue” pitch in the whole of Asia. It was located at The Circuit, Makati (former Sta. Ana Horse Race Track).

For those of you who don’t know where this relationship started, The Younghusband brothers, before they discovered that they can play for Philippine Azkals, played for the Chelsea FC Youth Team back when they were still based in England. So in essence, they’ve started their footballing careers with the Club.

Yes, its Royal Blue all over.



The Chelsea FC Blue Pitch. First in Asia.
The Chelsea FC Blue Pitch. First in Asia.

My pictures can’t tell you how amazing the pitch was. it’s an artificial turf, blue-colored 55mm (FIFA approved) synthetic grass were used (coz Blue is the color of Chelsea FC) with very fine black rubber infill, almost feels and look like an actual soil. I don’t know if its just me or the artificial blue grass is a bit “Skin-friendly.” Friction & contact with the skin when you slide-tackle is very minimal, not a cause to worry for any abrasion. but still as a precaution, I recommend that players still has to wear long socks & astro turf shoes.

The only downside to this Blue pitch is that, its just good for training use and 7-a-side games. While the size of the pitch is the ideal 64.5m x 100m (FIFA’s recommended minimum pitch dimensions for International play), there are not much of a bleachers on both sides, netting is not yet finished. Any long balls can easily go out of the field into the houses in the village near the field. There are comfort rooms but no dug-out rooms for players. The location is a bit hard to go to. You’re life would be easy going there if you have a car, but if you don’t, well that’ll be a little bit tedious going there. But this Chelsea FC Blue Pitch is a bit bigger than the Emperador Stadium in McKinley Hill, BGC. Perhaps a bit of fixing here and there, I can see official games being played there someday. 🙂

If you happen to visit Makati, go find this awesome Blue Pitch. It wouldn’t hurt too to bring your jerseys and cleats, pick-up games are played there almost everyday of the week. 🙂

RUGBY: Time for Asian 5 Nations 2014! :)

It’s that time of the year again! yes folks it is! And the Philippines got all the reason to be giddy and excited… Rugby Asian 5 Nations 2014 is just around the corner! woot-woot! 🙂 Since 2012, the Philippines have been playing in the top tier of the prestigious Rugby union tournament along with Japan (the only qualifying Asian team in the Rugby world cup), Hong Kong, Korea, and the recently promoted Sri Lanka.

2013 Asian 5 Nations Finals game vs UAE
2012 Division I Championships. Right after we beat Sri Lanka
Volcanoes in training at Nomads Club. 2012.

For this year, we are facing tough match ups once again. But I’ll be honest, that 2 games vs Korea & Sri Lanka can be “winnable” like what Coach Jared Hodges said but then again, operative word here is “can” and this win situation can easily turn into a loss. Last year, we were not able to snag a win against tough Korea and as for the newly promoted Sri Lanka, I’m expecting some vengeance and  a “payback whip” from them since it was their loss vs Philippines last 2012 that ended their run for Top flight Division and us getting promoted & playing with the big guns. I’ve seen the Sri Lanka team and this is a “new breed” team, players I have yet to see play since their last tour here in the Philippines and a new coach I hear coz the last one, Coach Phil Greening, was sacked after they failed to get the spot in Top 5.

But I’ve got my faith in our team (always do). We are hard workers, we persevere despite challenges, and we play all heart out for the country. 🙂

Again, to all our fellow Filipinos, we invite you to watch the games live this Apr-May 2014. We have 2 home games (same as last year’s only with different opponents this time for home games). May 3rd vs top guns Japan & May 24th vs South Korea. ALL GAMES WILL HAPPEN AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MAKATI FOOTBALL FIELD. Ticket & game times will be announced later, perhaps by early April.

For the meantime, here’s the schedule of Philippine Volcanoes game in Asian 5 Nations 2014:

April 26, 2014 – Philippines vs. Hong Kong (away game at Hong Kong Football Club, Hong Kong)

May 3, 2014 – Philippines vs. Japan (home game at University of Makati Football Field, Makati, Philippines)

May 17, 2014 – Philippines vs. Sri Lanka (away game at Colombo Racecourse, Colombo)

May 24, 2014 – Philippines vs. South Korea (home game at University of Makati Football Field, Makati, Philippines)

This will be a tough climb and the team needs all the support they can get especially during the home games. Let’s make use of the home field advantage! head to UMAK field, support, cheer, and get behind the Philippine Volcanoes! 🙂 Hope to see you all there! 🙂

P.S.: It never fails, A5N always makes me feel like I’m finally seeing my family again. hehehehe… seeing all my brothers & sisters from another mother & father comin’ in for the event! really can’t wait… stoked! 🙂

Respect. Discipline. Proudly Pinoy!

For my other RUGBY related posts, click on the links below:




Of holidays and lessons learned this year…

admittedly, i’ve been neglecting this blog of mine. saw that my last entry was way back May 2013! :)) got so caught up with work and some mishaps and I totally forgot to update…

what a year 2013 has been! 2013 taught me a lot of lessons and opened my eyes to the most important things in life that we ought to pay attention to. let’s just say I learned all the lessons the hard way, but pretty glad i did learn! 😛 though playing soccer and rugby has to go to sidelines for a while since i’m still nursing my left knee to full recovery after that unlucky day in September, i still am happy on how my year went. started it with a side trip to Boracay then onto my 3rd year doing Liaison work for Philippine Rugby Football Union (PRFU) last May when I handled United Arab Emirates (UAE) NT. It has been 3 wonderful years of giving back and paying it forward to the sport I’ve grown to love.

September, known as the “Ghost Month” surely brought in some ghosts with it! Come middle of the month, our department (where I work) has to be shut down. I lost my work but managed to get into a new one. Same company but on a different department. I turned a year older and before the month ended, I got into an accident while on a training session for American Football. And to those asking and wondering why they haven’t seen me on the pitch playing or training, yes, I tore my ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) on my left knee and sprained my MCL (Medial Cruciate Ligament) both sides. Although its only partial disruption of interstitial fibers, still it puts a whole new meaning of the word “nasty” in my life. First 2 weeks of injury was the longest and the worst 2 weeks of my entire being. the only good thing that came out of it was 1) I was able to spend more time with my family and friends and 2) I was reunited with the 3rd love of my life which is cooking.  :))

I rarely speak about my injury coz I’d like to forget that memory and be done with it but I guess until I spoke about it, I’ll be forever haunted by that memory last September 29. I was supposed to skip the training since its been raining relentless but i already made a compromise and promised I’ll be there, so I went. The field in QC Circle wasn’t really made for playing, either you get injured or you get amoebiasis by the time you are finished training and have eaten all that foul-smelling mud in there. but being meself who doesn’t want to break any promises, I showed up in training. With the state of the field, its really really hard to run, so imagine my effort trying to evade mud puddles and run as fast as i could but alas, mud caught up with me, shuffled my feet and went down twisting my left knee. Ask all the athletes you know out there and they’ll say that when you hear that dreaded “pop” after the twist, you’re done. I heard the pop and I knew right then its gunna be bad. I couldn’t put weight on my left knee coz it’s giving out on me and immediately after I stood up, knee was in pain and swollen. What makes the ordeal worse was nobody in the team knows first aid, even the coach. And what makes it really really worst was that nobody helped me. Limping, I had to go and find ice myself so i can ice my swollen knee (yeah so much for a team) and had to call a friend to pick me up on the field and get me to the nearest hospital so I can have it checked. Asking where my teammates were? well, they were happily playing on the field with the coach. lol. God bless their souls..

Almost 3 months after, I can say that my knee feels a whole lot better. range of motion is now back to 100% but I still have to do strengthening. Still in rehab and it has been my daily routine to do all those stretching and strengthening exercises my PT gave me. Looking back, I still consider myself lucky. It could have been worst, it could have been a full tear that needs reconstruction, but it wasn’t. Now I can walk and soon I’ll be cleared to go back and play again. Lesson learned? Its easy for us to take everything for granted. Those little things like being able to see, smell, hear, feel, and being able to walk, run, dance like there’s no tomorrow, we tend to overlook and take those things for granted till the day it will be taken away from us. I almost lost my ability to walk but glad that I was able to get my second chance and promised meself to make the most out of it. 🙂

Staying at home & just doing rehab & gym also paved the way for me to be around the house with my mum & dad. I realized I have been out and about too much that I’ve never had enough time for my parents, talk to them, join them in dinner, or simply just be there with them and take care of them. Now I’ve got the chance to do just that and I’m totally happy about it! 🙂 now mum’s the one complaining I’m being so clingy and makulit! always calling & asking them where they are or kamusta sila! :)) This ordeal also brought me closer to my relatives, my cousins, and my friends.. I haven’t spent time with them since I was mostly busy and in training during weekends. Now its really nice that i get to talk to them again, watch movies and dine out with them. 2 words to describe my ordeal: Life Changing. turned my life upside down but its a good upside down! 😀 if you get what i mean.

these past years of my life has been on a hurry and i forgot to stop, enjoy life and be reminded of what really matters and I have to relearn it the hard way. wherever life may take us, we always have to go back to our core, those things that remains constant in our lives and that is family. Everyone will come and go in your life but your family will always be there, they’ve got your back no matter what. and i’m really glad mine’s still there despite the fact that I’ve been neglecting them for quite some time now. really happy that they’re all still there loving me unconditionally and will always be rooting for me all the way…

this christmas, remember to visit your family & friends whom you haven’t talk to in a while. take your mum & dad out, eat and catch up. check your siblings, do those things that you guys used to do. SMS your cousins and ask them for a day out with you. make the most out of it while they’re still with you. 🙂

yep, its a hard lesson learned, one thing I wouldn’t forget for eternity but really glad i got this 2nd chance to make it right coz after all not everyone is given that elusive second chance in life.

Live. Love. Laugh! and keep on moving your feet!   🙂 oh and Happy Christmas everyone! 😀

HSBC Asian 5 Nations: Filipino fans, easily the best in the World…

I have long been arguing that I am not a fan girl but if you dissect the meaning of the word & get to the basics –> it just means people who support and I have been supporting the team and the Union in any way I can for as long as I remember so there, right there, I can finally rest and accept that I am indeed a fan girl at heart.

A week before the Volcanoes game versus United Arab Emirates, an article in gulfnews.com was published and it was an interview with the UAE Rugby Federation CEO Ian Bremner. He was asked what he thinks about the fanatical support for the Philippine Volcanoes in the home soil and here’s what he thinks about the fan support in the homeland:

Fanatical home support will be an advantage for the Philippines, but from what I’ve seen on TV it’s mostly screaming females as opposed to rugby fans. The screaming was fairly incessant and indiscriminate. No matter who had the ball it didn’t waver in any direction, so it could turn in our favour.

Read full article here: http://gulfnews.com/sport/rugby/ian-bremner-heaps-praise-on-battling-uae-1.1182399

And this, shall I say, was not taken lightly by the Volcanoes supporters and even earned the ire of some fans. I too was a little offended having been a supporter/fan of the team for as long as I can remember. To be fair to the CEO, I have met him. He may not be the nicest guy in the bunch & he was shouting at my face first meeting but I know he just wants the best for his team and he’s doing everything to help them win. Here’s my take though on what he said and for being a fan girl myself:

Mock these people and you mock the whole nation. The fans, the supporters, us. I cannot deny the fact that we have little (if none) understanding of the game of Rugby but we do everything we can to get to know the sport that have no historical ties whatsoever to the Philippines by participating to free learning sessions, watching games, and tagging along with the players be it personally or in the cyberspace. We compensate but of course I don’t really expect you to know that coz after all you are commenting on something that you know nothing about.

We love our own. Period. The team, they’re all Filipinos. Same blood running through our veins and one home land we owe our loyalty and allegiance to. Our support and love for the team is all we can give to them as a token of appreciation for all the effort, time, hard work, and passion they put in just to wear that jersey and represent this country. Coz after all they chose us, they choose to represent the Philippines.


As per Philippine Daily Inquirer, an estimated 5,700 people have shown up at Rizal Memorial Stadium to support the Philippine Volcanoes and this just melts my heart. From empty stadium seats to this. So to all the fans and the supporters MARAMING MARAMING SALAMAT PO! As what Jake Letts said, we truly built a fortress in Rizal. And if you’ll just check the players’ tweets, they are all in love with their fans. Here it goes;

From Jake Letts


From Darran Seeto


From Matt Bellenie


From Oliver Saunders


From David Feeney


From Michael Duhig


And of course from our proud Lolo, Austin Dacanay

lolo austin

And this page wouldn’t be enough to list all the thank you messages the players sent out for their fans. It just makes your heart swell that you guys heeded the call. United and stood as one, chanting and cheering with all might, loving and supporting the team regardless of the outcome, we truly have the best and the most loyal & loving fans in the whole wide world! We all hope to see everyone again next year! Cheers to Philippine Rugby! : )

P.S. Easily, we do have the best fans in the whole wide world and cheering while getting drunk is the bomb! hahahaha!


till the next great Rugby adventure! : )

HSBC Asian 5 Nations 2013: Memoirs of the weekend and of the game…

Disclaimer: This is not a match report kind of blog so to those expecting to see a blow-by-blow account of the PHL Volcanoes vs UAE… you guys can visit the PRFU website: http://www.prfu.com/prfu-news.html

So I was called up again from LO retirement a few months before last week. task was i need to take over and liase for the opposing team in this last game, United Arab Emirates. Even before, I always made sure I am available whenever Philippine Rugby is in need of help hence I’ve been on-the-job trainee for PRFU for 3 years now, having handled 3 teams already: Malaysia, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), and last was UAE.

duty started Thursday afternoon (May 16), early check-in at the Century Park hotel near Rizal Memorial Stadium. We took care of the early check-in for the team, the food, and the bus then some errands at the match venue. 10pm, UAE Rugby Team arrived at NAIA 1 and the rest is, as they say.. history.

UAE is a whole lot different from the first 2 teams i’ve handled. the first 2 (Malaysia & Taiwan), were a young bunch. We have as young as 17 and the oldest is my age, 26 years old hence it was easier to mingle with them coz we are on the same age bracket, same likes, same kind of music, TV, movies, and food, a little bit easier to talk to coz there are a lot of things common to talk about. while UAE, well they’re all adult! legal age and all. so yeah, there…  its a little bit different, a bit intimidating coz most of them are half of my size & 10 years older than me. hahaha! but as days progressed, I found out that they’re pretty much one cool and very accommodating team.

UAE Rugby Team training at Rizal Memorial Football Pitch, Saturday morning. The guy wearing sunglasses, that’s the Team Manager, Brett Scott –> coolest team manager I’ve met so far with a knack of making fun of me & making me laugh. :)) Too bad I wasn’t able to get a photo of the quiet and reserved Coach of the team, Coach Duncan Hall.


more of UAE here:





I shared a couple of laughter moments with the team but unlucky i wasn’t able to take a photo of it! here it goes:

Laughter Moment 1:

After training at the match venue, Coach Duncan called me. Was a bit nervous walking towards him thinking if I screw up something or if there’ll be any special additional requests that is too impossible to do. so i went to the middle of the field where the team is huddled in and surprise, surprise! the reason why i was needed there was because the team captain Reinier Els will be presenting me a team jersey! And Coach Duncan said: “To those who didn’t know, this is Ms. Jannet, our Liason Officer who’s been helpful and did a great job taking care of the team so as a token of appreciation, our captain, will present her the UAE team jersey.” –> heart melted at that moment coz after the fail bus moment at the airport w/ the CEO shouting at me, they’ve appreciated all efforts i made to make their stay a little bit comfortable. but here’s the catch, the jersey is sized small for women’s and totally won’t fit me at all so I said: “Thank You! truly appreciated but I think the jersey won’t fit me but don’t you worry guys, I’ll have this framed and will hang it in my room!” and we all laughed. =)))

Laughter Moment 2:

Game time. I was all nerves. I made sure that everything in Rizal was prepared for the team. A/C at the dug out checked. water, gatorade and sacks of ice, checked. All doors including the athletes’ entrance gate, opened with security guarding it, checked. And I clearly and strictly instructed the security to KEEP ALL DOORS OPEN at all cost. But to no avail, someone locked the 2nd door in the dug out. when we arrived there, I panicked, why is the door locked?!?! nobody listens to me when I specifically gave instructions not to lock it. I was all ready to smash the door down, while calling the head LO to unlock us out of there then one of the players said: “Hey chill Jannet, relax. its fine. You want us to smash the door for you?” then another batch of guffaws and laughter again. hahahaha! =)))


well i guess the most important lesson I learned handling this team is to always stay calm & intact regardless of the situation you are in and always remember to smile (which is by the way hard to do especially when you’re always thinking on your toes!), it makes everything a lot easier. I see all of them doing just that. On the verge of relegation and yet everyone seemed to be all calm and relaxed, staying intact and not cracking with pressure.

UAE experienced almost all kinds of bad luck here in the Philippines: we were not able to train at the match venue friday night because of this Iglesia ni Cristo event at the football field, the A/C in the room/dug out went bonkers on game day and the team had to huddle outside coz it was 40 degrees under the grandstands. They were sweating bullets which i think contributed to the loss since ball handling will be a little bit difficult if you sweat out on the ball. But the team remained calm, eager to win and was never distracted with all things coming at ’em. This is what I admire about UAE. As what Coach Duncan said, trials and tribulations, all the more makes a man stronger than he is before. =)


all the best to this team. next year they’ll face a different set of opponents from Division 1 with Kazakhstan as the team to look out for. I told one of the players that they should ace the Division 1 then we’ll beat the crap out of Sri Lanka next year so they can go back to Top 5 and I’ll be able to see them all again. =)

Another interesting fact about United Arab Emirates Rugby Team is that there are 2 Half Filipinos playing for their team; #2 Jonathan Greenwood & #11 Malcolm Greenslade. Both their moms are Filipina but they grew up in Dubai. See, its really hard not to support and love this team coz I got 2 of my Kababayans playing for them. =)

here’s Jonny, first guy carrying the ball.


and the guy on the left (below picture) is Malcolm.


(photo credits for the above picture to The National/Mike Young)

And I ought to write a second post for the fans and supporter and other pictures i had last saturday. this is getting way too long as a blog! =)))) so until the next post and the next great Rugby adventure! =)

Random thoughts: Of being a proud Pinoy and of the Philippine Volcanoes

Have you ever felt so frustrated that any moment you feel like you can burst like a bubble? Yeah, its always like that for me when I see empty seats in the stadium. It is also kinda depressing. Why are people not coming in if we’ve been doing so well after 5 years? Why are people not coming if the team have been phenomenal?

Do you know what its like when you’ve played your heart out, almost losing a limb in the process and yet nobody seems to know? Nobody’s watching? Yeah, tell me all about it. That’s the most painful that after you’ve given everything you’ve got, nobody cares. I should know coz I’ve been playing football for 3 years (not an athlete just to be clear) and the teams I’m with still struggle, begging for people’s attention. But its quite understandable coz we are not a National Team.

But for a National Team like the Philippine Rugby Team Volcanoes, who’s been existing, playing and doing really, really well for the last 5 years, not getting the people’s attention sucks big time.

For the past 2 years that I have been volunteering and helping out in organizing the tournaments & handling International teams for the Union, this always get my attention — empty stadium seats.


We’ve been struggling (pretty damn hard to be honest) to fill the stadium with audience who can cheer & vie for the team. With a capacity of just 13,000, Rizal Memorial Stadium (RMS) is considered one of the smaller venues for football here in Asia. Best we can do is an almost (but not quite) full grandstand during the final game with still empty bleachers (the green & blue area).


yep, that green area –> bleachers of RMS. Still empty seats.

So you ask yourself, what seems to be the problem? The team have been doing really, really well, on top of their game since the team formed & played year 2008. And to prove just how good, no, how PHENOMENAL the Philippine Volcanoes are, the International Rugby Board (IRB) applauds the team citing its remarkable climb to the top of the rankings. IRB says & I quote; “Of these seven nations, the Philippines are the ones to have left their mark, ending the year 15 places higher than they entered the rankings after winning the HSBC Asian 5 Nations Division 1 title on home soil in April to earn their place alongside the continent’s elite in 2013.” And its not only the 15s team who’s cited with remarkable performance, the 7s team as well as they have qualified for the 2013 Rugby 7s World Cup in Russia for the first time in record history.

Read IRB’s full article here: http://www.irb.com/rankings/news/newsid=2064835.html

Well perhaps the sport Rugby is too foreign to Filipinos. We’ve been known for ages as Basketball and Boxing country and these two can be quite hard to contest with. Rugby is totally foreign to us that we’ve got no historical ties with it. And we also cannot deny the fact that its hard to endear yourself to a team looking too foreign, sounding so foreign too, speaking any language but not Tagalog and know nothing about the Philippines, not until they made it into the team.

But I dare not to lose hope. I started out as a soccer player but I fell head over heels in love with Rugby. The discipline, fitness and the confidence it gives you, something that I never found in Soccer. Its really not hard to love and embrace the sport, if you just give it a chance.

And what’s not to love about the team? Well for girls, you can see the very “obvious” reason why they hound I mean support the players as most of them are good-looking sons of a gun and can give David Beckham a run for his money!!! But kidding aside, they may look & sound too foreign having no knowledge about the mother land and cannot sing the national anthem in whole, believe me, they’re Pinoys through and through and here is why:

1) Like most of us Pinoys, they too love to take their pictures of new places, stuff, and what have you. Look at Ollie Saunders here with his new furniture & that other photo taken when he first got on board NTT Shining Arcs RFC of Japan! :)) I must say, that is just so Pinoy, Ollie! and that peace sign.. Pilipino ka nga! :))



2) Ask Matt Bellenie “What about you is Filipino?” His answer? “My rice consumption & dashing good looks!” ahahaha! read full article here: http://www.teamphilippinevolcanoes.com/1/post/2013/04/10-questions-for-mat-bellenie.html. But I think, the way you sleep is the most Pinoy in you! :)) photo courtesy of Ollie! :))


3) One of the most favorite food of Darran Seeto is Chicken Inasal! Whether it’s from Bacolod or Iloilo, it doesn’t matter, as long as it is Inasal!


4) Ask Lolo Austin Dacanay of how proud he is of his Filipino heritage & of being a Philippine Volcanoe, here’s what he said:

We represent 92 Million people every time we put on that National Team jersey. And although the brotherhood is very loose & fun, from the most senior players to the rookies, we all understand that it’s an honor and privilege to represent the Philippines. Our words, actions and performance is just a result of that understanding. Being a Volcano finally validates all of the years of sports where I fought with the White, Black and Hispanic kids that I never fit in with, but tried so hard to. It has given me an identity that I am forever proud of, and that honestly, I’m ashamed not to have known much about until 2007. It’s something that I will pass on to the players that follow me, to my children, and every Filipino that I meet anywhere in the world until I’m gone. I’m proudly Pinoy, and that’s what it means to be a Volcano.”

Lolo is definitely one proud Pinoy! Fact: Austin Dacanay is one of the few team members who’s pure Filipino, both parents are Pinoy. read full article here: http://www.teamphilippinevolcanoes.com/1/post/2013/04/10-questions-for-austin-dacanay.html

Just give ’em a chance, will ya? They all have a different way of thinking & speaking but they are doing their best to adjust and reach out to fellow Pinoys. They need room to work at trying to live and be a Filipino without other fellow Pinoys judging them or making fun of them. They are all working hard to get to know a place that they didn’t have the privilege of growing up in. We should also recognize and accept the fact that they are bi-cultural, that the other half of them belongs to another place, another home.

Now think of it this way… These players CHOOSE TO PLAY FOR THIS COUNTRY, FOR THE PHILIPPINES. They can opt to play to wherever but they choose here, they chose us. Its more than a testament that they acknowledged and embraced the Filipino in them.  Who is a Filipino? Sino nga ba ang Pilipino? How can one say I am a Filipino? Is it the color of your skin? Your looks perhaps? Is it the language you know & speak of? Somebody born, raised, and living here in the Philippines? Somebody born from 2 legit Filipinos? Here’s what I think — You don’t have to be born, raised, and living here in the Philippines for you to be called and considered a Filipino.  Being a Filipino is not just by blood, by your skin color, or your looks — it is but most importantly by heart.

One of my favorite sports commentator and analyst, Sir Bob Guerrero capped all of this in one of his interview: “At the end of the day, if your momma knows how to cook a mean adobo, then you have to be considered Pinoy. Even if you are raised abroad and have never been to the Philippines. The reality is there is a huge Filipino diaspora living abroad and their children have every right to represent the Philippines in sports.”

and its just mean and unfair of us to deny these lads of our support. We should remember to love our own, no matter what package they are presented in. : ) So the next time you think about you being a Filipino and how proud you are of it, remember these lads and how they fight just to bring glory and pride to the mother land.


I am inviting everyone to get behind the Philippine Volcanoes and support them in their home games on May 4th & 18th, 7pm at Rizal Memorial Stadium. Tickets are available in all Ticket World outlets nationwide and via Ticket World online: https://www.ticketworld.com.ph/Online/default.asp. PLEASE do watch the games live! It will make a world of difference seeing your home crowd cheering for you to win, it’ll definitely give the team a boost after the loss vs Japan and I’m pretty sure the boys will appreciate it seeing each and everyone of you at the stadium. : )

So why am I doing this? What do I get from this? I frequently ask myself that. To be honest, this is not a paid article. I get nothing doing this… I don’t even know if the players even know that I am doing this or if they even remember me… But, I’ve seen them since day 1 and the amount of dedication, passion, and hard work they put in to just wear that jersey and represent this country, it just moves me. Their eagerness to share and teach what they know about the sport to every Pinoy, that makes me happy. Their “never give up” attitude, Pinoy na Pinoy yan and something that I look up to. And their love for fellow Pinoys, always trying to pay it forward in anyway they can, all of these, It makes me extra proud that I am Filipino. The Philippine Volcanoes is one of the many reasons why I flaunt and will always be proud that I am PINOY! : )

Be in the know and catch up with the team & the Union thru:



For inquiries and sponsorship, you may contact the union via:


email: communications@prfu.com

email: prfu@prfu.com

Best of luck to the team in their next games! and everyone, hoping to see you all in Rizal this May! : )

Respect. Discipline. Proudly Pinoy.

Gone for the weekend: BORACAY ESCAPE

so a little bit of commercial before the big 2 days of Asian 5 Nations happening here in Pinas! Just want to share with you my little escape in Boracay… 😉

I was on a look out for my next destination and of course looking for time to just relax and recharge before I take on the task of babysitting UAE National Rugby Team this May 18, 2013. I said to myself, why not Boracay. Been hearing about it since God knows when and I haven’t been there, the famous white sand beaches of Caticlan.

So for this year, I planned on a Boracay trip with a new batch of travel buddies, my soccer teammates! 😀 To be honest, I was a little bit apprehensive on booking a trip to Boracay since I’m not used to traveling mainstream. I always go for the “road less traveled.” I can better enjoy the place if its a challenge to go to, lesser people were able to go there, and if I was the first one to visit the place.

So why Boracay? Well, just for the heck of visiting the place and see what it offers. I want to see the beach and the infamous white sands of Boracay. The sand, I was not disappointed. It’s as fine and as white as sugar. But the beach, I was a little too disappointed with White Beach. Too many algae to like. You can’t even swim in some parts of White Beach since its full of green icky algae. Another disappointing fact is that Boracay is way too crowded to just relax and peacefully enjoy the sunset and the beach. ='( not even an inch of sand is unoccupied with tons of locals and foreigners flocking the island.

however, like what my mom always tells me, “find good in everything you see and in places you go. always charge it to experience.” so, i head out. first stop was Kalibo. We stayed there for a day to go shopping & hunt for the infamous “cheese tarts” of Bongbong’s. Kalibo is only known as a “stop-over” to Boracay but truth be told, the city is bustling with good food, funny and warm people, and sites to see even in a Palengke (Market)! when you go there, you hire a tricycle (a version of Thailand’s tuktuk, a local means of transportation here in the Philippines) and say to the driver, “Kuya, dalin nyo po kami sa Tindahan!” the word tindahan when translated to english means a small convenience store but in Kalibo it means the big market in the heart of the city! peculiar, huh?! :))

plane tickets to Kalibo International Airport! :D
plane tickets to Kalibo International Airport! 😀

tickets ready! taken this when we were in NAIA Terminal 3! : ) its actually my first time to travel via plane.

first time in an airport! :))
first time in an airport! :))

yeah for real, first time to ride a plane! :))


haha! looking for our flight. it was 2 hours delayed of the original time! goodness! (Dear Cebu Pacific, hear me? yeah?)

rice fields! :D
rice fields! 😀

Rice fields! I rarely see one these days! :)) and its near Kalibo International Airport!

T’was in Kalibo where I found the most delish “Batchoy”!!! seriously. In a local resto near the market. Sulit for just P60! : )

the best Batchoy!
the best Batchoy!

totally worth the wait! the delish Batchoy! tastes heavenly. as in. sa sobrang sarap, I forgot the name of the resto! hahaha! but its just across the hardware at the Kalibo Market. there’s only one hardware store in that place so for sure, you won’t get lost, looking for this Batchoy!


enjoying too much Batchoy in this humble resto! :))

next stop after having a wonderful breakfast, off we went to some site-seeing and shopping in Kalibo!



these trinkets caught my eye. colorful. can only be seen in Kalibo and reminds me of Maskara Festival.

After having our fill in Kalibo, off we went to Caticlan. It’s a solid 2 hours drive from Kalibo to Caticlan Jetty port then 45 minutes boat ride from Jetty port to Boracay Islands.


touchdown Boracay! and we were greeted by these green icky algae! mabuhay! :))


but of course, we found a way to enjoy the beach (minus the algae). Off we went to Puka Beach, Ilig-Iligan, and Bolabog. These are the “more” pristine beaches of Boracay. So if you want to enjoy swimming in the water, visit these beaches. In the picture is Puka Beach with 3 to 6 shades of blue. just lovely : )


adorable locals from Puka Beach who gamely posed for my camera! : )



aside from fine white sands and beaches with 6 shades of blue (except for White Beach where everyone stays), Boracay also have the loveliest sunset in the entire planet. just awesome, seeing the sun setting down in this part of the world.


if anything, i love the sunsets and the paraws (those little sail boats) here in Boracay. =)

all in all, including the airfare via Cebu Pacific and the Ferry ride home via 2Go Travels, we spent about P5,000 – P6,000 for this trip. not bad for a place where prices are sky-rocket high since its mostly foreigners who visit the islands. We stayed in Frendz Resort, yes that famous hostel (rated & blogged by The Lonely Planet) in Station 1 where most of the guests (if not all) are foreigners and expats. Prices are pretty reasonable and the beach is just 2 minutes walk away from your abode.

A friendly reminder though, if you’re into quiet relaxation, I won’t recommend that you go here in Boracay. 2am and the place is still bustling with party people, clubs rioting with their sound systems which by the way is on full blast. you just won’t get relaxed here in Boracay. For relaxation, you might opt to go to Palawan or Caramoan in the Bicolandias. But if you are a party rat, with a knack of going bar hopping and knocking yourself out with 5 liters of spirited & alcoholic drinks, then by all means, visit Boracay! :)) as for me, its good enough that once in this lifetime, i was able to visit the place. at least when people ask me if I have been there, I can say a resounding yes! you gotta be in the trends these days! but that’s about it for me. not really keen on visiting the place again, maybe in the next lifetime i would! probably…

so keep on moving your feet! until the next travel blog! : )

HSBC A5N: Philippine Volcanoes vs powerhouse Japan


(Photos c/o Philippine Rugby Football Union)

Coz they choose to play for this country that’s why I am so proud of ’em! Japan remains to be unbeaten since the inception of this tournament and they’ve been a permanent participant in the Rugby World Cup.

But the team got my full confidence. I trust that they can get the job done but even if they don’t, I’ll be just the same, proud of ’em always. If anything, Pinoys are resilient and can get through any adversity (no matter what) with a smile on our face. We don’t wait for the storm to stop, we learn to deal with it and dance in the rain. They’ll be flying out today, heading off to Japan. To the boys, We all know it will be a tough climb but rest assured that we’re all behind your back, supporting you all the way and no matter the result. Win or loose, as long as you know you gave it your all, keep your heads up and walk with pride. DAHIL TAYO ANG LAHING DI PADADAIG AT HINDI PATATALO. LABAN LANG HANGGANG SA HULI.

Till the last whistle is blown, till the last minute.

Catch the Philippine Rugby Team VOLCANOES tomorrow as they play top notch team Japan, 1pm (Manila Time) live on Star Sports & Solar Sports (local cable channel)!

Throw your support behind the Philippine Volcanoes! : )

Respect. Discipline. Proudly Pinoy!

Gone for the weekend: Conquering Mt. Pinatubo! :D

hey guys, what’s up!? been a while since I last posted here. Been busy a lot lately with work and training. So let’s do some catching up, shall we? : )

Been planning to reunite with my love for hiking and camping for sometime now. I’ve been hiking mountains since I was in highschool. I have always loved the outdoors, the thrill of it. My cousin, who was then a member of UP Mountaineers influenced me & took me to every scheduled climb he has. From Mt. Makiling to Mt. Banahaw & Cristobal, 7 Lakes of Laguna, to Mt. Makulot and Pico de Loro in Batangas, I’ve been there & have seen how majestic & beautiful our mountains are here in the Philippines. Since then, I fell in love with climbing mountains. I love the challenge it gives and the discipline it instill in an individual plus it shows you a different kind of world when you’re up the summit and so close to the clouds and to mother nature.

I also learned a lot from climbing mountains, learned every basic survival skill there is, first aid and basic life support, not to mention I also learned how to hunt & forge for my food and eat anything (as long as its edible) and not get so squimish about it.  So a few months back (November 17, 2012 to be exact), me & some friends decided to take on Mt. Pinatubo in Capas, Tarlac. It was a blast! : )

Pinatubo is classified as an easy climb but with trail full of rocks, boulders, and sand, it makes a pretty tough trip to the volcano’s summit. If you’re gonna ask most of experienced mountaineers, they’ll say its a “walk in the park” and its more of a tourist spot. For this climb, endurance, stamina, and patience will take you a long way.

Mt. Pinatubo has been dormant for over 600++ years but year 1991, the seemingly quiet volcano erupted with vengeance. The magnitude of the eruption was so massive that ashes reached and covered Manila too, not only that, fumes and smoke was carried by the wind and covered most of the earth, lowering the temperature by 2 degrees (Google it or check it on Nat Geo). It took 2 years before the fumes to dissolve and clear out and till now lahar still flows  to Central Luzon area because of Mt. Pinatubo. However, because of that eruption, a beautiful crater-lake was formed and now has become a tourist spot in Central Luzon.

4x4 Ride to jump-off point
4×4 Ride to jump-off point

With a total of 10 kilometers (double it coz its a trail)  in 2 hours of trek (one way), you will be filled with awe. After walking in a barren path full of rocks and boulders, you’ll be rewarded with a view like no other. Its the bluest lake I’ve ever seen in my entire hiking years.

majestic blue waters of Mt. Pinatubo
majestic aqua blue waters of Mt. Pinatubo

Perfect too for all Adventure junkies as the trip will start with a roller-coaster ride in a 4×4 to the foot of the mountain. The 4×4 jeep will cross varying streams and endless, vast plains of Volcanic sand.

parking. more fun in the Philippines!
parking. more fun in the Philippines!


Here’s our itenerary, in case you guys plan to climb Mt. Pinatubo;

0230 ETA Manila for Capas, Tarlac via NLEX (P140)
0500 ETA Capas, Tarlac. Breakfast
0600 ETA Brgy. Sta. Juliana; finalize prior arrangements
0700 Board 4×4 vehicles; adventure begins!
0800 ETA end-of-the-road; start trek
1000 ETA crater of Mt. Pinatubo. Explore the crater
1130 Lunch
1200 Start return trek
1400 Back to the 4x4s parked
1445 Back at jump-off point
1500 Return to Manila
1900 ETA Manila

And we took it a bit further, we rented a boat and went to the other side of the crater. We literally have the whole area for just the five of us! and a bonus of mud pack & hot water for mud application and bath awaits us there! : )

Kuya Robert with our bangkero! : )
Kuya Robert with our bangkero! : )

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you guessed it right! i’m the photographer so I’m the one who doesn’t have pictures!!! hay, tough life! :))))))))

hiking mountains. its almost always a battle of will. when the body is tired and couldn’t carry on, the mind has to do all the work. our trek up was apiece of cake but going down, when we already exhausted all our resources and energy, t’was tough. so i tell my climbing buddies to think “Mind over matter.” those who willed it the strongest, will conquer the mountains. : )

another important mantra/reminder to all those hiking the mountains (this one I learned from my Kuya and his fellow climbers), when climbing take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints and kill nothing but time. the things we see along the trail are not suppose to be taken away with you at home, leave it where you found it. footprints should be left behind, not your trash and of course, it’ll be brutal if we kill critters from the wild. give respect to the mountains, take care of it and it will take care of us too. : )


see our bags? the key in making your climb easier is to pack light & pack wisely. Just bring the things you really need and leave unnecessary stuff that can just weigh you down. Never leave without any kind of sun & rain protection (but please not an umbrella!) and water. I don’t recommend to hike Pinatubo during summer (April to May) as there are no means of shade along the trail and the temperature can rise up considering the altitude you are in. It can cause dehydration and heat stroke. Its not also ideal to trek it during the rain months (July to October) coz the water in the crater lake can overflow and cause flash floods and landslides. Calling in for rescue will be quite hard (if not impossible) especially if you don’t have portable radio transmitters since there’s no mobile signal in the area.

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tired. been carrying a bag that is i think around 15 kilos heavy! :)) i have all the food for the group and 5 liters of water. tired in the middle of a barren wasteland! hahahaha! but see the green there in the middle, i’m quite sure that’s how heaven looks like. : )


last 20 minutes till top! woohoo! good job everyone! : )

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and here’s what awaits us on top. super maganda talaga! all the hard work paid off! : ) pictures, no matter how i edit it cannot give justice to the beauty that is Mt. Pinatubo.

this is why i enjoy hiking and staying outdoors. you see the beauty in almost everything plus the fulfillment you’ll feel after being able to conquer and climb a mountain. rewards are just endless.

the whole trip including transportation (but without food) cost us P2,000 (and a little headache courtesy of the Travel Agency we booked in) but it was all worth it.

“Hiking is not a battle between man and mountain; it is a struggle between man and his own self. And the ultimate victory is not reaching the top, but reaching beyond one’s limit.”
so until the next trip! i hope you guys find this post interesting. Climb mountains, explore. Mountains are tall and life is too short so seize the moment while you can (carpe diem!). Keep on moving your feet! : )
Photos captured by my trusty Nikon D5000, Aly. : )



Pasig United FC joins Kasibulan Project 2012 of Philippine Football Federation

This was the article I made for my club’s Facebook Fanpage so not to worry if it sounds so different from my other posts.. It talks about the Kasibulan Project 2012 experience of Pasig United FC. It was unfortunate that I wasn’t able to attend the event but happy to get an insider look from my Coach/mentor, Kuya Alan Triñanes.  so here it goes.. 🙂

and also do like/visit our Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/pasigunitedfc

Nothing sweeter than to see the kids of Pasig City actively engaging themselves in football. It was a dream come true for Pasig United Football Club’s Coaches and staff as we have been actively promoting the sport in the past year and will be doing so in the years to come.

Part of the PUFC’s initiative to promote football in Pasig is to take part in all activities of Philippine Football Federation (PFF) and National Capital Region Football Association (NCRFA), the governing bodies for football here in the Philippines. And it has been agreed that coaches & players will be devoting their time for PFF’s Kasibulan Project 2012.

KASIBULAN Project was actually a long-time project of PFF that was re-launched last February 2012. It’s the Grassroots Development Program that aims to discover and develop potential Filipino Football talents from grassroots level and breed new Azkals in the process. Part of the program also includes modules and lectures for people who aims to be a legitimate football coach.

After a few meetings with PFF, the date of Kasibulan Project to be held in Pasig was determined and Pasig United FC heed the call to send in representatives to participate in the momentous event. PUFC Coaches (and players as well for the seniors pool) Coach Alan Triñanes & Sir Rogie Romero was there along with two players from PUFC Men’s Team, Ramcis Allen Chan and Laurence Lao. Undergoing 3-day seminar/classes at Rizal Highschool Football Field, these four gentlemen completed and successfully passed all the modules of Kasibulan Project therefore earning them their coaching certificates from PFF.

Coach Alan with his cert from PFF! 🙂

Teammate and now Coach Ramcis! 🙂

And lastly, Coach L! 🙂

Present in the event is seminar facilitator Michael Jayson Agbayani, development officer of PFF. Present since day 1, Mr. Agbayani has been the guide of participants and kiddie footy players during lectures and practicals on the field. Also present are Vincent Caluag, sports consultant for Pasig City, Atty. Roland Tulay, secretary general for PFF and president of NRCFA and Regional GDO, Mr. Aries Bocalan. The event were also graced by the “Teen Azkals”, who happily mingled with the kids in the program. There were over 250 kids participated which includes our own baby booters from PUFC and kids from public and private schools. We’re also happy to see the parents of the kids present and actively supporting their children’s sport. Among the supportive parents, we saw Congressman Teddy Casiño.

With the U-14 National team fondly known as “Teen Azkals”. They happily mingled with the Kasibulan kids! 🙂

Catching up with a short online interview with PUFC Coach Alan Triñanes, here’s what he has to say about his Kasibulan Project 2012 experience:

“It is very seldom that you get this kind of opportunity. It was a great experience working with PFF for the Kasibulan Project in Pasig and it’s a great opportunity for me to give back my years of playing football. I really can’t help it but smile while seeing those kids play and learn football. After 17 years of not putting on my soccer shoes, or cleats as what they call it nowadays, I got another opportunity to play and to coach. Now, I found my place in the football world, again.”

Well, to these four gentlemen who dedicated their time & effort for the Kasibulan Project and stood representatives of Pasig United FC, we’re proud of you! We admire your efforts to continually learn football and your willingness to share & teach the know-hows to the future generation. Let’s continue learning and dreaming for ourselves, the club, and for Pasig City. Sipa, Sige!

Philippine Lady Volcanoes on ARFU Women’s Division 2 Tournament

After the success of Philippine Volcanoes in the recently held Asian 5 Nations 2012, their lady counterparts, Lady Volcanoes is now gearing up for the ARFU Women’s Division 2 Tournament happening this June 14 and 16. The Philippines will again be the host nation for the said women’s event.

Lady Volcanoes will take on Laos, Thailand, and Singapore in a four day tournament happening at Eagle’s Field, Southern Plains, Silangan, Laguna next week. In preparation for the tournament, the Lady Canoes will be in a four-day camp starting June 10 under the supervision of National Team Coach Expo Mejia, who also coached the men’s team to championship last A5N 2012. It will be one tough climb for the ladies but its doable. They are eyeing Thailand and Singapore as the hardest teams to beat, especially Singapore, the team relegated to Division 2 after they failed to win games in Division 1 last year.  Laos on the other hand, will be the must win game for the Lady Canoes to avoid demotion to lower division.

Lady Volcanoes line up for ARFU Women’s Division 2 Tournament 2012:

Lalaine Albarando
Alice Almocera
Amelia Bryere
Rose De La Cruz
Blessie De Los Santos
Mai Farjado
Jessica Filoteo
Tonette Gambito
Eloisa Jordan
Aye Honoras
Ann Layumas
Nikki Lira
Ada Milby (Captain)
Nicole Moore
Rozie Morala
Noreen Novero
Reena Novero
Aiumi Ono
Anne Sajorne
Madille Salinas
Acee San Juan
Angelica Santican
Manila Santos
Cassie Umali (Vice-Captain)

Lady Volcanoes with Singapore after a friendly game last week (photo credits to Singapore team)

Women’s Rugby is still on a struggle for development in this side of the world, that is the reality we cannot deny. When i started training Rugby with this team, few girls pay attention and interest in the sport primarily because its a tough sport to play and Filipinas are typically the shy, quiet, and gentle type. You see the picture? Let me quote what Coach Expo said in one of his media interviews “Filipino girls find it hard to be aggressive on the field while playing Rugby.” Pinays and Rugby don’t mesh up easily. Another thing that halts the development of the sport for women, well unlike the men’s team who’s popularity shoots up like a meteor, spectators and sponsors alike don’t pay much attention to women playing Rugby. But having said all of these, I still am hopeful that one day, Filipinas will learn to embrace the sport and they’ll be able to earn respect from football fans and get much needed support from sponsors as well. After all, who says Maria Clara can’t play ball? In this day and age, everything is doable and possible if we believe. 😉

I too have fond memories training with this team. Because I’m more focused on soccer and my club just recently joined the first ever Women’s Soccer League in Philippine soil, I kinda lost Rugby a little so my dream to play together with these wonderful ladies will remain parked in the meantime.

Here are some of our pics during Rugby training;

yes true, Rugby skills are still a work in progress but what we lack in skill, we compensate with our heart & iron-will to win. I think even the great American Football Coach Vince Lombardi will agree with me that the will to win is the most important of all. At the end of the day, its not the greatest team or the fastest player who is a winner, it is the one who believed she is a winner and she can make it to the top.

so girls, i bid you good luck. I will be cheering you on towards winning. Whatever it is that you’re going through as an individual and as a team, just shrug it off. keep your focus. don’t listen to people who says you can’t do it, just believe in yourself and in your capabilities, that right there makes you a winner already. and always remember that whatever the outcome is, as long as you know you give more than your 100% in it, you gave it your best shot, you can always hold your head up high and be proud. toughen it up! never surrender, never back down! best of luck! 🙂

Please do watch the ARFU Women’s Division 2 games happening on June 14 and June 16, 3pm-5pm at Eagle’s Field, Southern Plains, Silangin, Laguna. Let’s cheer on our Lady Canoes to win! 😀 


Pasig United F.C joins the Weekend Football League Ladies Soccer Division

On other news, my newly formed club Pasig United F.C is now making some noise in the local football scene.. here’s the story!

This year marks another milestone for Pasig United F.C. Aside from celebrating its first year anniversary as a club last March and holding its very first football tournament in Pasig City first week of April, the club made another notable step of joining the first ever Women’s Soccer League in Philippine soil – the Weekend Football League (WFL) Ladies Soccer Division. A big leap for the club but its definitely the direction we wanted it to go.

The league kicked-off last April 28, 2012 with four participating teams: SQS-Pasig United FC Ladies, Sikat FC, Nomads FC, and United Superstrikers FC. It is an 11-a-side game and given that the club only has a few active lady players, we grabbed the opportunity to merge with SQS United Ladies to aptly complete the line up for WFL. The league will progress till mid June and as per the WFL board, a 2nd season for the Women’s League is in order this coming September 2012.

It’s a great opportunity the club don’t want to miss, the opportunity to play and be part of the very first Women’s Soccer League in the Philippine soil and be part of Philippine football history. It will also help the lady players of Pasig United to progress as they get exposed to a different kind of soccer play in a league level. With the merge with SQS United, our Lady players were also given a chance to get coached by one of the country’s finest female football player & Coach, none other than the Lady Captain of Philippine National Women’s Soccer Team Malditas, Marielle Benitez.

Ms. Benitez, having handled & coached a lot of women’s teams in the past & being part of the National pool, agreed to lend a hand to PUFC Women’s team Coach, Alan Trinanes. Together, they form a formidable coaching duo rallying behind the girls, guiding them both off & on the pitch.

The Women’s team still has a long way to go but they sure is off to a great start. The team may not win all the battles but it’s a great way to learn and be a better team, a better player. Sometimes, the most important lessons in life are the ones we learned when we lose. Keep the fire burning & the hunger ladies and best of luck to your future games! Sipa, sige!

WFL Ladies Division game schedule: Home game of SQS-Pasig United versus Nomads FC on May 27, 2012 (Sunday), 4pm at Rizal Highschool Football Field in Pasig City. Please do watch & support the team.

We also would like to take this opportunity to thank SQS United for lending us a hand in making all of this possible and Ms. Benitez for volunteering to help coach the team. Maraming maraming salamat po!

Interested to play and represent for the PUFC Women’s team? You may contact Coach Alan Triñanes thru his mobile: 09165140009 or via email: alan_trinanes@yahoo.com or pasigunitedfc@gmail.com Good luck to all our lady players! Sipa, Sige! =)

Behind the scenes: Asian 5 Nations 2012 in Manila!

disclaimer: To those expecting for a pure sports blog, well you’ve gone into the wrong place. this is not the blog you’re looking for coz it won’t give you a blow-by-blow Rugby summary of the games, just narration of behind the scenes events, mishaps and what have you. don’t say you’re not duly warned. 😉

Another milestone achieved for Philippine Sports coz this year, we are the proud host of the prestigious rugby event, the Asian 5 Nations 2012. for those who do not know anything about Rugby, HSBC Asian 5 Nations is an annual international rugby union competition held between the top five Asian national rugby sides. The teams play a round-robin competition held on five consecutive weekends throughout April and May. The competition represents the highest tier of international rugby in Asia, and is the apex of a multi-divisional Asian international calendar. also, our National Team for Rugby, the Philippine Volcanoes was hailed champions in Division 1 after beating all the 3 other teams in their division hence promoting us in Asia’s Top 5 team. if that ain’t awesome, i don’t know what is! 😀

right after the Under 20s Rugby tournament held last December 2011, we already knew that the Philippines is hosting A5N and and that massive work is cut out for us to achieve a successful staging of an international sports event in this country. so when the Philippine Rugby Football Union (PRFU) once again asked for help, I responded right away, ditching everything and immediately filed for a leave of absence at work. it has been a tradition for me actually to help and support the union in any way i can to give back coz i learned Rugby from them and i will forever be grateful for that! =)

last year, I was tasked to be the Liason Officer for Malaysian U-20s team but for A5N, I chose to be with the seniors team of Taiwan, the Chinese Taipei Rugby team. we actually had the free reign to choose whichever team we want to be with and since i already met the coach last year, Coach Pai, Wan-Yin (Edward Pai) when he was with the juniors, i opted to be their LO despite the fact that communication will be a little difficult. And i have a good sense that they’ll be an awesome team to be with (and i am so damn right about that!).

it turned out pretty well, AWESOME actually! I have nothing but praises for these young lads! First meeting was kinda awkward but me & my awesome partner Leslie did warmed up with the team. all it took was a few banters here and there, a little mischief, and some nai cha! viola! we became inseparable! =))))

touring Luneta Park at 2pm under the scorching hot Manila sun! XD

this was taken during our tour in Luneta. t’was scorching hot at 2pm in Manila but the team was still up for the tour! hehehe.. really now, it wasn’t our idea, it was Coach Pai’s idea! hahaha!

so how do i describe the team? they’re pretty young team, young blood, pretty much the youngest team in the tournament. we have players as young as 18 years old and our oldest is 24. i’m even a year older than that player. its a good mix of working & studying individuals who plays and represents their country in the Rugby arena. our first meeting was kinda awkward of course coz we can’t pronounce the names quite correctly, and all I knew was Coach Pai! =)) and communication was a problem, most of the time we have to ask Coach Pai to do the translation to better understand everyone! i remember Coach Pai said to me “You look Chinese, are you Chinese?” i answered “Yes Coach, i’m part Chinese but unfortunately I never learned to speak, understand, and write mandarin! i’m so sorry!” =))) Coach just laughed. he is such a nice guy by the way, always calm and collect. a teacher by profession, the Chinese Taipei Rugby team improved when he started coaching them, starting with their promotion to Division 1 last year up to their campaign to maintain their spot for this year’s A5N.

here’s Coach Pai, Wan-Yin!

looking good, Coach! 😀

he’s a very hands on coach. Running, playing & doing the drills with the team!

it was a bit different approach i had with this team comparing to what i did with Malaysia U-20s. i was able to file a leave for A5N so that means i am free from my real-life work and i was almost always with the team, very much hands on in attending to all their needs and not to mention my partner was also a very hands on and a very protective LO for our team! hahaha! i remember in our game vs the Philippines, Leslie was shouting at the top of her lungs “Not to rough! Please not too rough for my kids!” and Peter from PRFU board was just staring at her w/ his mouth hanging open! hahahaha! hilarious moments during A5N!

here’s my awesome partner Leslie with some of our kids! 😀

when we chose our team, me & Leslie we’re really hoping that they’d be a nice group of lads, praying hard for it actually coz we heard nightmare horror stories of LOs about the teams they’ve handled and we don’t want any of that. and it turned out good. we ended up with the nicest, well-mannered, and fun-to-be-with team! among the 4 teams, they have the least number of requests and most of their requests were just easy to do and manageable. both the coaches were like fathers to us, looking out for us too. =) the players and our physio all play nice, though sometimes they were annoyingly rowdy and naughty (ask the hotel waitresses!) but in general, they are sweet and caring men. very respectful to women and the elders  but at the same time they knew how to have fun! they drink, they party and they love to eat & shop. that’s what they do during their free time. it was definitely a fun & happy week with them!

shopping at Shopwise! I think they demolished the shelf for dried mangoes!

I call them “my kids” coz aside from the fact that they’re way younger than me, they also act like kids! hahaha! i think the words “my kids” as my term of endearment suits them just fine. its always fun when we were with them. what’s amazing about them is that they know how to have fun but they also know when to be serious & productive. they were dead serious during trainings and fierce & ready every game.  i couldn’t be any prouder of them. =)

our pictures during training!

true story: during this training sesh, I was walking quietly on the pitch, holding my DSLR and looking for subjects worth taking snap at when Coach Pai called me and said: “hold this tackle bag for me please..” i was like: “okay, coach.. O_O” did the stance, the one I do when in Rugby 101, then he said “I’ll tackle you!” head straight to me then bam! hahahaha! i was dead scared but good thing it wasn’t a serious tackle from Coach Pai coz I highly doubt if I’ll ever survive that tackle! Coach Pai was laughing at me coz the look on my face was just priceless then he tapped my back and said “Its okay, its just a joke!”

hahaha! Coach Pai did scare the hell out of me there but t’was cool! its not everyday you get tackled by one of the legit rugby coaches here in Asia. I am honored dear Coach Pai! 😀

it was a historic run for Chinese Taipei Rugby team as they’ve just bounced back & got promoted in Division 1 recently. During A5N 2012, our first game versus Sri Lanka was shaky perhaps because the team didn’t have time to prepare and get the players acclimitize to hot Manila weather. Hence it ended with a loss, 29-8.

Determined to bounce back the next game versus the Philippine Volcanoes, our team balanced training, attending functions/commitments for IRB, and relaxation. Found out that Chinese Taipei Team worked brilliantly if they don’t feel as if they’re backs are pushed on the wall, that’s how they are. Coaching is always balanced, never too hard, not too relax either. unfortunately, we weren’t able to snag a win against Philippines, 34-12 but my kids gave the Volcanoes quite a scare when they stretched & demolished the  defense line in the last minutes of the game until finally my kids were able to score.

Game 2 against the Philippines was also nerve-wracking for me & Leslie. 2nd half of the game, one of our kids, Chen, Chia-Han, got hit with a bad tackle from the Philippines and he went down the pitch writhing in pain. We rushed down the tracks to see what happened and to check if he was ok and apparently, he wasn’t. He couldn’t get up after that and worse, he could hardly breathe. Leslie suspects its a broken rib, the medic rushed in & got him to a stretcher off the field. The doctors went on immediately on checking him & administered first aid. It was confirmed, a fracture on the rib. The doctor recommended to rush Chen, Chia-Han to Makati Medical Center for x-ray & further tests to see the extent of the injury. Leslie & Coach Pai went with our kid (Leslie’s a nurse so I asked her to go with Coach coz she knew better than me, I stayed with the team until the game was through). Thank goodness it was just a fractured 7th rib that doesn’t need any surgery. all he needs is rest & chest binder for support, it’ll heal up on its own in weeks. Had it been a broken rib, it’ll be a lot worse coz he’s at risk of puncturing his lung if that’s the case. they were discharged after spending 4hrs at the hospital.

here’s Chen, Chia-Han at the hospital! i won’t forget his name coz I had to memorize his name to get all his medical results & medical certificate before they all went back home to Taiwan. =) it was a close call but glad he’s just fine.

he kept calling us “bad people” for taking & posting his hospital pictures! haha! parang bata talaga i swear! so adorbs..

still in pain after meds were administered.

still smiling.. discharged! Chen, Chia-Han with Coach Pai! 😀 the only downside on all of this is that we’re down to 23 players. the doctors didn’t give clearance to Chen, Chia-Han to play on the finals so he was sidelined. He’s a good player & one of the top scorers of the team so its sad to not see him play in the finals but he did well on the first 2 games already.

heart-breaking to see my kids twice defeated but I admire them coz they never lost hope, kept the hunger to win & the fire to get the job done burning. I never saw them sulk and get all depressed with the loss. Finals came and they were even more determined to keep  their spot in Division 1 and not relegated to second division again coz that would mean the end of their campaign for the Rugby World Cup. And it was indeed one of my proud moments during A5N when they were able to win against Singapore, 31-49! i was close to tears really coz i watched them and been there with the team since day 1 and of course the looks on their faces was just priceless when they won. =’)

in one of the media interviews of Coach Pai after they won, he said and I quote “Now that we have managed to retain our position we plan to select a larger squad earlier so that we can focus on our improvement over the next year. Our goal will be to compete at Division I level and crack the Top 5 of the HSBC Asian 5 Nations for the first time.”

I do have high hopes for this team. they’re extreme hard workers and pretty young bunch so really, the chances of getting into top 5 is doable, they just got a lot of growing up to do, more international caps/games to better gain experience and that’s it, i wouldn’t be surprised if i see them playing against the top teams in Asia. what can i say, i just love this team! they won my heart and for that they can be sure that they’ve got a loyal & true fan and friend here in the Philippines!

more of our misadventures with the Chinese Taipei Rugby Team!

meet Shaun, one of our youngest. He maybe 18 years old but he can take on opponents twice as large as him & twice the age too coz he was able to tackle down our “Flying Jeepney” (so sorry Justin Coveney! we still do love you!)! I’m so sorry I’m just proud of Shaun! 😀 He’ll grew up a fine man and a good rugby player someday. =) he’s all sun-burned in this pic but refused to put on some sunblock! hahaha! so adorable.. we call him “kukulah” — a Sri Lankan word which means chicken head & he’s always asking: “Kukula?!? why?!?” =))

goofing around in one of our pool sessions! hahaha! kids! 😀 the other teams always request for ice baths every after training but my kids, they’re simply content with the hotel swimming pool! 😀

pity this sleeping guy! XD

all smiles! they’re looking at the guy swimming in the public fountain in Luneta and maybe wondering why those men were swimming in a public place! hahaha!

one of our kid trying to replicate Jose Rizal’s pose! hahaha! I gave a little trivia about our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal to them that Rizal is also part Chinese, well most of Pinoys are, like me. they were amazed with the connection & influence the Chinese people have in the Philippines. =)

Sunday, April 22 was my last day as an LO and my last day with them. I sent them off back to Taiwan but surprisingly, we never lost contact. We still talk if given a chance, through facebook chat. they’re updating me about their life after A5N which I really appreciate. I found true friends in the most unlikely places & events and for that I am thankful. I honestly can say I miss them, hanging out with them, story-telling, shopping, Nai Cha moments at Moon Leaf, everything.. and I do hope we get to hang out again sometime in the future.

I owe Rugby a lot. It has taken me to places I’ve never been before and I get to meet people whom I never dreamed of meeting, as in never in my entire 25 years of existence. Rugby even got me new friends i can really count on. so much has changed in my life since i got into Rugby and this Liason Officer experience brought so much change in me since day 1 (last December 2011). It gave me the confidence I never had before, developed my interpersonal communication skills drastically since I have to meet and talk to different kinds of people coming from different culture & upbringing. It made me smart, street-smart perhaps is the correct term and helped me discover all the strengths that i have as an individual. Also, volunteering is a job worth stressing and sweating for.. it makes you fulfilled and makes you feel good about yourself.. true enough VOLUNTEER NOT TO BUILD YOUR RESUME, BUT SO YOU CAN BUILD YOURSELF..

really, its one experience i’ll never forget and will forever be grateful for. so until the next Rugby Adventure guys and keep on moving your feet! =)

**some of the photos here are owned by freelance photographer Mark Cristino and my LO partner Leslie Laya! thanks guys for sharing the pictures! hope you don’t mind me using some of it here.

**More of Mark Cristino’s Rugby photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/streetunka/collections/72157627575497074/, please do check it out.

will be back to regular programming in a few! :D

sorry guys, been busy lately with the recently concluded HSBC Asian 5 Nations Rugby tournament but i promise to blog about that awesome experience I had with the 4 participating teams, Volcanoes, and PRFU! 😀 t’was pure RUGBY AWESOMENESS! :>

but it’ll be more about behind the scenes and all.. haha! been really busy handling my team Chinese Taipei Rugby Team that’s why i never got time to take photos of the canoes or watch closely each and every game! XD

Bostik 10s League at Nomads Sports Club (Saturday, February 18, 2012)

RUGBY AT THE HOME FRONT: So before we gear up for the most awaited Rugby 7s event here in Asia, the Hong Kong Sevens happening this March, check out some  Rugby happenings here in Manila.

Last saturday, February 18, 2012 was indeed a good day for Philippine Rugby as the 3rd round of Bostik 10s League commenced at Nomads Sport Club in Paranaque with Alabang Eagles, Alabang Ibons, Nomads, and Globe Immortals leading the pack  for the men’s team and Team Xena (formerly Team GL) leading the women’s team  (in terms of standing).

i was suppose to play for Team Xena but unfortunately I got injured while in training. Doctors told me its Patellafemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) and will be sidelined again for 3 weeks and do therapy to strengthen quads, hamstring and inner thigh muscles. this is my second major injury after I pulled & torn my right calf muscle last year (in Rugby traininng too). its a definite setback i have to admit and i was getting depressed and all for just sitting on the sidelines and watching my mates play and have fun. but the good thing about this whole getting injured stuff is that i was able to indulge the other love of my life which is PHOTOGRAPHY! 😀

Aside from training in PRFU’s Rugby 101 program, I do volunteer work for them every now and then (worked as Liason Officer last December for the Division 2 Under 20s game held in Manila) and made good friends with the Admin officers and the coaches so I was thrilled when Junnel asked me to be the “sort of official” photographer that day. armed with my Nikon D5000 and just my kit lens (18mm-55mm) plus the trusty point-and-shoot Nikon camera of PRFU, i managed to get some good shots last saturday! 😀

Behind the scene photos:

at the match officials tent before the game starts with (l-r) LO Nikki, PRFU Admin Officer Junnel, and LO Mika! Kuya Ren and Ms. Precious at the back chatting.. =)

two of my most favorite coaches: Coach Expo & Coach Grant! their one of the world’s finest! =) took this photo while they’re busy talking about the weather i think! =)))))

yehey! may picture na si Junnel! =)))) (from left to right) my good friend Zsazsa with Nikki & Junnel! i’m not sure what’s the name of the guy at the back! 😀

this is a mix of players from all the women’s team who participated last saturday: Team Xena, MAAP, and  Alabang Bullets.. the girls warming it up before the big game! =)

and still all smiles after a tough game! =)

We’re also honored to have Cebu Dragons as our guest last saturday! They may have been beaten by Alabang Eagles but we cannot deny that these lads fought with all their might! Mga Bai! You have all my respect! hopefully we get to see more of them in the coming games!

man of the match gets this baby from Hardy’s! =)

and last but definitely not the least, 3 of my favorite photos that day!

i got so lucky that these two lads tackled one another near the area where i’m standing so i managed to capture the intense moment. Raging Bisons (in black) versus Manila Vipers (in red). the one in black is a good friend of mine and a former LO too for the U20s event last December, Noel Villa. It wasn’t surprising that he got himself to rugby since before we even started volunteering for PRFU, he’s been a fitness buff and sports junkie too! proud of you Noel! you really had it in you! =) although i have to say that the one in red nailed it! kudos for a priceless game face and superb battle cry! =)))))

the picture is a bit dark but i didn’t brighten it up coz I wanna emphasize the time of the day this photo was taken, its twilight and the two teams (Hapons and Manila Nomads) are still battling it out at the line throw out.. adds drama to the pic don’t you think.. =)

i also had a huge respect for the players of Hapons (in white). i’ve been seeing a lot of “Oji-san” (Grandfathers) playing for the team but they run, kick, and tackle like they’re in their 20’s! i’m just in awe really and i admire how fit they are that despite their age (oldest is 65 years old), they can still play rugby well.

this must have been what it’ll look like playing Rugby during Rizal’s time! 😀 and i can’t think of any other way to conclude this blog but with this photo. loving the old world vibe in there…

if there’s one thing i’d wish to see today is that Rugby getting as much attention and popularity as soccer. its a tough sport but there are a lot of values and discipline you’ll get from learning and playing the sport.  i hope one day Pinoys will love the sport as much as I am loving it today..

until the next Rugby adventure and keep on moving your feet! =)

*** Join us guys every Mondays & Wednesdays for FREE Rugby training sessions at Ultra, 6pm to 8pm! Be there!***

Rugby 101 with TEAM XENA! =)

I remember last year when I first set foot in Ultra to join Rugby 101. 1st sesh there, we’re just a total of 5 girls training on the pitch, usually merged with the boys so just to let us experience playing touch rugby.. and after almost a year, I now can see 12 or more girls training every session! what a change it has been! =)

Picking a name for the team also has gone through several evolutions.. starting with tagging us as “TEAM GL (GL for Good-looking)” given I think by Coach Matt, then there was “TEAM ATHENA” given by PHL Dev’t team & Volcanoe member, Arnold Aninion, who’s also one of our coaches. He said the name fits coz Athena is the Greek Goddess of war & wisdom. and finally “TEAM XENA” after Xena the warrior princess.. =)

so now, without further adieu, everyone meet TEAM XENA!

we’re the women’s team formed from Rugby 101. we’re a mix of Rugby newbies & players from the national women’s team for Rugby, Lady Volcanoes. Captained by Lady Volcanoe Cassie Umali. to be honest, its a constant challenge and one hell of a battle for women to be playing the men’s game. you constantly have to prove yourself to everybody and to really get out there and perform/play well so as to earn respect from people so I really am proud of this team! hopefully we can sustain it & be able to have enough players for us to compete in 7s, 10s, and 15s league. =)

Calling all ladies out there, we’re still trying to beef up the squad. Please do join us every mondays & wednesdays at Ultra, 6pm to 8pm for a fun and quality Rugby training! =)

So whoever said that Rugby is for men’s only?! We girls like to kick some ass on the pitch too!

Philippine Volcanoes to participate in Hong Kong Sevens!

i seriously couldn’t be any prouder than i am now.

i’ve seen it first hand, heard it from the players themselves about what it takes to represent your country. it takes a lot of hard work and sacrifices. it wasn’t an easy ride where you constantly aim to go to the top and ultimately to reach the goal of putting the Philippines in the Rugby map and gaining respect from all other Rugby playing nations in Asia then eventually the world…

in every game, the team battle and bleed to give glory & pride to our country.. and now all the hard work, sacrifices, dedication, perseverance, and passion they’ve put in — the team, the coaches, and all the staff has now finally paid off.. We’ve got an invite to compete in one of the most prestigious Rugby tournament in Asia, well perhaps in the whole world, the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens.

It was the Philippine Volcanoes silver medal winning performance in in the Borneo 7s that earned their spot in Hong Kong 7s. We’ve finally proven that the Philippines is a formidable team in the Rugby arena, a team to watch out for in the next couple of years.

Its way beyond “awesome” to be playing against top teams worldwide — New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, and England. its the next best thing to Rugby World Cup, seeing our own play with these formidable teams from around the world and i can definitely say its a dream come true for everyone – the team, PRFU, and the fans and supporters as well. but i always knew, seeing the team, looking at how dedicated they are with the sport, that unfailing love of their Pinoy heritage and their country, i always knew they had it in them, the ability to take the Philippines to the top! 🙂

let me take this opportunity to say congratulations to Philippine Volcanoes and to PRFU as well. You did a great job and look at where we are now. 🙂 just keep it up and we’ll definitely go a long way and i won’t be surprised if we’d be able to go and compete in the next Rugby world cup! And i bid you good luck as well. its time to shine your brightest in HK Sevens 2012! again, best of luck! keep in mind that all of your supporters will just be here, rallying with you guys towards winning!

Go Volcanoes!


mondays will always be for Rugby!

January 28, 2012 marks the start of Philippine Rugby Football Union 10’s League (PRFU 10’s) and I haven’t made up my mind yet if i’m gunna play on saturday or what coz i honestly feel that i’m still a work in progress when it comes to playing rugby. been playing the sport for about 3 months now. I started mid August last year but due to club commitments in soccer, i wasn’t really able to focus on rugby. I went back to playing it right after my birthday in September but was forced to sit on the sidelines last October till end of the year due to injury. In one of the training sesh in Rugby, I pulled my calf muscle really really bad that i had to rest it for a while.

I came back first thing this year and to really be honest with everyone, haven’t gained top form for playing yet. I’m way too far from it actually! hence, i’m still undecided with playing this coming saturday. but i’m doin’ everything i can to shape up and to step up for it. i haven’t missed any training sessions this year and on off training days, i sweat it out in the gym, doin’ mostly cardio & some weights to convert all my fats to muscle mass and also to develop agility & endurance. Rugby training is every Mondays and Wednesdays but since it’s Chinese New Year yesterday and its a holiday, no training sesh was scheduled.

and since me and some of my Rugby teammates were used to training during mondays, we scheduled a little training of our own yesterday morning at the field near Bahay ng Alumni in UP Diliman. We shared the field with UP Softball team (good thing they’re gracious enough to let us use the field with them!).

we started around 8am with warm up, jogging, and some stretching. then passing drills followed. simple “hands” first — just passing the ball from player to player, no fancy passing at all. then we did the “chooky”!!! really hilarious coz we’ve got no sense of direction at all and i really am an epic fail with switching & passing. why am i so bad with directions? haha! then some defense-offense drills and line throw outs then touch rugby after. its more of a “learning” sesh coz this time, we can actually learn and grasp everything. the chill & relax environment while doing the drills makes it a more conducive rugby sesh where you can learn as much as you can, you can ask around without feeling shy or awkward. its nothing like the rugby trainings we’ve had previously (where you can literally drop dead because it was intense)  but we’ve definitely learned a lot from it. 🙂

i’ve got to say a huge THANKS to my friend Junnel. yesterday’s sesh was her idea and it was really really fun! its a breath of fresh air actually coz for the first time, we felt chill & relax while training & because of that we learned a lot from it. sometimes its helpful when during training, your back is not against the wall so to speak. you can think clearly and do the drills easily coz nobody’s giving pressure and nobody’s shouting at you all the time. 🙂

so before we called it a day yesterday, we managed to get this photo:

aren’t we all cute here!? hehehe.. good job everyone for a successful private rugby sesh yesterday! and got to say that because of you, my dream to be a referee came true! hahahaha!! =)))))))) true story: they appointed me to be the ref for the touch rugby yesterday! and i think i aced it! =)))))

hopefully we can squeeze in one private rugby sesh every week! its really fun!

till the next sesh and keep on movin’ your feet guys! 🙂

Asian Rugby Junior Division 2 Championships in the Philippines!

Asian Rugby Junior Division 2 Championships next week! And Philippines is hosting the event! Be there and catch the Rugby action on Dec 14 and 17, 3pm at Rizal Memorial Stadium! ADMISSION IS FREE!

yes my friends, ITS TOTALLY, NO STRINGS ATTACHED FREE! no lines to go & beat so you can get tickets, no spending huge amount of money whatsoever. all you need to do is head down to Rizal Stadium on Dec 14 and 17 and join the fun! so go & spread the word guys! give our Junior Volcanoes love! oooohhhyeaah! 😀


Una KAYA: A day with my fave UFL team, KAYA Futbol Club

UFL season is almost over but was able to squeeze in one game! hehe.. good job! =)

been a supporter of the team for quite some time now and it has been a tradition for me to get to watch and see at least one KAYA FC game every season and was so elated that I was able to clear one saturday! 😀

November 26, 2011, another great day to play footy. Sun was up and shining the whole day and that makes you want to wear your boots and play. After the errands at home, i made it at University of Makati Football Field in time for the Kaya FC game versus Nomads Auction Manila. It was instantly obvious who’d won that day with Kaya FC dominating the whole game with 3 and nothing at all for Nomads! good job team! 😀

Una Kaya!

Prior to the Kaya FC game was Global FC, my 3rd fave team, Kaya taking the first spot followed by PHL Air Force Phoenix, and third Global FC. The players usually hang around the place so we’re able to get some pictures with them! 😀

my good friend & teammate Leslie with her baby Misagh Bahadoran, player for Dan Palami’s Global FC and PHL National team Azkals. Got no pictures naturally coz i’m the resident photographer (since day 1 i started watching & playing football) so there. You just got to content yourself with seeing, meeting, & talking to the players, no picture at all. i’m not complaining, elated to meet & talk to players really, makes me love football all the more! oh and after this photo opt, Leslie introduced me to Will Gueridonn, Fil-German footy player who played for Azkals before and now with Global FC, also he’s a close friend of Leslie’s. i totally forgot to have our picture taken coz the Kaya FC game was about to start and the two still ain’t stopping from their little chit-chat.. hehehe..

met some PUFC peeps in the Grandstand rooting for their teams too! =)

Ultras Kaya

meet Ultras Kaya, Kaya FC’s 12th man on the field — much like the Kaholeros for the Azkals. its actually a booster/cheering squad of Kaya FC (which i’m part of although i cheer for the team in my own special way, not the screaming type sorry). Little boy in the middle is Shane. He maybe a kid but he’s the group leader when it comes to cheering & chanting. the boy has a flair for composing songs for cheer and has a good command of the drums! so adorbs! and i later found out the reason why he cheers so loud and proud for Kaya, Nate Burkey, one of Kaya FC’s key players is Shane’s coach in football. so there! can’t blame the kid, he loves his coach so much! =)

so if Shane has his football hero, I too have a few. to name a few of my local football super heroes, I admire Manong Chieffy Caligdong and his uncle Yanti Barsales. Both pure Pinoy and both proved that Pinoys can excel in football and plays better over the Fil-foreigners. with the right mindset, proper attitude, training and support, Pinoys will fly higher than anybody else. but don’t hate me alright, i admire the Fil-foreigners too coz admittedly, they’ve been a big boost to the National squad. its a team sport after all, one can’t win alone, it has to be a collective effort of a group. one of the Fil-foreigners i really really admire the most is a Chinoy from Chinatown, New York City, Lexton Moy.

Papa Lex! 😀

He’s fairly new to the team but has proven already that he’s an asset. He plays both for Kaya FC and the National squad. He’s proud to represent the PHL and despite his busy training schedule, he still can find time to participate and immerse himself to various football causes that aims to change lives of his Kababayans. a totally selfless way to help a country almost foreign to him since he grew up abroad but still, recognizing his heritage, he’s willing to help his Kababayans in any way he can. he’s a great blogger too! its really rare to find a guy who’s good in writing and expressing his thoughts so that is one kick-ass talent i daresay. =)

more from Lexton Moy here: http://soccerpirrs.com/charity/hammering-out-the-old-drives-new-hope-ffas-new-home/

visit his blog and you’ll be amazed by this guy! =)

pondering on, i never thought i’d live and see the day of Renaissance football here in PHL. with the success of a local football league to seeing our National team play against football legend David Beckham is a dream come true for everybody, not just the team but the fans & spectators as well. i just hope we could do the same and show the same support with other sports as well. =)

till the next football adventure folks and keep on moving your feet! =)

Where will happiness strike next? The Coca-cola OFW project

i’ve watched the video a number of times already but still crying every single time! hard to keep dry eyes…

i don’t usually fall for viral campaigns as this one from Coca-cola and I’m not a fan of softdrinks either but the Ad sure did hit a spot right there.

i wanted to share this to you guys coz i know a lot can relate, lalo na sa atin mga Pinoy where almost all households have a family member who has gone abroad to seek for better opportunities. i myself came from a household just like that…

My dad was a mechanical engineer grad and already had a good paying job here in PHL after he went out of  college. He’s the sole bread winner of his own family as he’s the only one who was able to go to college so he opted to apply for another job with a bigger pay outside the country. then he met my mom, got married and had me. that time, the only option was to keep working abroad coz now he has a kid to raise and a family of his own (aside from his parents & siblings) to support, me and my mom. despite the fact that he’ll be leaving his pregnant wife, my Dad went abroad and mom gave birth to me without my dad around for support. needless to say my dad missed all the ‘firsts’ — my first smile, my first word, the first time i learned to crawl and walk on my own, the first bath, my first solid food intake, everything, even my first days in Kindergarten. at that time i thought t’was just normal, i had no idea what a dad is but i kept seeing my classmates & friends with their dads but to me it just seem normal. i never felt unlove or anything. so when i finally realized that i should have a dad or that i have one, i was already 7 years old. it was our first meeting, in 1992. i can only imagine how my dad felt at that time. it was heart-breaking actually, imagine you seeing your child for the first time. of course you want to hug her, talk to her, play with her but you couldn’t coz she doesn’t want to go with you or to even look at you. she doesn’t know you at all..

it was hard growing up with an absentee dad. i couldn’t understand why he chose to be abroad rather than be with us. i kept grudges to be honest. but when i finally understood why, i let go of all the grudges, mend my relationship with dad and from then on, i always show him how grateful i am for everything. i think my life wouldn’t be as pampered as what it is right now if not for all the sacrifices my dad made during his stay abroad.

so tonight when i get home, gonna hug Pops tight and say “Dad, i am proud & will forever be grateful that you are my daddy. this wouldn’t be our life if you hadn’t sacrificed years in Saudi, away from us..”

to all those who have family members working abroad, remember to always be thankful to them for everything. remember their sacrifices and show ’em some Pinoy love from PHL this Christmas! =)

have a wonderful weekend everyone! =)

VOLUNTEER not to build your resume, but so you can build yourself…

ok, admittedly, i’ve been neglecting this blogging site these past months. apologies. caught up with everything happening in my life all at once. i’m not complaining though. its just that i’ve got less time to sit down, contemplate and write. so while i’m still chill at work, i might as well write a few words and update you guys with what’s happening in my “too boring” life.. =)

this month has been the toughest especially for our kababayans in Northern Luzon. The areas Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan & most provinces in the North like Aurora was widely devastated by Typhoons Pedring & Quiel. Being a tropical country, typhoons & cyclones are not foreign to the islands of the Philippines and an average of 3 to 5 typhoons hit the country every month. However, like what most of you know, no matter how you prepare yourself to the onslaught, nature is well just too unpredictable and unstoppable.

When something like this happens, it triggers emotions and brings back so many memories…

been there done that. that’s all i can say & more than anyone, i can totally relate to our kababayans from the north. I was a victim too. Last 2009, Typhoon Ondoy came to the Philippines and Metro Manila was one of the hardest hit areas in the country. more than 300 people died. Me & my family was fortunate enough to survive.

we tagged Pasig as “the Venice of Asia” and you can see in the picture why. The water was more than waist deep at the time i took the picture.

so instead of cars, jeepneys, & tricycle,  we have boats moving people & stuff around.

this is my barrio, Pinagbuhatan where water in some areas were as high as 10 feet tall. i was waiting for my ride home. since i’m working, i had to evacuate and temporarily live with relatives in Sumilang, Pasig. This photo was taken at the time that i was about to go home & visit my family. My mom & my dog decided to stay in our neighbor’s house so they could keep watch of our house. while my dad, old & ailing has to evacuate to my grandmother’s house in Ugong. My cousin (dad’s side) who doesn’t have work at that time, accompanied mom at home. i had to go home every week to check on mom and my dog’s condition and of course, flooded as it may be, i miss home.  =)

viola! my ride home! see, i have to save money for the family and i just couldn’t afford to get a boat ride home which costs around Php120 to Php150, one way. so i have to be creative & resourceful, asking for a free ride on a 6-wheeler truck was I think the most awesome thing i did back those days. =) walking is an option too but it’ll take me 2 hours to get home by walking (a total of 2.7km from Pasig Market to our Village) so i favored free rides instead.

on the way home, i saw these guys, hanging out on the bridge. they actually asked for a photo opt so i gladly obliged. i was just in awe. despite the conditions we were in, people from Pinagbuhatan managed to smile. hopeful for a brighter day next.

home sweet home! haha! its waist deep water outside our house. that’s my pinsan there, trying to figure out how to move around the water. that little house is our tindahan.

that’s my dog bodie who reluctantly learned how to swim when the house was still flooded. bodie also learned to make use of the make-shift bridges i built so we can walk above the water. =)

experience thought me to be strong amidst struggles and showed me how to be compassionate to others. it always feels good to give back especially when you know what it feels like to be in the same situation as them. so when our HR called for volunteers who wanted to help ABS-CBN’s Sagip Kapamilya Relief & Rescue operations, i didn’t think twice. i immediately enlisted myself to help & serve my kababayans in need. Right after work at 6pm, me & a couple of friends from the office, went straight to Sagip Kapamilya Headquarters in PBB Concert Hall, ELJ Drive. We repacked relief goods non-stop till wee hours of the night. it was such a liberating and fulfilling experience. and i met the most interesting group of youth who also enlisted themselves to help.

these are the students i was with during my sagip kapamilya duty. From Philippine Ling Nam Athletic School, these kids are proud martial artists (Wushu) and fire volunteers too! no wonder, when they were able to get their hands on the goods, they never let go. just went on packing mode with no plans of stopping even for just a drink. energetic kids with big hearts. i was in awe to see the spirit of volunteerism alive and in action with these kids. i used to think that our youth, especially the generation after mine are just plain hopeless, with lives going out of control and wasted. but look at them, doing something worthwhile and important on their free time. real role models of the youth today.

tired but still up to the task at hand! we were able to finish 400 sacks of relief goods that day which was distributed to 4,000 families in Tarlac, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, and Bulacan. good job to the kids, they were as fast as lightning in repacking goods! 😀

we were about to go live on TV Patrol here.

like what i said, its always nice to give back. i know how it feels to be in that situation and during those times, people lent me a hand too so i’m doing the same and giving back the favor. tired as i may have been, I packed those relief goods with a smile knowing that i’d be able to help a family start rebuilding their lives.

VOLUNTEER not to build your resume, but so you can build yourself. =)

Modern day heroes with BIG HEART & GOOD CHARACTER — Philippine Rugby Team Volcanoes

i always thought that the “heart” makes an athlete great but i was wrong.. it takes the combination of good character & heart that make great athletes. you may have the heart to train hard, compete and build an iron-strong will to win but without a good character to go with that heart of yours, it’ll be nothing. a good character that makes you want to go out there, share what you know about your sports, and give back to the community — you’re doin’ it free of charge and all because you want to do it & you care. not because you can earn money from it.

for a sports junkie & fan like me, the quest to find the true & certified sports heroes is a never-ending journey. in the advent of sports here in the Philippines, a lot of teams, clubs, groups are sprouting out like wild shrubs and mushrooms. you can easily go “ga-ga” on one of them and fall trap to whatever charms they may have without even asking yourself if you should be following & supporting them or are they even worth your effort and time or are they really the heroes we can look up to as role models??? I’ve been on that loop for a long time now and for years, I’ve been looking for that true sports heroes. Admittedly, i easily get charmed by painstakingly good looks but relationship would turn sour the moment i see right through them.

so what really makes a great athlete?

a great athlete is someone with a “BIG HEART” that can form an iron will to train, play, & win. someone who believes in winning even before it happens. someone who can pull through despite the problems s/he faces. it is someone who’ll push forward to achieve his dreams & goals & will not just let go of it, never allow it to just fall apart. S/he is someone who uses all those defeats to propel him towards his goal.

a great athlete is a man of “GOOD CHARACTER.” Someone who unselfishly shares his talents & skills. You can see the willingness to teach and share what he does best without expecting anything in return and finds happiness and solace when teaching/sharing. It is someone who genuinely shows love, appreciation & care for his supporters no matter how little (in numbers) of them there is. someone who stays humble & grounded despite being in the midst of limelight & fame. most importantly, s/he is someone who doesn’t see his sport as a “million-dollar” career where he can earn a lot of money. he plays because it is what he really wants to do and that is where his mind, soul, & heart lies.

my constant quest for that great sports heroes brought me to Rugby. you wouldn’t really think that the sports rugby is crafted for us Pinoys. its a rough & very physical sport where players are mostly bulked up, brawny, & built to be crushing machines. Pinoys are average-built, most are just of average height of 5 feet, lanky and doesn’t have enough muscle mass to be a rugby player but to everyone’s surprise, Pinoys woke up one day seein’ for the first time in Guadalupe area, the official Rugby players of the country — the Philippine Volcanoes.

beyond those good looks & almost god-like bodies are men with high-caliber skills when it comes to playing Rugby. As one writer puts it, they’re the real deal athletically as they have put the map of Philippines in Asian Rugby. Just two weeks ago and before my legendary encounter with the team, they were preparing for the Shanghai 7’s. it is the preliminary for the prestigious world wide tournament, Hong Kong 7’s.  Sadly, the team didn’t make the cut. They finished in 7th place, a step behind the goal of finishing 6th to qualify for the Hong Kong 7’s. Looking beyond this big disappointment, Philippine Volcanoes have proven a lot. They defeated the reigning champions in Asia, South Korea, with a score of 19-14. Then went on demolishing Rugby teams from UAE (24-7) and Thailand (22-0). Unfortunately, they conceded to better teams Kazakhastan (12-5) and power house China (24-10) which finally earning them the 7th spot on the tournament. Having beaten South Korea & their resounding victory on their last game versus Thailand (where they didn’t even allow the team to score even just a single try), they’re sending a clear message across all continents in Asia: Philippine Rugby Team VOLCANOES means business and in full throttle to win as many games as they can and eventually, getting the chance to play in the Rugby World Cup.

its not only their superb Rugby skills  that earned my respect for this team, it is their undoubtedly humble & down-to-earth character & personality that won my heart. Turns out that these lads are far from the way they were presented in the ginormous Bench billboards across Guadalupe (which was taken down to give way to the request of the city mayors). On the billboards (if you happen to see them), they were projected as “Alpha male jocks” who seems to be full of themselves and cares nothing more than the fame and attention they get from playing the game and starring on that billboard. Hell yeah. i’m so wrong this time! i was surprised to meet the nicest, well-mannered & grounded bunch of gentlemen last August 23.

You really can’t judge a book based on its cover…  really… i was actually thinking of meeting players with “diva-like” attitude during the meet & greet but surprise! surprise! the diva wasn’t there! they came on time, joined us for merienda and immediately mingled with everyone in the room. it felt like meeting an old friend to do some catchin’ up, telling stories to each other and all. you can see that they’re genuinely interested with you as you are to them. they’re warm & very accomodating, trying to answer each and every question thrown at them even if they’ve answered it already a gazillion times. the boys are witty & full of humor as they made fun of each other & teasing their newly appointed team captain Jake Letts that instead of being big & brawny, he has small frame much like that of an average Filipina! 😀

All of them have one pure Filipino parent making them eligible to play and represent the Philippines in the Rugby arena. And they endearingly call each other as “brothers from another mother” — a proof that their brotherhood as a team & as friends is strong as ever.

Despite looking more foreign than Pinoy, you’ll see in them the “never-say-die” attitude of Pinoys. The one that never breaks to pressure but bends & sways like a bamboo in life’s challenges. you can see a strong sense of nationalism too among them. Choosing to represent the Philippines over countries where they came from (even with the money & fame they can get from there) says a lot about them being proud to be called Filipinos. To represent a country plagued with unnerving politics (even in sports), corruption, and lack of proper government support is one daunting task. All of them have regular day jobs, even accepting extras so that they’d be able to save funds and use it to fly out here and compete under our flag.  They save up leave time from work so they’d be able to train with the team and join as many tournaments as they can.  it really takes a true Pinoy to endure sacrifices as many as that and that just makes me truly proud of them! it really doesn’t matter if you get nothing , not even a single cent from the government & even if your kababayans don’t take notice of your achievements.. the team loves the sport, takes pride of being Filipinos & representing the country, so they just brush it all off, put a brave face on and ready to take any opponents in a heart beat. =)

just when i was on the verge of giving up on finding that true sports hero, i met these lads. it’s funny how fate works that when it already seems impossible to find them, here are the Volcanoes. They proved that their sports are not just a “million-dollar” career. they proved that they are not just better athletes playing their best in every competition but they’re also better person just doing their best to share their talent & give back to a community almost alien to them since they didn’t grew up here. they are all out there doing greater things other than just moonlighting events & endorsements or aiming to get the world cup. they went an extra mile and went beyond what is expected of them. When everybody’s expecting you to be a better athlete, show them that you’re not just an athlete excelling in your chosen sport; you are a better person, able to do greater things not just for yourself or the team, most importantly for your kababayans and your country, making a difference and changing lives — and they did just that. =)

now i think that the quest is over.. i finally found the true sports heroes of my day..  and its been an honor meeting them & i’m even more proud that i’m training with them. its something i’ll bring with me, & something to talk about to my kids & grand kids.. something i’ll bring with me till the day i die.. =)

Philippine Volcanoes, proud & true Pinoys! the role models we’re all lookin’ for.. =)

Philippines finest! Meet our very own Rugby team, Philippine Volcanoes! =)

until now, I’m clueless why I’ve been so blessed this past months. I never expected that my love for football will take me to places I’ve never been to, meet people that I never imagined I’ll be able to meet or talk to even if I live for hundred plus years. And for that, I’ll always be thankful to the Man upstairs and always be in debt with the sport football.. =)

I was able to meet Team Azkals, their coaches and Sir Dan Palami of course since I started playing soccer but I was even more blessed when I started training for Rugby! 😀

Rugby opened a lot of doors for me — met a lot of people/friends on training, trained by one of the best coaches in town (hello Coach Aloh! :D), was able to trim down 20lbs with all that running in Rugby (yes, I’m 20lbs lighter because of that!).. what else? I was able to discover and let out the inner “Amazona” in me! haha! yes, definitely! I’m slow when running — like a slow poke, I tell yah and I don’t have any sense of balance but I always knew that I have this brute strength inside me.! I just lack the opportunity to show it but yeah its there! haha! And Rugby, bein’ a full contact sports, players use strength/power so I was able to utilize that brute strength and put it into good use! 😀

AND THE BEST PART OF IT ALL — I was able to meet our very own Philippine Rugby Team Volcanoes! 😀 woot-woot! yep, along with two of my friends, met the team & their coach Matt Cullen! I didn’t get to see all, just the 12 of them but it was a blast! It’s not just a meet up, I get to dine & eat merienda with the team, I was able to chat with all 12 of them, have our picture taken and I get to take home a jersey from the team! 😀 really, really cool! :>

it all started with joining Philippine Rugby Football Union’s Rugby 101 blogging contest (now, if you guys have been following my blog, you can still see my entry). I never meant to join because the entry I passed was already made way before PRFU announced their promo/contest, though I had to edit it coz it was originally part of a very long entry.  And since it was already made, I thought, “well why not send this to PRFU. Let’s give it a shot.” But I sure am not hoping to win coz I know there are a lot of “better” bloggers over me who wanted to meet the Philippine Volcanoes and I really don’t stand a chance — my blogs are not meant for competitions/contests (still amateur, you know), it’s just an online journal containing the ramblings of the demented mind of a writer wannabe.

the next thing I knew, I found myself clicking the “send” button of my office mail! True story: I had to duck under my table and was convinced to just hide there for the rest of eternity as my email was processing the request to send the entry to PRFU. Then I later said to myself, that entry won’t make that far so why stress myself out. It may even not get the attention of PRFU and the team.

Days went by and here comes August 19, announcement day for the winners of the blogging contest. I was out of the office and don’t have any internet access until after the weekend was over. Friday, August 19, I didn’t go online to check. Saturday & Sunday, I was out in training and usually, I just sleep after a tough day at the pitch so two days went by without internet connection then come monday morning at the office, as I was browsing tons of my email about work, I stumbled with PRFU’s email informing me that I won in their contest! 😀 I think I went catatonic for a few hours then I realized I need to revert back to the email. I think I spent an hour (at least) before I was able to complete and send my reply. I was just in shock. It was surreal and the thought of meeting the team won’t just sink in! As in serious! It felt like I was dreaming! haha! But when PRFU called me, yeah that simply brought me back to earth and confirmed that I was not dreaming after all! 😀

The meet & greet was scheduled the next day, Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at Oakwood Center, ADB Avenue, Ortigas. Yes, I have work but I wouldn’t pass up the chance to meet the team so I filed a leave of absence so I’d be able to go out and meet them. =) it’s a once in a lifetime experience so even if I’m neck-deep with work, I ditched everything and went there!

This is it! *hingang malalim* LEZ GO!!! :))

I’m nervous as a rabbit about to be thrown to a pit full of lions! haha! eh sorry naman! I went into panic mode the moment I saw the team entering the dining hall! you see, I have this unexplainable condition of having the hardest time talking to the male species! serious! Growing up in a household full of women and growing up without my dad, I’m totally clueless on know how to react when I’m surrounded by guys, well in this case they’re not just guys but totally gorgeous men so the moment they said “hi” to me, I got tongue-tied! haha! I’d say that the best decision I ever made that day was to take two of my chika friends with me and let them do all the talking coz as expected, my mouth was kept tightly shut during the event! I talk to them when they ask me about something but that’s about it. I was also way too distracted by their almost god-like appearance. When I say god-like, I mean they all look like Greek gods who went down to earth from Mt. Olympus, seriously.The word beautiful was an understatement when describing how this men look like (I know right, I’m now officially the envy of all the girls in the world! haha!).

Greek gods from Mt. Olympus! ay sorry mali, my bad! haha! Meet our Philippine Rugby Team Volcanoes! =)

and because i was way too shy to talk, I just took photos that day! 😀 Volcanoes, even after training early in the morning was all smiles in front of us! they’re just adorable.. =’) *sigh*

the meet and greet was truly a treat coz we got the chance to talk to them personally. the team was divided to 6 groups with 2 players together. they went around the the tables for the 10-minute interview. I just wished my chika friends asked a little bit more personal questions other than how the game is played, the Haka, Shanghai 7’s. Sayang! We didn’t get to ask who’s taken and who’s not, what’s their fave food, color, or something, or if they’ll date a fan or someone who’s not into Rugby.. alam nyo yun, I was actually hoping that the conversation will be just chill and relaxed, laid-back but my chika friends opted for the more serious questions! haha! so there.  I’d bet all my fingers that should my friends asked those personal questions and I’ll put it in here, this blogging site will crash due to myriads of girls trying to access the blog! =P

but i have to say that the team was very accomodating. they’ve been asked same questions over and over but still they graciously answer everything. another thing that I really like about them is that they’re not a snob (even on twitter or other SNS sites where you can find them), yung bang parang feeling sikat coz they’re trying their best to talk to us, small talk for lack of better word, they’re even asking questions about us, what we do for a living, our hobbies, the sports we play, someone even asked about the food we love to eat. it’s not something you’ll expect to see or hear from people with celebrity-like statuses. People in limelight are usually snobs *cough, cough, i know some people* haha! but yeah its true. and for that I give them 200% pogi points! I really think that celebs, athletes, public figures should be gracious enough to grant a photo opt or a small chat/talk with their fans coz they owe their popularity to the people who constantly follow & support them. they’re public figures for Christ sake! yun lang.. just saying.. two of the most accommodating and gracious teams I met was the Philippine Dragon Boat Team Pinoy Dragon Warriors & our Philippine Rugby Team Volcanoes! that’s the truth! and I admire and love them for that! =)

(ok, enough with commercials, haha!) funny that the interview felt like a speed dating of sorts.. hehe..

Searchee number 1, oopppss sorry!!! haha! I mean 1st batch of the interview was with Kenneth Stern & John Odulio!

–Kenny was the “madaldal” one.. I mean he was the one doing all the talking in this interview while John was a bit quiet, just giving out some points & opinions when asked. But both are charmers! our interviewers were dazzled! even the photographer if I may add! haha! Oh and if I heard it right (and if my memory serves me right) John is a registered nurse.

and here’s more of these two;

and the interviewers were charmed! i just love the look on them! classic! 😀

Our second batch of interview was with Andrew Wolff and Rupert Zappia! =)

True Story (I guess.. But on a second thought, coming from Andrew who loves to make fun of his teammates.. errrr.. I just don’t know what to believe!): Guess why Rupert was all red on the face that day? According to Andrew, he went out to train on a hot sunny morning in the PHL and he forgot to put on his sunblock ergo, Mr. Sun left him red-faced! 😀

— Both Andrew and Rupert was makwento and talkative but hands down to Andrew for being so outspoken. Among the 12 of them (the team captain included), he’s the only team member who spoke of how little the government and most of their kababayans took notice of their achievements. Despite being on top of their game, beating most of the best Rugby teams here in Asia and after demolishing Malaysia (with score 86-20) last June 2011 therefore establishing themselves as serious and tough contender for Asian top 5 next year, they get no support from the government. Most of their expenses when they compete or play, they had to get it from their own pockets. This really breaks me heart and I truly admire them, they just love to play the game & they take pride of representing the Philippines in any competition that they’re so ready to make sacrifices, even if it means taking a leave from their work and funding their trips just to compete.

more of these two (apologies, picture’s too dark, don’t want to use the flash coz we’re like in a middle of a conversation);

Some of you might be familiar with Andrew Wolff. He had his share of limelight as a local artist here in the Philippines, appearing on various local TV shows & movies. =)  See, our players are not just superb Rugby players! Jack of all trades! 😀

And for the 3rd batch of the interview, we have Oliver Saunders & Chris Hitch! (thank God I can still remember all the names! haha! sometimes i’m so bad with names, I couldn’t remember everything!)

— What else can I say, both are talkative. I think Chris Hitch was the one who asked us with questions rather than us asking questions about them! :> tall, dark, and handsome types that you just love to take home to your parents and say “mom, pop, I’m marrying this guy!” yeah for real.. agree ladies? and i hear a yeah… haha!

more of these two tall, dark, and totally handsome men;

i think its all because of the sun.. blame it on the sun but I’m lovin’ the color! so Pinoy! 😀

our fourth batch of interview was with Mark Chatting & Chris Everingham!

— Mark reminds me so much of Yannick Tuason of Team Azkals I guess because of the hair & the smile, the smile that can melt a thousand hearts! haha! and the other Chris, Chris Everingham that is, was the most charming of the bunch! he’s the guy that you can never say “no” to. You’ll probably do whatever he ask you to do.. as in serious.. maybe it has something to do with those eyes or maybe the way he talks to people — may kasamang lambing! — now if you guys can understand my tagalog! hehe.. And Chris was the one asking the three of us what we’ll do after the meet & greet but before we can even answer, the peeps from PEP.ph asked for a photo opt with him.. hay sayang! would love to join them after their game that day! =P

more of these two charming lads here;

their version of Korean pose with Leslie & Zsazsa! cute! 😀

i’m diggin’ the hair! Mark’s “bagong gising” look! haha!

The next batch was my favorite! Here we’re with the new Team Captain Jake Letts & Jon Morales! =)

— If there’s one guy I’m allowed to take home to my parents that day, it’ll be Jake! haha! Joke! ok, ok! I’m caught red-handed! got this huge crush over him! for the record, I’m harmless. I usually admire from afar, I’m not the crazy stalker type! haha! Surprised too that his mother hails from Bicol, same with me, grand mum & mom is from Bicol too, Albay. and both of us never been to Bicol (We can tour the province, together, if you like! haha! joke!). And with Jake was Jon, that tall, dark, and handsome guy who, despite nursing a bruised lip (got it from their game versus Hong Kong University), still look gorgeous! You just got to love battle scars! And I love Jon for adding us on facebook! 100% pogi points and hugs to you Jon! =)

and last but not the least, the 6th batch of interview was with Harry Morris and Justin Coveney! =)

— This perhaps was the fave batch of my good friend Zsazsa! She’s crushing over our lawyer here (hello there Justin)! haha! If Chris Everingham was the most charming among the bunch, Justin here was the most talkative! Sobrang daldal, promise! It started during our merienda. Justin kept asking a lot of questions about us, what we do, any sports we play, our favorite stuff and the weirdest part was he’s asking about the Azkals! Nakakaloka sa dami ng tanong! And Harry was equally madaldal too! haha! He told us about his upcoming travel show which will feature various travel destinations! Best of luck to you Harry! Hope this travel show of yours will push through! =)

I enjoyed everything that day.. the food, the warm welcome, the 10-minute chit-chat with the team but this takes home the cake: I GOT ONE BIG HUG FROM THE TEAM! ALL 12 OF THEM!

And here’s the only picture of the group hug that i can never forget even if i live a hundred years.. or die then get reincarnated! :))

and this officially makes me THE LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE TODAY! :))

thanks guys! if i could just hug all of you back, i would although i think you guys probably won’t fit in my arms! :>

and before i wrap this blog up, let me first introduce you to… Coach Matt Cullen!

True Story: On one of the group pics of the team, Zsazsa shouted “Let’s see a wacky pose!” and all of the players said “Huh? What?” the only guy who knew what a wacky pose is was Coach Matt! He came in, joined his team and said “Ok guys let’s do wacky pose!” On field, Coach Matt was totally a different person, he’s not the cool guy, all smiles and all nice with each and everyone. He’s on his beast mode whenever there’s training, shouting at the top of his lungs and commanding the team with a voice that will scare the shit out of you! serious! On my first training day at Rugby 101, he was there. Just his mere presence it’ll scare you to death! then wait till he shouts. But hands down to him, all the success of the team says a lot about his coaching — its effective and brings success to the team. =)

Got to say a huge thanks to PRFU for making all of this possible! this is something that I’ll never forget and something to tell my grand kids that one day, I was able to meet the most amazing Rugby team of my time. And to the Philippine Volcanoes, I want to thank you guys for such a warm welcome! You’ve been so gracious and accommodating that day. I just wish we had more time talking — although I might not speak at all but I did enjoy everything. I hope to see you again one day, maybe in one of your games this December and please do remember me when I approach you guys and ask for a photo opt or an autograph. =)

oh and hands down to you guys (saludo po talaga ako sa inyo)! i admire your love and passion for the sport and for representing the Philippines. True Pinoys through & through! I always believed that you don’t have to be born & raised here in the Philippines for you to be called and considered a Filipino. Being a Filipino is not just by blood, it is but most importantly by heart… and you guys is the living proof of that! keep it up! laban lang! we’re 100% behind you guys, rallying with you in every game & supporting you all the way!

Again, from the deepest recesses of my heart, MARAMING MARAMING SALAMAT PO! Don’t be strangers alright! And I’ll see you guys in your games! you can definitely count on me, shouting at the top of my lungs & cheering for you guys to win! Go Volcanoes! =)

Let’s toughen it up for RUGBY 101! :D

If you can sum up the words FUN and TOUGH in just one, it’ll be RUGBY!!! =)

Yes my friends, you might be surprised to hear a girl trying to play the sport Rugby. I may be a girl but I’m not a softie like everyone else so when I heard that the Philippine Rugby Football Union is offering a Rugby 101 course for free, I grabbed the opportunity with no questions asked! 😀

My mom was diagnosed with a heart problem last May 2009 and that served as a wake up call for me to start living healthy. So I ditched rice, sweets, fatty foods, & junk food and started my quest towards healthy lifestyle. I went on looking for a sport to do and decided to run. Then I decided to take it up a notch and got myself drafted to my hometown’s local football team, Pasig United F.C., been playing for them 2 months now & was lucky enough to see some footy action on a recently held Football Tournament, Laurel Cup 2011.  Trying to move around as much as I can before I turn 30, the once-a-week soccer training was not enough to quench my thirst for crunch time on the pitch. I wanted more. I want to just go out there in the field and play so I went on looking for another sport and stumbled upon Rugby.

So, together with some of my mates from Pasig United F.C. Women’s, we booked ourselves for our first training sesh last July 06, 2011. Before training, I tried to learn as much as I can about Rugby, the positions, the rules of the game, the Haka (All Blacks for the win!), and everything about it but no one prepared us for that one tough night last July 06!  Our first Rugby training sesh was facilitated by Sir Jovic & Sir Gabe. The warm up was okay but then we went into doin’ the drills and it was INTENSE! At first I thought that Rugby, bein’ classified under football too was just the same with soccer only this time you’re playing with your hands. But I had it all wrong, man, all wrong! Rugby is the exact opposite of soccer! You have everything backwards. And doin’ all the foot drills, I was running around the pitch like a headless chicken, trying to concentrate not to hit the other players and at the same time do what the coaches was tellin’ me to do. Like in Soccer, running is essential so running and foot drills tops the list when training for Rugby. I enjoyed all the foot drills but it was tough. I was forced to run 200% more than my usual run in soccer. I play defense full back for soccer so most of the time I’m just hovering around near the goal post covering the goalie, not running much on the field. I could just wait for the forwards to come to me with the ball on their feet & will just have to clear the ball given the opportunity. But in Rugby, you’re always on your toes as all of the players in the team gets to have a chance to score — oh and if Soccer calls the points as goals, in Rugby, they call it a “try,” just want to share that little info with you guys. After the foot & running drills, we went to passing. Its tough too but I’d say its a great core & upper body work out coz I had to use all my core & arm muscles to catch & throw the ball properly. The biggest difference perhaps with soccer and Rugby is that the latter is a full contact sport, expect to get bumped or bruised when playing Rugby. You have to go touch opponents and try to stop them from scoring a try.

You can tell that the coaches were dead serious with the training, even with newbies and that was something I really admire (thumbs up to that!). For every bad call that we make because we didn’t pay attention or listened to the coaches equates to 1 set of 10 man push ups! But that I think is essential so that players will have discipline and will always listen to what the coach is saying. Then everything commenced into a SCRUMMAGE! yep, you got it right! if soccer calls the matches scrimmage, for Rugby its scrummage. We’re divided into two groups composed of 15 people, after brief instruction from the coach, we do head-on collision of a Rugby game! real intense!

The second training sesh was more intense than the first one since t’was Coach Aloh Abono who facilitated the session. He’s one hell of a tough guy, I tell yah! If the first training sesh I was pushed to run more than 200% of what I was used to in Soccer, now I was forced to step it up a notch to 300% as I heard Coach Aloh talking to me & to those left out in the formation: “Ayaw nyo bilisan?! Sige dadagdagan ko pa yan!” It was crazy but a good crazy coz all that running paid off. I used to finish a 5k marathon in an hour and 15 minutes but after all those running, I can complete a 5k in 40minutes! :)) and 2nd sesh turned out to be great as we learned how to do the tackle and all those tackle sessions in Rugby toughened me up as a defense for soccer! I can go head-to-head with a guy, not worrying about getting me self thrown out of the pitch. Oh and not to mention that I got my 1st 5 seconds of TV fame in Rugby as the crew of GMA 7 filmed our training for an episode of one of their sunday morning show! Really cool! =)

I’ve been to 4 sessions already and immensely proud that I was able to get out on every training sesh alive and in one piece! But seriously, I love the discipline of Rugby and I totally dig the challenges the sport has to offer. It pushes you to do good, to go out of your comfort zone, makes you constantly push yourself beyond your limits then you feel rewarded every after training, feeling proud that you did all those drills & you were able to play the rough but fun sport of Rugby! =)

oh and after a tough training sesh of Rugby, me & my mates were rewarded with.. dundundahhhh…

we get to meet & have a photo opt with one of the Philippine Volcanoes , Andrew Wolff! He’s so nice and very accomodating and so adorable too! right ladies??? great reward after a hard day’s work on the pitch! 😀

All of us while staring at Andrew Wolff, I mean resting after the intense Rugby training at Ultra! :))

goofing around after training! *on the sides: waiting for an opportunity to talk to you know who.. hehehe*

all tired but still lookin’ pretty after training! woot-woot!

me (in orange shirt & white socks) with the ladies.. i could just lounge here forever then sleep! so tired after training..

man, serious! PUFC girls are tough! to the core! as in!  We were able to finish the intense Rugby training in one piece! haha! proud of you ladies! good job!

On behalf of my team Pasig United F.C., we’d like to thank our Rugby coaches Sir Jovic, Sir Gabe, & Coach Aloh, maraming maraming salamat po for teaching us Rugby! Got to thank you guys for the patience and tons of encouragement while teaching a bunch of “super makukulit” ladies! And big thanks to PRFU for comin’ up with a great program such as this! mabuhay po kayo! =) because of you guys, we’ve got this new found respect for the sports Rugby, yes it is tough but I’d say you’ll come out every training a better person.

till the next training sesh guys! =)

Training day is busy day for Pasig United F.C.

its travel downtime for me so i’m sharing with you guys the other love of my life, FOOTBALL! 😀

i’ve already talked about my team Pasig United Football Club in my previous posts and i wanted to share more of PUFC here in my blog.

the club is still in its infancy and to be honest, i don’t know the story behind why they’ve set up the team. i just recently joined the club, i think about 2 months ago so i haven’t heard the whole story behind it. so, i might write another blog which will focus on the club’s story but today, i’d like you to see what we do in Pasig United F.C. – Our trainings, the games, the people involved. 🙂

last saturday training, i came in late so i decided not to join the practice and to just take pictures! so with Aly (my Nikon D5000) in tow, i snapped pictures away!

i was actually surprised last saturday when i arrived at RHS football field. Lots of people, most of them kids, showed up for practice/training! finally, more people are now interested with the beautiful game. its really heart-warming to tell you honestly coz I always believed that Pinoys are cut out to play football and not basketball (what?!? are Pinoys tall? we’re average-sized Asian people, not the built needed for basketball! c’mon!). football is the custom-fit sport for Pinoys. what’s even surprising is that Pasig United F.C seems to be getting the (much-needed) attention from Politicians, spectators, Football fans, players, & coaches coz i’ve seen several people talking to our coach, 2 politicians already  approached him (sana lang magbigay po ng suporta and not just promises or whatever), one even said that we can actually go and try our luck in WFL..

and also that day, we started the training program for young football-aspiring girls! the turn out was good with Kuya Mike handling the session together with one of our players in the women’s team, Judith. well in this case its Ate Judith! haha!

one of our resident coaches, Kuya Mike & PUFC Women's team member Judith!

Training facilitators Kuya Mike & Ate Judith! =)

Ate Judith & the kiddos!

Judith and the girls gettin’ ready to do the footy drills!

and on the other far side of the pitch, little boys are having their own training sesh too! t’was really really cool to see kids train, its like seeing the future. i feel so proud seein’ the kiddos play the beautiful game! i’m sure they’re gonna go a long way from here! =’)

our little boys!

they’re adorbs!!! aren’t they cute!? 😀

our little boys in action!

our little boys playing some footy! 😀

what can i say, our little boys are bit advance over the girls. they’re playing scrimmages na while our girls has just started out so all drills for them. actually, if you really want to learn, its much better if you participate in scrimmages to get the feel of the game. tacticals will just follow given that you train regularly.

now movin’ on, its time for the Ates & Kuyas to play! we’ve got to train too you know to keep our skills sharp and fine-tuned!

meet the PUFC Women’s Team. Yeah I know, I know we all look nice but beware, these girls can bite! and when they do, they bite hard! haha! But on this picture, we’re not complete. We missed our Midfielder Leslie Laya and me of course, coz I’m the one taking the picture! this makes me hate i’m the resident photographer! oh well..

the lady in blue shirt & white shorts is our team Capt. Lorie de Leon! fierce isn’t she? Game face on while tryin’ to get the ball! 😀

its women’s team versus men’s team! intense coz no one wanted to bow down to the other. papatalo ba naman kaming mga girls? of course not! 😀

meet some of the members of PUFC Men’s team. Couldn’t get proper pictures of the boys coz they’re just all over the place! Promise next photo session I’m gonna go get some nice pictures of the men’s team so that you’ll see how good-looking they all are! =P

so here they are, PUFC boys & girls. 1st half of the scrimmage is done, so while waiting for the second half, players talk about the game. that’s Lhyle there, grinning at the camera. 😀

and yep, that’s our Coach Jong! Watching the game and trying to gauge the team’s performance. this guy is determined to take the whole team up to that competitive level and got a lot of plans for the club. more than being our coach, he plays the role of a big brother to most of us and a father to the little ones. busy as he may be with work and other personal stuff, he makes sure that he’s looking after the welfare of the team. its just amazing how we find confidence on ourselves by just knowing that someone believes on us, on the things that we can do.. so really, thanks to the coaches for putting their faith on the team! =) so if you guys are interested to join the club/team, look for this guy. most of the time, you can find him standing in the middle of the field! 😀

i have to say that we’re still a work in progress. still got a long way to go before we can even compete professionally in football leagues but i have my faith in my team. i can see we’ll go a long way. we may still lack superb footy skills but everybody plays with heart. everybody works hard and train hard for the team and everyone is dreaming big for the team. and i go with the words of Hope Solo, goal keeper, USA Women’s National Team: ‎”When you are playing with so much heart, that’s hard to play against.” so i really am confident the team can win through anything. 😀

let’s all dream big and keep on lovin’ the beautiful game! sipa pa, Pasig! =)

like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pasigunitedfc


Tough world out there…

it’s been a month or so since i started playing football. i was lucky enough to get drafted in my local town’s football team, Pasig United F.C. Trainings were great coz in a span of a month, i’ve learned a lot about football, strategies, and game play but more than that, the sport teaches you discipline and how to be a team player. And part of bonus i got from playing is that football helps me to keep my weight down. its really a good work out coz almost all of your major muscle groups are working and at the same time, your mind also functions in synch with your body since you have to think of game strategy. In fact, in Germany, the mind is said to be the “third leg” – meaning you’re not just out there to kick the ball, you kick with purpose and it should contribute to your team’s game play.

I am enjoying every bit of my life as a football player and i’m thanking God for it… But i’d say FOOTBALL is a tough world for a girl like me.

first month i was plagued with injuries. first injury sustained was due to a kick in the muscle at the back of my leg on my first scrimmage. i play defense-full back so while trying to protect the goal & carrying the ball, i was looking for a teammate whom i can pass it and the striker of the opposing team just showed up and tried kicking the ball out of my foot ending up kicking my leg muscle instead. the next day after training, my leg was all beaten up and it felt like it’ll fall off any minute. glad that after two weeks, i recovered.

every after training, usually 2 days after the training, my whole body is literally in pain. after the adrenaline & endorphine have died out, i’ll feel every hinge, bone, and muscle in my body in a massive pain. i guess my body is trying to adjust to this new lifestyle. coming in from my bumming days, all this exercises, running, drills will surely take toll on my body. its also a fact that i’m still 200lbs heavy hence i’m having the hardest time running and keeping up with my mates in the team. but i’m working on it and constantly in search of ways to get myself into top form. i plan to learn swimming as it’ll be good cross training sport for me and do core exercises too. tough cores can increase your endurance and stamina in running.

let’s face it: FOOTBALL is men’s world. the sport was first played by farmers whom all were men in Europe and that’s it. women dabbling in the sport had to give their 200% just to get men’s respect and appreciation. really it was just plain tough! women have to bleed to death just to get support, attention, & respect and i’d daresay that its plain and simple discrimination. just because we are girls doesn’t mean we can’t do the things guys do inside the pitch. and just because we are girls and usually emotionally-driven doesn’t mean we can’t be tough inside the pitch. i’d say that women in my team are the toughest. guys may not want to play footy with us and may not want to share the field but we find ways to practice and play, even if there’s just 6 or 8 of us, it doesn’t matter. a ball and a space to play is all we need. i’d say that women in my team have the true heart for the game. we cannot boast a game play same with the guys as they can do all the header, juggling, hat tricks, whatever in the pitch but nothing beats the heart that truly loves the game. the heart that makes us want to play despite the challenges and hurdles game poses. the heart that is wide open and eager to learn which helps us improve. and the most important is that we have the heart that just bonded the women’s team together. i’d say that women in my team have the toughest fighting spirit there is. trainings are important to us much like the air that we breathe hence even the floods & tons of  rain water brought by typhoon Falcon was not enough to stop us training in the field last saturday. we’re even ready to be in our rashguards and board shorts just to train under the rain. we’re giving our 200% and more on every training and game that we have coz like you guys, we’re hungry for a win as well. all these snob acts, showing off, and bravado in the field just fuel our determination to win…  =)

in that short span of time i’m with my team, i can say that everything i mentioned above just makes me proud that i’m representing my hometown with them. girls, we may not be as good as other teams or even our own men’s team, just keep the fire burning. have the passion to learn everything, be determined and don’t listen to people who say we’re not good enough. never let anyone put you down, fight back and show them your true worth. and most importantly keep the love for football! i believe in you guys! we can win this! =)

keep the love for the sport burnin’! =)

oh and just because we all look nice and dandy doesn’t mean we don’t bite, so beware! hehe.. =P

PHL Team AZKALS got stomped on a friendly match versus UFL All Star Players

Cheers from the “Kaholeros”, crowd energy and enthusiasm, & with visits from BUBBLES PARAISO, MICHELLE MADRIGAL and other “rumored” close friends or girlfriends of some of the team members of the PHL Team Azkals didn’t boost the team’s game play (ok, this is legit coz i saw them standing in the grandstand last June 05). 10,000 spectators, fans, & followers were shocked & dumb-founded when the UFL All Stars team lead by Azkals Jerry Barbaso and UFL main men Mark Hartmann, Eric Dagroh, and Izzeldin El-Habbib stomped the PHL AZKALS and gave them a 3-4 loss on a sunday game last June 05, 2011.

its shocking indeed as spectators and fans were expecting a dominant game play from the National team. Instead, the PHL Azkals were the ones dominated by UFL players’ display of good game play, quick thinking and being a smart-ass inside the pitch.

UFL League’s top scorer Izzeldin El-Habbib from Sudan and member of Global Smartmatic FC struck the goal that closed the winning streak of UFL over the Azkals. Eric Dagroh of Ivory Coast who also plays for Global and Mark Hartmann of Loyola Meralco Sparks assisted in bringing the UFL team to victory.

Like Coach Weiss, I too was disappointed by the game turn out last June 05. They lost the match they shouldn’t have lost. But looking at the other side of the coin, I can say that we still can see a “win-win” situation here. the game revealed the problem of the National Team: Cohesion and poor defense. Cohesion in game play will surely be one of the biggest problem when working with a team that’s mainly composed of imports. To build cohesion, the team should be attuned to playing and practicing together. Now with players coming in from different parts of the globe and coming in the last minute of practice or tune-up games, they’ll be having the hardest time building cohesion.

Now with the defense: the Jason Sabio and Aly Borromeo tandem in the central defense was definitely a mistake and needed to be looked at, again. They lack the chemistry of working as partners and can’t read well the moves of each other. Hence, this is a partnership that will not work. Almost all of the goals by the UFL team that day was the by-product of the errors committed in the defense. In the 40th minute, Borromeo miscontrolled a routine Greatwich back pass, allowing the UFL squad to get the ball easily. Then UFL winger Floriano Pasilan, Jr. completely wrong-footed Jason Sabio and passed the ball to striker Eric Dagroh, who turned towards the Azkals captain with ease for the opening goal. In the build-up to the second goal, Sabio should have been given a yellow card for manhandling Mark Hartmann just outside the box. Hartmann got his sweet revenge though with a perfect curling free kick to the top right corner, beyond the reach of any goal keeper, even with Barclays Premiere League standards like Neil Etheridge. The third UFL goal came as a surprise from a routine UFL throw in, Sabio managed to mis-hit a header back to his own then the ball fell effortlessly to the waiting feet of Eric Dagroh who did not think twice and scored with his right-footed shot. Oh and evidently, PHL Azkals can’t solely depend on Neil Etheridge to save all the goals by the opposing team. Neil may be the third choice goal keeper of  Barclays Premiere League but he is not impenetrable. With the right attitude, proper coaching, and smart-thinking, any player can actually get past a ball off Etheridge’s hands. thus, the back four should also be equally reliable in defending the goal.

But on a lighter note, the Azkals defeat also brings into the light some realizations we might have just passed on: The UFL players have quality among its ranks and it was evident during the game as the Azkals were faced with a strong, determined, and motivated opposition, even if team UFL did not have the benefit of even a single training session before the friendly match. We overheard Coach Rudy del Rosario saying to the UFL team “Wouldn’t it feel great to score against Neil? Against the team? Show them what you’ve got!” If that’s not proper coaching & morale boosting then tell me what it is. UFL’s win validates the quality of players in the group so i guess on the next recruitment phase, we can look into UFL pool of players. we might just get the greatest treat and discover better grass root players in the roster. it also shows that Pinoys are getting good at football as some of the UFL star players that day were Pinoys and this should give us a lot of hope that one day our team will be an all-Pinoy, Pinas grown, kick-ass team. we won’t be relying much on the imports. it’ll be just all home-grown.

and it felt better that we’ve got beaten in a friendly match not in the actual World Cup Qualifiers. at least we got the time to look into the blind spots and re-think of new game strategy that might work in favor of us. So really, its a win-win situation for us. agree? agree! =)

off to the more fun stuff of that day, i was there last June 05 and was immensely rewarded as i got the liberty to roam around and take pictures! thanks to our friends from UFL-LBC and to LBC CorpComm Head Sir Jocel! mabuhay po kayo!

meet the mighty KAHOLEROS!
KAHOLEROS with soccercentral.ph team

meet the KAHOLEROS, the official cheering squad of Philippine Team Azkals. I’m awed with their determination, they’ve been cheering the whole day last June 05, as in literally cheering their hearts out in UMak. Saludo po ako sa inyo!

Blue-haired fanatic! =)

and meet the Blue-Haired Fanatic who took up the challenge of hosting the event that day!

PHL Team Azkals

and here’s the team stretching and warming up for the game. this was the closest i can get to the team. got quite a scare there when hordes of bouncers and marshalls paraded in front of us, the media. haha! thought i’d get into trouble..

our super heroes! haha! agree?

this is one of my prized shots that day. the ball just adds the drama in the picture and the sky is quite perfect. =)

ikaw ang aking super hero! =)

another one of my prized pictures that day! like a scene from Power Rangers although all them are wearing red! hehe! =)

here’s Oj Porteria, Ian Araneta, Yannick Tuason, and Nestorio Margase doing their passing and receiving drills.

this was taken just before the match. here’s simon greatwich, jason sabio, coach josef malinay, & misagh bahadoran..

its Phil! =)

and my friend here got so lucky that she was able to ask phil younghusband to join her in a photo opt! lucky girl indeed! and this makes me hate that i’m the resident photographer! haha!

hey James! look here!

and here’s the ever elusive introvert James Younghusband! trying to hide from the camera eh? haha!

and here’s James Younghusband, Misagh Bahadoran, & the El Capitan Aly Borromeo with the Azkals-Global Football School kids! ang swerteng mga bata! 😀

from left to right: Reserve Keeper Eduardo Sacapano & Christopher Camcam, Azkal’s new kids on the block Nathaniel Burkey, Oj Porteria, James Rochiltz with Yannick Tuason and the new Fil-dutch defender Paul Mulders. my apologies, i don’t know the name of the last guy – i think that’s islam ahmed, not sure though. and at this point i was quite scared at Oj coz he’s looking at me like i’m a lunatic trying to get their picture! hehe.. see the fierceness in his eyes? scary guy! aahaha!

Sir Patrick Ace Bright!

and this was taken after the game. most of the players just disappeared out of thin air! just vanished! POOF! and wala na! haha! but we’ve got the rare chance to have a photo opt with El Hombre dela Hora Sir Patrick Ace Bright! for those who don’t know the man, well let’s just put it this way, Sir Patrick brings the Azkals closer to the fans! and we love him for that! Mabuhay po kayo Ser! =)

yours truly and Manong Chieffy Caligdong! =) finally a picture!!! haha! and swerte because manong chieffy is one of my football heroes! true Pinoy! Madamo gid na salamat ‘Nong Chieffy for the picture! i know your tired but it was nice of you to grant us a photo opt! mabuhay ka! =)

the game was also a tribute to Sir Yanti Barsales who just recently retired from the International football scene. june 05 marked his last day as an Azkal. but sabi nga nila, once an Azkal, always an Azkal so i guess he still is and will forever remain a part of the team. this just makes me sad coz manong yanti’s one of my football heroes too! i admire him coz despite his age, he plays really well and can take on a younger player in a heart beat!

madamo gid na salamat Manong Yanti for making the whole Philippines proud!

Homeless World Cup team Pilipinas

the event also gave the spotlight to the Homeless World Cup Team Pilipinas (man! we should think of a good nickname for them too! that name was just a mouth-full!). This is the team with their coach Sir Rudy del Rosario who’s also a former Philippine Football Team Member. Sana we can also give the same support we give to the Azkals to them since their representing the country to the Homeless World Cup happening in Paris this year. Oh and i admire these kids, super simple lang sila. we saw them in MRT guadalupe station after the event, just taking the train. that for me is just astig! =) 100% pogi points for you boys! mabuhay kayo! =)

so there… it was definitely a fun day for me. a lot of realizations, feasted my eyes on game strategies which is by the way helping me a lot coz i’m playing football as well, playing the defense for Pasig United FC, so really its just one hell of a super fun day for me! hope you guys enjoyed the pictures!

until the next football post! and let’s just keep on loving the game! =)

gone for the weekend: the roadtrip to quezon province… Part 4!!! last na toh!!! :))

admittedly, it took me a while to wrap this Quezon Blog up but i’m immensely proud of it. much like traveling, blogging too is a journey that takes you to a thousand steps before you reach your destination and then looking at what you have achieved, you’ll be able to say to yourself that its all worth the wait. =)

Day 4 of our Padre Burgos Adventure! woohoo! last na toh! =)

Our 4th and last day was shall i say bittersweet… i remember thinking about how i miss manila, how i miss my dog & my mum & dad and how am i gonna make it in time for the Philippine Team Azkals match airing on studio 23. i just couldn’t wait to get home at that time. but deep in the recesses of my heart i am sad for leaving such a wonderful place like Padre Burgos and was secretly wishing i still have time to explore it coz i tell you there’s just a lot of places and beaches to go there, 4 days ain’t just enough.

i couldn’t quite remember if we had our breakfast coz my heart was just breaking because i’m about to leave padre burgos but i remember we managed to squeeze in another rounds of photowalk with Manager Peng, we headed to what I call the “Full House” also owned by the owners of the Tamarind Tree resort. then i remember after our photowalk, we head back to our hut, decided to swim our last on the pool. after swimmin’ we took our baths and packed our bags. now’s the time to go…

we checked out of tamarind tree resort at 1pm. actually, it was supposed to be at exact 12noon but Manager Peng and Ate Aireen were kind enough to let us extend so we can better wrap all our stuff up. Manager Peng even accompanied us till the bus stop and helped us carry our luggage around. before we depart, we had one last photo opt with the Tamarind Tree Resort staff. Good people full of good vibes! keep it up guys! =)

The Tamarind Tree Staff Peng and Ate Aireen! mabuhay po kayo!

and with the picture above, we say goodbye to our friends from the Tamarind Tree Resort!!! keep up the good work guys and until we meet again! =)

we head towards Lucena city in a van. sun was up with vengeance on our 4th day so its hot like hell that day. Van fare priced at Php50 from Padre Burgos to Lucena City. its one cool ride. We managed to nap a little as it took us 2 freakin’ hours before we reached Lucena. Van stopped at SM City Lucena so its really convenient, we don’t have to run around like headless chickens looking for something or some place to eat. To stay true with our Quezon Adventure, we opt to eat at Buddy’s! and boy i enjoyed that Pansit hab-hab after days of dieting in the island! haha!

Welcome to SM City Lucena! civilization leggo! haha!

welcome to SM City Lucena!!! haha! we missed civilization so much that we all accessed WI-FI, checked our emails, facebook, and twitter! tweet-tweet yowza! haha!

Buddy's!!! oooohhhh can't wait!

Since we haven’t eaten breakfast and lunch yet and its nearing 3pm already, we decided to dine in Buddy’s! We chowed down one whole plate of pansit hab-hab, porkchop, sisig, sizzling dishes that i can’t remember what, oh and there’s lumpiang sariwa! man, this is life! haha! i guess we’ve been into forced diet when we camped out in the islands!

Pansit hab-hab!!! or Pansit Lucban! ah basta masarap!

this is mah fave! Pansit Lucban!! woohoo!


we chowed this all down! haha! sorry naman! gutom lang ng bonggang-bongga! =P

ilaw sa Buddy's

last picture before departing Buddy’s! Photo credits goes to Bong!!! Galing talaga! =)

after eating, we headed to town’s local market to find some pasalubong for our family & manilenyo friends. we heard that there’s a store down town called “Villa Mater” that houses a lot of different pasalubongs so we went there.

from down town Lucena with love.. =)

i couldn’t quite remember the streets but Villa Mater is one tricycle away from SM City Lucena, you just have to tell the driver or ask the driver if he knows the place.

mabuhay ang kilusan!

this is one of the adventures that Quezon has to offer! haha! =)

lucena street full of stores

the place was a street full of pasalubong stores so buying is not a problem as long as you have the money! hehe.. its quite pricey too..

the ever famous longganisang lucban and pansit hab-hab noodles!!!

after hoarding pasalubong in Villa Mater, we went back to SM City Lucena just in time for our bus ride. we ended our day and our trip with a bus ride to Manila. its pretty emotional when we started our travel. we boarded the bus at exactly 5:30pm, just as the sun sets in Lucena. pretty dramatic and i remember i was a bit teary-eyed coz now its legit, we’re leaving Lucena already. I failed to snag photos on our manila bus ride, i was just exhausted that day & just slept all through out the journey. tired i may be, i was immensely satisfied with our Padre Burgos adventure. now i can have it checked on my bucket list. i was even proud that i am one of those who “first” set foot to the island of Borawan. even prouder with mah group! coz they survived days in wilderness! ahaha! good job guys! and i’m looking forward to our next adventure! say Mt. Pulag eh? Haha!

ok let’s sum all our expenses up for Day 4:

P50 – Van fare going to SM City Lucena

P120 – P150 – Budget for food at Buddy’s

P15 – tricycle fare (P60 divided to 4)

P218 – Bus fare (Lucena to Manila)

Total of Php433 for day 4!

And to sum everything up, let’s compute all our expenses starting from day 1 to day 4 (including accomodation).

day 1: P860

day 2: P187.50

day 3: P416

day 4: P433

accomodation: P1,575 (a total of P6,300 divided into 4)

with a grand total of Php3,471.50. 

We have a budget of P5,000 for this trip. The remaining P1,528.50 was used to buy pasalubong in Villa Mater. Sulit! haha!

i always say this whenever i wrap up my travel blogs. we only live once so might as well do whatever we want to do and go to wherever we want to go! we’ve got one chance in this life, so live it!

Now I wonder, where will be our next adventure? Keeping my fingers crossed that its gonna be the highs of Mt. Pulag or the the mighty Kota Kinabalu… hehe.. so till the next travel-adventure post and KEEP ON MOVING YOUR FEET GUYS!!! coz life is one hell of a trip! =)

gone for the weekend: the roadtrip to quezon province… prelude to Part 4!!!

lemme explain: i had to do this prelude to give way for Kuya Gewi’s birthday narrative & to tell a little bit about The Tamarind Tree Resort. This article was actually a promise to Manager Peng for a job well done when we were there. They’ve been so accomodating & friendly so in turn, we want to make an article about the resort.

on the evening of our Day 3 stay in Padre Burgos, we celebrated Kuya Gewi’s 25th birthday!!! wooohooo! funny that whenever we travel, it’ll always be scheduled on Gerry’s birthday so really, almost all our travels are extra special because of his birthday. =)  due to time constraints and scarcity of resources (too far from the city, hence no malls), we had to do improvisation. we bought little cupcakes from a nearby sari-sari store in Padre Burgos along with one small white candle, red horse, junk food for pulutan, and etc. the little cupcakes will be kuya gewi’s cake and to make it a little festive, we have to have beer & pulutan.

just after lunch, we went to a sari-sari store and bought all the things needed for Kuya Gewi’s celebration. 3 Red Horse mucho (well maybe 4, i couldn’t quite remember), tons of junkfood, cupcakes & candles, that’s all we need for tonight’s festivities. Guys you have to remember that there’s a corresponding corkage fee for the food & beverages you’ll take inside the Tamarind Tree Resort. Php200 that is. So limit the food & drinks that you may want to take inside (just a friendly reminder for everybody). Our original plan was to celebrate Kuya Gewi’s birthday in the beach front so we won’t have to pay for the corkage fee but it rained that night so we all decided to just hang out at the Dining hall. Manager Peng was even kind enough to let us stay till late in the evening using the hall and he even help us settin’ up the table for our little inuman, let us use the pitcher & glasses there.

our little birthday celebration was simple but memorable… =)

the birthday boy!

our improvised cake & the birthday boy! woot-woot! =)

see, there's manager Peng! hey there Mr. Manager!

Here’s manager Peng and the rest of the gang posing with the cake! =)


that’s Kuya Gewi tryin’ to scare the shit out of me! haha! but it didn’t work. i’d say its an epic fail! hehe.. can’t help ourselves but to tell scary stories coz the night’s dark and its raining with a few thunder on the sides, really creepy night.

caught yah! haha!

this was how we ate & celebrated the night away! =)

oh shoot! lasheng na! haha!

i look like i’m sober but i’m not.. just pretty sleepy i guess, its BED WEATHER! haha!


so while killing the time, we started to chit-chat about life, all our plans and all the things that we want to do. being his chika self, Bong couldn’t quite help himself and ask Peng to share some stories with us as well.

Our manager Peng may look like a plain & just an ordinary guy working in a resort but wait till he tells you his story. He came from Lanao, a province rich in muslim culture in Mindanao. He shared how was his life like growing up and living in Lanao. i was just fascinated of his culture, of his birthplace, just full of history & culture. But more than that, I can definitely say that manager Peng was one of the most courteous & honest manager & people i met. really, the guy returned a ring that cost at staggering Php300,000 to its proper owners without expecting anything in return. that for me is the truest essence of honesty.

kudos to mr. honesty! =)

kudos to Rosifel Gregorio! hands-down to your honesty! =)

honesty is the best policy!

nothing beats honesty, respect, & courteousness! mabuhay ka manager Peng! ikaw ang aming IDOL! =)

sometimes the most interesting thing when you travel are the people you meet along the way. Not just the destination but also those you bump into. you hear so many stories and you also learn from them. =) this is one of the few things that kept my foot moving to wherever…

and as promised to our good manager, lemme tell you something about the Tamarind Tree Resort.

The resort was named as such because of the Tamarind Trees planted around and inside the resort parameters (there’s plenty i tell you). like the one in the picture!

the tamarind tree.. in literal sense..

when people go & visit Borawan, they prefer to stay here in The Tamarind Tree Resort. It may be a bit pricey but nothing can beat its proximity/closeness to the islands you want to see. Not to even mention that the kind of service you’ll get is worth every penny you’ll pay (i swear to God, it is!). Thinking about it, the only thing i can complain about this place will be the olympic-sized mosquitoes! but that’s it! other than that, the place is quiet, cozy, secure, and relaxing and it’s a major plus that the staff here are extra friendly, very hospitable, courteous, and respectful to all their visitors.

our crib!

our “kubo” or nipa hut is quite spacious, more than 4 people can actually fit inside the hut. it has a very traditional & very Pinoy feel in it.

swag frontyard!

and here’s the view from our hut: the swag frontyard! after the gate there, you’ll step into the resort’s beach front. =)

our quarters

here’s how it looks like inside our sweet quarters! the mattress are perfect for the summer, super presko! :))

the swag mangyan dance!

oh & don’t mind kuya gewi and his mangyan dance! he’s just shooing the bad spirits away!

and this is our swag bathroom! after the dampalitan camp, i went straight for this bathroom for a much needed bath! haha!


you can rent this kayak if you want to try your luck on it. i’m just not sure if there’ll be a guided kayak activity or something inside the resort.


presenting: the private swimming pool!!! woot-woot! =)


smaller hut

one of the smaller huts in the resort, perfect for honeymooners. =)

Full House

if you plan to go there and take the whole baranggay with you, you may opt to just rent this house. Priced at Php10,000 per day of stay, it can house a maximum of 40 to 50 people. now if you’re composed of 50 people, it’ll be just Php500 per day of stay per head. not bad eh. another perk of this house is that you can do & bring anything inside, without the hassle of paying the corkage fee. and that’s just swag! hehe…

see some of the view of this house;

front porch or veranda


room no. 1 of 50! hehe

one of the rooms inside the spacious house at the Tamarind Tree Resort…

dining area

the posh dining area and on the other side is the kitchen where you can cook anything you like.


and this is the dainty kitchen!

veranda view

veranda view of the house. you can see the beach & lots of tamarind trees. quite serene actually.

for more info, price/rates, and reservations, you may visit http://www.thetamarindtreeresort.com/ and http://thetamarindtreeresort.wordpress.com/

and that’s about it for the prelude of our 4th adventure day in Padre Burgos. oh and by the way, our 3 days, 2 nights stay in the Tamarind Tree resort was priced at Php6,300, we just divided it into 4. All of the expenses in this trip was included in the pegged budget of Php5,000.

off to our Day 4!!! woohoo! but i have to get back to work again so it’ll have to wait a few more days. so until the next post & keep on movin’ your feet!!! =)

Araw ng Independensya at Kalayaan: Mga kabayanihang nagbibigay kahulugan sa pagiging Pilipino

Ang panulat na ito ay alay at magsisilbing paggunita at pagpupugay sa darating na araw ng kalayaan ng mga Pilipino.

Ngayong umaga, ako at lahat ng empleyedo sa aming kompanya ay nagkaroon ng isang maagang selebrasyon para sa araw ng ating kalayaan at sa ika-150 na kaarawan ng ating pambansang bayani na si Gat. Jose Rizal.

Ang Philippine National Team Azkals

Puno ng damdamin ng pagiging nasyonalistiko ang selebrasyon kanina. marahil, karamihan sa aking mga kasamahan sa trabaho ay maituturing kong mga makabagong bayani ng ating panahon: ang mga tagapagbalita ng ABS-CBN, sa radyo man o telebisyon na matiyaga at masigasig na nangangalap ng balita para sa bayan… ang mga empleyado sa aming ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc. na masipag na nagaabot ng tulong para sa mga kababayang nangangailangan.. a buong samahan ng mga empleyado sa ABS-CBN na masipag at buong galak na hinaharap ang kanilang mga gawain sa opisina araw-araw… ang mga artista ng aming istasyon na napapanuod natin araw-araw at nagsisilbing inspirasyon sa karamihan… sila po para sa akin ay maituturing din na mga bayani…

nakadagdag pa rito ang pag-awit ng ating pambansang awit at ang makahulugang panunumpa para sa bayan kasama ang mga itinuturing ding makabagong bayani sa larangan ng isports, ang Philippine National Team AZKALS, na naghahanda para sa kanilang susunod na laban ngayong Hunyo.

nagkaroon din kami ng pagkakataon na gunitain ang nakaraan, muling alalahanin ang mga nagawa ng ating mga bayani, di lamang ni Gat. Jose Rizal, para ang ating lahi ay maging malaya. at nagkaroon din ng pagkakataong alalahanin at magbigay-pugay sa lahat ng makabagong bayani ng ating panahon.

nawa’y ang lahat ng ating kabayanihan, maliit man o malaki, ay manatiling nag-aalab at maging inspirasyon para sa mga susunod pang henerasyon.

mabuhay ang lahing malaya! mabuhay ang lahing Pilipino! =)

dahil ako po ay nagpupunyagi at kasama ako sa lahi ng di padadaig, na ako po ay Pilipino, sa puso, sa salita, at sa gawa… =)

gone for the weekend: the roadtrip to quezon province… part 3!!!

Day 3 of our Quezon Escapade! =)

The weather in Quezon is a little bit erratic last march (what with the earthquake & tsunamis! its an ever-changing world!). Well, weather’s really tricky for tropical countries like the Philippines so our day 3 was a bit of a drag. It’s our BORAWAN day. The original plan was to head straight to Borawan after breakfast & spend whole day there but the weather got a bit crabby. It was foggy & rainy when we woke up & the temperature is quite freezing (even so when you’re in the water)! We decided not to push through the Borawan trip in the morning since its zero visibility when you’re in the sea, rescheduled it after lunch instead. so with nothing to do in the resort, we took our photog gears and went out to do a PHOTOSHOOT! hehe..

cameras, check! tripod, check! reflector, check! here are some of the photos we’ve got from that Photoshoot in The Tamarind Tree!

a cup in hand you know its worth your while.. =)

our prelude to breakfast, COFFEE! if you’ll look at it closely, Kopiko is our coffee of the day! hehe.. just 3 cups coz one kid is not a coffee addict. oh and its P15 bucks per cup at the tamarind tree resort!

mangyan na nagkukuko...

i love stolen shots like this. so there, caught gerry while trimming his toe nails! haha! that’s before we head out for breakfast (as if naman makikita ang kuko sa picture! hehe).

swag band cover!

i know right! epic photo courtesy of my good friend Bong Tamayo! woot-woot! =) i look ASTIG & feelin’ swag in this picture! taken at the Tamarind Tree Resort Grounds, in their posh garden overlooking the sea.. (so that explains where we’re lookin’).

i completely forgot about our time swimmin’ at the Tamarind Tree Resort’s beach front. Although again, I’m not recommending that you try swimming there as the water is a bit murky. But if you’re not squimish, by all means, go and have fun together with the talangka, snails, & fishes there.. hehe.. here are some of our pics; oh & see that two little island laying there in the backgound? They call it mag-asawang bato, two islands married to each other. these two islets used to be too close to each other but through time & by the power of tectonic movements of the earth, the two islets went farther from each other.

chel, gerry, & yours truly.. =)
chel, bong, & me.. =)

yeah that’s mah good friend Bong who owns some of the pictures here.. a great friend & a good photography teacher! madamo gid na salamat bong! everything i know in photography, i learned it from you! =)

diyosa ng dagat! kabowg!

and presenting mah good friend Chel: the Goddess of the sea!!! lookin’ fierce in ze middle of ze sea!

After the photo shoot, we head out to the sea again and the next destination is no other than the famous BORAWAN baby! After eating our lunch, we met with our master bangkero Kuya Oteh & headed out to Borawan. The term Borawan was coined to describe the island. The island is a combination of white sandy beaches of the famous Boracay & the mighty & beautiful limestone cliffs of Palawan, hence the term BORAWAN.  It’s a bit disappointing since Mr. Sun decided not to show himself on our Borawan day and the sea seems to be a little grumpy that day as huge waves kept coming in, but being resilient as we were, we pushed through and still managed to capture some decent pictures in the island. You can actually camp out in Borawan but of course there are fees that need to be settled. There are small huts there; some are small while others are big enough. 3 to 4 people can sleep inside the big ones. Rental fee ranges from P350 to P600 depending on the size of the hut you’re renting. It’s a surprise too that no entrance fee was collected from us, just the P350 rent for the nipa hut near the beach. And here are some of our Borawan pictures:

small hut

this hut cost around P350. too much??? well you can haggle the price, it’ll now depend on how good you’re haggling skills are. 🙂

ohhaiithurr Bong!!

the hut at the back cost around P600, again prices will depend on the size of the huts plus your haggling skills.

really relaxing...

look how blue the sea is.. 🙂


see the hut there on the side? walk a little further and you’ll see the make-shift comfort room & bathroom for guests. its really not much but at least you can do you’re thing in peace.

just another hut
i'm on the top of the world! taking pictures!

that’s kuya gewi tryin’ his luck on snapping good pics on top of one of the limestone boulders there..

chillin' out..

it rained a little while we’re in Borawan. We all went for cover.

this is Borawan!

and with the pictures above, we say goodbye to Borawan… until we meet again…

so for day 3 Padre Burgos escapade, we shell out a total of Php416. Here’s the break down;

p15 for the coffee (individual)

P50 for breakfast (individual)

P850 for the boat rental going to & from Borawan (divided by 4 so do the math)

P350 for the nipa hut rental (divided by 4 so do the math)

P50 for lunch (individual)

For a whopping total of Php416 over-all spend. Not bad actually for day 3… extremely satisfied with the turn-out. But i plan to go back since we weren’t able to explore the limestone cliffs, do some climbing & rappelling here and there & we weren’t able to visit the cave in the middle of the boulders there. For those who wanted to explore the cliffs, you have to bring your own climbing & rappelling equipment, flashlights, first aid kits (limestones have rough edges that can cut through skin), and all things needed for climbing as there were no equipments available in the island. even the resorts there do not offer climbing trips to Borawan.

think i have to pause here.. i need to get back to mah work & finish the reports.. so until next post! and keep on moving your feet!!! =)

Azkal Hero Yanti Barsales Retires from International Football (via Roymondous)

One of the PHL footy players I admire the most because despite his age, he plays really well and who Angel Guirado endearingly calls “Grandpa”.. Sir Yanti Barsales retires from International Football.

You’ll be missed Sir! Saludo po ako sa inyo!

Madamo gid na salamat Manong Yanti! =)

Azkal Hero Yanti Barsales Retires from International Football Yanti Barsales confirmed last night after the Air Force clinched the UFL title that he will be retiring from International football. He is starting to find the schedule too difficult to cope with: “I’m tired…” he said, still with a huge smile after winning back to back championships with the Air Force. A professional as always, Barsales noted that “I’ve spoken to Dan [Palami, the National Team manager,] about it but at 38 I’m struggling [to keep … Read More

via Roymondous

gone for the weekend: the roadtrip to quezon province… part 2!!!

my apologies! it took me so long to work on padre burgos part 2! got caught up with work & my other love, football! got training sesh every weekend ergo got no time to update my quezon blog. but here’s part 2, day 2 of our Padre Burgos escapade!!! enjoy! =)

Day 2 at Dampalitan Island, Padre Burgos, Quezon…

day 2 was pretty much a very relaxed & “chill” day for the four of us. i woke up early, around 6am or 7am i guess and pretty much just stared out to the sea and the endless horizon. there’s nothing more special than being able to spend hours relaxing, doing nothing, and immensely enjoying the beach. everything it offers, the calm & tranquil waves, air rushing through your hair, and the smell of the sea. =)

look at my view from my make shift duyan i called top-top, bought him when i was in pundaquit, zambales last year for P300 bucks.. =)

duyan view.. i just feel swag.. =)

its also a sad day for us since we’ll be leaving our camp at Dampalitan Island & will head to our (extra posh and extra mahal) hotel resort in the mainlaind, the Tamarind Tree Resort. Mixed emotions actually. We’ll leave Dampalitan to head to another adventure so yeah part happy & part sad..  but before we head to the tamarind tree, we decided to take some time to get some good shots. the weather’s good & all sun-shiny on our 2nd day, great day for cam-whoring! hehe.. so after eating breakfast (more like left-over food from last night’s feast), we went out & snapped our cameras away!

dampalitan island in high noon! fierce! =)

while standing on the “islet” in the middle of dampalitan beach, couldn’t help myself but take a picture of this majestic view… =)

my camera Aly just loves Kuya Gewi!!! =)

kuya gewi & his abs.. pogi points for that! haha! :))

ok, lemme explain.. got nothing else to take pictures at alright so here's mah foot! :))

after our photo op, i went back to my “chillax” mode while sitting on top-top my duyan. got nothing to do but still wanna take some pictures so i took a snap of my left foot..

our SWAG camp!

our SWAG camp!!! woot-woot! tent is huge! you can fit 8 to 10 people inside! hehe… on the words of mah good friend Bong when asked how to describe our ginormous tent: “Pwedeng magfootball ang Azkals sa loob!”

(uh-oh!) no, i'm not sleeping.. just takin' a break! :))

eerrr… that’s me there! no, i’m not sleeping! just taking a break before we head out to the sea! =P

i borrowed some pictures from mah good friend Bong Tamayo so you’ll get to see the beauty of the place, really great place to take pictures! =)

balsa in the beach.. =)
lunch & dinner for us!! cheers!

adobo & magic sarap (magic sarap??? o____O) for lunch, dinner, & breakfast!!! hehe.. oh and we got purefoods hotdogs too!

tomatoes & onions as side dish.. sweet!

and match it with ensaladang kamatis!!! this should be ensaladang mangga but forgot to buy mangoes!! epic fail!! :))

Bong's magic sinaing!!! cheers!

sinaing or cooked rice in english.. this is bong’s specialty. he cooked rice since lunch & dinner yesterday till the next day! mabuhay ka bong! :))

you can see here that we didn’t bring any cooking utensils, not even a portable stove. one word baby.. IMPROVISE!!! hehe.. but you have to bring your own kaldero so that you can cook rice decently.. or if you’re too lazy to bring one, find a bamboo in the island & use it as an alternative for the kaldero..

sayin' our goodbyes to Dampalitan!
gerry, me, bong, & chel

and with pictures above, we say goodbye to Dampalitan Island! till we meet again… =)

Kuya Oteh fetched us at around 1pm, high noon but it was an easy boat ride! thank God for the unpredictable weather of Quezon, we’re spared from the scorching rays of the sun and was greeted by drizzle & lots of rain clouds arriving at The Tamarind Tree Resort. Tamarind Tree Resort is the only beach resort that has close proximity to beach & the islands, very accessible so even though the price is a bit high than normal, we booked our accomodations there so we can stay close to the beach. We arrived there late lunch time but still decided to take a bath, head out & look for something to eat for lunch.

here are some of my first pics during our stay in The Tamarind Tree Resort;

our kubo named "Eugenia"

This is our kubo, stashed near the beach, on its sides are plants & lots of Banana trees (so that explains the ginormous mosquitoes invading our hut!). I have to make a separate entry about the resort but i have to say that the place was wonderful, even the staff, they’re very accommodating & friendly. we even made new friends while we’re there! the place is safe & well-guarded, very relaxing & pretty quiet especially at night so if you wanna take a break from the hustle & bustle of manila, this is the place to be! oh and one thing i immensely enjoyed in the place is the private pool inside the resort. well we practically have the place to ourselves and because of that, i feel swag when i was there! hehe..

the road less traveled..

this pic was taken just outside the Tamarind Tree’s gate.. and manong walking down the road adds drama to the pic..

tamarind tree beach front

see the tamarind tree beach front.. although i don’t reco that you swim in the beach front, the water’s a bit murky as there are hordes of fishermen that go there everyday so there..

flowers galore outside the tamarind tree resort! =)

ok so for day 2 of the Quezon trip, we just paid for our lunch in a carinderia & our dinner courtesy of Tamarind Tree Resort. In the “Al Fresco” dining (a.k.a carinderia), P50 is enough for a good meal (provided di ka patay gutom when you eat), there are several carinderias in Padre Burgos so eating won’t be a problem. For our dinner, we shed a bit more (well maybe not a bit). Paid P550 for a full course meal of rice, sunny side up eggs, tocino, & longganisa, plus juice good for 4 to 6 people and we get to dine in the posh Dining Hall of the resort while watching the pilot episode of captain barbel in GMA 7. Ate Ayreen, the secretary or Peng the manager can assist you. the food they’ll serve may depend on what’s available that day.

A total of Php 187.50 spend for day 2 at Padre Burgos, Quezon! not bad.. hehe..

i still have to get back to work mah friends but i promise to complete the four-day entry of our Quezon trip A.S.A.P! so until next post! keep on moving your feet! =)

Gone for the Weekend: The Roadtrip to Quezon Province…

I make it a point that every year is a travel year for me. After all, life is too short to just stay at home and do nothing. It started back in 2009 when I decided to just abandon anything work-related (got burnt out so bad!); hit the road with a bunch of old air heads and off we went to Baguio, the city of pines. 2010 is just another good traveling year for me too and it was a bit new since for the first time I traveled with my friends from college. We went to Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales. It wasn’t my first time there. Last 2008 I was able to sample the beauty & mystic of the islands of Zambales with friends from the office. This year is extra special since our destination is one of my dream destinations. In fact, it was listed in my bucket list, to be able to see & experience Borawan, an island situated in Padre Burgos, Quezon. I first heard of the island about 2 years ago in a local travel TV show Trip na Trip of Bayan Productions and since then I fell in love with it and was dreaming to set my foot there. It took us a while before we were able to pull this trip off since the island is practically a virgin island. It was rarely visited by tourist and locals. Internet articles were scarce. There were just a few articles available and you can’t even call it as decent source of information. But it suits me just fine. I don’t mind the long travels and countless walks I should make and I take pride as one of the very first who set foot and visited islands such as Borawan. There’s a certain thrill in conquering unchartered terrains and undiscovered island and I guess that’s what draws me to Borawan, to be the very first to see the island. I’ll try to be as detailed as possible but if you guys know anything about the island and how to get there, I’ll gladly accept any additions and/or corrections. =) Day 1: March 26, Saturday at JAC Liner in Kamuning, Quezon City Our travel starts at JAC Liner in Kamuning (near GMA 7’s building). There are several liners that offer trips from Manila to Lucena Town Proper but we chose JAC Liner. Their buses are clean and spacious, fare is reasonable enough (at P218), and they offer free WI-FI to their passengers, not to even mention that their crew & the drivers are very courteous and always make it point to assist their passengers (especially those who carry heavy luggage). Trips start as early as 2 in the morning and the last trip is at 12 midnight (kindly take note of the time to avoid hassle). We boarded the bus at exactly 5:30 in the morning and the bus was on the roll at exactly 6 in the morning. It usually takes 3 to 4 hours before you reach Lucena. We opted for an early ride so we’d have time to scout the place, look for transportation to take us to Padre Burgos and of course to shop for our food. You’ll pass by several towns along the way to Lucena: Laguna, Sto. Tomas, Batangas, and then several towns in Quezon province. The bus will take you directly to Lucena City Grand Terminal. In the terminal you’ll find everything that you might need. It houses almost any transportation towards to any destination, fast food chains, pasalubong stores, and most importantly, clean comfort rooms. After a quick breakfast in Jollibee, we split the group into 2. Gerry & Rachelle took care of finding transportation to Padre Burgos while yours truly and Bong went to the local market of Lucena to buy food and supplies (You can find jeeps in the terminal that will take you to the local market for a fare of P8). Clock hits 1pm, we were able to find a jeep that will take us to Padre Burgos and we’ve completed our supplies list, then we’re off to hit the road. Travel time from Lucena to Padre Burgos was a bit long, we’re on the road for an hour and 45 minutes before we reach Padre Burgos town proper (you’ll know you’re there when you see the QCRB Bank in Padre Burgos). Then it’ll be a 15 minutes tricycle ride for P10 each to “aplaya” where we’ll take the boat ride to the islands. In aplaya, we met Kuya Ote the boatman who’ll take us to the very first island we’ll visit and where we plan to stay for the night, Dampalitan Beach. You can rent boats starting at P800 to P2,000 depending on how may island you want to visit or your haggling skills. We got our boat for P800 and Kuya Ote agreed to takes us to Dampalitan then pick us up the next day and will take us directly to our rented resort. It took us 30 minutes before we reached Dampalitan. In Dampalitan beach we met Ate Eileen, the island’s caretaker. Take note that there are several fees you have to settle: P30/head for the island entrance fee, P200 to P250 for the tent depending on the size of the tent that you’ll be pitching there, P200 for the rent of the table, and P40 for clean fresh water you can use for food preparation, etc. We have the island practically all to ourselves since it’s already Saturday and people who visited Quezon were off to Manila again. What I love the most in these undiscovered islands is the peace that it offers. Nothing’s more precious to me than having the quiet and peaceful time to think, rest, and meditate. Now if you’re the kind of person who digs peace and quiet then I definitely recommend Padre Burgos. Dampalitan also offers a good backdrop for the shutter bugs. It offers good view of the sunset (given that the weather’s good when you go there) and a picturesque view of the island in the afternoon. The island dwellers and their pets are also a good subject for your pictures.

Here are some of my works of art, taken from Dampalitan Beach… =)

dusk at the island

this photo was taken on our first day there in Dampalitan. it was a bit gloomy, no sun at all and it was drizzling a bit… but i couldn’t pass up the chance to take pictures..  =)

boat in the water

I was doing some test shots, I scanned ALY and I saw this.. reminds me of the super old Bench commercial, remember Richard Gomez??? In briefs, rowing on a boat in the middle of the sea… hehe.. it was near dusk here…

dampalitan shore

here’s a sample pic with adjusted exposure compensation (about 1.7 I guess, couldn’t quite remember)… it’s almost 6pm when i took this picture, did some adjustments then viola! it looks like its dawn not dusk.. hehe..

high noon at dampalitan beach

this was taken the 2nd day at the beach.. luckily, sun was up that time so we took the opportunity to take pictures..  it was low tide that time and when its low tide in Dampalitan, you can see foot bridge made out of sand, shells, & rock… follow that path and you’ll end up in a little island in the middle of the sea where you can actually take pictures of endless sea and horizon… =)

dampalitan in black & white

high noon but i turned it to black & white… =)