Search and You Shall Find in My World

27 August 2010

CONGRATULATIONS Mr & Mrs Chris Bernido for the 2010 Magsaysay Award

For us, it has always been the bigger picture, the country. We both wanted to do something for the country. ~Marivic Bernido


The husband and wife tandem created something innovative in their teaching Math and Science to school children in Jagna, Bohol. These methods did not pass through the eyes and ears of educators without  them being noticed and infact was lauded for its significance and innovativeness. Winning the 2010 Magsaysay Awards (considered the Nobel Prize of Asia) this year is not the first of their awards.

Educators from all over the Philippines (and even some international bodies) come to Jagna, Bohol to observe and learn from them.

Congratulations Ma'am and Sir for the awards you so deserved.

Malipayon ang tibuok lalawigan sa Bohol tungod ninyo.

More:
The bigger picture - Inquirer Editorial
Physicist couple win 3rd Gawad Haidee Yorac - UP Newsletter

From GMANews.tv:
2010 Ramon Magsaysay Awardees and Filipino educators Christopher Bernido and Ma. Victoria Carpio-Bernido disagree with the DepEd's plan to extend basic education to 12 years. "It's like jumping from the frying to the fire," said Christopher. They say that the lack of qualified teachers and resources are a bigger problem.


Photo from meralco.com.ph

26 August 2010

Inexperiene as an excuse

Everyone, including Hongkongers and the rest of the world, has shared their sentiments on the tragedy that killed eight tourists coming in the Philippines for a holiday. Noynoy Aquino, at the height of his inefficiency, censored his Facebook account because he could no longer take the insults to his "hiding" during the hostage drama.

But still whether he likes it or not, he is responsible and should apologize not just to China but to the Filipino people as well. 

The Editorial of the Philippine Daily Inquirer aptly describes what was Noynoy's fault. The Presidency is not for pogi points only. It needs serious work.

Well- you voted for him.
That Malaca├▒ang’s response cannot but be deemed wanting is regretful. Incredibly, it seems to have escaped the Palace that the hostage crisis had become a political incident and was no longer a police matter, and therefore required the proper employment of symbols. So that Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, who has supervision over the police but displayed nothing of the sort where and when it mattered, is now on the carpet. And President Aquino’s invisibility during the critical hours—when a brief message to his expectant public explaining the steps being taken could have shown that he was at the very least aware of what was going on—is perplexing, and only shows how badly served he is by his advisers.
This much is clear, even to the halfway attentive observer: The President’s “inner life” (again as Zizek terms it)—his easy-going, laid-back nature, his aversion to the limelight—has no place in the realm he dramatically conquered by a landslide. The people look to him as their leader, and a hands-on approach is imperative to constantly assure them that their choice at the polls was not a mistake.
His statement to reporters, made in a press conference at the end of the long tortuous day, that one could not “micromanage” everything with regard to the hostage crisis indicates a failure to appreciate the role he is called upon to play in this theater of governance. It disappoints because it appears to shirk responsibility. It displays—dare we say it?—a dangerous naivet├ę.

And we share that national stupidity that is Noynoy.


24 August 2010

Dinner to celebrate Ms Raj's win

Ms Raj deserves a delicious home-cooked food that is not only delicious and filling but cheap and generous. That is why we came back to RnR Restaurant, that resto near Crown Regency Hotel in Guadalupe which I kept babbling about in my previous post.

This is what we had for dinner:

Kinilaw nga isda with unripe mango and gata (fish and mango salad in coco milk)

Tinunoang kalabasa (squash with coconut cream)

Adobong pasayan (shrimp adobo)

Initlogang paliya (bitter gourd with eggs) 

CONGRATULATIONS MS VENUS RAJ

The Philippines' saving grace after that horrible hostage taking drama, Ms Venus Raj make it to the top 5 of the Miss Universe pageant and later landed the fourth place.


Photo from here.

What a terrible day to end

These are some of the images taken during the hostage-taking of some Chinese tourists in Manila by a disgruntled former police officer who happened to be awarded the Ten Outstanding Policemen in the Philippines a few years back. Seven of the Chinese were killed.

All pictures were grabbed from Guardian.

The star: Rolando Mendoza posing for the camera. No snipers dare take his moment.

The sniper: Thinking of landing in a bold movie role, sheds his shirt while posing for a kill.

O mag-Jollibee muna kayo! May kape ba? Stalling. Stalling. And more stalling.

It did end this way for the star and some seven other Chinese over 12 hours later.

The unbearable trauma of the victims. 

The Hongkong government made a press conference minutes after the end of the drama. No Noynoy Aquino, the President of the Republic of the Philippines was seen or heard, not until past 12 midnight, technically a day after the incident.

It was Isko Moreno, a vice mayor of Manila, who spoke for the Philippines on CNN. Great!


23 August 2010

My dinner was halted with the hostage crisis

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Update: It took Noynoy Aquino a day after (technically, since it was already past 12 midnight when he released his statement) which is sadly only a review of the events that happened. As if we do not know. Wow. Galing mo Noy. Here is his statement.)
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Just as I am having iftar with friends, the TV was abuzz with the impending end of the hostage crisis that happened since 12 hours ago. Everyone stopped chewing and started cheering.

We were actually sharing jokes about it, as the usual reaction among the majority of Filipinos is to make fun out of a critical situation, even if people are dead. Blame our culture.

The jokes mainly focused on the police force who could be seen as if they badly needed training on hostage situations. With them axing with futility the windows and the door of the bus taken by one of their own (the hostage taker being a former police officer), the whole nation cheered.  Not because we wanted the hostages out but we cheered on how the police was doing it wrong. On TV!


This reminds me of this picture during a raid (I am not sure though) in Manila. Whoever took this, please acknowledge and share to us why this police is aiming his finger like a kid at war. What a sad picture of our police force.


We now have a different meaning of SWAT: Sorry We Aren't Trained; Sorry Wala Akong Training; Samtang Walang Alarma Tagay.

Meanwhile, the Hongkong Security Board has issued an advisory to their citizens not to travel to the country and that those who are already in are advised to return home.

No advisory from the President of the Republic of the Philippines assuring Filipinos that his people are in command. Nada. The latest I heard, his spokesman said they will issue a statement later in the evening. It is almost midnight and we heard nothing.

Congrats Noynoy!

(The hostage taker, former Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza, awarded Ten Outstanding Policemen of the Philippines, was dismissed early in January this year but was carrying firearms [presumably his] during the crisis. Why?)

A nude police sniper? Only in the Philippines! (Photo: Romeo Ranoco/Reuters)

Can you do something bigger now Mr President?

First the wangwang. Then the billboards with names of politicians. And also stiff penalties to the no-OPM music on airwaves. Now littering on Pasig. Yun lang?

Err, Mr Noynoy Aquino, could you do something bigger and more impressive jobs worthy of a President?


And stop blaming Gloria!




Pictures from Esperidion Dimaculangan on Facebook

22 August 2010

Breaking fast with friends

Sharing your joy through food is one of the best part in friendships. You explore, taste and bond together for another exploration and tasting and bonding. It never ends, a delicious cycle.

This explorations led me to a carenderia somewhere in Guadalupe, the name of which escaped from our minds. I asked everyone of us who went there but they too could not remember a name. It is just "one of those" carenderias near the Crown Regency hotel in that part of Cebu City. All we could remember were the great food they served and how cheap they were. Cheap here means less on the price and generous on the servings.

Most carenderias in the country may be serving anything and everything with pork. There, you have a lot of choices. They even served my favorite inun-unan nga isda (fish paksiw) with veggies on the side!

A plus (or minus on some of you) on eating there is you get to mingle with tattooed expats who criticized their governments loudly and some English-speaking call center agents and trying-hard students.

Tapsilogan

Our explorations also led me to a tapsilogan (tapsilog, a breakfast menu consisting of the usual tapa [cured beef], sinangag [fried rice] and itlog [fried egg]) somewhere in Banilad just across the Gaisano Countrymall and back of the University of Cebu. It was called Tapsilogan ni Gian.

I don't really like these tapsilogan eateries because of the greasy food but since friends wanted to explore, so I did. The tapsilogan has come a long way in the country. They now offer different combination meals that some of them has become a joke among Filipinos

The Tapsilogan ni Gian is one of the eateries that lined up in this side of Banilad. They offer very cheap food combinations starting at 38 to 48 pesos. Cheap, indeed! But what can you expect from a 38 pesos meal? Greasy, greasy food! Aside from the stationary electric fans that did not cool down the place, the eatery has only two fluorescent lamps in the ceiling that you might mistook the place as the tambayan for mischiefs of the law. I hate dim-lighted restaurants. Makes you wonder why.

Good beef

After a not-so-good encounter with beef at Jollibee, it is quite amazing that a fastfood chain could offer a better and more palatable beef version.


Chowking newly introduced their Tender Beef with Broccoli Meal at 99 pesos only, drink included. The beef is exceptional to my taste and lived up to its name. You would imagine beef that would came off from the bones without the slight provocation, only there were no bones around. My lola would have liked this meal. 

However, the broccoli was too dry and gummy despite the sauce, an indication that it was not fresh at all. But still.

Friendship matters

With all these food trips to both the familiar and the unfamiliar restaurants, we have come to know each other personally. And this knowledge has bonded us together for another day of explorations.

It is a true saying that a man must eat a peck of salt with his friend before he knows him. ~Miguel de Cervantes, Spanish author



15 August 2010

Communing with nature at City Springs


We were informed, of course.

That going there would take us a short ride to Guadalupe area and a few minutes of walking through almost dried-up river beds and hilly mounds. I thought it was just a joke. Knowing how urban Cebu City is, telling someone that the place we are going does not have electricity nor mobile signal is surely preposterous. 

But that was the case when the lovely couple Melvin and Gail Banzon invited us to their place in Kalunasan, Guadalupe for a day of camaraderie with a few friends. They called that place City Springs, aptly taken from the three-tiered springs they developed into tiny pools for an intimate chit-chat with loved ones and friends while wallowing in cold mountain waters. Even if they put concrete on the sides of the springs, you won't feel artificial about the place. The concrete, in fact, enhanced the natural setting. I wonder who was their architect.

I can see a great escape from the chaotic side of urbanization coming very soon. 

Despite the lack of amenities (there is only a main shed, a kitchen-dining area, comfort rooms with flowing water and some benches for group sessions), we are already planning to go back and experience an overnight stay there. It would be a great experience, I am sure.

And while walking back towards civilization and balancing myself on a small trail that have led us to another place and time, I was praising God for such a small insignificant patch of nature that is unbelievably within the premises of urban Cebu. That insignificant patch made a significant tap on my inner self.

Nothing beats nature in its true form. And everyone of us is thankful for that great discovery.


More on City Springs from Melvin's Facebook can be seen here .
First photo courtesy of Melvin Banzon. Last photo courtesy of Eros Cagaanan.

13 August 2010

The company you keep matters


Food becomes more palatable if you are in good company. And more appetizing when serve hot.

That was the case when I was invited by the Ortega sisters to a dinner at Chikaan sa Cebu at their SM branch. Glocel and Gilda timely asked me to come after 6, since they knew I am fasting.

Ginataang Monggo

After the sweet tea was served and drank came the Ginataang Monggo (mung beans with coco milk), my favorite, of course. It was only Glocel and I who consumed the big bowl since Gilda, pregnant of her second child, was not in the mood to join. She instead attacked the fried Buwad (tuyo) and the Pinakbet (mixed veggies with pork rinds) with gusto. Then came the Kinilaw which I quite did not like because the fish they used was not quite fresh enough. The buwad and the monggo was enough to fill me. I was even guilty of overeating!

The really nice Sylvannas completed our meal.

Thank you ladies.

Buwad (nice presentation)
The not-so-fresh Kinilaw

A reminder to myself: A Time for Healing

11 August 2010

Closing the day

So many people might find me weird if not deranged when I will share my spiritual journey especially to a non-Muslim like me who is doing the Ramadan. I rarely discuss spiritual and religious things even to my family. I am not a religious person. I rarely go to church. I only attend church ceremonies when I am invited for an occasion.

My decision to join our brothers and sisters in the Muslim community was inspired by friendship with Muslims who enlightened me about Ramadan. This is my second year.

I am quite emotional today because Ramadan started very uneasy for me. There were friends who became my enemies and I could not talk them out to settle things. I have unresolved issues within.

But there was one inspiring thing that happened to me yesterday which made me decide I should go on fasting.

An old man called me up to help him stand. He was slumped in the gutter. I was having second thoughts about helping him because he was one of those homeless guys who are really very dirty. But I extended my hand without me knowing and helped him up. We have a short conversation because I was running late. I did not even recall if he thank me or not. 

I took it as a sign to accept things as they are. I believe in charity. I include everyone in my prayers.


Ramadan kareem


Today starts the holy month of Ramadan for our Muslim brothers and sisters all around the globe. I wish them peace and reconciliation as the Great Teacher wanted us, everyone, to have.

I will do my share and I hope I can keep up. The fasting during Ramadan, the holiest month of Muslims, means not only penance but sharing of joy of seeing the path to righteousness and be compassionate with those who are hungry. When you fast, you are in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who do not have anything in their tables. That is why Ramadan is also a month of peace, love and charity.

Let us be charitable always.

08 August 2010

My favorite at the Buzzz: Seafood Pasta

02 Spa: It's not what you think

When you hear the word spa, what comes to mind is an oasis to relax and perhaps have a good massage. But this is not my impression of 02 Spa, a small bar at a corner in The Strip, the former Food Street now given a personality revamp. The Strip is very near to the Capitol and just across The Boulevard in Cebu City.

They say 02 Spa is actually a spa by day but I never heard someone going there for treatments, although I happened to see someone having her hair cut in that place in its early days. Just once. But after a much needed renovation, the barber chairs and the beauty parlor look is nowhere to be found.

Unknown to many, 02 Spa offers great food, presentation and all. For about 150 pesos you can have a full meal with drinks. The beers there are also affordable especially if you buy them per set. They even accept reservations for a group party. And they also wash cars by day and you can have coffee while watching their staff do the cleaning. So much for a name.

The place is friendly, although I wonder why they always have new staff every time I go there.

Try it yourself.

The fish fillet with ginger strips is really good
Beef caldereta
Their version of a chicken on a stick
The massive baby back ribs is good too, so I heard.
The faces of contention

Dead to the world

Yes. I was literally dead to the world.

You see, I have not been drinking for a long period in preparation for my second Ramadan when I got invited by friends in three separate occasions in one night. 3 in 1 combined.

It started with Freeli who is "dating" his friend and he wanted company so to ease tensions. The girl has a lover. A good reason to imbibe at 02 Spa.

Then my group, The Magtipas Group (TMG),  met at our usual hangout called Payag somewhere near Sykes a few hours later. We were planning for a group presentation for a birthday celebration this Sunday. Of course beers flowed.

Just when I got tipsy, I went home only to be brought out back when my neighbors literally dragged me to join them in Brewspoint.

All in all, I have drank about a case or two of Red Horse!

I had a terrible case of hangover a day after. Did not get up because the world was swimming and my head was extremely painful and I was so sick.

These were the days when I say, I won't do it again.

Crossing my fingers.


Pic- from here.

05 August 2010

Death penalty


Cartoon taken from here .

Zip it up


The current trend of adventure tourism has come to Bohol. And the most famous is surely Danao, Bohol. 

It is a fact that the municipality of Danao was the first to establish that kind of tourist come-on in that province and they call it EAT. Don't take it literally. EAT means Eco, Educational, Extreme Adventure Tour, although eating is also a great discovery in Danao.

The E.A.T. Danao brags its longest and highest zipline in the country. Plus the ultra scary plunge to the great void that makes the Danao tourism adventure package worth the long adventurous ride.

Lately, the municipality of Loboc introduced also their version of ziplining and cable "car" ride. Although shorter and with a different perspective, the Loboc ziplining package is more advantageous due to its proximity to Tagbilaran, the tourism center in Bohol. Danao is about 92 kms from Tagbilaran, Loboc 24 kms. Both Loboc and Danao charge you 350 pesos for the zipline.

Because it is still a novel idea in Loboc, there are negligible lapses in the way they handled the zipline "brakes". Buildings and other amenities are still undergoing construction when we went there. 

I also heard that the Abatan community composed of five municipalities (Cortes, Maribojoc, Antequera, Balilihan, and Catigbian) will also have their own too. And Dimiao. And many more.

Isn’t that over-indulging? I can see a Bohol skyline full of zipping tourists in the future.

(Note: The communities in the other end of the Loboc Ecotourism Adventure Park has not come to the idea of doing business so they could also earn from the tourists, as compared to their town-mates down below where communities sing and dance to earn extra income. I asked several people there on the other side of the mountain and they said they are not thinking about it. Sayang. Staying there for a few minutes waiting for your turn at the zipline would be a business opportunity for them.)

All pictures were taken in Loboc.

02 August 2010

Bohol is not ready for tourism after all

I've been to Bohol lately and was quite amazed at how my province is coping up with so-called development especially that this small island is now in the tourism map of the Philippines.

By coping up I mean that this province is actually struggling in her place as a tourist destination despite of the fact that it brags itself as a prime tourist destination. As a whole, Bohol is not tourist-ready. Until now.

I don’t mean to be critical or pessimistic. I love my province like a true-blooded Boholano, defending it to death if required. But advertising it as if the province is paradise is wrong especially if the most basic of all, quality service, is nowhere to be seen and felt. 

Of course, there are those who can deliver and have delivered what is expected of them but you have to pay a hefty sum just to make your vacation perfect.

Blame others for traveling despite being poor, but a budget traveler on his way to Bohol is not going to expect what the websites or the brochures tell you of a perfect getaway. Bohol is definitely not trained to give you that service you wanted despite the tag that the province is hospitable and tourist-ready.

You have to become an outsider just to realize that. Or at least, travel outside of Bohol to know the difference.

Transportation at the Pier

One classic example, and very glaring at that, is at the pier. When you are a local arriving at the port of Tagbilaran, the tricycle drivers would ignore you in favor either of the white tourists or the Tagalog speaking passengers. Only when the arriving tourists have been picked up by resort drivers or when these tricycle drivers could no longer find passengers that they would offer you a ride charging you triple of the standard fare because they’ve stayed long at the pier. As if it was you who caused all their troubles.

If I was not mistaken, the tourism department of the provincial government of Bohol conducted a training seminar on how drivers should behave in tourism destinations like Bohol. Honesty, quality service, integrity and other basic values drivers should possess were part of the seminar.

But as always the case of most Filipinos, the ningas cogon mentality still prevails. Ningas cogon, which is the tendency to start something good or exceptional but never finish them just like a cogon grass that could easily start a fire but quickly fizzles out, is a mentality embedded in the Pinoy psyche, a sad fact no one can explain. The drivers still are the king of the roads. 

And the biblical quotes at the back of these rides are deceiving.

Reservations Courtesy

Also a sad incident on reservations happened to my visiting friend from Singapore.

She invited us out to have dinner with her at Grand Luis resort because she wanted to check with her reservations on that resort and to acquaint ourselves with the place since she also invited us to spend Christmas with her family and friends there.

Grand Luis Lodge-Bed & Breakfast and Spa is just a small resort with about eight rooms capacity, perfect for a small group who wishes privacy. My friend contacted them online through their reservations link and emailed them constantly and called long distance until her reservations for a Christmas party at that resort for 2011 was approved. It was approved per the communications between them.

Since she was in town to attend our high school batch reunion, she wanted to know how okay was okay since they did not ask her for a down payment.

When she informed the front desk that it was she who made the online reservation for the whole place this Christmas 2011, the officer told her that another party has already booked the place on the specified dates. She was literally disgusted when all the while they have given her a positive response. They could only say sorry and nothing more. They have not even given her an alternative solution knowing they have approved her reservations online when she was still in Singapore. Maybe because she was a Boholano herself, I suppose.

That’s the tourism industry in Bohol. Inato.

Challenge

If Governor Chatto, who once chaired the tourism committee at the Philippine Congress, would not correct these matters, I believe the tourism sector in Bohol will suffer a slow death. If I am not mistaken, local tourists composed a big bulk in the visitor profile of Bohol.

What a shame.


Picture of Tagbilaran tricycles grabbed from travelpod.com