Photos, Food, Travel & Life Itself

I write and post a wide variety of things, although I try to focus more on the things that best interest me, Photography, Food and Travel. But I write about anything and everything that life throws at me.


Ask me anything   Submit
Using my trusty Canon 1100D.  I took as many images of the recently concluded Light for Peace.  The images are just great reminders as to how beautiful everything and everyone is.

Using my trusty Canon 1100D. I took as many images of the recently concluded Light for Peace. The images are just great reminders as to how beautiful everything and everyone is.

Thoughts… quite random, really!

Much of my time nowadays has been spent doing lots of work.  This is all for the cause of improving our service to the people we are sworn to serve.

Much as we do the best that we can, we come to realize that there are still so much things to do, and that we are pretty much limited by just about so many factors, such as time, resources and much needed help of additional hands.

Unfortunately, additional hands are of great scarcity and we understand that.  That is probably the only reason why we keep on doing the best we can, because we know what we do not have, and yet we try really hard to come up with results despite it all.  Unfortunately, not everyone we can please with our efforts!

There are those who will always view what we do as insignificant and falling below their own set standards.  Thus, instead of getting a pat in the back for the effort given, we just either get ignored or despised.  Either way, this has never dampened our drive to continue on!

A beautiful morning that starts with our Sunday obligation, to come together and worship our Almighty Father. By whose love, benevolence and forgiveness we all are blessed with.

Mambukal Weekend Adventure: Conquering my Fear of Heights

It really is nice to be in the company of people who just go for it! I found this out in a very positive way!

I really could not say whether anything could top the whole saturday range of activities that we’ve just had. A torturous trek in the mountains to see the 7 falls (of which I was only able to see 6). Then boat ride inbthe lake, where I finally learned how to row a boat, together with my friend. Then we all went for a nice dip in the pool which in turn gave me an automatic dark skin for the next months or so. Soaking it up in the sulfur hot pools was so good for my aching muscles and yes, skin. Then we capped off the night with a luxurious massage in the in house spa, which left all 7 aasleep as soon as we went back to our room. Now that would be very hard to top I think.

But bybthe following day, the adventure continues. After breakfast, we all packed our stuff in readiness for our departure at around 12noon. But, we were not about to leave without experiencing the Slide of Life, which simply means the zipline.

I thought of myself as crazy, me? The guy who seemingly has lots of problems with height trying out the zipline. Where you hang on a wire suspended on a harness that grips your groin, butt and thighs, while hurtling through a height that would normally cause one vertigo. I was crazy! But I said to myself, I should try this at least once in my life, and today was the day.

It was a good thing that out of the 6 of us who went, half of us felt like peeing or shitting even before we went hurtling down. I was paired off with my friend Andi, because we probably were of the same weight so the balance issue was solved. Every pair started to take flight and suddenly twas our turn. I could feel my heart beating up my throat, and kept on asking if the harness were safe enough to carry my weight. Then after a tense few minutes of getting hooked
on the wire, without any preperation count, we just launched ourselvess off the platform and I was flying! I thought I was going to be scared, but suprisingly I kept my eyes open and was laughing and shouting all the way down and I got the picture to prove it.

I could finally say I have conquered my fear of that ride and can honestly say I want to do it again!

Finally heading for home

Finally heading for home

Its nice to start off the day peacefully with a cup of coffee.  Waiting for my companiins to finally decide to wake up and maybe have breakfast.

Its nice to start off the day peacefully with a cup of coffee. Waiting for my companiins to finally decide to wake up and maybe have breakfast.

Catching the early morning sun at Mambukal Mountain Resort.  Last day now, might as well soak up the last few hours here.

Catching the early morning sun at Mambukal Mountain Resort. Last day now, might as well soak up the last few hours here.

The Climb @ Mambukal

The last time I was here, it never occured to me to try taking the trek up the mountain, and for good reason. As personally experienced, the path getting there was like doing penance during lent, think more like the way of the cross. Though kidding aside, it was one experience I will never forget(sounds cliche but true) and I mean it..

I woke up to a really beautiful day, 4 of my friends were still sleeping, two were reluctantly awake, while I was up and about by 7am. I wanted to see the prestine view of the mountain that early. Not to mention seeing the fruit bats flying off en masse under the amber rays of the early morning sun, which turns their hue into a more pleasant reddish brown with translucent wings. Making them appear less daunting, beautiful even. Though the strong odor of sulfur may seem to be a downer, but it does not diminish the over all appeal of the place.

After having breakfast, my 6 Brit friends and myself, were just so psyched to trek the mountains and see the famed 7 falls of Mambukal. I was just as excited, because like them, this was the first time am doing it.

The trail was as expected, spectacular, surrounded by such lush foliage, really old tall trees with their canopies of leaves shielding us from the harsh heat of the sun, it was just enough to make one appreciate how trully beautiful nature is. The 15 minute walk towards the 1st fall was pleasant enough(my breathing still normal and my muscles doing just as well). Seeing the first falls kind of whetted my personal anticipation. We cannot help but take some photographs of ourselves in the said spot as it was just prestinely beautiful. The play of gushing water with columns of light filtering through the lush canopy of the tree hitting the crystal clear water, not to mention the stark contrast between the hard stone boulders and rocks versus, the silky flow of the crystalline water, is a picture perfect image anyone is most likely never to forget.

Going to the 2nd falls was still quite manageable for me. Though this time we could already feel the terrain shifting as we climbed really steep stairs on the edge of the mountain. It was a good thing there were railings otherwise I would’nt have proceeded at all. Imagine looking to either your right or left side and seeing a sheer drop going way down below. For anyone with height issues like myself, the key was never looking down, instead just look up where your going and you’ll be fine. You would actually experience the same thing going to the 3rd falls as well. Still each fall we passed by was just as beautiful and spellbinding, thus leaving you wanting more.

Then here came our trek to the 4th one, the railings were no longer present and I could honestly say the steps got even more difficult and and a tad steeper than the ones before. Not to mention some of the mountain paths were too narrow as well. Was keeping myself near the mountain side, otherwise a mis step on my part would literally cause me to fall on the precipice and plunge down. I literally had my knees near my chest each time I take a step higher(a very good leg work out and cardio exercise as well). As if my issue of heights was not enough, our pacing as to how we were all going about it was something I was not used to. So before we reached the 5th and 6th level, my body was begging for mercy while my legs started to buckle. It felt like wobbly jelly and my quads, hamstrings, thighs and butt were literally on fire. To make matters worse, the air was so thin, making my breathing really difficult. Midway, I plopped down the trail and literally laid down. I asked to rest for a few minutes, otherwise I knew I might have fainted as I was starting to see spots. Thankfully my companions cum friends were so kind, patient and considerate about my plight and they all stopped and stayed with me till I was recovered and ready to move on.

The 5th and 6th falls were awesome!!!! Everyone got excited and even at my woozy state I was just as excited as the rest. Directly under the 6th falls was a 12 foot deep pool, one of the local kids without any prodding from us launched himself into the air and dove in. This got everyone revved up, well 2 of my friends actually took the plunge and did a straight on cliff dive, feet first! Way to go Lucy and Richard. While the rest of us just enjoyed a dip in the stream above the falls, the water was really refreshing. This was also where we had time to rest and recuperated! I needed my sugar fix as I was running low and bordering on hypoglycemia( I know as I have had this experience before) I was already seeing everything in really bright yellow not to mentiin that gnwing feeling of being unwell, thus I had a bottle of soda and a candy and the trick worked. Despite all that I couls not help but love that place as the whole area was just simply amazing!

Despite the hardships and physical pain, I could honestly say that the sights I have seen and experienced was all worth it.

Mambucal the 2nd Visit

Early morning coffee near the edge of the flowing creek that reeks with strong smell of sulfur was how I was expecting my sunrise at the Mambucal would be, and I was not disappointed.

While sipping my instant coffee, I could not help but still be amazed and excited as to how beautiful this place really is. Just imagine being on top of a mountain top with steam vents and fissures bringing out the humungous energy of an active volcano from the very bowels of the mountain, just gives it a tinge of excitement and e en a lityle wariness, especially with the thought, what if it boils up?

But, for now, I just content myself the relaxing view of every nook and corner of this place, as it is just simply beautiful.

The hues of amber, prussian and orange  to highlight the shadowy figures watching the sun submerge and fade in the horizon, is probably one of the best images I could have had the good fortune capturing on camera.  So evocative yet silently powerful, as it tells a story without uttering a single  word.

The hues of amber, prussian and orange to highlight the shadowy figures watching the sun submerge and fade in the horizon, is probably one of the best images I could have had the good fortune capturing on camera. So evocative yet silently powerful, as it tells a story without uttering a single word.

This is how I would look like after nearly 9 hours of non-stop work!  I need my rest so badly.

This is how I would look like after nearly 9 hours of non-stop work! I need my rest so badly.

Reblogged from travelgurrl
travelgurrl:

Dear Mr. Aquino,
You may not remember me but we’ve met before.  I can actually name at least 3 times that we’ve met.  The first time was when your mum was in the hospital, God rest her soul.  You were obviously occupied then.  The next time we met, you were running for president then.  It was 2010 and I was graduating from my pediatric residency.  I remember part of your speech then where you encouraged us to stay in the Philippines, be good doctors here, serve the people.  You asked us to prevent any more brain drain than what the Philippines was already experiencing.  Help build the country, you said.
Well, you’re the president now, it’s been 4 years since that day and I’ve held up my end of the deal.  I’ve voted, I’ve been vocal about my opinions and my wishes for the country.  I’ve stayed, when I could have left, I’ve treated the patients, I’ve done my best.  I’ve put the welfare of others before my own and my family’s and I have given blood, sweat, and tears in the service of my fellowmen.  I have done my civic duty and I have been involved.  Most of all, I have helped bankroll the many activities this country has been doing because I have paid my taxes properly, in full and on time.  A quick perusal of my tax history should tell you this.  And in return for all that, I am still characterized as a cheat and a tax evader, a burden to the people.
Never mind that I hardly make enough to pay off all my expenses.  I’m a young pediatrician, considered lucky by many standards, and I’m not one to waste money.  Yet I still am just barely able to make ends meet.  When I pay my taxes, I’m not sure if I’ll have enough left over for rent.  Or for gas.  Or to pay off my vaccines.  Or will I be able to save money at all.  In my line of work, we don’t get retirement benefits.  We either save up and build a nest egg or work until we drop dead.  But I still pay my taxes.  Never mind if a patient who hadn’t paid before decided to pay all in one go.  I swallow and take a deep breath, knowing that that receipt I’ll issue could make or break my month.  I still issue a receipt and pay my taxes.  Because that’s what good citizens do.
So when I open the newspaper and I see that people have siphoned off billions of pesos of my hard earned money, it makes me angry.  When their children use it for a million-dollar birthday party to be with Justin Bieber, it makes me furious.  How many children in the hospital could that party have saved?  How many people could that have housed and fed?  How many vaccines could it have bought?  How many farmers helped?  It makes me sick to my stomach.
AND THEN, this ad comes along.  I’ve known that BIR has issues with the medical community.  I don’t know if it’s some unspoken angst you all have for the vaccinations we’ve given you as children or it’s because of your belief that you won’t ever get sick and have no need for physicians. But this was downright insulting.  To portray physicians as a burden, to make a sweeping statement through this ad that physicians evade taxes and therefore are burdens, is not only irresponsible, but is reprehensible.  Whilst I will not dispute that not all doctors can say this but I for one pay my taxes properly.
I still pay taxes but always with a heavy heart.  And you sir, have not kept up your part of the deal.  I’m not asking for protection, I can handle it.  But because of the continued attacks on my profession, I am now seriously thinking of giving up the practice here in Manila and moving somewhere else (I think I hear London calling).  Good luck with the doctors that are left behind.  The numbers applying to medical school are getting smaller, and those that do graduate will not want to stay around if this is what they’re looking forward do.
Good luck.

travelgurrl:

Dear Mr. Aquino,

You may not remember me but we’ve met before.  I can actually name at least 3 times that we’ve met.  The first time was when your mum was in the hospital, God rest her soul.  You were obviously occupied then.  The next time we met, you were running for president then.  It was 2010 and I was graduating from my pediatric residency.  I remember part of your speech then where you encouraged us to stay in the Philippines, be good doctors here, serve the people.  You asked us to prevent any more brain drain than what the Philippines was already experiencing.  Help build the country, you said.

Well, you’re the president now, it’s been 4 years since that day and I’ve held up my end of the deal.  I’ve voted, I’ve been vocal about my opinions and my wishes for the country.  I’ve stayed, when I could have left, I’ve treated the patients, I’ve done my best.  I’ve put the welfare of others before my own and my family’s and I have given blood, sweat, and tears in the service of my fellowmen.  I have done my civic duty and I have been involved.  Most of all, I have helped bankroll the many activities this country has been doing because I have paid my taxes properly, in full and on time.  A quick perusal of my tax history should tell you this.  And in return for all that, I am still characterized as a cheat and a tax evader, a burden to the people.

Never mind that I hardly make enough to pay off all my expenses.  I’m a young pediatrician, considered lucky by many standards, and I’m not one to waste money.  Yet I still am just barely able to make ends meet.  When I pay my taxes, I’m not sure if I’ll have enough left over for rent.  Or for gas.  Or to pay off my vaccines.  Or will I be able to save money at all.  In my line of work, we don’t get retirement benefits.  We either save up and build a nest egg or work until we drop dead.  But I still pay my taxes.  Never mind if a patient who hadn’t paid before decided to pay all in one go.  I swallow and take a deep breath, knowing that that receipt I’ll issue could make or break my month.  I still issue a receipt and pay my taxes.  Because that’s what good citizens do.

So when I open the newspaper and I see that people have siphoned off billions of pesos of my hard earned money, it makes me angry.  When their children use it for a million-dollar birthday party to be with Justin Bieber, it makes me furious.  How many children in the hospital could that party have saved?  How many people could that have housed and fed?  How many vaccines could it have bought?  How many farmers helped?  It makes me sick to my stomach.

AND THEN, this ad comes along.  I’ve known that BIR has issues with the medical community.  I don’t know if it’s some unspoken angst you all have for the vaccinations we’ve given you as children or it’s because of your belief that you won’t ever get sick and have no need for physicians. But this was downright insulting.  To portray physicians as a burden, to make a sweeping statement through this ad that physicians evade taxes and therefore are burdens, is not only irresponsible, but is reprehensible.  Whilst I will not dispute that not all doctors can say this but I for one pay my taxes properly.

I still pay taxes but always with a heavy heart.  And you sir, have not kept up your part of the deal.  I’m not asking for protection, I can handle it.  But because of the continued attacks on my profession, I am now seriously thinking of giving up the practice here in Manila and moving somewhere else (I think I hear London calling).  Good luck with the doctors that are left behind.  The numbers applying to medical school are getting smaller, and those that do graduate will not want to stay around if this is what they’re looking forward do.

Good luck.

When people of means talk about good food, they would  talk of gourmet and  most often imported or foreign food is considered as the best kind of there is. But for the homegrown pinoy, it means comfort food served commonly in any Filipino family’s dining table.

Traditional Filipino food relies on the freshness of its ingredients, and the less complicated its preparation, the better tasting it is. It’s flavor profile usually boarders on the combination of the salty, sour and sweet taste. The spice usually is found in the dips made of vinegar infused with chilies, ginger, onions and garlic, which usually enhances the flavor of spit roasted chicken, broiled fish and meats.  Though we too have our share of really fiery dishes, one that could cause one to sweat in the middle of the meal.

No Filipino meal is considered complete unless there is a big platter of pipping hot steamed rice. The fluffier and fragrant the rice, the better the dining experience. At times the success or failure of the meal is bound on the quality of the rice served.

One thing we all take pride about “real” and “traditional” Pinoy Fare is that it is always shared. Our meals are opportunities for family and friends to gather and talk, partake of the food together and catch up with each others lives. So most definitely, the food should be the best and should taste really good!

Yes, traditional Filipino may not be gourmet to most learned palates, but it most definitely is good food.

Native roasted chicken…  Mmmmmmmmm yummy!  Tatoys Manokan always the best.

Native roasted chicken… Mmmmmmmmm yummy! Tatoys Manokan always the best.

The freshest oyster

The freshest oyster