Category Archives: Personal

Updates! Travel, Work Loads and Just Adulting in General!

I was a bit preoccupied these past few weeks and have only updated my blog intermittently when I keep on telling myself that I should post more but because of life getting in the way, (or maybe I just had the lazy bug) I was unable to put up posts regularly like I used to. When I’m not working, I am traveling (or planning my travels while reading books) and basically just doing some nice stuff to counter-balance my stressful environment at work.

 

Just to give you a bit of an update, I went to one domestic and three international destinations recently – a Coron, Palawan getaway, a trip in Taiwan with a couple of my travel friends and a solo-trip in Thailand and Cambodia! The Taiwan trip was planned since last year ( a supposed SouthAm trip), as well as the Thailand and Cambodia trip (which was supposed to happen at the time Britney had her concert at the Mall of Asia arena but ya’ll know I had to prioritize Mama.) I will be writing separate posts for each trip which may or may not help travelers like myself who wanted to go to these cool Asian destinations which by the way are all visa-free for Filipinos! (Just recently, Taiwan extended their free-visa entry for Filipinos until July 2019!)

I also just had my birthday last Friday which I spent half of in Bangkok! Hah! And right now, I am just chilling in front of my PC (yes! PC) after watching Belgium snatched the third place from England in World Cup!

I am so not looking forward to coming back to work on Monday but a man’s got to do what he’s got to do yeah?

And one more thing, I am thinking of revamping my website but I’m still in the process of thinking what improvements should I make¬† and exactly what should this blog be really about. ūüôā

Thank you for reading! ‚̧

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Reaching Greater Heights: Mt. Pulag – The Third Highest Peak in the Philippines!

I’m an amateur mountain climber. I’ve climbed a few in the past, yes, but my health and time didn’t allow me to really get into it. This year, as part of my new year’s resolution, I promised to climb more mountains.

I found myself already on my second climb this year at the highest peak in Luzon, the Mount Pulag which also happened to be the third highest peak in the whole archipelago of the Philippines (next to Mt. Apo and Mt. Dulang-Dulang – both situated in Mindanao).

I even trained for this because I was told that it’s going to be strenuous. I’ve tried strengthening my legs for about three weeks since I just started working out around the same time this Mt. Pulag climb came about.

I joined the Bokal Extreme event along with with my officemates – the Kaladkarins – for this little “expedition” lol.

Travel time from Manila to Baguio was very smooth and fast – thank you SCTEX! At least around 5 hours inclusive of a couple of stopovers.

We got picked up at the Baguio Victory Liner terminal by what they call the “Monster Jeep,” I don’t have the foggiest idea why they call it like that since it looks like a regular passenger jeepney to me, though a bit bigger (ding!) . From there, we went to the DENR office for the registration and orientation. The travel time here is about 3 hours. We had a 30-minutes stopover for breakfast and a little photo-ops.

(Side note: You can also buy hiking gears here which I thought are way cheaper! ‘Bought my mess kit here!)

Before you’re allowed to climb Mt. Pulag, you have got to present a “Fit to Climb ” medical certificate and attend the 30-40 minutes orientation regarding Mt. Pulag, a bit of its history and the know-how of climbing it.

After the informative lecture, we went to the jump off site to set up camp for the night.

We woke up at around 130 in the morning and started the trek at 2AM. It was really muddy since it rained the night before and it’s still drizzling throughout our hike.

My number one advise for newbie climbers of this great mountain is to wear appropriate clothing. I was stupid enough to think that I could endure the cold by wearing my favorite football jersey so I was freezing by the time we arrived at the “first summit.” It was such a foolish move on my part so please, just please, wear something warm during your climb here.

For amateurs like myself, Ambangeg is the preferred trail. The hike wasn’t that hard even if it’s all muddy so I think if the weather was real good at the time, I thought it’d be a way easier trekking for us. It’s a good thing we waited for the weather to clear up and saw the beautiful mossy plains at the summit and the sea of clouds which is the summit’s main attraction. Watching it is like being one with nature – just beautiful! I think the whole hike ascending and descending took us close to 12 hours. Yes, it was that long but it was all worth it.

I cannot wait to revisit this majestic mountain in the future!

(This was a long overdue post. Since most of my blog posts are pre-scheduled, I didn’t realize that this one didn’t make it to my published posts. It’s still on my draft folder which I’ve only seen today! Ugh! Anyway – here’s my adventure at Mt. Pulag)

Cover Thursday: Fergie’s Big Girls Don’t Cry by Peter Carboni

You’ve probably seen Fergie’s viral rendition of the Star-spangled Banner during the¬†NBA All-Star Game last Sunday where she infused the US national anthem with her very own and very Fergilicious style. Uh, no. I’m not going to discuss that at length. She already apologized (I sincerely don’t know why she had to) but anyway, I just want to pay homage to my girl Fergie by featuring one of her hit songs as a solo act with our Cover Thursday this week – Big Girls Don’t Cry!

This version is an acoustic one from Peter Carboni. He sang it real good. And he’s cute too! Hah!

via Peter Carboni’s IG (@petercarboni)

We still love you, Fergie ‚̧

My January 2018 Book Haul!

I promised myself that I would try minimizing my book purchases this year and be more vigilant on book sale and promos! Hah! So for this month, I’ve acquired five books which got me busy for the first three weeks of the year. I was so engrossed with The House of the Scorpion* whose review I just posted earlier tonight as well as the disappointing I’ll Give You The Sun*.

I am currently reading Number The Stars¬†by Lois Lowry¬†and once I finished this, I’d try to reread one of my favorite books in 2015 – Wolf by Wolf* so I could start Blood by Blood as soon as possible! So exciting!

I bought The House of the Scorpion from PowerBooks and the rest are from Fully Booked. Big thanks to Fully Booked for carrying Ryan Graudin’s Wolf by Wold Duology! ‚̧

*Links of my reviews.

 

My 65th Miss Universe Hot Picks #1 ‚Äď Pre-Preliminary Competition

mariam-habach-no-1-for-paddylast-incs-first-hot-picksThe 65th Miss Universe fever is finally on full swing and the delegates from around the globe¬†are trying ¬†to out-stage each other while trying to play nice! Hah! Just this week, we’ve witnessed the Terno Fashion Show from some of the ladies who graced the beautiful historic Vigan to showcase the beautiful ternos created by Filipino designers. Then there’s was the Governor’s Ball, Their photoshoots from different historic sites in the metro as well as visits in the beautiful Boracay Island, Cebu and Batangas. With more press releases, videos and photos available for fans and pundits, let me present to you my first hot picks for this Manila edition of the Miss Universe beauty pageant!

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  1. Mariam Habach of Venezuela

At this stage of the competition, Miss Venezuela for me is the most ready to become the new queen – charisma and performance-wise. Her simplicity and unconventional beauty is refreshing from the usual brunette-filled Venezuelan delegates sent by their great national director Osmel Sousa to this pageant. Her posture and contagious smile is a thing of beauty that you can’t help but fall for her. Mariam came prepared to battle it out to the finish here in Manila!

  1. Maxine Medina of the Philippines

Admit it or not, Miss Philippines’ beauty is a beauty that is very hard to ignore. She exudes confidence and a hint of mystery whenever she struck a pose – until she opens her mouth that is, as per pageant pundits‚Äô usual criticism. To be fair tho, I think we’re too critical of Maxine because we’re comparing her to Pia and whether or not she’ll be able to carry on the latter’s legacy. I still believe that there is a big fat chance for the host-nation to snag a back-to-back win equating Venezuela’s record back in 2008-2009. After all, Maxine has the hometown advantage and with a smooth performance, albeit, a most probably less than confident answers in the Q&A round – she could probably pull it off.

  1. Raissa Santana of Brazil

This Amazonian goddess is everywhere! Like literally every event! She’s such a stand out that you can’t help but be mesmerize by her modelesque bone structure and captivating smile! I’m only placing her as my third pick for the crown at this point because I’m still not sold with her overall presentation. It’s too finesse for me and I want her to be more vibrant and more natural!

  1. Kiran Jassal of Malaysia

Miss Malaysia may not be getting much hype compared to her ASEAN counterparts such as Thailand, Indonesia, and her roomie Miss Philippines but she’s definitely someone to watch out for. She’s a real stunner in pictures and in motion and it may look like she’s playing it under the radar for now but come preliminaries, I’ve a feeling that she’ll be in everyone’s list afterwards. I actually think that she’s way better than Deborah Henry – the most prominent Malaysian delegate in memories who got snubbed during the 2011 edition of the pageant. Like Deborah, she’s got an amazing personality, stunning looks (way better than Miss Henry, IMHO) and good communication skills to boot. Will her sash prevent her from entering the top 16? I hope not.

  1. Chalita Suansane of Thailand

Chalita is definitely a force to reckon with in the Manila edition of the pageant. She came prepared and ready to fight it out like Miss Venezuela and the other three in my top 5! She’s by far my ‘ultimate spoiler’ for the crown! She’s very polished, though not the prettiest candidate, she’s one scene-stealer that has a very likable personality to boot!

  1. Andrea Tovar of Colombia

Andrea Tovar is no Adriana Gutierrez. The latter is personable whilst Andrea has this superior air about her. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing to project but at times, it’s almost as if she’s already won the crown when in fact she hasn’t even step up her game performance-wise. I was expecting more from her and so far she’s giving me such lackluster performance that I’m relegating her to 6th place. Why is she still in the top 10 despite non-personable aura I’ve mentioned? Well, she’s Miss Colombia and Miss Universe loves their controversy. She’s a definite shoo-in for the semis plus her beauty is truly undeniable that truly separates her from others. Thing is, she really needs to work the crowd. After all, nobody wants a villain queen.

  1. Deshauna Barber of the USA

Facially, Deshauna Barber isn’t the most conventionally beautiful delegate in the bunch but her background as US military and her subpar communication skills matching her vibrant personality makes her the most interesting girl to talk and listen to which I think is a big plus for whoever will win the Miss Universe crown!

  1. Kezia Warouw of Indonesia

Indonesia is up for the country of the year in 2016 and a win here will cement their newfound status last year. It’s not an impossible feat because the reigning Indonesian queen is a breathtaking beauty that is both relatable and personable! I am still waiting for her spark to go full on but I’ve a feeling that she will deliver when it matters most.

  1. Hawa Kamara of Sierra Leone

This debuting lass from the West African nation of Sierra Leone is already endearing a lot of pageant fans around the world as she struts with her natural hair on flick, she’s definitely stealing the spotlight from the more hyped candidates. She’s also very dear to Filipino pageant fans as the OFW’s and local fans helped her preparation for the pageant which include her flight to Manila as well as her wardrobe for the duration of Miss Universe. And she didn’t disappoint so far as she is both luminous in pictures and in motion. I’m not sure if Miss Universe is ready to crown another African queen after Leila Lopes’ victory in Brazil but if Sierra Leone delivers the goods come finals night, I’m pretty sure that everyone will be celebrating with her win!

  1. Caris Tiivel of Australia

It’s very simple how Miss Australia landed as my 10th pick. She’s the prototype of the Miss Universe Australia in recent years and I can totally see her eclipsing some of the powerhouse Latinas to make it all the way into the top 5. She’s beautiful, a good communicator and very polished. Although I haven’t envisioned her winning just yet, I’ve a feeling that if she step it up in the prelims – there’s a big possibility of that happening.

Bubbling Up…

  1. Stephanie Geldhof of Belgium
  2. Kristal Silva of Mexico
  3. Sal Garcia of Dominican Republic
  4. Camila Barraza of Kosovo
  5. Jaime-Lee Faulkner of Great Britain
  6. Le Hang of Vietnam

Sign The Petition Now! Say NO to Nickelodeon’s Underwater Theme Park in Coron, Palawan! #coronisnotbikinibottom

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We call on the Local Government of Palawan, Nickelodeon (Viacom International Media Networks), and Coral World Park Undersea Resorts Inc., to junk their plan to build a 400-hectare underwater theme park in Coron, Palawan.

Why is this important?

Contrary to the press statement that the underwater theme park would “advocate ocean protection,” it will accomplish the exact opposite. By building artificial structures, you will undeniably damage and disrupt Palawan’s marine ecosystems — our Last Frontier. If you are sincere and serious about marine conservation, the money allocated for the underwater theme park should be invested in marine protected areas, sustainable livelihoods for local communities, and environmental education programs.

For a channel that targets children, Nickelodeon is setting a terrible example to the younger generation by taking away their right to enjoy our natural resources. We don’t need an underwater theme park — our underwater life is fascinating, entertaining, and educational on its own.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PEITION!
https://www.bataris.org.ph/petitions/no-to-nickelodeon-s-underwater-theme-park-in-palawan

Congratulations America, You just made America Hate Again!

bwflagHere are some of the things that the¬†presumptive president¬†vowed to do during his tenure…
Will ban Muslims entering the United States.
Will build a border wall with an amount estimating to billions of dollars for which Mexicans are supposed to pay – the same citizens he called murderers, drug dealers and rapists! Them ‘bad hombres’ Tsk. Tsk. Ya know, that ‘Mexican Thing.’
Will punish women undergoing abortion.
Will appoint SCOTUS justices to repeal same sex marriage setting back LGBTQ right from where they are now.
Will put Hillary to jail!
Will most likely be BFF with Putin. Yay!
Will teach Americans how not to pay taxes.
Will grope women because he’s a star. And now your President.
Will probably be the catalyst of a new depression era.
That’s your President Trump, America.
Best of Luck!

She’s got this… Only if you turn out to VOTE! #ImWithHer

Hillary Clinton, all smiles while chatting with Bill and President Barack Obama during the Democratic National Convention this year [photo by Barbara Kinney]

Hillary Clinton, all smiles while chatting with Bill and President Barack Obama during the Democratic National Convention this year [photo by Barbara Kinney]

VOTE! 
On November 8th
Let’s write the next chapter together!
#StrongerTogether

12 Accomplishments You Should Know About Hillary Clinton! #ImWithHer

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2¬†more days! America, make sure that you’re voting for the most qualified, most experienced and the only sane candidate for President!!! Turn out to vote! Vote for @hillaryclinton¬†and all the Democrats down the ballot! Vote against hate. Vote against racism. Vote against bigotry. Vote against ‘deplorables!’ Vote against violence! Vote for equality! Vote for the future!

When Queen Bey says #ImWithHer

“There was a time when a woman’s opinion did not matter. If you were black, white, Mexican, Asian, Muslim, educated, poor or rich; if you were a woman, it did not matter,” Beyonc√© said. “Less than 100 years ago, women did not have the right to vote. Look how far we’ve come from having no voice to being on the brink of making history again by electing the first woman president.”

Hillary is joined by power couple Beyonce and Jay-Z to rally the crowd in Cleveland to turn out to vote for the only sane candidate this year - and no, it ain't Donald!

Hillary is joined by power couple Beyonc√© and Jay-Z to rally the crowd in Cleveland to mobilize voters and vote for the only sane candidate this year – and no, it ain’t Donald!

“We have to vote. The world looks to us as a progressive country that leads change. Eight years ago, I was so inspired that my nephew, a young black child, could grow up knowing his dreams could be realized by witnessing a black president in office,” Beyonc√© addressed the crowd at the rally, which aimed at mobilizing voters in the key swing state. “And now, we have the opportunity to create more change. I want my daughter to grow up seeing a woman lead our country and know that her possibilities are limitless.

“We have to think about the future of our daughters, of our sons, and vote for someone who cares for them as much as we do,” Beyonc√© added. “And that is why, ‘I’m with her.'”