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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Our Hongkong Tour Total Expenses

Here's our Hongkong Tour Expenses, I share this to give the first time visitor of Hongkong on how much to prepare for this Trip. Our total expenses is around PHP35,00++ (HK$5224++). The places we visited are those that are recommended by different websites for a 3 days 2 nights trip (see itinerary). Tour Packages offered by different travel agencies are more expensive than this one (we prepare our own tour). Prevailing foreign Exchange Rate that time is PHP6.70 for HK$1.


In Hongkong Dollar (Expenses for 2 pax)*

41 : Taxi Fair going to NAIA 3 Terminal (Manila)
1,371 : Air fair Tickets (Round Trip)
64.6 : Terminal Fee (Manila)
350 : Hotel Accommodation (Shamrock Hotel, 3D, 2N w/ breakfast, City Tour)
600 : Octopus Card
700 : Hongkong Disneyland Ticket
50: Lunch
20: Snacks
300: Souvenirs
192 : Ngong Ping 360 (Round Trip Cable Car Ride)
50: Lunch
20: Snacks
50: Dinner
420 : Ocean Park Adventure
50: Lunch
20: Snacks
42.4 : Bus Fair to HK Ocean park (2-way)
192: Airport Express Train
50: Dinner
41 : Taxi Fair going Home
600: Shopping Expenses

HK$5,224: Total Expenses


Note: We were not able to go to the following places which is part of our original itinerary:

Victoria Peak (HK$20), Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum (HK$24), Tram (HK$30 round trip)

* Rates as of September 2008

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hongkong Ocean Park Photo Gallery

On the 3rd and final day of our Hongkong Vacation, we went to the Hongkong Ocean Park Adventure.

Hongkong Ocean Park is located on the south end of Hongkong Island. The larger of two sections is on the headlands of Mount Nanlang. The smaller section is in the Huang Zhu Keng Valley lowlands. It's one of the largest ocean parks in the world. The two entrances to the Park namely Tai Shue Wan Entrance and Main Entrance are connected by a cable-car. (source Wikipedia)




Going to Hongkong Ocean Park Adventure is easy. At Central Station, look for MTR exit K. or, if you're coming from any other point of the city, take the MTR trains and get off at Admiralty MTR station. Take the Exit B then get on the special City Bus No. 629 (HK$10.6) that will bring to the Park.

Currently, the theme park has over 14 rides and other attractions such as aquariums and aviaries. Ocean Park also features a Giant panda exhibit, a jelly fish and Chinese sturgeon aquarium, as well as a four-story aquarium (Atoll Reef) displaying more than 2000 fish. "Whiskers", a waving sea lion is the official mascot of Hongkong Ocean Park.



The Bird Paradise offers over 150 species of birds, some of which is in the list of endangered species. The section includes a Flamingo Pond and the Aviaries, which is an enclosed true canopy environment thriving with birds. There is also some rare swan species that can be found in nearby small lakes.


The Dragon is a steel roller coaster with a maximum speed of 77 km/h in an 842 meters of track. The ride lasts approximately 2.5 minutes.


The Abyss Turbo Drop, which moves vertically on a 185 foot tower. It promises to be a heart-stooping experience. The thrill is hard to express, this ride is not for the faint-hearted people.

Other rides includes Flying Swing, Crazy Galleon, Ferris Wheel, Headland Games, The Mine train and Raging River. Since it was Halloween season when we went here, skeletons and other Halloween decor is seen around the Park.

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Atoll Reef offers a wide variety of fish, it can be seen in a large aquarium through glass windows. It is divided into the shadow and the deep levels each exhibiting its characteristic aquatic life. The Reef includes sharks, tropical fish and nautilus. Visitors will see morays, groupers, turtles and over 400 kinds of maritime animals. Apart from fish, some corals and cays are exhibited.

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Ocean Theater is the most famous and popular spot in the whole Ocean Park. It is an open-air theater in which dolphins and sea lions stage a wonderful performance in a huge pond. Under the guidance of their trainers, adorable dolphins and sea lions stand in a line or jump into water and raise theirs heads out of water. The best location to watch this dolphin is right at the middle of the theater and not on the lowest portion, for sure you will get wet if you decided to seat there.


We were not able to tour half of the Park which is the Lowland Garden, ride in a cable car from Headland you will get to Lowland Garden in just a few minutes but you have to be patient waiting for your turn. Lowland garden offers Hongkong Jockey Panda Habitat, Sky Fair and a lot more. I'll just save my story until I experience it myself.

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Time really flies, we haven't seen much of the Park and it was time for us to go. If only we have seen the Panda and the Bird show and the Sky Fair there is no reason for me to return here in the Ocean park. My foot was aching, I was sweating the whole day, haven't seen the Panda, good thing I've seen the sunset... and my wife is with me, it made my day complete.



© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Unauthorized use, edit, copy, reproduction, publication, duplication, download and distribution of any image may result in severe legal and criminal penalties under the law. The above photos were taken by Ricky Pascual and remain the properties of the photographer. Please do not use elsewhere without the owner’s permission.

Hongkong City Tour Photo Gallery

Instead of joining a City tour offered by the different travel agencies, we decided to do it on our own to maximize time and save a money
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The MTR is very effective mode of transportation in traveling around Hongkong. Buy an Octopus Card for convenience, it can be use uo to 3 days. Above is a phot inside the train going to Hongkong Disneyland.


Another alternative is the Bus, but for a first timer like me it is not advisable since it is very confusing on where to wait for a particular destination. There are also the taxis, and tram.
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The Tsing Ma Bridge is the world's seventh longest span suspension bridge. The bridge has a man span of 1,377 meters and a height of 206 meters. The bridge can also be seen at the Visitor's Centre in Tsing Yi to enjoy more of it beauty specially during the night.


The Hongkong Museum of Arts is located at Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon near the harbour. It is the home of over 15,000 art objects, including Chinese paintings and calligraphy works, antique Chinese treasures and paintings of historical significance. Local artists' creation can also be seen in the museums.


The Clock Tower is a landmark in Hong Kong. It is located on the southern shore of Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. It is the only remnant of the original site of the former Kowloon Station on the Kowloon-Canton Railway. It is usually referred to as the Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower. Perfect place to relax since it is near the harbour shore.


The Ngong Ping Cable Car, traverses 5.7km of verdant hills on the city's largest Lantau island. Linking between Tung Chung (where it connects the MTR Tung Chung station) and Ngong Ping (where the Po Lin Monastery and Tian Tan Buddha are located).
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The cable car jorneys about 25 minutes. During the journey, travelers can see panoramic views over the South China Sea, the North Lantau Country Park, Hong Kong International Airport, the Tung Chung valley, Ngong Ping Plateau and surrounding terrain and waterways.
It is exciting trip for me since I am afraid of heights, I enjoyed the ride nevertheless.
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Ngong Ping Village is set on a 1.5 hectare site on Lantau Island, adjacent to Ngong Ping Cable Car Terminal and the Tian Tan Buddha Statue. This amazing cultural themed village has been architecturally designed and landscaped to reflect the cultural and spiritual integrity of the Ngong Ping area. It boasts several major attractions to enjoy, including Walking with Buddha.
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Tian Tan Buddha, more popularly known as the Big Buddha, is located at Ngong Ping and it is near po Monastery. The Buddha is 34 meters tall, weighs 250 metric tons and was the world's tallest outdoor bronze seated Buddha. The Buddha can be seen during the cable car journey.
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If you want to know more about Buddha, you can try the attraction, "Walking with Buddha". It is an immersive, multimedia attraction allowing visitors to follow the life of Siddhartha Gautama - the man who became Buddha - and his path to enlightenment.

Other attraction is the The Monkey's Tale Theatre, presents a charming and comical 'show' inspired by the famous Buddhist Jataka stories. Set in a magical courtyard under the branches of a majestic Bodhi Tree, this story will engage and inspire guests of all ages.
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You can avail of their "Journey of enlightenment Package" to see all this attraction, its cost is HK$159 (adult), HK$117 (Seniors) and HK$80 (children) on a normal day.
We will definitely try these attractions next time.
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The Ngong Ping Cable Car in the afternoon
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The Bank of China Tower(left) and The Cheung Kong Center, are just two of the participating buildings in the "A Symphony of Lights". On Sundays (and Holidays), thousand of Filipino gathers here to socialize and picnic.
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. A symphony of Lights is a synchronised building exterior decorative lights and laser multimedia display, featuring 44 buildings on both sides of Victoria Harbour accompanied by a symphonic music. It is the world's largest permanent light and sound show.
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Watch this show along the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront between the Avenue of Stars and the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, on the waterfront promenade outside the Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai or aboard a harbour cruise the show starts at 8 in the evening daily.


After enjoying the Symphony of Lights, we proceed to the Avenue of Stars. It is located along the Victoria Harbour waterfront in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. It honours celebrities of the Hong Kong film industry.
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The hand prints and autograph of director/Actor Jacky Chan


After the whole day City Tour, we proceed to Temple Street, located in the areas of Jordan and Yau Ma Tei in Knowloon. It sells cheap merchandise and food items. Your skill in negotiating a lower price is needed here. The Market opens at 2PM.

© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Unauthorized use, edit, copy, reproduction, publication, duplication, download and distribution of any image may result in severe legal and criminal penalties under the law. The above photos were taken by Ricky Pascual and remain the properties of the photographer. Please do not use elsewhere without the owner’s permission.

Hongkong Disneyland "Glow in the Park Parade"

Hongkong Disneyland "Glow in the Park Parade" video: This woman caught me off-guard


See also: Disneyland Photo Gallery



Hongkong Disneyland Experience

Here's a sneak peek at one of the most favorite destinations of Tourist, specially the Filipinos, young and old, the Hongkong Disneyland.
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My wife and I finally set foot and experienced, as many said "the most magical place on Earth". It was September 2008, three years after it opened in September 2005. We were just lucky that we experienced Hongkong Disneyland to the fullest of its beauty. Exploring the world were fairy tales and cartoon characters come to life.


This is the main entrance of Hongkong Disneyland, As you walk down Main Street with its shops, cafe and cobbled street, cast members and characters greet you with trademark exuberance; it’s a magical journey into a new realm. "Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy."



The moment we enter the Theme Park, the entertainments begun, laughter, clicks of the cameras is seen around the park. Above photo is the High school Musical Show



The Tarzan Island, is located at Adventureland which offers intrigue, mystery and adventure in an African jungle setting. Take a cruise across the river to explore the Tarzan Island, wild animals and Forest dwellers. We haven't got a chance to explore this nice island.


The theater in the wild (also in Adventureland) offers the amazing Broadway-style musical, “The Festival of the Lion King.” See Timon and Phumba in their wackiest form, Simba himself in this musical version of "The Lion King" flick.



The entire cast of "The Festival of the Lion King" in the finale act.


Fantasyland is a place of fairy tales, were you can find the famous Sleeping Beauty's Castle, Cinderella’s carousel, Snow White’s Grotto where you can make a wish in the wishing well and the Fantasy Gardens where you can also meet and take photos with your favorite Disney characters.



Ride and spin in the Mad Hatter tea cups, fly high on Dumbo or join Pooh in an enchanting journey through the Hundred Acre Wood.



Don't missed the awesome stage show, "The Golden Mickeys", featuring performances from Disney well loved characters like Beauty and the Beast, Toy Story, Under the Sea, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mickey and Friends, Tarzan, Mulan and a lot more. This show will complete your day in Disneyland.



Then there’s Mickey’s PhilharMagic, an interactive 3-D spectacular.



Tomorrowland is a playground for the futuristic types. Enter the world of space ships and aliens.



The Space Mountain is not for the faint-hearted (like me, LOL), it is a thrilling roller-coaster takes you on a warp-speed ride to the cosmos, made more realistic by the incredible synchronized light and sound effects, try this if you have the guts and wanted a more thrilling ride.



Disney on Parade (though we missed it) is one of the most awaited highlights of the day. Luckily for us there is another parade at night (during special occasions) like the "Glow in the Park Parade" during Halloween season. Watch the not so good looking characters and your favorite characters in their spectacular floats as they join a cheerful band and a host of high-spirited dancers in their Halloween costumes. Watch out for the dancers who will make you jump on your feet. (see related video)

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The “Disney in the Stars”, it is a magnificent fireworks extravaganza choreographed to classic Disney songs and music. Set against the backdrop of Sleeping Beauty’s castle, the whole thing just feels so magical and so wonderful. This is the best fireworks I witnessed to end my day in disneyland with a bang.

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It's almost 11 in the evening (park hour is usually until 7 in the evening) we were tired and hungry as we left the park but we did have a real great time just reliving the simple pleasures of childhood. We will go back here again and experience once more the magical place like Hongkong Disneyland.


© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Unauthorized use, edit, copy, reproduction, publication, duplication, download and distribution of any image may result in severe legal and criminal penalties under the law. The above photos were taken by Ricky Pascual and remain the properties of the photographer. Please do not use elsewhere without the owner’s permission.



Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hongkong Disneyland "The Golden Mickey"

Another exciting show at Hongkong Disneyland, don't missed this one...here's an excerpt from "The Golden Mickey Show"

Also See: Disneyland Fireworks Video, Itinerary

Hongkong Disneyland Fireworks

Here's a video of the Hongkong Disneyland Fireworks Display.

Enjoy Watching:

ITINERARY

Hongkong Itinerary, A Do it Yourself Tour

Here's the Itinerary we prepared for our (3 days, 2 nights) Hongkong Tour last September 2008. It was my first time in Hongkong and it is a gamble for us to do the itinerary on our own. Thanks to the signage which is very helpful for a tourist like me to get to our destination. However there are a lot of travel agencies who will readily help you on your tour for an additional cost.
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I hope this itinerary will be helpful to all first timers out there.
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Morning

0300 – Going to Airport
0540 – ETD Manila to Hong Kong
0740 – ETA Hong Kong International Airport

Useful tips about Hong Kong:

Use the Octopus Card to travel around Hongkong without any hassle it can be be used on almost all public transport except taxis and at merchants wherever you see the sign. You can also add money on it when you need to, any unspent value is refundable (minus $7 if you stay less than 3 months).

0800 – Airport to Shamrock Hotel via Shuttle Bus Service (223 Nathan Road, Jordan, Kowloon)
0845 – ETA Shamrock Hotel
0915 – ETD Shamrock Hotel To Hong Kong Disneyland (via MTR Disneyland Resort Station)

How to get there:

The best way to reach Disneyland from Kowloon is to take the MTR Tsuen Wan Line. Get of at Central Station (South Side, approx. 8 Minutes) or at Lai King Station (West Side, approx. 15 minutes), Then another 15 minutes ride from Lai King to Disneyland Resort (HK$ 14). You should get off at Sunny Bay Station, and proceed to the Disneyland Resort Station. Your can buy tickets at the Hong Kong Disneyland Ticket Express, located at the MTR Hong Kong Station's Tung Chung Line Concourse or at Disneyland main entrance ticket office.

1000 – ETA Hong Kong Disneyland (HK$350/Head)

Park Hours: 1000 – 1930 (1000-2300 on special days)

Afternoon/Evening

1000 – 1930 (See Detailed Park Schedule)
1500 – Afternoon Parade
1900 – Halloween - Glow in the Dark Parade
2200 – ETD Hong Kong Disneyland
2300 – Night market Shopping

Hongkong Itinerary_Day 2

Morning

0530 – Wake-up Call
0700 – ETD Shamrock Hotel
0700 – 0900 Kowloon Tour
0900 – ETD Kowloon
0945 – ETA Tsing Ma Bridge (optional)

How to get there:

Taking the MTR, find Exit A1 when your reach at Tsing Yi MTR Station. Get on the green Mini Bus No. 308M operating from 10:00 am to 4:00 am Monday to Friday, last Bus will leave the Visitor's Centre at 4:30 pm.

Note:

During weekends and public holidays, Minibus runs 9:30 am to 6:30 pm with last bus leaving the Centre at 7:00 pm.

The View Point is open 7:30 am to midnight daily. And the Visitor's Centre at Tsing Yi is open 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday; 10:00 am to 6:30 pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays; closed during Christmas Holidays, New Year's Day and Chinese New Year Holidays.

1030 – ETD Tsing Ma Bridge
1115 – ETA Ngong Ping Cable Car Terminal (HK$145/Head, Journey of Enlightenment package)

Park Hours: 1000 – 1800

How to get there:

Ngong Ping Tung Chung Cable Car TerminalThis terminal is adjacent to MTR's Tung Chung Station in Tung Chung Town Centre. It is easily accessed via MTR, bus service or taxi. Take the Tung Chung Line to Tung Chung Station; the terminal is a two-minute walk from the station. [If catching MTR from Central, this journey will take you approximately 30-minutes.]

Bus and taxi services are available throughout Hong Kong. Alternatively, you can catch the S1 bus to Tung Chung Bus Terminal. This journey will take approximately 10 minutes and the bus station is adjacent to the terminal - Ngong Ping Tung Chung Cable Car Terminal.

Afternoon

1500 – ETD Ngong Ping
1600 – ETA Hongkong Island/Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum (HK$24/Head)
1630 – ETD The PeakTram (HK$30/Head Round Trip)

How to get there:

Take MTR to Central and make your way to the J2 exit of the Central MTR station. Turn right, through Chater Garden, cross Queen's Road Central and make your way up Garden Road. You will pass the Bank of China Tower and Citibank Plaza on your left and St John's Cathedral on your right before arriving at the terminus, which is to your left.

Also, you can take the MTR exit K to the City Hall. At the Bus Station adjacent to City Hall, take Bus no. 15C (3.20 HK$), which will take you on a 10 minute ride that will deliver you to the Peak Tram Station. From there the Peak Tram will bring you straight up to the Peak(HK$20 - one way, HK$30 - round trip).

1700 – ETA Victoria Peak(HK$20/Head @ Sky Terrace)

Route No. 15 - First Bus15 Central Ferry Pier to The Peak
Daily: 10:15am - 12:15am (from Central Pier 5)
Daily: 9:10am - 1:00am (from The Peak)
Frequency: 7-15 minutes
Fare: HK$9.20

1830 – ETD Victoria Peak
1930 – ETA Kowloon
2000 – Watch Symphony of Lights (can also be seen at the Peak)

Vantage Point:

Along the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront between the Avenue of Stars and the Hong Kong Cultural Centre

On the waterfront promenade outside the Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai
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Aboard a Harbour cruise

2030 – Avenue of Stars
2100 – Shopping/Free Time
2400 – Night Life (Optional)
0130 – Back to Shamrock Hotel

Hongkong Itinerary_Day 3

Morning:

0600 – Wake up Call
0800 – ETD Shamrock Hotel (Take all Luggage to the Counter before leaving)
0900 – ETA Ocean Park ((HK$210/Head) (Don't missed to see the Panda)

How to get there:

At Central Station, look for MTR exit K. or, if you're coming from any other point of the city, take the MTR trains and get off at Admiralty MTR station. Take the Exit B then get on the special City Bus No. 629 (HK$10.6) that will bring to the Park.

Park Hours: 1000 – 1800

1530 – ETD Ocean Park
1630 – ETA Shamrock Hotel
1930 – ETD Shamrock Hotel
2030 – ETA Hong Kong International Airport (Check-in Luggaga)
2155 – ETD Hong Kong to Manila
2355 – ETA, Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila


Mt. Gulugod Baboy Climb, A Reflection

Last January 19 and 20, 2007, we climb Mt. Gulugod Baboy in Mabini, Batangas, reaching the summit will take one and a half hour but it took us about 5 hours…why?.. We were lost…
We were confident enough to follow our leads because we knew they know the way/trail but after about 3 hours of trekking we decided to stop and regroup and almost decided to descend and abort the climb because we cannot find trail leading to the summit.

Sometimes in our life we lost our track, our way to God’s Kingdom, many religions claim that they know the truth, that they know the way to God’s Kingdom but the truth is they don’t’. We tend to choose an easy path thinking that it is the right way, but it will only lead us to chaos and disaster.

The Lord never fails, after a few minutes of looking for the right trail, someone came, a resident of the place, He led us to the summit, it may be more difficult path to follow but we were more confident that we will reach the summit.

The Lord did not promised an easy path when we decided to follow Him, there will be more trials, pains, persecutions and difficulties in life but He promised to be at our side especially during times of difficulties, during times of trials and during times of uncertainties. He will help us finish the race.

It may took us 5 hours before we reached the summit of Mt. Gulugod Baboy, with so many aaahhhs!, aaargh and ouch! but seeing the beauty of Gods creation after that gruesome trekking, those aaahhhs!, aaargh and ouch! changed to ha ha ha, ooohs! and wow!.

Our life may have so many aaahhhs!, aaargh and ouch but when we reached the Kingdom of Heaven, there will only have ha ha ha, ooohs! and wow! forever.
God is really faithful.

Mount Maculot, My First Climb

Two years ago we climbed our first mountain, Mount Maculot in Cuenca, Batangas.

Mount Maculot is one of the favorites among the mountaineers (specially the beginers) because of its established trail, fine views and its level of difficulty. Its main attraction is "The Rockies", a rocky outcropping overlooking Taal lake. It takes a bit of rock climbing skills to reach the top but definitely the effort is well rewarding.


Why I joined?
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I joined because I want to be with my wife, mahirap namang mag-isa sa bahay. wala akong makakausap, (It is difficult and sad to be left alone in our house)

The joy of reaching the summit was rewarding, it not that difficult after all for a beginner like me, though the trail were slippery because of the rain not to mention the steep slope of the trail. You need to hold on to any roots and plants you could see.


Reflection
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I felt the loving hands of the Lord. If there are no trees, we will all stumble and roll. Climbing a mountain is like reaching for your goals in life, many difficulties, many obstacle, many trials, but one thing is for sure God is ahead of us to be with us times of need...

The head lamp we used is like the light of the Lord, and the path we followed is like the path going to Jesus...
We reached the peak after one and a half hour... seeing God's creation at top of the mountain is amazing...

I never regret joining the climb, because I realized so many thing on the way up... life is not easy, but with a certain goal and with friends around you, and the Lord besides you, how can we fail...
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After the climb how's the Mountain?
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The mountain is deteriorating continously, garbage problems and trails are slowly eroding. Even if there's a lot of effort on the part of the responsible mountaineers to keep it clean, safe and enjoyable but nothing changes. Despite numerous clean-up drive being organized by the different mountaineering groups nothing really much significant result. Why?, because there are people who are irresponsible, doesn't care of their environment.

Personally, I am suggesting to close it temporarily just like the other mountain who at present have the same problems. Climbing should be regulated.

This week end a group of mountaineers will conduct a clean-up drive but it will be just the beginning of its cause, to bring back the glory of Mount Maculot.

Visit the link for more information on this event.

It's a long way to go to bring back the glory of Mount Maculot.

Help preserve our environment

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How to get there:
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Take a Tritran/Jam bus bound for Lemery (Cubao or Buendia). Alternatively, you can take any bus going to Batangas Pier and alight at the Lipa Public Market; Take the jeeps going to Lemery. Once at Cuenca, get off at the town arko or arch. There are tricycles that can take you to the registration store (where you register your party and pay the fee of P5 per climber) .

PHOTO GALLERY



Things I never Imagine(d) Doing

Before I write about my travel and hiking experiences allow me to share the things I never imagine(d) doing...

  1. Dancing
  2. Joining a Musical Play
  3. Mountain Climbing
  4. Joining a Marathon
  5. Singing in front of many people
  6. Rock Climbing
  7. Swimming
  8. Riding a Boat

Why I started doing these things, first because of love, love really change me... Love for the Lord and love for my wife. All of the outdoor activities I mentioned are the things my wife wanted to try, it was more than a year ago since we first try mountain climbing, then rock climbing and now marathon, whew!, aside from being healthy in doing this, it is more like a bonding for me and my wife. Now, we love doing these things together. Did i mentioned Riding a boat?.. up to this date, my heart still beat faster whenever I ride a boat, specially with a bad weather.


I can't imagine myself dancing, acting and singing on stage but because of my love and service to God, I did it, it was an awesome experienced to be a part of our community's musical play (it is not a small time play, it was staged at AFP theater and SM Cebu Cinema). even if I can't really dance, or even if I haven't got any stage experience, I was able to perform well for the glory of God.


Ah, time flies. Those were the days, if I'll be given a chance again of doing it?, I'll say yes, even if rehearsals are very tiring, or even if my eye-bag became "eye maleta" again.


Love really change me... these things is not anymore in my hate list.These are the things I never imagine(d) doing or afraid of doing, but little did i know that I was able to try it, learned it and love it... well, not all really, I still hate dancing (but I am willing to learn)... and swimming?, haven't learned it but in due time who knows I'll be the next Michael Phelps.


Good Day.

When Photography is Dangerous To Your Life

Photography is Dangerous to your life, and I personally experienced it, funny but true...only in the Philippines?, I don't know...
I went to attend a Financial Seminar held at AFP Theater in Camp Aguinaldo. Having a nice weather then, blue sky, nice clouds... I decided to take some photos, took my Point and shoot camera, took Aguinaldo's Monument (Aguinaldo riding a Horse), Took a photo of the venue and a couple of images (total of 6 images). I was running after because the seminar might start in a few minutes and I might end up standing when someone called me (an officer of Public Information Office).

Officer: (Running towards me) Excuse me, Ano kinunan mo?

Me: (Ipinakita ko yung mga pictures) Eto, Bakit bawal ba?

Officer: Pwedeng sumama ka muna sa akin?

Me: Ok, bawal ba?, burahin ko na lang ( Here, I realized I was inside a camp and they are following a SOP regarding taking photographs)

Officer: Kanina ka pa namin inoobserbahan eh.

Down stair another officer was waiting for us, started to questioned me of were I live, were I worked, am I a commissioned officer and what will I do with the pictures, I was apologetic the whole time, if they have a problem with that I will erased the photos. All I wanted is to have a photo essay of the whole seminar.

Officer: Bakit mo kinunan yung tangke? Pati yung building?, yung PIO building kinunan mo? San mo gagamitin yan?

Me: (I am in big trouble) Kinunan ko lang for souvenir.

(I haven't got any picture of AFP Theater and the Tank and the Monument, for 7 years I was in an out of the theater because our community held our Monthly gathering there, before we transferred last year to another venue, questionings continued)
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Officer: My ID ka ba?

Me: Eto sir. (binalikan ko pa sa house yung wallet ko kasi baka kako hingan ako ng ID sa gate, yun pala dito ako hihingan).

Officer: May kakilala ka ba rito para mapatunayan ang Identity mo? Mga dalawa o tatlo
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Me: Meron sir, marami (akyat uli kami sa 3rd floor)

I approached a sister, positively identified me that I am a simple citizen who is part of the community for a long time, explained to her what happened.

Officer: Kilala nyo ba ito?

Sister: Yes, He is a member of our community.

Officer: Taga saan ba s'ya?

Sister: What?, taga Marikina, right? (looking at me, I nodded), What's the problem?

Officer: Kasi ho, nakita po namin s'ya na kinukunan yung building, yung tangke eh,?
Sister: Sa'n mo ba gagamitin iyon?

Me: Wala lang po.

Officer: Kailangan po n'yang sumama sa amin, para po burahin yung mga picture?

Sister: Hinda ba pwedeng dito na lang, magsisimula na yung seminar, ma le-late s'ya.

Officer: Ma'am, sandali lang po, 2 minutes lang naman yun.

We went down again and go to the PIO, where another officer questioned me (friendly naman s'ya), took my ID, photocopied it for their File, erased the files (hindi na nya sana buburahin yung Monument kaso hindi pumayag yung isang officer na sumita sa akin.
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Officer: Kung gusto mong mag picture dito (PIO) ka hihingi ng permiso

Me: Pasensya na sir, instinct lang na nakakita ako ng maganda kaya kinunan ko.

Officer: Pasensya na rin sa abala

We talked for about 5 minutes more before I left the office. believe me during the questioning or interrogation (ha ha ha), I thought of the strangest (or funniest) things in my head. that they would take me to another camp for further questioning. I was in a dark room with many soldiers cracking me down (kakapanood ng 24 series, LOL). I was trembling, and asked myself of what I have done. Believe me, I was still in shock and throughout the seminar I was still thinking of what had happened. that they might apprehend me when I got out of the building. I did not hold of my camera anymore and just listened to our speaker.

Thank God I am still alive (ha ha ha). I was laughing when I got back to my senses (that was a day after the incident).

I learned 2 lessons in life... One, never ever take photographs as if you own the place, ask this question first "Pwede bang kumuha ng picture dito?". I've heard a lot of weird stories, that photographers were not allowed to shoot in Ayala or in Luneta or even the sunset in front of Luneta but this one is different... Military Camps are highly secured place, there we need to follow whatever protocol they have.

Second, never ever watched 24 again (LOL)
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Postcript:

I haven't experienced this when I was in Philippine Military Academy in Baguio City, but still I looked around if its allowed to take photographs

"Hindi lahat ng may camera ay terorista" -Anonymous

S.I.G.H

I just read a blog of Bro. Bo Sanchez, entitled Sigh...

He asked this question, "What do you do when your best plans don’t happen?"
His answer: You have two choices:
  • You can curse God in anger.
  • Or you can sigh with God in surrender.

And wonder what hidden blessing He is giving you through your problems.

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All of us have disappointment(s) in life or have bad experiences, when our plans don't happen or some of us might have bad experiences. Significant lost like jobs, love ones, or the promotion we are expecting did not materialized...all of these stuff do certainly happen... I surely did.

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I chose not to falter or lost heart instead I just hang on to God and wait for the right time for Him to answer why it happened, certainly there are reasons and only God knows why?. I had a lot of disappointment in life, but during those time I just sigh with God.

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Today I receive (and counting) so many blessings from God.. My best plan isn't really the best plan after all...but God's plan.

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S.I.G.H. .
Surrender In God's Hands


Patience

Have you ever wonder why there are so many numbers to press before you can actually talk to somebody to address your concern regarding a particular matter?...but no matter how many time you press a number you will still end up talking to a costumer service representative to address your concern.. it just really tedious, not to mention the time you spend talking to them..
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Well, I experience it...a lot

I called this particular company to inquire about my billing statement which I haven't receive yet and to also request for the change of billing address.

A costumer service representative hold the line for about 8 times and it took me about an hour to finished the conversation. The funny thing is she told me if I needed to go to the restroom because she overheard me saying it or if it just okay for me to hold the line once more (huh?!). I just say "It's OK", I spent more time waiting than talking to her, surprisingly I waited patiently.
People in the hospital are called "Patients", because they patiently waiting for the time they will be fed, or for the time the nurses will give them their medicines, It's really boring lying on the bed doing nothing but sleep and wait.

I just couldn't Imagine how God patiently waiting for those people who walked away from him to return back to His loving arms and enjoy all the blessings coming from Him. Maybe He is waiting for a longest time...and I thank God he patiently waits even if we are telling Him, "Would you please hold the line for a second?".

God is just waiting...

*Patience is the ability to endure waiting, delay, or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset, or to persevere calmly when faced with difficulties.

Where Is God??

"Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?- Luke 17:16

People ask question when tragedies happen in their lives. "Where is God when I needed Him most?, Where is God when I am down?". But where are these people when they experienced victory and success, do they return to God and give thanks?, People forget God whenever they are blessed abundantly but blames God whenever they experienced trials and difficulties.

In the Bible,God healed ten lepers but only one returned to give thanks. Lepers that time were considered outcast, "Pinandidirian" so to speak, their only hope is God for them to return to the society. They pleaded to God to heal them but after they were healed all but one forgot to return and give thanks to the Lord.

I, myself had experienced some difficulties and trials in my life but through all of these I've learned to give thanks to the Lord more and hold on to Him. Before, trials seems so hard to comprehend but now it seems so easy, because I know God is always here for me, in good times and in bad times.

When there are blessings and abundance, learn to give thanks and you will learn to give thanks even more when there are trials, failures and difficulties. The more we acknowledge the good things that God has done for us, the more we feel his presence in bad times and we wont be asking "Where is God?", because God is always in our hearts.

"God would never abandon us, especially in moments that we need Him the most. But for us to see Him clearly in our tragic moments we should train ourselves to see Him in our joyous times. In fact, we should be seeing Him every time and every moment so that never will there come a day in our lives that we could no longer see Him" - Alvin Barcelona

Frustrated??

Last Saturday, I was alone at home...

I got a guitar and start writing songs, the unexpected happened, one of the string broke and I don't have an extra string to replaced it, so I got my 13 year old guitar which I didn't use for quite some time now but to my surprise, the bridge of the guitar where the strings are attached were removed or broken, practically impossible to use and play it, my last resort was my keyboard but I am not used to play it since I am just a beginner so to speak.. i just stopped and sat on the chair and think...

"What is going on?" I told to myself, I just prayed to God because I was nearly frustrated with what was going on and it was only 8 in the morning. I end up writing lyrics and and listened to my old compositions which needed some fine tuning.

I learned my lessons from this experience:
  1. Be prepared - always have a back-up strings, check if everything is working and in good condition, specially my guitar
  2. Learn to play keyboard - it will definitely improved my core gift if I will learn to play the keyboard excellently
  3. Buy a new Guitar - so that my 13 year old guitar can retire
  4. Trust God and don't get frustrated - everything will be ok even if there are some hindrances.
Am I frustrated?... nah!!, but I've learned my lessons...

Here's the lyrics:
"You're the only One"

My Jesus, my Saviour
Who lifts me up when I'm down.
You bless me, and saved me
You gave Your life for me.

I give you all my praises
You're the only one I'll serve.

You're the only one I will adore
You're the only one I will proclaim
You're the only one.
You're the only one who gives me joy
You're the only one who gives me hope
You're the only one to me.

My heart rejoices because of you
I give my praises all for You.

In no time it will become a new song.. To God be the Glory.

True Authority

All were amazed and asked one another, "What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him." - Mark 1:27

The people during the time of Jesus were so amazed with the teaching of Jesus Christ, one, because they haven't seen a man like Him, a man with authority and integrity. Unlike the Pharisees who were too insecure of what Jesus was doing, they questioned every single deeds He made. Do they have the supreme authority in leading God's people?, I bet not, they were just to preoccupied on how they will follow the Law of Moses, too insecure to accept that a carpenter's Son had the authority over them.

I believe that there are still "pharisees" in our society, in the position, or anywhere else. These people claimed that they have the authority over us, but do they live what they preach, do they have the integrity to lead our nation?. Aah, they are just like the pharisees who looks pure and clean outside but rotten inside.

I hope that someday our nation will have leaders with integrity, uprightness and credibility just like Jesus or even just a small portion of it, maybe our nation will change. May their words and actions be rooted in Jesus.

"...Authority is earned, not bought: freely bestowed and recognized by others, not simply earned from oneself" - Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP

Be Made Clean

"Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, "I do will it, be made clean." - Mark 1:41

The Gospel for today is similar with the Gospel last Friday (Luke 5:12-16) about the leper who asked Jesus for his healing. The leper was outcast, separated from society and family because of his disease. Jesus knew how difficult for a person with leprosy to be separated from the society. Moved with pity, the Lord healed the leper.

I attended a Conference last year and I witnessed many people healed by God, lame people were able to walk, deaf able to hear and many other sicknesses. People are in awe, they jump for joy because of what the Lord has done for them. I wonder those people who hasn't received healing (yet), were they disappointed with God?, or will they continue seeking God's healing? (I believe so). I know in one way or another they were healed by God.

Jesus did not came here not just to perform miracle, not just to heal the sick but more importantly he was sent here to feed the hungry, love the abandoned and heal their spirit. Jesus, not wanting to attract much attention, he always said to the person he healed not to tell anyone about the miracle because He doesn't want to be known as a great Healer. His main mission is to save mankind, to cleanse people from sins.

I am really disappointed whenever there are preachers or healers who boast of their achievements, hasn't he forgot that he is just a vessel of God's miracle?. That's the difference between Jesus and these kind of preachers and healers, Jesus never boast of His deeds.
Spiritual cleansing is more important that physical cleansing. Many who are physically strong are spiritually weak, with many impurities. We are more concern with our body rather than our souls. When we die, our physical body will decay, return to ashes but our soul won't, it's either we go to heaven and enjoy its paradise or go to hell and suffer endlessly, were there are grinding of teeth forever.

Physical sickness may be one of many reasons for people to return to God and seek healing and forgiveness but why wait, all we have to do is ask, "Lord if you will, cleanse me and forgive me" and God will say, "Be made clean".

"God is a Father who forgives. His mercy is greater than our sin. He will forgive our sin - but let us try not to commit the sin again." - Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Prayer:
Lord, cleanse me, not just my body but also my soul, purify me, my heart, my spirit and my mind.

My Plans for 2009

I am really not yet over with 2008, because of the long vacation, I still have to finished a lot of thing in the office. With a very annoying client over me, I wanted to finished the job so that he wont bother me anymore and look forward for another year of excitement, blessings, and challenges.

Here are some of my Goals/Plans:

Finances
  1. Invest in Mutual Fund - this is a long term investment, since we are still experiencing Global Financial Crisis it is not good to invest in Mutual Fund if I will just park my money for a short period. (I will invest a portion of my bonus for a start)
  2. Invest in a Cooperative my office mate is offering - it is a short term investment, a mere P500 per payday will do and we will get it (including interest) at the end of the year. It will yield an average of 18% to 24%, it is risky but it worth the try.
  3. Save more - for personal needs, I will save 20% of my allowance per month.
  4. Save more - for travels and climbs.
  5. Create my own Blog site
  6. Sponsor another kid to school (as of today we are sponsoring 2 kids)

Relationship

I think I fall short on this department as far as my 2008 plan is concern.

  1. Love my wife even more, even better - write letters for her, go out with her regularly, join in her beads work or accompany her in her window shopping (hopefully this time I have more endurance in walking and walking and walking, LOL)
  2. Go out with my mom as often as I could - twice a month maybe (I only dated my mom 4 times last year)
  3. Spend time with my family and in-laws
  4. More travels/climbs with my wife - we are plotting our schedules as early as now =D

Spiritual

  1. Pray regularly - Improve not the quantity but the quality of my prayers.
  2. Visit the Blessed Sacrament regularly - I only visited the Blessed Sacrament 5 or 6 times last year.
  3. Attend the Feast regularly - I missed 20 percent of it last year, specially the 1st quarter of 2008
  4. Read more reflections and Books - my goal is to read at least 2 books a month, last year I read a total of 4 Religious/Inspirational Books.
  5. Pray the rosary with my wife - hopefully before bedtime.
  6. More dedication on my core gift(s) and ministry - last year I only composed 3 songs and missed several services in my ministry
  7. Attend Chapter Meetings and CG Meetings of the Couples of LOJ regularly

Health

  1. Climb Mountains regularly - as long as it wont affect my job
  2. Join Marathon Events - join and run 5K or 10K (I hope I could run in 21K event, bu t maybe next year if I am in condition)
  3. Jog regularly - last year I don't have time to do this , I hope this year
    Less rice during dinner

Travel

More travel, vacation, and exploration this year. I hope we could travel abroad again on our anniversary.

Postscript:

I wrote a lot of plans here but only God knows what's best for me. I submit every single plan and I hope it will glorify Him more.

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Having a baby, ah, that's the Lord's plan, if when he will give it? I don't know, but in the meantime we are preparing ourselves for the greatest gift of God to us. I know it won't be long.

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Go abroad?, maybe or maybe not, it depends on my present job.

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I offer the year 2009 to You, Lord. Direct my plans and guide all my undertakings. Your will, O Lord, not mine.


Compliments

"You are my beloved Son; with You I am well pleased." - Mark 1:11

As I was reading the Gospel, there is a question I asked "Does the people in Galilee also heard the voice of God during the baptism of Jesus Christ?. I bet not, if they also heard of it maybe every single person will believe that Jesus is the Son of God...or maybe they just ignored it.

This compliment must really gave a real boost on Jesus to go on with His mission. I remember when my father is still alive, he is very proud of me, even on his sick-bed, even if I can't understand a single word from him, I saw in his action how proud he is,..that really gave me more confidence and big morale.

How many times we contradict a person when they tell us compliments?, maybe a lot of times, but these compliments will really boost our confidence, will help us grow. These people are surely sent by God to tell us how pleased He is with what we are doing to glorify His Name.
Don't ignore these compliments because it is one of God's affirmation for us, ignore this and it is like ignoring His presence.

"The reason why we got these compliment is because of Him" -Tina Matanguihan

I Accidentally Deleted My Blogspot

This morning a terrible thing happened, really it's terrible because I deleted my blog spot. I exert so much effort in updating it daily, for me to share all my travels and experience and photographs I took, but now everything is gone.
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I have 2 blog spot with same title, so I decided to delete the one which I didn't update at all, so I thought. The sad thing is I don't have back-up of every single entry in my recently deleted blog.
Two things I've learned as a new blogger, which I've learned the hard way.
  1. Always have a back-up - so that if there are untoward things happens, it will be easy to retrieve it
  2. Forget about the mistakes and do it better - this new blog will be better and more useful to those who will visit

What more can I say, my world almost stopped but I realized there are more pressing problem in the world than losing my blog site.

Till then.

 

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