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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Daughter have Chicken Pox and I Learned and Important Lesson in Life

My daughter was just treated because of pneumonia. At first glance you wont even think that she got pneumonia until she coughs and sneezes. She was declared free of pneumonia last Saturday but another one was about to unfold, an ordeal I don't want my daughter to experience but part of growing up.
For two days, she was too cranky, refused to drink her milk and eat her food, she can't even find her rhythm to sleep at night. She is very irritated because of chicken pox.
On the first day (that's a Friday), she only consumed 4 ounces of milk the whole day, nothing more and you will already noticed that she lose some weights (see left photo). The second day was even harder though she ate a small serving of porridge, she did not eat anymore or even drink her milk.
She cried at night until 3 am I guess. I bought some biscuits and a cup of noodles hoping that she would eat it but still refused. We tried hard to let her drink her milk, even if she was trying it was really difficult for her because her tongue also have chicken pox.
I was really worried that she would end up dehydrated. At about 4am (I guess), we tried to convinced her to drink her milk. We told her that she needs it to avoid dehydration. With the help of a teaspoon she begun drinking her milk. It may be funny but I started to cry the moment she sipped her milk and consumed 6 ounces of milk.
Because of my daughter's ordeal, I understand more how our Almighty Father love us, His children. When we are experiencing difficulties in life, He is watching us and even cry with us. He is hurting when we got hurt, he grieves with us when we are sad but most especially, He dances with us in times of victory.
There is always a lesson to learn and blessings to receive from any trials that comes our way. My daughter's ordeal is over. She is drinking her milk now and her appetite is back to normal. She ate a lot of grapes yesterday. The blessings she receive: she is not drinking her milk in her feeding bottle anymore but straight from a cup (though sometimes she still wanted a teaspoon).
No more tears at night.
Parenthood is a difficult job but I love every second of it.
P.S. : Thanks to her toy Barney, it helped a lot. Some sort of a security blanket I guess. We are expecting that the chicken pox will be gone in a day or 2


© 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.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Marikina Christmas Celebration 2010 @ the River Park

Its been a tradition of the City Government of Marikina to celebrate Christmas season extra ordinarily and it was inaugurated last November 15, 2010 at the Marikina River Park.

Just like in the past years since its conception in 2002, the celebration highlights the "Tiange sa Ilog" (Night Bazaar by the River). The entire stretch of the Marikina River is lined up with hundreds of stalls selling shoes, toys, cloths, accessories and food mostly at affordable price.
For the past 7 years the theme of the celebration is "Marikina Christmas Festival" or MCF for short which is also the initials of our previous Mayor, Marides Carlos Fernando. In line with the tradition, the City Government named the theme after the name of our new Mayor, Del de Guzman which is “Dito Exciting Lagi ang Pasko” (in Marikina, Christmas is always exciting). I do hope they would come up with a better theme next year.

A new exciting theme park is recently open along Jesus dela Peña side of the river park, the Wonder Park, our own version of Jurassic Park. Nightly fares also feature various entertainment shows in line with the nine-week festivity focusing on different weekly themes. Weekly themes include Reyna ng Karnabal, Food Festival, Paskuhan ng mga Bata, Fashion Show, Palarong Pasko, Circus and Magic Shows, Cultural Show, Senior Citizens, and Barangay Week.
This year's celebration is simpler and safe. In fact, the city government deploy peace and order team composed of local policemen, barangay tanods and security guards. They also deploy K-9 units at the Tiangge’s entry and exit points.
Come and enjoy Marikina City's Christmas Festival. It will run until January 15, 2011

© 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.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Celebrating My Daughter's 1st Birthday

My baby is now a lady... oops!!!, wait a minute let me rephrase it. My baby is now a toddler (LOL). Today, my sweet daughter is celebrating her 1st birthday and today I also celebrate my 1st year of fatherhood. It is fun documenting my daughter's growth and I will continue doing it as long as I can.

The funny thing is she's only a year older but I am already thinking about her future. Is she going to get married?. If yes, I hope and pray that she could find a man who is not just a boyfriend material but a husband material. Who won't take advantage of her, who will not just love her but more importantly respect her. Anyway, it is still a couple of decades away though I am preparing for this (actually, I have sets of questions in mind when I begin interviewing suitors).

I can't tell if I am going to be a good father (I hope so) but I am striving hard to be like one. My daughter really makes us happy. She knows how to make us smile even though she's not doing anything. She'll just look into your eyes and everything melts away.

She is still learning to walk on her own and I noticed that everytime she's about to fall, she is reaching out to hold our hands and we are more than happy to give our hands to her. There will come a time that she will not anymore need our hands and she will walk on her own, travel and go anywhere she wants, make her own decisions in life and have her own family (or maybe a different vocation). We will make sure that we are there to guide her in every decisions.
I was hoping that she will remain a child forever. That is also the reason why her party's motiff is Tinkerbell. Remember Peterpan and the Neverland?, were kids never grow old?. I want to to go to Neverland too. The reality is, she will grow slowly (and I will grow old too). Anyway, I still have many more years to enjoy my daughter (and my future children).

To my lovely daughter, happy 1st birthday to you. Thank you for all the laughter and quality time we shared and we are looking forward for more. Things are getting better and better and exciting as ever. We love you and enjoy this day.

© 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.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Create Your Miracles

I thought of sharing this blog post again, Posted on on September 2005. I also shared this two Mondays ago when I lead the worship at the Ortigas Feast
This would be the second time that I joined a songwriting contest...

Frankly, it is so difficult to compose a song specially if it's for the Lord. I begun writing a song a day after the announcement of the songwriting contest. I was so excited but there were hesitations, not to mention a lot of pressures from my brothers and sisters in the community. They were all expecting that I will join.

Months, Weeks, days had past until it was about a week to go before the deadline of submission, I haven't write my song entry. I wrote two songs but eventually went straight to the trash bin until I finally gave up. It was so difficult if there was no inspiration coming from the Lord.

But my heart kept on saying, "join the contest'' but it was barely 3 days to go before the deadline."Lord, please extend the deadline if you really want me to joint the contest". The Lord granted my prayer.

A week of extension was all I got. It might not enough but I started writing a new song. I arranged the schedule of the recording not knowing if I could finish the song in time for the recording. Even if I haven't got any progress, I scheduled the recording 3 days before the final date of submission. I just let go of my intentions and let God do the job.

Eventually, I finished the song Friday morning.

One more problem that I encountered was when the owner of the studio I was renting told me that he might not be available on that particular night because he had a gig. I called Friday morning confirming our schedule if it will pushed through or not. He just told his band mate that he wont be attending their gig because he will earned more from the recording.

We recorded the song and it turned out well..

The Lord purified my motives, my intention. Before, I want to win the contest, that's all, nothing more. Those sleepless nights was over, I let Him work and purify my heart. Winning was not important anymore. I just want Him to use me as a vessel of His miracles and let the people hear the song and tell them, "This is God's work, God's miracle"...

I only hope that it will make it to the finals so that many people could hear it and to share what the Lord has done for me, how He used me, How he purified me...

The Song is simple..."Let Your Glory Shine"

To God be the Glory!!!!

On the finals night, I just went there to serve the Lord and sing to Him the song, I felt His presence, we just sung the song and enjoyed the night, it was really a humbling experience for me. Eventually, I got the 2nd Prize but more than the prize I learned a very important lesson, Always trust the Lord. When we focus our minds and heart in whatever we are doing to glorify God, His glory will shine.

Even if the song is long forgotten, I still continue writing songs for The Lord. May His Glory shines through me.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Use Your Gifts

The common interpretation of the Parable of the Talent is to teach us that we are under a moral obligation to use our abilities rather than bury them.

In the Bible, talent is a type of currency used during the time of Jesus. However, even the lowest value for a talent puts it as worth several thousand denarii and a denarius was the usual payment for a day's labor. So a talent was the value of many years of work by an ordinary person. (Source Wikipedia)

In today's use, talent or skill/ability (singing, dancing, playing musical instruments, etc.) is not also acquired overnight, it is many years of work.

Here are some points we may learn from the Parable:

  • God has faith in us, knows our potential and our capabilities.
  • He did not expect more from us than we can do
  • He knew our potentials

It is important that we get to know our Master, Jesus, so we understand His intentions for us and His faith in us. In knowing how He thinks of us, we understand our own potential better.

I've learned from a seminar (Child's Amazing Brain) that our brain composed of thousands of nerves which is connected to the center of our brain (It's like computers connected to a main server). Those nerves represent different skills and abilities.


When we are still on our toddler years, we have bits and pieces of every talent known on earth, as we grow older, we specialized on particular skill(s) and the unused nerves simply die because we don't use it anymore. That's how our talent works, if we don't use and develop it, it will simply die, period. God designed our brain to self-destruct those unused talents so that our brain will function better and specialized on things we love to do. So better use it and develop it for the glory of God.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Celebrating My 35th Birthday

Today is my 35th birthday and I celebrated it with my wife and nine month old daughter. It was a bit different celebration compare with my previous birthday(s). It was not just my day but my family's day.
We went to "Fun Ranch" in Ortigas and enjoyed the train ride and other attraction as well. Honestly, we only stayed there for an hour or so but it was the best hour of my birthday celebration. No luxurious lunch or dinner and fancy gifts but I was more than bless by God. The most precious gift I ever received from God is my wife and daughter, I can't compare it with any other gift (off course, I will not refused anyone who will give me a birthday present, LOL :D)
It's no father's day today just like my wife said but I choose to celebrate my birthday this way, to be a father to my daughter. Later in the afternoon, we kill time in a famous coffee shop while Gabby took a nap. I always love how my daughter sleep on my shoulder and I took that opportunity everytime my wife was finished nursing her. I never thought that I was snoozing too (ha! ha! ha!).
Before we went home, We proceeded to a hotel for their presentation (We almost sign up with what they were offering to us, whew!) and get our free gift certificate (3 days and 2 nights hotel accommodations) and a free dinner too. Not a bad birthday gift from a person whom I never knew, all I need to do was to listen to their presentation.
To all the 150++ (friends, schoolmates and family) who greeted me through Facebook, e-mails and text messages, thank you very much for your warm greetings, wishes and prayers. I am 35 years old but still looking young (naks!) and feeling young.

The above video was taken this afternoon at Fun Ranch

© 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.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ninoy Aquino Jr.'s Letter to PE Noynoy Aquino III

August 25, 1973

Fort Bonifacio
Mr. Benigno S. Aquino III


My dearest Son:

One of these days , when you have completed your studies I am sure you will have the opportunity to visit many countries. And in your travels you will witness a bullfight.

In Spanish bullfighting as you know, a man – the matador – is pitted against an angry bull.

The man goads the bull to extreme anger and madness. Then a moment comes when the bull, maddened, bleeding and covered with darts, feeling his last moment has come, stops rushing about and grimly turns his face on the man with the scarlet “muleta” and sword. The Spaniards call this “the moment of truth.” This is the climax of the bullfight.

This afternoon, I have arrived at my own moment of truth. After a lengthy conference with my lawyers, Senators Jovito R. Salonga and Lorenzo M. Tanada I made a very crucial and vital decision that will surely affect all our lives: mommie’s, your sisters’, yours and all our loved ones as well as mine.

I have decided not to participate in the proceedings of the Military Commission assigned to try the charges filed against me by the army prosecution staff. As you know, I’ve been charged with illegal possession of firearms, violation of RA 1700 otherwise known as the “Anti-Subversion Act” and murder.

You are still too young to grasp the full impact of my decision. Briefly: by not participating in the proceedings, I will not be represented by counsel, the prosecution will present its witnesses without any cross examinations, I will not put up any defense, I will remain passive and quiet through the entire trial and I will merely await the verdict. Inasmuch as it will be a completely one-sided affair, I suppose it is reasonable to expect the maximum penalty will be given to me. I expect to be sentenced to imprisonment the rest of my natural life, or possibly be sent to stand before a firing squad. By adopting the course of action I decided upon this afternoon, I have literally decided to walk into the very jaws of death.

You may ask: why did you do it?

Son, my decision is an act of conscience. It is an act of protest against the structures of injustice that have been imposed upon our hapless countrymen. Futile and puny, as it will surely appear to many, it is my last act of defiance against tyranny and dictatorship.

You are my only son. You carry my name and the name of my father. I have no material wealth to leave you. I never had time to make money while I was in the hire of our people.

For this I am very sorry. I had hopes of building a little nest egg for you. I bought a ranch in Masbate in the hope that after ten or fifteen years, the coconut trees I planted there would be yielding enough to assure you a modest but comfortable existence.

Unfortunately, I had to sell all our properties as I fought battle after political battle as a beleaguered member of the opposition. And after the last battle, I had more obligations than assets.

The only valuable asset I can bequeath to you now is the name you carry. I have tried my best during my years of public service to keep that name untarnished and respected, unmarked by sorry compromises for expediency. I now pass it on to you, as good, I pray, as when my father, your grandfather passed it on to me.

I prepared a statement which I intend to read before the military commission on Monday at the opening of my trial. I hope the commission members will be understanding and kind enough to allow me to read my statement into the record. This may well be my first and only participation in the entire proceedings.

In this statement, I said: Some people suggested that I beg for mercy from the present powers that be. Son, this I cannot do in conscience. I would rather die on my feet with honor, than live on bended knees in shame.

Your great grandfather, Gen. Servilliano Aquino was twice condemned to death by both the Spaniards and the American colonizers. Fortunately, he survived both by a twist of fate.

Your grandfather, my father was also imprisoned by the Americans because he loved his people more than the Americans who colonized us. He was finally vindicated. Our ancestors have shared the pains, the sorrows and the anguish of Mother Filipinas when she was in bondage.

It is a rare privilege for me to join the Motherland in the dark dungeon where she was led back by one of her own sons whom she lavished with love and glory.

I ended my statement thus: I have chosen to follow my conscience and accept the tyrant’s revenge.

It takes little effort to stop a tyrant. I have no doubt in the ultimate victory of right over wrong, of evil over good, in the awakening of the Filipino.

Forgive me for passing unto your young shoulders the great responsibility for our family. I trust you will love your mother and your sisters and lavish them with the care and protection I would have given them.

I was barely fifteen years old when my father died. His death was my most traumatic experience. I loved and hero-worshipped him so much, I wanted to join him in his grave when he passed away. But as in all sorrows, eventually they are washed away by the rains of time.

In the coming years, I hope you will study very hard so that you will have a solid foundation on which to build your future. I may no longer be around to give you my fatherly advice. I have asked many of your uncles to help you along should the need arise and I pray you will have the humility to drink from their fountain of experiences.

Look after your two younger sisters with understanding and affection. Viel and Krissy will need your umbrella of protection for a long time. Krissy is still very young and fate has been most unkind to both of us. Our parting came too soon. Please make up for me. Take care of her as I would have taken care of her with patience and warm affection.

Finally, stand by your mother as she stood beside me through the buffeting winds of crisis and uncertainties firm and resolute and uncowed. I pray to God, you inherit her indomitable spirit and her rare brand of silent courage.

I had hopes of introducing you to my friends, showing you the world and guide you through the maze of survival. I am afraid, you will now have to go it alone without your guide.

The only advice I can give you: Live with honor and follow your conscience.

There is no greater nation on earth than our Motherland. No greater people than our own. Serve them with all your heart, with all your might and with all your strength.

Son, the ball is now in your hands.



Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pan de Amerikana in Marikina

If there is one place that I might want to visit again and again, it's Pan de Amerikana in Marikina City.
We spent several occasions at Pan de Amerikana because the food is very affordable and the place is very relaxing. For less than P1,000, our family (group of 12) enjoyed the time we spent here. They have affordable and yummy breakfast like tocino, omelet, tapsilog and a lot more and off course they have a very tasty wheat pandesal (mega sized wheat at P5.50, giant Pandesal Pan Amerikano at P55).

Pan de Amerikana is a restaurant in garden setting with water falls, tree house, rope bridge, koi pond, traviesa benches, old antique wood tables, batibot chairs and tables, tropical rain forest plants, wishing well and Italian colonnade European ruins. It's ideal for any occasion and it will really work on your budget.

We also enjoy playing chess will eating our breakfast for many of their tables have a built-in chess board, all you need to do is borrow from the cashier one set of chess pieces.
Playing chess once again reminds me of my high school and collage days were I became a chess varsity player. I even joined the chess club and played with the top players of the club. I never won any single tournament but the experience was great, though I won some in our school (I wonder if I could still play skillfully)
There are these jumbo-sized three and a half (3 1/2) feet high plastic chess pieces imported from New York City with matching jumbo chess clock that you could actually use to play chess or simply take some photo souvenirs for your family. It was very tiring playing the jumbo chess as if I was working out on a gym.
A group of photographers and art enthusiasts also have their regular meeting at Pan de Amerikana. they also hold workshops here (I might join them in the near future)
Pan de Amerikana is a good place for families, chess enthusiasts, couples and photographers. You might want to eat here after you visit the World of Butterflies in Marikina City.They opens from 6am to 7pm daily except Sundays which only opens from 6am to 3pm. Located at No. 92 Ordoñez Street (Molave Street) Concepcion Dos Marikina City. For reservation, please call at telephone number 475-2398 and look for Mean.
Everlasting and Waknatoy, these dishes were invented in the kitchens of Marikina. The everlasting is their version of Embotido, everlasting is a regular dish at the table of Marikeños during fiestas and other gatherings. Waknatoy is similar to menudo though I haven't tried it yet.
Don't forget to buy the authentic 1950's pandesal and their ensaymada.
Pandesal Since 1950's
118 Katipunan Avenue, White Plains, Quezon City
(Beside Lola Idang's)
Telephone: +632 421-1966
Mobile: +63 917 881-1884

Unit 4, Madison Building, Wilson street Greenhills, San Juan
Telephone: +632 384-6741
Mobile: +63 917-5664424

Constellation Drive corner Makati Avenue, Belair
Near North Park along Makati Avenue
Telephone: +632 387-9413
Mobile: +63917 571-2224

© 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.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Father's Day Reflection

This reflection might be late (I was busy writing about our Palawan Vacation) because Father's Day in the Philippines and the rest of Asia was celebrated last Sunday, June 20. But I still have the urge to share my reflection, anyway Father's Day is not yet celebrated in other part of the world. For instance, Father's Day in Australia and New Zealand will be on September 5.

This was my first Father's Day Celebration (my daughter was born last October). No fancy celebration, we went to hear mass (I was waiting for the presiding priest to give a special blessing for fathers like me, but there was non), we ate our breakfast at Pan de Amerikana and my wife bought a cake for me and my father-in-law. While we were enjoying our breakfast my father-in-law and I played 2 rounds of chess, I won both rounds (yahoo!, to date we're 5-0).

Later in the afternoon, I went to a mall and found out that there was a simple treat for fathers like me. It was almost on the final stretch of the program but still I joined them. We played the longest line using only coins and our team lost. How could we win when I only have 6 loose coins in my pocket, the same with my team mates. Later, I was forced to join "Pinoy Henyo" (A famous game from a noontime show). We were all laughing and we lost again. The the mystery word was “peluka” (wig), my team mate thought it was “pelikula” (movie).

After buying a book (Percy Jackson Book 3), I went home then I played with my daughter. It was the most memorable moment for me. When I am in the office, I am striving to be the best project manager. When I am serving the Lord through music, I am striving to be the best guitarist. When I hold my camera, I was transformed and become a photographer hoping to shoot better photographs. And when I am home, I am a cool father to my daughter and a loving husband to my wife (I know my wife will agree). But this is the role I like the most, I don't need to please anybody and pretend to be someone. All I need to do is embrace my wife and daughter, play with them and have a wonderful chat with them and be myself. Their smile gives the greatest joy here on earth. It is fulfilling knowing that I am already a father. It is challenging sometimes but nothing compares with the joy my daughter give me and my wife.

I visited my father's grave to offer some flowers and a prayer. I always missed my dad, specially on special occasions like this and it was just right to visit him and give him praises (I know he heard me in one way or another). I owe everything to him (and mom) for who I am and what I become. He built a strong foundation that no one can take away. I have grown up with his values and dedication. He was not perfect but I never imagined myself having a dad aside from him. With this, I thank my dad once more.

My dad was truly a D.A.D.* father. He is my hero and my idol and I hope someday my daughter and future kids will tell me the same thing.

Happy Father's Day to us all!

*Dedicated And Devoted

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kalui Restaurant

There are a lot of places to eat in Puerto Princesa City. Unlike the first time I visited Palawan, there are food chains and stalls almost every corner of the city. But if there is one restaurant tourists and visitors shouldn't missed, it is Kalui Restaurant. Kalui is equally recommended by Palawaños like the Badjao Seafront Restaurant but food are cheaper and delicious as well, not to mention that the place is more accessible since it is located in Rizal Avenue, a major street in Puerto Princesa City. It is considered as one of the city's pride and icon. In fact, Kalui is now on its 20th++ year of existence (I wonder why we didn't eat here on our first visit in Palawan).

As their website claimed, "Your tour in Palawan wouldn't be complete if you haven't visit this place" and I agree with them. Kalui provides one of the best (if not the best) customer service. Once you enter the restaurant, you will be greeted by their friendly staff.

The entrance to the restaurant is not atrractive at all, it's like a simple tarangkahan (wooden gate) of a traditional house. I noticed that upon entering the lobby, guests are requested to removed their shoes and socks, slippers and sandals. Personally, I don't mind walking on the floor barefooted because I do it a lot of times inside our house (LOL), I felt like I'm not away from home. Kidding aside, the floors are well-polished and clean, so you don't have to worry to have a dirty feet after. There are various dining spots to choose, there are regular table and chairs and also there are an elevated porches with low table (just like the tables in tea houses) with pillows for sitting (there are other dining spots in Kalui that I was not able to explore). We chose the later because it is more cozy and add more excitement to our starving stomach. We thought we would enjoy the food even more (Luckily, our group was able to secure a spot).

Unlike other restaurants, Kalui's menu changes each day which depends on the fresh catch of the day. You will found out that the date is printed on the menu, so you may not be able to order a certain food even if a friend ordered it the other day and recommended it to you to try. They also have regular menu like tuna belly, lapu-lapu and blue marlin. They also serve lobster, shrimps, crabs and other kind of seafoods. Aside from these, they also serve fresh fruits vegetables but for red meat lovers will be disappointed because they don't serve red meat at all.

I tried their own version of sinigang (It's my favorite). They use coconut juice as pampaasim instead of the commonly used sampaloc (tamarind). In addition to what we have ordered, they also served a complimentary dessert made of fresh fruits (banana, watermelon, mango and papaya) on a coconut husk sprinkled with muscovado sugar.

The restaurant's interior have paintings and lantern decorations. The architecture resembles a large and traditional Nipa Hut (Bahay Kubo). The atmosphere is romantic and intimate because of the low lightning (an ideal place for couples maybe).

With this unique and fantastic dining experience, a guest will not have to pay no more than P300. One last note, it is recommended for everyone to make a reservation ahead of time to avoid waiting for a much longer time (we waited for an hour and a half) because they are fully booked most often than not. This is the price of being so famous.

Kalui Restaurant is open daily from Monday to Saturday, except during Sundays. Lunch is at 11 am to 2 pm, and dinner is from 6 to 11 pm. It is Located at 369 Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City (10 minutes from Palawan Provincial Capitol). For reservation, you may call at telephone no. (6348) 433-2580 or at Mobile No: +63 928-7539621.

Note: All photos were taken/captured using my Point and Shoot Canon Powershot A540.


© 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.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Badjao Seafront Restaruant

This was one of the much awaited dining experience for our family to dine and eat at Badjao Seafront Restaurant. It is one of the restaurants highly recommended by the local residents of Palawan to visitors and tourists. So even though our schedule was tight because it was our last day in Palawan, we still managed to squeeze it in into our schedule.
The restaurant is built on top of a mangrove habitat (forest). It featured a nice view of the sea, it wont be called Seafront restaurant for nothing. The restaurant itself is about 200 meters from the parking lot. One must walk on a wooden bridge built above the mangrove trees.
If you are commuting via tricycle, you must tell the driver to bring you at "Badjao Seafront Restaurant" don't just tell "Badjao Restaurant" because they have a branch located at Puerto Princesa's commercial district which is near Hotel Flueris and Badjao Inn. Do not also forget to tell the tricycle driver to wait for you since it is not accessible to any mode of transportation.
The restaurant is a popular dining place in Puerto Princesa City not just because of the cool sea breeze and warm ambiance but also because of the delicious food though there's nothing special as far as the food is concern. . The specialties of the Badjao Seafront Restaurant are the seafood platter and the set meal featuring the freshest catch of the day. One seafood platter is good for 2 to 3 person but it depends on your appetite..
As we were waiting for our food, we took the opportunity to feel the cool breeze of the sea and enjoy the beauty of the surroundings. We also had the chance to sea a blue-colored bird (I don't what kind of bird it is)
The food were served promptly but I was to disappointed with their "sinigang na maya-maya" because it barely have soup. The quantity of the food per serving is less than I was expecting. I think it is better to order individually rather than ordering a set menu because in the long run it is cheaper.
For me, Kalui is far better that Badjao Seafront Restaurant as far as the food they are serving is concern (I'll share about it some other day).
The restaurant is located along A. Abueg Sr. Street and is about 20 minutes from Palawan Provincial Capitol.

. (click thumbnail to view)

© 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.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Baker's Hill

There is one place in Palawan particularly in Puerto Princesa City you shouldn't missed. Baker's Hill (it is literally sits on top of a hill) became a tourist destination not just because of their delicious bread products but also of the attractive statues strategically positioned around the vicinity, it's like a theme park minus the carnival rides.
Originally, a house was built for the Torres Family and not intended for the public. Later, a bakery was built and eventually they decided to develop it into it into a theme park to attract costumers and tourist. It became an instant hit, they have a mini aviary which houses peacocks, ostrich and other birds (I didn't saw it when I visited the place).
The place is very attractive for children because of the many playground in the vicinity. Kids and adult will definitely enjoy it.
You should try eating at their restaurant, after you stroll around the park you will definitely crave for more food. They have pizza and pasta in their menu.
Before going home, don't forget to buy pasalubong for your love ones. Off course they have breads, souvenir items like shirts and pearl. Can you ask for more?. Baker's Hill is like a one stop shop for tourists and actually part of the itinerary for a pre-arranged tours.
One more reminder, clean as you go.
Baker’s Hill is located at the Mitra Road, Barangay Sta. Monica, Puerto Princesa City. Tel. No. (6344) 4333414. Free Admission

© 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, June 16, 2010

Puerto Princesa City's Baywalk

After our very tiring but enjoyable Underground River Tour, we went to Puerto Princesa City's (PPC's) own version of Baywalk in Manila for a short visit. Unlike the now defunct Manila Baywalk, PPC's Baywalk is less crowded, a suiting place to relax and a nice place to bond with your family.
I was not able to see the bay during sunset, I hope next time I could go here during sunset when I visit Palawan in the future. Even though that it is more ideal to stroll here early in the morning, PPC's Baywalk has its own uniqueness during nighttime. The lamp posts which is beautifully design with different shape) add more beauty and character to the place.
There are bikes for rent here for only P25 (no side car) per hour. Couples will enjoy the place while riding on a pedicab (bike with side car).
I went to the farthest side of the Bay (riding on a bike) to take a couple of shots of the Pier but there was already a wall built as high as 10 feet maybe. It was disappointing because (maybe) a couple of months back the wall was not there yet.
A peacock shaped lamp post (see photo on the left) caught my attention because of its design and color. I took a couple of shots before I rejoined with my relatives and friends.
Incidentally, this lamp post is part of the PPC's Official Seal. I've also learned that the symbol was probably chosen as a salute to the Palawan Peacock Pheasant which is endangered and endemic in Palawan.
I wish I stayed longer but it was getting late and we still need to wake up early in the morning for our Honda bay Island Hopping.

© 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.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Aborlan, Palawan (Day 4)

Aborlan is a 2nd class municipality in the province of Palawan and divided into 19 barangays. it is located 69 kms. (or an hour an a half of road trip)south of Puerto Princesa City. It is also the town where three (3) small farms and (big) houses of my uncle is located.

Aborlan became a news item during the elections in the Philippines when one of the leading gubernatorial candidate was disqualified by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC)because of residency issue. However, the said candidate was able to get the Supreme Court to temporarily set aside the COMELEC’s disqualification ruling. He eventually won by a slight margin of less than 15,000 from his lone opponent. A group asked the Supreme Court to uphold the disqualification of the newly elected governor by the COMELEC. No latest development has been reported as of this date.

Anyway, I won't waste another paragraph on this controversy (for now).
We were originally schedules to travel to Aborlan as early as 7 am but we only decided to travel late in the afternoon. It was a quick tour actually. During the trip, we passed by several entry point going to Ihawag Prison and Penal Farm (I first visited it in 2005).
Our first stop was at the mango farm of our uncle. We harvested quite a number of Palawan mangoes as well as Indian mangoes for our own consumption. My daughter picked one from the tree and smile while I took some photos.
I also took the opportunity to bond with my daughter and rode on a swing located at the back of the farm house.
After eating a few pieces of mangoes, we continue our trip going to the 2nd farm.
It is a coconut farm with a number of animals like chicken, pig, ducks among others. We drunk an unlimited buko juice.I posed for a wacky shot with my wife as if we were eating the whole coconut.
After filling up all our stomachs, we continue our trip on our final destination and rest for a while and quenched our thirst with ice cold drinks.
We left Aborlan at around 6pm and arrive two (2) hours shortly to our place of origin. After eating our dinner, we set the karaoke and begun singing until the wee hours of the morning.
© 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.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Honda Bay Island Hopping (Day 3)

Honda Bay in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan is comprised of several islands with shallow reefs bordering wonderful beaches which have become the much loved swimming, snorkeling, and diving destinations of local residents and tourists.
We set sail at Barangay. Sta, Lourdes where pump boats can be hired (we pre-arranged our boat and it cost us P250 per person, we were a group of 26) . It was quite a long boat ride going to one island to another. Some islands are privately owned and some islands require entrance fees before you could set your feet on the sand. Thankfully, our guide was able to persuade the person in charge that we will only stay in a particular island for a few minutes only. We were able to visit Starfish Island (P30 entrance fee), Snake Island (no entrance fee) and Pandan Island (P150 entrance fee)
The best recognized islands of Honda Bay are Cowrie and Bat Islands named because of the large fruit bats coming out of their holes at sundown for their evening feed. There is this island which is called "Lu-li" Island, derived from the word "lulubog-lilitaw" (sinking and floating) because the island is only visible during low tide.
Starfish Island - it is an island with coral reefs, crystal clear water, fine white sand beaches and clear water that teems with starfish. It was called Starfish Islands obviously because of a considerable number of starfish found here.
There are cottages here and a few props like benches with branches and a giant clam shell which I believe was put here for photo opportunity purposes.
You could ask your boat guides to took photos for you for they know a number of fancy shots which you will enjoy.
We haven't explore the island thoroughly because of time constrains so we set sail again going to Snake Island were we ate our lunch with our relatives and friends.
Snake Island - This island was called Snake Island because of the island's snake-like shape (you will see it in an aerial view) and not because snakes inhabited the island.
There are mangrove trees found here and a very long white beach sand. You could try exploring the whole island but beware you need food because it is too long to explore. The best time to explore i t is during low tide because some part of the island is submerge during high tide.
The island is the best place to relax, snorkel (there's a lot of fish here), swim or whatever things fit to do here. There is a sari-sari store found here where you could buy fresh buko, halo-halo and ice-cold drinks for your refreshments. There are also fresh fishes for sale for you to grill and some souvenir items to buy. Personally, I am not in favor of stores in an island or beaches but I think they do a good job in maintaining the cleanliness of the beach.
Pandan Island - this island was the last island we visited before we went home. We took a few minutes of photo session before we set sail again going back to Sta. Lourdes Wharf .
It has a number of cottages and coconut trees found here. It is quite a small island compare with other islands but you will definitely enjoy the white sands and scenery here.
We were about to leave the island when the boatman instructed us to stay for a while because there was a strong wind coming. If it was not for the kids we will not wait for the wind to subside. After a few more minutes, we set sail again going home. the trip was scary because of the big waves but it was manageable to it scared me a lot.
We arrived safely at Sta. Lourdes Wharf were a group of orphans serenaded us with traditional songs for a small amount of donations.
Things to bring:
  • Snorkeling gear
  • Camera
  • Sun Block
  • Food
  • Money

© 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, June 9, 2010

The Underground River (Day 2)

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP) (or most commonly called The Underground River) is one of the most distinguished biodiversity conservation areas of the Philippines. It is known lush old growth tropical forest, interesting wildlife such as bats, reptiles and swiflets or balisasayaw (known for the nest they created and one of the main engridient of nido soup), among others pristine white sand beaches and unspoiled natural beauty. It features spectacular limestone formation that contains an Underground River which measures about 8.2 Km long and is simply navigable up to 4.3 km. It is one of the few such rivers which the public can easily experience and appreciate.
Until the 2007 discovery of an underground river in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, PPSRNP is reputed to be the longest navigable underground river in the world.
The PPSRNP is the official nominee of the Philippines and a finalist to the Search for The New 7 Wonders of Nature. As a natural area, it has attracted an increasing number of conservationist, scientist, students, photographers, wildlife watchers and nature lovers. It is a source of pride and a key element in the identity of the people of Puerto Princesa in particular and of the Philippines as a whole.

It has become a habitat for thousands of variety of flora and fauna including endangered species such as the Pheasant Peacock and Philippine Cockatoo. Nothing beats the famous monkeys (thief monkeys, they will just grab whatever you are holding) and picture-friendly monitor lizards or “bayawak”. Though I haven't seen a single monkey or peacock around the area, I wonder what happened to these species.
Be imaginative to figure out the shape of the stalactites and stalagmites inside the cave.
Here are some basic rules for cave tour to be followed:
  • Present valid entry permit (get it prior to the day of the trip)
  • Register properly on logbook
  • Wear safety equipment and await your turn
  • Keep voice at a minimum while on tour
  • Do not touch walls or other rock formations
  • Do not scare cave dwellers
  • Do not smoke, eat or throw waste inside the cave
  • Relax and enjoy by paying attention to your able cave guides
General Entrance Fee:
P 75.00 and P 50.00

Cave Entrance Fee*:

21 – 59 yr. Old (P 200.00)
17 – 20 yr. Old (P 100.00)
13 – 16 yr. Old ( P 75.00)
6 – 12 yr. Old (P 50.00)

*Filipino Senior Citizens 60 yr. old and above, Children 5 years old and below, and the handicapped are exempted from paying entrance for the Underground River Tour.

Other Fees:

Van Rental from the City Proper
P 3,500.00 – two way (average van rental price)

Boat to Underground River Beach
P700.00 for 6 persons – two way
How to get There:

The Underground river is accessible by land via an 81 km road. It takes around one and a half hours of travel over mostly paved road from Puerto Princesa City to Sabang. It is served by public utility jeepneys and air-condition shuttle vans.

© 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.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Prawn Farm in Bohol

Prawn Farm is a homegrown restaurant located on the ground floor of the Island City Mall, the largest air conditioned structure in the city (I heard that the restaurant's owner is also the mall's owner). It looks like a fine dining restaurant but the food is affordable. We chose to eat here because it's not too crowded to eat and talk with friends.
Known for its enticing Filipino delicacies, this casual dining facility serves delightful dishes of various kinds of seafood including crabs, prawns and fishes. I wont put much time on the food the offer because I am too biased when it comes to seafood but for sure you will enjoy the taste (hmmm).
I've read a number of good reviews for Prawn Farm but in our case it was the opposite. I have nothing to say with the food because I really enjoyed the food (I told you I'm too biased), The place is clean and cozy but for the efficiency of service they provide? I think they need to strive harder.
We were all delighted and excited to order some of the food they offer but the excitement and the smile on our faces started to fade. We waited for a total of an hour and half plus a number of follow-ups before our food was served. It added to our dismay when we saw some of the table being served first even if we arrived much earlier. The even finished eating before we could start our meal.
Our schedules was affected because of their awful service. We quickly finished our food and left the restaurant. They should call their restaurant FROWN FARM instead.
I hope that our case was only isolated, I'll give them a chance to redeem themselves when I visit Bohol in the near future.


© 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.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Pahiyas Festival 2010

The San Isidro Pahiyas Festival held every 15th of May 15 and has become one of the country's tourist attractions prompting the Department of Tourism to list down Lucban as a tourist town and a cultural heritage site. Pahiyas Festival is a colorful feast in honor of their patron saint, San Isidro Labrador.

The festival's name comes from the Filipino terms hiyas (jewel) and pahiyas (precious offering). This feast is an ancient farmers' harvest celebration that dates back to the 16th century. According to legend, San Isidro Labrador magically plowed the field whenever he went out of the church. This is the story that the Spaniards passed on to the Philippines from Mexico during their colonial period. Since then, the Pahiyas Festival has been a source of excitement for the locals and visitors of Quezon Province.

Chosen locals'' houses are decorated with agricultural harvest (vegetables and colorful rice wafers (or kiping). These thin wafers made from rice dough are usually arranged into two or three layers of chandeliers called aranya (see left photo). The locals use different kinds of leaves to add flavor and color to the kiping. They also produce varieties of tastes and textures by using different ingredients such as kabal, coffee, talisay (umbrella tree), cocoa, and banaba leaves.

Each house tries to outdo each other in decorations in an annual competition as they vie for the honor of being recognized for their creativity and artistry (prizes were given to the winning pahiyas based on a given criteria).

After the competition is over and the awards are handed over to the owners of the winning house, the decorations of the house will be thrown away to the huge flock of people as free treats. For the other houses, after the festival, those kipings that were used as decorations are cooked and eaten as rice chips. Also during the festival, the people display their harvest in front of their homes so that the parish priest can bless them as the procession passes by.

Aside from this, there are also contest for best karosa, it's almost the same as decoration in different houses, the only difference is they decorated their jeeps instead. Another one is the "Cart Decoration Contest", locals decorated their cart just like the houses, featuring their famous and delicious Pansit Habhab, left photo shows the winner for this year's contest. Fashion designers also compete by showing their creativity in making a gown using native materials.

There were also this carabao parade where some of the carabaos kneel to the tourist delight. There was this particular carabao which caught my attention and it's my first time to see such carabao, it's an albino carabao, it was so called albino because of its unusual color which is reddish white.
There's the TIYANGGE SA LUCBAN, an agro-industrial fair showcasing Lucban's products. This fair features foods native to the town like the delicious Lucban longganisa, puto seko, broas, tikoy and other delicacies; ornamental plants like dapo and cut flowers; handicrafts such as buri/buntal hats, bags and a number of other cottage industry products.
Lastly, I was able to enjoy the majestic height of Mount banahaw de Lucban. the sky was clear, I was able to see its peak (I'll tell more about it next time).
Indeed, Pahiyas Festival is truly a colorful and wonderful event. I'll be returning here next year to enjoy more of the Festival (I haven't move around much because of thousand s of people who flocked here and enjoy their weekend.

© 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.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Last Song - Movie (2010)

I was excited to watch this movie after I read the novel. Actually, the screenplay for this film was written by Nicholas Sparks prior to the completion of the book. the screenplay was completed in January 2009 while the book was completed in June 2009 (the same time shooting of the film begun) and was published in September 2009.
I thought that I will enjoy watching the film because I already know the story and I only want to see if the movie will give justice to the nice story of the book, but I was wrong. It's seems that the screenplay for this movie is just a draft for Nicholas Sparks' book version. The movie is a lighter version of the book in terms of emotions. The supporting characters just pops in and pops out in the film. It just misses so many details which would make the film better and interesting.
The book version is far better than this film, the emotions, the characters, the dialogue and the story. I thought that Pastor Harris' character should be in the film's version (you will only see him in the last part of the film). He is the spiritual adviser and friend of his father. There are also a lot of issues unresolved and omitted like the shoplifting case of Ronnie. Blazed, who was rushed to the hospital because she was accidentally got burned by the fireball. Marcus who was put into jail because he is the real reason why the church caught fire. Ronnie's mother, who was the real reason why her father left them. The list goes on and on.
Miley Cyrus, need a lot of workshop to improve her acting skills. For me, the objective to make a viable grown-up movie actress out of Cyrus was not met. She's not nearly enough of a natural actress. She just can't duplicate Mandy Moore's performance. Thanks to Greg Kinnear, the actor who plays Ronnie's father because he delivers a natural and realistic performance (though I like his character in the book, more serious and has more depth). If it weren't for him and Bobby Coleman, off course, the actor who plays the smart 12 year old brother of Ronnie, The Last Song would torture you to death.
The Last Song (Movie), is disappointing. It is a no walk to remember. How much it will cost you if you watch this film?, P300? (movie ticket plus snack), The book is only P315 (paperback), if you want to know the good story of The Last Song, do yourself a favor please buy and read the book.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

2010 Automated Elections - The aftermath

As a PPCRV (Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting) Volunteer, I needed to report to the polling place as early as 6AM for us to witnessed and watch the whole proceeding from the preparation of the PCOS machine up to the last minute of voting, counting and transmission process. I was surprised to see a lot of people waiting outside the polling place. It was very evident that a lot of people were so excited to cast their votes.

Many people waited for a couple of hours or even more but some waited for just a few minutes (I waited for 5 minutes for my turn and another 5 minutes more to cast my vote). People were complaining on the slow flow of the proceedings and some even have to scold or said foul worlds on the teachers. Patience is really a virtue.

Election paraphernalia were raining like hell. As par as I know, campaign period ended last Saturday(?) (May 8, 2010). Some even have the guts to tell us that what they were giving doesn't have the word "Vote" and it is just a sample ballot. Sample ballots? of what/whom?, of particular candidates/party, off course. Ah, it is still an act of campaigning and these paraphernalia prohibited inside the precinct and within 30 meter radius. We heard a lot of complains from different groups on why we were confiscating these "fans" and "sample ballots": Sorry, it is part of our job and it is clearly written in our law.
One particular cluster precinct in our polling place is so "problematic". Since morning, it was bombarded with a lot of problems and commotions which can be avoided if everyone were cool headed and not easily accused of anyone of cheating. There was a time that we needed to call police assistance to pacify a watcher who was hysterical (though her words are full of crap and without any basis at all. She don't even have the authority to be there in the first place and she had the guts to complaint and accused everyone of cheating, ah!, ridiculous. Poor woman, she ended up humiliated by "Uzis" (spectators).
Back up battery pack for the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine in our precinct burned without any reason. No replacement unit were delivered. We just prayed that there would be no power interruption. Voting closed at 7:15PM and all the paper works and documentations were finished a little over midnight; then we waited...for hours We waited for the modem needed to transmit the results. We have 15 clusters/PCOS machines in our barangay and Smarmatic only issued 6 modems.

You may agree with me that this election is the best election ever held in our country. The results are quick and hopefully accurate, less election related violence and death, and cheating were minimized if not eradicated. As a result, many candidates conceded easily. People who don't believe that the system wont work now commending the efforts of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). Off course, there are still rooms for improvement and I hope that the next elections will get better and better.

I was not compensated (but well fed) with the works I've done and experienced harassment but still I have no regrets of being a PPCRV poll watcher for the 7th times. One thing is for sure, I will volunteer again and again and help in protecting our votes (not protecting any candidate) in any way, big or small.

Let's hope and pray that the person we have chosen to lead our country is the rightful person.
By the way, feel free to post your comment/story regarding the May 2010 Elections

© 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.

Lilypie First Birthday tickers