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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.
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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).
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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© 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.

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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.
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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.
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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).
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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.
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© 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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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).
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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.
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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.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Last Song (2009)

WARNING!!!: Contains Spoiler

Lately, I've been reading novels written by Nicholas Sparks. I've read his novels such as; A Bend in the Road, Dear John and now, The Last Song (I am now reading his novel entitled "The Rescue").

I've watched (and haven't read) his novels' movie adaptations including "A Walk to Remember" (my all time favorite) and I really admire his style of writing.
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I just finished reading (thank God I finished it before its Movie version is shown) the "Last Song" and I could say that this is one of his best novel to date since "A Walk to Remember".
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It is about a 17 year old girl named Ronnie Miller, a piano prodigy when she was still young. She turned into a rebellious teenager when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wrights ville Beach, North Carolina (Tybee Island, Georgia on its movie adaptation).
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Her mom decides to let her spend summer with her dad, a former concert pianist and teacher. She is with her younger brother named Jonah Miller. Ronnie shows hostility towards her father, unlike Jonah who easily bonded with his father. She met Will Blakelee and became involved together in protecting the Loggerhead Sea Turtle nest. As Ronnie is romantically involved with Will, Ronnie managed to bond with his father.
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As the story progresses, a series of secrets unfold (A Nicholas Sparks trademark), it resulted to conflicts and in the end, reconciliation. I won't go into details so that those who haven't read the novel will have a chance to enjoy the movie even more.
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The novel is loaded with emotions and complications (a reality that many teenagers faces today ). It is an unforgettable story about love in its myriad forms – first love, the love between parents and children, the many ways that deeply felt relationships can break our hearts… and heal them. It is not just a teenage drama novel, it is also a family novel. There are many touching moments, especially on the last seven (7) chapters of the novel which I'm sure teenage and adult alike will like and learn from it. Jonah, Ronnie's younger brother shows how innocent a child is. Spending quality time with his father and they immersed in creating a work of art that will become the centerpiece of a local church.
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One last note, I was not able to control my emotion on the last 7 chapters of the novel, I can't even hide the tears in my eyes. Many of you (or us) love the movie, A Walk to Remember, I bet that "The Last Song" movie will catch our hearts and and emotions and will become one of your favorites (though I'm not sure if the movie will give justice to its novel counterpart).
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The movie will be shown this coming May 12, 2010. Starring Miley Cyrus (the Hannah Montana girl) as Ronnie. Screenplay by Nicholas Sparks (trivia: he finished the screenplay first before the novel was completed in June 2009). Watch the movie trailer here.
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I will quote one memorable line in the novel:
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Life, was much like a song.
In the beginning there is mystery, in the end there is confirmation, but it's in the middle where all the emotion resides to make the whole thing worthwhile. - (Chapter 36, The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Parish Pastoral Counting for Responsible Voting

The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) has been working assiduously for Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful and Peaceful elections (CHAMP Elections). It has done so, and continues to do so without the usual fanfare or clanging cymbals and noisy gongs. As a national parish-based political but non-partisan lay movement established in 1991, the PPCRV has grown to earn the respect of both civil society and ecclesiastical bodies in its initiatives of transforming the electoral culture of the country. The organization continues its mission through the spirit of volunteerism.
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I am a PPCRV poll-watcher since the organization's first accreditation in 1992 National Election. I was not a registered voter then so my role is limited to deliver food to my fellow PPCRV volunteer and get the 7th copy of the Election Returns (used for NAMFREL's Quick Count). From then on, I participated in all Local and National Elections (7 Elections including this year).
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What made me decide to volunteer? I believe that I have the responsibility, big or small in ensuring a CHAMP Elections. It is my small way of protecting/guarding my vote and the votes of my fellow Filipino (not the votes for a particular candidate). I don't care if I'm not getting any monetary compensation, it is enough to fulfill my duty and responsibility as a Filipino.
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As the 2010 automated election draws near, PPCRV is assured that the automated system will diminish (if not eliminated) the chance for cheating and tampering of votes. But as Ambassador De Villa’s words put it, “No matter how good the system might be, if your choice of candidate remains to be inferior, then elections will still amount to the same thing. The bottom line is, choose quality candidates.”
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7 days to go before Election day: Reminder: Pray, choose wisely and make a list of the candidates you're going to vote.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Kamayan Sa Palaisdaan

Kamayan sa Palaisdaan seems to get the most customers around lunch time, which is sometimes followed by a quick afternoon nap. It is almost a second home top most of the locals.
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If you want to enjoy most of your time here in Kamayan sa Palaisdaan, better be there as early as 10 maybe, we arrived there at 12:30 PM and were only seated at around 2PM and waited another hour to be served. Sometimes the cause of delays are those costumers who already finished their lunch but decided to stay for a little longer even if someone is waiting for them to vacate the nipa.
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The menu consists mostly of fish, since Tayabas is known for their light and delectable seafood compared to Lucban’s meat fest. Sure winners are the Inihaw na Pla-Pla and the Inihaw na Hito. It was my first time to eat Ginataang Suso with Pako (it's not breast with nails okay?) I like it but I'm not sure if I will it or order it again (LOL)
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KAMAYAN SA PALAISDAAN is located at Tayabas, Quezon and is an ideal getaway restaurant for seafood lovers.
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Fore more details please visit their website or email them at info@kamayansapalaisdaan.com.ph. You may also call at 7130108, Mobile/SMS: 0921205120 look for Arlene Nantes their Marketing Head
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© 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.
 

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