Thursday, March 31, 2005

My monthly movie reviews

My House in Umbria ==> I caught this original HBO movie on TV. I remember it got nominated for an Emmy award a few years ago. So I figured it must be worth viewing. It has the feel of an European movie with a mostly British cast except for Chris Cooper. It focuses on a group of people reunited after a train bomb tragedy. Set in Umbria, Italy but you don't much of the place and it deals more with the connection between the characters. Great acting as always from Maggie Smith, the plot is simple as a TV film is supposed to be.

The Notebook ==> I rented this from the video store downstairs since I totally gave it a miss when it was shown in the cinemas. Yes I've read the book by Nicholas Sparks and found it really mushy. But in the movie, I didn't find the main characters engaging enough. It seems they didn't have much chemistry. It was a bit slow at first and I almost fell asleep midway during the movie. But I didn't. The rapport between James Garner and Gena Rowlands was much more believable and not in a mushy way either.

Spanglish ===> This was only shown at the Ayala Cinemas. So I went off to Greenbelt. I was curious about the big fuss. Adam Sandler was rather subdued in his role as a chef. Too subdued he wasn't believable. Tea Leoni was too hyper, I wanted to hush her down sometimes, very irritable. And Paz Vega the actress who portrayed the maid, well she was pretty. Can you believe a maid looking like that? But what I found absurd is someone hiring a help who doesn't speak English! Duh! But I guess that is the premise of the movie. An immigrant coming to America to fulfill her dreams plot and in the process being engulfed in the intricacies of a typical American family.

Banger Sisters ===> Saw this on a lazy afternoon on Star Movies. A movie about groupies, well ex groupies. The whole hippie, 70's era of debauchery and rock n roll. It's about reconnecting with someone from your past and having fun even though we might want to forget certain aspects of it (sordid past). Goldie Hawn and Susan Sarandon are fine actresses. Geoffrey Rush was funny and they all contributed to making it a good film.

Identity ===> The thing is I already knew who the killer was and the whole multiple personality premise. But I was still curious so I ate dinner early and plopped myself in front of the TV. Now I like thrillers. But when they involve ghosts or anything paranormal, it scares me. So it's good I was at home not at some dark theater crowing with fear. They didn't really explain why he did it or what drove him to insanity. But still it was good enough to scare me.

The Manchurian Candidate ===> I never saw the original one so I didn't have any point of comparison. They made it more modern settings making the first Gulf War as the setting so people can easily identify from recent memory. Good acting from the cast especially Meryl Streep who fits the role to a T. Conspiracy theory plots have always made good movies and with the state of paranoia that grips the USA today, it made this movie a bit plausible.

Man on Fire ===> Another Denzel Washington starrer worth watching. I believe it is based on a novel but certain characters in the book are patterned after real people. Dakota Fanning, the child actress is quite good even at her young age. Even though the theme is quite disturbing (kidnappings) you can't help but believe it does happen. We all know for a fact that they are common occurrences in certain parts of the world.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Yes, I'm a 'Monkey' and I love bananas.

After reading this, you'll NEVER look at a banana in the same way again.
Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber, a banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes. But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and strokes.

Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power.
Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand, for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

Smoking: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6 and B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

Strokes: According to research in "The New England Journal of Medicine," eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape! So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills.

When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around.

So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, "A banana a day keeps the doctor away!"

PS: Bananas must be the reason monkeys are so happy all the time!

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Sunday, March 27, 2005

Well well
This must have been one of my most pleasant Easter Sundays ever.
Even though I woke up limping it seems I might have strained my left shin. I wonder how! I didn't go hiking nor did I walk long distance.
But anyways, I started the day right by hearing Easter Sunday Mass at St. Francis. Then we hied off to The Podium to feast at China Star Restaurant.
We munched on beef with broccoli, Mango chicken, shrimp dumpling, Prawns with salt & pepper and salted fish fried rice. Gosh I swear I was so full, I thought I was going to burst.
Then we went to Figaro but since I've given up coffee, I just had iced tea. Of course my day won't be complete if I didn't buy VCDs. What luck! Astroplus had a sale and most of the VCDs were priced at P75 or P99. I bought only one since most of the ones I wanted were still priced at P275.
I just have to wait a little bit longer.

I did a lot of reflecting during the last week of Lent, tried to cleanse myself of my troubles. I've resolved some inner issues while the others would just take care of themselves as time passes by. Since I didn't make any New Year's Resolutions, I made some this Easter. Let's see how long they will last before I break them all. And nope I'm not divulging them here. But yes I'm now more optimistic about the future. Much more positive vibes! It must have been the pink sandals I wore today for the first time since I bought it in Singapore, July 2004! So unlike me to be in pink! LOL

Posted by Hello

For art's sake!

That's my way of greeting you all a Happy Easter.
By subjecting you to my childish attempt at creativity.
I painted this 'masterpiece' on this site.
Click here to see how I did it.
Try it, it's fun!

Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Visita Iglesia
This year, we decided to limit ourselves to only 7 churches, the ones located within our vicinity.
First of all because of the security risks involved (after the ASG's plan to destabilize during the Lenten season was made public) and secondly after what happened Easter of last year (my father suffered a mild stroke) we thought it is better not to venture off too far away from home.
First church where we also heard the 6pm Maundy Thursday mass was St Francis, located on Shaw Boulevard. This is situated just 10 minutes away from our place.
Next stop - Mary the Queen Parish near Madison Square, Greenhills. I recommended it after I attended my friend, Carmen's wedding in December 2003. It is spacious and I like the fact that it is isolated thus more secure.
3rd stop - Church of St John the Baptish otherwise known as the Pinaglabanan Church in San Juan. This place of worship is very memorable. It is located within walking distance of my high school, St John's Academy . I used to drop by whenever I needed to reflect and pray for good grades during my exams.
Just 10 minutes away is the Sanctuario de Santo Christo Church also in San Juan. Another church that was part of my youth where I witnessed weddings, cried during funerals and welcomed newly born infants into Christiandom.
Cruising down to Kalentong then passing over a bridge (not sure what its name is) is the Santa Ana church. It is where my parents took their marriage vows, 37 years ago. It is one of my favorites to visit during Holy Week. The adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is located outside the main church. It is well decorated with foliage, flowing waterfalls, rock formation fountain with dim lights and you can hear monks chanting in the background. It is very solemn and it really puts you in a reflective mood.
6th on our route was the San Felipe Neri church on Boni Avenue. I used to pass by this church on my way home from school. The adoration was simple but I like the effect of the dry twigs laying on the path leading to the altar.
Our last stop was at the Divine Mercy Shrine at the Mandaluyong City Hall rotunda. You have to climb stairs to get to the church but once inside you immediately feel the solemnity of the occasion and it has such a cozy feel to it.

On average we spent about 15-20 minutes in each of the churches we visited. I didn't ask for anything in particular, I just praised and thanked God for the abundant blessings HE has bestowed on me and my family. Most specially thankful for the fact that my father has made a full recovery from his health scare last year.
I noticed though that this year few families made the rounds of the different churches. I can tell because we were able to park right in the church itself where as before we had to walk a few distance.
Maybe this traditional way of spending Maundy Thursday is no longer widely practiced among the younger generation. Maybe people were a bit apprehensive due to the bomb threats. Or maybe, some chose to take advantage of the 4 day holiday and went to their home provinces. Or they might be frolicking in beach resorts enjoying the sun and sand. So wherever you find yourselves this Lenten break, have a meaningful Holy Week.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Women's month
Since March is Women's month, I'm posting this article I received in my inbox.

Why Women are Crabby
We started to "bud" in our blouses at 9 or 10 years
old only to find that anything that came in contact with those tender, blooming buds hurt so bad it brought us to tears. So came the ridiculously uncomfortable training bra contraption that the boys in school would snap until we had calluses on our backs.

Next, we get our periods in our early to mid-teens (or sooner). Along with those budding boobs, we bloated, we cramped, we got the hormone crankies, had to wear little mattresses between our legs or insert tubular, packed cotton rods in places we didn't even know we had.

Our next little rite of passage (premarital or not) was having sex for the first time which was about as much fun as having a ramrod push your uterus through your nostrils (IF he did it right and didn't end up with his little cart before his horse), leaving us to wonder what all the fuss was about.

Then it was off to Motherhood where we learned to live on dry crackers and water for a few months so we didn't spend the entire day leaning over Brother John. Of course, amazing creatures that we are (and we are), we learned to live with the growing little angels inside us steadily kicking our innards night and day making us wonder if we were preparing to have Rosemary's Baby.

Our once flat bellies looked like we swallowed a watermelon whole and we peed our pants every time we sneezed. When the big moment arrived, the dam in our blessed Nether Regions invariably burst right in the middle of the mall and we had to waddle, with our big cartoon feet, moaning in pain all the way to the ER.

Then it was huff and puff and beg to die while the OB says, "Please stop screaming, Mrs. Hearmeroar. Calm down and push. Just one more good push (more like 10)," warranting a strong, well-deserved impulse to punch the ***** (and hubby) square in the nose for making us cram a wiggling, mushroom-headed 10 lb bowling ball through a keyhole.

After that, it was time to raise those angels only to find that when all that "cute" wears off, the beautiful little darlings morphed into walking, jabbering, wet, gooey, snot-blowing, life-sucking little poop machines.

Then come their teen years. Need I say more?
When the kids are almost grown, we women hit our voracious sexual prime in our early 40's - while hubby had his somewhere around his 18th birthday.

So we progress into the grand finale: "The Menopause," the Grandmother of all womanhood. It's either take HRT and chance cancer in those now seasoned buds or the aforementioned Nether Regions, or, sweat like a hog in July, wash your sheets and pillowcases daily and bite the head off anything that moves.

Now, you ask WHY women seem to be more spiteful than men when men get off so easy INCLUDING the icing on life's cake: Being able to pee in the woods without soaking their socks.

So, while I love being a woman, "Womanhood" would make the Great Gandhi a tad crabby. Women are the "weaker sex"?
Yeah right. Bite me.

Ok now this woman is off to pamper herself (yet again) to a facial and protein hair treatment!

Saturday, March 19, 2005

I copied this from his blog.

My name is: Daphne Laura.
I may seem: snobbish.
People who know me think: I'm cute.
If you knew me you'd probably: say 'oh gosh she is stubborn'.
Sometimes I feel: lonely.
My days are pretty: routinely boring..
Yesterday: all my troubles seem so far away.
In the morning I: get up, check my emails then shower.
I like to sleep: more often.
If I could be doing anything right now I would be: sitting in a cafe near the Eiffel Tower, people watching.
Money: isn't everything!
One thing I don't have that I wish I did is: a soul mate.
One thing I have that I wish I didn't is: thick, wavy hair.
All you need is: clean underwear.
All I need is: love.
If I had one wish it would be: to have enough money to travel every week!
Love is: what is left over when being in love has burned away.
If I could see one person right now it would be: W because it's his birthday today.
Something I want but I don't really need is: a new cellphone.
I live for: peace of mind.
I am afraid of: cockroaches.
It makes me angry when: people take advantage of the kindness of others.
I dream about: situations that never come true.
I daydream about: living in Paris, France.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

I liked Lindsey but she's out of American Idol. And Mikalah who I cannot stand is still around! Eeeeps! Bo Bice got his hair rebonded. Hilarious look but he still totally rocks in more ways than one!

Totally skipped dinner and just munched on Lay's BBQ chips and San Mig Lite Beer while staying glued to AXN for the premiere of "Lost". Good show - I finally have something to watch on Thursdays.

Oh and I so totally want to kidnap Nate Berkus so he can add some style to my condo unit. He is brilliant!

Since I'm in a good mood, I'll throw in a little joke:
Chip asks: "Daddy, how was I born?"
Dad says: "Ah, my son, I guess one day you will need to find out anyway! Well, you see your Mom and I first got together in a chat room on MSN. I set up a date via e-mail with your Mom and we met at a cyber-cafe. We sneaked into a secluded room, where your mother agreed to a download from my hard drive. As soon as I was ready to upload, we discovered that neither one of us had used a firewall, but it was too late to hit the delete button. Nine months later a blessed little pop-up appeared and said:"You've Got Male!"

(Yes, my word of the day for this post is "Totally!")

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Drawing blanks
Too much sun (during my Palawan trip) must have affected my brain, I can't seem to come up with a worthy post.

I could blog about:
  • work - but that's too technical and boring.
  • the Norah Jones concert - except I didn't go.
  • reality TV - when I heard Mario Vazquez quit American Idol, I automatically assumed he got someone pregnant! I still don't have a team I'm rooting for on the Amazing Race and watching Survivor makes me yawn yet I still watch it.
  • Movies - I discovered this great promo. Movies shown on Mondays and Tuesdays from 10 am to 3 pm at The Podium cinemas only cost P80! But it is only valid till April 26.

  • So I'll just upload these movie clips of car commercials.
    Dodge, Toyota and Toyota Corolla. Check them out!

    Sunday, March 13, 2005

    This picture was taken a week ago when I wobbled my way up those stairs to board my flight back to Manila from Puerto Princesa City. Strangely, I found myself sitting on the same seat 12F beside the window. Looking out at the clouds as we took off, I was in pain physically but I was euphoric. Surely 2 days wasn't enough to fully explore what Palawan has to offer, but I left appreciating the fact that we still have a place where people are not jaded by urbanity. Where nature and the environment is still intact just as God created it and where life is such a pleasure to experience.

    Posted by Hello

    Wednesday, March 09, 2005

    Day 2 (Saturday, March 5)
    First of all, I need to make it clear that I'm not a morning person, secondly I have never hiked in my entire 36 years of existence and thirdly I live a sedentary life so any form of vigorous physical activity would merit a total meltdown.
    Alright having said all that, allow me to relate what occurred on the second day of my trip.

    I have to warn you this is going to be a rather LONG post and I am going to whine A LOT! :D

  • 05:00 am - I woke up way before the wake up call which was set for 05:30. So I took a long hot shower, got dressed and patiently watched CNN while waiting for my sister to get ready. But I was still very sleepy and a bit cranky.

  • 06:00 am - We have breakfast at the coffee shop.

  • 07:00 am - The lobby waiting for the other guests who will join us for the tour. So the tour entailed a 2 hour van ride passing through 12 barangays to reach Sabang Wharf. Herman our guide (yes the same guy) told us that the first hour would be on paved road and the rest of the way would be through a dirt road (meaning a bumpy ride). Upon reaching Sabang Wharf we were to take an outrigger boat for about 20 minutes to reach the Underground River Cave. Once there, we would have a tour of the cave for 45 minutes. So ok fine that seemed pretty exciting and we couldn't wait to get there.

  • 08:20 am - This time aside from my sister and I there were 4 Polish divers (3 guys and 1 woman) and the same couple who were on their honeymoon. The minute our van reached the dirt road we all started shaking and bouncing wildly. Yes it was a very bumpy ride. I asked Herman how come they didn't pave the road and he told us that it was part of the adventure. Like some sort of massage, body shaker thingie. But heck I wasn't amused at all. Anyways, the driver tells us we got a flat tire. So we stop in the midst of a luscious tropical rain forest and disembark while they changed the tire. I should have taken the flat tire as a sign of the tough task ahead! But I was enjoying the scenery - the tall green trees, their leaves vibrant, the air was crisp, overcast skies and a slight drizzle cooled our shaken bodies.

  • 09:20 am - we reach Sabang Beach. Now this is where it gets very frustrating. It turns out that due to the gloomy weather, the outriggers boats cannot be used to reach the cave. The water was very choppy and the waves too high and it would be too risky to sail.

  • Tempers flare up, most of the foreigners get really loud and shout at the guide. It seems that normally the Coast Guard issue warnings to all the hotels that the weather is bad. Thus the hotel can arrange for alternative tours instead of going to Sabang. BUT this time there was NO warning, so we were stranded there at the wharf. After appeasing some of those who got really angry and wanted refunds etc, Herman told our group that there is an alternative way to reach the cave. A 2 hour hike/trail through 3 mountains called the monkey trail. But since it was closed for renovation we would be using the jungle trail. There was a lot of confusion since some of them wanted to leave, the others didn't feel they could handle the hike, while the rest wanted to try since after all we were already there so we might as well go for it, right? I told my sister well I guess I can handle 2 hours. We won't get the chance again. We were leaving the next day.

  • 10:25 am - We wasted too much time, trying to sort out the mess. The group (who opted for the hike) made our way to the trail.

  • We walked on dirt roads

    Stepped on stone paths!

    Climbed ladders and crossed bridges

    Deep in the jungle

    Passed by tall mountains

    I was drenched in sweat, thirsty because we drank all our mineral water, I was hungry, dehydrated, my legs were hurting, my back was breaking. But I preserved because after all I chose to hike instead of going back to the hotel.
    Guess how long it took me and my sister to get there???
    4 hours!!! YES really. We would stop every 15 minutes to rest and let the other people go ahead of us. Till eventually it was just the two of us but we could hear people still behind us in the group. There were times when I could no longer move. I was going to faint from exhaustion. The group got separated because some moved on ahead (especially the foreigners with their big steps) others like the elderly parents of a couple we were with were way back behind. It took them 6 hours to reach the cave.

  • 14:20 pm - we reach the Underground River Cave. Take note we haven't eaten lunch YET and we hiked 4 hours to get there. I was shaking like a leaf so tired from hunger, exhaustion and thirst! I noticed that other groups were having their packed lunch at the little cottages located on the grounds of the cave. I asked Herman (he got there way ahead of everyone else, he is like Superman!) when are we having our lunch? He told me once we go back down, we would have lunch at a restaurant located at Sabang Beach.

  • Underground River

    Underground River Cave entrance

  • 14:30 pm - we wear life vests and a hard hat and join 4 other people on a small boat for our Underground River cave tour. By this time I was simply too freaking tired to care. Since we were seated in the front of the boat, we were tasked to hold the light which would illuminate the cave. So we could see the different stone formations. It was very dark, I was trembling with hunger, still drenched in sweat, I truly didn't have the energy to enjoy the tour. I kept thinking of the hike back down. How terrified I was that my sister and I would get caught in the jungle in the dark as evening approaches. I could feel my stomach grumbling, my sugar level was extremely low.

  • 15:30 pm - the tour finally over, I was hoping that the sea would have calmed down by now so we could take a boat back. But no such luck! We had to go back the same way we got there. In essence we crossed 3 mountains, through the deep jungle to reach the place. Amazingly enough there were no wild animals attacks or anything of that sort. But I was scared that I would slip and fall. Or that some tribal people would have me for dinner. Or worse that some terrorist group would kidnap me for ransom. I had all these crazy ideas in my head. I was delirious. It must have been the hunger!

  • 17:29 pm - Barely past the 2nd mountain, I am extremely exhausted, I sat down on a rock and completely lost it. Yes I cried. I bawled my eyes out. I kept telling my sister "I can't do this! I don't have any energy left". I couldn't feel my legs, my muscles were aching so much I couldn't move, I was stricken with fear. We still had NOT eaten LUNCH, we had no water to drink. I kept looking at my watch, I had no sense of direction I didn't know how near or far away we were from Sabang Wharf. But she assured me we only had 1 mountain to go then we would be back on the shore!

  • 18:30 pm - we finally reach this tiny path lined with coconut trees but I could barely walk I was inching my way towards the shore. My feet were numb. God must have heard my prayers, this kind Samaritan passes by in his motorcycle and offers us a ride. Since he noticed we were practically dragging our tired bodies. He dropped us off at the restaurant where we have LUNCH! Can you imagine that??? No food at all since 6 a.m that morning!!!!

  • 19:56 pm - After all the stragglers (only ones left were me, my sister, a family of 4 members, and a family of 8 members) had eaten lunch we shove off back towards the city. Groping in the darkness because the resort had no lights, guided only by a small flashlight. We again went through 1 1/2 hours of rough road and the rest on smooth road. I was more relaxed after eating but still extremely tired. All the way back, my sister and I kept talking non stop about our little hiking experience, the Underground River Cave tour. It was totally mind boggling how we survived 12 hours without food yet managed to trek 3 mountains. Totally madness!

  • 22:10 pm - Back at the Legend Hotel. First thing we did was of course call our parents because during the entire day we didn't have signal on our cellphones. We just decided to order room service since we could barely move. It was a different kind of pain, pure torture!
    The Tours manager called up to apologize for the unfortunate incident. We were easily appeased. We didn't make too much of a fuss because after all it wasn't their fault. The weather situation cannot be helped. But what I didn't like is the fact that we didn't have anything to eat nor refreshments readily available to us. It is beyond me how they could have underestimated that fact. They should have provided us with at least some mineral water bottles along the way.
    But over all it was an adventure, a trip I will never forget. Simply because I hiked over 12 kms on rugged terrain for 7 hours!!!! For me that is a mean feat. I'm the last person on earth you would expect to subject myself to such a vigorous activity.
    But I did it! Never mind that up to now 3 days later - I am in so much pain and agony. That I sleep covered with Salonpas and Voltaren. That I drink Alaxan every 4 hours for the pain.
    I believe it was worth it.

  • I still have a lot to say about this trip but I'll continue some other time. Time to rest my weary bones!

    Monday, March 07, 2005

    "To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries."
    The above quote by Aldous Huxley is very accurate. I have to admit I had some apprehensions about going to Palawan. Due to all the negative publicity and travel advisories circulating in the newspapers, I was concerned about my safety. But I'm glad I went and saw with my own eyes just how beautiful Palawan is! I had a great time but now I'm exhausted. Our itinerary was very hectic. So let me start from the beginning. (while it is still fresh in my mind)

    Day 1 (Friday, March 4)
  • 05:30 am - woke up, showered, had breakfast, last minute packing.

  • 07:00 am - went to the Manila domestic airport.

  • 07:30 am - checked in our luggage. For the first time in my traveling life I actually packed light. Yes sure I know it is only 2 days but still you get my point.

  • 09:15 am - all comfy in 12F, (window seat) on flight 213 of Air Philippines bound for Puerto Princesa. Slight delay but we finally shove off at 09:35 am. I'm thankful it was a bigger plane than a 24 seater. I love to fly but small planes make me very nervous!

    Air Philippines flight 213

  • 10:20 am - we land at Puerto Princesa airport and driven to our hotel, The Legend Hotel Palawan which is located about 5 minutes away, right in the heart of the city.

  • 11:00 am - after meeting with Judy Ann, the Tours manager, who briefed us about our itinerary during our stay, we finally went to our room (219) to freshen up, unpack and sort out what to wear for our island hopping tour.

    Room 219, The Legend Hotel

  • 12:15 pm - we go to their only restaurant, Tanglaw Coffee Shop for our lunch. Buffet style. We were a bit disappointed that they didn't serve more seafood dishes especially since it was a Lenten Friday and we usually abstain from eating meat. So we just had to forego that tradition and made sure we had enough food to sustain us for our gruelling tour ahead.

  • 13:00 pm - with smiles pasted on our faces, our tummies full we were excited about our Honda Bay island Tour while waiting at the lobby for the other guests who would join us.

    Hotel Lobby

  • 13:10 pm - we are on our way to the Sta Lourdes pier which is the drop off point. We are joined by Herman, our guide a very affable young guy who dishes out bits of information about Puerto Princesa City as well as the barangays along the way. Also on the van with my sister and I were a newly wed couple (A 60 year old British guy with his ehem 21 year old Pinay bride) who are on their honeymoon and a grandfather (American) with his 2 young grandsons. By the way I saw a lot of them old foreigners with their very young Pinay wives. So although I cringe at the thought I believe it is quite common in the rural areas. Oh well, not for me to judge!

  • 13:45 pm - we finally reach the Sta Lourdes pier. We board this boat and our island cruise begins. The weather was just right, the sun was shining but it wasn't very hot, the wind was pleasant and the deep blue waters of the Sulu sea provided us a picturesque backdrop. The area is known as Honda Bay and it is peppered with many islands ranging in size from the diminutive "Luli" (lulubog-lilitaw) to the largest, Fondeado Island.

    Bat Island
    home of thousands of large flying fox bats.

    Pandan Island
    Pandan Island
    home to the largest island based fishing community in the bay.

    Bantay Dagat Headquarters aka Bay watch

  • 14:25 pm - we reach Snake Island which is so named because of its curvilinear 13 kms stretch of white sand beach. With cottages lining the shore. We were given life jackets, towels and snorkeling goggles. I am not a swimmer so I don't really soak in the beach. I prefer to go walking and explore the sandbar, look for seashells as well as think and reflect.

    Snake Island

  • 16:30 pm - we leave and head back to the pier cruising along the same path albeit a bit darker from basking in the sun.

    Fondeado Island

  • 18:00 pm - finally get back to the hotel, showered (hot water) and dressed for dinner.

  • 19:00 pm - this time just me and my sister are driven to a local restaurant called "Sari's Barrio". A nipa hut setting with dim lights and very provincial. We feast on seafood kare kare, baby clam soup, buko (coconut) chop suey with rice. Refreshing ice tea. And crunchy banana turon for dessert. The food was tasty, the ambiance rustic. Perfect way to end a long day.

  • 20:00 pm - back in the hotel, totally exhausted but still very hyper! I took another hot shower which is one thing I really enjoy when I stay in hotels. Hot Water! Prepared our stuff for the next day since we needed to be ready by 7:00 am. Yes! Arghh that early!

  • 22:00 pm - zzzzz away in dreamland.

  • Stay tuned for part 2 ... To be continued.
    Happy little Me in Palawan!

    Honda Bay baby!

    Snake Island

    Snake Island Beach

    Sta Lourdes Pier

    Dinner time

    Posted by Hello

    Thursday, March 03, 2005

    I'm packed and set for my fabulous weekend!

    Hosted by

    Wednesday, March 02, 2005

    Time for a cool change.
    I know that it's time for a cool change.
    Now that my life is so prearranged freaking senseless.
    I know that it's time for a cool change!

    Tuesday, March 01, 2005

    I have my air tickets.
    I have booked my accommodation!
    I have my itinerary.
    First day - island hopping
    Second day - river adventure
    3 days, 2 nights! Complete all inclusive package!
    Short but hectic sked.
    I'm so excited, I can't sleep! :D
    Is it Friday yet????