YOLO Friday

Over dinner two nights ago, Grace (a friend from work) told us something about the paranormal. It was rather an interesting topic over a not-so-appetizing meal of honey lemon wings, spicy squid, and croquettes. Thank you for the unexpected disappointment Grub Shack. I always thought that your wings are the best. Now I’m really having doubts. >_<

Back to the topic, I was in the middle of my second wing when she told us about a friend of a friend of a friend’s mom having this ability to know some things that will happen in the future. She was able to predict that something bad will happen on the midnight of the 22nd and 26th of this month and the only safe place to be here in the Philippines is in Antipolo City — a good 18 or 19 km away from where I am right now.

I don’t normally believe in these kind of things but it can be kinda freaky. Especially when the said mom was able to predict the deaths of two people, one of which is the father of Grace’s friend’s network. I’m not actually sure if it’s Friend 1, 2, or 3. I got lost in the whole degrees of separation mess. But yeah, she confirmed that it was true.

So given the mom’s credentials, I must admit that it can give you some doubts just thinking about it. I would like to put emphasis on the work “thinking”, which is very different from “believing”. We’re joking about this right now. Like how we don’t want to end up alone and miserable so we’re gonna be with friends and eat a good meal and enjoy each other’s company yada yada yada.

We’re definitely going to laugh about all this craziness if it doesn’t come to pass. But for now, excuse me. I need to do something fun. After all, You Only Live Once.

Boradventure!

Before the Christmas season kicks into full gear (yes, here in the Philippines, the Christmas season starts as early as September), let me reminisce our Boracay adventure last July. The current weather is making me miss the sun. Well, the weather has been a mix lately — one time it’s sunny, another minute it would rain like hell. But one noticeable change is the chill in the air; that pretty much gives away the “Christmas is just around the corner” thing.

Anyway, remember when I told you that we went there just to bum around? Well, I kinda lied. We also had a dose of Boracay adventure that most tourists fall prey upon on. The only difference is, there was no real planning involved. Whenever we felt that we had a bit too much of bumming, we went out playin’. So here goes…

All-Terrain Vehicle

One thing about riding an ATV is it makes you look cool… in a kickass kind of way. Doesn’t really matter if you haven’t driven a motorcycle before. This has four wheels so balancing is not a problem. If you know how to bike, it’s a plus. What makes it more exciting is the route that you have to go through aboard this. The pit stop is Mt. Luho, the highest peak in the island where you can enjoy the Boracay sights from a different vantage point.

We went to Borayd’s because our contact told us that they have bigger vehicles compared to the others. The bigger, the better right? Uhm. Not really. It turned out to be a bad thing for one of us. My roomie, Mils, had a terrible accident halfway in our route.

Because of that, we didn’t push through to Mt Luho and returned to Borayd’s instead. We had some dispute with the owner and other staff about the incident and refund and the likes. In the end, we settled to have another go at it the next day (with the exemption of Mils who had a splint on her injured hand). The next day, it was raining hard so it made driving to the peak more challenging. But we did managed to get there. Unluckily, nobody brought a camera.  We settled to have a fun photo op at the Borayd’s office instead.

And this is why you shouldn’t mess with me! (Kidding!)

Skimboarding

This is not my first time to have a go at skimboarding but this is definitely the first time that I tried and didn’t fall on my ass several times. While walking by the shore, RR told us that he wanted to rent a board and an instructor and learn how. We agreed with the idea because we have nothing else to do. That one hour tutorial turned out to be so much fun!

The colorful boards that lured RR
RR sure is a fast learner

We would find out later that the hotel had two boards available for guests. It’s actually for rent but the hotel crew were kind enough to let us borrow them for free. I actually overheard one telling the other that we would not last an hour of skimboarding under the sun so it’s futile to charge us with rent. Boy, they were so wrong!

In the days that followed, whenever we are caught in a bumming stump, we would grab the available boards in the hotel and skim for hours. I still have to practice and learn a lot but the funniest part? You get to see everyone fall off their asses. It’s not just me now. 😀

Paraw Sailing

On our last day, we decided to rent a paraw and go sailing to catch the sunset. The experience was surreal and bumpy. I never realized that paraw sailing has a bit of stress into it. If you want to try this, be prepared to be splashed by big waves right on your face. And if you are lucky, you might find yourself being thrown off the boat. Don’t worry; they provide life vests. 😀

When we reached the middle of the sea, the boatmen lowered the anchor and let us marvel and take in the beauty of the sunset. It was amazing! That was the perfect time to open the ice box that we brought aboard and pass bottles of ice-cold beers to everyone.

The boys enjoying a cold bottle of beer while sailing

We also tried Fly Fishing. Not the actual fishing method but the ACV ride. This amphibious air-cushion vehicle is pulled by a speedboat and actually looks like 3 banana boats put together. It was exciting especially when we go very fast, crash against the waves, and are lifted vertically in the air. I really had fun but not with the aftermath. It gave me a serious whiplash after. Also, nobody bothered to bring an underwater camera so we weren’t able to get a video or any pictures. Boo!

And oh, if ever you plan to take on the night scene, bar hopping and drinking like kids, don’t forget to put on your swim wears under your outfits. There’s nothing more refreshing and liberating (and sobering) than taking your cover-ups off and running to the beach for a night swim.

So there goes my sweet Bora reminiscing. I really miss the beach and the sand and the sun and the fun. I know that the next summer’s a long way so for now, I will just enjoy what the cold season has to offer. 🙂

Boracay Bummin’

Our Boracay vacation last July has been the ultimate beach bumming activity that I had in a long time. Having buffet breakfast by the cabanas, enjoying the early morning and afternoon sun, reading novels by the beachfront, and waking up at your own leisure without worrying about the day’s itinerary was great! We just simply went through our vacation days appreciating the great beach and sand, and enjoying each other’s company over card games, good food, beers, and cocktails.

Speaking of cocktails we immensely enjoyed Loco Frio. They offer frozen cocktails to go and it comes with these adorable insulated tumblers. You can buy a refill at a much cheaper prize if you already have a tumbler so it’s really cool. Totally perfect for the hot, beach weather.

As for the food, we ALL fell in love with Sur Burger. It was one of the biggest and tastiest burger I have ever tasted. Not exaggerating! This is a Boracay must-try. Some other dishes that I love is the baby back ribs from Hawaiian Bar-B-Que and the lechon kawali from Jonah’s. If you’ve got money to spare, is willing to wait for a table, and willing to wait to be served of sumptuous ribs, then go to HBBQ. But if you’re on a tight budget, Jonah’s Kawali is not too bad. One serving (PHP 300) is good enough for three. It was also my first time to have a go at the infamous lobster. We went over to the wet market in D*Talipapa, get ourselves some live lobsters, and have them cooked in one of the restaurants along the area. It was served to us in spicy coconut sauce and it was delicious!

We were blessed with a very nice weather during our 5-day stay (considering that it’s already the rainy season here in the Philippines). It was perfect for walking along the sandy shores, taking pictures, and just breathing in the beauty of the place. I have to thank Christian for some of these gorgeous shots.

But being the adventure freaks  that we are, it was not exactly ‘all bum, no play’. We did have fun trying out the club scene (a little), going skimboarding, driving ATVs to reach the highest point of the island, fly-fishing, and paraw sailing.  I’ll tell you all about them next time. 😉

Monster Monsoon

I’m one of the lucky ones. No flood; electricity and water are in perfect condition. I even have the luxury of having a good internet connection for the past three days. The scariest thing for me right now are the thunders. But I really don’t mind. I’m safe in the comforts of my home.

But others are not so. This nameless monsoon has submerged several cities and provinces in flood; some of them were proclaimed as “in a state of calamity”. People are being ushered in safer locations, but others’ lives were still claimed.

I believe in the resilience of my fellow Filipinos. I believe in our strength to withstand any calamity thrown our way. But problems always get better when help is offered. As the Beatles’ song goes, “I get by with a little help from my friends…”.

Your donation, no matter how small, would go a long way. Because in times of great troubles like this, every little thing counts.

Red Cross
Gawad Kalinga
Sagip Kapamilya
Citizens’ Disaster Response Center
Kapuso Foundation

Paraws and Sunsets

One of my favorite moments during our Boracay vacation. On our last day, we decided to go paraw sailing to catch the sunset. A paraw is a typical sailboat here in the Philippines, and like any other sailboat, it gets its speed and direction from the wind and waves that carries it. The paraw travel has been exciting and super fun because of the big waves splashing at us while we were busy getting our afternoon fill of beer and margarita.

In the middle of the sea, the boatmen threw down the anchor and let us marvel on the golden sky while the waves below rocked us. Nothing beats the beauty of the sunset when you’re one with nature. Whether you’re atop a mountain peak or just bummin’ by the beach, sunsets are always a magical experience.

4th of July

It is universally known that the 4th of July is the US Independence Day but it used to be the Philippines’, too. Yes, we originally celebrated our Independence Day with America but was later changed back to June 12, the day when the country’s independence from Spain was declared in Cavite. Now, the 4th of July is commonly known in the Philippines as the Filipino-American Friendship Day. This happened in the 1940s when the then US President recognized the Philippines independence from American rule.

OK, enough of history lecture! It doesn’t change the fact that I need to go to the office today and work. It has been raining here for the past 3 days so the throng of umbrellas in the office lobby is not an alien sight.

As gloomy as the day is, I was surprised by 2 of my friends with sweet gifts. Manimin, a friend from grade school, paid me a visit. She’s planning a birthday surprise for another common friend and she needed my help. I willfully agreed. I love BIG surprises, as long as I’m not the one being surprised. I’m weird that way. I just don’t know how to react to something that I, most of the time, am already expecting. I can spot a surprise directed towards me from miles away. Haha!

Anyway, in exchange of my wilfulness, she gave me this colorful Krispy Kreme donut. She’s still thoughtful until now. 🙂

Another friend, Gelai, who just came back from Hong Kong brought me back some cute goodies – red chopstick for dummies and a silver key chain (which I totally adore!). 🙂

So there, I got my fair share of the 4th of July of Friendship Day even if none of them are Americans. Haha!

Anyway, have a happy Independence Day, US! 🙂

Summer Getaways

I used to be so excited about summer because it means beach trips, outdoor adventures, and plain fun under the sun. Never mind the heat. As long as I have a good bottle of sunblock and a lip balm, I’m game to do anything.

For the past 3 years, my summer has been jam packed with out of town trips. Because I don’t have any concrete plans this summer and my previous self-pity post (haha!), I will just reminisce on my best summer memories. Here are some of those:

April 2009: Beach (Despidida) Party in Boracay
Late March 2010: Nature appreciation in Sagada
April 2010: Back to Basics in Nagsasa and Anawangin, Zambales
March 2011: Surfing and Food Trippin’ in La Union
April 2011: Adrenaline Junkie in Cagayan de Oro (All of these happened in just one day!)
April 2011: Water Affair in Camiguin

Summer of 2012, it’s already late April. What do you have in store for me?