Category Archives: Philippines

Potipot Cove

#Destination, Potipot Island

Potipot Island

#Destination: Potipot Island

Potipot Island. Some call it the most photogenic island, and I tend to agree. It’s a small strip off island in Zambales. It’s a kilometer or a 5-10-minute motorized banca ride from any drop-off resort in Uacon, Candelaria, Zambales. I just couldn’t remember the resort across from the island that we stayed in. Ha ha! Will update this blog once I get the name of that resort.

I actually went there in May 2011 with my former colleagues. I know super late post! But better late than never. I can’t show you all our photos because those are like pictorials already. He he!

So let me show you, Potipot Island through these photos.

Banca to Potipot Island

Take a 5-10 minute ride in a motorized boat (banca) to Potipot Island.

The banca to Potipot Island

The banca ride to Potipot Island

Approaching Potipot Island

Approaching Potipot Island

Potipot Island

Nearing Potipot Island

Periphery of Potipot Island (FLM)

Reaching Potipot Island

If I remember, this is the only structure in the island, which serves as an office. There are no inns, no accommodation. But you can pitch a tent, but by nighttime you have to leave the island.

Tree and Beach on Potipot Island (FLM)

Trees lined up along the beach front, and this surrounds the whole island.

Periphery of Potipot Island

More trees and beach, and clear waters surrounding Potipot Island.

More Trees on Potipot Island

Trees provide shade in the inner or center part of Potipot Island.

A clearing at the center of Potipot Island

A clearing at the center of Potipot Island

Posing on Potipot Island

Happily posing on Potipot Island. I just got back from a trip in Boracay here.

On a drift wood at Potipot Island

On a drift wood at Potipot Island. Driftwood abound there, and usually serve as photo opp background. :D

Getting a tan at Potipot Island

Getting more tan at Potipot Island, after spending a week in Boracay. Ha ha!

Posing with a driftwood

Posing with a driftwood, Potipot Island

Reflecting on life on Potipot Island

Reflecting on life on Potipot Island… naks! ;))

The clear water kisses the white sand of Potipot Island.

The clear water kisses the white sand of Potipot Island.

Clear waters surrounding Potipot Island

Clear waters surrounding Potipot Island

Sunburnt at Potipot Island

That was the first time that I got really sunburned!

Resort in Zambales

We stayed in this resort. We rented that house that you can see in this picture. From this resort, you can already see Potipot Island.

Sunset view of Potipot Island from across the resort.

Sunset view of Potipot Island from across the resort.

We had fun going around the small island, taking photos, walking, talking, laughing, and just feeling the sand and ocean water.

We took a private van going to the island, so I can’t really give you clear directions going there. All I can remember is that it took us 6 hours to get there, but it was all worth it!

I stumbled upon a good resource about Potipot Island HERE. Check it out!

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Maria v. Ma., How I Had My Name Rectified

What's in a Name

I am writing this not to discredit anyone but to learn from the experience. Read on and learn!

Let me ask you this quesion first. When you see Ma.,what do you think it stands for? It stands for Maria, right?

But in my world, I have to prove that it is so. There begins my Change Name saga.

My birth certificate bears the name Merdekah. Then I don’t know why, but I have been using the name Ma. Merdekah in all my school, banks, HMO and insurance records. My old passport only had Merdekah, following the birth certificate. So, when I finally had to apply for a passport with my married name, my records don’t match. My marriage certificate bears the name Ma. Merdekah. Which is which?

I had no choice but to go through the process and have it rectified. My friends say it was going to be quick and easy. I wish they were right.

First, I had to get the advice of a lawyer who will do all the paperwork.

Second, I filed a petition at the Local Registrar. Since my birthplace is in Enrique Villanueva, Siquijor, and I am in Manila, it was impossible for me to be traveling to and fro. Good thing my father is already retired and can do the legwork for me. So, I had to ask the lawyer to make a Letter of Authority appointing my father to be my legal representative in all matters pertaining to this case.

Third, publish my petition in three local newspapers for three to four weeks straight. This does not come cheap, ha!

When the publication requirement was almost over, I got feedback that there was something wrong in the process. The publication of the petition was done before the petition was filed. How did that happen? Any sane person would know that that should not be the case. But I was told that they got confused and didn’t know how to do it because it was their first time to handle a case like mine. Whut? Change name is a popular issue. Besides no, SOPs/guidebook in this office?

I remember telling the lawyer and the local registrar that I wanted this resolved quickly as I needed the passport for official business. Perhaps, that triggered their confusion and they wanted to meet the deadline I set. But then I didn’t say anything about doing it the wrong way just to get my way!

So, we had to do it all over again. And because it was their fault, they had to shoulder the cost this time, which led to the delay as they had to rely on their own resources this time.

I was so frustrated but I was SO busy with work, that I didn’t have time to do anything to improve the process. I had to wait… for one year and a half!

Finally, the whole process was done. Now the problem is the Local Registrar himself. He got sick and eventually passed on. May his soul rest in peace.

The local government now needed to find a new Local Registrar. Perhaps because of the requirements and qualifications, they couldn’t find a replacement right away, so they had to put an Officer-in-Charge (OIC). Fine.

Now came another hitch. The OIC cannot sign my final petition because it should only be the Local Registrar. What? Isn’t that the role of the OIC to act as the official that he is representing? The innocent (and perhaps stupid me) believed them and waited again…for half a year!

Then a eureka moment came to me. I went to NSO main office in Quezon City and inquire from them once and for all. Before I would only call because I admit, I am scared to go to government offices because of the sad stories I hear and read.

Right from the horse’s mouth, the officer in NSO Main said that the OIC can sign. I called the E.V. Local Registrar and told them to let the OIC sign my documents and send it to NSO Main. Don’t worry, I will explain to the NSO Main Office here myself, I said. Ok, they said. But maám since, this is not the SOP here, we have to shoulder the courier fees, they added. Fine, I’ll handle it. I will send money for that, I countered.

My goodness! More than being frustrated, I pity them.

So after a long process and three years later, I finally got my name rectified. As they say, all’s well that ends well.

I wish we could improve our processes, and I hope everyone learned from my case so that others who find themselves in the same situation won’t wait that long to have their names changed.

Since, misspelled names is a popular issue in birth/marriage certificates, I suggest that NSO comes up with a SOP/guidebook and distributes it to all local registrars, if there isn’t any yet, and make sure the guidebook is being followed. And it shouldn’t take years to resolve an issue like this!

So, for new (and old) parents, make sure your children’s names are spelled correctly in their birth certificates and other pertinent documents.

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#APECSuccess, Congrats PH!

PH and Papua New Guinea Cooperation

PH & Vietnam Cooperation

PH & Chile Cooperation

PH & Canada Cooperation

PH & Colombia Cooperation

PH & Russia Cooperation

PH & Mexico Cooperation

PH & South Korea Cooperation

PH & Australia Cooperation

PH & US Cooperation

Congratulations to the Philippine team who organized the event!

We all know the inconvenience it brought to the traffic and to the cancelled flights.

Yes, they could have prepared better for this like holding the meeting off island like the other host countries did in the past years. But our country decided to do it this way… their way.

Still, we cannot discount the effort, the sleepless nights, and the anxieties of the organizing team. I know because I worked for an events company for a year. It’s no mean feat.

Here’s to looking forward to fruitful economic cooperation with the APEC member economies!

Cheers!

Special Note: Thanks to Rappler for the images and information.

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Metro Manila Standstill

Banners_APECRoadAdvisories_151103_1503_MOA-road-closure-tw 2

NCR road advisory for APEC leaders’ meet. More road advisories here http://apec2015.ph/2015/10/27/apec-aelm-road-advisories/

Metro Manila, or even NCR, is now preparing for a one-week standstill. No, it’s not because of a Manny Pacquaio boxing match. It’s not even because of an AlDub Nation activity.

The country will host the most high-profile event, the APEC Leaders’ Meeting. Here’s the Primer. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation 21-member economies will gather here in the Philippines. Top leaders, senior officials, top businessmen and industry experts will meet and discuss about three main items namely trade and investment liberalization, business facilitation, economic and technical cooperation (Ecotech).

It is an important event for the member economies, as it is for the country.

But why the standstill?

Classes in all levels in the National Capital Region (NCR) are called off, government offices and public services, airline flights flying out and flying in to Manila are cancelled for one week from November 16 to November 20. Private offices, including banks, will be closed for business for two days, November 18-19. Road closures/reroutes have been set up.

The city does not only go on a standstill, business is also shut down.

In my sons’ school, they did away with their original schedule of semestral break and would just take the break during the APEC week. But because of the disruption of flight and business skeds, we cannot do anything much.

I wonder how the airlines would fare with all the flights cancelled; how the banks will do it without any transaction for two days; how we will cope with further delays in our public services.

If we are to be concerned of appearances, I wonder how it would look to the world that our country cannot host an important meeting without sending its people and businesses to sleep BECAUSE of lack of foresight and planning.

Articles about the APEC Meeting

APEC 2015: Where delegates met in PH
Not ready to host APEC
LIST: Schedule of bank operations during APEC PH 2015
Manila goes into lockdown mode for Apec summit

Flight Cancellations

Philippine Airlines – PAL cancels over 200 flights in relation to APEC Meet in Manila; offers free flight rebooking

Cebu Pacific Air – CEB Advisory – 2015 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting

Air Asia – Flight cancellations for the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting 2015

1,364 domestic, int’l flights cancelled, more roads closed due to APEC meet

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Join Resorts World Manila’s Pinoy Ultimate Jeepney 2015!

I remember those days when the jeepneys, called Saraos, were all shiny, colorful, well-decorated, and fly (not ply) the streets of Manila. I wonder how and why the jeepneys we have today have gone old and decrepit.

But Resorts World Manila is trying to bring back the glory of Philippine a jeepneys by the Pinoy Ultimate Jeepney 2015 Design Contest. Now on its 4th year, RW is inviting amateur artists from colleges and universities all over the country to participate and represent their respective schools in this innovative competition.

This year’s theme is ‘What Makes Pinoys Smile,’ this Pinoy Ultimate Jeepney (PUJ) Design Challenge pays homage to Bacolod’s MassKara Festival by translating the fête’s vibrant colors and merry imagery into rolling works of art that portray Filipino resilience.

The top 10 designs will be chosen and made into fully-functional jeepneys to be displayed at Resorts World Manila for judging. This year’s grand winner will receive Php300,000 and the runner-up will receive Php200,000. The public can also vote via online and via SMS for the 2015 PUJ People’s Choice Award, which will win for the winning entry Php100,000 in cash.

The contest is now open for submission of entries. Deadline is extended until November 7, 2015.

Want to join the challenge? Download the entry forms and complete information HERE.

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#itsmorefuninthephilippines

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Navigate Through Go Manila

Go Manila

Envisioned for both local residents and tourists, Go Manila seeks to make life easy in an otherwise complicated Urban Jungle.

In a click of a button, you can have full access to real time Traffic Livestream, locate and contact Emergency Locations and Hotlines and discover the historic capital of the Philippines at the tip of your finger with easy access to popular tourist destinations, restaurants and nightspots.

Features of Go Manila 

  • TRAFFIC LIVESTREAM – Get instant and real time access to Manila’s major thoroughfares. Livestream will provide a link to the hundreds of high def CCTV’s installed in various parts of the Metro. Never get stuck in traffic again as these live feeds will provide you ample time to look for alternative route.
  • EMERGENCY LOCATIONS – No GPS and MAPS? No problem. Get the exact locations of Police Stations/Precincts, Hospitals/Clinics, Fire departments and other concerned agencies at the tip of your finger.
  • EMERGENCY HOTLINES – No need for complicated and outdated directories. One click and you get to access and call various police precincts, hospitals, fire departments and all other emergency/disaster related concerns.

It’s a virtual tourist guide and a handy companion for commuters and travelers alike. With Go Manila, everything comes easy!

This app is spearheaded by Manila City Vice Mayor Isko Moreno.

NOTE: All of the CCTV has a limit range only in the Philippines

Download This App Now!
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=hs.app.gomanila

Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Website
https://gomanila.ph

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#itsmorefuninthephilippines

Explore Siquijor Island

Siquijor Island Tourist Map (Explore Siquijor FB Page)

Photo grabbed from Explore Siquijor Facebook Page

Siquijor is small but an  island full of mysteries, so they say.

Because of stories of witchcraft, the uninitiated stepping on the island for the first time will feel a bit scared and cautious. But the island really is very welcoming to all guests. I should know, it’s my hometown! :)

When you arrive on the island, you will be welcomed by fresh air and serene sights of ocean and mountains. Except in Larena, the municipality that doesn’t sleep, the quiet atmosphere of the other municipalities is broken only by sporadic spurts of motorcyles and motorcabs.

It’s an island worth exploring for its beach and mountain resorts, fresh produce and warm people.

When in Siquijor

1. Drink fresh buko juice.
2. Eat boiled or fried bananas.
3. Eat native bread made with “tuba” (coconut wine) and stuffed with “bukayo” (sweetened grated coconut meat).
4. Visit old churches.
5. Visit beaches/sanctuaries.
6. Watch the sunset and sunrise.
7. Attend fiestas where anyone can just go in and out of houses and partake of the feast.
8. Check out boulevards.
9. Go cliff-jumping in Salagdoong Beach.
10. Tour the island in one day.

How to get to Siquijor

1. From Manila, take a flight or boat ride to Dumaguete. From Dumaguete, take a ferry or boat ride to Larena or Siquijor. Shipping lines such as Montenegro Shipping Lines. Check schedule here. Or you may take Delta Fast Ferries. Check schedule here.

2. From Cebu, take a flight via Cebu Pacific to Dumaguete or take a bus (Ceres) ride to Liloan Cebu and take the ferry to Sibulan, Dumaguete. Check schedule here. Then from Dumaguete, refer to #1.

Where to stay in Siquijor

There are plenty of inns and resorts to choose from. Check out Local Philippines.

For the rest about the island, I leave it to you to explore and enjoy your trip!

St. Isidore Labrador Church, Lazi, Siquijor

St. Isidore Labrador Church, Lazi, SiquijorSt. Isidore Labrador Convent, Lazi, Siquijor

St. Isidore Labrador Convent, Lazi, Siquijor

Salagdoong Beach

Salagdoong Beach, Maria, SiquijorBoating at Salagdoong Beach Resort,  Maria, Siquijor

Boating at Salagdoong Beach, Maria, SiquijorAccommodation at Coco Grove Beach and Dive Resort

Accommodation at Coco Grove Beach & Dive Resort, San Juan, SiquijorAn intimate dining area, Coco Grove Beach & Dive Resort, San Juan, Siquijor

Intimate Dining at Coco Grove Beach & Dive Resort, San Juan, Siquijor

Resto along the beach of Coco Grove Beach & Dive Resort, San Juan, Siquijor

Resto along the beach of Coco Grove Beach & Dive Resort, San Juan, Siquijor

Sunset in Dumalaay

Sunset at Dumalaay Boulevard Cangmalalag, Larena, SiquijorSunrise in LarenaSunrise, Larena Bay, Siquijor

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#itsmorefuninthephilippines

Philippines with its Unique Sights and Mouthwatering Cuisines, a True Paradise to Satisfy your Wanderlust

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Philippines is heaven for any traveler, with its tropical islands that have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, luxury resorts, amiable villages, tantalizing nightlife and the most delicious cuisine. The country should be on the bucket list of any vacationer who loves to explore nature and loves to try different and delectable food.

People who have never been to the Philippines think that it is a country buzzing with tourists and nothing novel to offer to those who love adventure. While it is true that it is becoming a popular tourist destination, which according to the government report, 2,619,625 visitors have already visited the country, it still has much more to offer to excited backpackers and those on a quest for a unique experience.

The striking places and sights that make the Philippines a dreamland for a traveler:

With more than seven thousand islands, most of which are untouched, Philippines is the best place for a true nature lover. One can explore the beautiful Chocolate Hills that are considered one of the most breathtaking National Geological Monuments, or one can take a walk through history and visit nearly 2,000-year-old rice terraces that were sculpted by the earliest inhabitants of the island or enjoy the pristine beaches, some of which have diving or snorkeling activities where you get to explore splendid coral reefs.

Intramuros also called the Walled City lies at the heart of Manila, you can visit some of the oldest museums, churches and ruins here.

If you love exploring then Rizal Park is a perfect spot for you, pack your travel gear and take a stroll around this park. The park is named after a famous poet and national hero Jose Rizal. And if you believe the spooky tales, then many locals believe this park is haunted.

The Philippines with many islands offers a great range of surfing spots, however, if you do not like large crowds, then pack your surfing gear and rush to Catanduanes that is situated in the Bicol Region. It is a very secluded spot. Here you can surf on the grandiose waves and enjoy the majestic sea.

Whenever you plan an adventurous holiday, it is a good idea to take a travel insurance so your trip is full of adventure and is completely safe. If you packed light and forgot the important travelling gears then you can easily buy travel essentials at Kaymu at local affordable prices.

Experience the most tantalizing Filipino cuisine:

Filipino Cuisine

No real adventure is complete without trying the local food, and Filipino cuisine will not disappoint you. If you love seafood, then Philippines is like a food paradise for you. Fish is a staple food item that is cooked in a variety of different ways with soy sauce and vinegar.

There are few food combinations that you can find only in the Philippines, the unconventional dish called Balut, which is basically a boiled egg. If you are wondering what is so unusual about a boiled egg, then you are in for a surprise. In this boiled egg is a duck embryo, and you consume from the shell by sipping the broth first, after which you remove the shell and swallow the rest of it. There are other exotic food you will fin while island hopping.

Unleash the globetrotter in you and experience the exotic culture, sights and cuisine of the enchanting land of Philippines.

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Pope Francis Visits Manila and Leyte

 

The State of our Streets

 Image grabbed from Philstar

Here in Metro Manila, there is not a day that a motorist does not complain of being stuck in a traffic jam. To travel on the metro streets in a breeze is considered an exception and not the norm.

I for one got a bit scared one time when I was walking along Ayala Avenue and didn’t see any vehicles on the street. As in the street was empty. I had to look around and walk fast for fear that something was amiss.

Such is the state of our streets here.

This morning was no exception. A friend who was taking the Skyway, shared on social network that she got stuck in bad traffic. Everyone thought that it was because of the start of work for the Skyway Stage 3 project, which will connect SLEX to the NLEX through Buendia to Balintawak. This project aims to decongest EDSA, C-5 and other major thoroughfares in Metro Manila. The traffic jam this morning though was caused by a vehicular accident, according to the news.

Still, accident or no accident, metro streets are always jammed every day. Now with the Skyway Stage 3 project, the goal is noble actually. It has to be done.

What gets my beef is the seemingly lack of preparations (again!). Alternate routes, and working ones at that, should have been prepared and established years or months before this project starts. What’s happening, I heard, is that it was only at the start of the project (which is today) when the alternate routes are also identified. Take note, identified. Not prepped and tested.

Such is the state of our streets!

Update

Here are the alternate routes as Skyway Stage 3 construction starts!