DEXtination : Cebu City

Cebu is like the ultimate destination for me in the Philippines (as well as Davao) because of its richness in history and culture (based on Civic and Culture subject in elementary, lol). So when my officemates asked me last February if I wanted to join their trip on November, without hesitation I said yes. :)

Here's the itinerary receipt. Btw, we were 14 in this trip (originally 16; FIELD TRIP daw accdg to Nicole). My officemates only booked 2 with check-in baggage and the rest goLite. I suggest that if you're goin in a trip, just book with check-in baggage especially on the way back so you'll have room for pasalubongs; besides it'll only cost you a hundred compared to four hundred if you decide there and then.

itinerary receipt

We arrived at Mactan International Airport at around 9:15 am, just on time. There were some who offered van to bring us to our hotel but we refused. We have a companion who's been to Cebu before and knows how it'll cost us if we ride a metered taxi instead.

We then grouped ourselves and rode a taxi going to Verbena Capitol Suites; it only costs us 77pesos. :)

Verbena is just a 2-star hotel so it's pretty cheap but decent and clean (we got the barkada package which costs us only 340/day/pax which includes brakfast). In addition, it's also near Robinson's Place and Crown Regency. :)

Since check-in time is not until 2pm, we decided to leave our things in the hotel and have lunch. We decided to have it at CnT Lechon (we're supposed to have dinner here but since we're already starving and it's just near the hotel).

CnT Lechon!

CnT Lechon is tasty, tender and juicy. It's good without sauce. I expected more based on reviews and hearsay, but I'm pretty much satisfied. (CnT is the inital of the owner/s) 

tasty  + tender + juicy = yum! :)
DEXtination : Ho Chi Minh City
Day 3 (PM) : Meet Saigon

After our Cu Chi tunnel tour, we (Lauren and I) were dropped off in War Remnants Museum to wait for our Ho Chi Mihn City tour coordinator. The museum was not part of the tour, so I decided to go inside and asked our tour coordinator to wait for me. I paid 15,000 dong for the entrance fee.

War Remnants Museum

The museum houses different artifacts, photographs and pictures documenting American war crimes

Vietnam map
Such documents illustrate the killing of civilians, torturing of prisoners and setting some places in fire.

Planes tanks, bombs and helicopters are also on display.

DEXtination : Cu Chi Tunnel
Day 3 (AM) : A fragment of light at the end of the Tunnel

I was excited about this day because this will be the part of the trip where I'll be just by myself. Don't get me wrong, it's always nice to have friends along and I definitely enjoy Roch's company but there's something about being alone and exploring the world alone that thrills me. ^_^

I could still taste the Pho I had the previous night but I still chose Vietnamese noodles for breakfast - for comparison (besides, I already tried their baguette). Of course, Pho 24's noodles was better but Orient's was also tasty. Nomnomnom.

vietnamese noodles + coffee + banana

After breakfast, I checked out of the hotel and again left my things in their storage. I went to the tour coordinator's office and waited for the bus going to the Cu Chi Tunnel. As I was waiting, I met Lauren (from U.K.) who's also going to see the tunnel.

We talked about the places we visited the previous days and our experience so far. Surprisingly, she's nice and friendly and pretty too. I asked if I can take a picture of her but she refused. (Actually, she granted me one pic but it's in my iPod's contact list and I still don't know how to retrieve it as a separate file.)

our bus

The bus arrived at around 8:20 am (kinda late) and we (Lauren and I) joined a group of tourist from other travel agencies/coordinators. We met Sir Lim, our tour guide. He's a seasoned guide and has a first hand experience of the war. He talked a little bit about Vietnam then and now. Very informative indeed. :)

meet Sir Lim, our Cu Chi Tunnel tour guide
What caught my attention was when he mentioned about statistics regarding Saigon and motorbikes. Did I already mentioned that Saigon is a motorbike country? If in Manila, jeepneys are the king of the road, in Saigon it's motorbikes.

DEXtionary : OctoVironmental-Fest
October is ATS' environment awareness month ergo OctoVironmental-fest. Our company organized symposium and other activities to help save the planet in our own little way; included in these activities are joining the 10.10.10 Run for Pasig River and tree planting in Makban Geothemal Plant in Bay. Laguna. And guess what? I participated. :)

10.10.10 Run for Pasig River

a beautiful day to save lives

Let me be mushy and start this with a McDreamy quote: It's a beautiful day to save lives. Let's have some fun.

This was exactly what I felt when I woke up the dawn of 10.10.10. Well obviously I'm not a runner or a fitness buff and I don't think you can consider me an environmentalist but I felt excitement and hope and a tap on my shoulder that I should be doing this kind of activities for a better me and a better environment.

SuperFerry supports 10.10.10 Run for Pasig River


Day 2 : Buddha-fest in a dragon fruit land

I intentionally woke-up at around 5AM so I can go out to the beach and witness the sunrise. But I remember we were in the south of Vietnam so the sun will not rise in our side of the sea.
i missed the sunrise
As I was waiting for Roch to get ready, I strolled around the beach and the resort. The beach is just so-so (definitely, the beaches in the Philippines are way better), in fact, I didn't see any tourist swimming in our entire stay. But then, the sound of the waves, the sand in my feet and the soft breeze brought by the air in my skin made me calm and at peace. 
very calm sea

conservative wave
fishermen pulling the net

growth & DK - remember that subject in trigonometry? do the math.
 At 6:30 AM, we went to the resort's resto to have breakfast even though the indicated time in the coupon is 7-9 AM. When we arrived, they're still preparing the buffet (whoa! I love buffets!) and only allowed us to eat when they finished. We were worried because our companion to this day's tour will pick us up at 7AM.

bread toast

noodles - i thought it was coconut something

baguette as usual

dragon fruit
this is what i got - fried rice, fried noodles, toast, egg, puto, soup and wintermelon juice (I thought it's pandan juice)
After breakfast, we headed to the reception and found Mr. Sang (our companion for the trip) waiting for us. He  said that this day we'll be going to TaCu mountain to see the pagoda, a dragon fruit plantation, a supermarket and Cham Tower. Yey! I'm excited!

DEXtination : MUI NE
When Roch - my college friend based in Vietnam, mentioned that she will be coming home this October for good, out of spontaneity I thought of visiting her just before she comes back. I invited our other blockmate and a couple of friends but to no avail. Even so, I still booked myself a flight because I really felt a need to have a vacation, a time to reflect and to have fun. And I think I deserve it. Besides, the CebuPac's promo rate is pretty cheap. :) Also, by doing this I'll be able to cross out two entries from my bucket list: to travel abroad (I'll be more specific with my succeeding entries; and yes, this is my first time out of the country) and to travel alone (well not exactly).

Meet Roch. :)
I had no plans of thoroughly researching about Vietnam, our accommodations and itinerary because I thought Roch - being there for almost 2 years, already knows the best and at the same time affordable places, food and activities to try. Sure she did, but I realized that I don't wanna be clueless and it's still good for me to know a little about the country I'm gonna visit.

As I was googling, I was surprised when I learned that one of my favorite blogger - Chyng, went to Vietnam last July as part of her backpacking SEA adventure. Whoa! Her post gave me a clearer view of what to expect. Her experience and tips helped me a lot deciding on our itinerary. Thanks Chyng! (I hope she'll be able to read this.) What more surprised me was when another favorite blogger - Sheena, also went to Vietnam last August. Hmmm.. it seems everybody is going to the same place. And it made me more excited! The picture of the yellow sand dunes she posted on her blog made me look  forward to experience it.

I thought these blogs were signs that I made a right decision. I was a little bit hesitant and guilty when I booked the flight because of the expenses at the expense of my credit card bills! Lol.

Aside from reading blogs and forums, I didn't have much preparation.
my CebuPac's itinerary receipt
iConfess : When I booked this, I thought I'll still be in Saigon on Sep 28 AM and my departure is not until 1:20 PM. I just realized that it's actually 1:20 AM when we're finalizing our itinerary. Yeah I know, how stupid of me. Hehe.

Btw, there's an hour time difference between Vietnam and the Philippines so don't wonder if you noticed in my itinerary receipt that it looks like going to Saigon is shorter than going back to Manila.

So, all my bags are packed and I'm now ready to go. :)

DEXtination : (Galeon Andalucia) SF20
Today is Día del Galeón (Day of the Galleon). And to take part into the festival, a couple of officemates and I went to Manila South Harbor lunch time to see Galeon Andalucia - a replica of the 17th century vessels that sailed between Manila and Acapulco during the galleon trade.

Dia del Galeon 2010
As expected, there are many who want to see the Galeon and learn about the trade that change the world (sounds familiar, hehe). Unfortunately, when we reached the line for the registration, the officer in charge already identified the last person that can go to the galleon for the day. He said it's impossible to accommodate everyone since it will close at 4pm. My officemate tried to convince the oic to allow us since we're employees of one of the festival's sponsor. But for the spirit of fairness, he insisted he won't. We understood.

So if you're planning to go tomorrow, I suggest you go there as early as 6 or 7 am. Andalucia will be opened from 8am - 12nn and will go to its next destination after.

we settled to just have a pic with the banner. :(
We just decided to take a pic with the banner to compensate for the effort and time we spent. There, we met a man very disappointed that he can't experience Andalucia. He even unload his sentiments to us and threatened that he'll protest when he learned that our company is one of the sponsors. He said that the system is inefficient and that people should still be allowed to go since this is what was advertised. He has a point but just like him, we weren't able to see it as well. So, it's better if he raise his concern to people who can help him.

Nung bata ako, pag tinatanong ako kung ano gusto ko maging, lagi ko sinasabi ay doktor. At pag tinanong kung bakit, sagot ko ay para makatulong sa may sakit. Yun kasi popular noon. Minsan sinasabi ko na piloto para maiba lang. Pero sa totoo lang, hindi ko nakita ang aking sarili na may stethoscope sa leeg o may eroplano sa kamay. May pagka-clumsy, pasmado, at malabo ang mata ko kaya noon pa lang alam ko na na hindi para sa akin ang pagiging doktor o piloto. Kasama na din dito ang takot ko sa responsibilidad na buhay ang at stake sa trabaho.
Nung elementary, sabi ko na Commerce ang kukunin ko sa kolehiyo at pagkatapos ay sa bangko ako papasok bilang teller, feeling ko kasi nun marami pera sa ganitong trabaho. Ito yung panahon na sikat pa ang kurso na yon at eto rin yung panahon na narealize ko na you get paid by working. Unang pagkakataon na nasilaw ako ng pera.
Sa high school naman, may nagsabi na dapat alam mo ang kakayahan at gusto mo at yun ang gamitin sa pagpili ng kurso. Mahirap daw kasi na hindi ka interesado sa field na tatahakin mo. At dahil magaling ako sa Math, sabi ko Engineering ang kukunin ko, madami daw kasi Math subjects sa course na to. Haha, ang babaw lang. Pero totoo, sa katunayan, ang nakalagay sa yearbook ko na ambition ay to be considered as one of the greatest name in the field of engineeringNoon pa lang mahilig na rin ako sa mabulaklak na salita na madalas ay walang sense.
Sa UPCAT, ang first choice ko na course is Computer Engineering. Eto yung breakdown:
1st Choice: UP Diliman
  • 1st choice of degree: BS, Computer Engineering
  • 2nd choice of degree: BS, Business Administration and Accountancy
2nd Choice: UPLB
  • 1st choice of degree: BS, Chemical Engineering
  • 2nd choice of degree: BS, Mathematics
Nung dumating yung resulta, ang sabi sa letter: We regret to inform you blah, blah, blah.. So, in short hindi ako natanggap. Kainis, sayang yung pagpasok ng sabado para sa review. Pero sabi ng pinsan ko na pumapasok sa elbi, abot pa naman daw sa cut-off yung WGA ko kaya pwede ipa-waitlist. Huwag daw quota course piliin ko kaya sabi ko sa BS Mathematics na lang, mag-shift na lang ako pag andun na.  

DEXnote : 2010 & 1/2 : What now and then some
So, it’s been six months. I still can remember the plans I made for every aspect of my life the first day of 2010. From career to relationships, self-development and spirituality — I had it all set.
It’s funny coz it’s just now that I realized that all this time, until now, all I have is a plan. It’s not funny coz I’ve been doing it in circles. I’m always waiting for the perfect timing, controlling my actions — afraid of making mistakes. And when something goes wrong, I give in and mess it all up thinking I can start again some other time — back to square one. As a result, nothing is happening. I’m just going with and through the flow without growing. How’s that?
I’ve been so wrapped up in thinking, striving and making sure I’m ok that I haven’t really stopped to just be. So, I’m stopping. I’m admitting I’m not ok. I don’t have it together. I’m lonelyI’m a bloody big mess inside.
But still, I am grateful despite and in spite of. My heart is overwhelmed with thankfulness that God is here, I am blessed, I am loved… And I’m gonna use this as an inspiration to keep the faith, be mature enough, and live with a positive disposition.
I’m still pursuing my plan but with much flexibility. It’ll be more adaptive to life’s spontaneity. Who knows I might succeed this time. After all, I still have the rest of 2010 and my life to make things right — if not, learn from the experience. I believe God has a greater plan for me. I know right?
As the lyrics of Scouting For Girls' This Ain't A Love Song goes: I may be down, scared and a little bit frightened, I’ll be coming back fighting to life.
An addiction to conformity is a sure-fire symptom of impending death by mediocrity. --Joey Reyes

I remember one of my previous colleague described me as a conformist. He actually considered it as one of my good trait but I didn’t take that as a compliment. For me, a conformist is boring, a commoner, and without convictions — and I’m not boring, my ways is like no other and  I’m in denial of course. Lol. 
Come to think of it, I really obey rules and most of the time I conform to society’s norm. My taste in music may not be popular and my political views may be different but still, I listen to music and some principle guide me just like most of us. The context is still the same, we just have differences.
I don’t see anything wrong with obeying rules. Rules are put there so we’ll have some kind of order. Yeah, it’s liberating to once in a while  break rules but eventually, we’ll still go back following it. Of course, we should also evaluate if the set rules are fair and functional and think of ways on how to improve it. It’s not a rule to follow conventions, we are somehow free to create our own brand of life.
As a song goes — Take a risk. Take a chance. Make a change. Breakaway.
Darvit! It’s a very painful experience. I don’t know what triggered it, prolly the heat. I looked for an antibiotic to relieve the pain but to no avail, I just decided to put an icebag in my lower ab; my Lola taught me this before along with putting salt in my navel. That I didn’t buy. Lol.
I stayed in the bathroom for more than 40 minutes. I took a bath again but it’s still painful. I thought of masturbating to divert my attention but on second thought, it won’t do much. I texted Mom, she replied drink a lot of water and try to ignore. But it’s so painful to ignore. Eventually, the pain subside.
I know this is nothing compared to what others might be feeling and I may be exaggerating but I tell you — that experience ruined my afternoon.
I googled for the English term for balisawsaw and I got urinary incontenence. I also searched for a quick remedy and got buko juice, lots of water and washing with warm water (this is for women) — no medical basis though; I’ll just ask our doctor.
adDEXtion : Bowling - The IT Way
Bowling has always been our team’s sport. Some of us are competitive and some are just having fun (just like me) trying to hit the pins — with any possible posture you can imagine. Lol.
2GO Express IT Cup
But whether you’re consistent with your strikes or still hitting the canal once in a while, what matters is you improve through time, develop your own style and learn something from your colleagues and your own experience.
have some balls

Well, you can actually forget about being competitive and just have fun, but it’s better if you acquire both. After all, what’s really important is the bonding time, the laughs, more laughs and the experience. And oh, the bacon and egg too. :)
official meal
I’m so looking forward to having an average score of 160 per game and I’m still wishing for a turkey! Dream on Dex.
Random Fact : I took bowling as one of my P.E. in college but I didn’t appreciate it back then. I only remember 2 things on that subject: 1. Make sure your shoes is not wet when you go to the ramp because the instructor will scold you to death. 2. I was privilege to have the student regent then as a partner but not quite happy because she’s frequently absent.
DEXtination : POTIPOT (04.17.2010 - 04.18.2010)
It’s a relatively small island just perfect for relaxation and quality time alone, with friends or family. It’s obscenely beautiful and serene especially when we arrived just before sunrise. The water is very clear (and salty but that’s expected) and the off-white sand is just fine. There are rocky parts but not too much.
before sunrise

relaxing view
clear sea and fine sand
nice jump shot

that's our boat
It became quite crowded in the afternoon but we still had our privacy and managed to do the activities we prepared without being interrupted. There are no island-specific activities here just like in other commercialized island in the country; there are resorts nearby that offer jetski but that’s it. You just have to be creative on how you will spend your time here.
Well, aside from the inadequate and untidy comfort rooms in the island, we didn’t have any bv experience here. :)

we had fun!
All things considered, we had fun. We enjoyed the view, the place, the company, and the experience.
DEXnote : E-Pop
why all of a sudden everyone started to care (read: why all of a sudden Earth Day became pop)

earth hour
it’s Earth Day today!
the world has been celebrating Earth Day for like forever now but it’s just these past years that we actually noticed and participated. the drought, landslides, and flood we experienced must’ve contributed a lot in our awareness of the effects of climate change. or maybe it’s the medium being used to promote that made people participate.
well, i have nothing against Earth Day being popular. and i have nothing against using pop culture to communicate and reach out. it’s actually a bright idea to immerse such cause to people’s preoccupied world to get their attention. most of the time, it works! and it’s a good thing because we are now starting to care. i’m just worried that some are participating for the wrong reasons, for selfish reasons. like how ‘cool’ it is to be part of such significant act. darvit! those people who use this event to be ‘in’, to be ‘pop’. 
anyway, i hope our concern to mother Earth is genuine and that we’re actually doing something to save her. i hope that this will not stop in just wearing green or blue or by watching an environment-related documentary. while these activities are good to promote and inform, what matters is the act that we do to contribute in actually saving our environment. and it’s not just for a day, it’s incorporating these acts in our lifestyle.
DEXnote : MY 20-0-9

It started fresh because of the new job with the new company. I’ve been idle for the first three months but been overwhelmed with bugs and tickets when our project was implemented last July. Thanks to my team for the support and for filling the part where I couldn’t perform. There have been days I drag myself to work but that force is not enough to break my thrust. I’m still enjoying my job and still happy with my IT family.
Java training classmates at Active Learning with Sir Gavin
This year I learned Java (or not, lol). I’ve been wanting to learn this ever since I started programming. I’m thankful for the opportunity to attend the training and to apply the learnings by supporting our system. There are so many things still to learn and I hope to add more next year.

after 15-20 minutes trekking, we reached Mt. Pinatubo crater
and it's beautiful!
after the volcanic spa
eye-level view of Taal at Balai isabel
I haven’t traveled much this year. I just tried the Zipline at Tagaytay, trek the Mt. Pinatubo, puked at Taal and planted trees at the Marikina Watershed. I hope to travel more often this 2010 and hopefully be out of the country one of these days. I should be preparing my passport for this.

IT family at Balai Isabel
let's plant trees
tree planting at Marikina watershed
New friends were added to my list this year. Aside from my new officemates, I found friends with my new housemates and their friends. I hope these friendships last. I’ve also reunited with my HS friends just recently. I attended the 20th Anniv of our org. I’ve bonded with my Korean students/friends. I just wish I attended our HS reunion but due to unexpected circumstances, I wasn’t able to. I wish to build and rekindle more friendships this 2010. Also, I think I’m ready to fall in love again this coming year.

2009 was full of miseries/tragedies - the spread of A(H1N1) virus, deaths of prominent personalities, SuperFerry9 mishap, typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, and the gruesome Maguindanao massacre. These tragedies brought pain and sorrow to our people and to our nation but these also taught us to be strong, to be united and to have faith in God. May these happenings taught us to be more caring to our environment, to be more assertive to our rights and to be more vigilant to our government, especially with the upcoming 2010 presidential elections. I also have a share of ‘bad thing’ this year but I’d rather not talk about it because it’s more of a stupid thing for me and I don’t want to remember that anymore.

Before the year ends, Tito Bokyo died. He has been suffering from his illness since September. I remember how he was rushed to the hospital because he can’t control his shaking and he’s having a hard time breathing. It’s hard to see him like that. Our only consolation was he died peacefully. It’s a very sad Christmas for us - we’ll never be complete. Ever. But that’s life, we just need to have peace with it and move on. I just pray for the soul of Tito Bokyo and for the welfare of his family, our family.

2009 has been good/bad for me, for us. Good memories will be cherished and lessons learned from the bad ones will never be forgotten.

  • DEXpicable Me

    DEXpicable Me
    i always wanted to write. i want to voice out my opinion on issues that interest me. i wanna chit-chat about tv series i'm hooked and music in my playlist. i want to talk about math and politics; culture and literature. i want to share my story and be relevant. and with this labyrinth as a medium, i'm making myself vulnerable by letting you in to my life. it's up to you to depict it. you may see it differently. you may be lost. but in this maze, there is only one way out and i hope you find it.