Boat Trip to Magallanes

Anticipating the 4-day weekend this August, we already planned to visit Magallanes weeks ago. A friend, who lives there, is also celebrating her birthday so we decided that on August 27, we will be there and she will be our tour guide.

Magallanes is a municipality in Agusan del Norte. If you check out the map, the place can be reached (from Butuan) in two ways: boat ride and a land trip. We choose to ride the boat.

View Larger Map

Around 7AM on August 27, my cousin and I went to the Butuan Ferry Terminal at the PPA compound for our trip to Magallanes. The weather was good despite the fact that somewhere north of the country typhoon Mina is ravaging the area. The night before, my aunt warned us about the rain.

This was our conversation (translated from Bisaya)
Aunt: PAGASA said there will be non-stop rains all over the country. It was really raining hard this afternoon. Those who want to travel won’t enjoy the weather.
Me: Is it raining now?
Aunt: No.
Me: Therefore, it is not non-stop. (Don’t rain on my parade, Tita. I will see Magallanes tomorrow!)

When we arrived at the terminal, a boat was already docked and ready for passengers.

When I saw the plank, I doubted my ability to balance my weight on that  strip of wood. Failure was not an option because I do not know how to swim. I let my cousin walk ahead of me while I gathered courage to take a step. The boatman saw my predicament. He helped me cross that plank.

This was not my first boat ride to Magallanes. I spent 7 years of my childhood in that town. When I went to a kindergarten school in Butuan, Mama and I would shuttle from Magallanes to Butuan in this kind of boat.  I was kind of revisiting my childhood in this trip.

It took around 35-45 minutes to reach Magallanes but it felt like a shorter trip because there were so many things I found amusing.

This is a nice area. I wonder how to reach this place by land. Is this a private property?

Banza Church Ruins

Here’s the balangay docked at the Luna Compound in Bading, Butuan City.

When reached the port of Magallanes, we waited for our friend. There were benches in the port area and wind blew gently so it was a pleasant wait. It took some time before she arrived. She did not believe us when we told her we were coming. We called her the night before and thought we were just kidding. We went to her place to eat breakfast. We brought Spam, corned beef, eggs,  bread and brownies.

On our way, we passed by the municipal building.

Magallanes Municipal Building

I spent Grade 1 and Grade 2 here.  From the gate, I can see my Grade two classroom.

We dropped by the church to say a little prayer. After all, it was my friend’s birthday.

When we reached her place, we were met by her dogs.

Breakfast was yummy. It was already past 9AM. We were a little hungry so anything edible would be yummy for me. With spam, eggs, corned beef, brownies, bread and coke for breakfast, that was heaven!

The next stop of the day was to visit the Centennial tree.

I hope the marker will be replaced. I cannot read some of the text written.

This is the Philippine Centennial Tree. In the 1998 Philippine Centennial Celebration, there was a search to find the oldest tree in the country and this came out the oldest. The 500-year-old tree is called Bitaog.
The tree is so large that its branches canopied over the road.
The trunk is so wide.
To take a photograph of the whole tree, one has to walk several meters away to make it fit into the camera’s frame.
We already brought some meat to grill for our lunch. We only have to find a beach area where we can enjoy our humble meal.  Across the bitaog tree is a resort aptly name: Centennial Beach Resort.

They got a small pool area which we will try next time. We did not bring extra clothes.

The rates are affordable.

There are cottages for rent for large groups.  Rates ranged from P150 to P250.

For simple folks like us who only need a table,  there is a P50 table for rent.  The area is shady and cool. It is also near the grill area so we really like the location.

This was our simple lunch: grilled pork belly dipped in vinegar and soy sauce, rice, brownies and coke.  Burp!

We hang out a bit and we went off to see the Magellan marker then ride the boat home. When we reach the area, the site was closed so I took this picture behind the locked gates.

We walked to the port area. This time it is easier for me to walk through the plank.  There was an improvised railing which I held onto to be able to walk the plank.

See the novel way to add railing to the plank.

That was one cool trip. We arrived Butuan before 3pm. We will do this kind of trip again in the future. Magallanes fiesta will be on the 3rd Saturday of October and the town will celebrating their centennial this year.

The best things in life are nearest:  Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you.  Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.  ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Grammar and I

My friends found their way to my blog. Now, there is a teeny-tiny bit of pressure in my so-called unstressed life to check my grammar. I only told 4 people about this blog because I was not comfortable with my writing. English was not a favorite subject in school. Plus, this is a personal blog. I write a lot of “I”. I sometimes sound all-knowing and holier-than-thou.  It is because I am 50% Bisaya and 50% Butuanon which means that my character traits are 50% buotan (nice), 25% hambogera (braggart), 25% hinawayon (critical)*.

Since I am 50% nice, allow me to welcome and thank my friends for taking time to read my blog. MWAH!!

The fear of pulling a ‘James Soriano’

The Internet can be an unforgiving place for writers. Articles can be criticized at lightning speed.  This week, I got a grammar lesson courtesy of James Soriano.  Soriano wrote an article for the Manila Bulletin entitled, “Language, learning, identity, privilege”. Although the article has been removed from the Manila Bulletin website, a blogger was able to obtain a copy (c/o Google’s cache). It can be read here. From what I understood, he wrote that Filipino is not the language of the learned. Thus, it sparked a buzz (well, more of an outrage) in the online community.

In her Facebook note, Kat Nisperos wrote a funny reply to the article in Bekimon. Bekimon is gay speak. I hardly understood a word but I was laughing my ass off. Read the her reply here. Migs Bassig, a blogger, took a shot at editing the original article of James Soriano. This is where I got a grammar lesson or two.  The blog entry has red text color for the corrections plus strikethroughs.  Read the entry here.

Here’s my take on the issue:

The original article did not affect me much. It did not move me. It felt like I was reading a crammed high school essay. Why did Manila Bulletin think it was an article worth publishing? Forgive me for digging into my 25% hinawayon (critical) trait.  Let me redeem myself by using my 50% buotan (nice) trait: The article is James Soriano’s opinion and experience. I felt sorry for him that he never grasped the value of the Filipino language. The positive thing about his article is that it ignited a discussion on education: how one language is preferred over the other in its ability to educate.

More than the grammar lesson, I realize that I might write something offensive to some people in the future. Sometimes my edit button can be stuck at the back of my brain that I fear I might spawn posts that can cause such an outrage. Someone may have the time to correct my bad grammar and all, and post it for the world to read. Unlike James Soriano, Bisaya is my mother tongue. Thus, I have the propensity to scramble for the right English word to use. Although I got quite a sharp eye in identifying bad grammar in street signs and posters, I often miss my own grammatical errors. Worse, I get too self-conscious of  my own abilities that I end up committing errors. In one discussion with a classmate, I told him, “Made up you mind!”. I thought it was funny to say “Make up your mind.”  I was laughing in my head: “Make-up? He is a guy. He will laugh at me.” He shot back:, “It’s Make up your mind“. I got the correction I so deserved. Ha!

I found an alibi!

A week or two ago, “Taga ______ ka kung…” groups have sprouted like mushrooms on Facebook.  Translated: “Taga ______ ka kung…” = ” You’re from _______ if”. In my timeline, I would read entries from friends contributing posts to the “Taga” groups they belong to. I suddenly found myself  being added to ‘Taga-Butuan ka kung‘. I realized how this kind of group could flood my timeline. Even if I am on Facebook most of the time, I cannot keep up with the posts and some entries have become repetitive and annoying.  I turned off my alerts and tried to forget that I was ever part of the group.  Sorry po.

There was one group, though, that I lurk from time to time even if I was not invited to join in. It is the group for those who went to UP Diliman. One entry states, “Taga-UP Diliman kung di mo ma-take ang mga wrong grammar!” (You are from UP-Diliman if you cannot stand grammatical errors.)  The funny replies kept me giggling. While it is true that I can’t keep myself from correcting a poorly-worded sentence, I am not exempted from committing the same grammar mistake. The extent of my English skills is limited to the lessons I learned in subject-verb agreement. From time to time, I mix present and past tenses in a sentence. I sometimes end sentences with a proposition. My saving grace is that the replies to this entry are witty permutations of bad grammar after another.  Currently, there are 7,944 hilarious comments to this thread.

Such hot topic led some creative members into rewriting the lyrics of some frequently-butchered songs in videoke places. Here’s the first part of one of those songs:

Dan Hell

By: HansHaze Chicano Sebastian

♫You ask me if I wagyu
And I token my replied
I rather hurts you honest lead
Than misfeed you with a light

♫And who am I to dodge you
On what you see or dude?
I’m only jazzed beginning
To seed the real youuuuuu

♫And sometimes when we Tats
Di’ hanesty’s too mats
And I have to closed my ice and high
Joanna hold you til I died
Til we both make frown and cried
I wanna hole you, till the beer in me subsights

Thus, I declare:

If ever I commit a grammar mistake, my alibi is: “I am just getting in touch with my wicked UP humor. The mistake is intentional!”

Or I can say:

Even Google, the source of everything on the Internet, commits errors!


In the course of my life, I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet.  ~Winston Churchill

*I am prepared to duck under the table anticipating the stones my relatives will pelt at me. Haha!  I am hoping my relatives won’t find their way to this blog or else I would get a mouthful of expletives. Worst-case scenario: I will be disowned. My cousin and I already had an agreement. We will run away together if she gets disowned. She made a speech about the “family from Mars” and feared banishment.  I should talk to her soon to make the agreement mutual. 😀

Find your passion

The breaking news on CNN when I turned on the TV this morning was Steve Job’s resignation as Apple’s CEO. They showed clips of him in turtleneck and jeans, his standard attire whenever he is onstage introducing a new innovative product from Apple. He is said to be battling pancreatic cancer. It pains me see him thin onstage. In the spirit of full disclosure: I do not own one Apple product. It is pretty expensive for my third-world lifestyle so I settle for products I can afford but I do dream of owning an Apple device someday. I remember telling my cousin that I will buy an Ipad10.

His story is inspirational. He imparted valuable lesson in his 2005 commencement speech to Stanford’s graduating students. Thanks to Youtube, I was able to watch the speech in awe of the brilliance, perseverance and determination of this man. The lines in that speech that stirred me were: “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

It was no surprise to me when it was reported that in his brief letter of resignation, he said: “I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.”

I know that articles have been written and they sounded like eulogies to Steve Jobs. The man is still alive and his brain power is still superior over majority of the population. I think he is still Apple’s Chairman of the Board.

While I viewed this speech again, I remember another inspirational person- Randy Pausch. He is a computer science professor of the Carnegie Mellon University. He delivered his ‘Last Lecture’ to an auditorium full of students and colleagues. Carnegie Mellon University invites professors to talk about their professional life. His ‘Last Lecture’ was entitled ‘Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams’. At the time of this speech, Randy Pausch is suffering from pancreatic cancer. While he looked healthy during the speech, the doctors gave him 3-6 months to live.

What struck me about Randy Pausch was his zest for life. Just like Steve Jobs, he was one determined individual. His candor, sense of humor and humanity were just a few of his endearing qualities. I discovered this ‘Last Lecture’ in early 2008, several months after it was delivered. I poured over Randy Pausch’s books and his life (he blogged) for a month. He was (and still is) on my google alerts. In one morning of July 2008, my email inbox had 80+ unread messages. I knew I had zero unread messages the night before. I found out they were all the news feeds about his passing. I cried.

Some wise words from Randy Pausch:

Remember brick walls let us show our dedication. They are there to separate us from the people who don’t really want to achieve their childhood dreams. Don’t bail. The best of the gold’s at the bottom of barrels of crap.

Show gratitude.

Don’t complain. Just work harder.

Be good at something, it makes you valuable.

Find the best in everybody.

And be prepared. Luck is truly where preparation meets opportunity.

It’s not about how to achieve your dreams. It’s about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.

Watch the video until the end. The last part is so touching.

These two people are only two of my inspirations in life. When they talk about passion, living life to the fullest and being true to oneself, I become introspective and assess the life I live. It reaffirms my decision to quit my job three years ago. When I no longer felt inspired doing the job I had for 11 years, I decided to leave without the security of getting a new one. It has been 3 years since I quit the job and it is still a surprise to some when they learn that I am still unemployed. I am unemployed but not idle. I learned (and still learning) new skills and did (and pursue) things I was not able to do while I was working (like traveling). I am happier now.  I appreciate a lot of things. I see the world clearer. My vision is unblocked by the confines of a cubicle. My temperament now is not as cold as the concrete walls of the corporate jungle.

I am not saying I am turning my back to employment opportunities. No. Whenever I see a job posting that fits my abilities, I am there giving my best shot. As Steve Jobs said: If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. Randy Pausch also said: “Be prepared. Luck is truly where preparation meets opportunity.

I cannot predict my future so I just seize this moment and enjoy it while I try to be the best version of me.

Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys.  If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it. ~Fyodor Dostoevsky 

(P.S. this blog post is unedited.)

Doppelgangers: Separated at birth?

Today, people have noticed that my right eye is red. I don’t now what caused it. Can too much internet, too much reading or too much television have a such an effect on my eye? But I have being abusing the eyes for a long time and nothing bad happened, what stimulus could have caused this predicament I am in? I am thinking I might have rubbed my eyes after I held the dog.  Who knows what irritants lurk in his fur? Mental note: never rub eyes. The red eye did not deter me from noticing celebrities who look alike.

Ryan Murphy and John Malkovich

I was watching ‘The Glee Project’, a reality tv search for a glee role. Ryan Murphy, being the show creator, sits as one of the judges. He looks like John Malkovich. The role of John Malkovich in the Clint Eastwood movie, In the Line of Fire, is what I remember him most. He was the antagonist in that movie and was quite creepy. Come to think of it, most roles John Malkovich play are the creepy types. He has this monotonic way of delivering lines and his face shows no emotion.  Ryan Murphy looks the same way in the ‘The Glee Project’. Add to that his unpopularity with Glee fans when he told the press that Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Chris Colfer will not be coming back for the 4th season before these actors were informed personally of such move. He just assumed that these actors understood the circumstances of their roles.  Because of that, he was seen as  the “villain” in the eyes of some Glee fans. So, the John Malkovich similarity strengthens. 😀

Ryan Murphy
Ryan Murphy

John Malkovich
John Malkovich

 Chris O’Dowd and Josh Groban

I watched Season 1 of The I.T. Crowd recently. This British sitcom is about an I.T. department of some British company. It is a funny show. It hits close to home because I used be a part of an IT Department of telecommunication company in my previous job.   IT stands for Information Technology.  One of the main characters is played by Chris O’Dowd. For some reason his wavy hair, physique and some facial feature, reminds me of Josh Groban.  I am a Josh Groban fan. In his concert and guest appearances, he showed his funny side and sense of humor. In some ways, Josh Groban appears geeky like the character Chris O’Dowd played in this sitcom.

Check out the videos below for comparison: (P.S. Video credits belong to the owners of such clips.)

Scene from The I.T .Crowd

Josh Groban

I should sleep now to rest my eyes. Till next post!

Ode to the Sampaguita

One of my favorite Sunday morning activity is gathering sampaguita from the garden, cupping them in my palms and smelling them. The sweet smell would linger in palm even after I loosely spread the small flowers in the altar as an offering.

Perfume from the garden. :D

Sampaguita (Jasminum sambac) is the national flower of the Philippines. It  grows on shrubs just like what we have in the garden. It is a nondescript plant with tiny and fragile looking flowers. Don’t be fooled with appearances. This plant is resilient. I can’t remember someone taking care of the shrub in the garden. It stood on its own. It is low-maintenance and sturdy. The flowers bloom regularly and abundantly all throughout the year. Flood came and went and the sampaguita survived gracefully against those calamities. Because of that, it is no surprise why it was chosen as the national flower of the Philippines. It is a lovely representation of the good qualities of the Filipino spirit-  resilient, strong and giving.

Let me try to wax some poetry for these charming flowers:

Sampaguita, dainty and pure
Pretty little flowers, oh so demure!
A whiff of your essence, alluringly sweet
My Sunday morning is now complete.

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