Saturday, March 31, 2007

Travel and Competitions

PART OF THE duties I commit myself as a human being is to travel the world. This is quite impossible as of today since I'm only one of the average Filipino workers who doesn't earn much. Seeing the world is still a farfetched dream etched in the chambers of my desires. So I opted to tour my beloved country first, even though that already bleeds my pocket.

Soaring through the Hills

Anyway, my friends at the office decided to grab discounted plane tickets for Boracay and Cagayan de Oro. We took advantage of the recent price slash of Cebu Pacific airfares and we'll be off to the white beaches of Bora on September 22-24. My good ol' college buddy Evan will join us in the trip to serve as guide because of his countless times he's been there.

We later on book an earlier flight, sometime in June, to experience the water rafting and caving the City of Golden Smiles boasts. We will also include in the itinerary an overnight visit to the Camiguin Island and certainly a stop-by in Pizza's home in Misamis Oriental.

It is still a long way to go before these scheduled travels but we are already endorsed to the idea of a great getway to the sand dune clinging into everyone's toes.

However, while wailing away through time and day dreaming of the most awaited moment, I spotted a competition in Cebu Pacific Air's inflight magazine Smile. The airline is on its 11th year and they are hosting a photo contest for the best destination photo along with its description.

I'm so much in love with my camera and I immediately thought of joining the contest.

And so, after several days of finding the suitable entry in a haystack of digital pictures embedded in a hard disk drive, I finally was able to select four entries, with one of them shown above. These pictures were taken during our escape to Bohol last December.

I'm greatly convinced that these photos will hit a score with the following categories:
• Composition — 20%
• Artistic merit — 30%
• Originality — 30%
• Execution (exposure, sharpness) — 20%
I was supposed to include the other three here but something inside me wanted to refuse. Aside from the winning photo to be published in the June/July edition of Smile, there are other great prizes at stake here. And I'm sure that cozy plane tickets are part of it. Supposed I win and they found out that I already posted the pictures here, it may be disqualified. Even if it's not declared in the contest that blogged photos are not meritable, I'm still adamant in posting them considering that I emailed the last entry exactly a minute before the deadline expired.

But maybe, I'm just too assuming and already counted the chicks before they even hatched.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Worn Out

I'M QUITE GETTING tired of the look of this blog. The color is green and the header no longer appeals me with the ballpoint so big in the picture. Like a kid who got used to his pencil during class and grown weary through out the school year, he needs to change or upgrade his pencil into a new and better writing instrument. Otherwise, he'll be doodling non-sense in his notepad and drop out from school.

Even the title and the URL address seems to have lost its value and no longer appease the other part of my body where thinking machination (well, sort of) dwells in.

I've been trying to learn new tricks and hacks on how to improve my blogspot. Everything will be re-organized, from the header down to the footer. Side bars will be turn into a two sided sidebars full of new things and links to read about! If you're browsing the net with Firefox, you may have notice the Favicon I've induced to appear on the left side of the page's tab. Thanks to some tools and blogs I've read that helped me absorb new ways on how to beautify blogger which I will share later on.

Maybe tomorrow or the day after, I'll give this blog the facelift it deserves.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Ayang is Leaving

TWO POSTS AGO, I wrote a big metaphor about my recent departure from my old job. My first job for three years, eight months and six days. I was stuck there long enough for me to become a person somewhat similar to a lame duck. So I rather expressed it in a metaphoric way than be literally specific.

Leaving my old job was like finally breaking loose and becoming free: free from a prison-like space where you are pressed down and held to succeed, free to a lot of opportunities, free to the open world that could give me more-than-I-could-handle chances of improving my self and my career.

She will soon be boarding an aircraft for Singapore and join her hubby along with thousands of Filipino engineers who opted to leave for abroad.

When I first came, I never realized I would settle at a gridlock workplace with no dynamics and no improvements. It was my first job and what do you expect from a neophyte, but enthusiasm and eagerness. However, it was not long ago and difficult to know that the work itself is not exciting. I would not think twice of leaving it. It was like, if I were a driver of a PUV, I was given a task of cranking old and dilapidated tricycle in a far away rural community where walking is so much better.

And then another big news suddenly came upon me in a relaxed mood but surprising way. My dear friend and colleague, Ayang, will be finally taking the same exit path. She carries different story lines on how she got into to the place she will soon leave, but I'm pretty sure we bear the same angst and grievances of what we used to be doing.

She will soon be boarding an aircraft for Singapore and join her hubby along with thousands of Filipino engineers who opted to leave for abroad. Before her, there are already a great number of former co-engineers in our company who have gone there, and elsewhere such as Dubai to seek for a "better life".

The trend is evident. More and more Filipinos are leaving this country for a lot of reasons. Worth mentioning is the hopelessness in everything being a Filipino. We may be hearing time and time again news about remittances brought about by the hordes of our countrymen scattered anywhere on earth. However, this is not good news but a sign that there will be a vacuum in terms of labor, workforce, and intelligence.

It is indeed impossible for this country to improve when all the knowledge of our good engineers are consumed for the advancement of other countries. It is an impossibility to wheel our country into the first world level when all our movers have vanished to the promised land. We are forever stranded with this scenario if this migration doesn't stop.

On a lighter note, it is quite sad hearing Ayang’s looming departure, but the thrill on her face was indescribable. I have never seen her beaming with gladness and her cheeks flushed and red. She is indeed happy and we, her housemates in Stockton Belair for countless months, are glad for her new path to take.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Going Bananas Over a Peso

THE WORD IS indeed true: "All for Juan P1 for All"

Today is the last day of the promotional gimmick of Cebu Pacific Airlines. They dropped all their airfares to as low as One Peso to all their local and international destinations. Apparently, this news has shaken the world of those who love traveling and to those who have not rode in an airplane, but think that such offer should not be ignored.

All destinations for just P1, excluding surcharges such as tax (damn! why does the government always have a slice in every pie?) and fuel is such an inviting premise, but lo and behold! Reserving a flight online is equivalent to having your car stuck in EDSA traffic. It seems that every online Filipino has been accessing the site trying to get a ticket for Boracay, Bohol and Palawan. The Oops! page was persistent since day 1 and my fingers have been punishing the mouse by clicking the refresh button almost endlessly.

I immediately informed my trekker friends about the situation, that one ticket goes in every breath they take. But still, we manage to hoist passes for Boracay and Palawan. And finally, I will be able to experience rafting in the waters of Cagayan de Oro, the city of golden friendship.

I'm so glad I'll be seeing the town of JVandep, swim literally in hot waters, eat the best breakfast in a white island on second installment. Camiguin, see you in June!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Changing Channels

I BOUGHT A television set about three and a half years ago. I was able to acquire it after filling up bunch of forms asking details about me and subjecting myself to a series of bespectacled humans asking questions about what I wrote in the forms and if I am fit to own the TV.

Excitement and elation best described what I felt the moment I got hold of the unit and the remote control, with batteries included. It was the first time that I had my personal wants granted. It was the start of my deeper desires' becoming when I can't even afford to buy myself a shirt before I got this tv.

The good thing about this television is that it captured immediately my attention and I never needed to change the channel at first. I was accustomed to watching the same show aired over the same station everyday. If it were a beer, I must have faltered to its pleasure and became addicted. I took the remote control away and placed it inside its box and hid it somewhere else.

Until such time when I noticed that my friends were having their own TVs and seemed happier with what they had. Consider a chocolate bar: I was only consuming a Safari chocolate while they're feasting on Macadamia's. I was becoming envious of their feat but something in me was solid enough to keep my feet on the ground.

I was contented. I still looked for my television and watch the same show. It has provided me pleasure and entertainment when everyone else was having much more bliss. I had to content on Eat Bulaga and laugh with their perennial jokes while their eyes were glued on cable and satellite broadcast watching live NBA or the Oscars.

Later on I found out, that my TV was beginning to sound boring and almost lifeless. Soon, it has started to crank a bit slower than usual. I spend a couple of minutes just to turn it on and a handful of seconds before images are shown.

That's when I started to hate my tv.

Everyday, same show and same actors were playing the same stupid scripts every now and then. As if they were a living testimony of how insulting my television was. It wasn't a HD tv, it was too small and too heavy to carry around the house. It was a burden that keeps on getting heavy by the tick of the clock.

So I decided to rid of it, no matter how and no matter what it cost. It took me more than a year to realize that this television is hard to let go as there are too many brand new TVs sprouting on the market but pays a high price to gain. I could lose my arm, my limb and my leg, before I could even lay my eyes on the smooth edges and fine buttons. It was a struggle similar to how squail would try on getting out of the basin before being cooked and served for lunch.

I was feeling hopeless. Day by day I ask myself, will I be fed with this same show for the rest of my life? With the same Tito, Vic and Joey doing their antics except for the fact that they are not the real Tito Vic and Joey but a pseudo representation of Erap, Saddam and Osama Bin Laden? I pray that one day God will move heaven and earth and save me from this inner demolition.

Then all of a sudden, a week before Christmas time of 2006, I stumbled upon a box that surprisingly appeared above my head. I was adamant in opening the laces that had covered this box but my curiosity is much powerful. I opened it deliberately and found inside, still inside its seal and left untouched, the remote control.

I thought I lost it and never even bothered to look for it. I was given one chance to switch my channel to a far greater station and I wasted no time in pressing the keys.