Browsing Date

May 2013

Summer Isn’t Over Until We Say It’s Over – Moalboal, Cebu

Cebu, Entrepreneurship, Photography By May 27, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

On my backpacking trip from Bacolod to Dumaguete to Oslob and off to Cebu City to catch a flight going back to Manila, I decided to drop by Moalboal. A friend, who lives in Cebu, decided to join me, saying, he has not gone to the beach the entire summer. So I say, “Summer isn’t over until we say it’s over,” and I then involve him in this impromptu shoot of a knitted maillot that I have recently acquired for Kikayism.

And these are what we came up with. We did not use any reflectors here or anything, just whatever sunshine was available. And these were shot with a Nikon D80. And this was also completely unplanned.


Vote for the World We Want – a United Nations Project

Advocacy, Other Events, Technology By May 22, 2013 Tags: , , No Comments

I just voted.

And these are what I voted for:

(Yes, I am actually 31 and) the last item on the list checked seems so trivial, but I place quite high value on phone and internet access. That’s me being very, very personal, in my list of priorities. It was either that or better healthcare.

It was nice to know how the world voted, so far.


New 2012 Magsaysay Awardee Feature Stories Released

RMAF By May 21, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , No Comments

Six original stories about the lives and work of the 2012 Ramon Magsaysay Awardees have been released and now uploaded to the newly reformatted Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation website,

The feature stories are now available for viewing and sharing. They capture the spirit of awardees Chen Shu-Jiu, Romulo Davide, Kulandei Francis, Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Yang Saing Koma, and Ambrosius Ruwindrijarto.  Written by four of the Philippines’ distinguished writers, the stories distill the transformative and sustainable solutions each of them applied to address serious problems in their communities.

While the concerns and their work are divergent—from food security, to education, to environment in six different Asian countries—the stories are strung together by examples of greatness of spirit, the trademark of all Magsaysay laureates.
_ _ _ _ _

Chen Shu-jiu: Market vendor invests profits in good deeds” by Angelina Goloy starts the feature story thus: “Small change. That’s all she started with. At the end of each day, Chen Shu-jiu of Taitung, Taiwan, would set aside a portion of her modest earnings from selling vegetables. Over the years her small change amounted to a small fortune—seven million Taiwanese dollars (US$320,000). She has given it all away to those who those who need it more. “

Empowering Farmers through Science,” Lito Viriña’s take on Romulo Davide’s story, opens with success stories of two farmers, Elnard Ymbal and Cirila Cuyacot. Viriña writes: “The ingenuity of [Ymbal and Cuyacot, are just two of the many inspiring stories that have come out from farming communities where the Farmer-Scientist Training Program (FSTP) is in operation. The FSTP, an agricultural research, development and extension (RDE) strategy that aims to bring science and scientific methods of farming to farmers is the brainchild of Academician Professor Dr. Romulo G. Davide, one of this year’s recipients of the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award.”


Beautiful Malapascua Island in Cebu

Cebu By May 12, 2013 Tags: , , , No Comments

I rarely put an adjective on any blog title, but I felt like it today. I still like Bantayan Island more than Malapascua because of the food, which is delicious no matter what dish and no matter which resto or resort, so I would have to find another, hopefully, better adjective than “beautiful” for the title of my Bantayan Island blog.

Malapascua Island, Cebu

I have been to many islands but I would have to concede and say that Malapascua is so charming I would want to live on it if I didn’t already live in another island where I happen to love the people so much. I have more than a few friends who love this island as much as I do now and it was only on my second trip that I finally realized why.

Malapascua Island, Cebu

On my first trip to Malapascua Island in 2010, I got on a boat and went snorkeling around the island. I took a few ugly photos here and there too. You may look at them here. You may notice that I have kept the border style but not the processing. I have long discarded that processing action, and have now moved on to, hopefully, a better and more realistic approach to post processing. If I could go back to all the photos I processed in my early days and redo them, I would. As it is, I think them too ugly to even go back to. I am rarely impressed with photos and this also applies to my own. For every 100 photos I shoot, I think all 99 of them are ugly. When I shoot, I think more about the text and an entire article to go along with whatever I am shooting. I suppose this makes me more of a writer than a photographer, but then again, who cares?

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island, Cebu

If I am to consider myself a photographer, I would say I am really a very lazy photographer. I shoot as I walk and only stop for a few seconds, enough to hear the focus lock, then click, and move on. I keep telling myself I should improve on this, crouch more, hide behind this trunk or this plant or that chair, but I’m too lazy. I suppose it also didn’t help the cause that I almost never travel without my daughter, who turned 4 years old last month, and it was such an effort to carry a baby/toddler and a bag of her necessities plus a camera, and a camera bag with an extra lens, and shoot too, all at the same time. (Did you see my Hong Kong blogs in 2010? I had a 1.5 year old baby, a backpack, a trolley that I pulled, and a stroller that I pushed, and I did these all by myself.)


Diving in Gato Island, Malapascua

Cebu By May 11, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

Gato Island is one of Malapascua’s most famous dive sites. It is a small uninhabited island north west of Malapascua.

Diving in Gato Island, Cebu

Leaving Malapascua Island for Gato Island via Evolution Divers

Diving in Gato Island, Cebu

Diving in Gato Island, Cebu

Gato is a marine reserve and sea snake sanctuary. It has abundant marine life and considered an underwater paradise for the tons of exotic aqua marine life species it plays home to. Gato Island is also a popular breeding ground for sea snakes. It is one of the only remaining three sea snake breeding spots in the Philippines. Breeding season is from March to September and during these months, species of snakes like the black and white banded sea snake, gigantic moray eel, silver eel and other poisonous snakes abound. Other marine life species you can see are frogfish, scorpionfish, shrimps, shells, cuttlefish (often while mating), pufferfish, tuna, mackerel, squids, stingrays, snappers, nudibranchs and pygmy sea horses. The site is also known for sightings of sharks such as the white tip reef sharks, cat sharks, and bamboo sharks that are usually seen sleeping in the cave and sometimes lurking around the exit.


Going to Malapascua Island, Cebu (2013)

Cebu By May 10, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

After three years and despite my misgivings due to some horrible experience from some people, I decided to go back to Malapascua Island in the northernmost tip of the island of Cebu.

Note that this horrible experience has nothing to do with the people of the island or the island itself, but still, I was hesitant to go back.

And I found Maya and the island itself relatively unchanged, still peaceful, still beautiful, and ready to give me some beautiful memories to replace the bad ones I had before.

Getting to Maya pier/wharf in Daanbantayan, Cebu:

1. At the Cebu International Airport, walk past the Arrival area, cross the street, and walk up the ramp to the Departure area where there are taxis that will take you in and charge you by the meter, instead of a fixed rate of Php450 (if I remember correctly). Ask to be taken to the Cebu Northern Bus Terminal. My own taxi meter was about Php150.

2. At the Northern Bus Terminal, you can get off outside of the gate and walk inside. If not, you will pay a Php10 vehicle entrance fee for the taxi.

3. There are three options. One: Take the yellow Ceres bus. Two: Take the red Rough Riders bus. Three: Take a van. Fare is the same for all. Php180. I took the van because the Ceres bus had just left when I arrived and the Rough Riders bus was still empty. Buses to Maya supposedly operate 24 hours, leaving every 20 minutes.

4. Travel time from the bus terminal to Maya pier takes 3-4 hours. The van I took left the terminal at 7:30am, dropped off some passengers with cargo at the Hagnaya port bound for Bantayan Island, before proceeding to Maya, arriving there at 11am.

Except for the boat transfer being more organized and more expensive at Php80, than its previous Php40/pax in 2010, the Maya wharf has not changed much.

Maya to Malapascua, Cebu

Maya to Malapascua, Cebu

This tree, of course, has grown bigger. The photo above was taken in 2013 while photo below was taken in 2010.

Going to Malapascua Island, Cebu

For my Going to Malapascua Island, Cebu (2010) version, click here.


Backpacking Itinerary Bacolod-Dumaguete-Oslob-Moalboal-Cebu, May 2013

Travel By May 5, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

Here is the tentative itinerary for the planned 7D/6N Backpacking Visayas trip for this month, subject to (many) changes. I have done my research and my thanks to all the resources, that are quoted, and linked. I have not done this in ages, and quite frankly, I am a bit scared. Hahaha! I always like my trips slow and deliberate, but this one, is taking it too fast, according to my standards. I just feel old but well, I will pretend like I am still in my 20s.

By the way, this will be my third time in Bacolod (the second time was spent in Punta Bulata in Cauayan), second time in Dumaguete, first time in Oslob and Moalboal, 5th time in Cebu City. In 2008, I already spent nearly two weeks in Dumaguete, Siquijor, and combed the coast of Negros Occidental from Dumaguete all the way to Sipalay, and back.

So here goes!

Day 1

Arrival in Bacolod (ETA 13:05)
Sightseeing in Silay – The Ancestral Houses (via The Poor Traveler)
Eating! – Chicken Inasal, Palapala, and Calea (via Franny Wanny and Solitary Wanderer)
Overnight at Ong Bun Pension House (via Juanderful Pinoy)

Day 2
Optional Tours (via Bacolod City Govt)
Depart for Dumaguete via Mabinay (via Bacolod City Govt. and Happy Steps)

Mabinay route, the shortest route from Bacolod to Dumaguete crossing through the mountains from the north-western part to the south-eastern part of the Negros Island:

Bacolod City (capital of Negros Occidental)
Bago City
San Enrique
Himamaylan City
Kabankalan City
Bais City
Tanjay City
San Jose
Dumaguete City (capital of Negros Oriental)

Arrival in Dumaguete
Accommodations via friends

Day 3
Open Schedule/Meetings
Accommodations via friends

Day 4
Travel from Dumaguete to Oslob (via Unsatisfied Mind)
Sightseeing on Oslob
Overnight in Oslob (via Pinay Solo Backpacker)

Day 5
ETA 7AM Sumilon Island Day Tour via Sumilon Bluewater Resort
ETD 530PM Travel from Oslob to Moalboal (via Boy Wander)
Estimated travel time: 2.5-3 hrs
Overnight in Moalboal (via Lakwatsero)

Day 6
Sightseeing in Moalboal
Depart Moalboal (What is the last bus trip out going to Cebu?)
Arrive in Cebu

Day 7
Depart Cebu ETD 6:00
Arrival Manila ETA 07:20


This is happening next week. I am going solo so I would probably be taking a lot of photos. No checked in baggage but bringing camera gear, laptop and gadgets, and own snorkel and fins. Just like good old days. Hah! Good luck!


Quick Update – Travel

Travel By May 5, 2013 Tags: , , No Comments

While I am busy going through the photos from my trip to Malapascua and Bantayan Islands in Cebu last March, and will be posting these photos and blogs this week, I am nearly done with preparing my itinerary for my upcoming trip back to the Visayas.

7 days of hardcore backpacking, which I have not done in ages, through Bacolod, Dumaguete, Oslob, and Moalboal. I will be flying in to Bacolod and flying out of Cebu City.

I hope to be able to finish all blogs, do a lot of work while I am still in the metro and gear up for one week of buses and boats and travelers hostels and backpacker lodges, and hopefully, come out of this trip with my job intact, all my business meetings done, and only a few thousand pesos poorer.