10 October 2012

Fun facts about beard

When you say beard, jolly old Santa Claus's full beard immediately pops into my head. But aside from his white cloud of beard, popular culture icons sport memorable beard styles such as Hugh Jackman's character as Wolverine in X-Men appeared with a rugged sideburns or the savvy character of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean.

As per Merriam-Webster dictionary, the beard is a hair that grows on a man's face often excluding the mustache. In Wikipedia, it is a collection of hair that grows on the chin, upper lip, cheeks and neck of human beings.

We are used to men sporting this bristly appendage, but in some rare cases, women with hirsutism may also develop a beard. Hirsutism is an excessive growth of hair on women in those parts of the body where terminal hair doesn't appear like a beard or chest hair.

So it is not strange that the longest beard on a woman recorded in the Guinness World Records belongs to Vivian Wheeler of United States of America. It was measured at 25.5 cm (10.04 in) from the follicle to the tip of hair on the set of Lo Show Dei Record, Milan, Italy, on 8 April 2011.

For the Guinness World  Records' longest beard on living male belong to Sarwan Singh of Surrey, Canada. It measures 2.37 m (7 ft 9 in). The beard was measured on the set of Lo Show dei Record in Rome, Italy, on 4 March 2010.

Sarwan Singh holds the longest beard on living male
One of the fun facts about beard that I stumbled upon is that the longest beard ever recorded was grown by Hans Langseth. The beard is now preserved at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, according to this site.

For more interesting facts about beard, visit this website.

Wake up call

When a fierce monsoon struck the the provinces of the CALABARZON Region, namely Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Quezon and provinces of Region 3, Bulacan, Bataan and Pampanga, it led to eight days of intense rain and thunderstorms that caused rise of the water levels. It was dubbed as "Ang Hagupit ng Habagat" (The Wrath of the Monsoon).

According to the National Risk Reduction and Management Council, the intense flooding and never-ending rain submerged 80 percent of Metro Manila caused flood deaths rising up to 95 people, left families homeless and damaged houses.
Photo from www.gmanetwork.com
It was reported that heaps of garbage washed ashore from Manila Bay on the Baywalk area along Roxas Boulevard in Manila last August during the intense rainfall and thunderstorms brought by habagat.

According to one of the change quotes in FinestQuotes.com from Victor Frankl, he said, "When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves." Majority of the trash were plastics which triggered the government agencies and officials launched "no plastic bag day" campaign two years ago and encourage the people to use re-usable bags.

It was reported in Abs-cbnnews.com last September 30, 2010. Starting November, plastic bags in supermarkets will no longer be free on certain days. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said the campaign is part of efforts to limit the use of plastics as these cause clogged drainage systems.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje told PhilStar.com last September 29, 2010 that incentives would be given to shoppers who will use reusable bags in supermarkets.

“The incentives, which will be provided to encourage this change in the behavior of consumers, shall be left to the discretion of the management of participating supermarkets. These could be in the form of rebates, points, actual cash incentives for every plastic bag saved or any other scheme pursuant to their own promotion scheme,” he explained.

Paje said malls and supermarkets would charge customers a fee for plastic bags during the Reusable Bag Day every Wednesday.

Though the "no plastic bag day" was imposed last 2010, it seems that it still wasn't enough. The situation must be taken seriously to avoid another mountains of garbage to be washed in our shores. Start the change in ourselves. When we go to the supermarkets, we should make sure that we bring canvass bags for our groceries and other stuff. It may appear a small effort but if we put it together with thousands of environment-conscious people, this is a big thing.

Give Up Tomorrow: Paco Larrañaga's POV

If the other countries has a list of famous murders in history, in the Philippines, we have a controversial case that awakens the nation's memories of the cruel murder of the of two women filed against an innocent man who, until now, remains behind bars. A documentary film shows the other side of the story, the innocent man's POV.

Give Up Tomorrow
Here's the gist: like any suspense story, it started on a rainy night in Cebu. Two sisters leave work and never make it home. Paco Larrañaga, a 19-year-old culinary student, 300 miles away in Manila on the same night, is sentenced to death for their rape and murder, despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence.

Dubbed as the nation's "Trial of the Century", the film exposes shocking corruption within the judicial system and long-simmering class and racial antipathies among the population. Two grieving mothers--one mother becomes a media darling, the other waits for justice--entangled in a case that ends the country's use of capital punishment. To add more drama, a judge commits suicide and the young man remains behind bars but fails to free an innocent man, dedicate more than a decade to executing or saving him.

This documentary is directed by Michael Collins and produced by Marty Syjuco (who is a distant relative by marriage to the Larrañagas) spent more than seven years working on the first film. "Give Up Tomorrow" premiered last October 4, 2012 and has bagged the Audience Award winner, 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. It is also an Official Selection of the 2011 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. A co-production of ITVS, the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), and POV's Diverse Voices Project with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in association with the BBC.

Sources: http://www.pbs.org and http://laapff.festpro.com

08 October 2012

Travel Korea through their dishes

Koreans cooking toppoki (rice cake) and odeng (fish)
The first week of October held a promise to Korean fans. Last October 3 to 7, SM City Cebu together with Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines, Cebu City Tourism Commission, Province of Cebu and Cebu Korean Association, Inc. [세부한인희] celebrated Korean Festival 2012 in Cebu.

This piece of interesting news captured K-pop fans--young and young-at-hearts. The five-day celebration was packed with different activities such as Korean Film Festival, K-POP Grand Finals, Korean Food Festival and Korean Cultural Show.

As a fan of the world culture, I spent my weekend tasting different Korean delicacies from the different Korean restaurants at the mall. Since the Philippines is never short of Korean tourists, Filipinos and K-POP fans indulged in the novelty of having Korean Festival in the country.

Spicy toppoki (rice cake)
My cup of toppoki with a few slabs of odeng (fish)
Skewered odeng (fish)
Pa Dak (crispy chicken)
Tteokbokki or topokki, is one of the popular Korean snacks--a braised dish made of sliced rice cake, eggs, meat and seasoning. Mine was swimming in a spicy orange sauce with slabs of odeng. Of course, they also have chicken cutlets in different versions of their spiciness. They have gang-jung (sweet with soy sauce and teriyaki sauce), pa dak (crispy chicken) and ganjang (sweet and spicy). I had gang-jung, though with the promise of sweet chicken, it has a subtle hint of spicy.

I also tasted their almost sold-out cold delights: Encho and Melona ice cream.

Melona ice waffle with chocolate syrup in fish shape (photo by Mayebillones.tumblr.com)
Encho ice cream which is similar to Pinoy's pinipig ice cream (photo by Thepurpledoll.net)
Aside from our limited experience of Korean culture through their culinary dishes and basic greetings, reading books and traveling will strengthen one's knowledge about their country. Apart from meeting Koreans and dining at your local Korean restos, read more about their culture and be informed. Let me end this post with a phrase from Exami.net: "the more you read, the more you know".

Iligan's Tent City

I stumbled an inspirational picture quote from a site about bouncing back after a fall. It goes like this: "The harder you fall, the higher you bounce." The quote reminds me of the affected cities in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City when tropical storm Typhoon Sendong hits the country last December 2011.

Since Sendong destroyed homes and affected more than 17,000 families in Iligan City, several NGOs sent their help. The Rotary Club International provided Shelter Box--a tent for a family of six people which serves as a temporary home for the affected families. More photos here on Iligan.org.

Photo by www.omdminternational.com
What struck me is how the country managed to help the two cities in more ways than one. With the cooperation of the government and various organizations and private institutions, help was sent to the affected families in form of relief goods, clothing and boxes of clean drinking water. Campaigns like "One for Iligan" and "Help CDO" run among social media such as Facebook and Twitter. TV Networks pooled in by encouraging the viewers and companies to make a donation to their respective bank accounts to be sent out to the cities.

According to PhilStar, the United Nations last December launched an urgent appeal for $28 million to help an estimated 600,000 affected people, more than half the population of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan. PLAN International, a global children’s charity that operates in 50 countries across Asia, Africa and the Americas, leased a cargo plane to bring assistance to the victims.

It was reported in Manila Bulletin that DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman said the identified temporary shelters in Iligan City are Tent City, a vacant lot in Tambo Bus Terminal with 123 shelter boxes where 102 families are staying; City Central Elementary School with eight tents housing eight families; Tambacan Elementary School with 32 duplex tents housing 84 families; and Barangay San Roque and Bonbonon with 18 tents for 41 families.

For an up close feature of Tent City in Iligan, PHL360.com's episode 12 featured a family who stayed in the Tent City in Tambo Bus Terminal and the site of Sendong aftermath--leaving thousands of homeless families. For a day, the two travelers who were sent in Tent City shared their blessings and treated the children to a giant pizza. It was a wake-up call to the viewers to be thankful for what we have and as well as giving hope to the typhoon victims.

There is nothing more inspiring than to see people rising from their fall. It shows how tough Filipinos are as people and as a nation. No matter how strong the storm is, we still find ourselves helping and giving hope to our fellowmen in times of need.

03 October 2012

Subang: the rise of a Cebuano artist

Back in college in my Humanities class, we were introduced to the works of the great masters from the Renaissance period: Michalangelo, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci. They contributed a great deal in the world of art and made history with their famous works.

Aside from admiring and learning the various works of the masters, I had the honor of meeting the Filipino National Artist for Visual Arts, Benedicto "BenCab" Cabrera, in an art show during his first solo exhibit (after being declared a National Artist) in Bluewater Maribago in Cebu last May 2011. It was an exhibit of his Life Drawings collection of portraits and nudes. Almost all of his works were sold during the opening night.

Though I admire famous artists and their works, I also believe that there is an artist in every one of us, waiting to be break out of our shells. I was lucky to be invited to a debut exhibit this November by a friend and a promising Cebuano artist. Because of his passion for art, he was convinced and supported by his friends from the Portrait Artists Society of the Philippines to share his talent through an art exhibit. He is Roderick "Rico" Maranga, a multi-talented person who does graphic designing and photography. We used to work together last year. He is into martial arts but I didn't know that he was a protege to the late Boy Sagario and created the first oil on canvas "Bata" and "Prutas". 

Roderick "Rico" Maranga
I am inviting you to support one of our local artists and witness his first one-man exhibit this coming November 3-15, 2012 at the General Echavez Street (beside Wafer Modeling Agency, right across Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion school). His show is entitled "Subang", which means "rise" in Cebuano dialect. Rico will showcase his artworks using different mediums such as oil, charcoal, watercolor and acrylic. Art aficionados will have the pleasure of meeting him in person during the opening night on November 3, at 4pm.

For inquiries, you may contact Jun Impas at 09176235744 and Boy Briones at 09165312175.

02 October 2012

Trust issues

Trust Walk, one of the popular team building exercises.
The word trust can a man's strength and his weakness at the same time. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary online, trust is an assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. Trust is as fragile as walking on thin ice, one wrong move and you will find yourself falling into an icy water. Just like the team building activity we did (see photo below), we tried to put one of our members through a "live wire". As the person being placed through the "live wire", s/he has to trust the people helping her/him to pass through it. The hardest part is to trust someone with our life.

The "Live Wire" activity using a thin rope.
One of my Business Management professors once mentioned to our class that when it comes to business, we have to "think maliciously". Few years later, I find myself taking his words of wisdom seriously and use it in my personal life. It took me a long time to figure out that his unsolicited advice can be applied to our careers, relationships and personal issues.

According to a quote by Robert C. Solomon in FinestQuotes.com: "we also confuse trust with familiarity". That is one of the mistakes I made in my career. But I know better now. You see, trust needs to be earned. As the cliche goes, it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it. And it took me a few tries and (sometimes) a background personality check to trust one person.

Yes, reality bites. So give your trust to someone you can really depend on.

More trust quotes in FinestQuotes.com.

10 September 2012

In tune with the Japanese beat: From drums to bags, festivities mark the Philippines-Japan friendship month

Darwin Banez, Mark Mathay from Ace Bags pose for a picture with Christine Cunanan and Embassy of Japan Ambassador Toshinao Urabe

Drum Tao has been steadily gaining worldwide recognition since it was established in 1993, and has since captivated 500 cities across 17 countries. The musical martial arts act consists of 15 members, an assortment of 50 drums and other traditional Japanese instruments, and finely crafted martial arts dance moves. All these are compressed in a two-hour spectacle of carefully arranged musical numbers.

To accomplish performing such an act, the members of Drum Tao go through a rather unique training experience to deliver such intensity – the group lives atop a mountain in Japan; each member has to go through a rigorous daily routine of exercise and drum practice. It is then no wonder why Drum Tao has mastered the art of giving a powerful and highly energized performance each time, in a very elegant, zen-like manner.

Darwin Banez, Toshinao Urabe, and Mark Mathay before the show
Travelife Magazine paved the way for Drum Tao in the Philippines, as the group staged their act last September 1 at Cebu’s Waterfront Hotel. Also supporting the run of Drum Tao was Ace Bags, a Japanese bags and luggage brand exclusively distributed in the Philippines by the Primer Group of Companies.

Ace Bags, strongly connected to its Japanese roots, is a brand known for its discipline, and mastery of its art, aims to promote Japanese ingenuity and craftsmanship – traits exhibited by the Drum Tao group, in the celebration of the Philippines-Japan Friendship month last July.

All Ace bags are proudly original, innovative, sophisticated, and high-performing. Ace carries a wide array bags: casual bags crafted especially for women, as well as soft and hard luggage and business cases for both men and women. Popular collections range from the ProtectA, ACEGENE, and Progres sub-brands. Progres was made especially for women, as the bags in this line strike the balance between fashion and functionality. ProtectA provides superior and quality protection in various hard luggage sizes. ACEGENE cases are perfect for business travel, with their outstanding durability and flexibility.

Ace is available in The Travel Club, Ladybag, Bratpack, SM Makati, Landmark Trinoma, Landmark Makati, Robinson’s Ermita, and Sportmart Terminal 3.

24 July 2012

DC presents DiRT Showdown Asian Tournament

The search for Asia’s ultimate Gymkhana video game racer will kick off in Philippines on August 4 and 7,
with a Manila leg at Ayala Trinoma and a Cebu leg at Ayala Center Cebu respectively.

Organised by DC, in conjuction with EpicSoft and CodeMasters, Monster Energy Drink and Samsung, the DiRT SHOWDOWN Asian Tournament will move from Malaysia to Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia thereafter.

Winners from these countries will be flown to Singapore to compete in the grand finals where the overall champion will be revealed.

The game play is simple – contestants will compete head-to-head on the Xbox game in a fast-paced match to score the points by doing Gymkhana tricks while maneuvering the race track.

The player who scores the most points in the shortest time possible wins and advances to the next round.

The overall champion will be the first ever DiRT SHOWDOWN Asian Champion, and will receive attractive prizes, including DC apparel, Xbox games, an autographed Ken Block poster, and an exclusive pair of DC shoes, autographed by world-renowned Gymkhana driver Ken Block.

For more information and to register, visit www.DirtShowdownAsia.com.

21 July 2012

It's Showtime: Day 5

Magpasikat na, it's SHOWTIME!
It's a tradition for the gang to celebrate Valentine's Day dinner together. However, since not all of us are in Manila, we enlisted ourselves to be part of the live studio audience in Showtime.

Wall of Fame
We have to wear ABS-CBN Studio Tours sticker
At first, I find this tacky. However, being part of the live studio audience in a noontime show is one of the many things-to-do-before-I-die list. So, our group prepared for the inevitable and arrived just in time for the studio tour.

Kris TV's camera man
Kuya Kim-wannabes 
Thanks to our tour guide(s), we had fun visiting the different studios in the station. They gave out bits of trivia about the different shows and soaps done in a certain studio. After an hour or so, we were all ushered to the holding area for the Showtime audience. I'm not sure if they have paid audience but GKNB (Game Ka Na Ba?) had a few. We are standing next to some TFC Subscribers and other studio tour groups (who actually paid to be at the show) while the rest of the madlang people (non-studio tour groups) were sitting comfortably on plastic mono block chairs. Go figure.

PR people would love to hog the spotlight in every chance they get but I'm absolutely terrified to be seen on national TV. Of course, we're also not very excited at the thought of giving a sampol on TV.

Standing patiently while waiting for our cue to proceed to the studio
Food and drinks are not allowed in the studio. Before proceeding to the studio to go live, we are free to eat snacks  (there are snack booths located strategically below the holding area). After almost an hour, we were ushered to the studio filled with loud music blaring the noontime show's theme song on repeat. It's no wonder we were humming to "Pa-pa-pa-pa-ra-pa.." until the end of the show--potential LSS.

We got good seats
Before the start of the show, Tito Mel briefed us the yells, hand gestures and dance steps to be performed live. Yes, it's a requirement but it was fun.

"Briefing naman tayo.." - Tito Mel
Hurado for the week
In between commercial breaks, Tito Mel or someone from Showtime production staff would remind us again what to do when Vice Ganda does this, or when Kuya Kim does that. We did what we were told so we won't make an ass out of ourselves on national TV.

The Showtime hosts
Celebrity photo ops
Since it's Valentine's Day, the Showtime staff gave each female three Hershey's Kisses and each male a single rose. And we are to give it to our special someone when Vice Ganda gives the cue.

Flowers and chocolates
After Showtime (approximately around 3pm), we raced to the nearest fast food chain (a choice between KFC and McDonald's) for lunch. No wonder celebrities are anorexic-thin because they have to endure late lunches and probably dinners as well.

Check out my photo blog on Showtime on Tumblr.com.

18 July 2012

Fashionably Edgy Res|Toe|Run

Res|Toe|Run definitely satisfies your appetite for shoes

Last Saturday, July 7, Res|Toe|Run's "Fashion Edge" show featured fashionable casual footwear, trendsetting sandals and flip flops and cutting edge athletic shoes at the Robinsons Place Dumaguete activity center. The event was in collaboration with the Student Government of Silliman University co-presented by The Travel Club, Sans rival and Mixed Berry.

Sillimanians models showed off different footwear choices that will make any shoe lover drool.  Aside from being the only footwear store which has a unique concept of a “restaurant” these footwear categories set apart the store from the others. The Res represents comfortable casual footwear, Toe is for toe-flaunting flip flops and sandals and the Run category which is for the athletic and active lifestyle. 

One of the store’s DNA is its Rare Finds brands, these are brands that you can exclusively see and buy inside Res|Toe|Run. Being a family destination, the store caters to all family members, from kids, teenagers to adults there is every footwear for everyone.

Res|Toe|Run Your Appetite for Shoes is owned and operated by the Primer Group of Companies, asia’s next retail giant. With 25 branches nationwide and now operating in Malaysia, the store commits in bringing the world closer to its customers. Res|Toe|Run has over 25 international brands such as Fitflop, DC, Kickers, Sanuk, The North Face, Native, Columbia, Tretorn, Quiksilver, Roxy, Bandals, KruZin and more.

Res I Toe I Run other outlets are located in Ayala Center Cebu, Abreeza Davao Ayala, Marquee Mall, Ayala Glorietta 4, Ayala TriNoma, Gateway Mall, Robinsons Galleria, Robinsons Ermita, Alabang Town Center, Shangri-la, Festival Mall, Robinsons General Santos, Robinsons Ilocos Norte, Robinsons Dumaguete, Avenue Square Naga, Embarcadero Mall Legazpi, MarketMarket, Solenad 2 Nuvali Laguna, Robinsons Tacloban, Lucky Chinatown Mall Binondo, Baguio TechnoHub, Camp John Hay, Robinsons Pangasinan, Robinsons Palawan, Podium and Harbor Point Subic and soon to open in Bacolod, Cavite, Magnolia and Cagayan de Oro.

For more information like www.facebook.com/ResToeRunOfficial and follow on www.twitter.com/Restoerun.

03 July 2012

David Cook live in Cebu!

David Cook
Four years ago, Season 7 American Idol David Cook champ dominated the airwaves with his unforgettable rendition of Mariah Carey's "Always Be My Baby". This month, Filipinos will get another chance to watch him live on stage in Manila and Cebu.

Daly Entertainment in cooperation with LAMC Productions and Rockstar Touring will bring David Cook back to serenade his Filipino fans on July 14, 2012 in Manila at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and July 15, 2012 in Cebu at the Pacific Grand Ballroom Waterfront Hotel and Casino.

For ticket reservations:

MANILA - Visit www.ticketnet.com.ph or call Ticketnet at 911-5555.
CEBU - For inquiries, please call 232-6888 or 514-3500. Tickets are available at Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino Lobby, Ayala Customer Service, SM Customer Service, and SM Cinema.

Cebu ticket prices:

SVIP Php 4000
VIP Php 3500
Gold Php 3000
Silver 2000
Bronze 1000
SP Balcony 1500
Balcony 700

Don't miss the chance to catch him live in Manila and Cebu!

02 July 2012

Impulsive Side Trips: Day 4

At the Kabayan Hotel lobby
We're finally back in the busy metropolis. We made reservations in Kabayan Hotel for another two nights in Manila--the last leg for our six-day vacation for the Dufros trip.

Kabayan Hotel's hallway
Kabayan is another perfect budget-hotel for backpackers. We got the window-less dormitory-type room that fits all six of us. Our reservation in Kabayan comes with free breakfast and lunch. Passes were given to us after check-in and before heading for breakfast.

Artista-stalking at Starbucks ABS-CBN
The day after we arrived in Manila, we went to ABS-CBN station in the hopes of scoring seats in the noon time show: Showtime. I'm not really a big fan of celebrities but we went star-spotting under the guise of buying coffee at Starbucks. We are hoping of spotting a celebrity getting his/her caffeine fix of the day.

ABS-CBN studio tour flyer
Reservations for studio tours and taking part of the live audience should be made 3-4 months prior to the designated date. Due to divine intervention and Jo-an's persuasion towards the receptionists, Showtime still has room for six people. We grabbed the chance and booked for the studio tour for the following day (yes, Valentine's day). We paid Php 175 for each person (inclusive of audience participation).

Chumz at the Pinoy Big Brother house
Ex-PBB housemate Ryan with Jo-an
Of course, we had our photos taken with the famous reality-TV show "Pinoy Big Brother" house. Just our luck, we have ex-PBB housemate Ryan prepping up for his spiels out front and Jo-an had her photo taken with him.

Valentine's Day is in the air at the PBB House
After the trip to ABS-CBN compound, we visited the famous Quiapo church. I took some photos but I was reprimanded for doing so. Picture-taking is not allowed.

Quaipo church's altar
Pondo ng Pinoy

Photos by Chumz, Jo-an and yours truly

01 July 2012

En route to Manila: Day 3

All bundled up at the Baguio Victory Liner Bus Terminal
It's day three of our six-day vacation, we (usually) woke up late and almost missed the bus back to Manila. So before lunch time, we're stayed at the terminal and wait for the next trip to the city.

Final shot before boarding
We have to endure another seven to eight hours of butt-cramping ride with old Filipino movies of Fernando Poe Jr. or Nora Aunor for entertainment. Long road trips are the worse part of the trip. Not to mention the scenery en route to Tarlac is depressing.

We passed mini-rice terraces as we exited the city of pines
Depressing Farmville scenes in Tarlac
Interesting signage in Tarlac
We made two stops in Tarlac for lunch and late aftie snacks. We couldn't resist taking snapshots of the comfort room signage.

Photos by Chumz, Jo-an, Ana and yours truly

24 June 2012

Baguio Adventure: Day 2

Getting ready before we hit the streets
It's day two of our Baguio trip. We woke up to a cold morning and prepared ourselves for do touristy stuff whole day.

With the Ifugao ladies at Mines View Park
The famous dog
Mines View Park. We took a jeepney with "Mines View Park" signboard. The jeepney terminal is located at the back of McDonalds--which is just across the street of La Brea Inn.

It was a weekend and the park was bustling with tourists. Small shops (selling bonsai, jams, knitted wraps and jackets) were everywhere. There are a couple of huge St. Bernards that costs Php 50 for 5 photo shots  (which I think is against the animal rights), horses with pink hair and Ifugao women who got costumes for rent (which costs around Php 10 per person) for unlimited Facebook-worthy photos.

At Good Shepherd Convent
Shepherd's staff
Good Shepherd Convent. They're famous for their strawberry jams. They also sell other preserves and treats. It's just a few steps away from Mines View Park.

Welcome to Happy Tummy
Happy Tummy. After visiting Mines View Park, our group debated if we're going to take a taxi to the Mansion or walk all the way from Good Shepherd Convent. We opted to walking and our sense of direction was gone the minute we took the first ten steps and can't find any signs of the Mansion House. It was already past noon when we tumbled along Happy Tummy (located near Wright Park). An unobtrusive place that looks like a garage but serves great Asian fusion and Thai food. Click here for my blog about Happy Tummy.

Passing Wright Park
The Mansion. After stuffing ourselves with Happy Tummy's delicious Fried Tilapia, we're ready for another long walk to the Mansion. So we walked a couple of distances more, passing tall trees that look like the scene straight out from the movie "Twilight" and finally reached the summer residence of the Philippine President.

Intimidating gates of the Mansion
We arrived at the Mansion with security guards telling us that we are not supposed to go beyond a certain point. It was pretty crowded since it's a weekend. The Mansion has manicured lawns with the symbolic yellow ribbon. A mirrored pond is the opposite the intimidating gates of the Mansion.

The president's vacation house
Camp John Hay and Philippine Military Academy. We gave up walking and finally hailed a taxi to bring us to Camp John Hay. The driver gave us a brief tour around the camp and pointed out rest houses of the celebrities and political figures. We decided not to stop and take photos as the walk back to the main road is very far.

Manila has tall buildings, Baguio City has tall trees
The famous military school
Planes, choppers, cannons and other war stuff at the PMA grounds
The driver dropped us off at the famous Philippine Military Academy. It was pretty funny that some people will actually chase a man in uniform for a photo. And the military students look great when they march all together.

Disturbing the studious PMA students
The academy was huge with great view of the Baguio's luscious flora. Like I mentioned from my previous blog, if one wanted to commit a secret suicide, the body will never be found. It will probably disintegrate by the time it hits the forest floor.

They all look the same!

We also visited their museum and found my PMA graduate cousin's class photo. 

Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral (a.k.a Baguio Cathedral). So we managed to find ourselves a jeepney ride all the way back to Lower Session Road. We freshen up at the inn and head straight to the Upper Session Road for the anticipated mass. And this is the first time I heard Our Father sung in a different dialect (aside from Cebuano and Tagalog).

At Baguio Cathedral after mass
SM Baguio. After the mass, we had dinner at the non-air-conditioned mall--SM Baguio. Prior to our trip, Cebu was shaken by the tsunami scare and strong earthquake. In Baguio, we can still sense the movement of the plates at the mall. It's probably normal for Baguioans. Talk about traumatic experience.

Photos by Chumz, Ana, Jo-an and yours truly