Seven Sundays.

Sundays started to be my movie nights but this ‘Seven Sundays’ made it something worth every teardrop.

The power house cast enable each character bred in their own personal craft. Ronaldo Valdez as a father diagnosed with cancer leading all his 4 siblings, Aga Muhlach (Allan), Dingding Dantes (Bryan), Christine Reyes (Cha) and Enrique Gil (Dexter), brought together as a family fixing their own individual differences.

But what makes this movie strucked me and hit every audience to the bones was how these differences were stitched and ironed in one scene making each of the roles displays their importance which viewers can relate into. 

Napakahusay ng writer para mapagdugtong dugtong mo ang pinagdaanan ng bawat individual at ipakita ang realidad na hindi lang ito basta mababaw na pelikula ngunit ang bawat karakter ay may sariling pinagdaanan para iparamdam na ito ay parte ng buhay. Kaya maihahambing mo ang sarili sa kung nasaan ka man sa buhay mo ngayon making you shed your tears as each scene becomes heavier yet happier.

This movie was indeed a ‘can relate into’ for every Filipino families. May it be on a shallow level of just living one day at a time or reaping what you have sown. It gives us hope how life challenges us and we stand firm with our faith that everything will fall into its place giving your utmost unconditional love.

Superb movie. Worth every penny! 💛

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Last Night.


Bago ko matulog, kailangan ko lang ilabas to. 

Una, napakagaling ng dalawang artistang to. Piolo Pascual at Toni Gonzaga. Hindi kailangan ng matitinding supporting roles para maipakita and karakter na gusto nilang ipakita. Mata pa lang nila, ramdam mo ang bigat ng pinagdadaanan nila. Pinilit hinulma ang karakter nila para bigyan ng buhay ang buhay nilang akala mo’y patapon na. 

Pangalawa, ang ganda ng Maynila. Cinematography ang nagpabuhay. Ang bawat paggiling ng camera ay siyang nagpabuhay ng bawat eksena. Madilim ang gustong ipakita pero daig pa ang liwanag sa ganda ng pagpapakita ng Pilipinas. 

Huli, di lang basta kwentong ipinilit. Pinilit mong isipin anong pinagdaanan nila, kung paano sila nawasak at kung paanong nabuong muli. Ang ending pinigil ko ang luha kong pumatak kasi baka umulan. Yun na! 

PS: Minus the thematic animation underwater scene, napakahusay ng lahat! 

Congratulations!!! Sana marami pang ganitong pelikulang talento ang matinding sandata.

Bad circumstances: God is in control.

Who wouldn’t be grateful for having a sovereign God who is in control of every situation, despite the bad circumstances that is happening?
Yesterday, I parked my car in Rockwell and bought some stuffs with a friend. When we went back to my car, I noticed that my front tire was flat. My friend told me that someone might have mistakenly hit Saber so we sought the help of the Admin folks if they can review the cctv, but at the back of my head, I’m praying to God that no one did this. So the mall admin went with me to my car, asked to have the cctv be reviewed, offered to arrange someone to bring me home if in case my car wont get fixed and called two guards to assist me change my tire. Then, 2 more admin on duty followed to offer additional help to me in whatever possible way they can and even had my parking fee waived. How about that?

Thankfully that I had a spare tire and some tools at the back of my car, the guards helped me changed my tire and found out there’s a barb wire that hit my tire and gladly no one tried to do something with Saber. 

Praise God for His graces that I don’t deserve. He kept me safe until I find shelter in a secured parking lot and sending very accommodating and very helpful people. No one’s hurt and had my tire vulcanized with no further damage at a very low price. Isn’t God an amazing God?

PS: Kudos to all Rockwell Power Plant Admin staff and guards. You have been all very helpful and I can’t thank you enough.

3 countries in 24 hours.

So how do you go about having a time constraint planned itinerary? Embrace it.


We left Manila, Philippines at around 3:30pm due to a delayed flight and touched down Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at around 8:00pm. Travelled by taxi to our pre-booked accommodation in Mercu Serviced Apartments which is like 8 minute walk to Petronas Twin Towers. We had dinner at a fastfood-like place called Pepita’s and went straight to the mesmerizing twin towers. Home at close to 12:00am for a quick freshen up and nap, shall I say, for us to leave at 2:00am for a 6:00am flight to our next destination.

Almost an hour ride from the city to the airport, we flew to Singapore to experience Universal Studios for the third time. It still feels the same first time of being an excited kid riding the movies you’ve grown up with. Staying here quickly for just 27 hours but still managed to meet my friends and former workmates reminiscing the good old days.

Adventure continues as we cross back to Malaysia, this time in Johor Bahru where Legoland is located. Due to horrible lines in the immigration, our time were constrained. Checked in to their themed hotel with its amazingly amenities almost all made with lego. Worth every penny especially if you are tagging along children with you. Short with time though to explore the theme park, good thing long rides line was avoided since less people were in. 


Swiftly after the buffet breakfast, we rented cabs to bring us to Senai Airport for an 11:00am flight back to Kuala Lumpur for another flight back to Manila. I met Nando’s again after so long back when I was in Ireland few years back. This was also the time to catch up on our pasalubong shopping. Good thing their airports have malls to shop conveniently. 


Whew! That was a fast 96 hours journeying 3 countries with 8 airport encounters and 3 different hotels from different parts of Asia. Having 10 adults traveling, tagging along 3 kids was indeed a challenge but worth embracing every step of the way.

#TAIWANkobakungbakitTAIPEIkita

Second time visiting this country still gives me the same excitement as my first. Why? Besides the fact that I will be on an ‘eating vacation’, I am thrilled to see the places that I have never been to during my first visit.

We started our long journey straight from work, catching a midnight flight. We needed to wait for another friend who was in the next flight from ours and the wifi stand was already closed so we waited as the sun rises in Taoyuan International Airport.

Bursting sunrise brought us to the hospitality of a friend’s friend who was based in Keelung, situated in the Northern part of Taiwan, an hour from the city proper. After freshening up, we went to Yangmingshan Park. Though it is best to go there during spring time to see the garden blossom, if you are a nature lover, it’s worth the end station bus ride. 

En routed to one of my favorite place that I would never get tired of going back and the best of the best night markets, the Shilin Night Market. Overwhelmed with so much food, my cravings were dearly satisfied. Limited time though, we went straight to the elephant mountain, which is walking distance from the last stop of the red line, Xiangshan station. Trekking at a multiple steps, the view of the city with the famous Taipei 101, on the top was indeed worth every sweat. Truly, first day was no sleep and tiring yet a worthwile experience.

Second day was supposedly for Sun Moon Lake, but due to some misfortunate events, we were led to the city of Hualien, which is on the Eastern part of Taiwan. Just a tip that train tickets were cheaper if you will be purchasing before riding. We rented two cabs that enabled us to tour the city at 500NT/person driving us to 4 beautiful places.

Taroko National Park is a must see in this place, seeing God’s great wonders of nature, a bit of trekking, a sight of falls with temples on the side and great scenery of the beach. Though things didn’t went as planned, the experience was worthwile for in traveling, great places are discovered by just going even though roads get a little tough.

Third day was quite tough when the temperature starts to drop and drizzles. We started our journey in Yehliu Geopark. I no longer joined the squad as they experienced rock formation at its finest since I have seen them during my first visit. Park entrance is at 50NT/adult. We rented again a cab which can bring us to Jiufen and Shifen at 1000 NT/cab. If you are in big groups, like in our case we are 11, this I think is cost efficient.

Markets in Jiufen are indeed fruitful array of food, products and restaurants. Same way in Shifen, which a growing number of food stalls assembles on the side of an active railway. Wish lanterns is a must when you visit this. It allows you to have your wishes be written on lanterns which is fired and flown afterwards. Ending our day in another night market in Raohe and hotpots are our subject because of the cold weather. To bad, rain is falling that we did not have the chance to explore the market though.

The fourth day was quite compacted as our friends are flying back to Manila in the evening and we need to move out and check in to a near hotel in Ximen. Meeting our friends in Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall and preceded to Taipei 101 was the itinerary for this day. As soon as we bid goodbye to our friends, we went straight to my favorite Shilin Market and food trip and shopping starts. 

I actually reserved another day for me to maximize my shopping and food trip as these were the main reasons for returning to this country. Last day was basically for me to recharge as I comforted myself on a good hotel bed and wake up just in time for check out. This was the time to have my own walking and biking tour in the cities nearby, searching for a good coffee place to chill and some last minute shopping.

Indeed, going back to this land was an adventure like seeing it again for the first time but reminiscing the same excitement as what your first time was. The company of a big group of friends added so much fun during the journey. Truly, I will not get tired of going back to this country once more.

Round up 2016.

So another year that was. What happened in the 365 days of 2016?

January started stressful as a new project starts at work, but nevertheless through Him, all things became possible.

February was highlighted with my comeback travel to Hong kong as I celebrated Chinese New Year in a Chinese territory surrounded by the Chinese race. Ended the month with a quick trip up north to celebrate Panagbenga Festival in Baguio with friends.

I can consider March dedicated to my family as we spend some time in the beach, consequently the birth of ‘Saber’ being a blessing from above. A check definitely in my goals for 2016. Also on this month, I was diagnosed with something I have been concealing and denying to myself and acceptance came in as I need to do a maintenance meds horror.

April started with summer outings one from another. A trip to Beijing definitely helps me check seeing the great wall on my bucket list.

May jumps me into wedding stints as one by one friends are getting married and definitely provided me an alias as the ‘Pambansang Abay’ for hopping from one wedding to another as a sponsor but never a groom.

June makes me realise that the health part on my goals for the year is quite far from what it should be. Slowly but surely, I started to keep an eye on it by going back to running and yoga.

July greatly deserves a break as friends flew to Bangkok visiting the city the second time. Finale was a start of my journey in seeking our only Saviour, joining a ‘True Life’ retreat. Truly, a life changing experience.

August is where I try to search for new activities where in I attempt to proliferate the world of calligraphy. Too bad, my time does not allow me to focus on this.

September was for another two weddings to attend to. I started to memorise how every wedding goes.

October brought a quick trip to Tagaytay with friends. Great way to rest and recover.

Birthday month November brought me to a trip to United Arab Emirates, Dubai and Abu Dhabi to be exact. Meeting friends who are based there makes every stay worthwhile.

December is really the season we all have been working for. Promotion from work came in. Indeed, only by His grace, everything through Him. Victory serenades as I hosted the company’s yearend event, loads of parties and get together and prepping for the holidays.

What a year that was and never been grateful. Cheers to 2017! 👆🏼

 

30,000 PHP Dubai-Abu Dhabi Trip, Why not? (Part 2)

 

In reference to my previous entry and as promised, I am sharing my expenses table during my 8-day stay in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. So how did everything happened by maximising a budgeted money of PHP 30,000, including airfare and all? Check out the breakdown of my expenditures below.

Activity Amount
Day 1 Late dinner at Dubai Airport Food court (Vegetarian Arabic Combo) 27 AED
Transportation to Abu Dhabi Fetched by my friends
Accomodation Slept at my friend’s place
Day 2 Breakfast At my friend’s place
Bus to Dubai 25 AED
Taxi to hotel c/o Friend
Hotel via Booking.com at Al Sarab Hotel 420 AED/2 nights divided by 2 persons = 210 AED
All You can Eat Lunch 35 AED
Metro Train Card 25 AED
Dubai Mall (Dubai Aquarium, Falls, Souk)
Dinner at Dubai Mall Foodcourt (Vegetarian Arabic Combo) 26 AED
Burj Khalifa sight seeing and Fountain Show Free
The Palace Downtown
Morrocan Mint Tea and Kharafa night cap at Al Safadi Restaurant Treated by my friends
Day 3 Breakfast (All Filipino Foodcourt) Treated by a friend
Metro Train top up 20 AED
Abra boat ride 1 AED
Old Souk
Dubai Museum Entrance Fee 3 AED
Gold Souk
Shawarma/Falafel/Biryani/Karak Chai Lunch 16 AED
Mall of Emirates (Ski Dubai)
Taxi ride to Burj Al Arab c/o Friend
Dinner at Five Guys 40 AED
The Beach
Yacht ride at Dubai Marina with Shisha and Tea night cap Free (c/o friend’s connections)
Taxi ride back to the hotel c/o friend
Day 4 Arabic Brunch at Sandwich Club (Biryani/Falafel/Shawarma) 30 AED
Al Ghurair Mall
Desert Safari (Transportation, Dune Bashing, Camel ride, Arabic night show, Buffet dinner) 110 AED
Bus to Abu Dhabi 25 AED
Accomodation (Navygate Tourist Club) Stayed at my friend’s place
Day 5 Breakfast At my Friend’s place
Taxi to Galeria 8 AED
Coffee at Armani Cafe Treated by a friend
Taxi to Al Wahda Mall 9 AED
Late lunch at Al Wahda Foodcourt (Vegetarian Arabic Combo) 26 AED
Tea at Paul Boulangerie 16 AED
Pre dinner at Chowking 28 AED
Transportation to Al Reem Island to visit friends Dropped by my friend
Catch up night cap at Arc Tower (Cleveland Accomodation) Hosted by the unit owners
Day 6 Breakfast At my Friend’s place
Taxi to Yas Mall 60 AED
Ferrari World Free Entrance (during Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays)
Lunch at Rogo’s Rollercoaster Restaurant in Yas Mall 60 AED
Dessert at Cheesecake Factory 34 AED
Corniche Beach Entrance Fee 10 AED
Tea at the top of Marina Mall with a view of the city 21 AED
Day 7 Breakfast At my Friend’s place
Taxi to World Trade Center 9 AED
Lunch at Shake Shack Treated by a friend
Coffee at Costa Coffee Treated by a friend
Emirates Palace 7 Star Hotel Free Entrance
Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque Free Entrance
Masdar City Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) Ride Free
Late dinner at Olive Garden in Al Wahda Mall Treated by a friend
Transportation Van rented by my friends
Day 8 Breakfast Leftover from dinner
Transportation to Dubai Van rented by my friends
Falafel Lunch at Last Exit 16 AED
Outlet Village at Dubai Parks
Dubai City Walk
Dinner at Chin Chin 50 AED
Total Expenses 940 AED = 12220 PHP (13) = 249.38 USD (49)
***shopping/pasalubongs not included.
Cebu Pacific Flight Roundtrip (MNL-DXB-MNL) 9266.09 PHP
Additional 20 KG Baggage (DXB-MNL) 1300.00 PHP
International Travel Tax (Manila) 1620.00 PHP
UAE Visa Processing 400 AED = 5200 PHP (13)
Total Expenses 17386.09 PHP = 354.81 USD (49)

Traveling should never be always a splurge. For me, the experience is still what keeps you alive and look forward to traveling. And most of all, having your small circle of friends get tighter as you age, surely every experience and penny spent would be worthwhile.