Goodbye and Hello

Category: By DuNi

What is so important about bikes that I even dedicated to write something about it?
I love biking even though it doesn’t love me.  Right from my first “free-fall” in a ditch, I have always been fascinated with biking.   Whether it is because my foot itches all the time to take the road less traveled or well beaten, or because I really wanted to see the horizon ahead, my curiosity for reaching where the road ends is endless, I suppose.
I like biking.  Even if the adrenaline rush is different from racing (even videogames), there is still a slight rush that you can feel.  Or you could just leisurely stroll and enjoy the scenery, it’s not as boring as you can think, as long as you know how to appreciate nature even at it’s ugliest state because of so-called progress.
I adore my bike, and even though it has been one of my treasures, I have to say there will always be a limit for its usage.  And even though it is still dependable, it can’t bring me beyond the next stage of my journey.  Besides, the 20 inch tires make me looks dorky, the entire bike is a little bit small for the long, arduous trail that I have planned to conquer – if I can.
I definitely have to lose the beer belly and biking could probably help me get into shape, so I planned to build a bigger one, adequate for my need.  For now, I do not need those fancy rides I see at forums and hobbyists’ sites.  Anything with good wheels and a strong frame will do.  
My old Decathlon Rockrider is a good one, but I think the wheel sets won’t be able to withstand the harsh conditions that I plan to do with the bike.  Too keep the story short, I am changing bikes because I am trying something different, and changes means saying goodbye to the old and welcoming the new.

Ang pinakamagagandang babae sa balat ng lupa ngayong taon

Category: By DuNi

Dahil sa overhype na nalilikha sa mga constestant ng Pilipinas tuwing sasapit ang Miss Universe pageant, pinagtyagaan kong manood ng live broadcast nito kesa naman manood ako ng labanan ng mga maskuladong nagpapanggap na kalalakihan na karamihan ay naka spandex at felix bakat ang drama - ang Summerslam wrestling.  Mas gusto ko ang ligaya na inihahatid ng mga bakat ng mga swimsuit ng mga constestants sa Miss Universe, kahit alam kong walang binatbat taun-taon ang mga representante ng Pilipinas.

Hindi ko nakasanayan na maniwala sa mga bayarang kolumnista na buong pugay nagbabalita sa mga pahayagan ang malaking tsansa ng ating kinatawan sa tuwing darating ang oras ng patimpalak.  Taon-taon malaki ang pag-asa ng ating kinatawan, taon-taon din hindi naman nakakalusot sa semi-finals.  KANINA, MUNTIK NANG MAKAPASOK SA TOP 15 ANG ATING PAMBATO.  AKALAIN MO UNANG TINAWAG NA PUMASOK SA TOP 15 ANG MISS PUERTO RICO.  MUNTIK NA TAYO DAHIL KATABI LANG NATIN ANG MISS PUERTO RICO SA ALPHABETICAL LISTING NG MGA KALAHOK.

Parehas ng basketbol ang problema natin sa Miss Universe.  Kulang sa height at achievements ang ipinapadala natin.  Hindi naman natin pwedeng sabihin na kung sa utak lang eh may panlaban tayo.  Mga ineng at totoy, hindi naman mga bobo ang constestants ng ibang bansa.  Napapansin ko na halos lahat ng mga pumapasok sa top 15 eh mga achievers na, may mga graduate na sa kolehiyo at nagpapraktis ng kaninang propesyon, mga mga nag aaral pa, at meron ding kilala na sa mundo ng modeling. Wag nating ikumpara ang pagkapanalo ni Gloria Diaz sa bawat taon na gaganapin ang Miss Universe pageant.  Nanalo si Bb. Gloria Diaz hindi dahil sa talino kundi dahil maayos ang kanyang pagkakasagot.  Para sa sakin, insulto ang sabihin nanalo ka sa Miss Universe dahil sa talino mo.  Una, hindi naman quiz bee ang Miss Universe pageant, at ikalawa, pinalalabas nitong mga bobo ang mga kalaban mo, na no bearing contest ang magiging resulta.  Deserving manalo si Bb. Gloria Diaz dahil deserving ang kanyang isinagot!

Hindi naman masama mangarap.  Baka sa hinaharap eh manalo na ulit tayo at tanghaling pinakamagandang babae sa buong mundo ang ating kababayang Pilipina.  Siguro kapag natuto na tayong tumingin sa kakayahan at hindi sa hitsura.  Siguro kapag kahit hindi marunong mag English basta may kakayanan naman eh ikukuha na lang ng interpreter.  Siguro sa tamang pagkakataon.  Siguro tamang pagkakaintindi ng tanong(high tide or low tide???).  At siguro, sa tamang pagsagot.

It's the season for Pawikan...

Category: By DuNi

The start of August officially means Pawikan Season.  But no, it’s not about hunting down marine turtles with your long rifles or crossbows and displaying them as personal trophies.  In fact, Pawikan season is the opposite; it is actually Turtle Conservation Season since marine turtles are considered endangered species.  Five of the seven known species of marine turtles are confirmed to have considered some of the Philippines’ coastlines as migratory route and even critical habitats.  They are the green turtle (Chelonia mydas), the loggerhead (Caretta caretta), the Olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea), the hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) and the leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea).  Most marine turtles have been hunted down, for their shell houses are beautiful decorations, and even their eggs are being poached and sold at local public markets because of their so-called medicinal benefits, according to traditional customs persistent within the country.

As the fight to preserve marine turtles begins, attentive measures are necessary and even careful and constant study.  Continuous research by biologists and gathering of information will greatly help in the advocacy.


The coastal barangays of Pundakit and San Miguel in San Antonio, Zambales are natural marine turtle habitat, including the whole coastline of Zambales province.  But San Antonio has plenty of secluded coves in Agusuhin point, and including beaches of Capones and Camara Islands, they are perfect nesting grounds for marine turtles since scarce population exist in these locations, which are hard to reach areas because there is no network of roads in these places; they can be only reached by boat.  Unfortunately, sometimes, fishermen act as poachers, one of the predators that are slowly endangering the lives of turtles into extinction.

Together with Environmental Protection of Asia Foundation, DENR, and local officials, we set foot to both barangays hoping to inform, introduce, and help them in the saving marine turtles.  The community was eager to learn facts about turtles and was amazed because of the misperceptions about these animal creatures.   Freshly laid eggs were openly pilfered and sold to the public market as alternative medicine to asthma symptoms, as was widely believed by locals through the years.  The proper forum has encouraged most folks not to get and eat turtle eggs, avoid harming turtles, and inform their local barangay officials if ever they see one.  Also, through the efforts of barangay leaders, people were positively persuaded to care not only the turtles but the whole environment as a whole.  Fisher folks and even young kids have changed their attitude towards their habitat which they share with one of the most important creatures that helps in maintaining balance to the ecological system which is on the brink of being extinct in the future, if abuses were not prevented.


Saving marine turtles is a difficult task.  Marine turtles only come ashore when laying eggs.  They stay most of their life at the sea, and some contacts are when they are caught in between fishermen’s nest, which is life threatening to most of them.  One activity to do is to patrol the beach at night, particularly during high tides and/or when the moon is full, looking for turtles laying their eggs, hopefully before any opportunistic poacher could claim them.   One theory about turtles is that they come back to the exact location where they were born to lay eggs of their future hatchlings.  This hasn’t been proven but there are references and materials that can likely substantiate this claim.  So, a beach that has previous turtle hatchings will also have the possibility of being a future hatching site.  

Over a period of more than a month, our group was unlucky to see actual turtle hatchings. We only settled for finding a hatching site in an open beach.  This continues the task of preserving marine turtles, even the baby ones.  Careful transfer of the eggs into a more secure place was considered so that those eggs, the future of their endangered generation, would survive.  With the help of the community, we had a place in the beach that was transformed into a hatchery for majority of the eggs that will be gathered, whether by our group or those who are willing to help.  All eggs found from hatching sites around various places are being taken from their original hatching site carefully, avoiding rotation of each egg as it is being transferred, so as not to shake the embryo inside which could result in mortality.  Placed on a basin or any spacious pail or container with damp sand, it is transferred to the hatchery site and buried under the sand with the same care avoiding shaking each egg.  To be naturally incubated for a certain period, the hatchery is maintained by local volunteers for safety from known turtle predators, including ants and even sea water.  Data are gathered from the eggs and even the turtle that laid them by the group who had witnessed a turtle’s actual laying the eggs.  The turtle is measured and checked for tags, and if there are no metal tags on the flippers or any of them, they are tagged and recorded by experts for monitoring.


Depending on the specie of the turtle, the eggs are incubated for certain days, by natural light of the sun and heat from the sand.  The most common specie in Zambales, the olive ridley’s eggs, is hatched for at least 45 days.  On the 4oth day, the hatchery is closely monitored for some digging activities – baby turtles dig their way up to the surface when they are hatched.  Every live hatchling will try to go to the surface, so proper procedures are then undertaken to collect data like number of baby turtles that are alive compared to the number of turtle eggs, checking for deformities, spoiled eggs and even dead hatchlings.  And after collecting data, the baby turtles are then sent off to the sea, to come back to lay eggs probably after 50 years and so.  Depending on the conditions of the hatchlings, they can be kept until their food sap (a small container of food attached to each baby turtle’s belly, wherever that is) are almost empty.  

A program was added when the baby turtles are being sent to the sea.  Selected students of Pundaquit Elementary School were each asked to “adopt” a baby hatchling, allowing the student to name their baby turtles, and then encouraging the turtles to slowly crawl to the sea.  Even though it was ceremonially insignificant, it was a very moving scene, and it helped create awareness between the little children about the environment and its surroundings.  One child was overheard promising that he will stop his parents, relative, or any neighbor from eating or selling turtle eggs if ever he heard or catch them doing so.  One was trying to cheer his turtle, hoping to see it back again in maybe a couple of decades or so, probably to introduce his adopted turtle to his son in the future, the succeeding generation of caretakers.  And even though only one percent of the baby hatchlings will survive on the sea, there is still a glimmer of hope and determination, as they swim to their fate, hoping to come back to the very same beach to lay eggs.


According to data, marine turtles help control the balance of cycle of the marine ecosystem.  The less turtles out on the sea, the more chance marine life would be endangered.  There would be less small fishes, the food chain of bigger fishes.  Other fishes will also become extinct, so coastal towns and even other people depending on marine life as staple food will experience scarcity of fishes and sea foods in the future.  Even those surviving one percent are vital to promote a balanced marine ecosystem.  The only tool we have is to inform the people who are confused and illiterate on the subject of conserving our planet in particular.  At present, majority of the population in San Antonio, Zambales had changed their gastronomical viewpoint on pawikans.  They don’t see them as food anymore.  Instead they look at them as bringer of foods.

With their beaches clean and sparsely populated, the town has shifted from poaching turtle eggs into promoting its natural beaches.  Pundakit beach is also the gateway to the famous Capones Lighthouse in Capones Island, white beaches in Camara Island, Anawangin, Nagsasa, Talisain, and Aganaem coves, all within an hour’s ride by boat.  Those places are also marine turtle habitats that tourists and campers might probably be surprised if there is a turtle near their pitched tent in the middle of the night.

Turtle hatching season ends in February, but up until March there still might be baby turtles to be released from the hatchery.  When released, the turtle spends all of its life in the sea, never looking back to the place they were born.  Even when the hatchlings are released, whether they will survive the cruel world they are living in, we are not sure.  

As the sun sets while releasing the last of the baby turtles in each of our hands, and as they swim towards the horizon as we wait for the next season to approach, we pray and hope for the survival of these vital marine creatures until they come back to lay their eggs, completing their circle of life.

Thoughts on this National Week of Mourning

Category: By DuNi

1.    NOW I BELIEVE IN THE CORY MAGIC.  It’s not that I am a skeptic, but I supported the other side of the fence, so to speak.  I AM a Marcos supporter to the core.  But this week was probably the first time I admit EDSA 1986 was not a fluke.  I have always believed what happened in EDSA was not because of the people, but because of the moves of those who supported both camps.  If Ramos, Enrile, and Honasan had not jumped over to the other side, there wouldn’t be any historical significance of what happened then.  And when thousands of people lined up along the road for their final salute to Cory, I had also finally accepted that she was significantly important historically.  Some of us had learned a lot of lesson during her presidency.  Some took the opportunity for political gains, some for personal. 

2.    THE FILIPINOS CAN UNITE.  It took one dead beloved leader for the entire nation to be united.  La Salle and Ateneo, Marcoses and Aquinos, Administrations and Oppositions, people from different sides of the fences, they all were “saddened” by the country’s loss.  And yet when Cory was alive and asking the people to be vigilant to all those who are planning to deceivingly corrupt the entire Philippine Constitution by Charter Change through Constitutional Assembly, those supporters where never to be found!  Amazing!  Just like Michael Jackson, everybody suddenly becomes a fan, everybody suddenly liked him, everybody is suddenly affected by the loss!  We only give importance to their legacy and contributions when those persons are dead, but while alive we were never that affectionate to the point of following by example.

3.    ON A LIGHTER NOTE, OUR MILITARY OFFICERS ARE ALL BUTT UGLY.  Paquito Diaz, Romy Diaz, Joaquin “Buwaya” Fajardo, Max Alvarado – eat your hearts out!  Our officers could effectively pass as villains in any action movie locally produced.  I was expecting to see tall, lean built, shortcut hairs, and elegant and graceful march from majority of our soldiers.  Instead I saw the opposite.  Some tummys are bulging and I see hairs, wherein during my CMT days I was required with that stupid 4 inches haircut and no sideburns.  Ramos, Enrile, and even the bulging Honasan  and Trillanes looks more of a soldier right now than all of them combined.  I couldn’t hide my disappointment at them.  No wonder some of our Filipina women are crazy for American soldiers.

4.    WILLIE REVILLAME WILL ALWAYS BE WILLIE REVILLAME.  I don’t think I need to say more.  There is a fine line separating the ethical and those who are pretending to be ethical for the sake of being famous.  Whatever block-timer reasons you have to put up to, National Interest comes first.  To DISRESPECT a former President AT HER FUNERAL – may the heavens have mercy on this moron.

5.    MY OUTFIT WAS DONE BY NATIONAL ARTIST PITOY MORENO.  WTF?  I thought National Artists are those supposed to have an impact historically and on a national scale.  I have nothing against Pitoy but a National Artist is somebody who did made an impact about the Filipino and nationalism, like Levi Celerio.  Plus I like Patis Tesoro’s Piña barong more.  And how about Carlo J. Caparas?  What are his contributions? The comics industry is dead already.  Can he revive the Funny Komiks franchise well-loved by children of the 80’s?  Yes, he made a lot of money on films without any nudity and currently raking in money on telenovelas but that is not an achievement.  Crying over your loved one who jilted you at the expense of another woman as a blockbuster plot does not contribute for national awareness… believe me…

6.    I NOMINATE MYSELF AS NATIONAL ARTIST.  Cecil Guidote Alvarez is now a National Artist.  Unfortunately, she is the chairperson of the National Council for Culture and Arts, the very same body that deliberates, debates, and approves the awarding of National Artist.  Conceitedly genius on NCCA’s part.  I have no objections though on Francisco Mañosa.  He deserves to be a National Artist.  His Coconut Palace is a personal visionary template for my dream house, if ever I could build one.  But the other three - Direk Carlo, Pitoy, and Chair Alvarez – they are way below Dolphy who probably deserves this award far more than them.

Boracay Experience - serenity at a price...

Category: By DuNi

When we talk about Boracay, we can generally agree that every wonderful article, blog and comments had already been said about this beautiful island in Aklan.  What could somebody like me add that hasn’t been said?

Boracay is an island paradise and one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  The island’s beauty transcends above the 7000 wonders the Philippines has to offer and is probably the most visited place, both foreign and domestic tourists alike.  Any travel-frenzy Pinoy have been to Boracay once or twice in their life.  Majority of Pinoys on social networking sites do have an album about their Boracay escapades.  Those who has been to Boracay has probably been to one of its famous hang-outs (Station 1 to 3), they have bought some souvenirs in d’Mall, they have taken pictures in Willy’s Rock and the sand castles. 

So what more can I tell about Boracay from my experience that is different?  It is experiencing it first class.  Truthfully, I was always imagining going to Boracay, let alone stay in posh room accommodations and meals.  Well, my imagination turned into reality this year.  Except with some rain and monsoon winds, our trip and stay was really relaxing.  We decided to choose Cebu Pacific because of their promos, but it didn’t really made a big difference with the other airlines’ fare when you add the surcharges.  Too late after we heard that PAL Express might still be the best trip to look forward to.

Excitement was teeming alm
ost the whole night before the trip.  Everybody was tense, nobody was sleeping early even the kids, and everyone was anticipating the 2AM arrival of the service van we hired to bring us to NAIA 3 from Angeles City.  We decided to forego the possibility of flying through Clark since there is no direct flight to Caticlan - only to Cebu - and it will probably take longer than Manila.

Fast Forward and skipping the details of the airplane ride, we found ourselves stuck for a short time in Caticl
an Airport.  Due to the unpredictable weather, the airlines decided to delay our baggage until the next flight.  But this is where we started to experience first class accommodations right from the airport.  Our resort guide assured us that he will be bringing our baggage right to our room as soon as it arrives. In short, we didn’t have to wait for our things, he brought us to the jetty port in Tabon and accompanied us up to the hotel reception.  He then excused himself to go back to Caticlan to wait for our baggage.  Imagine if we decided to wait for our bags – we arrived in Caticlan at 8AM: our bags arrived at 1PM.

Fridays’ Resort is located at the white beach area just beside Discovery Suites, popular for its talcum-like sand you could mistake for your regular baby powder, or probably masses of cement powder from a building construction.  We considered Discovery at first but I guess we made the right choice in staying at Fridays.  We were welcomed at the front with complimentary drinks and a souvenir already consisting of shell necklace for each of us.  Our names are written outside the reception, together with other guests.  We were assured that our rooms were ready, even if check-in time is still at 12 noon.

Boracay’s tropical setting was complemented by Fridays’ ambiance.  As someone who grew up in Manila, for some reason I have this distaste for concrete buildings for aesthetic reasons.  Tropical and concrete does not really mix well, except if you are Francisco Mañosa.  Fridays’ native setting was perfect for me: its Nipa Hut style using bamboo, wood, and pawid roofs as major materials made it a paradise within a paradise.  A terrace with a hammock and overlooking the beach and also the pool at the side, this is almost my dream house.  And if it isn’t enough, the rooms were elegantly awesome.  Even without the television and the ref, it is almost a honeymoon suite – except that it has 2 additional beds – probably perfect for an orgy.  The bathroom is magnificent that would sometimes set the tone for a romantic night.  With the ambiance as perfect as I have imagined it would be, I am saving my excitement until dinner.

Fridays’ is famous for its restaurant, if you have the right budget.  Nightly buffet are expensive even though they have specialties each night.  Their best buffet is served at Friday nights, including cultural shows for guests, and even voluntary participation with the dreaded tinikling dance.  As a token, they are giving certificates to those who are brave enough to dance through those bamboo poles.  The last time I was involved in tinikling was in grade 2 where my feet would always get hit by the poles, so I decided to just be a spectator for the night.  The restaurant offers a regional Asian, European, Fusion, American and Filipino cuisine, and daily special breakfast set, lunch and dinner menu in addition to its ala carte specialties. 

Aside from what we have tasted at Fridays', there is this not-so-expensive restaurant in Ilig-Iligan that serves fresh seafoods where we ate after snorkeling.  I forgot the name of the place but as far as I can remember they have served the most tasting white snapper Sinigang that I have ever tasted.  We bought this big fish, they cooked the head and tail in Sinigang and the middle part were only steam fried, and we also had those spicy crabs and shrimps.  My diet plans just crashed after seeing those foods on the table.  If these are expensive for your taste, you can always fall back on Andok’s in d’Mall, for there is no Jollibee out there yet as far as I know.  Oh one more thing, don’t ever try those fly infested breads at Julie’s.  I’ve seen them. Disgusting in a sort of way, especially if you see the flies squeezed between the glass containers and the bread.  They might look like raisins from a far but they don’t taste like one.  Don’t forget to buy a souvenir shirt, its buy 1 take 1 for a hundred and fifty, sounds cheap but some of them doesn’t look cheap.  There are designs that are classy when you wear them.
Wherever you want to stay in Boracay, you will never run out of things to do.  There are lots of activities for the adventurous, for nature lovers, for the party animals, for those who wanted to relax, and even for the hopeless romantics, though it could come at a price, an expensive one, to be frank about it.  We were there to relax, to getaway from the busy city life.  Angeles is a chartered city full of exoticity but we wanted to experience the kind of relaxation only found in an island paradise – serenity.  And serenity in Boracay is synonymous to Fridays’…