Archive | January, 2006

Visiting Nangka

Posted on 30 January 2006 by Flisha

This huge patch of barren land used to be a network of caves, one of those visited by my boyfriend Gim and his partner Marvin during their senior thesis. They’ve presented their data to countless people in the city, in the pursuit of the preservation of our treasured caves. But it seems, people don’t want to listen, as is obvious in this case. My heart hurts at the thought of all those limestone, guano, stalactytes and stalagmytes harvested illegally and brutally. What used to be a beautiful view of sky, ocean and forest has been marred. Whatever will replace those caves will never be as beautiful.

This is sunset in Nangka. Perhaps all has not been lost. The forest still stands, and nobody can ever tamper with the ancient brilliance of the sun and sky.

Nangka is only a few kilometers away from the city – roughly eighteen. But the view from there is wonderful – that of the city, the coast and the islands beyond. We didn’t stay to see the sun set fully below the horizon – that would have made the ride back home perilous for us. We could only imagine how the city lights would have looked at night in Nangka.

I take great pictures, I know. But I couldn’t help but want a picture of myself too! So this is the one taken by Gim, but directed by me. He’s not the greatest of photographers, you know. (I’ll spare you his pics.) In this picture, you can almost sense how high up on earth we were. You can even see the smoke rising from one of the houses (?) within the forest.

This picture is as dangerous as it looks. This cliff is about a hundred feet (judging from the ant-sized man we saw working below) high. And Gim, hardly the risk-taker, gambled his life by venturing out on the very edge of the cliff – the little piece of earth that jutted out precariously into space. I took this photo at his insistence, though I was petrified he might fall and kill himself. Who would bring me home, then? I don’t even know how to drive on two wheels!!! Luckily, he survived. I didn’t take the chance, though. I didn’t want to miss out on blogging our latest adventure.

I love taking photos of the sky, especially during sunset. It’s as if white heaven is burning with an unspoken desire – desire to consume the earth. How melodramatic of me.

Gim and I experimented with the drive mode on my Canon A410 in these photos:
Oh no, where is Flisha? She left me!Here I am, Gimmi, now we can take a picture.No! I don't wanna, you left me! Now I'm leaving you
Come here you, I am gonna teach you a lesson! *beats Gimmi up*Forgive me, Flishi, I'm so sorry, please let's take a picture together now!Okay let's kiss and make up!!!

This is the reason I need a tripod desperately:

We invited Paopao to be in our pictures. But then we had nowhere to place the camera! So we placed Gim’s helmet on the ground and placed the camera on Gim’s helmet. Since it was too close to the ground, we couldn’t see whether the pictures would look nice. They sure did – starring the Nangka weeds!

And last but not the least, here are two of my favorite pictures from that day.

Of the ones that I have taken, this is my most favorite photo ever.


Kung Hei Fat Choi

Posted on 29 January 2006 by Flisha

On the eve of the Chinese New Year, the Dragon pauses mid-dance to scratch his itchy behind against a stack of chairs in Manang Terry’s Chicken Inato.

The Chinese believe that if the Dragon pays a visit on New Year’s Eve (January 28 for this year), the host is blessed with good luck.

The Dragon often visits Chinese establishments, dancing vigorously as red-clothed men and boys beat their drums in rhythm. This is known as the Lion Dance.

Welcome the Year of the Dog!



Almost Vitali

Posted on 23 January 2006 by Flisha

Saturday is go – out – and – explore
– the – world – day for me and Gim. We’ve been to Limpapa (the westernmost point of Zamboanga), and now we wanted to reach Licomo (the easternmost point of Zamboanga). As usual, Paopao was our ever reliable ride. He brought us over paved mountains and through dusty dirt roads to reach the highest peaks in the city.

We never did reach Licomo. The sun set 30 minutes too early, so we had to head back home. Maybe next week, we’ll finally get there. Wish I had more time to blog. But work is furiously catching up on me. So, anyways, here are pics of our latest adventure.

This is Gim sitting in the middle of the highway, waiting to be run over by a huge bus. In any case, we thought, if he really was gonna get run over, at least we could show a great picture during the eulogy. (How morbid!)

This is me, posing in one of the highest peaks of the city. I already said that, I’m getting redundant. Behind me is a beautiful view of the ocean, plus an island that Gim says is part of the hundred islands. But I forget which number it is.

This is Gim, triumphant and grateful he wasn’t run over by any public transportation, or private, for that matter.

And this is the beautiful sunset of the East Coast, a wonderful deviation from the normal sun – over – sea – sunsets, and a wonderful come – again – next- time – farewell to two weary passengers on the dusty road.



Discovering Woodland Resort

Posted on 15 January 2006 by Flisha

Last Saturday, Gim and I had another one of our spontaneous within-reasonable-budget -time-and-city-limits afternoon getaways. Having just finished watching the weepy, yet strangely emotionally light, movie Just Like Heaven starring Reese Witherspoon (yeah, I know, sooo late but our one and only decent movie theater has a penchant for showing movies whenever it pleases), my boyfriend and I were armed with a bag of Sunkist juice drinks, Viva mineral water bottles, chocolate chip cookies (for him, so now you know how to steal him away from me) and marshmallows (for me).

Acting on a tip from one of Gim’s friends, we were set to have a look at Woodland Resort, located in Zambowood, one of the barangays in the East Coast, around 7 or 8 kilometers away from the city proper. Joyriding to the East Coast has always been enjoyable for me, stirring vivid memories of spelunking trips with Gim and his best buddy Marvin, since the East Coast is known to be the home of hundreds of pristine and undiscovered caves and was the setting for the BSBio pair’s thesis on caves. This trip was no different, and though Gim and I wished we could venture out further than Zambowood (the farther you get from the city proper, the better the view), time was running out and we settled for a brief picture-taking session on the highway (a bit risky but who could resist???).

The pictures say a lot but, being an amateur photographer, my limited skills could not capture the real beauty of the lake. In reality, the lake was larger, more lush and much, much more alive. The surface of the lake was a brakish sheet of grayish green and some of it was covered with grass and moss, obviously hording a variety of freshwater life forms — algae, lilies, fish, snails, snakes, water spiders — a delightful menu for the numerous sparrows that dived and darted over the lake, providing a wonderful and breathtaking dance-on-air ritual for the passing spectator. A lone tree standing on the edge of the water bore no leaves (perhaps pretending it was winter) but delighted in providing a resting place for several white birds that basked gloriously in the sun’s golden rays. On a nearby bank, tall, lithe trees sporting sparse, clumped leaves swayed to the rhythm of the afternoon breeze. Between them, and on the hill by the lake, local farmers gently tended to their corn fields while a little boy, aged no more than 6 or 7, lazily squat beneath a tree, holding a home-made fishing rod over the steady, breathing water.

After a good 30 minutes of alternately taking pictures, admiring the animated ecosystem and wistfully wishing we could see the view from the other side of the lake, we decided to get a move on and enter the Zambowood Barangay. Not a minute later we found a tiny, weed-flanked dirtroad leading up to the hill overlooking the lake. Our wish was fulfilled! We had found the other side! As we had imagined, the view was equally breathtaking — the vibrant lake against the modern highway, what a perfect example of how nature can flourish even during the era of industrialism.

At this point I was beginning to wish for two things: a) that I had had enough money to buy a camera with a greater resolution than 3.2 megapixels and b) that I had bought an extra 128mb memory card for the trip since my A410 came with only 16mb, achingly insufficient, I was fast realizing. Ah, but I will be prepared next time!

Around 4:30 PM, Gim and I began heading, really heading, towards Woodland Resort. We had been distracted far too long enough. The road was hard to navigate — it was cracked from start to finish. While this elicited a few grumblings from PaoPao (our motorcycle’s name, and yes, we name our most important possessions; my computer is named Chocolate, heehee), Gim-the-Biologist-turned-Med-Student explained that this was unavoidable, being that the road was on a hill and that hillside soil frequently shifted, creating cracks on the stubborn pavement.

The first thing I noticed about Woodland Resort was its classy landscaping. Having opened only in the middle of December, it was mostly unfinished, but the potential was unmistakably grand. The restaurant was beautiful — I loved the native theme — wooden chairs and tables made from bamboo, native art decor on the wooden posts, a doorway made of beadstrings, a handwash corner that spouted clean water from a jar made of clay, tables covered with colorful Yakan cloth, and so many other tiny local accents — only marred (but just a bit) by the plastic green wall fans (they should have stuck with their beautiful golden chandelier-type ceiling fans).

The restaurant overlooked a lovely layered turquoise-colored swimming pool, decorated by a pretty rock-walled waterfall (with the name Woodland on top) and surrounded by variedly designed cottages, of which my favorite was a rectangular one with its roof covered in white flowers and green leaves and its sides thinly walled by the plant’s long, stringy roots.

As if that wasn’t view enough, the pool overlooked a small lake covered in pink water lilies (the kind that bloom in the evening). There was even a pretty little bridge which crossed to the other side of the lake. And if you wanted to go on a romantic detour with your loved one, you could rent one of their little bancas for 30pesos an hour. We wanted to try it, but I was too afraid the boat would capsize and ruin my camera, so we left that sweet little surprise for next time.

Although Gim and I hadn’t really come to Woodland Resort to do anything but take pictures and scout the place, we felt so charmed that we decided to have dinner there. We chose a table with the best view — the pool below, the lake after and the moon, the sky and the mountains beyond. At the suggestion of the waitress, we ordered their sizzling chicken (Gim liked it because it was buttery bland, but I prefer Family Fried Chicken’s saltier version) and a plate of camaron rebosao (fried shrimp, though this was a mistake since I originally ordered fried calamares or squid). The prices were very reasonable, much like that of Greenfields Mano-Mano. But the rice cost a lot, 30 pesos for a tiny platter good for only one person! Still, it was a good dinner, if only for the wonderful sight of the moon rising over the mountains as we ate and talked and laughed.

Around 7pm, we decided to head back home — but not before peeking into their rentable quarters. At 800 a night for an air-conditioned, two-person room with a large-screen television, a bathroom and a queen-sized bed, it was perfect! (And I loved the smell of new furniture and new paint.) But before you jump into any conclusions, we didn’t spend the night (tempting though it was).

We’re reserving that for a better-planned adventure…



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