Archive | September, 2008

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Bohol Tour Part VII: Statues and Churches

Posted on 26 September 2008 by Flisha

One of the most famous landmarks in Bohol, Philippines is the Sandugo site, also known as the Blood Compact site. It happened in March 1565. It is where the Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Bohol tribe leader Datu Sikatuna made a pact of friendship by cutting their left arm with a dagger, mixing both their blood in wine, and drinking it.

It is said to be the very “first international treaty of friendship between two people of different races”. This event is important in the history of the Philippines because it marked the first time that Spain successfully established a settlement in the country. Spain had sent five other expeditions before this, and all failed. The most well-known explorer in the Philippines is Portuguese Ferdinand Magellan (serving under the Spanish crown), the first to successfully circumnavigate the Earth (reaching Asia by sailing West). However, he died before he reached his goal, the Spice Islands of Indonesia (a country away). He died in battle in Mactan, Cebu.

Okay, enough of the history lesson. Just look at the pics! :-)

Gim is so silly, pretending he’s one of the Spaniards! Hehehe. I think he looks more like Datu Sikatuna. Hehehehe.

Afterwards, we visited the oldest Church in Bohol, Baclayon Church. It is the second oldest stone Church in the Philippines, and was built in 1595.

It is extremely large, one of the biggest Churches I have seen, and very very beautiful.

Inside the Church, you almost pretend you’re living in the 16th century. In those days, the officiating priest would not sermon at the altar, he would pray on the balcony, above the people. This is because, back then, the priest did not preach to or engage with the crowd in prayer. He would pray by himself, and the people were there merely to join him in his prayer.

Nowadays, of course, prayer is communion. So the priest stands at level with the people, on the altar. And he prays with the people as the people pray with him.

More pictures of the beautiful Church…

And here’s a photo I particularly like, Gim standing in front of the altar, while the rays of the sun, filtered through the colored glass panes, paints the floor.

Baclayon Church also hosts a museum, but we weren’t allowed to take photos inside so I just have this one stolen shot from the balcony of the museum.

Here I am below the church tower. Gim likes to experiment with angles. I like to model. Hehe.

We encountered another old stone church along the way and stopped to take some pictures. I don’t know what the name of the Church was, just that I liked how it looked, with all the columns and old stone. I don’t think it was famous, though, because it was very quiet and isolated.

More of the beautiful columns and arches.

That’s it, one last post on Bohol next week, abangan… :-)

Read the other Bohol posts…
Bohol Tour Part IV: Hinagdanan Cave
Bohol Tour Part V: Panglao Island Beach Resort
Bohol Tour Part VI: Philippine Tarsiers
Bohol Tour Part VIII: Snakes and Flying Lemurs

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Bohol Tour Part VI: Philippine Tarsiers

Posted on 24 September 2008 by Flisha

When you hear the word Bohol, the first thing that comes into mind are the Chocolate Hills. Did that last year.

The second thing are tarsiers.

Tarsiers are found only in Southeast Asia.

The Philippine Tarsier is, of course, found only in the Philippines, and most famously in Bohol.

It has often been called the world’s smallest primate and the world’s smallest monkey, but it is neither. However, it does carry the distinction of being the mammal with the largest eyes.

Due to the rising human population and the rampant deforestation, the population of the species is dwindling. In fact, it’s conservation status is defined as threatened.

The tarsier (the animal on the left) is nocturnal, which means it sleeps during the day and wakes up at night to hunt for food. It eats insects, mostly crickets and grasshoppers.

It was late afternoon when we got to see the tarsiers. Manong Driver dropped us off a place few tourists passed by, so we were able to get up close shots of the tarsiers.

As much as I preferred them to sleep while we looked on quietly, our steps inevitably woke them up, and for that I felt horrible.

The tarsier keeper, upon seeing them awake, decided to give them some food. He held up a stick with a pierced cricket up to a tarsier, and after a bit of prodding, the tarsier decided to take cricket.

Later on, the tarsier keeper asked us if we wanted to hold the tarsier. I was very uncomfortable (you can probably see that in my face) because tarsiers don’t like to be touched by humans (you can see that in the pictures too).

At the same time I really wanted to hold the tarsier… I know!!!! I am a horrible person!!!!

So I said, only a little while. (And don’t worry, we didn’t use flash the whole time.)

I didn’t want to be KJ (killjoy) too… there were other tourists looking on, and really it was only for a little while, then we let the little critter go back up the tree.

But, oh, I felt so sorry for the tarsiers… They don’t live long in captivity. Most of them die by their own hands, like drowning themselves or beating their heads against their cages. These tarsiers aren’t in cages (the practice is illegal, but there are still very bad people who do that), they’re free to roam around the trees, but still, the entire area is very small… they’re still captive…

I was relieved when we finally returned them to their branches. I hope they weren’t too stressed by our visit. I hope someday, their population will return to a stable size. They’re very good for the community. They don’t harm people, and at the same time, they prey on insects, which is a good thing because insects eat crops, and Filipinos are very dependent on rice.

Before we left, we had to take these silly pics of ourselves as tarsiers. :-) LOL.

I was very happy to finally see the tarsiers. I’d always wanted to see them ever since Gim went to Bohol many years ago and told me all about them.

I hope to see them again someday, perhaps in a more natural time and habitat.

Read the other Bohol posts…
Bohol Tour Part IV: Hinagdanan Cave
Bohol Tour Part V: Panglao Island Beach Resort
Bohol Tour Part VII: Statues and Churches
Bohol Tour Part VIII: Snakes and Flying Lemurs

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Bohol Tour Part V: Panglao Island Beach Resort

Posted on 23 September 2008 by Flisha

Infinity pools. I only see them on MTV Cribs.

But someday, when I am filthy rich, I shall have one too!

Of course, a pool can’t really be infinite by itself (can it?). It needs the help of a larger body of water, like the ocean, so you can pretend your pool extends all the way to the horizon and beyond.

Well I can say I finally have bathed in an infinity pool! Yay me!

After getting all sweaty and smelly (of bat poo) at the Hinagdanan Cave, Gim and I badly needed some refreshment! We had two choices. Bohol Beach Club or Panglao Island Beach Resort. We were only in Bohol for a day, so we couldn’t choose both. Panglao Resort was right beside Hinagdanan, so that made the choice much easier. (I recently saw some pictures of Bohol Beach Club and it’s amazing, so we’re definitely reserving that for next year.)

Panglao Island Beach Resort looks very ordinary from the outside. We weren’t planning to go inside, we just stopped by to take a picture before we headed on to Hinagdanan, so I could post it on my blog and say I’d been there but I really hadn’t.

I know. I am awful blogger. I was gonna lie to you all.

Thankfully, Nards, our guide from the cave, told us Panglao was a very nice resort, with an infinity pool.

I was sold. By these very words. And because it was cheap, too. The entrance cost P350 ($8) per person, very cheap! P200 of that was consumable. So the entrance was really just P150.

There was a shoot going on when we got there. There was this very pretty girl with a skimpy two-piece bikini on, lying on the edge of the pool against a backdrop of infinite water and she was oiled and slutting it up for the camera. And NO, I did NOT take a picture of her.

There was a large tripod and a huge camera pointed at her, and a director barking orders at the crew. At the same time placating the star.

I was quite disappointed they were there, because I didn’t want to ruin the shoot by jumping into the pool or anything. *Heh* It was tempting. Very very tempting. So Gim and I just sat on the bamboo benches and laid out our stuff.

Then we changed into our swimwear… Hee. It was my first time to wear swimwear. And even then, well, it wasn’t exactly swimwear. I wore shorts and a sports top. Heh. (Trust me, you don’t want to see me reveal anything!!!)

Thank you, water, for enveloping me very nicely. Anyways by the time we’d finished changing, the shoot had wrapped up so we were free to splash and play and jump into the pool! But shower first, of course! And then — yipee!!! Splash, splash, splash!

Here’s the breathtaking view. Click the pics for bigger resolutions!

Beautiful, huh? And the great thing was that we had the place ALL to ourselves! Nobody was there but us! (Since the shoot people were done.) It was so much fun just lying around and playing in the pool! There were these little jets of water that shot from holes on the pool wall, they were soooo much fun…. And NO it was not THAT strong.

Then I asked Gim to pose like that girl in the shoot. Hee hee hee hee!!!! So he did.

Isn’t he the cutest???? LOL!!!

He’s gonna kill me for posting these. Hehehe!! So I’ll pose one he likes. He thinks he looks very sexy and “manly” here. Hee hee hee!!

Some more pics of him trying to look “manly”.

Hehehehe!!! And then we have the “clambering-up-over-pools” pics. Just because. Haha.

Oh and the pool is made up of smaller pools but they all share the same water. I like the parts that are right beside the plants, like these:

Oh and now it’s my turn for picture-taking! Humor me while I hide underneath the water.

And since I duly embarassed Gim in the pictures above, I will allow a bit of embarrassment for myself. Hee. (Gim made me do it!!!!)

And since I cannot swim, nor float in freshwater, well, er… this is the way I enjoyed myself.

Whee! Hahahaha.

Oh and another thing that’s cute about the resort is that it has a snack bar right at the edge of the pool, where the bar stools are cemented right inside the pool! How fun! Loved the concept! :-)

Unfortunately forgot to take a picture of the seats. But we did get the snack bar girl to take a pic of us! Don’t we look cute? Hahahaha!

More?

Hehehehe. We wanted to have lunch at the snack bar but we couldn’t. It was only for snacks daw. Hmph. We had to go to the second floor to eat lunch. But we were so hungry we didn’t mind.

Here’s what we ordered.

Fried chicken! Mmm!

Mmm, pasta with clams and garlic, and garlic bread! And mango shakes! It was a great meal!

Here’s my Gim!

And then there’s me!

Then afterwards we went right back to the pool again!

And I’ll not say the part where I wanted to pee so much I almost ran towards the toilet which I thought was a shower but it wasn’t, it was just a toilet, and there wasn’t any place to put my clean clothes anywhere and I was soooo in need I peed all over myself but there was no water (which is so kainis, hello it was a toilet!) so I gingerly sneaked out, made sure nobody was looking, carefully closed the door behind me so no one would smell anything and then, head help up unnaturally high, walked steadily to the shower room.

The end.

Read the other Bohol posts…
Bohol Tour Part IV: Hinagdanan Cave
Bohol Tour Part VI: Philippine Tarsiers
Bohol Tour Part VII: Statues and Churches
Bohol Tour Part VIII: Snakes and Flying Lemurs

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Bohol Tour Part IV: Hinagdanan Cave

Posted on 21 September 2008 by Flisha

In 2007, when Gim and I visited Bohol, Philippines, we took the Bohol River Cruise, explored the Loboc Museum and visited the Chocolate Hills. All in a day. And by public transportation, no less.

This time around, we ditched the open-air buses and contracted an airconditioned van to tour us around for the whole day. We explored the Hinagdanan Cave, burned ourselves sunning in Panglao Island Beach Resort and visited the site of the famous Sandugo (Blood Compact) site where Spanish king conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Bohol native Datu Sikatuna drank each other’s blood as a sign of friendship.

We also stopped to take pictures of tarsiers, an enormous snake (and his very interesting keeper), a lemur and some birds. Oh and we visited Bohol’s oldest church and another really old church. It was a very fun day, and like last year, we only spent a day in Bohol. The next day we went on to Dumaguete (but we’re already planning the Bohol Tour of 2009!).

Our first stop in Bohol (after dropping our things off at the hotel) was Hinagdanan Cave. This wasn’t part of the plan but I saw the site on a flyer in the hotel and asked what it was. As Gim and I are both spelunkers (no, seriously, we are!), the idea of visiting a cave outside of Zamboanga intrigued me, so we had to go. :-)

The Hinagdanan cave was discovered in the 16th century by a haciendero (land owner). It says (in the sign behind us) that he saw two adjacent holes in the ground, threw some stones in and heard a splash. He made a ladder (hagdan) and that was how people got inside the cave for a long time. Later a big tree died and decayed, leaving behind a hole leading down into the cave (the present entrance).

This is the present entrance of the cave. Careful, Gim! :-) The steps are steep and narrow… And both Gim and I happen to have very big feet. 

Now I’m going down, too. But wait! Shoot a picture first!

And we’re in! Nards, our guide, takes a pretty picture, doesn’t he? He was one of two men waiting outside the cave, and generously led us down the cave and started touring us, without us having to ask him to. He was such a nice person! And he turned out to be an excellent photographer, too.  He took the camera off my hands, fiddled around with the settings (settings I didn’t even know what to do with!) and expertly took TONS of pictures of me and my boyfriend, no questions asked! He was SO nice.

Same scene as above, without me and Gim. The two holes on the roof of the cave are the original holes the haciendero found on his land. Below the holes are some foreign tourists enjoying the cool brackish water (it’s part seawater, part fresh).

Nards says that scuba divers actually start their dive from this point. They swim underneath the rocks and then it will lead them out to sea. How cool is that! :-) Nards is a scuba diver, by the way. He’s a lifeguard, too. In fact, he was the one who told us to go to Panglao Island Beach Resort, because it had an infinity pool. :-)

Here’s a view of the entrance of the cave, and the manmade stairs used to go down into the cave.

It’s an awfully big cave, isn’t it? The water looked so tempting. Gim was begging me to let him dive in, but I wouldn’t let him. Manong Driver would kill us we if sat in his very nice van dripping wet! We had to content ourselves just dipping our feet in the water. :-)

Here’s Gim and me, directly under a hole, light shining through and all that.What did I say? Nards is a great photographer, huh? You have to understand, it was DARK in the cave. I tried to use my flash to take pictures of the cave, but since the cave was so big, the flash didn’t go far. My pictures turned out terrible. But Nards made the cave look bright and colorful!! He had very steady hands…

And another awesome light-rays-shining-down-upon-us pic from our genius guide! :-) He said he learned to take good pics from all the years he spent giving tours. I think I envy his life…

Here’s Gim pretending to be holy. Yeah right, Gim, your days of innocence are long past gone. (I rid him of it!)

Just more pictures of Gim and me… Gim’s sweating a whole lot in the pics, if you notice. I guess since I’m fairer, I don’t show it, but I was sweating profusely too. It was hot inside the cave! And Nards had us climbing slippery slopes, walking over sharp rocks (barefoot!) and crawling on the muddy cave floor just to get the our shots! Hahaha. It was hard work, modeling. ;-P

Here are some paintings on the cave walls. Before you think there lived any ancient peoples here, let me tell you this is fake. Haha. These paintings were created for a movie (that’s what Nards said, anyways). I felt really sad about that. It’s cave desecration, plain and simple. *tsk, tsk*

Here’s a close-up of the cave roof. You can see some birds living in the holes (their nests). These are the birds that make nido, from which Bird’s Nest Soup is made of. Nido is actually the saliva of the bird, which the birds use to make their nest, hence Bird’s Nest Soup. It’s a prized delicacy in the Philippines, and quite pricey.

This is one of the cave holes, shot from above ground. Nards showed us not only the inside of the cave, but also the surrounding areas.

This is the back of the cave, and as you can see, it faces the ocean. The water from the cave is fed partly by this sea.

Beside the Hinagdanan site is Panglao Island Beach Resort, where Nards lifeguards on a part-time basis. He also told us about another resort that was the direct competitor of Panglao Resort, the Bohol Beach Club or something. He said the shore was wider and much prettier there, but the facilities so-so. Well, I can see pretty shores anytime, what I wanted was an infinity pool! So we had to choose Panglao Resort, hehe.

But that’s Bohol Tour Part V… :-)

P.S. I’m naming this post Bohol Tour Part IV because I have yet to post the pictures from the Bohol Trip 2007, my bad! So I’m reserving Part I, II and III as prequels to this post. Just like in Star Wars.

Read the other Bohol posts…
Bohol Tour Part V: Panglao Island Beach Resort
Bohol Tour Part VI: Philippine Tarsiers
Bohol Tour Part VII: Statues and Churches
Bohol Tour Part VIII: Snakes and Flying Lemurs

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Sunday Kamayan, Dapitan’s Best Kept Secret

Posted on 14 September 2008 by Flisha

On a Sunday in Dapitan, there’s no better place to eat lunch than Kamayan ni Manay’s (literal translation: Eat-with-your-bare-hands at Manay‘s, Manay being a general term for an older lady).

Every Sunday, Kamayan holds an all-you-can-eat buffet lunch that costs only P250 ($6) per person. This includes a lunch of lechon (roasted pork), chicken, crab, shrimps, talaba (oysters), vegetables, fruits and salads. Dessert is fruits and ice cream (yummy!). Oh and don’t forget the bottomless iced tea. It’s a fiesta fit for a king. In my opinion, no other all-you-can-eat buffet can ever top this sumptous feast from Kamayan (and believe me, I’ve tried a lot of other Sunday eat-all-you-can’s!).

For a restaurant in a pretty small town, Kamayan is packed during Sundays! The buffet lunch starts at 10:30 AM but by 10:00 AM, there’s already a line of people outside waiting to get in. It’s that good.

Without further ado, here come the pictures!

 

My first plate. I got a lot of fried stuff. Fried shrimps, fried talaba, fried chicken. Some salad (I thought maybe the healthy would cancel out the unhealthy). And lots of lechon! I was lechon-starved when I came to Dapitan. (In Zamboanga, Sunday usually equals to a lunch of lechon. And I hadn’t had that in months because I was exiled in Manila!)

 

My second plate. I realized the crab was really, really, really good! So I got a whole lot of it. The crabs were small but boy they were bursting with meat. Gim and I surmised they must have come from a farm, because each and every crab we ate was really fat and tasty. It was so much fun eating them, unlike the time we ate crab in Dakak and felt like we were mining for gold in a gold-starved cave! I also got a lot of chopsuey and, erm, took a lot of quail eggs (too bad for the later guests, hehehe!).

 

Doesn’t the crab look divine?

 

This crab reminds me of a ninja. A very tasty ninja.

 

Bottomless lemon iced tea, yum! And the waiters were very prompt! They filled our glasses even when we didn’t ask. Not like other places (especially in Manila) that offer bottomless iced tea and then hide their waiters afterwards, or look at you like you’re being very greedy for consuming more than two glasses of their supposedly limitless drink.

 

Even our trash looked good, haha. We had two piles of this after. Full of crab and oysters. Loved the crab so very much. I got around six halves or so. I shared them with Gim, I swear! Hahaha. I didn’t like the raw oysters that much, though… I don’t like anything raw. The fried shrimps tasted more of flour than shrimp, so did the fried oysters. But who cares?? There was a lot of crab!!! Hehehehe.

 

More trash. And still a lot of crab behind the trash, hahaha. I really enjoyed the crab. Did I mention that already? Hahaha. I went there for the lechon, and the lechon was great. But the crab was better. Haha.

 

Awww, and we’re done eating. I ate so much crab I couldn’t finish my chopsuey. Too bad because I happen to love chopsuey. I ate all the quail eggs, though. Heheh. And do you notice that in every picture, the glass of iced tea is always full? See? What did I tell you about the great service? I must have downed 4 or 5 glasses of that stuff.

I wish I could have taken more pictures, especially of the individual courses. But I was too excited to try all the food. And to cram as much crab down my throat before it ran out. Hehe. I am such a glutton. I don’t have any pictures here, by the way, because Gim ate with his bare hands!!! Well, it was Kamayan. And I did benefit from it because he was able to crack the crab and give me the meat. But that also meant he couldn’t handle the camera. Poor me.

I, meanwhile, hate using my bare hands to eat. Even in a Kamayan restaurant (a lot of restaurants in the Philippines are Kamayan‘s, I guess because it’s cheaper to just use banana leaves instead of washing utensils, haha). Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy feasting with my bare hands. Food tastes much better that way, I’ve noticed, hahaha. My mom used to feed me and my sisters like that before. And sometimes I can get Gim to feed me like that, too, when I’m feeling babyish. Haha. I just would rather keep my hands clean so I can use my camera, get my wallet, wipe my face, etc. Hehe. 

Gim got really tired after eating, as you can see in the pictures. Hehe. Our tummies were full to bursting. He’s getting the baboy (pig) syndrome here. It’s where he feels lazy and sleepy after eating a huge meal, just like a pig. Haha.

And here’s him asking me, “And how are you?” And I answer, “I’m fine, thank you Gim!!!” I’m thanking him because he introduced me to this Kamayan place. But we didn’t know about the Sunday all-you-can-eat buffet until we bumped into one of his doctors (teachers) one Sunday around noontime and he told us we were too late for the buffet. We were very disappointed that day, because we saw all the empty food trays, haha. That’s when we decided to go there again, much much earlier, during my last Sunday (before I would come back to Manila).

Here’s how the place looks. Very simple. Very native-looking. Wooden chairs and tables. Flower arrangements, roses and ferns, on each table.

No airconditioning, just electric fans. And big pretty balls of light above.

And look it’s our bill! For everything we ate, just… 500 pesos! Yay! Hehehe. See, food is really cheap in Dapitan. That’s why I love going there. And then whenever I go back I’m significantly heavier. Hehehe.

Okay, I’d like to insert some pictures of our food that Sunday we went there and didn’t get to try the buffet since it was already past twelve. (The buffet ends at 1PM formally, but after 11AM, the must-try trays like the crab and lechon are already gone. So it’s important to go early.)

So anyway, for that particular Sunday, we ordered sizzling squid (my all-time favorite, and it was the best I’d ever tasted), spring rolls (turned out to be just a reworded fried lumpia, and we thought it was going to be something new hahaha) and pork ribs (mmm, just okay, not as good as I’d hoped). Lots of garlic rice, yum. I like garlic rice better than fried rice. I’m a glutton for anything garlic, I swear. Oh and a mango shake for me. It was really, really tasty, that mango shake.

Here’s a closer look at the lumpia and ribs. I like my lumpia fresh rather than fried, but these rolls weren’t bad. They were pretty good, really. Filled with vegetables and shrimps, I think. But the ribs seemed a bit out of place in our meal, so I didn’t enjoy them much. I mostly left them for Gimmi.

 

I focused on the heavenly squid. Yum. These were grilled very lightly, just the way I like them. And cleaned very well, too. No ink whatsoever. (Some places serve it with the ink, you have to tell them not to. It’s a delicacy, I guess.) What made this squid so much better than the others I had tasted was the garlic. Lots of garlic all over my squid, wow! And lots of tomatoes and onions filling the hollow, yum! Definitely must try this if you’re at Kamayan.

 

A closer view of the squid. Looks good, huh? It was very very good. I loved the tentacles, too. I’m not sure which part of the squid I love best, the tentacles or the body. Hmm, I love them both the same! (But I don’t like the head.)

The mango shake tasted very fresh and milky, and definitely not watery. Also one of the best mango shakes I’d ever tasted. It tasted like a homemade mango shake, that’s how I would describe it. ‘Coz when you’re at home making a shake yourself, you place a lot of milk and mango, right? You don’t scrimp on the ingredients. Well, that’s how it tasted. :-) Loved it!

And while waiting for our food, what did Gim and I do? Well, what we love to…

 

Take pictures of ourselves! Hahahaha! Oh by the way, if you want to go to Kamayan ni Manay‘s, it’s right beside Gloria de Dapitan. Happy eating!

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An Ad Network for the Philippines

Posted on 09 September 2008 by Flisha

So far, there is Asia Century Multi-Advertising (terrible interface, incessant login problems) and AuctionPH (terribly low commission fees – P6 for an actual purchase!).

Now comes Nuffnang Philippines, created by Timothy Tiah and Cheo Ming Shen. Judging from interface and features alone, I think this ad network will blow away the other two to smithereens.

Nuffnang bills itself as Asia’s First Blog Advertising Community and started serving ads in Malaysia and Singapore early 2007. Its advertiser list is impressive, including big names like Nike, Honda, Nokia and Nescafe. This year it planted roots in the Philippines and started the call for interested bloggers.

I like that Nuffnang has its own stats analysis without having to ask the blogger to install any additional code other than an ad unit. It is for this reason that if you’re a Nuffnang blogger but aren’t serving ads, you won’t see any data in your Nuffnang Analytics page. The data comes from the number of times your ad units were displayed. Sure enough, not 15 minutes after I had uploaded the Nuffnang ad unit to my blog, I started seeing some Referral data on my Nuffnang page (Analytics data is delayed by an hour, though).

Ad units come in three forms, leaderboard (728 x 90), skyscraper (160 x 300) and large rectangle (336 x 280). My ad unit is in the form of skyscraper, but so far it doesn’t seem to serving anything other than Nuffnang ads. Hmm. Looking forward to seeing a big name ad on my site soon. Wouldn’t it be cool advertising Nokia? Hehehe! Whoops I forgot I just blogged about Sony Ericsson a few posts ago, hahaha. Guess I won’t see Nokia on my sidebar anytime soon, aww, hahaha.

Exlusive Nuffnang bloggers (defined as bloggers not serving any other Southeast Asian ads apart from Nuffnang) get to be part of the Glitterati club (how posh!) and get higher earnings than non-exclusive members. They are also paid earlier (a month verses two for ordinary members, but I think a month is still too long!!), they get more prizes in contests and they get to bring their boyfriends to community events. Hahaha, I think it definitely pays to be loyal to Nuffnang.

Except that it currently says on my profile I’m not exclusive to Nuffnang. No, Nuffnang, don’t say that! I am! Well, we’ll see, maybe it will change within the week. It does say 48 hours to get the Nuffnang crawl update.

Oh, and they’re giving away P500 to the first 68 Nuffnang-exclusive bloggers to share the good news. Go on, sign up now at Nuffnang.

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Enable WLAN on the SE W960i

Posted on 06 September 2008 by Flisha

Yes I have got myself a new phone. Does the happy dance!

It’s the Sony Ericsson Walkman phone, W960i. Not my first choice, but I couldn’t afford the W980, hehehe.

It’s my first high-end phone, and I am very excited to start making Java applications for it! :-) (Thesis, thesis…)

This unit cost me P18,000 (about $400) at 168 COMM, Greenhills and comes with a year’s store warranty. I better take care of this then hahaha, and sell it right before a year happens. (Gadgets seem to always fail in my hands after a year’s handling, or sometimes even less!)

It’s a very sleek model, it has a very glossy finish. It looks a lot, lot better in actuality than on this image I got from the SE website. This is my first SE phone also, by the way. I’m a Nokia fan, but I was using the extremely ugly-looking Samsung E250 for almost a year now (my boyfriend stole my pretty Nokia 6151 in exchange for his crappy phone, what could I do, I love him! His phone envy was seriously threatening our relationship, so I gave in. Hekhekhek. He’s lucky I’m not phone-crazy.)

I needed a Walkman series phone because my thesis deals with mobile sound, and everyone seems to concur, SE delivers the best audio among mobile phones. I was in love with the W760i for its GPS and accelerometer, gosh my Java brain was drooling with the potential applications I could create for it hehehe. It was cheap, too, at only P14,000 or $312. But when I saw the actual unit on sale, it was pretty darn ugly. Like a bumble bee radio. That’s what it looked like. So I gave it a pass. Anyways my thesis doesn’t really need neither the GPS nor the accelerometer. But damn I am gonna buy it later this year or right after I finish my thesis, ‘coz I wanna play with that ugly bug!! Heheheh.

Ended up buying the SE W960i for its wifi capabilities. I was drooling over that too, hehehe. Thinking of being able to freely surf on all the hotspots in Manila, ooooh, it’s making my skin tingle with anticipation. And I can make it into a modem, as well. So when I am somewhere there’s no hotspot (like Gim’s room in Dapitan), I can just surf via Smart 3G and let my laptop receive my phone’s wifi signal! Yay! No need for the overpriced prepaid SmartBro Plug and Play device (P3,800 or $85).

So. Had a bit of difficulty setting up wifi on my W960i today. The Internet wasn’t very helpful, no tutorials around. So for anyone’s who’s wondering how I got my WLAN to work, here’s how I did it.

Firstly, I have the WRT54GC Linksys router. My security settings were WPA 2 Personal, encryption AES. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get my W960i to connect to my router. It would be able to sense the presence of my router (shows up when I scan for wifi networks) but it would always ask me for the WEP key. Of course I didn’t have a WEP key since I was using WPA.

I tried to change my router settings from WPA to WEP, but my phone still wouldn’t connect even with the new settings, so if you’re thinking of trying this, just don’t. It won’t work.

What did work was for me to totally disable the security settings on my router, meaning no authentication whatsoever. It became a hotspot, everyone could connect to it. Once I had done that, my W960i was successfully able to connect to the WLAN and surf normally.

Now of course I couldn’t keep my router unsecure like that forever. So I returned it to it’s original settings, WPA 2 Personal, AES encryption. Once that was done, of course the W960i couldn’t connect again. By this time, the unsecure wireless connection had already been saved as the default WLAN connection on the W960i. All I had to do was create a new account, using the original (scanned) SSID, via the Internet account wizard, and there I was able to specify that this account used WPA instead of WEP and I was able to key in my AES encrypted passkey instead of the nonexistent WEP key.

And from then on, I’ve just been using this new account to securely connect to the Linksys WRT54GC router and surf on the W960i.

Okay, recap:

1. Disable security settings on your router. Open it, no authentication.
2. On your W960i, go to Menu –> Tools –> Control Panel –> Connections –> WLAN
3. Tap on Scan
4. Select your newly opened wifi connection and tap on connect (this will be saved as DefaultWifiAccount)
5. Your W960i should now be connected to the WLAN and be able to browse the Internet
6. Go back to your router and replace the new settings with the original settings (mine were WPA 2 Personal, AES encryption)
7. On your W960i, go to Menu –> Tools –> Control Panel –> Connections –> WLAN
8. Tap on More
9. Tap on New Account
10. Create Account Name (any name you like)
11. Select Network Name or SSID (just tap on the find button to locate your wifi connection and then select it)
12. Edit the Security field (WPA Personal)
13. Leave Infrastructure as Network Mode
13. Press Next
14. Choose Data Encryption (mine was AES)
15. Enter Passphrase (whatever your key on the router)
16. Save it!
17. Now when you want to use your WLAN, go to Menu –> Tools –> Control Panel –> Connections –> WLAN
18. Tap on Connect
19. Select your new account (not the DefaultWifiAccount)
20. Start surfing on your W960i!

P.S. Your PC should be connected to your router via cable while configuring the router settings so you won’t lose your wireless connection.

Hope this is helpful for anyone struggling with the WLAN on the W960i. Happy surfing!

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Lunches at Big Joe’s

Posted on 04 September 2008 by Flisha

The first time Gim and I ate at Big Joe’s in Dipolog City, we only snuck in for a quick snack of siomai before embarking on the bus that would take us to Dapitan pier where we were to take the ferry bound for Cebu. We ordered milkshakes for take out, and enjoyed them thoroughly on the bus.

That was 2007. The ambiance of Big Joe’s stuck with me though, so I was determined to eat a meal there this time round. And eat we did, many many times. :-)

Big Joe’s menu lists a lot of shakes. They have a bar (not the one pictured) solely for the shakes, but they’re a bit pricey. Around P80 or $2 on the average per shake I would say. I love shakes but not with meals because shakes make me thirsty, and so do meals.

I love iced tea with my meals. I didn’t use to, I used to think iced tea tasted like flavored water, which I abhor. But Gim was able to change my mind later on after diluting me with iced tea after iced tea, hahaha. I grew to like the concoction, but only certain brands like Nestea and Lipton. (Other versions like red tea at Tokyo Tokyo, I hate!)

We ordered two jumbo iced teas in Big Joe’s and it became our staple drink whenever we went there. It didn’t cost much, only P36 or less than a dollar, equal to or even cheaper than the cost of an iced tea glass in a Manila restaurant, yet Big Joe’s Jumbo Iced Tea is around 3 times bigger.

My first meal in Big Joe’s was Pork Steak. It cost me only P150 or $3. The serving was so big I was overwhelmed. The waitress told us it weighed around 250-300 grams. Wow.

It tasted soooo good. Succulent pork. Very soft and juicy inside and nicely seared on the outside. (I’m salivating right now, remembering, hahaha!)

Gim ordered the menu special, sizzling steak served in tomato sauce and mushrooms. It looked very nice, tasted okay, but I did not really like it all that much.

Gim was very hungry that day and his meat arrived first. We took a few bites of his meat but had to wait quite a bit before mine arrived.

Here we are doing nothing but taking pictures while we wait! I am not on the photos… I was the photographer! Hehehehe. Gimmi loves his photo opps.

He’s happy at first… and then my food arrives… and look at his face!!! Priceless!!! Hehehehehe!

He blanched when he saw my meal. Hehehehehe. Not out of disgust — but out of pure envy!! He was actually very moody the whole time we ate! Hehehe. Wolfed down his food while glaring at mine (I think he was wishing he was chewing my pork steak hehehehe!).

Here’s how he really feels about his food:

Meh.” Hehehehe! Why??? Because my food looks like this:

And it tastes exactly the way it looks! Delicious! Heaven! Hehehehe! (I am so carnivorous.)

I had to later appease Gim by grudgingly giving him around 1/4 of my steak. I know, I know, it was so big and there was lots to share but I was soooo real-food-starved that I forgot until later on when I had eated half of my steak already and Gimmi was already smoldering at me while I ate hehehehe. (In Manila, I eat only fast food, cold cuts and canned goods. I only get to eat in good restaurants when my mom comes over to foot the bill, so I hope you understand the state of starvation I was in.)

After lunch, we ordered siomai, our favorite after-lunch snack. Very yum but still nothing beats the siomai in Zamboanga City (grrr, I forget the name of the restaurant, I am sooo forgetful!).

And after that he’s happy again. Look! Oh and there I am. :-)

Before leaving we tried to get the waitress to take a nice shot of us both. TRIED is the operative term. But, er, it seems she had never held a camera before in her life. She kind of stood, in a tilted, crooked way, and then said, “Ma’am, is it okay if I cannot fit your whole body in the shot?

I was puzzled but nodded away, thinking she would just get me from the shoulders up. I didn’t realize she meant this:

Ah, eh… Pinugot mo naman ulo ko, miss!!! One more take, heh. *weak smile* I try to motion to her that maybe she should step back from the table a bit, just a wee bit, so she could take us both. Here’s the result:

Much better. Heh. Except Gim says he cannot paint the expression on my face. Whatevs. He doesn’t know to paint, anyways!

We went back to Big Joe’s three more times after. (That’s one visit for every week that I stayed in Dapitan hehehe!) The second time I ordered lengua estofado, which was very very tasty, loved it. Gim belligerently ordered the pork steak, and this time I was the envious one hehehe.

The last two times we both ordered pork steak, hahaha. Trust me, it was that good. On our last visit, Gim wanted a rarer taste from his steak so he asked for medium rare and got it. I tasted it and it was good, a lot juicier. But I still liked my steak well done better. :-) Didn’t take a pic of his steak, mine looked healthier. Hahaha.

Here are pictures from our third visit. We ordered steamed chicken rice this time, instead of siomai. It was very, very good. Tasted garlicky and gingery, much like arroz caldo. We liked it so much we ordered it again on our last visit.

The steak (his and hers):

The steamed rice:

Our sumptious meal.

My Gim looking fattened and happy. Hehehehehe.

I can’t recommend Big Joe’s enough. The food is great, service is fast (for a restaurant). If you pass by Dipolog City, you have got to try it. It’s a wifi zone, too, so you can bring your laptop over and surf (and plug in!) for free. :-)

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Back in Manila

Posted on 04 September 2008 by Flisha

Well I am back. My month-long (almost) vacation has ended. And I am very, very, very depressed. All I want to do is run back to my boyfriend’s arms.

Still, I have to face my responsibilities. Well, just one really. Finish my Masters (but it seems like such a long-lived and head-achingly hefty task).

It’s the only reason I am in Manila and not permanently wherever-my-boyfriend-is. (He is stuck in Dapitan doing his doctorly duties and cannot permanently be wherever-his-girlfriend-is. We are both stuck AWAY FROM EACH OTHER!!!)

Anyways, I will try to lift my mood a bit for the rest of my posts this week (in the hope that next week maybe my bad mood will have gone away but I don’t know). I will be wrapping up my contest in a few weeks, as promised.

I’ll be posting lots, lots, lots of pictures of our travels this time around. Hopefully that will stave off the overwhelming homesickness I feel. I just want to cry and cry. But no one is here to comfort me, so I won’t.

My phone won’t work. I don’t know why. Sigh. So now I cannot even call my Gim.

I feel as depressed as that photo looks. Does it look depressing to you? I took it on the last day of vacation. Gim and I took our tears to Dipolog. Remember, the Boulevard of Broken Dreams? Yeah, I will never see that boulevard any other way…

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Bohol Tour Part VIII: Snakes and Flying Lemurs

Posted on 01 September 2008 by Flisha

Who would think one day in Bohol would spawn so many posts? Well, it did fly by so fast. Let me introduce you to Prony.

Prony is a python. A big python. Very big. Too big for it’s age that even veterinarians are stumped.

I could tell you all his stats but -ahem- I left the video back home (with my boyfriend). Didn’t fit my flash drive. ‘Coz I wasn’t supposed to place it in my flash drive. Was supposed to burn to DVD but my boyfriend’s laptop was only CDRW. Durn.

Anyway, basta he’s enormous. Although I’ve never really seen another python to compare. The last time I saw a live snake was back in high school when I ran screaming from my bedroom in the middle of the night because I found a long green snake slithering underneath my bed. (You would think I’d get a phobia from that incident, but surprisingly, no.)

As interesting as Prony is, I found his keeper much more so.

Here is Marimar. She is a drag queen. Ya. If not for the awful hair and makeup though, you’d think she was a girl. Except when she opened her mouth, that is.

She’s a hoot. And yes, she is named after Marimar, the super popular Mexican telenovela starring Thalia. Can you tell from her appearance?

Nah, me neither. Heh.

Marimar doesn’t technically take care of Prony. Her older sister does that dirty job. She’s in charge of the entertaining Prony’s foreign visitors.

For example, she loves to tell her clients that she once won a (gay) beauty pageant, using this very interesting swimsuit that she made herself!

Do you know what it’s made of?

It’s made of Prony’s shedded skin. Yah.

All togeher now, Ewwwwww!!!!!!

Hahahahaha! I wish she would have worn it so I could photograph her haha.

She says it’s very uncomfortable to use. Itchy, she complains.

I wonder where it itches most.

Ok, let’s go back to Prony. Here are a few pictures of the snake with its fans.

Yes. Those are people INSIDE the cage. TOUCHING Prony.

It’s a good thing Prony already had his meal a few weeks ago or else he might think twice about letting people fondle him so carelessly.

I kept my distance and stuck to taking pictures, nevertheless.

Look! That thing’s even bigger than my Gim!

Freaky.

It’s apparently in hibernation, as Marimar tells us. That’s why she let us inside the cage for a little meet and greet.

It eats live chickens.

I wish we could have seen the feeding…

Anyways, enough of Prony.

Let’s have a look at a flying lemur and it’s baby!

Here they are!

I know, it’s kind of an awful picture. But it’s the only way I could take a clear picture of the baby.

Can you tell where the mother ends and the baby begins?

Can you even tell those are two separate animals?

Yeah, I had trouble at first too. Haha.

The mother is hanging from the branch, by all four legs. In between’s her little baby. Aww. :-)

Here are more pics of the two feeding on some leaves.

I don’t know why they’re called flying lemurs, though. Maybe they can fly when they’re in the wild. Oh, I do hate animals being caged. :-( :-( :-(

Except for Prony. I don’t think it would be a good idea to release him into the wild.

Or Marimar.

Well! That concludes my series on Bohol. Until my next visit!

Read the other Bohol posts…  
Bohol Tour Part IV: Hinagdanan Cave
Bohol Tour Part V: Panglao Island Beach Resort
Bohol Tour Part VI: Philippine Tarsiers
Bohol Tour Part VII: Statues and Churches

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