Archive | October, 2008

Guard Dog

Posted on 30 October 2008 by Flisha

He took me on a joyride in Dapitan once, and we entered through the unpaved roads leading to rural communities along the coast.

This day led us to a rice paddy, a common, nevertheless breathtaking, sight in Philippine provinces.

On a bank across the pond walked an old farmer, in ragged clothes and a straw hat. Behind him followed his faithful dog, tail wagging, happily panting. The man signaled his dog to stay, then boarded the motorcycle waiting for him at the end of the dirt road.

The dog stopped, then obediently sat down. Then it set its shoulders back, sitting straight and proud, dutifully assuming its post on the narrow bank.


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Fallen Tree

Posted on 30 October 2008 by Flisha

I am experimenting with new ways of presenting my photos. I think my photos look a lot more professional when they’re elegantly bordered and identified.

Initially I was just going for a watermark, to prevent any possible stealing of photos. (Not that it’s ever happened to me personally, to my knowledge anyways, but it’s a common story in my part of the world.)

But I quite dislike watermarks because they tend to ruin photos. And they give off a negative attitude, like a whiff of “I know you’re gonna steal my photo so I’m going to uglify it so you can’t use it.” I’m not dissing the ones who use it, of course. I know a lot of photobloggers only do the watermarking as a last resort, and even prominent bloggers have had to resort to it just to prevent thieves (and yet oftentimes it still doesn’t work).

So, anyways, I’ve seen this kind of bordering done on a few photo blogs so I decided to do the same. I think my photos look majorly prettified. :D

It’s a photo of a fallen tree along the coast in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines. Mysteriously, the tree is still alive even though it’s been beaten down by wind and sea.

This photo is uncropped and unedited, except for the resizing and the added borders (I used FastStone Photo Resizer because it’s a very small application and it doesn’t eat up a lot of resources).


A Katydid in the Kitchen

Posted on 29 October 2008 by Flisha

I was doing the dishes in the dirty kitchen* this evening when I heard something fall from the ceiling. I didn’t see anything on the floor so I paid it no mind. I went about my way and placed all the newly washed dishes on the dish rack inside the house. Afterwards, I went back outside to dry the large mixing bowl I used to carry the dishes.

I was about to place it on top of a stack of bowls and frying pans, when I froze in my tracks. On top of the frying pan lay a freakishly large, very ugly and scary-looking insect!! It looked like it was about to take flight any second, and I absolutely abhor flying insects so I slowly backed off and from a safe distance, ran back inside the house.

The thing looked like this. (You can click on the image for a close-up.)

I called my boyfriend and asked him to take pictures of the insect, because I wanted to blog about it. (I was too scared to go back out into the dirty kitchen so all these pictures are taken by him.)

He told me it was a katydid. I had no idea what a katydid was so I looked it up on the Internet. It turns out that katydids live in trees, and they’re camouflaged as leaves. Our katydid certainly resembled a leaf, but from what tree or shrub, I’m not sure. We have a lot of trees and herbs in the backyard right outside the dirty kitchen, like nangka (jackfruit) and star apple (also known as caimito). We also have oregano, maybe that’s where it lived. Do you think it looks like an oregano leaf?

It’s certainly good at camouflaging, that’s for sure. Look at its legs. They even look like thorns! So maybe it really came from one of the thorny shrubs, though how it got up the ceiling is a mystery. (Well, ok, our backyard garden is running so wild some vines are already creeping into the kitchen.)

Here’s a closer look at it’s head. An hour later, Gim went out to check if it had flown away, but it’s still there, still as ever. He says it thinks it’s in a tree. I say it’s maybe disoriented and doesn’t know where to go. But neither of us is brave enough to pick it up and place it outside, hehe.

Here is more detailed information on the katydid.

*Dirty Kitchen is a term used in the Philippines to mean a separate building or room outside of the main house where all the food is cooked and prepared. This kitchen is often literally dirty. The main house may or may not have another kitchen, but regardless whether it’s dirty or squeaky clean, it’s not called a dirty kitchen, just a kitchen. :)



Marine Curiosity: Silliman University

Posted on 25 October 2008 by Flisha

Dumaguete is the a tiny university town. It has a land area of merely 34.26 km² but hosts a total of seven universities and colleges. The biggest institution in Dumaguete is Silliman University which is already 0.61 km² all by itself.

We visited Silliman on our short stop at Dumaguete, and took a look at its many marine life museums.

Here come the pics!

Here I am standing beside the bones of a whale. That’s one enormous animal! (The whale, not me.)

Blowfishes! I think. Heh. I wonder how the students were able to preserve these fishes in their blown-up state?

Gimmi and the Blowfishes.

Silliman’s collection of starfishes.

Er… I think this is a shark. Am not so sure.

Starfishes in all their forms and sizes! Do you know, not all starfishes are pretty? Some are evil, like the ones we have over at the Sta. Cruz Islands in Zamboanga. Those evil ones eat corals.

But I’m sure these here are pretty and harmless. :-)

Gimmi under the bones of a whale.

That’s a scary looking skeleton!

Preserved turtles in swimming action.

Just me, wistfully wishing I were really swimming underwater. :-)

Pretending I’m in the forest. :-)

And in the sea again!

Under a whale skeleton.

Why would we find an intact whale skeleton underwater anyway, Gim?

Gim patting the dead turtles.

No. They didn’t fall while Gim was there.

Looking at baby clams!

And shells and mollusks.

These are giant clams!

Whale bones. And Gim. Creepy.

Gimmi in the middle of a massacre.

And then me.

Silliman University apparently likes to collect whale bones.

This is a WHOLE whale.

A crocodile!

Gim looking at crocodile particulars.

A croc lurking in the mud.

A croc on land.

This is an aquarium. Boy I want that in my future home!

Pretty corals.

Sea anemones!


A sea anemone close-up!

Nemo, is that you?

Yes it is!

End of tour. :-)



Enormous Things

Posted on 23 October 2008 by Flisha

Early this year, my friends and I went on a trip to Baguio, where the air is a mite chilly, strawberries and pine trees flourish, and horses abound.

We went to Mines View Park, a famous hilltop that overlooks the city. A lot of foreign and local tourists go there for the sights, so peddlers, traders and all kinds of merchants line the streets.

Horses, especially big large pretty ones, are not a common sight to Filipinos. So we are quite fascinated with the beautiful animals. In Baguio, many horse keepers allow visitors to pose for horse pictures, for a fee. This one pair was such an arrangement.

Like I said, horses are not familiar things to us. The horse decided it wanted to pee and just that suddenly did. And we gasped at what we saw! Its thing was HUGE!!!

See for yourself!!!

Hee hee hee. (Forgive me for my immaturity, but I just had to post this.)

I blurred the thing because my boyfriend said I should. I said, it’s just an animal… But he said I should. So since he knows better about these male things, I decided to follow his advice. You can still click on the pic for the uncensored view.

So, are these things normal or is this horse taking horse supplements??

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I Need A Miracle

Posted on 23 October 2008 by Flisha

Loneliness is the best appetite suppressant ever.

From April to June of this year, I lived in Manila, taking my Masters in Ateneo. I had few classmates and no real friends at all, so I kept to myself. Not just a lot of the time, ALL the time. Okay, well, there were those few forced dinners with my relatives, but aside from that…

I hated cooking and preferred not eating to making myself a dish. When I got really hungry, I would call up a fast food joint and have my food delivered. Usually I would eat a full meal only once a day and have snacks the rest of the time. In the evening, I would go to class and then go back home. (See how my blogging flourished from all that free time?)

Loneliness, though crap, did have its benefits. I lost weight.

In June, my face was looking pretty and longish like this, almost like when I was in college (ah that yearlong heyday). And thanks to my daily baths in chlorine-filled Manila water, my skin turned really fair and flawless!

Cut to four months later. Three months of which were food-and-laze-filled ones spent living with my boyfriend. Being forcefully fed meat, rice and vegetables twice or thrice a day. Sleeping ten to twelve hours every night. Not to mention the daily basking in the primeval, burning sun of Mindanao… led me to this.

Omygawd. Back to square one.



Yesterday I Swam

Posted on 21 October 2008 by Flisha

Gim and I were supposed to head on home to Zamboanga, but we couldn’t go home without once using our newly bought snorkel gear. So we postponed the trip to today and happily went to Dakak Resort (except that we overslept and had to postpone it again to tomorrow).

Habal-habals (motorcycles that carry passengers on rough terrain for a fee) in Dapitan charge an exorbitant P200 ($5) per head for a 15-minute round-trip ride to Dakak Resort. I insisted that my boyfriend find me a cheaper ride.

So he asked a local tricycle (a passenger three-wheeler common in the Philippines) driver whether anyone was offering a motorcycle for rent. The driver answered his friend had one, and he charged us P200 for the use. Great, Gim said, and took him up on the offer.

Later the driver insisted he himself drive the motorcycle. Much later we learned he wasn’t used to carrying two people on a motorcycle. Much much later we learned he wasn’t used to driving on rough terrain. Nearing the end of our horrible, horrible, life-threatening trip because he was a horrible, horrible driver and a horrible, horrible person, he stated he had never been to Dakak Resort and it was a good thing we knew the way, because he didn’t.

So yesterday I swam. I have never swam in my life. I don’t know how. And I’ve always been scared of drowning. But with the aid of the snorkel, I breathed underwater. With my masks, I saw clearly underwater. And with my Gim’s encouragement and teaching, I learned to float on my belly and swim the breaststroke.

To celebrate my second life (or third or fourth, I don’t know, I’ve so nearly lost my life too many times I can’t remember), I needed to swim.

I never knew it could be so easy. But it was! And so fun! I wanted to do it for hours and hours! And we did. Gim took me to the reefs and we snorkeled over corals of so many colors! Green and red and orange and violet! And we saw sea anemones moving beautifully and a clown fish just like Nemo hiding inside! And then the father clownfish saw us and stared at us angrily and tried to get us to leave, haha! It was so cute, their little family. I saw rainbow colored eels and I saw flat fishes and fishes that looked like stone and fishes that looked like sand.

And the whole time I was swimming all over the reefs, with Gim protectively swimming by my side. :-)

It was such a wonderful day, yesterday. I swam.

P.S. Thank you, Gim. :-)

P.P.S. For the return trip, Gim had our horrible motorycle driver bring a friend and an extra motorcyle so Gim would take me home himself. I no longer wanted to ever ride with that horrible man on the helm. We paid the same amount as if we had rode the habal-habal. I hope that horrible man will have terrible karma for his horrible driving!



Halo-Halo on a Hot Day

Posted on 19 October 2008 by Flisha

Here in the Philippines, we have a sweet treat called Halo-halo. Halo in Filipino means “mix”. Halo-halo is a mix of ingredients such as beans, flan, fruits, sugar, milk and ice, then topped with ice cream, oatmeal and sometimes a cherry.

It’s a favorite Filipino dessert, and the best halo-halos are the ones made by hand by your parents on a hot Sunday afternoon when you were a child. Save that, there are always the food stalls and restaurants.

Here in Dapitan, the best halo-halo is served in Jana’s Place on Josephine Bracken street (named after Jose Rizal’s lady friend).

Gim and I ate this treat a few days ago, when it was stuffy warm all over Dapitan. It sure refreshed us for a good ten minutes. ;-)

P.S. When I went to Japan, they had a similar dessert. They called it Haro-haro. LOL!


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Late Night Chat Fest

Posted on 19 October 2008 by Flisha

Gim and I were cuddling on the bed last night when…

*Beep beep*

Gim sits up and reaches for his phone.

090823112**: Hi.

Gim: Quien este? (Who’s this?)

Me: Stalker!!!!!

Gim: Delete, delete!

Me: Noooo!!!!!!!!!!! *Grabs Gimmi’s phone*

*Gimmi and I energetically tussle on the bed, fighting for phone domination. I win, natch.*

Me: (typing furiously on his phone) Hi back!

Gimmi: Flifli!!!!!!!

*I smile impishly. After a few moments… Beep beep*

090823112**: Hehehe. Ctt?

Our Phone: Who’s this? ASL?

090823112**: Uhm.. I’m Charlie. Kaw? (You?)

Our Phone: James.

*Gimmi and I break out in giggles.*

090823112**: Hi James. U stud?

James: 4th Year High School. You?

090823112**: Ah. College na po. San ka nagstudy? (Am in college. Where are you studying?)

James: Ateneo High. What year you?

090823112**: Uhm 4th po. Nursing. Lang taon ka na? (How old are you?)

James: I’m 15. Do you have a picture? Pwede pasend MMS? (Can you send a picture via MMS?)

090823112**: Ah ic. Yep, meron. Kaw? Ala aq xtra load. Hehe. Nxt tym. K lng b? Wat yr kna? (You? I don’t have load. Next time, ok? What year are you in?)

*Boring messages in between. Charlie seems to be very interested in James.*

James: What would you say is your most beguiling feature? Who do you look like, celebritywise?

090823112**: Nah.

James: Oh, I see. Have you heard of the current global financial crisis? What are your thoughts on that?

090823112**: What about it? Nosebleed man ako sau. (You’re giving me a nosebleed.)

James: Joke lang yun. What do you prefer? Short or long?

090823112**: Please specify. Anung long or short? Hehe.

*More giggles from Gim and Fli*

090823112**: Hehe. Bata ka pa. (You’re still a kid.)

Fli: What do we reply, Gim??? You have any more interesting questions in mind?

Gim: I know, I know! *types something on the phone and shows it to Fli*

Fli: (squeals) Gimmi!!! Don’t send. Here, let me. *Grabs Gim’s phone.* Uh- Whoops!!!!!! Oh no!

James: Hehe. Pasensya ka na ha, if I’m a bit direct. But I’m kind of curious abt guys…

Fli: Gimmi!!!! Look what you made me do!!!! Na!

090823112**: Ah, ic. Gnun b? Hehe. Y curious? Uhm. Wat yr kna b? Uhm. Im a bi po pala. (Ah, is that so? What year are you in? By the way, I’m bisexual.)

Fli and Gimmi break out in laughter. Uhm, ya. We know.

James: What city are you from pala?

090823112**: Zamboanga, Tumaga. (Our hometown)

Flisha and Gim: Shit! Hahahahahaha!!!!

James: Pasonanca. Summer Hills. Meet tau. (Let’s meet.)

090823112**: Huh? Now? I wud love to. But its late na. Are u allowed 2 go out at ths tym pa?

090823112**: Hope I could get d chance 2 knw u bter.

James: By the way, u never asked, bt im a girl pala. U lyk girls ryt?

090823112**: Huh? Are u? Ow? Are u kiddin me? Wats ur name?

James: James. Short for Jamie.

*Long pause.*

090823112**: Can we tok?

James: Is there a prob? Ur bi, right? Me too…

*Very very long pause. Disappointed, Gim and I start to turn in for the night.*

*Beep, beep*

090823112**: Hehe. Rili. None. Nice. Wat r u doin.

(Sudden change of tone. Sounds very manly. “Nice.” in the Philippines is an expression often used by young men, rarely by women.)

*Flishi and Gimmi break out in loads of laughter.*

Conclusion: He really is bi.


A Strange Place I’m In

Posted on 18 October 2008 by Flisha

In Dapitan, where I’m currently at, the world seems full of old people and children. That’s what this city is made of.

Kids playing CounterStrike and DOTA in the Internet shop.

Old people drivers on tricycles waiting for passengers.

Toddlers sitting by the shore making castles on the sand.

Vendors selling secondhand clothes, seafood and wares.

Infants screaming, infants gurgling, infants cooing.

Grandparents aboard motorcycles lugging grandchildren.

Life seems all about the elders and the youngsters.

Where are the mommies and the daddies?



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