Friday, July 31, 2009

Paalam Cory

Its sad to hear that the former president Cory Aquino has has passed away. She was 76. Considered as an icon of democracy in this country for toppling Marcos' 20 year dictatorship, she would be long be missed for her courage to fight corruption in the country today. Who would lead the fight now? We would lead the fight.

Its hard to imagine that after 23 years from Edsa, progress has never set forth as it should have been. Its not Cory fault. She did what she was supposed to do. Besieged with so many attempts by military takeovers from people really screwed up there and now seating among the happy flock of the corrupt, their voices unheard of again like their lips has been sealed forever, it harder to imagine progress at that time. They screwed it, one politician after another.

Its regrettable to see such arrogant display of power, lies and high level corruption that has beset just anybody else in the government today. I once had high hopes with the Arroyos just years ago but that has spiraled down to more than a grain in the sand ready to be swept away in any moment's deluge. Her last state of the nation address was no more than a self glorifying act, devoid of meaning, lost in translation to millions of Filipinos.

I cannot more than agree to Randy David's comment and his quest to run against the Arroyos in their bailiwick that they are pushing their luck too much. Could we have another Cory, a Ninoy perhaps in the near future? I'm not betting on it. But change would come and I look forward to that day again when just months from graduating from elementary studies, we went to the street amidst the throngs of the many and the sounds of car horns to celebrate democracy. This time a celebration from the corrupt, and the beginning to a new progress.

Paalam Cory. I salute you.:)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Magellan's Cross

A trip to Cebu before would not have been complete without the trip to Magellan's Cross which is a Christian cross planted as ordered by the Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan as a symbol to Roman Catholicism in the Philippines. Its just a replica, the original would have been lost to the forces of nature long before when the the Americans said high five (up here)! Today it is not as famous as it has been before. While foreign tourists still flocks here and now, it is not often in the top list of Places to Go/Attraction to Visit when visiting the island mainly from the other attraction like the beaches which tourist look forward to nowadays.

In most cases, many of the locals today haven't gone inside the chapel itself. I pass by there more often than I could when I still go to Friday masses in the church yet I've been inside the chapel just only once. Still it has its historical significance aside from the Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino which is beside its chapel, the clear fact that it regarded as a symbol of Cebu as seen from the city's seal.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Slow down everybody your moving too fast. The frames can't get you if your moving like that.

Thats a phrase i got from one of the songs of an artist I love, Jack Jackson. It somehow provide a description of the Hong Kong that I know of. I don't want to pretend that I like Hong Kong because I don't. Not to live there anyway. I have no penchant to live in a city like this even if they give me a nice place to live up the steep enclaves of Victoria Peak. People might think that I'm crazy. OK, I'll pretend I am.(lol) Really its just not for me. Yeah, I can visit this glitzy place once in a while to enjoy and immerse on new cultures, to experience change from the monotony but not really the kind of place to race a family. At least not for me though. I'm not saying Hong Kong is a bad place to live. I'm just saying that If you got choices like me, I wouldn't make that choice. Others would love it here. Like many things, its more on the personal preferences.

Hong Kong by any standards is a fast lane baby. If you think Manila's life is fast enough for you, try Hong Kong. Everyday we saw ourselves being outrun by just anybody else, young and old.Like scrambling for a gold rush, they move like human speeding trains. I was not running but I bet they can outrun you if you tease them. No wonder I see more of the foot massage sign than a fat lady in the street. Perhaps they could easily win in the Olympics walkathon!

Again a miscalculation of my part, its a classic example of a material world. From jewelries and clothes, to fancy cars, All the biggest brands are here. My suggestion if you have a wife that fancies for branded bags, shoes and dresses, DON'T bring her here! You'll go home broke. You might as well go to Shenzen across the border where branded once are also available at cheap prices, the only thing is that their all fake. I do have this strong opinion that a lot of the people living here is just living a fake life. I'm saying this because I see a lot of them wear those Rolex, drives a mercedes benz, yet if you see where their living its totally distressing. They live in those tiny apartments that my bedroom is bigger than theirs. I call it a progressive regressive state. Its one thing to admire city center especially the high standards, its a different thing across the suburbs.

Ranked among the most expensive city to live in, to drink one bottled water and compare it to the prices where I live is already discouraging. Not that I'm discouraging people to go here. By all means, if you have the spare money for a vacation, go, have fun in this city. It wouldn't bore you. Either you love it or hate, that how they call it. I don't either way. Just don't ask me to live there.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

You Run, I Read

Finally after months of anticipation the Garmin Forerunner 305 just arrived. A GPS enabled trainer (not a watch), its heaven sent for runner like me who hit the roads more often than usual. Its all load up with everything I need from measuring distances, pace, and heart rate. It can even measure elevation and of course your location. The best thing about this piece of equipment that I will find to be useful is the ability to alert you when you've reached certain data you've predetermined e.g. distance, pace or heart rate and its ability to store those information and downloaded in your computer for analysis.

It has an unusual odd shape, a little bulky but not heavy that one can easily distinguish from the usual wrist watches we wear. Its rechargeable (another plus) and waterproof. Its probably shockproof from all the swinging. I'll try to test this tomorrow in the oval and see it this really work wonders as many have said in the forums I've visited.

Pia @ 4

This took a while to post. Last year I would have been publishing this within the month but it seems I totally missed it. The time must have already beginning to take its toll on me, maybe the running. I don't know.I guess. But she's cool about it. My daughter just turned four last May. We've decided to celebrate it a a new children play area in the nearby Parkmall with her friends in the village. Its good to see your child enjoy once in a while with somebody rather than alone which she usually does when we go out. I suspect they enjoyed it a lot just looking at their faces. Later we dined out together with my family at a ice cream house, with a cake to complete the occasion. On their way back to the village we had fun singing some nursery songs while the other children fell asleep maybe from exhaustion of the activities they were doing in the playmaze.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Two Books, One Passion

While having a leisure stroll at the mall with my daughter last night after attending a Sunday mass in Redemptorist Church, by which my last visit to my personal account seems to be ages ago, I chance upon two books neatly placed side by side to each other. The familiar yellow squared symbol of National Geographic and the famous Afghan girl photograph on its cover caught my attention. The photograph by Steve McCurry and the subsequent search for the girl after 20 years draws me to the fascination that photographs we make captures a moment in time, frozen and powerful in every way and that we as photographers have the power to choose who going to be in it and who's not.

Steve's photograph of the Afghan girl is as strong and as powerful as her story. There are a plenty like this but a few stands out like this. The other book is a documentary photo book on the world at work. Seems to be a uninteresting subject to make yet a glance on a few pages shows how mundane things can be transformed radically on the photographers eye.

There was every reason I had to buy these books, not only because I am fond of collecting interesting books for the house but because they in every way it shows the art I love, and in my perspective the dream I want to do.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Working Mind of the Non-Technocrat

Were into the third year of the authenticity of our Quality Management System in compliant of the ISO 9001:2000 standards. For those who doesn't know about ISO, its an acronym for a standard mandated internationally for all companies in manufacturing and service over 96 countries mostly in Asia and Europe.

A little bit technical for the usual guy on the street and in fact a little bit unusual for a company whose main activity is to provide credit. Not that it is uncommon if you talk these to a guy in electronics, or to a supervisor in a furniture firm but its rarely talk about in finance.

Not really to brag but they say were considered to be the only finance institution as to be accredited for compliance for now besides the Central Bank of the Philippines. Its not easy to setup the entire system taking us a few years to achieve it. Until now we always say our system is far from perfect. I personally call it a work in progress looking forward to annual surveillance audit like this to learn and improve.

Its harder when you get to carry in your shoulders the performance of the company on Quality which not surprisingly fell in my lap when a few senior staff resigned for greener pastures abroad. Talk about cost cutting and the situation just presented itself at the wrong time. I really don't consider myself a workhorse (my staff tells me I am with three key positions on my belt) but rather an optimist who sees everything as can be and a true believer of Gautama Siddharta's once quote "what you think you become".

I'm no technocrat either but can say a few words here and there if you talk to me about your personal finance, or whats good to invest out there and why pension plans is necessary for everybody. There are time before that I used to pencil pushing but lately has been pretty much on strategies and administration, a work that sometimes get me bored. While other people might look at as a great position to be in, conjuring thoughts coffee meetings and a round of golf over business, I find it uninteresting, dreary for most part. I'll probably get the praise for the company performance but have the people get it, where real work to real performance happen. That where my penchant for the artistic side particularly photography came to be out of boredom.

Lets get back to the certification before I bore you with my monologues. So unsurprisingly (thanks to the people again) we made it this far and will be for another three years and another as long as I'm in my desk. I'm a system approach kind of guy by profession but nothing short of being a non technocrat, an unusual approach for such unusual endeavor.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

World Vision

Can one be truly blessed without giving back to life what life has given us? What is the purpose and meaning of my life? Truly believing that we are meant to help others, I started my personal contribution to humanity to the very subject that has been always close to me, Education. Starting with my own household helpers, I've ask them one day if they want to go back to school, get a degree. They agreed and today one has finished and left us for work in Singapore. Another one is taking up a two year maternity course. They carry with them that immeasurable sense of gratitude which by one way or another, I really never took more importance than just seeing them live better lives.

Another offspring of my family's commitment to the effort is becoming a sponsor for World Vision, an international non profit foundation meant to provide free education to less fortunate children through sponsorship. We've got one last year and is expected to get one or two by the end of the year. Its really a small amount compared to what we spend in dining out in a year, or perhaps the number of time we've change our ultra expensive haviannas flip flops, a real embarrassment for many, if they ever do get that feeling.

We don't keep count of how much we've helped through the years and its doesn't cease even when their a financial crisis nowadays, a lesson I learned from my friend Bill. I do hope that wealthy people do the same in their own ways. Our world would have been a better place to live in.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Black Hole Sun

Today.I've experience a natural phenomenon known by many as a solar eclipse where earth, moon and the sun are in perfect alignment plunging parts of the earth into darkness. They say its the longest total solar eclipse of the century which shall be at its maximum eclipse for about roughly six minutes.

I've always been fascinated with these kind of event. Call me a science freak. In fact the subject besides History has always elicited at almost perfect grades when I was still in Junior High until I got to the University. I wonder now though why I didn't try something that is related to it like Oceanography or something. Maybe peer pressure just hit me when I was still choosing the course I wanted to enroll then. Nevertheless I'm not going to change anything for that sake. It would have change my profession but it doesn't change who I am. Science still fascinates me preferring NatGeo and Discovery over sports, soap operas and t.v. series. Maybe just maybe its the reason I've always been the outdoor guy.

The last time I've witness such a wonderful phenomenon which was still vivid in my mind throughout the years was when I was still in high school in 1988. This time the total eclipse would be seen partial in the Philippines. The best place to watch them was in India and China. I didn't see it though as I was busy prepping for an important matters. My wife told me to bring my camera but totally forgot, my mind drifting off into some important task at hand. Well there would always be next time and I would be 53 by then. year 2027..Crap!

Sunday, July 19, 2009


A lot of people seems to like and would I say find the underdog winning a match much more exciting. Like David versus Goliath, we all seem to be fascinated by the triumphant march of the underdog, the glory of winning against a formidable foe.

Yesterday, I watched Seabiscuit, a inspirational movie about a small horse taking over the more superior and taller breed of horses. I don't remember clearly how many times I have watched the movie but every time I do has always left me satisfied and wanting. These are the type of movies that literally moves me maybe because it brings back those memories when life was hard on us, me and my family in particular. Its not that we were poor having been born from the strings of middle class families that had served and had made the city for which it is today. But it wasn't always the case as one might suspect.

There were times when the business fell apart that took a toll on the life we have been use to. Dad went on to work again in the bank, the profession he knew he really was good at and mom too starting working again. The food came by although not as good as before but I accepted it. At one point, Dad got really sick and for years Mom would have meticulously change the bandage of his wound day and night while working. There was a time when my mom told me she had to pawn her jewelry for food which was I presume was so dear to her. That was the lowest point in our lives and a turning point for me. We manage, I manage somehow. Neither one of us broke, and we took turns helping out. To this day, these experience strengthened my resolve, that neither of us should be go through with it again.

Today,my brothers like me got through the university. Mark is already in the United States while my youngest brother manages a small business of our own. My mom and dad are already retirees. Life seems to be more better nowadays, far far more better. Like the movie Seabiscuit, Life can really banged you up here and now, but we never gave up, I never gave up. For all those experience it taught me never to quit and that we made the choices that life presented us and won.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Can the New Balance makes the difference?

I have this particular style of running that left my rehabilitation doctor confused. I don't know if he really knows how to diagnosed my problem or perhaps he found my case (if ever I had one) too much for him for the day. I run with my right foot rolling outward while the other foot rolling inward. My old pair of shoes could attest to that through the marks on the heels. It really doesn't bother me to run this way, which I see as perfectly normal, the way I am, but it does prone me to injuries if I didn't get the correct shoes. And thats where my problem began.

When I got my old shoes sometime in April, I had the feeling that it would help me run better from the old Nike's that just disintegrated one day maybe due to the constant pounding. The shoes were good, great cushioning, light weight, just the type that I wanted. So I bought the shoes with size 7 1/2 that I am use to. Big mistake. As soon as I hit the roads the following day, it left me with a foot tendinitis. It should have been a sign that the shoes were too tight for them. I let it heal itself. I ran and ran, 300 kilometers of pavement after that with no problems after that until the Milo Marathon.

To cut the story short, the tendinitis came back. I was literally on one foot for days. A visit to the good doctor Tony San Juan revealed it all. I was running with the wrong size. To cut the chase, I needed a new shoe. I have another one a Mizuno which is half an inch longer than my usual size but I feel its still too tight. Not that I could run on it but the lingering thoughts on getting the pain back keeps me from really pushing it for longer runs. So here I am at the crossroads of a barefoot man looking for his new shoes. There are several brands. A nike vomero 4, perhaps an Addidas, another Mizuno or a New Balance.

The New Balance with its good reviews won me over. Its rather expensive but lucky me its on sale 30% off. This sport is getting to be expensive, you ask my wife. Would it finally solve my running injuries? Would it make the rehab doctor look like an idiot for offering me a laser treatment so that he could just ripped me off? Or would it be another tragedy? I would soon find out. Wish me luck:)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

20/60 Globe trotting on a pair of runnng shoes.

I've just told my ever supportive wife that I plan to run 20 marathons before I reach the age of 60. Directly asking me where I would get those numbers, (the first part, "believing in me" she already know) I muttered that 90% of it are international races, meaning traveling outside the country, she smile as if telling me that it a good idea. Traveling always is. at least for us. and here's the hard part. With my age I would be running a marathon almost every year.

So lights and curtains out, here it is in no particular order:

1. Cebu Marathon Cebu, Philippines
2. Singapore Marathon Singapore, Singapore
3. Manila Marathon Manila, Philippines
4. Hong Kong Marathon Hong Kong, China
5. Macau Marathon Macau, China
6. Sydney Marathon Sydney, Australia
7. Taroko Marathon, Taiwan Taroko National Park, Taiwan
8. New York Marathon New York, USA
9. Auckland Marathon Auckland, New Zealand
10. Chicago Marathon Chicago, USA
11. Lake Kawaguchi Marathon, Japan, Lake Kawaguchi, Japan
12. Athens Marathon Marathon, Greece
13. Honolulu Marathon (Hawaii) Honolulu, USA
14. Big Sur Marathon California California, USA
15. Venice Marathon, Italy Venice, Italy
16. London Marathon London, Great Britain
17. Amsterdam Marathon Amsterdam, Netherlands
18. Paris Marathon Paris, France
19. Stockholm Marathon Stockholm, Sweden
20. Old Mutual Two Ocean Ultra Marathon Cape Town, South Africa

Its OK, Will just have to cut it over here!

Like a scene in one of the flicks we've seen when the doctor says something to a terribly stricken patient over his badly injured leg, I managed to composed myself to hear the gentle sounds from Doc Tony San Juan's lips, after poking and checking my right foot, he said that its perfectly alright to run again after 3-4 days of pain free foot.

Not that I'm in a hurry to run again. I just dread being sidelined for weeks or months. That would be a big blow to my training. I did get what the good doctor said a runners usual injury, the anterior tibial tendinitis. Its rather painful experience but nah its nothing more than a sign than your still alive!

With some anti-inflammatory medications, everything should be well again. The bad news though is that I have to dump my 3 month old Mizuno shoes because I bought the wrong size for running! Darn me! I should have researched in advance that when you buy a running shoe it must be an inch longer than your feet size. Lesson learned.

I'll be running again this weekend trying to condition my body and get back into a groove in time for next week race in Lapu-Lapu city, a 20K. July 26. I'm not planning to do marathon pace this time more like doing the usual slow Sunday long run. I'm just going to cherish the collective experience and enjoy it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

21K gold rush

I didn't walk. At least for that reason I'm happy with the outcome. Ive run 21,000 meters or 21 kilometers of hard asphalt pavement this morning for the 33rd Milo Marathon. The weather was perfect. You call any runner whats the perfect weather? the answer would be cloudy days with moderate wind. Yes that was what greeted us when the gun burst at 5:30am. Three hundred of us ran the longest of them all among the thousands that ran the lesser but nevertheless grueling depending who you ask.

After months of preparation I said to myself this is it.My goal for the race was to finish the race within the cut off period of 2.5 hours, not walk and enjoy the collective experience of the event. I ended up getting better. blame it on the weather. I ran a decent 2:12, never walk the entire race and enjoyed every minute of it. I knew I could not outrun my brother who put on the gas for a fast 2:02. Fast I said because we were just running since March.

Along the way when all those pain keeps cropping up like old nuts from my body getting loosed, I've kept saying the mantra, "pain is inevitable, suffering is an option". It kept me through the race. Next stop? The Cebu Marathon 2010 on January 10. Hoping it pushes through. I'll be training hard for this.

The pain still lingers even after a massage which seems to just increase the torture my body has been subjected to, but the memories of running my first competitive 21K race lingers..I trudge on.

Shoot and Run

Rumblings of a Cebuano on a pair of running shoes and a Nikon on one hand.

About Me

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Photography is my hobby, a long distance runner and an avid blogger, I consider traveling a dream and my family as my number one inspiration.