Thursday, May 27, 2010

Asics Nimbus 11

I got to try walking and short running on the Asics Nimbus 11 yesterday. I got this last december as a reserve but only got the time to try it lately. Oh my it was good! The toe fit is snuggle up, not too tight nor too wide. Its perfect fit for my feet which gets blisters whenever I run with the New Balance 1063. The cushioning is also very good and actually is a a notch better than the other shoes I have. I haven't tried it running for long distance but I'll keep you updated when I can.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Best of Bohol

Bohol is one of the best places to visit the country. Gifted with abundance in nature, Its a great place to do just about anything except work. You can tour the many places in the island from the majestic chocolate hills to the culturally inclined tour of old churches. If the the sun and the sand is your thing, the beaches in Panglao island is one of the best there is. You can also do scuba diving and snorkeling for the adventurous or rappel a mountain and do zip lining. Wherever you go, there is a thing for you to do in the island. Here's one of the few of the many travel photos I've taken. Sit back and relax.

A tarsier poses for the camera. The smallest primate in the world can be found primarily in the towns of Corella but can be seen also in the town in Loboc. They feed on insects at night.

A woman passes through one of the small pathways in Balicasag Island. The island is famous for its marine conservation efforts by its locals. It is now promoting these through several snorkeling and diving activities for tourist.

Virgin Island off the coast of Danao, Panglao Island, one the the many uninhabited islands with its distinctive sandbars that draws tourist to its shores.

A fisherman boy looking for other ways to earn money through small boat rides. He gamely poses for me.

Old men play old folk songs in the river bank of Loboc

The famous chocolate hills on a windy rainy day

Early birdies to the day's island hopping tours. One of the main attraction in Panglao island and its neighboring islands.

The approach to Balicasag Island, a 45 minute boat ride west of Danao, Panglao island. It can also be reached through the southern province of Cebu.

To end the day in Bohol with a spectacular sunset.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bohol Escapade

We found ourselves in Bohol last month for our summer getaway. Having booked ahead in a nice beach resort called Linaw somewhere in Danao, Panglao Island, it was more than we bargain for I rather call it a boutique resort. More than once googling through the reviews in tripadvisor has rewarded me of better choices. This time was no different. Despite the faux pas that happened, booking us with one room short of our initial booking, they made us comfortable by putting us all in one big room without those expensive add ons you get in some other resorts.

The food was excellent and affordable and setting was quiet. It seems during our entire stay, we have the resort to ourselves despite full occupancy. We toured much of what is to see in Bohol for the stay and did some island hopping too. My new addition to the list was snorkeling in Balicasag Island. The marine life there, thanks to the conservation efforts by the locals, was beautiful.

My daughter Pia was the most enjoyed tourist of us all. Her boundless energy seems to rejuvenate on us, which we couldn't keep up by the early afternoon. By the time we left the island, we were black and bruised, but went home as happy tourists.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Black Hole Sun

A rare phenomenon known as a sun halo just happened over Cebu. It was a marvel to see such one. Its my first time to witness such rare occurrence. The diameter of the halo was 7kms wide.I used a point and shoot to capture it. The D700 is here but with a 105/micro lens attached! bummer!

May 7, 2010

Why My Vote is Not Green

This is a guy's response to a blog being circulated in the online community on "Why I choose Gibo". ( Its the very same reasons why I have hesitated and finally decided to go for Aquino. Just sharing it to enlighten the voters. The first part is his blog, the second is the comments made from a certain guy named Van.


I am a 30-something entrepreneur based in Metro Manila. I have always been aware of/involved in current events — as a child, my parents brought me to EDSA I, in college I marched against the presence of the US Bases in the Philippines, as a young adult I was at EDSA Dos.

This election is really getting to me, and I’m no longer content with talking with my friends saying I hope Gibo wins. It’s not enough to sit there and say ‘sana’. I am writing this to explain my choice and hopefully to help others make theirs.

He is the only one who has had a clear and detailed platform from the start. He does not promise the impossible with grand statements, he is specific and tenacious in getting his message across. He cites specific problems and solutions of the different areas he visits — he has clearly prepared for this.

He has an excellent scholastic and professional track record. He has not disparaged his fellow candidates. The respect he has shown them has made him the favorite of the other candidates, their wives and children.

He will be able to reach out to the other parties when the elections are over — when work needs to get done.

He is intelligent and humble. He has inspired the youth. He is a statesman among politicians.

Please, almost all of them were identified with GMA at one time or another. Based on the number of defections from the Lakas camp and his current estrangement from his uncle Danding, Gibo is not anyone’s puppet. He is clearly his own man and his resolve to run his campaign in the matter he sees fit has ruffled many trapos feathers.

Despite defections, Lakas is still the dominant party with representatives in the national and local level. No one can match their machinery in campaigning from the grassroots — evidence of this is slowly emerging. Very few, if any, of the other parties fielded full slates in the local level.

He has the most passionate, well spoken, informed and organized volunteers who actively campaign for him everyday. Such enthusiasm is inspiring and contagious — and it might just be enough to win over the undecided votes. The silent majority is tired of the empty promises and mudslinging. They want a president they can be proud of.

This 2-candidate, good vs. evil battle is a media creation. Your vote is only wasted if your choice is based on fear, emotion and/or nostalgia rather than who you really think is qualified and deserving.

“Winnability” is a concept used by traditional politicians to appeal to the Filipinos’ need to always feel like they are part of the winning circle — hence the commissioned and questionable surveys. Many of us enjoy betting on the winner, as if watching a horse race, but really, what is the benefit of being on the winning team if you end up with a loser for a President?

Win or lose, I know that Gibo is the most deserving, prepared and qualified candidate. I am proud to cast my vote for him.

Meanwhile, there were only 3 other candidates worth thinking about:

ERAP – Just kidding.

GORDON – Yes, he has a good track record with Subic and the Red Cross. He is also a relatively successful Senator. However, I’ve had a couple of first hand experiences with him, corroborated by other people’s experiences, that showed me a few unfortunate traits. He loves the sound of his own voice too much, he talks down to people, is abrasive and doesn’t like to listen to others.

Maybe it’s from his Subic experience where everyone was a volunteer and willing to be dictated upon, but a good leader really needs to listen. A good leader should also know how to speak to people of different levels without alienating them. He needs to respect other opinions and accept that he is not an expert on everything all the time. Gordon has a “love him or hate him” personality, humility is not his strong suit and he is prone to outbursts. Basically, I think he’ll just piss a lot of people off. Sorry, but I want to actually like the person I’m voting for.

Oh and he wants to grant amnesty to the Abu Sayyaf. Um, no.

On the practical side, despite questioning the surveys, Gordon will really not win. In a country made up of over 7,000 islands, machinery wins elections — not advertisements, not televised debates. Simply put, Gordon doesn’t have the machinery needed to win the presidency.

VILLAR – I actually admire how from modest beginnings, he was able to build a real estate empire. He took this further by holding local and national elective positions until he made it all the way to Senate President. I don’t take his ambition against him — clearly, this man had a dream and the will to make it a reality — the Presidency is simply the next logical step in his path.

If not for the C5 issue and the super trapo-style campaign he’s running, he would be my second choice. Don’t even get me started on Willie Revillame…

Ok, ok, I have to say something about Willie — to me, he and that TV show he hosts epitomizes a lot of what’s wrong with this country. They prey on the underprivileged members of society, demean them with stupid games knowing that they will do almost anything because they need the money. The show encourages you to, rather than be productive, spend all day in a queue, pray that you get into the studio, pray again you get chosen for a game, get patronized and made fun of by the obnoxious host, and hopefully, ultimately win money — one time big time style. It is the total antithesis of Villar’s “Sipag and Tiyaga” motto — and yet Villar chose to be endorsed by Wille. As long as you are popular, even if your show killed 78 people (Ultra stampede — I want you on my team. Yikes.

NOYNOY – What has Noynoy done to deserve the presidency? (cue the sound of crickets)

I have more admiration for someone who has always aspired to be president and is obsessed with it, than for someone who had no plans of running, but because of a sudden surge in popularity, decides to run. Let’s face it, if Noynoy’s parents were not Ninoy and Cory, we wouldn’t even be talking about him.

Some argue that Cory was also inexperienced and had no plans of running for president either. True, but during that time, the people really only had 2 choices. That was then, this is now. Get over it. We have far better options today.

Watching Noynoy, I wondered why he always seemed to have a prepared statement to read. Could he not formulate his own answers? Wasn’t he a quick thinker? Then I saw a few interviews where he spoke off the cuff…here are a couple of gems:

On the surveys showing Villar was leading: “May survey na ma­tino at may survey na na­bibili sa Quiapo pamin­san-min­san na may ka­sama pang champoy,”

I bet he thought, oh I’m so witty! But by saying surveys can be bought, he cast doubt on the earlier surveys showing he was leading. So let me get this straight — surveys that show him leading are scientific and accurate, surveys that don’t are paid for and bogus? Ah, ok.

On not being able to pass a single authored bill (am paraphrasing): Marami daw kasing nagfa-file and refile. And if you check daw his performance, he was always present, “nagbabantay” and doing investigations.

A legislator’s main function is to make laws. Law maker po kayo, hindi security guard. Investigations are supposed to be in aid of legislation only. Always being present is not equal to good performance. That’s like saying you are a good student even if you sleep during class, as long as you are physically present. The sheer number of other bills being filed should not be a hindrance to your own bills. If your bills are good and if you have the tenacity, drive and resourcefulness, you should be able get them passed. E si Lito Lapid nga e…

Noynoy likes to talk about human rights and justice. To that I have two words: Hacienda Luisita

Really? Now that you’re running for President, you want to distribute the land? After so many years of sitting by watching them suffer, you suddenly want to give the land to the farmers? Maybe you should have discussed it with your cousin Fernando first because he told the New York Times a different story.

He is not specific enough with his program/platform. It’s just a slew of motherhood statements. Ok, so you hate GMA, and you won’t steal. And then what?

Yet, more and more he speaks like someone who is a sure win, like he is ENTITLED to the presidency. He was even irresponsible enough to say that failure of elections will result in people marching in the streets. If you are really the choice of the majority and have what it takes to become president, why the need to condition the minds of the people? You are supposedly a champion of democracy, so why encourage/threaten unrest? We do not need an administration whose only platform is vengeance.

Also, this good vs. evil thing that his campaign is spewing is really frustrating. Noynoy is good, everyone else is bad. Issues raised against him are black propaganda by paid hacks but issues he raises against others are valid and true. He can bring up his parents anytime, but if a rival mentions them, it’s disrespectful and sacrilegious. Puhleez… a quick check of who are behind his campaign will tell you that the line between good and evil is pretty blurred in that camp.

I actually feel sorry for him. I’m sure he knows he is not fit to be president. They talk about Gibo being a puppet of GMA, but really, it’s Noynoy that is the puppet of the power hungry elements who want to be back in the driver’s seat.

Comment from Van:

My dear fellow Filipinos,

It is obvious I am not alone when I say our country is such a bad shape that so many hopes, dreams, wants and needs are pinned to whoever will take over the presidency come May 2010. Like the starter of this blog, I am an ordinary middle-class entrepreneur from Metro Manila. I am passionate about governance/politics, to the point that it is, unavoidably, a conversation staple for me– an etiquette no-no along with talking about religion and asking someone’s age, but with the degree of mess our government is so overwhelming, its stink forces its way up our noses to our brains, we do what we can to expel or assuage such an unpleasant feeling.

Bottom line for all the candidates, none of them are perfect. None of them will single-handedly solve all the burdens our country has come to bear during their term, however, they can get the ball rolling in the right direction. Out of the eight candidates running, we can narrow it down to three “most considerables”. NA, Gibo, MV. Sayang si Gordon, but his temperament and awful personality is such a liability to his potential.

Manny Villar– Personally, my esteem for this person is so low that he borders on offensive.Yes, good for him to have prospered to where he is now, but his shady business dealings which he refuses to address, his questionable campaign budget, c5 scandal, his trapo machinery… really, Willie Revillame and Dolphy to pander and manipulate the masses, and jeeez, his mother??! This guy is unbelievable.

Equally unbelievable is GMA. So many atrocious human rights violations under her watch, our debt has ballooned to 3.54 TRILLION, our real budget has been shrinking due to dizzying cases of corruption and kickbacks. All under her watch and, let’s not be naive, and with her direct and indirect approval. Did the goddamn ZTE, fertilizer scams or C5 controversy (among many others) meet justice? These are cases that SIPHON billions from our puny budget, so puny it can barely support our public services such as education and health. No. Idly sitting by, twiddling their thumbs and giggling in a huddle are the f*cking sycophants in Congress and Senate with their brown bags, ass-licking Ombudsman who is effectively ineffective as far as GMA is concerned. She lied through her teeth when she said she’s not running for a new term (and what a surprise, she did), when the Garci expose came to light, capped with the “I’m sorry” telecast with the help of an acting coach (how many takes did she need again because she had a hard time conveying remorse?)…and the gall to lie during her SONA…. This Agra debacle that excuses 2 powerful Ampatuans who are rumored to have something on her (elections-related, remmeber the gigantic safe in their Maguindanao home the soldiers were desperately wanted to get into?)…. I could go on and on, but I am sure we all agree how revolting our current state of government/president is as reflected by her negative rating. So negative she’s faring worse than Marcos. We agree she is manipulative by how she has the Senate and Congress by the balls. And now, after the Presidency, GMA decides to run for Congress because, as her son said, service in her DNA.

Please tell me you see through this.

What for? Ask, what for? Ask why Mikey wanted to represent the partylist for security guards? Ask why there are so many dubious partylists, suspected to be fronted by GMA allies. Why is there a need to consolidate such a strong bloc that can rally behind GMA if she wins a congressional seat? Let’s not kid ourselves that post 2010, GMA will be out of our hair. This not paranoia, this is a reality check.

Now, how does all this relate to Gibo?

Gibo runs under the same party as GMA. In noble principle, if that was my party, when one suspected of such grievances as Arroyo, I would certainly re-evaluate how she fits and is aligned with my party and personal principles. But you can say, that is all politics, As if politicians in our country is guided by principles and ethics. They will cling to whatever helps them survive. Yes, I count Gibo as one of those who’d say that to himself, of course not out loud, just softly to himself, in that way, it allows him space to package himself as a promoter of change. Kumbaga, he wants a leash long enough to distance himself from GMA, but leashed nonetheless. In the aspiration to run for the presidency, he is willing to lie beside a disease-festered body (pardon the visuals, but that is quite what it is no?) as long as it can be instrumental to his ambitions.

Yes, I agree he is smart. I’ve watched him in debates and interviews. Yes, he has this cooler vibe around him, fresh even, if I want to be most complimentary. It is not his intellect, his legislative record nor his lineage I am conflicted with, it is his principles. Granted, he may be sincere in wanting change (maybe maybe not, with all politicians, this is what they all say, no? it’s just a matter of who has the best PR machinery to make it the most believable) but from where he coming from, who’s helping him get to where he wants –he is like the pinky finger wanting to change what the thumb and the three other fingers have done, while all the same connected to the same hand. How effective is that? And yes, he is so determined to be pivotal in our country’s rejuvenation he picks…. Edu Manzano… for veep. No offense to the guy personally, but VP is a bit over his qualifications for now.Power tandem, indeed. Sometimes I feel bad for Gibo because I feel he’s being used, but, willingly or unwittingly, that makes a difference.

Estrangement from his uncle? Says who? Have you been invited to one of their family socials to know this for certain, or do you get that info from the same source we all do– controlled press releases. Is it unbelievable that these info are what they want us to know? These are all smoke and mirrors, we’ll never know for sure. You underestimate manipulation. What IS certain, though, is that Gibo is identified with GMA and willingly so. Let us not delude ourselves to separate the two. Just take one step off the boat and you are off the GMA boat. The Hyatt10′s done it. Turncoats have done it, look at Nograles and Salceda, so easy for them to bolt out. It may/may not always be a principled move, but it can be done. In Gibo’s case, he hasn’t .. and he knows he’s identified with GMA and is willing to be so. In fact, he’s acknowledged it so many times that he is grateful to the hand that’s delivered him to where he is now. Then hastily adds his loyalty to his party ends where his duty to country begins…. Sir, it’s begun many years ago, the country has called out several times… and you are still with the party. To fulfill your ambition.
When you want believe being president will be a pivotal time in our history and situation, you must not be hesitant to give justice to the past, fix the present and have vision for the future. For the campaign season, the last two are just words, ornate and seductive, showered upon us by ALL candidates… the true test is his performance after he wins. I don’t appreciate Gibo’s aw-shucks approach to the first and seeing we are presently still suffer this “GMA affliction” it is even offensive.

Pretend you’re walking down a scary neighborhood, lost, you need to ask directions from someone… on one side of the street, there’s a gang of dirty, drug-addicted hoodlums hanging around, eyes leering at you. From that group, someone steps forward– he looks clean, he looks normal, he’s still laughing at something his friend said. After a quick high five , he approaches you with a warm smile. He offers to walk you to the nearest street you know. From the other side of the street, an ordinary looking passerby notices the commotion, sees you, crosses the street and approaches as well. He, too, offers, to walk you to the street you know. Which stranger do you take a chance with?

I am not a connected person to gain anything by endorsing (or not) a specific candidate. I hope I am right to give the starter of this blog the benefit of the doubt that maybe (s)he is a not a PR stunt for Gibo, but a sincere voice looking for hope. I am, too. I think with the shape our country is in, many are awoken to be more interested in passionate about politics. (S)he didn’t really dwell into the flaws of Gibo, because as (s)he says, pro-Gibo nga ang blog. Fair enough. I just hope my reply gets posted, because if, after reading it, one doesn’t falter a bit in his belief in Gibo, then the man deserves that vote.

To be clear, I am not yet even sure I am voting for Noynoy/Roxas (who I find trapoish), but this election’s turning out to be elimination of or sorts. Someone commented that voting for the lesser evil is dumb, I beg to disagree, i don’t see it that way… for now, it is a necessity to choose the one that offers least resistance to change.. and in fact would promote it. And that is what I look for in a candidate. Gibo, from where he currently stands, is not the man our country needs now.

@Why I choose Gibo, please don’t sink to Villaresque level to even bring up the pysch test.

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.