Tuesday, September 30, 2008

one day for nature - Mambukal

on my second day in Bacolod, my auntie surprisingly brought me to Mambukal Resort. a resort under Mt. Canlaon which is known to have seven waterfalls. I didn’t plan to visit this place as i was able to visit this nine years ago. But since she insisted, i decided to go.

Mambukal is about 45minutes away from the city if you travel by bus. we passed by the town of Murcia which has a large area of sugar canes. upon reaching the resort, she left us there for us to enjoy the place. it was quite different as it was years back.

the local government is the one managing the resort this time. they developed this large area into a big nature park. before it only has swimming pool and the seven waterfalls.

this time, a lot of villas were built within the area. a medium size campsite in one area, a conference hall near the gate entrance and a simple food park.

we were not allowed to visit the waterfalls due to continuous rains during the previous days. they say that it’s not safe. but the place now offers more things to do and to see this time.

a viewsite for bat watching as thousands of bats are believed to be breeding in this habitat. they live on high trees and they group in multitudes.

there’s a dipping pool that offers naturally hot water coming from Mt. Canlaon. one can enjoy swimming or simply dipping in this medium sized pool.

there are two other bigger swimming pools within the area under big trees. quite a soothing place to relax with nature.

since we were just enjoying the place, we explored the lagoon area that offers boating. perfect for group who are into paddling.

on one edge of the lagoon is a bridge and a dam-like structure. water current from here is quite strong.

the resort is also a home to a butterfly sanctuary. it holds hundreds of butterflies of different species within a butterfly garden. we had the chance to see the different types of butterflies flying from one flower to another.

as a whole, this area is really one good place for group activities and overnight parties. it also caters conferences and seminars. i recommend this place since it’s just a drive away from the city and that part of its income goes to the protection of the bats and other natural treasures within its area.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

buildings to sugar canes

leaving Metro Manila on a 7:55am flight was quite relaxing compared to the earliest flights. it was my first time inside the new airport terminal 3 and it was quite comfortable to line up in an airport that has enough space for travelers going to the different islands of the country. the system is bettter than the old domestic airport.only a part of this large airport is being used today as some parts of the airports are still being inspected and repaired from the controversies behind its construction.we checked in two hours before our flight so i had the chance to walk around. there are few coffee food shops within the terminal.plane departed on time and the sky was cloudy in Metro Manila.when we were approaching Negros island, view shifted from buildings to lands densely covered with sugar was a sign that we were now in Negros Occidental. the plane landed around 9:04am at the New Bacolod - Silay Airport in Silay. the runway is surrounded by sugar here was a little gloomy. this airport is about 30-45minutes from the Bacolod town center.last time i visited this place was in 1999, making this trip quite special for me. this post begins the Western Visayas series of eskapo 2.0.

Friday, September 26, 2008

a taste of naga

to end the Naga series, i recommend you two restaurant if you are into good food with good ambiance. first is the Red Platter along Magsaysay road. they have the famous Bicol express and Pinangat combination special. i highly recommend this combo. you place the bicol express on top of the pinangat and it taste really really good. you can do this even with the ones that you buy in the market.

Red Platter also offers cakes and pastries as desert. thanks to our friend Sue for giving as discount here plus a discount card once we come back.

at night we were treated by our friends from Coca Cola Naga Plant to Avenue Square along Magsaysay road. the name is Taste of Asia and they ordered some typical Filipino food like the Crispy Pata and a large serving of Tuna Panga.

before going there, we already ate heavy merienda but when we saw this meal, we simply can’t resist. thanks to sir Angel and the Coca Cola staff of Naga for the food and the tour around Naga City.

Magsaysay road is Naga’s night hub with restaurants lining up along this road. Coffee shops and restaurants light up this side of Naga. for online addicts, almost all the restaurants here offers free Wi-Fi.

before going home, don’t forget to bring home Bicol’s favorite pasalubong, Pili nuts. now being sold in different variance like honey dipped, caramel coated or simply roasted. this ends the Naga series and thanks to Lingkod Makati, Alabang and Marikina for joining and supporting this trip.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Camsur Watersports Complex - tips and guide

if you are planning to go to Camsur Watersports Complex (CWC), let this brief guide assist you. upon arriving at CWC, settle down your things first before you register for whatever activity you are planning to do. there’s an area with tables and chairs beside the water arena where you can settle down your things. visit the main lobby to check out the rates. best thing to do is to sign up for an hour of wakeboarding/kneeboarding. kneeboarding if its your first time and wakeboarding once you master the basic kneeboarding moves. as of this time, the one hour kneeboarding includes one hour use of the swimming pool. after you register, you will be given a head gear and choose your lifevest. different sizes are available and choose the one that’s fit. if you are going there as a group, gather the group for the orientation. one important tip here, do stretching before you set out. this will initialize your muscles.during the orientation, you will be asked to get your board. it usually takes five to ten minutes. make sure that you attentively listen to the instructions. ask if you are not sure or if some directions are unclear. after the orientation, you are now ready to set off. line up on the waiting area until your turn comes. just remember the directions. when it’s your turn comes, just relax. hold hard the pulling grip with your hands on both edge. when you fall, don’t panic. you’ll notice that your board will turn you upside down, just release yourself from the board then you’ll float. watch out for incoming boarders to avoid being hit. swim to the surface with your board. you can either walk your way back to the starting point or you can wait for the mini jeep to pick you up. the mini jeep roams within the arena to bring the boarders back to the starting point. rest if you feel exhausted after one round and get ready for your next round. if the line is quite long, it would be better to line up immediately since you’ll be able to relax yourself while you’re waiting for your turn. make sure to do hour is good enough if it’s your first time. you’ll be able to make four to six rounds in an hour. if you want to do two hours, make an hour break before your next hour. you can either go swimming or simply rest and enjoy exhibitions from experienced wakeboarders. whole day is more than enough. in our case, we went to CWC around 3:00pm and stayed there until night time.
here’s a recommended itinerary:
3:00pm – 3:30pm – settle down our things and registered at the lobby.
3:30pm – 3:40pm – gear up (head gear, lifevest, choose board)
3:40pm – 3:50pm – kneeboarding orientation
3:50pm – 4:40pm – kneeboarding
4:40pm – 5:20pm – swimming or massage
5:20pm – 6:20pm – tour around the Camsur Watersports Complex (photo sessions)
6:20pm – 7:20pm – dinner and chat time
7:20pm – 8:00pm – wi-fi time
if you are into skating, you can go to the skatepark with all the ramps. if you do cycling, you can bring your bike and bike around the complex. but what will really complete the experience are the people joining you there.

so bring your friends.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

out of the metro

just this morning, we arrived at the New Bacolod - Silay Airport in Negros Occidental. we left Metro Manila around 7:55am and arrived around 9:05am. this will be the longest time that i'll be out of Metro Manila after two years.since i'll be out for a long time, i made sure i brought with me sigma five my laptop to assure that i'll be able to be online. i still have few remaining posts for Naga which i'll be posting in the coming days.

the photo on top is the vast land of sugar cane which is this region's most popular industry. i took this shot from my flight this morning. i'm meeting some bloggers from the Western Visayas in the coming days.

Monday, September 22, 2008

small book big impact - online interview with Alexander Lacson

one of the most admired Filipino author today is Sir Alexander Lacson. his book "12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country" is one of the small books that has a heart in it. it beats in a way that many Filipinos realize the importance of little things that can greatly impact the country's status. so for this month's online interview, let's meet another brilliant pinoy!

dong ho:
Knowing how you were inspired to write this book, it really inspires the readers also to really do it. When you wrote the book, did you already have the twelve things in mind or you still had more?

Alexander Lacson: No. Initially, I had almost 50 little things in my list. But I really wanted for the little things to be remembered and practiced by those who read the book. So I planned it to be simple, easy to digest, and easy to remember. So I made them 12 little things only. If I made them 50 or 100 little things, perhaps the book did not become as nearly as successful as it is now, because they may have said “Ang dami naman. Mahirap gawin.” Today, many people say that the book is so realistic and doable because they are only “12 little things”. I guess that’s one of the secrets of success of the book.

dong ho: I am thinking if you can actually make a sequel and include the importance of encouraging local or domestic travel as something Filipino should also do. What can you say about the country's tourism industry today?

Alexander Lacson: I do encourage domestic tourism among our people. I include it in my talks and speeches. Domestic tourism is one way for us Filipinos to see the bounty and beauty of our country. It is one way for us to meet fellow Filipinos from other parts or islands of our archipelagic country. I have been myself to various tourism parts of our country, and they are truly beautiful. Some are truly majestic. Truly, the world is yet to see the beauty of our country.

dong ho: If there was something that the Philippines need to change or improve immediately what do you think it would be?

Alexander Lacson: Two things – first, the way we look at ourselves, and second, the way we value one another.

We must look at the Filipino, at ourselves, with hope that is based on great faith of our God, however we may call Him. We must believe that the Filipino is great and beautiful, because he is truly great and beautiful, because the Filipino is a child of a great God who wants him to be great and beautiful.

We must value and treat one another as brothers and sisters. For truly, we Filipinos are placed by our Creator in this specific part of the world for one reason – He wants us to belong to one another as one people, as one nation, as one big family – the Filipino Family.

This is what I call a CULTURE OF FAMILIHOOD.

This Culture of Familihood is what will unite us as one people, under one Creator.

dong ho: If you are to give an advice to the leaders of the country, what would it be?

Alexander Lacson: Serve our people well with the full measure of your hearts and minds, for they are your brothers and sisters. And ensure that no Filipino is left behind in the street to suffer his poverty and misery on his own, for the greatness of a leader shall be measured by the way he treats the least of the people he leads.
dong ho: The book has a very simple cover and each chapter was so direct. Did you really intend it to be that way?

Alexander Lacson: Yes, I designed it so simply. There is so much beauty in simplicity.

dong ho: What was the best lesson that you've learned when you were young?

Alexander Lacson: That integrity is the true foundation of every success there is in our world. The leader is followed by his followers because they believe in him, because he does what he says. That is integrity. A teacher, a priest, or a pastor is listened to only when his audience believes in him. A truly successful businessman gets dealings and contracts from other business people only because they trust him. A person becomes truly effective only if he has integrity.

dong ho: The first thing that came into my mind after reading the book was "this book should have a sequel". Are you planning to write another book?

Alexander Lacson: Yes, I am in fact writing my second and third books now. The second book is expected to be released before the end of this year. The third book, I hope to release it by June 2009. The title of the second book is “The Wisdom of our Race. The Wisdom of the Filipino.” The title of the third book is “Eight (8) Wonderful Things We Should Know Why We Should Be Proud as Filipinos.”

dong ho: What other books would you recommend us reading?

Alexander Lacson: All the books of C.S. Lewis. All the books of Leo Tolstoy. The two novels of Rizal. All the books of Nick Joaquin. Read also Rick Warren’s “The Purpose-Driven Life.” But even if you do not read these books, you must not go on living without reading the Bible – for billions of people in the past had read it, and billions more today are reading it. So many people had become happy because of it. So many more have become prosperous because of it. It is about yourself and your Creator, including the many things and puzzles of this world.

dong ho: On the lighter side, what else do we not know about sir Alexander Lacson?

Alexander Lacson: I was a working student for most of my nine (9) years as a college student in U.P. Diliman. My father finished only high school. My mother was a public school teacher who taught Grade Two pupils in public schools all her life in Kabankalan, Negros Occidental. There are nine (9) of us children. One died a few days after birth. One passed away 3 years ago. I was constrained to resign from PMA (Philippine Military Academy) when I did not report a scandal that I should have reported. But I am glad that it happened, for it made me the person that I am today.

dong ho: How do you usually spend your leisure time?

Alexander Lacson: I love my four kids, my wife, Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, John Lennon, the Beetles, Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr, Ninoy Aquino, Bonifacio, Rizal, Gregorio del Pilar – but not necessarily in that order. I also love movies, food, and wine. I spend my leisure time with them or on them. dong ho: thank you very much sir. you are indeed someone every Filipino should be looking at. continue to be an inspiration to the nation. with these things, we are assured that every Filipino can do something good for the country. no matter how small it may be it teaches us to value our citizenship, our responsibility and our faith. small things, big impact!

he will soon be releasing another book by the end of this year entitled "The Wisdom of our Race". title itself is already something worth anticipating. just keep in touch as i will be posting this book once its released.

you can check other previous online interviews:
Howie Severino - Dokyu Guru
Gabe Mercado - Noypi Ako
Sunshine Plata - Coffee Masterpiece
Pol Medina Jr. - Pugad Baboy
Manix Abrara - Rak en Rol


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