Wednesday, April 30, 2008

april's tribute earth ends tonight

tonight another month ends in 2008. it was a month tribute to our planet. the two posts dedicating to the Manila Ocean Park visit of shallow reef and going deeper, the Anilao snorkeling and was able to promote Tubbataha. spent time in coco bay and was reminded of life's importance through mang Armando, mang Nestor and Mang Tolits plus the summer-sault shots in Manila bay.

i was also honored to have an online interview with Sunshine Plata for her brewed coffee paintings and even launched "the bloggurs", which featured the blogs that i visit regularly. first batch includes lagal[og], lost and found thailand, carrot prince and collapsing barrycade posted recently.

a look at Robinsons Manila Midtown and looking back at hiking Gulugod Baboy. a tribute to Chico Mendez and the show that influences me in wildlife conservation, "Born To Be Wild" leading to the tribute earth posts.

shots of the sunset view of Balayan and Manila bay.

but more than these, i value the new friends that i gained in the blogging world.

collapsing barrycade - bloggurs

the donG says>> barry's blog is like a watch-eye to what's happening in the Philippines. from issues to simple experiences of mismanaged systems, heavy traffic and "odd"vertisements. he also shares lessons learned with really good humor and he has a special post on Imelda. check it out.

just click on the photo of barry that will lead you to an online interview at the bloggurs.

bloggurs is a special blog created by donG hO to feature blogs that he regularly visits.
www.thebloggurs.blogspot.com

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

hiking gulugod

the last time we climbed Mt. Gulugod or popularly known as Gulugod Baboy was when we organized a fun climb for single professionals. Gulugod Baboy stands for the word "pig spine".ever since i climbed this mountain, i always remember its greeny hills. although it's not always this green since i also had the chance to see it during summer. that was years back where the grass are not as green as this. Gulugod Baboy is a popular site for fun climbs since it does not require much experience to hike to its peak. but as for me, i still prepare myself on every climb no matter how easy the hike is. jogging and some push-ups at least a week before the hike helps a lot. Gulugod Baboy is located on the hills of Mabini in Batangas. Philpan Resort in Anilao is the assembly point which is about two to three-hour drive from Manila.it usually takes about an hour and a half to hike it and for experienced climbers maybe even less. the trail is not that steep but you will be passing by bushes but the challenge is still the heat but not as hot as climbing Mt. Pinatubo. there are some stopovers along the way which are houses of the people living in this area. people are already used to seeing climbers and are willing to give water if in case you run out of it.when you reach the base camp, you will see the two hilly peaks one is that of Mt. Gulugod while the other is that of Mt. Pinagbanderahan. you can see from the top, you will see Balayan bay on one side and the Batangas City and its pier on the other side. you can also see the islands of Maricaban and Sombrero of Anilao.Mt. Gulugod is also known as a playground of adventure because it also has a wide flat space where common activities can be held. it can also occupy large number of campers although we don't recommend that to protect the mountain's resources. another common experience that regular campers await is the sunrise and the sunset in the Balayan bay side. by night, you will be delighted by the city lights of Batangas. the photo below was taken at around 5:35am. we were astonished by its color blend telling us that it is really worth waking up this early. since i am still dedicating this post to "tribute earth", let's not forget to be reminded of the mountaineering creed "take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints and kill nothing but time". let every climb be an opportunity to have a cleanup of the area. you can do simple acts like picking up trash along the trail even if it does not belong to you or to your group. then make sure that every climber will be responsible enough to respect and protect nature.

carrot prince - bloggurs

donG says>>
earvin's blog reminds us of our college days. spending a balance time studying, blogging and meeting people. blogging for him is a stress-reliever. he is a member of KontempoRaryong Gamelan Pilipino or Kontra-Gapi, the resident music and dance ensemble of the University of the Philippines. a future geographer who also likes surfing in Baler, Aurora. photography and anything Japanese is his interest for pastime. his blog is also nominated for the Candy Teen Blog Awards 2008. blog hop now and meet some bloggurs. just click on the photo to further get to know the carrot prince.

bloggurs is a special blog created by donG hO to feature blogs that he regularly visits.
www.thebloggurs.blogspot.com

Monday, April 28, 2008

greenest part

i checked every part of the house and found out that the greenest part of it is the mini garden right behind the living room. this tells me that we need to add more plants inside the house but thanks to my mom for keeping this area green.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

mystery flying snakes???

last week's episode of "Born To Be Wild" tackled the mystery of the flying creatures in Balay sa Agta in Cebu. i highly recommend that you watch this episode. just click on the link below:

mystery flying snakes.

and you can read more about it in wikipedia as it has been observed in other countries like China and the United States. check this link flying rod.

ambassadors of nature


more and more television shows support the "save earth" movements but most of which are just special episodes of a regular running shows except for the show "Born To Be Wild". it is a weekly local show hosted by Romi Garduce and Doc Ferds Recio who plays a big role in wildlife preservation and awareness. ever since it started its airing last November 28, 2007, i didn't miss any of its episode.

not one local television show has made me watch all its episodes every 12midnight without conditions. i really make a point that i'm home before the clock strikes at twelve. and yes it is aired this late. did you not notice that there's a lot of really good shows placed on slots that's so late? maybe because these shows are less profitable compared to the teleseryes*.

i really want to take pride in congratulating the production team and the people who came up with this show. the hosts may not be as good as other news correspondents (in terms of reporting) but looking at them enjoying every mission trip and putting stress on saving our nature tells me they are ambassadors of nature in the Philippines.

kudos to "Born To Be Wild" team!

check out last week's episode on protecting mangroves and the mystery flying snakes???

*teleseryes - common television series

promote and protect tubbataha

the support for Tubbataha reef for its preservation and of being voted to be one of the new seven wonders of nature has been spreading on e-mails, television shows, magazines and even on text messaging. two days ago i grabbed the latest issue of the magazine Metroactive and an article about Tubbataha being a world class diving sanctuary was featured. Nathan Floro, an experienced diver who was able to visit Tubbataha for the past 12years, describes how more and more species can be seen these days. giving us more reason to help support its project to protect this area.and surprisingly, today's Philippine Daily Inquirer Sunday magazine also featured Tubbataha. an article entitled "Tubbataha Dreams" also calls for its preservation telling us that saving Tubbataha is a work in progress. the article also presents how we can support Tubbataha Reef to be proclaimed as one of the new seven natural wonders of the world. now that the list is down to 77 wonders, let's take part by voting Tubbataha Reef, Puerto Princesa's Subterranean River National Park and other natural wonders of the world that helps support the preservation of the world's endangered wonders. here's a link to the official polling site new7wonders.if we are unable to support Tubbataha Reef financially, let us at least help by showing our support to the few people guarding and protecting it.

in short let's promote and protect Tubbataha.

Friday, April 25, 2008

blooming la mesa

random shots taken days back of what La Mesa Eco Park and Watershed can boast. this park is now a haven for many plant species displaying a balance of nature and park life. this park is protected by the Bantay Kalikasan group along with the government's Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).now we have a place to see the different plants having blooming flowers within its 2,700hectares area of forest and water reservoir.how can we help? as simple as visiting this park, we are already helping in its program to maintain its call to protect nature.let's hope that more and more cities will have its own eco park.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

survivor caramoan


today's issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer finally has a news on the rumor of having the shoot for the next Survivor France episode in the islands of Caramoan in Camarines, located south of Luzon, Philippines.

you can read the full article at Inquirer's website.
"Survivor filming..."

it's not a surprise that a the production team of Survivor will pick the Philippines for one of its season. the tropical country offers 7,107islands to discover. i was expecting that they'll pick Calaguas island, which is also in Camarines but Caramoan as i heard is as good as Calaguas.

these islands is temporarily closed but will soon be open to public by June this year.

www.inquirer.net has always been a good source for updated news making me check it everyday.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

chico's fight


what really influenced me to support environmental programs is the movie "The Burning Season". i was 14years old then when it was released in 1994. it's a story of the environmental advocate Francisco Alves Mendes Filho or more known as Chico Mendes. he was leading a group of people on stopping the illegal logging happening in Amazon, Brazil. he was assassinated on December 22, 1988.

"At first I thought I was fighting to save rubber trees, then I thought I was fighting to save the Amazon rain forest. Now I realize I am fighting for humanity." - Chico Mendes

in the movie, Chico Mendes was portrayed by Raul Julia who is also one of the most admired actors that time. you can read more about Chico on this link from wikipedia.
i will forever remember Chico Mendes and do my part to protect our environment in anyway i can.


today we can see more people fighting for the Philippine's remaining natural wonders and to name some;
Gina Lopez - managing director of Bantay Kalikasan
Jesus P. Francisco - president of Haribon Foundation
Angelique Songco - head of the Tubbataha reef conservation
David Valdes - president of WWF Philippines

and all the other organizations, small groups and individuals who in their own way sets goal to preserve our natural resources.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

can blogs help save our planet?

with millions of blogs around the globe today, i noticed that many bloggers participated and supported Earth Day through their posts. can this blogs help save our planet? i suggest you visit the following blog posts from bloggers around the world.

greenphils - "earth day respiratory check-ups"
this blog takes volunteerism to action as they offered free respiratory check-ups and consultation to jeepney drivers and transport operations.

lagal[og] - "green day"
oggie's environmental ideas of using reusable, food-safe water containers.

kurokuroatbp - "little things you can do to save the earth"
toe's practical tips to take action by unplugging our appliances to shutdown phantom load (PL).

milou - "we're all in this together"
a nine year old from Buenos Aires who wants to help nature awareness through poetry.

beagle project - "earth day webcastathon"
promotes the earthcast 24hour webcastathon for "the other 71%" theme.

whimsy - "do your part"
she shares her own way of making Earth Day special by showing how a plastic bottle can be recycled. she shows it through actual samples of recycling outcomes (with photos).

scottstem - "do something nice"
someone who believes that as simple as picking small trash can help and it links to a funny and weird video on recycling cans.

silver horse - "a moment for gratitude"
promotes earth day as a moment of gratitude and also links to a site that shows how we can improve our relationship with our planet.

penguin geek - "save a penguin, take the bus"
suggests us to take motorcoaches for traveling to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

rhetoric - "one bottle at a time"
this blog gives us a tip to check for a specific item on Freecycle.org before going shopping.

these blogs promoted awareness and action as a way of saving our planet. these are just the chosen few but we all know that blogging can now make noise and make sense.

who says blogs can't help save our planet?

thank you to all the people who participated in this call to save Earth. to save life.

note: this links leads you directly to the Earth Day related posts of the bloggers featured.

tribute earth

today the world will celebrate "Earth Day" and so i will pay tribute most of my coming posts to the importance of nature awareness and conservation. and there's more than just celebrating it because what it needs right now is action.
let's take part in our own way the activities and programs that support the conservation of our forests, wildlife and underwater life. these programs doesn't end on this day because as many say, everyday is Earth Day.

this year's theme is "Call for Climate" and for more information visit www.earthday.net

Sunday, April 20, 2008

her coffee masterpiece - online interview with Sunshine Plata

Today, coffee is taking stage in the life of the busy people. More coffee shops can be found in the urban cities around the Philippines with coffee being a medium for business talks and mingling time. But recently coffee took stage in a different way. And it was through the idea of a Filipina painter, Sunshine Plata.

Ripley’s "Believe it or Not" featured Sunshine Plata’s unique idea of using coffee as a medium for her paintings. It is definitely another breakthrough. Now her paintings are being sold at prices reaching $2,500 and the market is worldwide. Soon it will even be higher.

So for this month’s donG hO’s online interview, let’s discover what's brewing in Sunshine Plata's coffee masterpiece.

the donG: Is there someone else in the family who is into art?
Sunshine: My parents are both into business...I have an uncle and aunt in
Canada who are painters so I am not that exposed to them. My lolo* (dad's dad) was colorblind but can draw anything and anyone like a photocopy machine! haha! So far that’s just what I know about my family!

the donG: Who are your influences in painting?
Sunshine: I realized that with that style that I have, it’s my mom and my sister Kate who have influenced me. Because I’d see my mom drawing different shapes on scratch papers while talking on the phone and I liked the shapes so much because they create a pattern. Kate was showing me doodles on her school stuff and I found them interesting that it started my 'compulsive doodling" in class!!! (good thing I NEVER got caught!!!) Well, plus my constant drawing practice since i was a kid from browsing into picture books and my discovery of the coffee as medium from going to a Ripley's museum equals a "Sunshine Plata" painting! I like the works of Van Gogh, Munsch, James Jean, Yoshitaka Amano etc. but my works don't really look like their stuff! haha!

the donG: Was there a time when you experienced something like changing your career?
Sunshine: Back then on my 2nd year of BS Psychology I already wanted to shift to fine arts, I took a shifters exam but didn’t pass. I graduated from psychology worked for a tiny bit in a corporate set up then became a preschool teacher for 5 yrs. It’s just last summer when I started painting full time since I cannot take it anymore; I just had to quit my job to give way to my art.

the donG: The Pinoys are very proud of you, how does it feel when your love for painting inspires the whole nation?
Sunshine: With this in mind, I am inspired back. But in line with this, I am challenged to be strong and always get up in the midst of adversities since I know that i should continue to be that tiny spark of hope that the Filipino can do it. Also my desire to share my art to more people becomes a growing mission because NOT ONLY DO I WANT TO ACHIEVE BUT I ALSO WANT (if possible) THE WHOLE NATION TO BE ACHIEVERS LIKE ME! I am so sure that there are a lot more Filipino talents and artists out there who can do a lot better than I did; they just need to be given the opportunity, support and most of all the belief! Having people believing in you creates a whole new universe of possibilities within a person.

the donG: Which of your paintings do you consider the most valuable?
Sunshine: My most valuable painting is DIWATA**...she appeared to me soo vividly in a dream and after that I’ve been painting fairies and winged elvin creatures on my canvass. I find her so originally Pinoy that’s why I called her DIWATA. And for me, she would embody a typical Pinoy fairy that looks beautiful at the same time cool!!! haha!

the donG: I personally like the title of each painting that you've done like the "One Swan", "Henna Banana" and "Rastah Mahn". The rhyming words make your painting more interesting. Who gave you the idea of making it rhyme?
Sunshine: Thank you, I’m glad you like my titles! They just sound nice for me to hear so I adapted those titles, no particular reason why! haha!

the donG: How would your life be if you were no longer allowed to do art?
Sunshine: I’d feel like being dumped in a concentration camp ready for doomsday if I wasn’t allowed anymore to do art. haha! It’s my means of expressing my value and worth as a person and my way of communicating the wonderful visions I see vividly in my head. Because precisely the reason why I enjoyed teaching preschoolers in that five years was because somehow I get to do art in the day to day dealings with children, art is just inevitable there. But I guess if I was placed in that situation id still be finding new art mediums say like insects, dust etc. haha! Or else I’d go ballistic!!! Hey that’s a difficult question!

the donG: How do you spend your free time?
Sunshine: I spend my free time hangin’ out with friends, sight seeing, people watching, watching movies, drawing on my sketchpad, listening to music, eating ICE CREAM, CHOCOLATES, looking through pet shop windows and wishing i had a new pet, mixing nail polish colors and painting my nails, going to book shops and having a hearty laugh while reading some Dr. Seuss books (I love the illustrations by the way) etc.

the donG: How inclined are you with coffee even before you did these paintings?
Sunshine: How inclined? Not soo soo inclined!!! haha! You see, every time I sit down and paint is a new experience for me, there's always something new which I discover like do's and don’ts and new techniques and I take careful note of them so I can assure myself that I know what I’m doing more each day than I knew the day before that.

the donG: What else can we expect in your upcoming paintings? Like, are you planning to make paintings that depict a part of the Philippine history?
Sunshine: You may expect to see new ideas, new visions brewing in my mind, an improvement of myself from my day to day undertakings. more lovely diwatas, and slowly but surely some more works depicting the beauty of the Philippine culture!

the donG: What else do we don't know about Sunshine Plata?
Sunshine: hmmm... that Sunshine Plata's achievement was brought about majorly by the grace of God and by telling Him each day to help me in my artistic endeavors and promising Him that my works will be for His honor and glory... I dreamed to just have a mini solo show, but maybe God wanted it bigger, than everything just came pouring down on me! I’m just awestruck and grateful!

the donG: How would you encourage the Filipinos to achieve in their own field?
Sunshine: There's a book entitled "Dream and your dreams will fall short".... it just says if you include God in your day to day undertakings and do your damn best to glorify Him with your talents, you will reap more surprises than you aspired for. To all my fellow Filipinos out there... "dream and your dreams will fall short". I hope you believe that, it happened to me! Filipinos are known to be pious people and were not born Filipinos for nothing, so go ahead and do it! Remember Bamboo's song Pinoy Ako: "sabi nila may anting anting ako pero di nila alam na diyos ang dahilan ko".

the donG: That’s inspiring! Thank you very much for taking time for this online interview. It is my privilege to have you featured in my blog. We are looking forward to your next exhibit and for more of your coffee art. Check her artworks at her website d1wata.

Sunshine Plata indeed gives us another reason to dream big and to always make God the perfect reason for every achievement. Her love for art influences today’s generation by imparting great achievements through unique ideas.

You can see her coffee paintings and even get in touch with her through her website d1wata. watch out for her next exhibit.

You can also read other donG hO’s online interview with Gabe Mercado, Howie Severino, Manix Abrera and Pol Medina Jr.

The donG’s online interview is a monthly blog posts that features today’s Filipino achievers.


*lolo – grandfather
**diwata - fairy

Saturday, April 19, 2008

upgrading robinson's plaza manila

recently i decided to visit one of the malls that i used to visit years ago when i was reviewing for the engineering board examinations in manila. first thing i observed was a newly painted outer part of the mall.
i thought they just only repainted its outer part but when i reached the lobby, there was a big change. the hallways are better and brighter this time. the renovated part of the mall is called "the Midtown".this mall was built built in 1997 along the M. Adriatico street in Ermita, Manila. now Ermita becomes known again as a new haven for shoppers and bar hoppers as more restaurants and bars opened on this part of the mall.when i last visited this mall the Manila Midtown hotel was still there but was already closed for a new building plan. now on that site stands three taller buildings.now it gives us more reason to mall hop in the historical city of Manila and yes more cafe to spend time relaxing and to mingle with your friends.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

lost and found thailand - bloggurs

donG says>>
Laura's blog is like a personal journal describing her new working environment, which is extremely different from where she came from. she takes note of her travel within Thailand and even her sidetrips outside this country. she talks about the Thai culture and her travels and what she finds unusual. this is one of the blogs that i first visited when i first did blog hopping and it remains to be a very interesting blog.

click on the photo to get to know more about Laura and her blog.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

balayan bay's sundown

if you thought Anilao can only offer water sports and hobbies, you shouldn't miss its sunset displaying Balayan bay.and to fully view sundown, i have to trek on one of its hill. it's worth the hike.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

snorkeling anilao

this weekend we traveled to Mabini, Batangas to go snorkeling. this is the hobby that we grew up doing ever since we were kids. we do it almost twice a month along with my father and my brothers. so doing it on a summer is a good time for a calm sea and doing it in Anilao makes it very special.Anilao is one of Philippine's pride in snorkeling and scuba diving and not for white sand beach lovers. it is approximately 3hours from Manila since there are ongoing road repairs in Cuenca. this dive haven shelters many endemic sea creatures because Anilao is connected to Balayan bay and the Verde passage. it is teeming with a healthy marine life which means that corals are abundant. when you reach the town of Mabini, you will see resorts on all sides. most of the time, we choose Dive n Trek and Sombrero island but this time we picked Anilao Outrigger. from afar we can already see how beautiful the dive site is. there's a wide snorkeling area making me decide to just take a few shots of the view and immediately dived into the waters of Anilao. for snorkelers, it is important to have a calm surface water because waves creates a blurry undersea view. on that day, sun was up and the weather was perfect. sunlight may bring sunburn but it is an advantage since it produces enough light for us to clearly see the corals and the fishes.let me apologize for not bringing an underwater camera. i could have shared to you its beauty from below. i'll do that next time.

you can easily spot crabs on the walls of the sea barriers of the resort and fishes can be seen from the pathway. clown fish can easily be spotted since corals are in abundance. the picture below shows scuba divers near the surface.
Anilao Outrigger has a wide area that's less than 20feet deep, so snorkelers will have a really good time. it also caters to people who loves kayaking, pedal boating and even wind surfing. from the resort, the view is perfect as it overlooks the Balayan bay. so you can sit down on one of its balcony and watch divers plunge and motor boats traveling to the other islands. the food was good and the people inside the resort was limited to its capacity making our stay more private.there's a swimming pool on one side that caters the kids and for scuba diving lessons.
the tip most part of the resort is a big rock that adds view to its wide area and crossing it leads you to an even wider view of the Balayan bay.
the exciting part was actually to look for the cross that was located in the far middle part of the snorkeling site. it was about 15meters deep in that area since it was high tide. we were very lucky to spot one sea turtle near the cross. according to the resort staff, there are turtles living in that area. wow! that's a good sign that the area is indeed a sanctuary for sea creatures. in the afternoon, we did fish feeding to see fishes coming in groups to as close as touching your body. you can see them surrounding you. that's one of the best part in snorkeling. late afternoon, we enjoyed pedal boating and kayaking. i was bringing with me my camera to at least take a shot of the underwater view and a shot of the resort from the snorkeling area. the picture below shows a view of the corals from the pedal boat. Anilao Outrigger Resort offers a really good service because the staff are really friendly. they really took time talking to their customers. islands like Sombrero, Maricaban, and Verde are just minutes away from the resort. these islands are known for its best diving sights of endemic species.
Anilao is a dive sanctuary that tells me how blessed i am to have lived in such a nice tropical country. here's a video from youtube that shows a glimpse of what Anilao can offer.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kLRrV7ik5Q&feature=related

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