Tag Archives: Pinoy

Apo Island Coastal Cleanup: My Do Good Get Dirty Experience

The Do Good Get Dirty trip turned out to be way more than I expected and I am sincerely grateful to Green Cross and Rajah Travel for taking us on such a grand adventure! Check out snippets of our exploits here and our yummy Dumaguete food trip here. You can also watch and share in our experience here. :)

 I found myself crashing a fiesta, jumping off a cliff, and swimming with sea turtles!

I joined the Do Good Get Dirty challenge to make a difference but tables turned and the experience changed me instead! 🙂

I now know a bit more about my country.
Special thanks to Jaret of Rajah Travel for the photo!

It’s a shame I haven’t gone to more places around the Philippines. There are so many interesting pockets to visit and learn about! Negros Oriental is one of those little sachets with a unique history and inspiring stories packed inside. Special shout out to our tour guides Kuya Bong in Dumaguete, Valencia, and Apo Island and Kuya Luis in Siquijor. These guys have an answer for everything! And I really appreciated sharing the experience with people so passionate, knowledgeable, and proud of their home. If you’re receptive, you may just develop a love for the place, too.

I actually enjoyed eating buko-y stuff!
Dumaguete Express from the famous Lab-as restaurant
Dumaguete Express from the famous Lab-as restaurant

Mababaw, maybe, but there are things I’m certain about and one of those things is my dislike for the taste of coconut and coconut milk. I would rather eat crickets than gata! (I know I’m weird.) But I told myself to step out of my comfort zone during this trip. And, apparently, that meant eating Dumaguete Express (made with coconut milk) and I even ate buko pandan dessert! The awesome food trip would not have been complete without Dumaguete Express. I loved it! And it has opened me up to trying food I normally wouldn’t.

We all jumped.

15BA 30-foot drop into a crystal clear sea… Lui, Tim, and I were all afraid of the jump for different reasons. Tim was afraid of the fall. I was afraid of the landing. And Lui was afraid of the water. Still, each of us made the leap! It was thrilling and empowering. I am so proud of Team Dumaguete!

I was reminded of how we are all connected.
8F9
Thank you, Vince of Green Cross, for the great photos!

The highlight of the trip was Apo Island – a marine sanctuary where sea turtles like to chill out. Every month, the community gets together to clean their beach. This is a very tight-knit community, quite literally all family, of about 1,000 residents. It was moving to meet them and be a part of their monthly routine.

The target, really, is plastic. They explained that the sea turtle or pawikan feeds on seagrass and algae. Sadly, it is in these seagrass beds that many pieces of plastic get tangled. Eating the plastic can poison the sea turtles and kill them.

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Thank you, Vince of Green Cross, for the great photos!

As a group, we started cleaning up the beach from one end to the other. I honestly expected little trash here and there considering they clean up every month. Unfortunately, I was wrong. There were way too many little and big bits of plastic, most entwined in the seaweed washed up on shore. What’s alarming is that most of the trash isn’t even from the Apo community, nor is it from tourists that snorkel or dive. The garbage comes from the sea (which, in turn, came from the rest of us). And the recent storms have increased the volume and frequency of this dumping of waste on Apo Island.

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Thank you, Vince of Green Cross, for the great photos!

One of the most jarring moments happened when I was already snorkeling with the graceful pawikan. I was swimming after one and noticed a string of plastic stuck around its tail (You know the kind they use to secure boxes?). We aren’t allowed to touch the marine life so I pointed it out to our guide. Thankfully, he was able to pull the string free from the poor pawikan.

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Thank you, Vince of Green Cross, for the great photos!

I’m certain this isn’t unique to Apo Island. I wonder how many of my wrappers have found a way, somehow, onto a pretty beach (or worse). I rarely think about where my waste goes after I throw it into a bin. But we never know, right?

Even unconsciously, the little things we do can make an impact on others and the environment.

I got to thinking about the mass production of all plastic packages and bottles and ropes and strings… And how we don’t really think about how much we consume and how much garbage is produced in the process.

There is so much natural beauty in the world. How long will it take for us to wreck it all?

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My trip to Dumaguete and Siquijor was one for the books. It was fun and exciting and insightful and inspiring and magnificent! (I even witnessed the most beautiful sunset.) And while there were challenges here and there, I realize the bigger challenge is sustaining the “Do Good” part of the campaign wayyyyy after the experience.

While I have no control over what everyone else does, I am responsible for my own choices. And there are a whole lot of things I can do to minimize my impact on the environment.

Using a reusable water bottle instead of buying disposable bottled water, using reusable bags for groceries, being more mindful of what goods to buy and their packaging, maybe buying in bulk instead of tiny sachets, ensure my waste is disposed of properly, eating less or no meat, buying locally produced goods, use less energy, unplug, don’t waste paper, etc.

Maybe sometime soon, I’ll find a way to make a bigger and more lasting impact. But, despite the cheesiness, I do believe that it starts with me. I have to live it.

Cambugahay Falls Thanks to Jaret of Rajah Travel for the photo.
Cambugahay Falls, Siquijor
Thanks to Jaret of Rajah Travel for the photo.
Thanks again, Green Cross Alcohol and Rajah Travel, for such a fun and inspiring experience! If you're in the mood for some yummy food, check out my post  on Dumaguete's Delights!
Also, check out our webisode!

My Top 5 Milk Tea Spots

Ang Mio Kio
You can check out a few other photos on my Instagram – MyJaninay

Milk Tea Madness around Metro Manila! Milk tea stands are sprouting up everywhere. It’s like the pearl shakes all over again; but now, these places have it all from pearl shakes to coffee-type stuff and, of course, ZE MILK TEA!

I understand it. Milk tea cravings haunt me. And I do enjoy the typical ones everyone tries like Cha Time, Happy Lemon, etc, etc.

But, for moi, my faves would have to be those in actual restaurants! Mm-mm-mm!!! So… I just want to share my favorite milk tea so far. You guys might want to try em out. Doesn’t hurt that in these restos, the food is good, too. You can enjoy lunch or dinner then cap it off with delish milk tea, as I do! WHEEEEE. I WANT.

In no particular order… Here goes!

5. Banana Leaf Asian Cafe’s Iced Milk Tea Hong Kong Style

SO GOOT. As for the food, my regulars are rotti canai with curry and the Hainanese Set Meal! That can feed 2 people already… Unless you feel like feasting which is perfectly fine in Banana Leaf because they have loads of tasty food. YEAY! There are a few branches all around the metro so it’s easy to find – Greenhills Promenade, Greenbelt, Rockwell, etc. Plus, they’re one of Philippine’s Best Restaurants in 2011!

http://www.bananaleaf.com.ph/

Thai Dara
For more photos, check out my Instagram – MyJaninay

4. Thai Dara’s Milk TeaI tried the quaint Thai Dara in Kapitolyo – you won’t miss it! They have another branch somewhere in QC as well. Their milk tea is gootenberg! And it’s great with spicy curry orders!

In case you didn’t know, milk relieves your tongue from the heat of spiciness. THAT is the cooling power of dairy!

3. Ang Mio Kio’s Milk Tea

Yummy Singaporean food in Ang Mio Kio – The Podium. And they have a range of delicious drinks like their milk tea and the milo dinosaur!

http://www.facebook.com/angmokiofood

2. Komrad’s Milk Tea

Komrad in Eastwood is a haven for people who enjoy spicy food. I LOVE IT THERE. Spiced up Chinese food for the win! But their hidden gem is definitely their milk tea. SO GOOD. I want to run over there right now and buy a glass!

1. Som’s Milk Tea

Som’s Milk Tea is sold in plastic bottles, like them typical PET bottles – very easy to hoard and stock in your refrigerator. And they’re REALLY good. I believe they have 2 locations – one is near Rockwell and the other is in the Maysilo circle across the Mandaluyong City Hall. I’d drive by there just to take a few bottles home.

ARGH. Now I’m craving for legit milk tea.

“This is madness.”

One of the most wonderful people I know, Misha, suggested I watch this documentary by BBC. It’s about a bus driver from London who goes to Manila with a challenge to become a jeepney driver by the end of the trip – DRIVE A JEEP ALONE IN MANILA (Siya pa nanunukli)! He lives with Rogelio (a jeepney driver) and his family and learns, firsthand, how tough it is to live in our country.

I cried. And cried again. The world is anything but fair. I urge you, if you have a little less than an hour, to watch the docu below – The Toughest Place To Be A Bus Driver. You can watch it now or later. But I assure you, it is not a waste of time. My thoughts and frustrations are below.

I will write about 2 things. You may read one and not the other. Or not read at all. But I’m hoping you read both! :p

Road Rage

I, too, drive through the streets of Metro Manila. I confess that I do scream, curse, and lash-out (in the confines of my car) at pedestrians and other drivers on the road, most specially jeepney and bus drivers. In these moments, I feel I live in a place that is the epitome of inconsideration. And, against all my better judgment, I get sucked into the bandwagon.

Inconsideration, in my opinion, is an extremely huge problem in our society. I’ve always believed that if people were more considerate of each other, lines would move faster, traffic would ease up, mall-wide sales wouldn’t give me a migraine, and stress levels of most everyone when outside the confines of their home would decrease.

But where does this come from? Why can’t most people think of anyone but themselves?

I guess the true questions is, “How can one be considerate when one’s mind is on survival mode? Can I feed my family today?”

Inconsideration stems from this dog-eat-dog world, the reality of day-to-day survival.

What happens to my road rage now? It’s so much easier to be angry, curse at faceless strangers and not care. But how can you be angry knowing what these people come home to? … Knowing they’re stuck in a vicious cycle of suffering they can never get out of?

Rage turns to sorrow.

Life. To live. It is more than just physical survival.

To understand this rant, you’ll have to watch the documentary… Or just keep in mind that millions of Filipinos live in the slums, in their makeshift homes. Many are young married couples with 12-13 children.

How can one truly value life but accept the condition in which so many Filipinos are living?

How can one value life and accept that people eat recooked rotting food from the trash if they eat anything at all?

How can one that values life be OK with bringing a new life into this world only to starve, suffer, and have nothing but survival in mind?

How can one value truth but withhold readily available information, that is common knowledge to most educated people, from the less fortunate with less access?

How can one be against the RH Bill? I really CANNOT understand. What are you afraid of?

More abortion cases? Please explain to me how this happens with less cases of unwanted pregnancy.

Are you afraid that our country will have a problem of underpopulation like other developed countries? Oh my goodness. Do you really think that it’s as easy as the simplest cause-effect equation? There are so many factors that will contribute to that future possibility. Besides, if you have people that value having a family, this will not happen. I am aware of most all methods of contraception but I still want to have my own children one day… When I can actually sustain them financially and emotionally. Values formation and valuing the family as the basic unit of society can be taught and developed.

Please help me understand… Because my brain can’t seem to wrap itself around this.

What kind of person would think that a young married woman living in a makeshift box with 13 (THIRTEEN!) children and barely anything to eat is wrong for taking measures to prevent any more pregnancies?

Would you condemn her to hell? Isn’t she already living there?

Heart And Seoul

Ja-Bin in Korea!

(Unedited Version of my Myx Mag Article)

I was in complete awe of Korea and in utter disbelief that I was sent there for work – to shoot a total of 9 shows and interview 2NE1’s Dara. It’s a remarkable place with breathtaking sights and, literally, breath-taking weather (It reached NEGATIVE 6 degrees one night!). As soon as VJ Robin and I stepped out of the plane, we were greeted by a waft of cold air that made me thankful for my scarf and beret… and Robin – regretful to have nothing but his t-shirt on (with jeans, socks, shoes, and, hopefully, underwear on as well).

As soon as we saw Myeong Dong, which is the area we would call home for 2 nights, our eyes widened and we simultaneously uttered, “WOW.” I was told that Myeong Dong is like the Makati City of Seoul. But, honestly, it looked nothing like Makati. People sashayed in their fashionable winter clothes. Beautiful pastel-colored shops lined the narrow alleys like sweet eye candy for us adventurous VJs. With such a beautiful backdrop, we got to work on the special Korean episodes to be shown on Myx.

Aside from feeding our appetite for adventure, we also made the most out of every meal of the day (which included merienda and a midnight snack). We sampled as many Korean delicacies as we could. We feasted on Ginseng Chicken, Bulgogi, Bulgogi Burgers, various street foods, and my newly discovered Korean favorite – Budae-chigae. We were thrilled to discover that cold weather makes your body work harder to keep you warm, thus burning the extra calories we consumed… Or at least that’s what we told ourselves to justify our excessive food tripping.

But the trip to Korea wasn’t all about feasting and frolicking. Robin and I were there on a mission. Without a crew or any staff from Myx to guide us, we were tasked to return home with a successful interview with K-Pop Superstar Sandara Park. Armed with our video cameras, list of questions, and bundle of nerves, we made our way to Dara’s TV Commercial shoot for Etude House (www.etudehouse.ph).  Even before we met her, we were impressed at how professional she was during the shoot. Watching monitors from a separate room, we saw how her eyes lit up once the director said, “Action!”

All intimidation melted once we met the sweet and soft-spoken Dara. Inspite of her flawless beauty, she has an air of humility that was exceptionally endearing. Not to mention, she still seems very attached to the Philippines and us Filipinos. She could not hide how much she missed the country and all her fans and friends back in the Philippines. Plus, she expressed herself tremendously well in Filipino, to the utter disbelief of our tongue-tied-when-speaking-Filipino-VJ Robin.

A photo from my Interview with Sandara Park in Korea!

Meeting 2NE1’s Dara was definitely the highlight of my trip. With the precious interview footage safely in tow, Robin and I headed home to Manila with a newfound love for Seoul Korea but also a greater appreciation for home. After all, if a K-Pop Superstar who is set to be an international sensation is proud to have lived in the Philippines, continues to speak in our language, and clearly misses the country and its people… Shouldn’t we also be proud to be Filipino? BAM!

Of the time I took on the Heroes of Newerth (Myx Mag Article, Unedited Version)

Who hasn’t heard of DotA?! It’s the game that has groups of intense players shouting and laughing in their favorite computer shop tambayan. It’s the game that has your crush glued to the PC at 3 in the morning while you wait for his reply to your “Matutulog ka na?” text message!

Now think DotA with better graphics and less hassle! Let‘s welcome the Heroes of Newerth! Even the name is more appealing. Really. DotA or HoN? DotA might sound more astig. But HoN sounds malambing even when it’s all about killing creeps and ambushing heroes!

HoN is almost exactly like DotA. It’s a clash of two teams with each member playing a hero with its own mix of special skills and powers. The main goal is still to get to the opposing team’s base and destroy their source of life! Along the way, you’ll have to stomp on some tiny creeps, destroy towers that throw massive boulders at you, and, of course, kill each other’s heroes! Doesn’t that sound exciting?

For a noob like me, though, I find HoN much simpler and easier to play. I don’t need to remember as many keys and I don’t have to hold down the ALT button to see how much life people have left! The items and recipes are categorized and are easier to find and sort through so I no longer have to bug a teammate to ask what I should be buying with my earned gold. While playing HoN, I was able to focus more on my hero – gaining experience, killing our enemies, and escaping when they decide to pick on a noob like me!

The hero I chose to start off with was Pestilence – a purple hornet that keeps flapping his wings. He’s based on DotA hero Slardar so their special skills are the same. I tend to like heroes that can stun enemies, stopping them in their tracks! It’s great for a noob because you can stun the enemy to kill him, or to get away when he’s trying to kill you! Pestilence also has the ability to increase its movement speed. Again, you can use this to chase an enemy down or escape when you know he’s a godlike HoN addict out to get you.

Another hero I tried was the Electrician and he’s unique to HoN! He’s a bit more difficult to use. Like Pestilence, he can stun a target. The problem is, he’s automatically pulled towards the stunned target so it’s really more of an offensive stun. For defense, Electrician can create a shield around himself when he is being attacked. He can also shock enemies to make them slower or shock teammates to make them quicker!

From the two heroes, I’d definitely stick to Pestilence. His stun covers the area around him so he can immobilize more than one hero at once, as opposed to Electrician who can only target one hero at a time. I found that Pestilence was easier to use so I recommend beginners like me to try him out while getting used to the game!

When asked if I’d rather play DotA or HoN, I’d stick with HoN. DotA is a little more complex. Although, I think if I play HoN a little more, I’d be better at DotA, too! HoN’s graphics are also much better. Plus, you don’t have to feel bad for being a beginner! You can join games online that are specially created for noobies. You can practice all you want with fellow beginners without shame! But I think even die-hard godlike DotA players would enjoy HoN. It’s easier to play through the internet and you can challenge people from all over the world with less hassle. Plus, you build on your own ranking so you’re constantly challenged to do better and win more games.

The only problem I find with HoN is that not everyone can play it. It’s currently in its Beta stage and only a number of people have accounts that they may or may not decide to share. But if you have any gamer friends, try and persuade them to lend you their account just so you can try it! Don’t worry, though! Once HoN is released, you can purchase an account and play all you want! Who knows? Maybe you’ll even see me in game! Or better yet… Go gaming with your crush at 3 in the morning!

A Letter From On High

The Philippine Flag
(From MyJaninay ‘s Instagram)
 

Dear Metro Manila,

I fly over you now amid the pitch black. Looking down, I see your city lights. I wish I could keep you that way – neat, pretty, and far away.

But descending into your chaos, I leave my naive wishes in the darkness to join in the wondrous complexities of your crude existence.

Bah. Humbug.

So much easier being a jaded adult rather than an idealistic and rational individual.

With wavering love,

MyJaninay

The Hanoi-ing Impression Sandwich

The French occupied Hanoi in 1873 and became the capital of French Indochina after 1887.

My weeklong stay in Hanoi was, unfortunately, sandwiched by frustrating impressions, which I will release here in order to write a bitter-free blog post on Vietnam’s capital.

Upon leaving the arrival gates of the Noi Bai airport, I was greeted by a swarm of taxi drivers looking for unsuspecting passengers. Taxis in Hanoi have meters (those rate calculators) and these cabbies try and get you to agree on a fixed rate.

AYAYAY.

So should you go Hanoi-ing, don’t forget to ask your hotel to have someone pick you up. And keep the number of the hotel with you in case no one’s around to sweep you and your luggage off your feet or wheels or whatever… Lest you wind up like me – waiting for someone who never arrives.

Due to the odd time Cebu Pacific flights arrive in Hanoi (1am or so), there was a mix up with my “pick up”. So I waited over an hour for a cab that never came while overeager Vietnamese mosquitos feasted on my extremely sleepy boddeh!

Good thing a cab just so happened to pass by the dark and empty airport or else I may have spent the night there. (HEEYIPES.)

Oh, just so you know, there’s a curfew in Hanoi and almost everything shuts down at midnight so I cannot stress enough the importance of arranging someone to pick you up from the airport specially if you arrive late.

The Impression Sandwich title should give the correct impression that both the first AND last impressions will be written about. So let’s get the extremely irritating and intensely frustrating last impression out.

Saturday night, whilst trying to spend all my Dong (the Vietnamese currency) on pasalubong for friends & family…

(pasalubong is what we Filipinos call presents bought for others, usually when on a trip.  Para means “for” and salubong means “to greet” or “to meet” and these gifts are meant to be given when you “meet/greet” your loved ones again.)

My bag was slashed open from behind and some AWESOME person took my iPhone. I was extremely careful with the iPhone I named BUD WHITE throughout my stay and, admittedly, that night was the most careless I had been ’cause I was in a rush to finish my shopping and get back to my hotel before having to leave for the airport. I WAS STILL PRETTY CAREFUL THOUGH. I’d make sure the zipper of my bag was close to me and I’d hold my phone extremely tight most of the time. But the night market really is the perfect setting for thieves. You’ll eventually get stuck in a tight crowd. You’ll eventually look at items in stalls and not have all your attention on your bag.

*sigh*

You have no idea how pissed I was.

*sigh*

Farewell, Bud. And bye bye to all the photos and videos I took on the trip to provide a more entertaining and informative blog entry… So you guys should say bye bye to a more interesting Hanoi post from moi, too.

*sigh again*

ANYWHOOOO. Though my post on Hanoi will definitely be way LESS entertaining, I’ll still try to provide you with all the information you need to enjoy a trip to Hanoi as I did, for the most part.

Don’t worry, it’s still a very interesting place to visit. The buns that hold the sandwich may taste like crap, but what’s important is what’s in the sandwich itself rightttt? Right.

(Yep. That’s what I keep telling myself.)

Ilocos Trippin’ 2012

Sooo… I don’t really have much mind or much time to write some flamboyant entertaining post on my Ilocos Adventure. But I did work on this video so I hope you enjoy! Who knows, I might go back to this post… Pick it up, edit, swirl and twirl it into a magnificent piece on how Ilocos is the cradle of Northern Luzon’s culture and history.

But for now, why not just experience it for yourself? All the information you need is right here.

Good job, Philippines!