Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Origin of Filipino People

I am curious what our current elementary text books tell about the history or origin of Filipino people.

I learned in Grade 4-5 that original Filipinos are the Aetas. Then came the Malays from the malay peninsula down south through the land bridges connecting Borneo and Palawan or Mindanao. My teacher told me malays are the tagalogs, bicolanos, kapampangans and other low land groups. Then came the Indones through the same path and who are now the mountain people of Luzon and Mindanao. In short, Filipinos are from Malaysia and Indonesia.

But Wikipedia tells a different story.

"The term Malay is also considered misleading because it gives the impression that the route for the populating of the Philippines was via Malaysia, when actually, the current Malays of the rest of the Malay Archipelago and of mainland Malaysia are the descendants of Austronesian-speaking immigrants who first went to the Philippines before further venturing south into what is now Malaysia, Indonesia, East Timor, as well as to the other Pacific islands."

So, we are the ancestors of Malaysians and Indonesians and not the other way around. And if this is true, it means most of my generation have false knowledge of our origin. Tsk tsk.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Cameras Strictly Prohibited

I know most cinemas specially Ayala malls strictly prohibits still or video cameras inside movie houses. Obviously trying to prevent piracy. But can a still camera like my digital eos (no video or sound recording capability) can do movie piracy? If yes, i don't know how. So I though its not practical to surrender my camera.

And above is what i got hehe... shadowy image of Emma Watson. The timing is just bad.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Bohol - Cost of Travel (Last Part)

Here is how much it costs to be in Bohol for a 3 day vacation (for two).

Fare = Php7,000 -- Cebu Pacific. Return tickets can be as cheap as Php2,700 each but i booked our flight only a week before the trip.

Terminal Fee = Php400 -- collected at Manila Domestic terminal.

Transpo to/from Panglao = Php800 -- rent per car, small car can accommodate 4.

Accommodation = Php4,200 -- 3 days/nights, house can accommodate 4.

Car Rental = Php1,800 -- 1 day tour to at least 7 destinations.

Boat Rental = Php 1,500 -- half day island hopping and snorkeling.

Snorkeling = Php 600 -- for the guide. there are optional gears (flippers or shoes) rented for Php150/pair which are actually useless.

Food = Php3,500 -- estimated at 1,000 a day or 500 each.

Entrance Fees = Php 200 -- estimate

Tips = Php 1,170 -- estimate; too generous at some point i.e. Php 200 for the driver.

Souvenirs = Php 1,000 -- estimate

In total, its around Php20K or 10K per head. Since we went out of control on some expenses, I think Php6K each is a reasonable budget for a group of at least 4. That's still a lot of many though.

There's also internet cost but its minimal. At least 2 computer shops are available along the beach; connection can be good but most of the time very slow or none. There's wifi in some resorts including Flower Garden but unfortunately I wasn't able to use mine as no one is available to assist with the settings.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bohol - Island Hopping (Part IV)

At 6:00 AM, we boarded a bangka (mid-size) to look out for dolphins off Alona Beach. Dolphins here are smaller than those I have seen in Puerto Galera 3 years ago.

An hermit crab.

After the dolphins, we headed to Balicasag which is known for dive spots and snorkeling. The fish sanctuary is amazing. The guide positioned us in a reef where you can see small fishes and corals on one side and school of bigger fishes and the deep blue unknown on the other side. The view of deep blue is really scary--- looks endless and you have no idea whats in there. I should have bought waterproof camera for pictures.

A group of divers early in the morning.

Next is Virgin Island- a tiny uninhabited island. It's about 20 minutes from Balicasag and is famous for it's shallow white sand shores. This place is good for photo shooting but unfortunately my camera setting was not adjusted for that bright sunny day. All I know was i'm taking nice shots until we got back and had a normal monitor view. Too bright! The pictures should have captured the clear water and the long stretch of white sands.

You can actually walk hundreds of meters away from the island with waters just above knee.

It's a half day trip so at around 10:45 we headed back to Alona Beach which took us less than an hour. It was our last day in Bohol so we decided to have some rest in the afternoon as we need to fly early the next morning. At 6PM we went to Alona Palm Beach for our grilled fish dinner - it was the last for the trip and turned out to be the best. This is a nice beach but surprisingly, most restaurants (cheap or expensive) don't have at least good sea food to serve. More popular are western style foods.

After dinner, we had a last walk at the beach from end to end. The tide then is low and the sea retreated far from the beach. Reaching the end of the beach... we ran across this crawling object. It's a sea snake.

Creepy. It's trying to crawl back to the sea but apparently it cant crawl as fast as land snakes do. It's tail is like those of fish.

NEXT: Cost Accounting.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Bohol - Island Tour (Part III)

There are at least 7 destinations in mainland Bohol and Panglao Island.

First stop is Hinagdanan Cave in Panglao Island. Its a small cave with lagoon at the middle. There is nothing much of interest about this cave though the tourist guide said the lagoon has passageway to the sea but no one ever succeeded trying to cross (wow!). Also there are no bats inside, only paniki-like birds (i forgot the name) so the lagoon is guaranteed free of paniki droppings -- but looks stagnant. Here are other stops:

Sandugo Monument - where Datu Sikatuna and Legazpi held the historic blood compact. I wonder sometimes about history. How did those spaniards communicate with an indones or a malay chieftain? Even today its very very frustrating and even scary talking to locals in the suburbs of Jakarta or Bangkok who don't speak or understand English.

Baclayon Church (1700s) - This has little appeal to me. Why? I know there are much older and architecturally amazing churches in Europe. And the temples in Wat Pho or Angkor Wat or Borubudor are far more interesting.

Loboc Tarsiers - I would say this is the best part of the tour. Tarsiers are cute and sweet, shy and harmless little animals. They eat crickets/insects and can jump so quick. They are social animals and can live in relative captivity - not in a typical small cage (they get easily depressed and can kill themselves) but in an open controlled area. Selling or buying is illegal. Tourist can smuggle (illegally transport) but they have remote chances to survive in other places.

Obviously, tourist are so amazed by the tarsiers. The Loboc sanctuary, along the riverbank, has 4 tarsiers in "display" but they say there are more in the mountains of Bohol. The caretaker is equally amazing, he speaks Japanese, French and perfect English. Ayos!

Loboc River Cruise - The cruise is a floating restaurant. The location is just right for lunch after going trough several destinations. The buffet meal is at Php250 each and the cruise takes approximately an hour.

It rained hard while we are at the middle of the river causing little disorder as we are having lunch. Anyway, food is genuine Filipino and good enough for the price. Below is an old bridge crossing the Loboc river.

Chocolate Hills - I did not expect much and true enough the chocolate hills is just like what you see in postcards. I am more interested to go around the hills and walk the rice paddies beneath them.

At the back of this peace-post is "jumping area" where tourist can do fancy jump for a perfect postcard. I must say the photographers are pretty good - not the typical photographers with manual cameras but digital SLRs with good lens (Canon and Nikon) and instant canon photo printer. They charge Php100 for each print.

After Chocolate Hills, we passed by Butterfly garden. The tour guide mentioned many things about butterflies from scientific names to life cycle to biggest and smallest etc. All i remember now is that they breed and raise butterflies in that small garden.

Last stop is Souvenir shop and the Bee farm. The bee farm has restaurants perfectly overlooking the bay-- so scenic and relaxing.

Tired and satisfied, we drove back to Panglao island at around 5PM.

NEXT: Island Hopping

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Boho - Panglao Island (Part II)

The best place to stay in Bohol is along Alona Beach in Panglao Island. Its about 30-40 minutes from airport/city. Rent-a-car is the only option which costs Php400 one-way.

Compared to Boracay, Alona Beach is smaller but equally touristy. While Boracay has problems with green algae, this beach has lots of sea weeds specially after high tide.

The sand in Alona is more fine than Boracay- like a talcum powder.

Beachfront resorts can cost up to Php 7K a night while in Boracay Regency (a 3 star resort) its around Php6K. Anyway there are lots of options when looking for accommodation, the farther you go from the beach the cheaper. Alona Palm Beach, Alona Tropical and Alona Kew resorts are popular high-end beachfront resorts. Cheap hotels are available in tagbilaran, but its not advisable to stay there unless you intend to stay out of the beach. We stayed at Flower Garden which is not a beach front but just 5 minutes walk to Alona Beach. We rented a car for a one-day Bohol Tour and a boat for half-day dolphin watching and island hopping.

NEXT: Bohol Island Tour.

Bohol - Part 1

Among the 1,700 islands, Bohol is probably one of the most gifted. It has Chocolate hills, Tarsiers, Loboc River, Alona Beach and Resorts, Balicasag Diving and Fish sanctuary and few other local attractions. I skipped working on Monday for a 3 day trip over the week end hehe..
The capital, Tagbilaran, is 1 hour 30 minutes by air from Manila.
Above is one of several islands viewed while approaching Tagbilaran airport.

Sunday, July 8, 2007


I was looking for idiots guide to photography but realized I don't actually need it at this stage. Although the original "idiots guide" is out of stock, all similar books are not useful to me. I thought I need to explore my camera first and learn by experience.

Above is G's bbq. Pork bbq sells at Php12 while chicken isaw at Php6. Is it clean? YES.

Camera Setting: High shutter speed (10-15) and medium ISO (100-500).

Here's another shot using high shutter speed. Birds generally fly with their feet stretched backwards and beaks open.


Friday, July 6, 2007

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Street Photgraphy

Street Photography? Hehe.. sounds good. Pictures were taken somewhere in the suburb streets of Makati. A foreigner colleague asked me what game Filipinos love to play, and my instant answer is... Basketball. We are sticking on a game we all know malay/indones genes are no good. Asean nations are football fans... except us.

A familiar scene in almost every street of Manila specially during summer.

And every street corner has it's own grotto. I'm a catholic but it annoys me to see a grotto occupying the side walks. It's not legal and i think the street is not proper for such icons. Our grotto has counterpart in Thailand (a deity in mini thai temple) but they always put it in a sacred place near establishments or in their yards and not on the streets.

I have seen this in a nearby garage. A second hand BMW selling at 400K pesos. I am ignorant about cars and thats all i can say.

WARNING: If you are offended by dogs having sex on the street please STOP and click the left arrow at the top-left of your screen.

I warned you so.

This is a public market along Olympia, Makati. And that's the Ayala central business district at the back- maybe just a kilometer away. As foreigners often say Manila is a city of sharp contrast. Shanties standing near skyscrapers. So with the central business district of old Manila - Roxas Boulevard.

The good thing about this place is that they sell everything at a lower price and you can bargain (hehe of course nothing unusual)... Well it's a lot cheaper than getting it from SM or other supermarkets.

I like this shot, the contrast of pink and lively green.

Another shot. This thing grew up wildly crossing its owners fence towards the sidewalk.

Flower portrait. The best set up I can have with my 50mm lens. Same case, this flower crossed the "border" so I got this close up shot from the sidewalk.

My best shot so far. Click to enlarge.

I am excited with my camera and hoping for a better location and subjects soon.