Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Living Above Worry and Stress : Imperial Palace Waterpark Resort and Spa

Life is a cycle, they say. Sometimes you're on top, sometimes you're not. Sometimes, you're happy, sometimes you're drowning in a river of sadness. Work sometimes consumes you and you must take it back. 

Ever since I came back from South Korea, I've been preoccupied lately. Work has been consuming me that I wanted to cut it out of my life. Even my Christmas vacation will be cut short since I'll be needing to run the production line. Stress is beginning to tag along with me everyday and I want it badly out. 

And so when I had the chance to go to Imperial Palace Waterpark Resort and Spa, I did not hesitate. I want to de-stress for a while, I think I deserve to have one.After our company party at Crown Regency Hotel and Suites, a few of my colleagues went to Imperial Place, about 10 to 15-minute drive from the previous hotel we're in. We were booked at Mactan Suites, honestly it was my first time to try in a bigger and better hotel suite. 

I was really exhausted from the party though all I did was eat, took photos, drink and jamming with the live band, oh yes, maybe because of my wearing-stilettos-all night exhaustion. My feet cried out for rest that as soon as I entered the suite, I walked barefooted around. Imperial Palace was soooo huge that it took us a lot of time getting to our suite at the far edge of the hotel from the lobby. The hotel hallways were so quiet, I thought we were just the only ones walking on it. 

Interior design was superb; lobby was not that huge and  spacious but its okay though; the quiet hallways and of course barefooted around our suite is sooo okay

Monday, December 9, 2013

South Korea Day 9 : Shrine of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Namyang

Fast-forward, Day 9. 

After my stay at Pyeongtaek-si, I went to Hwaseong, a small city in Gyeonggi province in South Korea.  Aside from visiting my cousin Marlyn, her fraternal twins, Mavin and Mikael, her husband Kyounglee and my Aunt Rollie, I had an opportunity to discover a place I never thought I could  see. 

While strolling around the neighborhood, looking for a shop to buy some souvenirs, we passed this Shrine of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Namyang. Curiousity rushed over me since I know only small portion of the South Korean community is Catholic. 

I found their official website and a few introduction went like this, "The Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Namyang, also known as "Rosary Hill,"is one of the places where a large number of Catholics were martyred during the Great Byungin Persecution. To memorialize their martyrdom as proof of their faith, Namyang was designated as a Holy Site on October 7, 1991, the feast day of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Rosary. For the first time in the history of the Korean Catholic Church, a site was exclusively dedicated to the Holy Mother and prayer for peace". You may see the whole link at Shrine of the Holy Rosary of Namyang, South Korea.

When we were inside passing the wide steel gates, I was amazed by how spacious it was inside. I could see few people around, maybe because of the cold weather or maybe because it was Thursday. We went further and though it was around -4 degrees Celsius temperature that day, with layered  clothes and thick jacket, I spent almost two hours roaming, hiking, taking pictures and trying so hard to contain the moment. 

What is interesting about this place is that on aerial view, this rosary hill resembles the icon of Vladimir's Our Lady of Mercy. The area was so wide, from the two spacious areas for the gathering of the devotees, gardens, chapel, rosary road and others. 

This is a unique prayer room, the design may be made in consideration of the weather in South Korea. I like the way my lighted candle burns hot in Her presence. I believe there was a reason why my feet dragged  me to this place.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Wanderlust Series : South Korea Day 1

And so my visa was approved to visit the Land of the Morning Calm, South Korea.

I packed lightly, without even thinking about the current weather in South Korea, it's November 23 and winter is about to begin. Knowing that the current one degrees Celsius or less coldness cannot even make me killed,  with less than 2 thick jackets, I went to the airport at 10:00 PM with much excitement for this will be my first time to ever come to South Korea. 

Flight OZ710 of Asian Airlines, part of Star Alliance took me from Cebu to Incheon. Since I'm a planespotter, being on anything that flies excites me. Being in foreign airports excites me even more.

onboard flight OZ710 RPVM to ICN

I arrived at Incheon at around 7:00AM and the coldness of the atmosphere could be felt after opening the Exit gates. It was a bit dark when I first land in South Korean soil and the coldness woke up my soul with no sleep. My destination was Pyeongtaek-si, a city of Gyeonggi Province located in the southwestern part of the province. My mission : business trip to our HQ.  Boarded in Airport Limousine, from Incheon to Pyeongtaek took nearly two hours via  the Incheon Grand Bridge. Oh, did  I mentioned that the sun was rising by the time we were travelling? Oh yes, on my first day in South Korea, the universe conspired to let me see the sun on a different side of the world, it allowed me to witness why this country is called The Land of The Morning Calm. 

The mighty sun did a grand welcome for me on my first day at South Korea

Sunday, November 17, 2013

It was a Dream come true : meeting the An-225 Mriya

So I was plane-spotting again. This time, with one aircraft in mind : Antonov An-225. 

I'm a new member of  a  group called PPSG - Philippine Plane Spotters Group and I was a bit amazed that I found a herd of spotters who are so fascinated with planes, different kinds of aircraft, airports and anything about aviation. Members are not just spotters but pilots, flight attendants, air traffic controllers, ground crews, aspiring students, even an airport general manager and people like me who simply love anything  that flies. Some spotters have been searching and patiently monitoring rare flights and aircrafts in their respective areas. Some members especially the young ones are into flight simulators, some are building their own prototype airports, some are sharing  aviation news that might be useful to the group and others are sharing their spotted planes elsewhere. 

And when the group discussed about the Mriya rumored to land first time ever on Philippine soil and dig this --- it was scheduled to land in Cebu,  I wasted no time. I had to capture her. 

November 12,2013 was just an awesome day for me. Her ETA as earlier discussed was around 6:30 to 7:00 AM, I decided not to go the office for 3 hours that morning. Asgard, the spot  Mark, Gerald (fellow spotter we met a few days ago spotting Emirates 4858, a B777 aircraft which also landed first time at RPVM), and I named, was my spot to wait. It was raining when I got there and I was lucky that the guys from the Fire Station, which was stationed near Asgard, facing the terminal, took me in for shelter. I waited along with the firemen who then got excited when I told them my purpose of being there. Worry washed over me when it started to rain again and the runway has gone into an incoming zero-visibility state. Then it cleared again; past aircrafts had landed and took-off, those were the longest hours in my life, but I waited. We waited until 9:02AM and she arrived. Boy, was my heart jumped for joy? 

Antonov An-225 Mriya

Paradise Island Beach Resort, Samal Island

And so I was in Davao City again for three days.  

I just realized that I have  been to Davao three times this year --- friend's wedding on January; planned vacation in July which ended on taking care of Mark at a hospital;  this October, Mark's post-birthday treat for me. Davao has been my favorite place to stay, mainly because of the people, climate, food, places to roam around, good and systematic way of governance and of course, wonderful beaches. Mark decided that the family must go to Samal Island that day. 

We came here on a very, very hot day. But who cares? We are bound to have fun here. 

Boats were already stationed at Sasa Wharf which will take you to the resort in roughly 10 to 15 minutes 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

One fine day for plane-spotting

I have always been fascinated by airplanes. When I was young, living in a middle-class barrio, "micro plane-spotting" is one of my past times while lying on my back, taking breaks on  green  fields of Sikatuna. Of course, on my then point-of-view, aircrafts are just a super fine speck on a fine, blue sky, some where even hidden in clouds and I all I could hear is the loud, thunder-like  sound it gives; and my daydreaming would begin... 

So when I got older, I love taking snapshots of huge aircrafts on airports when I get opportunities to travel. Some pictures were hidden somewhere on my computer before, forgotten and some were lost. Just then I realized that my fascination with airplanes is actually a hobby --- who would have thought?! 

And so since I just discovered this as a hobby, I'm going to share some of the planes I've spotted. 

Cathay Pacific Airbus Airbus A330-342 B-HLH at RPVM

Monday, June 17, 2013

Let's get this party started!

I was a weekend drinker. There were  times  my body longs for cold beers and hard-partying. I admit I drink, before,  to get over a break-up, in confusion, getting over a huge fight, into deep thinking about life, angry over someone at work, party with friends, or simply supporting a friend in confusion , celebrating something or simply hanging out friends.

I think the saying, "Tell me who your friends are and I'll tell you who you are" is kinda true. But in my case, being judgmental on something you don't have any idea of is a different thing. I belong to a middle-class family, where some little celebrations are celebrated with adults on a drinking-spree. I came from a little town where people hang-out in groups,  always with alcohol bottles in their hand.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Beach Life - Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort and Spa

Life is a beach --- or so I've heard.  People from a tropical  country loves the beach, who doesn't? Those  ocean-filled air sweeping your hair, having sunkissed skin  from those sun-bathing hours, those beach water  hugging  your body,  those white sands dancing under your  feet --- yes, the beach!
Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort and Spa

I am  lucky enough to have situated in a beautiful island in the Philippines. I spent my childhood in a small island called Bohol in the center of the country. Beaches there are superb.  Currently, my work requires me to  stay in Cebu, the nearby island of Bohol, particularly in Mactan Island. The island  has a lot of  beaches, I mean world-class resorts. I  have  been to some of those  but this particular  resort  is so far my favorite. Because of my work, I am privileged to have an annual vacation here, shall I say one of the perks of working in a Japanese manufacturing firm for almost six years. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

5:30pm habit

It's 5:30PM and I am at my usual spot. It's been a long day; the sun has mightily letting out his power for the last couple of hours and like a worn-out baby, it's time to call it a day --- and I am watching HIM slowly disappearing among the clouds. 

I am a sky-watcher. When I was younger, I remember I love staring at clouds. I used to run freely, enjoying the heat, the wind and of course the company of my little friends. I remember having this memory of lying on my back, with both hands at the back of my head, staring at a sunless sky with my brothers on an open field (I think we were on a break from gathering young corns from my grandfather's cornfield).  It was a happy feeling, so vivid that when I close my eyes right now I can still feel it --- that freedom from anything, that unexplained happiness. 

And here I am, standing at my usual spot at our facility, observing  my 5:30PM habit of watching a sunset  in progress.  When we moved-in on our new facility, I have all my time watching the sun sets, the sky without too much trees and buildings covering it. I enjoy my morning walks, my sunset habit and my usual sky-watching. 

During the construction of our new facility, as one of the personnel spearheading the transfer, we are  required to visit this every week to check the updates. And this, my friends is what I usually see

Friday, March 8, 2013

Exploring Olango Island

And so, my VIP-ness was activated last weekend, again, at Olango Island. 

I am Sky, a Libran, an air-element. I love the outdoors, I love flying, zip-lining, water, beach, anything windy and yes, island-hopping. I have been to Olango Island and it's always an exciting experience, to be one with nature. 

Olango Island Group is located near Mactan Island and Cordova. It has six islets which scattered along the these municipalities. These are famous for dive sites, seafood trips and  other water-related activities.  For now, I will be writing about my seafood trip experience.  

This is actually my second time visiting the island. You can rent a boat ranging from P3500 to P5000 depending on the boat capacity. Either you can start your way in Olango Wharf at Mactan or at Portofino Beach Resort. From the port, the boat will be traveling about 30 to 45 minutes to the known stilt restaurants.

A few minutes after leaving the island, the first time you will notice, of course, is how the water looks like : deep, blue-green and patches of whites indicating a clear white sand beneath as you go farther. The scent of the sea that reaches your lungs makes the whole experience fun and exciting. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

book-hunting anyone?

Trip to malls isn't complete without being able to visit a bookstore. Oh, I can't help it, really. It's like, it has has some kind of an imaginary power or magnet that made me drawn to it.  It's like it has this certain powerful aura that every time I pass into it, I blinked, I paused and would check the bookshelves out.  And last weekend, on my usual  grocery schedule, I picked two. 
My mother used to tell me that when I was about two years old, I would love to play with any reading materials at home, which I usually ended up tearing them all apart (maybe I was fascinated with the properties of paper which gives out a sound when torn -- or maybe I was enjoying the little power I had "destroying" a thing at my age). And so, my mother, a school teacher, bought me hard-bound children's books for me to delight myself into. At school, not to brag, but I was one of the "elite" children who's one of the teacher's assistants to teach my classmates who had a hard time recognizing letters and how to pronounce it. My addiction to read followed me throughout school days. I would love to camp in libraries and oh, I love the smell of old books! It's like a drug. So addicting. Time also pushed me to write; from essay contests to publishing and contributing poems and articles to school papers. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Best Bible Lovestory

 Movie Review : One Night With the King

Okay, so this is so far the best love story I've ever seen. Hopeless romantic, yes I am, I have been drawn to love stories in books, movies and stories of people around me. I too have my own love stories but this movie has something that drawn me to it; maybe the casts, the settings, fine clothing, cinematography -- oh, yes, her bravery and enthusiasm. 

I have seen this movie for a couple of times but like the dog-movie, Hachiko (one of my favorite movie too), it still gives me chills and a lump on my throat every time I hear her say, "This is my most valuable possession in the world. It is my past, my present and my future. And all of it is yours." Awww! 

And so I found something on youtube and thought why not share and write something about it here. I've heard Esther's story in the Old Testament before but really paid not much attention to it until I saw this movie. I've learned once again that love is not about what you could have in return but what you could give for love. Love is not just all about romances and all those sweet-nothings everyone experienced but true love means  willing to give his/her own life for someone, in this case, the whole race to be saved. Hadassah which became Esther was such a fine, young lady.  No one knows about her past but in the bible she was known be an orphaned and taken cared of by his old Uncle. Oh, such a long story but I suggest you to watch this movie.  You may click the link below for a trailer. 

( Youtube credits : JaimeR90 thank you for this buddy! )