My day at Terra Manna

There are people who will change you and your perspectives in life, but there are also places that will quiet your spirit and will just give you the right perspective to go on with life. Spending Holy Wednesday at Terra Manna Camping and Resort, Badian, Cebu is life changing. Hope these pictures will inspire you the way the real thing inspired me.

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Have you been to a similar place which have inspired you? gave you a new perspective? If yes, feel free to comment below.

Hospitality and New Friends in Central Visayas

During my first visit in Central Visayas specifically the beautiful city of Cebu, I experienced Filipino Hospitality at its best. My second visit made my previous sentence an understatement.

I have been a couchsurfer for 2 and a half years already but this is my first time to really surf a couch. I met my CS Host last 2010 as she treated us dinner at Casa Verde, the home of the famous Brian’s Baby Back Ribs. This time, she was kind enough to open her house for me to spend the night before traveling to the south. Her roommates were also accommodating.

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Little did I know that I will be entering a house filled with Bollywood VCDs and DVDs. Like me, my CS Host and her roommates are avid fans of the genre.
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My first ever couch!
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Just enjoying my very first couch.

After my very short stay in Cebu City, I headed south to Siquijor Island. Again, the kindness of the people there were noteworthy especially the Abing family. Ate Mars was my classmate during our Business Counseling Seminar in Makati City. I just met her last month but when I visited their beautiful island, she already treated me as if I am her son. I was also able to meet her gwapo (handsome) son and gwapa (beautiful…very beautiful) daughter. It was easier for me to have a connection with her kids because they both studied at a very geeky science high school, probably the Siquijor counterpart of my science high in Angeles City . Her daughter was also a Potterhead (Harry Potter fan)…as expected from a Science School alumnus.

Anyway, Ate Mars took me to Samy’s pizza and treated me a Beef Steak meal, one of the specialty dishes of Siquijor. After dinner, they welcomed me to their house for a temporary stay because there was a brownout at my hostel’s area.

Siquijor is well known for its people who practice “dark magic”, “dark arts”, or whatever you want to call it. Well, I believe that was just a funny myth. The people here are magical because of their love and for their hospitality towards a stranger (and probably the only aswang-ish in the area) like me.

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From Sqiuijor, I took a ferry ride to Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental just to see Siliman University and to eat at the famous Sans Rival restaurant. The advantage of eating out alone is the opportunity to meet people with whom you will share a seat with, specially at a touristy restaurant. I have met 4 people at their early 30s. They invited me to join their Negros Oriental trip, but unfortunately, I need to get back to Cebu City again…and unfortunately, I don’t have pictures with them.

From Negros Oriental, I took a pumpboat to Lilo-an Port, Cebu, then a motorcycle ride (or habal habal) to Oslob Cebu to meet new friends….the Whale Sharks, a.k.a Butanding. The experience was breathtaking. I only swam with them for around 20 minutes and probably those were the best 20 minutes of my life. This is not an exaggeration. The experience was just…aaaaaa…

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From Oslob, I took a bus to Cebu City and just spent 2 days there for my training-the reason why I was in Cebu in the first place. Again, people never fail to amaze me. Jan, my roommate was from our Regional Office. He was my “competitor” during a promotional interview; and probably that’s the only time we had the chance to talk, which was actually an indirect trash talk. Its a good thing both of us got promoted. My point is, he is an interesting person. He loves football and he influenced me to watch some games during our 3 days at our hotel room.  I am not a football fan, but one thing I like about this guy is the fact that he is passionate about something. On the other hand, Ate Tet, my other training buddy is also an interesting person. I met her during our Business Counselling Training (yes, that same training I had with Ate Mars of Siquijor). She has these one of a kind principles which were really impressive. The three of us bonded over a sumptuous and humongous buffet provided by our hotel.

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After the training, I went back to the south to spend my Holy Wednesday at Terra Manna Camping and Resort. I planned this to be a time of solitude, so I haven’t really made new friends (well the staff were friendly though) except for the majestic nature doing its daily routine to comfort people who needs a time-off.

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From Terra Manna, I took a habal-habal ride to the famous Kawasan Falls of Matutinao, and here I met Rosie, a Cebu City local. We just had those 10-minute conversation but I think those were enough to gain a new friend. She invited me to go with them in Moalboal, but again, I declined. Silly me.

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Please! Do not mind my skinny body. Im a work in process and in progress. You will find me hot in the next couple of years. Haha.

Whew! That’s it and I apologize for the very long post.

I thought I was a travel blogger. Then I realized I am not. I am a people blogger. I blog about people and how great this world is because of people. I will always believe that people are naturally good, not the other way around. How about you? What do you think? Are people naturally good or naturally bad?

Mail’s Here Part 1

While I was busy doing some work stuffs yesterday and while my eyes were bloody red because of stress, my dad texted me. He informed me that I received 2 postcards and 1 letter. That moment,  I got motivated to accomplish a lot at work and got excited to go home.

I missed the feeling of receiving mail… I mean the real mail.. the very slow but very meaningful mail. Anyway, here are the postcards:

1. Here’s one from Malaysia.

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2. The ever generous Poland (will write separately why I called it, generous Poland)

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3. Aside from the Postcards, I received a photo card from my Argentinian guests last month. This is the sweetest thing ever!

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Last month, I have received my first ever postcard, and it was from United Kingdom (Scotland):

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… and of course, the little postcard gift of my guest from Czech republic. This is a photo of the Prague Church.

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DIY: Photo Collage for Travel Junkies

Because my room became home to couchsurfers and backpackers around the globe, I have decided to re-design it and add a travel twist to it. Most of the people I have hosted had no idea on what places to visit in the Philippines. I have made this project In order for them to see a glimpse of the country especially the places I have visited.

So first, I need to have a canvass. Glad that my door is very plain except for the black wallpaper.

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Prior to this, I have gathered the best pictures from each province I have visited in the country. I edited them from colored pictures to black and white. I’ve added some captions to highlight the place and the province.

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Aside from the pictures, I have printed a large Black and White Philippine map. I like this picture I found on the internet.

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So I have gathered everything and posted them at the door as a collage.

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Because it was a boring art, I have bought sticker paper to add some roads, lines and whatever you want to call them. The best colors for this art are red, blue and yellow–representing the flag of the Philippines. Yellow stickers represent loop roads.

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Red stickers represent straight roads while Blue stickers represent zig zag roads.

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I have added the word TRAVEL from the poster given to me by a friend.

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For the final touch, I have added a compass to represent the 4 directions of the map.

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—–

THE WORKSHOP FOR THIS ART

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Early Visita Iglesia

Today is a very happy day for me. First, the Vatican has finally elected a new Pope (God bless Pope Francis) after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Second, I had the chance to join the retreat organized by our agency. Finally, I was able to enjoy 7 Churches as part of my early VISITA IGLESIA this lenten season. I am happy and I am not even a Catholic.

Of course, aside from the spiritual refresher I had today, I cannot deny the fact that the highlight is the Visita Iglesia. This event is one of the lenten traditions but usually done every Holy Thursday. The pilgrim should visit 7 churches in order for him to meditate and pray.

The visit was unexpected. And because it was unexpected, I have no idea about the churches we visited except for the fact that majority of them were destroyed during the Mount Pinatubo eruption and the terrible Lahar flow.

1. Sta. Barbara Church. After the retreat, we visited the nearest church from the venue which is Sta. Barbara Church. The church was destroyed by ash-flow; but because of the efforts of the people in the area, it was rebuilt and was made new.

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2. San Guillermo Church. Aside from the fact that this was used as a location by a local TV series, it is  also the most popular lahar-devastated church in the country.

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3. Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. This is a very small church but rich in history. I find it very eerie though.

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4. Betis Church. I am so in love with this church! The Baroque-inspired structure is very majestic. I can’t help but to adore its beauty.

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5. Santa Clara Church. This is my second favorite because I had the chance to play with Angels. I seriously believe that this place is really a house of angels because of its structure. See for yourself.

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6. Sto. Nino Church. I am sorry but this is my least favorite church today for the reason that it was close when we went there. But because my office-mates were persistent pilgrims, they were able to pray in front of the closed door.

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7. Arzobispado De Pampanga (Chancery). Home to the Archbishop of Pampanga, the Chancery was our last church for this pilgrimage. I felt the modernization of the Catholic church here.

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Postcards for Penang, Terengganu, Weedon, Carabobo, Valladolio, Haryana and Shanghai

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This postcard will fly to Estado Barabobo, Venezuela.
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I personally like this postcard and want to keep it, but it will fly to Valladolio, Spain for Juan and Vanessa.
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This is my THANK-YOU note for the Postcard I received from Weedon, United Kingdom. (will post it soon)
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I envy this Rizal Park Postcard because it will fly to Terengganu, Malaysia.
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This postcard is a response to a Couchsurfer in Pengang, Malaysia who wants to revive the art of collecting postcards. She will be conducting an exhibit in their area. Hope this card will make it on time.
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Varun of Haryana India committed to send a postcard from their country. This is my early thank you note. Namaste.
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From Cebu to Shanghai, China

These are the second batch of postcards I’m going to send this week. The problem is, I don’t like going to post offices, or should I say, I don’t have a time. I will find time. That’s a promise.