Friday, May 30, 2008

New7Wonders: Philippines Nominated 4 Times

Four of the countless natural gems (I've been to three of them) in the Philippines have been nominated for the New 7 Wonders of Nature. And I couldn't be happier/prouder.

In 11th place, so far, is the Bicol Region's very own Mayon Volcano. Even after erupting over 40 times (it is said to be the most active volcano in our country), it still boasts its perfect cone shape. It's amazing how something so beautiful can also be powerful and violent. Same goes for people I guess, right? I was fortunate to see [part] of the volcano during my first trip to Bicol in March '07. It was very cloudy that time. The locals believe that when the volcano senses tourists, it shies away and hides in the mist. I'm definitely going back for a closer, better view next time.

Coming close in 8th place is the famous Subterranean River National Park located in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. The water flows through a long stretch of darkness (said to be the longest underground river in the world) and out into the South China Sea. The picture on the right is a shot of the lagoon located at the mouth of the cave. I was able to ride a boat (with a very animated tour guide, no less) into the cave and down the river in August last year, and it just completely took my breath away. Limestone, stalactite, and stalagmite formations inside the cave were just majestic. Some took shape of famous people, world events, and monuments -- it was chilling and awesome alright.

Currently in the 5th spot is the breathtaking landscape of the Chocolate Hills in Carmen City, Bohol. Just to clarify, no, they're not made of cocoa. They just look like mounds upon mounds of yummy dark chocolate, especially during the height of summer when the grass just self-ignite once the scorching sun goes psychotic. The climb to the top-most part of the viewing deck was a struggle, but I got there fine. It was well worth it, I'd say. I'd go up there again the next chance I get, that's for sure. The panoramic view was just simply priceless. If it doesn't get into the final 7, I'd think the whole 7 natural wonders system is flawed. I really hope it stays in the top 7 though. It truly is amazing.

Hopefully not the last of the bunch (you can still send in your nominations), the Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea, is in 3rd place. A spectacular 8 kilometer-wide channel is sandwiched by the North and South atolls, both of which can be seen from the surface of the water. The UNESCO-declared World Heritage Site is a protected marine sanctuary and home to over 1,000 species -- some even endangered. I've never been, but I would love to travel there and see its majesty for myself. When I decide to go scuba diving, I'm definitely hitting the Tubbataha Reef first.

Voting for your favorites will last until the end of the year. After that, an expert panel will come up with the semi-finalists (21 candidates) from the top 77. Voting will commence again from 2009 until 2010. The final 7 will be officially released around the summer of 2010. Exciting.

Support the Philippines and vote for all four natural wonders. Pinoy pride 'to, 'pre!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

10 On Tuesday: Effective Time Suckage Tactics

This week's ten is a good one. It's precious time down the drain.; it's time I can never get back. But I have no regrets. After all, nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely...or so that 19th century Rodin dude said.

Before I go on with my 10, I just want to give a shout-out to my loved ones who are celebrating their birthdays this week -- to my friends Edsel, Iris, and Danny, who celebrated theirs yesterday; to my Über fabulous aunt Memey, who defies age and time every 29th of May; and to Obie, who turns 27 today (welcome to my world...almost). And now, my 10 favorite time wasters:

1. Scouring for grammatical and punctuation errors. I look everywhere for them -- street signs, banners, news, stores, posters. It's more of an unconscious tick more than a deep desire to waste time, really.

2. Watching TV. We all know 98% of the stuff on the tube nowadays is bad for the average brain (erm, needless?). But we watch them anyway.

3. RockBand on PS3. Some might say "get a life, start a REAL band!#@$" But I say to them, "screw you. RockBand rules!!!"

4. Bugging others. So, I'm bored. It gives me an excuse to be mean.

5. Come up with stupid cheers and senseless nursery rhymes in my head. Example: "Oh my, Cinderella! Sweet butter lemon! Many, many cola...many, many cola in the pop cola!" See what I mean?

6. Rent/buy/watch movies I've never heard of before. You know, just for the heck of it. Sometimes I find a gem, other times I stop after a few minutes of watching and forget about it altogether.

7. Pig out.

8. Sleep.

9. Sit around a circle (or lie comfortably on the floor) at 4 in the morning chatting with friends about nothing and everything. Bashing former lovers, culminating the art of gossiping (it's evil; stay away from it if possible), exchanging fashion lusts and disgusts, comparing body mass indexes and exercise regimens WHILE eating the featured junk food of the week.

10. Stare into space...or something, anything, for the longest time, without purpose or awareness. This may sound like a total waste of time, but sometimes zoning out helps. Who needs a shrink when you can achieve a peaceful stasis all on your own. It gets you centered. Keeps you Zen. Intellectual, spiritual, and emotional recharge, if you will. It's effective AND cheap. Go ahead, have a nice daze. :)

Monday, May 26, 2008

When I Look At The Stars...



Stars
by Switchfoot

Maybe I've been the problem
Maybe I'm the one to blame
But even when I turn it off and blame myself
The outcome feels the same

I've been thinkin' maybe I've been partly cloudy
Maybe I'm the chance of rain
And maybe I'm overcast and maybe
All my luck's washed down the drain

I've been thinkin' 'bout everyone, everyone you look so lonely
But when I look at the stars,
When I look at the stars,
When I look at the stars
I see someone else
When I look at the stars, the stars
I feel like myself

Stars looking at our planet,
Watching entropy and pain
And maybe start to wonder
How the chaos in our lives could pass as sane

I've been thinkin' 'bout the meaning of resistance
Of a hope beyond our own
And suddenly the infinite and penitent
Began to look like home

I've been thinkin' 'bout everyone, everyone you look so empty
But when I look at the stars,
When I look at the stars,
When I look at the stars
I see someone else
When I look at the stars, the stars
I feel like myself, You!

Stars,
Stars

Everyone, everyone you feel so lonely
Everyone, ya everyone you feel so empty
When I look at the stars,
When I look at the stars,
When I look at the stars
I feel like myself
When I look at the stars, the stars
I see someone

Whao!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Human Rights For All

What exactly are our rights as human beings? Why do we need to open our eyes to injustice and speak out when these rights are curtailed? Why should we care?

As far as freedom and the basic rights to live are concerned, we should never cease to care. While oppression exists, we should never turn our heads away. When governments feed us lies and mere half-truths, we should never just shrug our worries away. These things will not disappear until we, as citizens of a country we proudly call home, and as a unified race of this global community, do something about them. If you think you're living comfortably and you're exempted from this reality, then let me be the one to knock some sense into you -- you're dead wrong. If your neighbor's rights are violated, yours could be next.

In Pope Benedict XVI's UN speech last month, he stressed on the non-violent means of advocating, promoting, and protecting our human rights -- in the United States and around the world. He also said that “the promotion of human rights remains the most effective strategy for eliminating inequalities between countries and social groups and for increasing security.”

The Philippines is no stranger to the suppression of human rights. It may not always be as violent as the warfare and bloodshed going on in other countries, but the ramifications are just as painful and real. The government HAS to be an ally of the people; not it's enemy. We vote for politicians who we trust and they, in turn, should continue the fight for truth and justice on behalf of the people. Greed, corruption, and self-interests overshadow this objective. And as a result, human rights are violated. Over and over again.

As with any tragedy or calamity, there is still hope. It is not the end. Be the change you want to see in the world, as Gandhi once said. When there is dissension -- peacefully resolve. When there is injustice -- speak out. When there is a cause to be fought -- get involved.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

10 On Tuesday: Things I'm Really Good At

This one's a little tricky. But OK, I'll bite. Here are 10 [of the countless LOL] things I'm really good at...

1. Impromptu storytelling. But for some reason, I'm better with fiction than real accounts. With a pretty huge...imagination, I guess it comes with the territory.

2. Taking pictures of myself. It's harder than some might think. I've taught a good few how to angle the face and take a decent picture...with a little preview of the background as well. And I've been doing this long before cellphone with cameras or those anorexic digicams, mind you -- those are easy.

3. Touching my toes. I am pretty flexible. Some might look at me and think I can't do it, but they're dead wrong. I can touch my toes, kick really high, do back bends, hand stands. I did splits, too (I haven't done that recently so I wouldn't know if I still could). But all in all, I'm pretty flexible. So, a piece of advise: don't go judging people by their waistlines. ;)

4. Cheering people up. I did a lot of cheerleading (minus the extreme acrobatics) in grade school and high school. I was loud, upbeat, and infectious. I guess now, I still have a little of that in me. In some instances, a lot. Making others laugh, forget about their problems even for just a short while, and feel better about themselves makes me feel good about myself.

5. The written word. I love writing. I'm a pretty creative person, I'd say. Generally, I think that if you love something a lot, you know in your heart it's good (even when it isn't).

6. Copywriting. This is very much related to #5. I have to be good at this, because it's only what I do for a living. I like to write, read, and edit stuff simultaneously. I like coming up with witty tag lines and headers. Sure, I am capable of corny just like the next guy, but in the end, I rock it out.

7. Sounding pretty. Everyone knows I love to sing. I happen to think I have a pretty decent singing voice. And my speaking voice ain't so bad either. I mean, I've done a few dubbing and recording stints in the past. And for some reason, people like to hear me read stuff out loud (yes, I've been asked to do this many, many, many times). So, I guess I do sound pretty.

8. Shopping. And buying fabulous stuff that don't really cost much. I can do this with my eyes closed.

9. Drinking with/as much as the boys. I'm not even going to expound on this because I KNOW some/one of you will contest. The rest of you would just have to take my word for it.

10. Planning. At one time, I had like 2 organizers -- one in my bag and one on my desk -- plus an electronic calendar (I got it as a present and I thought it was really cool), a wall calendar, and post-its splattered all around my room with crazy ass reminders. And that was only in high-school. I'm a born planner. I love to keep things organized...even if it's just on the surface. I'm a wreck deep, deep down, but to appear highly organized despite of that? I think that's just pure talent.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Doodle Purr A Cause

For Doodle Day Manic Monday, Mo over at It's A Blog Eat Blog World will donate 50¢ for every blog that posts a doodle with a cat in it and links to his site of course. I haven't done Manic Monday in a while, so this week's actually very cool and very special. Proceeds of this noble (and fun!) cause will go to Cat Friends Helping Friends. I'm more than happy to do my part (even if it's just a cat doodle I made on Paint).

This little doodle is for Joey...know that despite my busy schedule, you and your pet human are always in my thoughts.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

On Vermins, Virgins, And Survivor Caramoan

Before anything else, I just want to make a little shout out to all the Mommies out there -- Happy Mother's Day! And to my Mom, who can be a royal pain sometimes (I'm sure I am just as impossible to her as a daughter), I love you no matter what. And now to today's mutterings...

LunaNina says ... and I think ... ?

  1. Track :: Sound-. As music plays a big part in my life, motion picture soundtracks do, too.
  2. Snake :: Serpent. Sly. Scaly. TRAITOR.
  3. Assignment :: What teachers give students to ruin perfectly awesome weekends. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually miss school.
  4. Blockbuster :: Movies -- also an integral part of my life.
  5. Bombastic :: Mr. Lover Lover. Hmmm.
  6. Adventure :: I heard the Survivor outwit-outplay-outlast crew is in Caramoan (that's an island in the Philippine's Bicol region) getting ready for the next one. Ahlavit!
  7. First time :: "Like a virgin, touched for the very..."
  8. Aged :: A great bottle of wine.
  9. Grip :: Tennis.
  10. Shortcut:: ctrl+alt+del.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Rave: "Ploning" The Movie

Update: Ploning is currently showing in selected cinemas nationwide (SM, Robinson's Galleria, Robinson's Ermita, Robinson's Metro East, Sta. Lucia malls, Ever Gotesco malls, and various provincial locations)

Starring:
Judy Ann Santos (not really a fan of hers, but I give her props for even just co-producing the film), Mylene Dizon, Meryl Soriano, Ces Quesada, Tessie Tomas, Beth Tamayo, and Joel Torre.

Special Appearances & Note-worthy Acting: Gina Pareno, who played Ploning's true love's mother Intang, was spectacular as always. Her monologue toward the end was just heart-wrenchingly beautiful. Then, there was Crispin Pineda as Ploning's ailing father Toting. Everyone knows I have a soft spot for weeping old men with mustaches; they remind me of my Dad and my late Gramps. A dramatic scene with a weeping bearded old dude is a surefire tearjerker for me. And who can ignore the subtle yet incredibly moving character of Juaning, played by the ever so talented Eugene Domingo. Even as a paralyzed single mother in the movie, she managed to make effortless magic with both her humor and heartfelt tears. Last but not the least, there's Ronnie Lazaro, who had but a couple of minutes on the silverscreen, yet gave me goosebumps and moved me to even more tears.

In A Nutshell: Pag-ibig [love], paghihintay [waiting], pag-asa [hope]...the entire movie revolved mainly around these three themes. Ploning, which is also the lead's palayaw [nickname], is a celebrated folk song in and around the province of Palawan. From what I understand, the song is about finding love, waiting for them to return from their long journey, and the hope of living happily together for the rest of their lives. While romance is an obvious tone of the movie, love in its entirety is its main message. The patient and resilient kind shared by all -- family, friends, lovers.

"'Ploning' is a worthy tribute to small-town life and mores, to women of heart and bravery, and to filmmakers of courage and integrity." ~ Rina Jimenez-David, Philippines Daily Inquirer

Ploning was truly a delight to watch. I couldn't be more proud to be a Filipino (and a Knoller, as one of the producers is, too). Well, I could be prouder, I guess...if filmmakers made more movies like this gem.

This indie-Pinoy film was co-written and directed by one of the most talented contemporary minds in the country today. The cast is nothing but top grade. The setting -- breathtakingly spectacular (I should know, I've been there). Ploning may not be the "bestest" Filipino movie of all time, but, it deserves much, much praise nonetheless. For that, I give it a 10/10.

For more information on the film and how you can help to promote it, please visit www.ploningthemovie.com.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

On Skittles, Dani California, And Flagrant Replies

LunaNina says ... and I think ... ?

  1. State :: ...of mind.
  2. Lively :: Bursting with fruit flavor.
  3. Valet :: Indispensable in a highly populated metropolis.
  4. Traction :: Sub- & at-.
  5. Official :: Also means "something/someone you shouldn't mess with."
  6. Red hot :: ...Chilli Peppers.
  7. Powder :: That movie from a while back with the hairless white electrically charged hottie.
  8. Replies :: A bunch of answers?!
  9. Flagrant :: Sacra bleu!!$$%^
  10. Tweet:: Chirp.