My Palawan Getaway: Day 1

18 Feb

Last February 12, my wife showed me Palawan’s great beauty. We went there for a 3-day tour and this is my personal account of the journey. We stayed at Puerto Princesa by the way.

The earliest flight to Puerto Princesa, Palawan via Cebu Pacific leaves Manila at 8am. Not much to tell except that we arrived at Palawan 20 minutes early than what was scheduled. Pretty neat. Score 1 for CebuPac.

An hour after arriving, I did what most would consider a waste of precious time. I slept. Can’t blame me. I wasn’t sure where to go just yet. Another hour passed, we had lunch. After lunch, I rented a tricycle as my service around the city with Kuya Richard as my pilot. *People here are so used of dealing with tourists that Kuya Richard was the one who planned my itenerary for me. 🙂

2:30pm

Start of my tour! First stop, a convenience store for batteries!

2:40pm

Looked down and saw my shorts and shirt drizzled with motor oil. Apparently, the motor oil cap burst open while we were moving. Nothing to be upset about as Kuya Richard was extremely apologetic and it was nobody’s fault. I know smell motor oil. Not the insect repellent I was thinking about.

2:50pm

On our way to Crocodile Farm, Kuya Richard told me of their annual tree planting activity at one of the mountains there. Everyone able would go to the mountains and plant a tree. Transportation is provided by the municipal government.

2:55pm

Crocodile Farm! Had to wait awhile since they let people in only every 30 minutes. Saw a huge 60-year old crocodile! And I mean huge! There are also some other land animals and birds within the park. Spent a good hour inside.

4:00pm

Off to Butterfly Farm!

4:10pm

Butterfly Farm is a small place full of different types of butterflies and moths. They were already calm when I entered. If you want to see them fluttering all over the place, better visit when the weather’s hot. Stayed for 20 minutes. Might’ve been shorter if not for Kuya Caretaker’s informative lecture.

4:35pm

Mitra’s Mansion. Not much to see here. More of a stopover than an actual attraction. Its a mansion on top of a hill overlooking some mountains and a field.

4:50pm

Baker’s Hill! This one looks more like a hotel/restaurant/outdoor park/mini zoo/garden rolled into one. They sell their famous Hopia hot off the bakery. It has been renovated to a pasalubong shop/stopover for tourists. The garden here is quite nice.

My tour was cut short as I need to head back the hotel and wash up for dinner at the also famous KaLui restaurant. We made a quick stop to St. Peter’s funeral parlor for a photo inside a pink coffin.

I’ll be posting information on the places I visited while I was in Palawan in a few days. 😉

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Crash Course to Credit Cards: Why get one?

18 Feb
First 4 digits of a credit card

Image via Wikipedia

Welcome to my Crash Course to Credit Cards series! In this post, I’ll be talking about the pros and cons of getting a getting card. (Note that this post is intended for Philippine based readers as the banking system here differ from other countries specially the United States.)

Why a credit card?

First, let’s define what a credit card is. According to Wikipedia, “A credit card is a small plastic card issued to users as a system of payment. It allows its holder to buy goods and services based on the holder’s promise to pay for these goods and services.”

Simply put, a credit card allows you to buy goods and pay for them later.

Why would I need one?

I remember back when I was working at a bank that issues credit cards. Whenever a credit card holder requests cancellation, we tell them to keep the card for emergencies. True. You’ll never know when you’ll need extra cash. Suppose you have to pay for something today, let’s say, a hospital bill. You can charge it to your credit card for the meantime and then pay for it once its due.

Here are other reasons to get a credit card:
  • Deferred Payments. Also called installments. You pay for what you bought monthly. This is what couples usually do whenever they need something. An appliance maybe. You get charged for the whole amount of what you bought but it gets spread into small, monthly payments making it easier to pay.
  • Security. Imagine going to the mall to buy a Php40,000 LCD TV in cash. With a credit card, you don’t have to physically carry money with you.
  • Convenience. You may charge your utility bills onto your credit card. That way, your credit card pays for your bills promptly. No need to worry about missing due dates.
  • Bonuses. Some credit cards earn points with usage. You can exchange those points for items or miles. With HSBC, you can get a tall beverage from Starbucks with a minimum purchase of Php2,000. With Citibank, you get movie passes for a minimum purchase of Php1,500. (Note that these are current promos and may end soon.)
  • Exclusivity. Some credit card companies offer special or VIP access to events like concerts and sale events. Others offer store discounts.

Those are the main advantages or perks of owning a credit card. But be warned, owning a credit card entails much responsibility or you’ll end up with a bad credit history. (More on this later in the series.)

If you want more first-hand information regarding credit cards, its better to ask someone who owns one. Ask a friend or a family member and know what its like to have a credit card.

My new toy. =)

15 Feb

In reference to my previous post, I finally got it! A Nikon d5000 Digital Single-lens Reflex camera! Given to me by my wife as a birthday gift. (Thanks a lot baby!)

I was torn between the new Nikon d3100 and the Nikon d5000. The d3100 is newer and has improved High Definition video recording. But there was something about the d5000 I like. Something the d3100 doesn’t have. Probably its bracketing and some other features but honestly, I don’t know… yet.

Still need to learn a LOT about my new camera. Hopefully, I’ll be taking good and stunning photographs soon. Again, I thank my girl for giving me this. Booyah!

Crash Course to Credit Cards

9 Feb
Credit cards

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been asked by many regarding credit cards. What are credit cards? How do you use them? I then decided to make a beginner’s guide to using and maintaining credit cards. Owning one can be a huge responsibility so take heed of my tips and advise!

 

Beginners’ Guide to Credit Cards

  • How to Apply for a Credit Card
  • Basic Credit Card Use and Tips
  • Decoding Financial Jargons
  • Getting Out of Debt
  • F.A.Q.s

Check back often for updates! Also, don’t hesitate to share your experiences with your credit cards.

 

The 5 Stages of Coping

24 Jan
Red sunset

Image via Wikipedia

I think one trademark of us humans is our ability to cope. Whenever we lose something (a job or a marriage) or someone (loved one or a family member) and are devastated, we undergo the process of coping. According to About.com:

The five stages of the Kübler-Ross stage model are the best-known description of the emotional and psychological responses that many people experience when faced with a life-threatening illness or life-changing situation. These stages don’t only apply to loss as a result of death but may also occur in someone who experience a different life-changing event such as a divorce or loss of a job.

These stages are not meant to be complete or chronological. Not everyone who experiences a life-threatening or life-changing event feels all five of the responses nor will everyone who does experience them do so in the order that is written. Reactions to illness, death, and loss are as unique as the person experiencing them.

The five stages of coping with dying were described by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her classic book On Death and Dying in 1969. The stages have been abbreviated as DABDA and stand for:

Denial. You can’t accept it. You know how people react when told of bad news? They’re stunned. They get cold hands and feet. Oftentimes, the only thing they can say is: “No! That can’t be!” Denial.

Anger. You fell angry. Sometimes the anger is towards another person or a circumstance. It could be anger towards  something that took your something/someone away. Other times, you fell angry at yourself. “Why did I let it happen?”

Bargaining. You offer something in exchange. Some say “Of all the bad people in the world, why him?” or “Bakit ikaw pa? Sana ako nalang!” (Why does it have to be you? I wish it was me!”)

Depression. All is lost. You can’t eat. You can’t function normally. Nothing makes sense. For you, the world has stopped and lost its meaning.

Acceptance. You let go. This can take years. Some don’t even reach this stage. They just cycle with the 4 stages and just can’t let go.

The only comfort we have in times like this is to know that everything happens for a reason (Romans 8:28, The Holy Bible) and that there is life after death. I’d like to share a piece of Dream Theater’s song The Spirit Carries On.

“Move on, be brave
Don’t weep at my grave
Because I am no longer here
But please never let
Your memory of me disappear”

“If I die tomorrow
I’d be all right
Because I believe
That after we’re gone
The spirit carries on…”

I’m gonna get you… one way or another.

23 Jan

No, I’m not talking about killing someone. I’m talking about the thing I so wanted to have right now. A Digital Single-Lens Reflex camera commonly known as DSLR.

Why?

Back then, I’m into videos. Don’t know what caused the shift but I love doing them both. I love taking pictures and being able to share them others. We have a couple of point-and-shoot cameras of decent quality but my problem with those kind of cameras are the images they produce. I like to call them bland photos. I can’t have enough detail on the photo to be able to show others how good or breathtaking my subject is. I have a lot of things to consider. The bills ain’t gonna pay themselves, right?

So why not get one?

Ah. That’s the problem. You see, I don’t have the money to buy it right now. You may have had yours as a gift or bought it yourself. Good for you. I, however, am not that lucky my friend.

What now?

The million dollar question. What now? I was once an impulsive buyer. Whenever I decide to have something, I usually get it in less than half a month. How? Never mind the specifics, but what I did mostly was the buy-it-now-problems-later approach. I’ll buy the item now and worry about the money I spent later. This time, I’ll SAVE.

You heard me, save. Whoever told you that saving is easy was lying! (or its just me) I’ve been saving for a lot of things ever since I can read and write. I was not able to reach even half my goal. I either went impulsive and bought what I want right away or changed my mind and bought something else. I hope its different this time.

I’ll be making a How to Save post after I successfully start saving. Collating everything I learn from it.

Pinoy Street Food Guide: Laman Loob

19 Jan

Here’s another post about street food. Pinoy street food that is. Laman loob means innards. The inside parts of livestock or poultry. If you haven’t tried eating some, I suggest you do! They’re pretty good! Specially with the right sauce. Here’s the lowdown of the street food featured above.

Isaw

Isaw is barbecued intestines. There are 3 variants: Manok, Baboy and Baka. (Chicken, Pig and Cow) The best for me is Isaw ng Baka. Besides, cows only eat grass (or at least that’s what we know). But Isaw ng Baboy and Manok also tastes good. Just as long as they’re properly cleaned. If your Isaw tastes funny, (bitter) just think anatomy and physiology and you’ll know what I mean. Price: P3.00 – P10.00

Dugo

Dugo is blood in english. Who the hell would eat blood?! Uh, vampires? Among all the laman loobs, Dugo is probably the cheapest. A 3-piece Dugo would cost as cheap as P3.00. I honestly don’t know how they make this one. I just know that its blood. Probably Pig blood. Price: P3.00 – P7.00

Tenga?

Forgive me for not knowing. I think its Tenga but I’m really not sure. Tenga is ears by the way. Tastes good. Price: P5.00 – P10.00

Barbecue

Or BBQ or Bar-B-Q. Made from pork meat. Tastes different depending on which store you bought it from. I think it has something to do with the marinade. But then again, I don’t know for sure. Best barbecue I tasted so far was from Amber. Price: P10.00 – P15.00

I know some of these (or maybe all) food will make you wonder if us Filipinos are barbaric in nature. No! We just don’t want to waste. The other parts of a slaughtered animal I mean. Enjoy and don’t throw up on your keyboard. =)

North Park Prices

17 Jan

I love North Park specially their noodles. Whenever I don’t want to eat rice, I go to North Park. But don’t get me wrong, their rice meals are also great! Meals are not so pricey. A full meal for 2 would cost less than P500 including drinks. Below are pictures of their pricelist as of Janury 2011.

I’m sorry I’m too lazy to transcribe everything’s that written on their menu/pricelist. Also, they have some featured food not found on the list. Take The Ultimate Noodles for example. So better pay them a visit and enjoy their food!

Branches:

  • Makati Ave
  • Filinvest
  • Trinoma
  • Ayala Convergys
  • Valenzuela
  • Medical City
  • Market! Market!
  • SM Bicutan
  • Manila Ocean Park
  • Macapagal Blvd.
  • Canlubang
  • Leviste St., Salcedo
  • NP Kopi Tiam Green Valley
  • NP Kopi Tiam Benitez Village
  • Nextdoor Makati Golf Club
  • Nextdoor Ortigas Home Depot
  • Nextdoor & Tiananmen Bar Makati Ave

Finally RNs! Something worth your while!

15 Jan
Nurse Vietnam

Image via Wikipedia

I’m a Nursing graduate Batch 2007. I haven’t practiced my education since then. I know a lot of classmates didn’t too. Some are still without a job. Well, despair no more! The Philippine Department of Health has got a plan for Nurses! Read on!

DOH LAUNCHES ‘RN HEALS’ PROJECT TO DEPLOY NURSES TO POOR COMMUNITIES
Sec Ona talks about the project RN HealsPress Release/12 January 2011

The Department of Health (DOH) today announced that applications can be filed starting next week, January 17, for its project where unemployed nurses will be deployed to poor communities in the country.

“The project, billed RN HEALS, seeks to make essential health services available to all Filipinos by training and deploying 10,000 unemployed nurses in communities to be identified by the DOH in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare & Development (DSWD),” Health Secretary Enrique Ona said.

RN HEALS, an acronym for Registered Nurses for Health Enhancement And Local Service, is expected to address the shortage of skilled and experienced nurses in 1,221 rural and unserved or underserved communities for one year.

They will undergo learning and development in accordance with the roles and functions required by the project. A certificate of competency and employment will be given by the DOH, DSWD, and the Professional Regulation Commission to those who have satisfactorily completed their requirements.

While on deployment, the nurses will be given an allowance of P8,000 a month by the DOH while the local government unit (LGU) where they are assigned shall supervise them, ensure their safety and security, and provide modest board and lodging. Likewise, LGUs are encouraged to provide additional allowances and benefits worth at least P2,000 for these nurses.

PhilHealth and the Government Service Insurance System will provide group insurance to the nurses while private corporations are encouraged to chip in through their available resources.

The recruitment and selection of these nurses shall be under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) through its Regional Offices.

Registered nurses who are physically and mentally fit, and willing to serve in their municipalities may apply online at the DOLE website (www.dole.gov.ph) from January 17 to February 4 this year. Preference will be given to residents of the municipalities covered by the Health Facilities Enhancement Program of DOH and Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or the Conditional Cash Transfer of the DSWD.

The list of successful applicants with their area of assignments shall be posted online at the DOLE website from February 7-10. An orientation shall be held on February 11-12 in their provincial centers of assignment by the regional DOH, DSWD, Professional Regulation Commission – Board of Nursing and the Philippine Nurses Association prior to deployment.

“Eventually, these nurses will be part of the pool of competent nurses for later employment or absorption in health facilities, thus addressing the inadequate supply of skilled nurses and increasing the nurses’ employment rate,” the health chief concluded.

Source: http://www.doh.gov.ph/node/2904.html

An out of town trip is what I need!

15 Jan
A view of Sugar Beach resort in Santa Fe, Cebu...

Image via Wikipedia

I desperately need to go out of the city! Why? I don’t know. Rest and relaxation maybe? Some peace and quiet? Quality time with my love one? I just need to go somewhere!

We have a long weekend ahead of us at work. We’re already free Saturday noon onwards up until Tuesday! So I really want to seize the opportunity. Some of my friends are going to Baguio later this afternoon. Some are going to Cebu.

Now is the time! Beach maybe? Nature trip perhaps? I don’t know yet but I need to go. If all goes well, I’ll blog about it.

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