16 years and still counting….

Born on the 25th of July in the year 1977, it has been more than 3 decades of my existence in this earthly living. I am continuosly grateful to the Lord Almighty for letting me experience this journey called life.  A life without meaning is a useless one. A life without joys and tears are meaningless. What has life taught me?

Growing in an environment where I was the apple of the eye of the family, I felt so well-loved. I felt that I am the focal point of everyone’s attention. It is nice to reminisce and look back on those years where I get problematic only when I am hungry. It brings a smile on my face every time I remember how my Tatay and Inay (grandparents) takes care of me, bathe me, dresses me up, puts me to sleep, brings me out and all those prince-like treatment. I remember my Tatay one time when he has to shout to any member of the family when I am hurt, isn’t that a bit of being bratty? My Aunts and Uncles who never stopped kidnapping me from my parents at a very young age to bring them joy because of my naughtiness and wits. My cousins who never failed to bully me being the youngest at that time in the family. Ahhh….what a nice sight to remember.

Being an only child isn’t easy at all. Yes, you get all the attention, but there’s no one to whom you can throw the blame to! I am lucky to have such proud parents who raised me up in such a way that I am aware of the hardships of life. I was taught that things are never easy to get, that I have to work hard to achieve something. I owe that attitude to them. In whatever endeavor I engage myself into, I always try to remember that, there is no easy way, if I want to emerge victorious, it needs planning, working hard, prayer and patience as well.

I am proud to say that I have achieved about 70% of my dreams, all those that I have planned from childhood, but life is a continuous journey and still achieving more, for myself and for my family. I have had the best jobs, I have traveled to places I want to see, I have met people I am so honored to meet and I have wonderful parents who never gave up to temptations and surpassed the challenges of a married life.

This life is such a great one to have. There are problems, miseries, challenges, and concerns but they are all part of it, in order for you to grow and gear toward maturity. I am happy that I have lived this life. I am happy that I am blessed with friends who never doubted my sincerity. I am lucky that I have HAHAL beside me all the time. I am happy to have “some relatives” who accepted me for who and what I am and of course, I am so happy to have such wonderful parents who have given their unconditional all to me!

Yes indeed, 16 years and counting….I am 18 with 16 years of life experiences…and more more more!

Happy birthday to me!Thanks everyone for the greetings too, in anticipation!

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Meldy Way- Imelda Marcos on her 82nd Birthday

It has been more than 20 years and four presidents since the world famous Marcos Regime has ended due to the EDSA Revolution in 1986 that forced the Marcoses to go to Hawaii in exile and seek asylum. Yahoo Southeast Asia had an interview with Imelda Romualdez Marcos.

I was about 9 years old when they were ousted from Malacanan Palace and little did I know of what really is going on. Only hearsay from schoolmates, relatives and other critics that it is time to end up 2 decades of corruption in the government. I am not the type who easily believe others, as my parents has a different view of the Marcoses. I was at time bullied for a fact that I raise V sign rather than an L sign. Some calls us loyalists, some calls us-jerk?

As I grew up and observes the happenings in our country, I started to admire more the Marcoses. Whenever I see how a part of the Manila Bay were reclaimed to build the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Philcite, Philippine International Convention Center, etc… I felt proud that Imelda is able to think of promoting the Philippine Culture and Arts, we are rich in this by the way. As I board the Light Rail Transit (LRT), I am impressed of Imelda’s vision of mobility in terms of over-train mode of transportation. As I visit the National Arts Center, amidst the Mount Makiling, I can’t help but appreciate how Imelda wants to hone talents. All these are products of her visits to the world which she wants to apply in the country for all our good. Imelda also concentrated on Health Services. The now Philippine Heart Center, used to be known as the Philippine Heart Center for ASIA, National Kidney Institute, Lung Center of the Philippines, Philippine Children’s Hospital, only to name a few are part of her sincere concern on the Filipino’s health conditions. Can you imagine that people all over asia comes to the Philippines for the Heart Center as it is known to be the best Cardio Center in Asia. Facilities are world-class, Doctors and Staff are sent to Europe and USA for trainings and all. Now, try to go and visit them and you will see the pathetic conditions of the facilities. It is indeed disheartening.

Yes, people claims that they are corrupt, that they have hundreds of billions of dollars in Swiss Banks, the Yamashita Treasure, all are claimed to be from the country’s pocket, but these were never proven. In fact, Imelda won over the 901 Cases filed against her and her family in New York in 1990. The world lie of her having a thousand shoes, these are exaggerations. A first Lady who have been in power for more than 2 decades, you expect her to have 2 pairs only?And besides, not all those shoes are bought, most are gifts. So, I have around 26 pairs of shoes, does that makes me a corrupt citizen?Or maybe because I am nobody that is why I am not biased by Media? Think! Forget about the Martial Law, I could have done the same way to avoid and get rid of criminals!

Now I have realized that my views since I was younger is just right. I have admired the Marcoses for their wits, intelligence and sincere love for the country. If in case that being corrupt is true about them, then who did not?Who among the past presidents after Ferdinand did not take even a single centavo? The consolation is, who has done so much to develop this country?If it is not for the stupidy and one-sidedness of the Filipino Minds, the Bataan Nuclear Powerplant could have been a great source of Electricity, not just here, but we can even provide electricity requirements to Japan and Korea! The Philippines during the Marcoses has a tiger economy already and is one of the richest in Southeast Asia. The US Dollar exhange rate at that time is only pegged at no more than $1 = Php 4 and that bloated out to 1000% in 20 years!

Imelda Romualdez Marcos, an epitome of beauty, brains and sincerity. I admire you for being true and for giving yourself much to develop the country. I salute you with all my heart. Happy, Happy 82nd Birthday Madame!

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Hong Kong – An unparalleled experience…

It all started when I thought on what to give Mom  and Dad on their 40th wedding anniversary. Thought of throwing in another party for them or something else but I thought, I will get really tired for the preparation. The suddenly, 5J website cleared my mind, it’s a web sale!Poof! I then purchased over the nett round trip tickets to Hong Kong as my treat for 40 years of happiness and togetherness…Been many times to Hong Kong but this is the first time I will travel with Mom and Dad there and that gave me a different feeling of excitement.

June 21- woke up at around 1am as we have to prepare, drive for less than 2 hours on a rainy early dawn and to catch a 5:40AM first flight to Hong Kong. We arrived safely at NAIA Terminal 3, a handful of people are there already, either waiting for check in or getting a chance to get in a flight. Parked at the overnight parking, then brought our stuff inside the terminal building. Mom and I paid our travel taxes (wonder why Senior Citizens has no discounts on it?!?) then proceeded to the check in counter and left our bags there. The 3 of us then went to pay the terminal fees then immediately approached the immigration to have our passport stamped.

Immigration – Mom and Dad’s passports are stamped without hesitation and were returned. Then she (Immigration Officer – a certain Gemma Driz) started browsing the pages of my old and new passport together. She questioned why my ticket is separated from Mom and Dad. I said because the booking via website when I purchased the tickets says so, as I bought a round-trip with check in bags tickets and bought mom and dad a one way check in bag allowance only. Then she asked when I arrived from being an OFW in the middle east, I said Sept 2010. She started frowning and murmured, “May Egypt Visa pa” (There is an Egyptian Visa stamped), I am starting to freak out. I said, is it not allowed to travel to places I wanna see?, she ignored me! So I said, can you just put the exit stamp on my passport?I am not in the Hold Departure Order nor watch list and according to the constitutional rights that I am enjoying 9233, to be specific, I have the right to travel anywhere I want as long as I have a valid visa to the country I am going to, in this case, Hong Kong has a bilateral agreement regarding entry visa on arrival, Filipinos can stay up to a maximum of 14 days from the date of entry. She still frowns, and then I said, “You know that I can file and sue you of an administrative case under the Human Rights for depriving me to travel and causing me all these hassles and waiting? She looked at me with amazement and shock, maybe she did not expect that I can say that!(I have printed copies of travel rules and regulations plus the Rights 9233 By the way-hehehehe).  She then stamped my passport but she wrote my return date on the embarkation card together with my flight details.

We then waited for a little over an hour then we get boarded. As I requested for a special assistance to my mom, we were the first to board the aircraft and our seats changed to the row 3 (D,E,F). Flight 5J 108 bound for Hong Kong took off at the exact time. The flight was so empty, nearly less than half of the total capacity. We landed 25 minutes ahead of time. A wheelchair is waiting for my mom right at the air bridge. We were assisted gracefully until the passport control by a local Hong Kong lady. She took our passports and brought it to the immigration, it was stamped and off we went out. Saw our bags already coming out of the conveyor belt and was tagged, “PRIORITY”…awesome initiative of Cebu Pacific Ground Crew in Manila for anticipating our needs.

Carrying our trolley and hand carry bags, I approached the Airport Express Train Counter and redeemed my 2 round trip KOWLOON Train tickets via my Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, then purchased an extra one. We took the train to Kowloon and after 20 minutes, we arrived there with Mr. Khan (Ate Gloria’s friend) who patiently waited for us and brought us to the hotel we have booked.

As we arrived Chungking Mansions, I laughed silently and thought I am back to the Middle East. The ground level was occupied by Indians, Pakistanis, Africans which are all very common in Dubai. Then we took the lift to the 15th Floor (Carlton Hostel). At 9.45am, Samson, the receptionist (Native from Nigeria) was very friendly and accommodated that he has given us the room ready!Amazing! We then went to the room, I laughed again seeing the beds inside and the walls of tiles that it looked more of a laboratory to me that when we lie, scientist will do an experiment on us, LOLZ!-my bad!But it was crystal-clean even the washroom…

We just settled for half an hour then off we go. We do not wanna waste time. We walked through Nathan Road. Followed the Pink and Blue signs in the streets and went to Star Ferry terminal to cross the Victoria Harbour to Hong Kong Island. We got off near the IFC Mall then proceeded to the walk way leading to World Wide along Des Voux Road. Found one McDonalds and had our brunch there. Afterwards, we took the Island Line MTR to Causeway bay and see what we can buy from there. We then went back to the hotel and took a nap and rest. At 3pm, a relative came and picked us up. We went to Kowloon Park, (about 5-10 minutes walk from the hotel along Nathan Road) then took a double decker bus to Mongkok-the night market for shopping! Mom surely enjoyed this place as she has a fantastic bargaining prowess! Then we went back to the hotel, had dinner then sleep.

June 22 – Woke up around 6am. Prepared ourselves. It was windy and raining as Hong Kong hoisted a typhoon signal no. 3 (that’s just a rainshower in Manila, their typhoon is up to Signal no. 9-FYI). We took the MTR from Tsim Sha Tsui station to Central Station, got off and took the interchange Island Line to Sheung Wan. We went up to Shun Tak Centre and purchased our Macau Return Ferry tickets. A good deal of HKD $ 158 per person (Normaly it costs a little over HKD$ 300 per person for return tickets). Typhoon never stopped us. We sailed on and reached Taipa Ferry Terminal.

We took the free shuttle bus to Venetian Hotel. It was awesome!The hotel is so detailed and the designs are fabulous. It gives you a feeling of Venice in Italy and the grandeur of the Casinos in Vegas! Took some pics then we went to meet a relative in Ilhas. We took a cab to Grand Lisboa Casino Hotel. Met tito Ven and treated us to a Chinese Restaurant inside the hotel. The fried lumpia dumpling and the cashewed chicken is something I cannot still move on up to now. We had a little chat. Then we walked through the busy streets of Macau to reach the St. Paul Ruins, a must in Macau! The we headed to Grand Hyatt and met my former colleague in Dubai, then to City of Dreams mall. Then took again the free shuttle back to Taipa Terminal. It made me fell in love with Macau, and look forward to find a job there!hahahha…I requested for a window seat via Macao Dragon only to sleep the whole voyage! Woke up and we are almost docking at the berth.

We went back to the hotel to have a rest. Mom and dad decided not to go out anymore. So I went out to find a place to buy our dinner. Had a KFC then ate our dinner together inside the hotel room. We slept a bit early as we are sooooo tired.

June 23 – Woke up early again as Century Holidays will pick us up at 9am. We were graciously met by Peter (tour guide). This is a complimentary city tour being a travel agent parner. We took the bus and there were 4 others together with us (malaysian tourists). We headed to the Exhibition Center and had some souvenir photos in  front of the Golden Bauhinia-national flower of Hong Kong. We then proceeded to the Mid-level Victoria Peak and had a fascinating view of it. Then went back down to see the Aberdeen Fishing Village. Sampan boat rides are available at HKD $50 each (not too practical). We went to the HK Jewellery Factory, this is a must-to-see. So happy to see Pacman’s poster with wife Jinky as they went to buy jeweleries from there. There was a small briefing and a question and answer portion too, like a game, and I won a small garnet stone when I answered the question correctly, talking about HKD 300 for that garnet stone!!!! Mom and Dad failed to resist the temptation of buying. They got this white gold anti-rheumatism bangles-not costly huh! Then off we went to Repulse Bay to see the Chinese dragons, Buddhas etc. Then Peter brought us to the office to meet the Executive Director. We had a great business talk. Declined the lunch invitation as we are to meet some more friends before our flight back to Manila. We went directly to Central taking again the MTR from Jordan Station. Met Ate Aida and Ate Glen at Jollibee. Had a little chat and got a pack of my favorite Schweppe’s Cream Soda (only available in Hong Kong). Ate Glen brought us to the Peak Tram for Mom and Dad to experience the same.  After the some photo ops, we headed back to the hotel. We packed some additional stuffs to our bags and immediately went down to take a taxi to bring us to Kowloon Station of the Airport Express. We headed back to the Airport.

Checked in and paid HKD $ 150 for our 5 kilos of excess bag allowance. Not to mention that we bought a new trolley bag-hehehehe…after some airport procedures, we stopped at the food court to have our dinner. We then went to the boarding gates. As Cebu Pacific has no assigned gate yet, we stayed near Gate 15. At around 2050H, saw from the flight monitor that we are supposed to board at gate 50, pwew!too far for mom to walk but she is able to manage, that’s approximately 2 kms! We waited to be boarded but the flight is delayed from Manila due to bad weather. We boarded around 2130H and took off 15 minutes after 10pm, about 20-25 minutes delayed. We arrived Manila. The air bridge is not working (F*ck!) so we have to take the stairs, with umbrellas provided due to heavy rain, then again, climbed the stairs of the air bridge (this started to fume me up). Luckily, a ground crew with a wheelchair offered help to mom. Then there was a long queue at the passport control. We were prioritized for I am with 2 senior citizens (that’s the advantage!) Headed to get our luggage, went to the carpark, got out and drove home. Arrived home around 3am-June 24.

The experience is fantastic. The happiness is paramount and had not money worth!We care less about how much we have spent, but we certainly treasure the quality time together. I am so delighted to know that mom and dad both enjoyed the trip. We are now looking at our next stop-soon!

Till our family travels again…thank you or reading!God bless!

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“Indeed-pendence Day Lunch”

It is such an honor that we were invited by a fashion icon, Patis Tesoro to join her and her friends for an “Independence Day” lunch at her San Pablo abode, Patis Tito Garden Cafe (Formerly Kusina Salud) at Brgy. Sta. Cruz Putol, San Pablo City. We left the house at around 10am decided to pass through Dolores, Quezon. I know that there is a road that will lead us there but somehow skeptical if the pavements are concrete already.We stopped once and asked a lady passing if we are to turn to the right corner leading to Putol. My instinct worked, that’s the right way. I am amazed upon passing a lake along the road. It is so beautifully sculpted, but of course with fish cages here and there. The view of a coconut plantation and a laid-back kind of living is somewhat fascinating too. It is thrilling also to really keep your car on the sides everytime there is another vehicle on the opposite lane, but good thing is, there is no harsh overtaking-due to the road size.

As we approached Patis’ Garden Cafe, I passed through it first when I saw a bridge. I knew that there is a stream underneath. It was exactly the same place where Robin Padilla and Sharon Cuneta shot their film ” Maging Sino Ka Man” way, way back about more than a decade ago. The place is a bit different now. The thatched house they used for the film is changed to a concrete mansion-like home. I took pictures of myself on the  bridge as I will send it to my best friend in Dubai (big-time Megastar Fanatic).

We went inside the compound of Patis Tesoro’s farm home after some photo ops. We parked comfortably as there is only one car there at that time. We had to look around. We were fascinated at the bird sanctuary and aviary that she has. Not to mention of course, are the different plants that she grows which she has planted herself. I am impressed and at the same time, felt so relaxed in this paradise-like ambience.

We were gladly welcomed by her friendly staff and was cordially escorted to a table for two reserved for us. A name handwritten “Lax-Tour Agency” gave a bit of an exciting for someone like me being part of a special guest of a famous environmentalist and fashion icon!PWEW! Tito Tito (Patis’ husband) approached us and said with all confidence, “Thank you LAX for coming!” (wow!isn’t that great that he knows my name????). Other guests started arriving, one after the other, some with family members, some with friends and some with aide-de-camps….(suddenly thought of how does it feel to get off a luxury car while a body guard opens your door and walks after you while shaking hands and making-beso to socialites?—in my dreams!lolz)

Buffet was opened. It starting to wake up my sleeping gastronomic appetite on a Sunday, a supposedly rest day spent at home. The buffet were nicely prepared and seems irresistible to anyone on diet. I took an ample serving of the ever-so-famous “Ensalatang Pako”, I chose the fish sauce with calamansi and honey over the honeymustard dressing. I then got 2 slices of the fried vegetable lumpia (spring rolls), the Steamed Sticky Rice (which I have fallen in loved with) and Kaldereta Shephered’s Pie (Beef Stew). I started my helping with the Garlic Soup, (very addictive) then went on to the salad. I promise, I can eat that whole salad bowl-filled in one seating! I continue enjoying the rest of the meal…BURPPP!(a really big one!). I went back to the buffet table to satisfy my sweet tooth. Took a slice of Maja con Mais and Turon con Latik-I was so speechless!To add up is the refreshing Lemongrass Calamansi Tea….

While we are enjoying the house specialty, brewed pandan coffee, Patis started to introduce us to some of her guests. I was amaze but tried to hide my awe-(star struck in lay man’s term). I meet an Ambassador and some others!Amazing isn’t it?I find her so helpful and sincere as she wants me to at least meet contacts for the business which I really appreciated. It is nice to know that there are still people like her who keeps her both feet on the ground. I have met Tony from Viaje del Sol, His Excellency Former Ambassador to Doha Isiah Bigonia and his wife, famous Hair and make up guru James Cooper, Tito Ado Escudero and a lot more! (need more tissues please-nosebleeding!lolz). I really have to thank Tita Rosalie Escudero for bridging this! I owe you one tita!

The experience at Patis Tito Garden Cafe is not just professionally worthy, but moreso, it is gastronomically delightful!…. The place is indeed a must-see and visited whenever you are in San Pablo City…they just not offer good food, a wide array of environmental and provincial life!…..Kudos to the staff and to of course to Tito Tito and Tita Patis for such a concept-which is their way of life!

Patis Tito Garden Cafe (Formerly Kusina Salud) is located along Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Putol, San Pablo City. A mere 10-15 minutes drive from the city proper. Drive along Maharalika Highway towards Tiaong and you will see a signage to your left going to the location.

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Cry of Tourists-The OFFLOAD Story

In connection with my previous blog with regards to the offloading issues our countrymen are facing, I chanced to have a little chit-chat over a stick of ciggy with some acquaintances, and here are their stories:

Man A – Was off to go to HKG for a holiday. He purchased ticket and accommodation online. He then went to NAIA Terminal 3 for his CEBU PACIFIC flight. As he submitted his travel documents, passport, boarding pass and voucher, he was reprimanded by the Immigration. Asked about his trip, he was asked where he is working currently and he admitted he is from the Government. Immigration then asked him that he cannot leave unless he will provide a Travel Order duly signed by his superior because he works for the government. At 5am, Immigration officers would expect someone is at the office to send this via fax or email? I cannot seem to understand why a TRAVEL ORDER is necessary for someone to enjoy his life? And if this is really required, then why in the hell online bookings does not advise this? I have tried myself to thoroughly check the website http://www.cebupacificair.com and it was never mentioned there specifically. It was in general that valid travel documents should be brought, how could a first holiday traveler knows this? MAN A spent hours to speak to the Immigration Officers, he was offloaded for a reason up to know he cannot fathom. Poor guy went to Cebu Pacific counter for rebooking advising that he was offloaded, and since he booked a promo fare, he wasted his Php 3500 for that. Offloading without offload form and without a note from the immigration to the airline of the reason for offloading is not fair!That is very unjust! He lost approximately Php 40000 all-in as he booked for an advance purchase rate for his accommodation. He was left out by the flight spending so much time arguing with the immigration officers.

Same man, couple of months later, chose to go to Bangkok this time via same airline on a holiday. This time, he has everything he needed including this silly TRAVEL ORDER. As expected, he was again reprimanded by our “GREAT” immigration officers. He felt ridiculed when he was asked, “Why Bangkok, you should go to Singapore or Hongkong first before you go to Bangkok.” Ahhh, since when does the immigration decides for the passenger where he wants to go?He said, even if I choose to go to HELL, it’s none of your damn business! Good answer sir! In short, he was allowed this time and enjoyed his vacation in Thailand. He mentioned that he was seated with another guy. Talk about offloading, the poor guy paid Php 30,000 to immigration so they will let him go!Whoah, if that’s the case, tell how and where I can apply to work in that department? I will be so delighted to let a maximum 2 passenger per day and I get Php 60,000 per day, tax-free!

Now, I came up to some realizations:

1. By means of offloading, corruption may be avoided over the counter. Because, they can have it privately in the ever-so-famous holding room (CCTV Free).

2. A clear immigration policy has to be discussed to all travel agencies and other medium of travel in order to explain a clearer requirements before departure.

3. That our immigration officers are pathetic as they do not know what to do!

4. That possibly, Cebu Pacific Airline Check in Counter agents are the one who gives signal to Immigration on who to offload. Passengers of Airphilippines are not being offloaded!FYI-could it be just a coincidence when I happen to be a passenger of Cebu Pacific Air in April bound or Singapore?

I just hope and pray that this issues for offloading be resolved the soonest! They don’t realize the hard-earned money of our citizens that is put to trash for what they only want is to experience a bit of luxury and enjoy the privilege to visit a visa-free country for Filipinos. Ang sakit ng isa, ay hindi sakit ng lahat. Simple logic lang po, pag ba ang isang pinoy ay pumatay ng tao, lahat ng Filipino ba mamatay tao na din? And that applies to travelers, hindi lahat tatalon, hindi lahat nangloloko. So kung ganun ang nasa isip nyo, eh di pwede din namin isipin lahat ng IMMIGRATION OFFICERS ay nagbebenta ng kaluluwa sa impyerno dahil sa panggagantso sa kapwa pinoy? Isip isip naman po….

 

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Next Stop-Middle East!oopss…NAIA only!

Thousands of Filipinos are dreaming to work abroad. It is already in our mentality that this is the easiest and best way to alleviate ones life. The odd part of this dream is how to realize it effectively. Filipinos find each and every way on how they are able to find the right place in the globe for them. Target: Middle EAST!

Having lived in the UAE (DUBAI) for more than 5 years, I have experienced the life in the  Middle East. It was no easy way to live in a foreign land all by yourself. At times, I thought that I just moved out of the Philippines but everything is still the same. I was once those who came on visit visa, exposed myself over a scorching 47 degrees walking through the pavement and finding a job. It was by luck (opportunity meets effort) that I landed a  job in a prestigious multi-national company. Now, here is the trick?Does anyone wants to do the same?

News of human trafficking is a noise nowadays. Heard a very strict implementation on the said issue. Ahhh, so this is the reason for a massive offloading happening at the Philippine Immigration Counters at all of our International Gateways? Let us try to peel off a bit…why do they offload?

On the Government’s point of view: Juan goes to the middle east carrying a visit visa with him. He tried to find a job. No job found. He overstayed and caught by the immigration. So Juan asked the help of the Philippine Embassy. Since he is not a registered OFW, it will take him ages to be repatriated. Juan then blames the government for not taking immediate action. Then blame goes to the government alone, not considering the fact that Juan took a risk. But how many Juans are there doing the same thing?Imagine the airfare darlin’…..

On the citizen’s point of view: Juan got an employment contract from a company. An employment visa is issued for him, an authentic one. He was sent a one way ticket to Middle East. Immigration refused as he did not registered to POEA, OWWA, TESDA etc. He got offloaded. Common, the guy has a SURE future already with a guarantee of a work on arrival. He did not took the PDOS as it will take him ages to finish the documentation, talking about Philippine government agencies speed and efficiency here, and if he is unable to come on time, then the company will terminate his contract!Poor Juan, crying at NAIA, do not know what to do!

My view on this: The government should allow these citizens to leave the country and go to the destination where there is a valid WORK PERMIT waiting for them. Registering at POEA is not a question, they can do that and register themselves for OFW or immediately on departure at the airport. There should be a counter for them to do this without hassle. It is not right to stop the people in pursuing their dreams of working abroad because they cannot offer the same package that these mighty citizens are being offered with! I feel embarrassed and pity them for they lose a lot of money and efforts as well, and at worst, they end up being terminated due to the delay for which they even  haven’t started yet!Pathetic isn’t it?

The worst part of being offloaded is they bring you to a room, ask you to fill up a paper and sometimes asks you to give them bribe money!Whatda f*ck! This is extortion! Some people who are even bound for a holiday is being questioned! On a personal note, should I have not demanded for the NAIA General Manager to show up and speak to me during a recent trip to Singapore, I could have been offloaded myself!Why?Because I am an ex-UAE Resident even if I was a member of OWWA and POEA? Oh man, you would not want to see me freaking out and shouting it all off my chest at the immigration counter of Cebu Pacific Terminal 3!

Now , for the the Juan’s and Maria’s out there, just be confident! Think whether this is what you really wanna do and make sure you have a proper back up in terms of plans in case something like this happens!

Just a thought..just what jowjowthinks….

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Pista ng Pag Akyat – Villa Escudero

I was so excited when I was invited by childhood friend, Cha Borromeo to witness and be a part of the annual celebration of the Feast of the Ascension (Pista ng Pag-akyat) at the Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort in San Pablo City. I have to rummage on an early Sunday morning for a “Filipiniana” attire from my dresser and found one “Camiso de Chino”, a highschool-aged shirt which was promplty folded and with “Amerol”(a traditional way of keeping a cloth intact and clean by the use of cornstarch powder mixed with water). I even sent sms to Ate Ianne quoting ” I might scratch my skin due to the amerol-LOLZ”.

As I was driving on the fantastic scenery of coconut plantation, while nibbling on a McDonald’s egg and sausage muffin, (for my breakfast), I can’t explain the excitement I had inside of me as this is my first time to witness such a celebration. I can hear band playing and fireworks.  I was welcomed by children dressed in Angel costume dancing, band playing lively music and guests wearing Filipiniana, they are indeed amazing.

I then proceeded to the Church for the Eucharistic Celebration. It was so solemn. A choir singing hymns accompanied by an estimated 30-piece orchestra. Everyone is dressed traditionally and it was really pleasant to the eyes. A procession followed the mass and the Image of the Holy Cross (Century-old owned by the Escudero Family) were paraded from the church to the Pavillion passing through the dam. I can smell the aroma of the Traditional Filipino dishes in the pavillion and makes me really hungry especially that I always look forward to the famous Pastel a la Villa Escudero topped with crust.(yum-yum). There were dances and rites performed after the Holy Cross reached the center of the Pavillion. It was remarkable that the emcee narrated the history of the ascension.

We were then served with a sumptuous and gastronomic dishes that I am unable to say no to. Fresh fruits and local pastries serve as desserts. It was just disheartening that during the festivity, a fire broke and turned the whole Coconut Pavillion into ashes. It was just fortunate that no one was hurt in then incident and the fire brigade did a fantastic job in containing such a huge fire in 45 minutes or less. Thank you for the abrupt response during this emergency.

To sum up, the experience is really fantastic. It made me more proud to be a Filipino. I realized more how rich our culture and heritage is. I wish that this traditions be practised more often so that the next generations will always keep it in their hearts that being a Filipino living in the Philippines, with all the political issues around, isn’t bad after all….

Mabuhay ang Pista ng Pag-akyat!Mabuhay ang Tradisyong Pilipino!

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