Gift Giving 2012 - Every Little Deed Can Do

December is the season for giving, sharing and remembering that there are people out there that need our help. I also believe that Christmas is for children; they should feel love, care and just be happy. I guess we have the same views of those who started this gift giving program. Even just for a day, those who are not being noticed will feel appreciated.

I personally do not give money to the beggar. Especially for those who looks like they are making business out of it. Looking so weak and hopeless when they are near you but then looking at them closely, with their body obviously fit for physical job, they can do better than asking for alms. Technically there are better ways to earn money aside from their monkey business. Really, they can be richer than you if in a day, they’ll be able to collect money to every concern citizen they pass by.

However, it’s a different scenario for children literally living in the street. The street is their teacher and molds them on how they become in the future. Whatever views they may have in life, eventually it will reflect once they grow old.

Kaye invited me to pledge just a few years back for their gift giving tradition. I usually just pledge a few amount and then they do the giving. I was able to join once before and now I was able to join them again with the grocery, packing and the distribution of gifts.

Just some from the first batch of goodies. 

And we are also the first batch to pack, some are still on their way to continue packing. 

After packing, we were the first batch who went to some streets in Manila to look for kids where we can share our gifts. We also decided to divide the group so we are less noticeable to the crowd. Though it was just a food for a night, the spirit and the feeling that they were recognized this season can be something for them.

He literally showed "Wowed" face

It was hard to keep them fall in line. 

For some,we really need to go their place to give their gifts.

We tried to disguise to avoid the commotion. 

I personally would like to give thanks to Kaye and her friends who started this program and for inviting hal and I to be part of this. Though it may be just a little deed, every little deed put together can be a big act.

Looking forward for a better and bigger gift giving next year. 

Our Year End Party 2012

Our Year End Party Theme: Modern Victorian Soiree

We had our Year End Christmas Party again at Dusit Thani Manila and we used the same ball we had last 2010. We were at Western Premier F1 Hotel last year and I like here better because its bigger. It was really a challenge for us to keep the Victorian theme alive on our dresses without spending much or being overdressed and I am pretty happy to found an outfit in a reasonable price. But I still prefer simpler theme next time. :p

What made our party extra special? Our CEO Charles “Tony Stark” Reed arrived. He was very in the mood to party and seems really having fun. And of course we had our Mr. JJ Arvisu, our “Cool” director who also partied all the way with us that night and Mr. Gael Sydness, our primary visitor which is an external vendor and the "main attraction". You'll know why. :D

The group was divided into Three, Supreme Ground Breakers, Up Beat and Support Team. Being a QAO, I belong to the Support Team.

So here are the party pics!

First Group: Supreme Ground Breakers
Performance: Adonis

Second Group: Support Team
Performance: Phantom of the Opera

Third Group: Up Beat
Performance: Moulin Rouge - Winning Team!

Some awards were given during the event: Docomolympics Award, Loyalty Award, Best Team, Top Agents and Raffle Prizes

And more pictures below.

Our own Tony Stark :D
Kate, Rhea and Jess with our CC Director, JJ Arvisu

And Mr. Gael Sydness with Cleah, and he is the "main attraction" I was telling about. :D

Playing around ;p

Let's Party! 
My outfit for the night; My top was bought at Forever 21 (on sale), it's a dress actually and my skirt bought at a thrift shop and tailored to put volume on it. 

We had unlimited beer, live band and party peeps all night then we all squeezed in and muddled at the hotel room after the party. The room was rented double purpose, for our dressing room and after party - "QA only party". But after we had our exchange gifts, we all just went to sleep out of tiredness. It was a great party but it seems that we had more attendees last year than this year. And I bet everyone would love to add more raffles next time! 

After Party - Just Chips for breakfast. Lol!

Merry Christmas Bloggers 2012

Simple celebration we had at home is such a treasure already. I am so glad Nanay and I prepared some candies and goodies yesterday for the children who drop by for wishes “Namamasko” every December 25th in the morning. And of course gifts for my “inaanaks” that for some never fail to visit me every holiday. It was a tiring preparation and then we went to church for mass after and  yet it was a great way to celebrate Christmas day.

With all the holiday rush and jitters, today is the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus. We may have celebrated it with or without an expensive ham, we should all be glad, find time to give thanks, pray and share this wonderful day to everybody.

Seeing children receiving gifts and smiling, laughing and having fun is priceless!

Will get into my backlogs soon ;p

Just like what I've mentioned last year, come on and let us make our day fabulous and meaningful!

Palawan Escape: Spending Sunset in El Nido

Exploring the rocky side of El Nido

One of the best experiences for me is ending the day in El Nido. As the sun goes down, the water subsides and revealed the rocky seabed at its low tide. From the resort, it's just a few steps down and you can literally walk far from the shore. 

We saw some locals, mostly kids also taking their chance to walk the seabed as if they are looking for something. We heard some children giggling, small talks but then all focus searching.

While searching for something useful

I guess, the locals have their own ways to kill time and maximize their resources.  Hal and I decided to explore on our own and get a chance to speak to some of them and see what they are doing.

We realized that they are collecting shells for dinner. We tried to find too however, we mistakenly took the “non-edible” shells instead.

All busy for work

We thought it was very easy to spot one but my determination to find one didn’t work. 

Especially the little “hermit crabs” are confusing us too, so we just ended up watching them how they do it.

Her bag is almost full and she smiled at us.

We also saw a small crab on its camouflage. It's quite hard to catch the little crab but we did it. We immediately put him back after taking a picture.

A cute crab in weeds.

A group of kids was caught throwing a stone attached to a string a far. We heard them boasting at each other. We went towards them and saw a kid holding a slimy creature while trying to pull the tentacles away from his hand.

Creepy eyes, telling that he is not good for dinner. 

It was a small Octopus, we didn’t notice it at first but we saw how strong the tentacles are and literally sucking their skin and you’ll hear a pop once they pull it and the sucker was pull off the skin. We asked if it hurt him by dragging it on his bare hands but he said it was not. I tried touching my pointed finger into one sucker and I felt how it tried to stick and suck my finger. It popped out of my finger and it sounded like popping a plastic bubble wrap after I pull it out. It was creepy. Hal tried to touch it and manage to do so but he gave it back after a few seconds.

A big catch so far.

They said that the rock that they throw is the bait as it immediately catches anything that falls near them. Then they pull it out after. Then they have their dinner.

Poor little Octopus :(

And that how they spend dusk in a very laid-back province. It's not very easy dinner but they are seems ok with it. They also welcomed us with a smile. As soon as the light visibly fading out, we said goodbye and headed back to the cottage.  

"If I can put one touch of rosy sunset into the life of any man or woman, I shall feel that I have worked with God." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Sunset picture~from Sol, Thanks!

All I Want for Christmas

Getting a tag from Cris reminded me that Christmas was really getting nearer and nearer everyday. It's December already and sometimes I feel so “Grinch” every season. You know, yes that's it. The Grinch from a movie that hates Christmas. Though I am not really an exaggerated Grinch like, it’s just that I feel sad, not excited and wishing to extend more days before December.

Truly, I am getting emotional every holiday season. 1st thing is I feel so old because I’ll be celebrating my birthday on the next month. And it’s seems like automatic to think of the things you did this year, what you’ve achieved and what you’ve wanted to achieve more. However I am still glad that even there are a lot of rough times. Filipinos are very good in keeping the Christmas spirit and celebrating it in every possible ways, from the simple family gatherings to decorating the entire house with Santa Claus. So being Pinay, positivity should rule for me. The more you think it's possible, then it is. So then I stop being "The Grinch."

Anyway, I thank Cris for tagging me here and triggering me to think of my top 6 wishes for Christmas. Btw my list is more like of my goals together with a particular wish to achieve this Christmas.

  1. Money Machine: Well, obviously this is not only for December but for the years to come. I am now doing my best to keep my penny-wise living now and spending sensibly than before. I am now investing in a stock market (in a passive way for now) and would love to start another money machine but still working on it. Help me plan on getting a small business please! Yeah, so to be able to create a clever business plan is my wish for Christmas.

  1. Tithe and Volunteer: I wish to continuously do my tithing and start a regular voluntary work. I am a regular “The Feast” attendee in Alabang and I would recommend you to try visiting them. It will help you keep your faith and focus and build your positive self in God’s guidance. I can’t explain well here but you’re all invited to visit any “The Feast” community near you. Regret is really not a word if you try. A volunteer work or a feeding program is my wish for Christmas.

  1. Unity and Forgiveness: My parents are in a rough time and I wish that they will find forgiveness and unity to each other this holiday season. It’s really weird to think that they are almost on their senior years and spent more than 30 years together and now they hated each other. I wish to just laugh on it but I am seeing that deep inside there are such heartaches. A mass together with my Nanay and Tatay and a happy Noche Buena with them is a wish for Christmas.

  1. Out of the Country Trip: Hal and I are planning to do our SE Asia backpacking trip and if this may not be possible this year, hopefully this can be our honeymoon adventure, of course after the wedding. Again, not a wish to be granted this December but maybe Santa Claus can back me UP there in fulfilling our future plans. So for now Hal needs to get a new job first so we can proceed with our plans is a wish for Christmas. 

  1. Healthy Lifestyle: I want to jog more, smash more (in Badminton), sweat more and be more flexible. Because I hate myself waking up with a backache and feeling so unenergetic. I guess I am fighting with my own discipline here. A consistent everyday exercise and a weekly jogging session with Hal is a wish for Christmas.

  1. Travel gadgets: Outdoor set, pocket camera, hiking gear and all the basics that we need for our backpacking trip. A new hiking bag first to start and this is my wish for Christmas.

I hope I didn’t bore you with my wishlist and I would really love to know yours too! So it’s your turn to post in your own creative way:

  1. Sol of Wanders of Solita
  2. Jessie of Happy Feet
  3. Bheng of Soul Orphaned
  4. Bhie of Bhie~BusyMom
  5. Mitch of Round-Tripinay
  6. Scarlettie13 of Relief Through Escape

*But remember that this tag post has rules*

1. Kindly use the same title and as well as the first photo that I put here (that blurry picture of a Christmas tree above) in your post.

2. List 6 things that you want to receive for Christmas. 

3. Tag 6 of your friends to make the same post (no tag backs). 

4. Send me the link so I could check it out too.

~ Enjoy! ~

Palawan Escape: El Nido_Island Tour C

It's our 2nd day tour and we are scheduled to do the tour C. I failed to wake up as early as yesterday but I still able to find time to get a coffee and pack up. We bought some chips at the nearby store before we left. The sun shines brighter than yesterday and that makes me more excited.

Day 2 of the Island Tour

I kept on asking our boatman if we can go to the Secret beach but they are not really willing to bring us there due to the season. They said it was too risky and we might not be able to get in. They said that the best time should be in the peak of the summer season.

1st stop is the Hidden Beach

Hoping that it’s the Secret beach but it was not. Though the huge limestone cliff really captured my attention and amazed me. We changed our boat on the 2nd day and we have a bigger boat this time. This beach is a memorable place for me because our boatman together with his colleagues really tried their best to get the boat inside but the boat was just too big that the ‘Katig’ (bamboo balance beam) cracked. It was almost broken because it hit the stone. We just convinced them that it’s ok for us to swim to get inside when they finally give up. They are just determined to get the boat inside for us. 

I guess why it was called Hidden because you won't think that there's a beach inside. 
And finally after getting through the big rocks; a white sand will welcome you . 
Inside is such a rewarding view. It was actually a good place for snorkeling and lots of nemo’s can be seen (clown fish) however, corals here are not as colorful and not as alive compare from other islands. It’s maybe because there’s lot of visitors walking in the water instead of swimming because water is not very deep unless you swam from the tight entrance towards the open sea.

I love the mini shore literally hiding inside and we saw several foreigners resting there. We took some pictures here before we left. 

Here's where we rested after a tiring snorkeling. 
And we had another group shot. :p

2nd spot is the Matinloc Beach

This is where we took our lunch and spent more time swimming and fish feeding. We finally had a chance to swim by the shore however it was soooo hot and I really can’t stand staying for such a long period under the sun. (Arte lang!)

Just like a postcard :D
I wish I had a shot like this too!
Some still managed to Kayak under the scourging sun. 

Another fish feeding moment and feels like in an aquarium time for us. After eating, we still had time to swim and this time, the fishes went so near the shore to eat. Of course we had some biscuits and left-overs for them.  
We had a great time here, the fishes were going crazy for the food and so are we because we were trying to get a good shot here but we just can't. :) 

Best effort! 
Another attempt to fit the camera - failed!
And fishes everywhere! 
This is another memorable place because it was my first to wear a two piece swimsuit! Haha! Please forgive me but it’s an achievement for me and I am not very brave wearing it but I finally did it. :D

And we owned the place!
Kiber na sa knila nasa El Nido kami eh! 
3rd spot Matinloc Shrine

From the mini port, the picturesque view and the crystal blue water attracted us. It was really mad hot sunny day and my hot tempered head (it’s normal during the hot weather) is now active that’s why I am quite not in the mood already. However, who will get heated of this view?! Sarap din mag take ng picture pag sobrang init. 

Here's the mini port. 
From the mini port, you'll need to go up here to see the Shrine.
And just a few steps, you'll see the Gazebo
Matinloc Shrine also has a building used to be a retreat house. The Gazebo which is the first thing that will catch your attention is the location for prayer. Though it was already abandoned, tourists stop by and pray. An image of Mama Mary is situated in the middle.

A cross and a Mama Mary statue in the middle. 
On the right side is like a tunnel going to a mini photo museum. You'll discover here the history and events how the shrine was created and the miracle happened here. 

Here is the closer picture of Mama Mary, the retreat house, and the photo museum. 

The story inside the mini museum is inspiring. And also you'll see a cross upon climbing to the rocks, also located at the right side of the island. The cross is placed on the peak of the cliff. I didn't dare to climb to the peak and just managed appreciating the view. 

From the bottom of the collage are the tomb, the image of Jesus at the back
and the 2 guys posing at the peak. 

And also a beautiful beach at the back part of the shrine that's very captivating. 

The view even if your not on the peak is such a wonderful site, I guess this is the highlight of this trip. Seeing a great view like this is such a rewarding experience. 

This is what you'll get upon climbing the rocks 
That's why we can't stop taking pictures like this. :D 

4th spot Cadlao Island

This is the last spot and where we spend the last hours of our 2nd day of Island Tour. The island is simple, plain but still beautiful. We saw a couple and a guy (all foreigners) on their kayak and they went to this island to rest and then made their way back to the open sea. We all felt sad because we will leave the island tomorrow. Some of us manage to continue snorkeling but I decided to find a shade and just appreciate the view. Some of the girls joined me after a while until our guides and boatmen told that we are ready to go. 

The Cadlao Island
Another awesome view
Taken from the other side
Before we left.

And that's how we end our day 2. It's actually quite short for me and we haven't able to maximize exploring other islands. Maybe on the next trip I guess, I also still wanted to see the Secret beach too. However, given that we still missed some, the experience is still one of the best. Palawan is indeed a great place to visit. El Nido is such a paradise for a beach and nature lover. And as long as we maintain being a responsible traveler, each of us can treasure every place and save it for the coming future travelers.

Till I see you again El Nido! 

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” 
~ Martin Buber