the Saga in Sagada – the charming kids of Sagada

Pardon me on the title, i know its sappy…will definitely have to change that for sure.

Before i go into my multi-part Sagada adventure, let me just create this one entry solely dedicated to the adorable children of our country’s mountainous provinces of Ifugao, Benguet and Mountain Province.

I dont know why but the moment i saw the first ever ‘kankana-ey’ (and ethno-linguistic tribe/group where the Sagada people belong) baby, i just knew i will go crazy with their cuteness. i fell in love with the kids and couldn’t resist taking photos of them (and even hugging and cuddling them).

the first thing i noticed was their cheeks. i believe the cold weather is the culprit to the rashes-like dots in their faces. i couldn’t help but compare them to our main land Asian neighbors such as the Vietnamese and Chinese kids (insert national geographic channel lol).

another very distinct feature that these kids have is they’re chinito eyes that definitely made me ‘gigil’ to the highest extent. that would also ensure the fact that they do really look like the kids from our northern neighboring countries in Asia. i’m not sure but there is a great probability that besides the weather, the gene pool of these kids are not just unique to their tribe but also, they could really be a very close cousins of the Chinese genetically. demographically speaking the tribes of these provinces are not as exposed to the rest of the lowlanders thus they have developed a look (at least for their children) that is uniquely their own. im not a geneticist, or to the least a biologist so these are just mere theoretical, orchestrated even lol.

the most delightful facet that these kids have is the ability to speak or actually converse in impeccable english…i was so amazed at how seamless it is for them to speak in straight english and they do even have an accent! i was surprised when i tried to talk to them. a simple ‘hi’ made me converse to a kid as young as 4 years old about how sweet candies were. i ended up buying that kid tons of candies lol.

cheers to this kids. i just hope they’r given enough opportunity to explore the world despite the fact that their somewhat secluded in their locale. blame it to the terrain of their place and the difficulty of reaching them. (fyi the nearest city in Sagada is Baguio City, a rough 6 hour busride)

special thanks to Ed of soloflighted.com for some of the photos used in this blog.

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the 16th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta : let’s fly!

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what a valentine weekend it was as i celebrated it at the Hot Air balloon fiesta in Clark Pampanga with my college friends, 2 of them came all the way from Cebu. it was the most tiresome trip ever because i had been out partying with them since Friday night in Manila (with barely 4 hours of sleep each for 2 nights). it was also the first time ever that i didn’t change clothes for 48++ hours and still was able to go out and party (wearing the same thing).

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it all started out with a whole night of drinking spree at Timog and Tomas morato in Quezon City (QC’s premiere nightlife area). me, aying,geng,jakie and brian decided to binge on food and booze the night before driving all the way to Clark the next day. my manila based college friends rovi,laiza and carlo were also going with us. we decided to meet them also in McDO tomas morato at 3am. i was already feeling groggy and lightheaded (but NOT yet drunk, thats for sure) because of the fatigue and the lack of sleep so i told everybody that we have to leave because i was also the one driving. it was around an hour and a half drive from NLEX to Pampanga. thanks to the early morning Sunday rush, there was no traffic from EDSA all the way to San Fernando exit in NLEX. it was the exact opposite though when we entered SCTEX exit towards Clark because it seemed that all the vehicles where on their way to the festival. and i was not wrong. it took us another hour (430am) to enter the Clark field open grounds and another hour to find a suitable parking space.

Since i was already too exhausted, i didnt really felt anymore the excitement of watching the balloons fly. i was about to content myself watching them outside. luckily though, geng was way too ‘wise’ that we didnt have to fall in line again for an hour to score tickets. with her superb communication skills and social ability to make friends ‘ora mismo’ we were able to get in immediately (nevermind asking how exactly it happend…’basta’!). when we entered the area, it was also the exact time the balloons started to fly. everybody was ecstatic to see those huge balloons in different shapes (one even looked like a house) lift up into the clear blue early morning skies. i didnt bother to take photos because i was too confident that all my friends will. this time i felt i’d better be in the photos than the one taking them. (see what stress and exhaustion can do to a photography addict like me)

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honestly though, for an aviation geek like me, i was more at awe with the airplane show/ exhibition compared to the hot air balloons. the multiude of people present in the venue (considering it was a sunday) also added to my lack of interest in the event. i would have to thank the AFP for putting up that show, they didnt disappoint me and made me think of going back for next year’s fiesta.

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mini hot air balloon image couresy of
manilamommy.com

overall it was a so – so event for me. a family oriented one and everybody of all ages can go. i also liked the mini-hot air balloon souvenirs. i didnt buy one because i know i’ll just eventually misplace them.

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tips:

1) if your coming from Manila then travel super early. if you leave manila by 3am, you can arrive in Clark airfield at around 430 am just in time for the balloons to fly.

2) score your tickets early and NOT at the gates. ticketnet sold tickets for this event at 150P (same as at the gates). if your going to buy at the entrance, then Goodluck. the line towards the entrance is usually kilometers long.

3) bring something to sit like foldable chairs etc. or you you can have a picnic there just bring in the essentials. a lot of food stands are present in the area so food and drinks isnt really a problem.

4) bring umbrellas. we left the area at around 930am because it was getting really hot. i would suggest though that if you watch it in the morning, i guess you can leave by 9am already since you’d be able to explore pretty much everything by then.

5) bring a camera. hot air balloons in numbers only fly in this event.

6) please be informed that they only have portable toilets. so you do the math.

7) to ride the hot air balloon will cost you around 4000P-5000P. so if you really want to maximize your trip then you budget that amount.

8) traffic on your way out is much much horrible than going in. so better yet pack in a lot of patience.

9) gas up. the nearest gasoline station is still in angeles and san fernando pampanga.

more photos at my facebook album:

Eraserheads: the final Set – remembered

It has been 2 years since i spent this much effort just to watch an act as epic as the eraserheads (flew in from Cebu to Manila just to watch them). but it was all worth it though. please see below the blog i wrote 2 years back.

March 7, 2009
SM Mall of Asia concert Grounds

And it was history…probably one that every OPM fan will never forget.

What could be ex-eraserheads frontman Eli Buendia be feeling when he set his old sticker happy piano in flames during the fading moments of their supposedly last encore song ‘Huling el bimbo’? Perhaps it translated what the whole ‘Final Set’ fiasco meant to Philippine music industry – that Eraserheads is now History.

Yesternight me, carlo and christian (h.s. buddies) were in MOA together with the rest of the more than a hundred thousand eager eheads fans to see probably for the last time Eli, Marcus, Buddy and Raymund play together as one group. As the Eraserheads. Yesternight relived a phenomenon in the 90’s that had changed the face of OPM music that still is manifested up to the present. It was definitely a trip down memory lane.

No Group Hugs

I did wished they were convinced by their fans who relentlessy asked for them a ‘group hug’ signifying that all is well amongst them..yet to my demise, it didnt happen. Its a consolation though that they were more than civil onstage and definetly there was much rapport this time compared to the past.

before exiting the stage the four gathered to take one final bow. ‘WE ARE THE ERASERHEADS!’ when uttered by Eli made the enthusiastic and emotional crowd scream for more even if there was already a sad sense of finality lingering in the air.

It was one experience i will never forget. rock on eheads!

1st set:
8:29 Magasin (fireworks at the end)
8:34 Walang Nagbago
8:38 Maling Akala
8:43 Maskara
8:48 Poorman’s Grave
8:53 Waiting for the Bus
8:58 Huwag Mo nang Itanong (Marcus on vox)
9:02 Slo Mo
9:06 Alkohol (Raymund on vox) – 2 takes!?
9:09 Insomya
9:12 Torpedo

2nd set:
9:43 Julie Tearjerky (acoustic/unplugged)
9:47 Tikman ang Langit (acoustic/unplugged)
9:51 Wishing Wells (acoustic/unplugged) (Raymund on vox)
9:55 Fine Time (acoustic/unplugged)
9:59 Pare Ko (acoustic/unplugged)
10:05 Kailan (acoustic/unplugged)
10:11 Back2Me
10:14 Trip to Jerusalem
10:20 Spoliarium
10:27 Overdrive (fireworks again!)

Encore:
10:35 Superproxy (tribute to FrancisM)
10:42 Minsan
10:46 Alapaap
10:52 Kaleidoscope World (tribute to FrancisM) (reprise)
10:53 Ang Huling El Bimbo (fireworks by the “bronze” section)

11:03pm concert over! (oops not yet!)
11:10pm E-heads back onstage!

Encore 2:
11:10 Ligaya
11:14 Sembreak/Toyang

11:22 concert ends..for real!

p.s.
much lewv and thank you to pearl,lot and yna (and even to romeo and lucky na wala nagpakita) for hosting our 28-hour stay there in manila. more misadventures to come w/ ‘buang na walay breeding’ and burger king haha!

here’s the orignal blog ang muliply photos:

Eraserheads: the final Set

Eraserheads, Enhcanted kingdom, e-tickets…etc…and yes, Eleven years of friendship!
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Trivia: when they sang theyr 2nd encore songs, we were already in the VIP section. (inakyat lang naman namin ang barikada…all for the love of Eraserheads lol)

the 2nd Philippine International Pyromusical Competition- Team Pinas wowed me!

As much as i try to ‘unrelate’ the heavy, excruciating 4 hour traffic to this really fantastic event, much to my dismay, i failed. i too became a victim of such endemic to Manila disaster. driving along EDSA from Guadalupe bridge down to MOA would only take about 30mins on a regular day, but with the Pyromusical competition doing the works, dude, 3 hours stuck in traffic was so not worthy…and yeah the 1 hour left was spent in looking for ample parking space w/c by the way was about a kilometer away from the venue.

another not-so-good thing about this was i left my tripod in Cebu, and there was no way for me to borrow one because i don’t know any photographer in Luzon that would allow me to borrow their tripod. maybe they’ll also use it for this competition hehe. ending, i had to settle shooting a fireworks competition hand-held. tsk tsk.

moving forward, watching this competition is in a way both planned and unplanned. for one this competition ran for 4 consecutive Saturdays from February 19 to March 12 with 2 competing teams performing each Saturday.

February 19, 2011 – UK vs Portugal
February 26, 2011 – China & France
March 5, 2011 – Japan & Canada
March 12, 2011 – Australia & Philippines

for two, i watched it on the last day of the competition because my schedule permitted me so. also, it was the time that me and my college batch mates agreed to see each other for a mini reunion and meeting up in MOA (and watching the pyromusical) would be a great way to kick off the reunon.

I didnt really expect to much anymore because i knew the powerhouse teams of UK (last year’s champions) and China (where every firework is made lol) already performed the previous weeks and i wasnt really sure if Australia will deliver a plaucible performance as well. admittedly, i under estimated our very own special entry and already judged it as mediocre even before they even start to perform. But hell i was wrong. yes, the Philippine’s entry may not be at par with the winners but then watching it with several hundreds of thousands of Filipinos eager to appreciate their ‘sariling atin’ with cheers and applause almost every other second gave me goosebumps and made my heart palpitate for the whole 30 mins. of fireworks. what also made it different from the rest of the entries was the way its musical scoring was arranged. it used modern pop music ranging from waka waka to bruno mars’ ‘just the way you are’ (which showcased fireworks with smiley faces everytime the song plays ‘when i see your face, its not a thing that i would change…’ part) and of course Katey Perry’s ‘Firework’. with the modern touch to it also incorporated music from a philharmonic orhcestra which was perfectly integrated to the whole musical composition. the Philippine entry also was the only entry that had fireworks at the audience area.

i was dancing and singing all through out the performance that i didn’t bother taking too much pictures of the fireworks. i was also using my UWA and 50mm lens so either way i had to go really near or ran towards the back to get better shots.

as a first timer i wasnt too strict on myself to get the best view and to get the best photos. i just felt i need to enjoy the moment and enjoy the fireworks since its my first time. so here are some observations and tips for next year’s pyromusical competition

1) drive early towards MOA as early as lunch time. throngs of people are already in MOA by that time so if you dont want to be stuck in HEAVY traffic, then go to MOA EARLY.

2) leave super duper late. if you dont want to get stuck in traffic again when yopu leave MOA, then leave super late. we chilled and had a few drinks in Blue wave MOA until around 12mn before we left, trust me again, there were still a number of people around MOA.

3) park far away from the mall itself. i am always an advocate of parking far away from where the venue is because i really dread looking for a parking space in an already full parking and also, i hate leaving the parking space and it would take me hours upon hours to leave. MOA utilized the vacant lots all around it as parking spaces. i get the chance to park at the farthest where there was less traffic and less cars. i just had to walk though. exercise.

4) if you have money then invest on the VIP area. tickets would cost you around 1000P – 1500P with free dinner. you are also seated right at the center so the view of the fireworks competition is nonetheless spectacular. i opt to buy the Gold tickets which cost me 200P. there are too many people though in this area, and too many photographers so your blessed if your able to find a perfect spot with a perfect view minus the heads and the cameras lurking infront of you.

5) the fireworks display can also be seen even in the ‘free’ areas. in fact as i try to figure, the 2nd floor of MOA where restaurants facing Manila bay are situated can also have the best view for the competition. i would suggest though that you eat at the restaurants there or try to reserve for a seat right infront so that nothing can block your view.

6) eat something first, then have a very late dinner after. the fireworks competiion does not start at 7pm as scheduled. when i was there, it started at arund 830pm and ended about 10pm. you wouldnt really want your spot to be taken by others just because you went out to eat or buy stuff. and trust me almost all of the restaurants in MOA are jampacked with people so just do the math.

7) lastly, don’t forget to dance and cheer for your very own. enjoy and be proud sa gawang pinoy! and yes its not bad dancing the waka-waka!

here’s the video (parts of it) for the Philippines as guest entry to the Pyromuscial competition.

here are the videos of the winning countries:

2nd runner-up: JAPAN

1st runner-up: UK

Grand Champion: CHINA

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the view: NAIA 3 terminal

Just in 2010 I have familiarized this view for almost 12 times already due to my frequency of travelling home to Cebu. usually I take the last flight at night and I get to see (and feel) how it is for this terminal to be in the ‘not-so-busy anymore’ category – contrary to how this terminal appear during peak hours, which is mostly during day time.

Basically the newest and the Biggest terminal in the NAIA complex, this terminal is home to two of the country’s local and budget carrier the Cebu Pacific Air and Airphil Express and just recently, about a month ago, All Nippon Airways opened as the first international carrier to open its services in this terminal.

more photos to be posted when i get to fly back to cebu again really soon.