Hanging out with the Birds

Published April 11, 2011 by Diosa

If I would name one animal that I would remember in Dubai, camels would come in second. Birds would definitely be the first. Migratory birds from Africa to Asia and vice versa usually take the route here and Dubai is lucky to be visited by these fine creatures frequently. From walking around the parks, driving the road, or simply staring in the sky, I always get a glimpse of birds soaring freely. Their flock would instantly draw my attention and I catch myself watching them. It gets more fascinating as you would see different kinds of birds in one spot.


Dubai Creek Park is my favorite place here. Well, I might dislike it if I happen to go there during the summer. Anyway, I like it even more when I finally had a close encounter with the birds. We saw the people in the park feeding them and we were excited to see the birds catching the food, flying around, or wading in the creek. It was only a matter of time before we became part of the group that were feeding the birds. I was happy as I watched the birds but when I saw my nephews looking at them, it was amazing. I can’t explain how those small eyes can reflect humongous amount of awe, wonder, and joy.





Can you spot the difference?

Time to rest





At the Top (1.3.11)

Published April 11, 2011 by Diosa

What comes into mind when you hear places such as Taipei 101, Petronas, Empire state? Well, they all made to the top list of the tallest buildings in the world. I am lucky I got to go inside the current tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, UAE. Burj Khalifa and I share same important numbers in our existence. 828. It measures 828 meters towering more than 300 meters over Taipei 101 while I celebrate my birthday on this date. It’s one fact that I’ll always remember about Burj Khalifa.

As far as I remember, we parked at the fashion avenue as it is the nearest parking and passed by the mall and went up and there was the entrance. There were so many tourists at that time and tickets were sold out. It was very tempting to scalpel our own tickets as we watched the frantic tourists trying to get inside. We had our ticket booked online. We got our tickets and waited for our scheduled tour. For those who are going with kids like us, you need to leave the strollers and big bags at the reception area.

A tour to the top is a glide in heaven for a camwhore like me.

Here’s the entrance and the walkalator going to the world’s fastest elevator.

Waiting for my turn to ride the elevator. It only took 2 minutes to get us at the top.

At the Top’s Observation Deck gives you the 360 degree view of Dubai. I was amazed how structures became so small that made them look scale models. It’s a haven for those who crave for overwhelming architectural designs. On the other side, it saddened and made me wonder what would happen to the unfinished structures. It was like being awed to one building and disappointed to the next. Another thing, I don’t know if its possible but I imagined that when I get to the top I would feel the strong wind blowing on to me. I hope that there would be an open area.

Anyway, it didn’t ruin my tour….

nor waver my enthusiasm to take as many pictures as I like.

Do you see the shadow of Burj Khalifa?

from the floor to the ceiling

My sister and I waited for the sunset. It was too beautiful and I enjoyed too much that I forgot to take the video. It’s always nice to see the works of man and nature when they blend in harmoniously. I don’t get to see Burj Al Arab and sunset together everyday. Do you?

These were series of designs before the final Burj Khalifa.

We saw a wall of the people who helped built the building. To be part of something big and historical, I could only feel pride and happiness for the fellow Pinoys I saw on the wall.

Did I mention I am a camwhore? Well, the following pictures would show a definite proof of what I claim to be. And as we headed out, I turned this walk-a-lator to my own fashion runway. Thanks to Ate for taking all my pictures, Ate Liezel for my “boots made to walk all over you,” and myself for shamelessly posing. :)))

By the way, they took a picture of our group upon entering and it cost AED250. A total rip off if we had bought it. Basically, the group shot was pasted on Dubai skyline. At night!

You know when I was in Hong Kong, I went to Victoria’s peak. They captured a great shot of our group with the Hong Kong night skyline behind us. Something people behind At the Top should do. A picture worth spending for.

Home Away From Home

Published April 11, 2011 by Diosa

**This had been my home for almost 6 years and truly honed a big part of me. I could still remember the first time I came here to register. After confirming my admission, I asked my mom to enroll me in UST. Laguna was very far from home and I was sure I will be homesick. Incidentally, my slot in UST was already forfeited. I had no choice but enroll in UPLB or in any colleges. I dreamt of studying in UP but definitely not Los Banos. I vowed that I would be trasferring to Diliman but it never happened. I did shift to a different course but not to another campus. Somehow, Los Banos crawled its way to my heart and I came to love UPLB. I made a lot of mistakes but I learned a lot of lessons. I missed my friends from my hometown and got really jealous when I knew that they still hanged out together but I made more friends who also taught me a lot. I terribly missed my family but I became independent and took care of myself. It had been truly my home away from home.It didn’t only teach me lessons to earn a college degree but lessons in life. Here’s a trip down the memory lane where I came back to my alma mater after years of thriving in my young adult life.

When I was in freshman, I would either commute from Buendia bus terminal or my dad would drive me all the way to Los Banos. The trip usually took three hours from Bulacan to Laguna. I would be finishing one movie when I rode the bus. Sometimes I got pissed when I didn’t finish the movie because I had to get off at College. Since it was a long trip, I met different people along my trip. Sometimes, there would be old people abusing my kindness but most of the time, guys that were hitting on me. Modesty aside. It was funny when they would write their number (text messages were not yet available then) and give it to me so I’ll call them. And LRT had no separate coaches for male and female then. It was nice when we interacted with people like before. Well, if you didn’t like them, you could always transfer. By the way, ticketing in the bus had gone techie. Before the bus conductor would rip lots of paper to give your fare rate but now it would come out from a gadget. Plus, I didn’t bump my head on the tv because they are now using flat tv. I didn’t bump because I’m tall. I do admit my baby height.

Here’s the kwek kwek tower. If I remember correctly, it was built in 1999. Seriously, I don’t know the official name of this structure. I researched the name of this tower and it was more identified as the kwek kwek tower. (Official name is UP College of Agriculture Academic Heritage Monument)The burning fire had faded and rumor has it that it will be replaced by the Oblation. I think a lot of people would agree with me that its completely an eye sore. I really don’t have any fond memories of this place so moving on… (but this shot really looked picturesque)

**When I was studying, we researched in the library or borrowed the handouts and photocopied it. Now, you could just go to photocopy centers and look for you subject and wala, your own copy.

**My teacher in several subjects. We did catch up but she has to go to her class. I think she didn’t grow a day old. I forgot to take a picture of my other teacher who is now the dean of our college because I got too excited and talkative. I’m really happy to see them. They’re so nice, warm, and down to earth.

The college offices. I’ll always remember Tita Lorna better than the dean or college secretary. She was nicer than the officers in CAS where I was originally enrolled. We also used to wait for our class at the lobby here.

The Humanities building. I took my com, humanities, soc sci, philo classes here. I still remember during class debates when our opponent were about to lose, she said “puta” instead of prostitute and she said it very angry and looked directly at us. What else, I was afraid of Soc Sci II teacher. I enjoyed Hum II under Dr. Zafaralla even more when we went to Ilocos. It was the best summer ever. And how could I fail to mention the Oblation run. When I was freshman, I was embarassed to watch but eventually I went to Humanities building to watch. It is tradition!

Here is my college building. It is formerly entomology building which explains why there is an insect in front. UPLB has a very big campus. When ask how big? In my very Ms. Universe way, I would answer upper or lower campus. But the reality is, our college hasn’t acquire or build a new building unlike CAS.

My favorite waiting shed. at PhySci building. I used to wait here for jeepneys or meet my friends. These days, jeepneys don’t pass this road anymore. I took my Math, Physics, and Chem classes at this building. And yes, including Math review classes. I really had a hard time during freshman year that I eventually dropped the subject. I retook it the next sem and finally understood it. I almost convinced myself that I was stupid in Math but proved myself wrong. I had my retake with my favorite blocmate, Mark and it was fun though at the start embarassing. Our teacher repeatedly told us that she was supposed to teach only few students but since we failed, she was forced to teach us too. Math 26 was my redemption. I topped the class and it felt so damn good. I’m not stupid. Yay!

I transferred at Raymundo street with my friends from Men’s dorm in 1999. We rented an apartment and shared it with 6 other housemates. Each housemate was assigned to cook so we also went to market. This little market is very clean and has a variety of goods. I like buying here because the sellers were nice and they called me “Claudine Barretto.” (talk about me being vain) I remembered when one of my housemate cooked something that was not really tasty she walked out of the house and we were really worried. Lesson: Never argue with the cook. Aside from cooking duties, we also cleaned the house, washedour clothes, did the dishes, etc.

Unfortunately, our house was replaced with this establishment. It was a very nice duplex. It was airy and spacious. It had two bedrooms, a big space for the living and dining rooms, and a kitchen. A lot of memories happened in that house. It was the silent witness of our joys, friendship, fights, long hours of studying, disappointments, love, and a whole lot more. I still have a vivid memory of that place and my housemates, Liza, Ga, Lani, Irene, Gelai, Ate Icar, Nalce, Ces, Ate Cha, Jomari, another Cha, Verl, Jo-ann, and two other housemates I forgot. It had been an extension of UPCES org house. We had them in the house like any time of the day. I remembered two names, Ramil and Ramel, and I used it to call any of them. 🙂

C and Y centrum is the only establishment aside from the market that reminds me of the time that I lived there. My friend Rouselle lived here. But even their own internet shop was closed now. No one can really stop change.

This used to be a rough road but functions the same, a parking lot. During my time, econ students were the rich ones and who drove their own cars. The love of my college life, Dan, was one of them. After our STS meeting at night, I would really catch up with him so we could walked together in the dark. It was disappointing he didn’t try anything. LOL!

SEARCA, SouthEast Asian Research Center at marami pang iba, I don’t know what’s A. But I do know, it served the best rice in the campus!

At the back of humanities. They seemed to be obsessed with benches!

The library where I researched and photocopied my homework, paper, lessons, reviewer, etc. It now shares its space with the office of the chancellor.Sometimes, I spent my day just sitting inside writing and reading the same thing.

I should have crossed the road and pretended its abbey road. Behind the cotton-like tree is the tambayans of orgs in UPLB. Once, I saw a group of male drinking there at around 4 in the afternoon. so true.

Before, its only Mariang Banga who has clay jar. Now, it’s everywhere.

The Student Union Building. This was the first building I went in. During orientation, this is where the freshmen’s mind were set to love UP and be proud of being UP student. From games like standing up everytime UP student is mentioned to answering questions lik: What are the universities in the Philippines? UP and others. UP is the only university worth mentioning as for others, well, they’re others. Do they still do this kind of orientation? I swear, after this orientation, I was so happy and proud to be a UP student. Only to be defeated by homesickness, which I had overcome… eventually. This was also where I got to know and made friends with my blockmates. I’m sorry if I forget someone but here I go, Aileen, Arcadio (I had no story right now but he is fun to be with), Lennon, Dave, Cherry, Jing (my dormmate too then my neighbor when I rented an apartment who I also borrowed chem and physics lab answers) Bernadette, Cloudette, Diane, Eliza (still bored? Remember when we just hang out at the field after classes?) DJ (I was scared when he called me at the PMA grounds, I thought I was caught doing something wrong.) Gerwin, Chip, Gemmar, Roy, Rex, Pam, again my fave Mark, Marjorie, Fatima, Ofel, Frel, and Cathy (my coGordon’s Gin fanatic & closest blocmate)

Yes, 7-11 is now opened in SU building.

Don’t you just love the smell of freshly cut grass?

Men’s – Coed Residence Hall or Men’s Dorm was my first home in UPLB. I cried the whole first night. and the night after that. and after the night after. Anyway, I met my good friends here. Ate Madz, Kwen, Liza, Mia, Ces, Rose, and Aimee. I don’t know what’s with the attraction of our room but they really liked hanging out there. Perhaps its the cool big fan. 🙂 It was here I started reading novels and talking the whole night. We even have our names written under my bed. I wonder if it’s still there. We experienced one month brownout, dorm’s sportsfest, eating canned goods, forced to eat at Mother’s, overflowing CR, and a whole lot more. We shared great memories until sophomore year. I took a leave of absence at the same tim Aimee and Mia did. I came back to UPLB. Mia transferred to UP Diliman. Aimee never came back. My 18th birthday wouldn’t be as marvelous if they were not there.

This is where we had our graduation. At the field right in front of DL UMali Hall. Graduation was a mixture of sadness and happiness. It was the culmination of the six years that I stayed in the university and signified the beginning of a new chapter in my life.

St. Therese Chapel. I attended Wednesday mass here especially during Fr. Gil’s mass. I still remembered when he sang “Don’t give up on us.”

Old UP rural highschool building. I went here for my Math 27.

Ankers was not like this before. We ate good food with live chickens at the side. They were watching us as we took each bite of their sisters and brothers.

The best chocolate cake ever!

With my friend, Ces, with whom I share this nostalgic and surreal experience.


Crossing Palma Bridge.


And yes, I still love to sit on the grass, hang out at the field, wait for the time to pass.

**Pictures taken by Ces Tarnate.

Big World

Published April 11, 2011 by Diosa

It’s a big world for this cute and carefree child. I could only wish that I could freeze time and have him just the way he is forever. His mama would get angry at me. 🙂

making playful pose

did he just get cuter?

more adorable?

another silhoutte

and the little boy did inspect the pictures. (all pictures were taken by my sister, dona)

Marlboro Hills

Published April 11, 2011 by Diosa

If someone mention Marlboro, what’s the first thing you think of?


I would definitely answer the Marlboro cigarette tv ad. Remember, the very masculine cowboy steering the wild horses at the terrainous hills.


Marlboro Hills in Batanes is very far from the killer commercial. It is majestic, beautiful, and takes my breath away in a very very healthy way. It has no more horses because breeding them proved to be more costly but less profitable. It’s alright that there are no horses and it was not a disappointment. I don’t think Batanes could ever disappoint me. From the first moment I caught a glimpse of the islands from the plane, I’m pretty sure the beauty I’m seeing up in the clouds has more to offer when I’m actually immerse in it.










heights and depths









hedges and plains
















nature’s harmonic orchestra


heavenly feeling








































blinded by the burst of colors of sunshine and landscape









Of course, who can resist jump shots?















enjoying the view ala-F4 in meteor garden






loving the sun and earth






Come to where the flavor is…..


Marlboro Hills.


we love it so much, we went back the next day.

and here’s a video of the heavenly place. (pictures and video were taken by my sister, dona)



Karen’s Dictionary

Published April 11, 2011 by Diosa

Everytime I travel, I spend countless hours on the internet researching about the place. I would be awed, amazed, and surprised. I just to want make sure that we eliminate danger and possible rip offs. And I hope that we get to enjoy all the things the place has to offer even if we go to off beaten paths. Plus, I like trivias. However, my friend Karen usually comes up with things and terms that couldn’t be possibly seen on researches. Here’s some of the stuff she said which made us wonder at first then eventually laugh hard about it.


1. Trip to Coron


Coron is very beautiful. One that actually makes me shout “ang ganda ng Pilipinas!” Coron is a municipality that includes Busuanga Island and all nearby Coron island. (according to wikipedia and coronphilippines.com)


While waitng at the airport, we took pictures (camwhores we are) and came across the name of the airport. Karen made a conclusion: Busuanga Is. Coron, Palawan. Ahh, busuanga pala ay coron din. (Ahh, Busuanga and Coron is the same.) Then, we read what she saw. I think its Busuanga Island Coron, Palawan.


2. Trip to CDO and Camiguin


We really love to go to Camiguin. In order to get there, I studied different routes to the the place and decided to use the Cagayan de Oro route. We got there in the afternoon so we spent the night before heading to Camiguin. We hanged out at their Divisoria and attended the Mass the next day. On our way back to the inn, Karen saw a sign at a furniture shop. Since we were in Mindanao, we had a bit of hard time understandng the language. She read “lay away.”(all a’s are short sound a) We thought about it s0 we read it with her, we said lay away. Karen, that’s English. (the payment scheme)


3. Trip to Hongkong and Macau



Hongkong is my first international trip. My childhood dream of seeing Mickey Mouse at Disneyland is finally coming true. We only have 6 days to go around the place but we really don’t care if we get tired and exhausted. It’s a must that we get to tour all the destinations we chose to go.With hundreds of thousands of overseas Filipino workers in Hongkong, it’s possible that we’ll be identified as one of them. We were so excited when we saw them at the Largo Leal de Senado and it felt home when we heard someone spoke our language. Karen started gushing “DOH.” Huh? Domestic Helper. Ahh, DH. We had a good laugh even with an empty stomach!



This post is dedicated to Karen who teaches us the most provocative and sexiest model-like poses and provides us hysterical quotes when we get too serious.




Back in Bora

Published April 11, 2011 by Diosa

I could finally sing “nakabalik na ako sa white sand beach ng Boracay!” Both trips are so memorable for me. The white sand, pristine waters, and hot people all around make Boracay a destination one should not fail to go. I was here in 2005 and after going to a lot of Philippines’ beautiful islands, I wonder if Boracay is still one of the country’s top tourists’ spots. Well, whatever doubts I had, going back to the island cleared them all up. The beach wasn’t that crowded at this time of the year but still there are many tourists. I could complained about too many people or too many restos and bars or too many resorts but there’s still something I just couldn’t explain that draws me and apparently lots of people to the beach. I could actually sit there all day and just stare at the beach, watch the waves, feel the sand, and listen.

The trip going to Boracay proved to be an adventure for me. In 2005, I endured 13 hours of riding RORO with my colleagues which included sitting in the bus with some passengers that have live chickens with them, transferring to ferries, running for seats, and back aches that I kept feeling for 4 days. When we saw Boracay, I honestly could cry. I had the most amazing feeling on my feet when we finally stepped on the white powdery sand. This year, I took the plane. Thinking that it would be more relaxing, I was wrong. I went with my family this time and we took three different flights at three different terminals. My sister and I took public transportion to the airport where we would meet the others while they took the car. Since we were in a tight schedule, we called them every five minutes or less. My brother in law with my nephew were dropped to centennial airport only to be told that they should be at T3. They took the cab and transferred. Then, my mom and dad were supposed to be at T3. They did make it. Thirty minutes before departure time. My sisters, another nephew, and me needed to go back to domestic terminal but we had to park the car first. It was really stressful when you’re pressured with time. We finally found a parking slot and took the shuttle. The driver was kind enough to help us crossed the street. Hello, he dropped us at the other side. Yay! We got there just in time! (FYI, flights going to Boracay via Airphils and Philippine Airlines are the same which is why my brother in law needed to transfer to T3 terminal)

In 2005, we saw sailboats at the shore but this time boats dock at the pier at the other side of the island. It does make sense. The beach is free from gas leaks and people are free to swim.


we had ice cream then, I finally found Jonas. Their fruit shakes are so delicious!



Island Hopping

We enjoyed banana boat ride then I scaled into new heights this time, parasailing.

Just for fun with the kids, I rode the jetski on land with steering wheel :))


I went there with my shs binondo family then, my family.


The beautifully made and lighted sandcastles


at willy’s rock. no tattoo this time.


the waterfall stairs at regency




My first airplane ride. No more roro. Thanks Mrs. C! Now, with my sisters, brother, and nephews.


I love Boracay! and I would love to go back again and again and again….