Thursday, May 31, 2012

A few things your teacher might not be telling you

It's been a year since I got officially appointed in my job. But I'll have a separate mushy post about that. For now, let me share this: a few things your teacher might not be telling you. But actually, I think the proper way to call this list is "a few things I wish to remind our students" haha. :))
  1. We are humans. We are not perfect. Our job is to teach but that doesn't mean we know everything.
  2. We learn from students too! They have ideas different from ours but works just as well or works even better.
  3. When we're taking a long time checking papers, it's because we have hundreds to check and we have to read and understand everything so that we can give fair grades. Unless you're okay with us giving all or nothing (100 or 0)?
  4. If you don't want to have quizzes, seatworks, exams, projects, reports, or homeworks, and you don't even participate in class, where on earth are we going to pull your grades? Darts? Roulette? 
  5. We don't like talking to ourselves or talking to the board. Sometimes, we ask questions that are supposedly answerable by common sense and yet no one answers... it's just sad and sometimes embarrassing.
  6. We deserve respect as much as you do.
  7. If we're scolding you for excessive absences, for tardiness, for sleeping in class, etc. it's because we care. We want you to learn. Although sometimes, it's also because of item (6).
  8. We don't like spoon-feeding students because we don't just want you to know the answers. We want you to learn how to think ("learn how to learn" as my professor said) and how to get the answers. We believe in the saying "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life".
  9. Nothing great ever comes easy. Want to get 1.0's? Want to get a degree from the university? Work hard for it.

Disclaimer: This post does not, in any way, reflect the sentiments of all teachers. Just mine. I teach early subjects in the university. I also didn't take any units in education.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Third Tan of the Year

I'm back from Puerto Galera where I spent two nights in White Beach with my friends.

White Beach Puerto Galera is a great place even though there are lots of better beaches in the country. There are angular stones that can hurt your feet. The slope isn't very mild. But all of those are tolerable. What I didn't like were LOTS of bottles and cigarette butts by the shore! I wish people would be more responsible.

One thing I will always love about Puerto Galera: beautiful sunsets

But it's very accessible so it's great for a weekend getaway. From Cubao, we took a bus to Batangas Port (PhP175 one-way) and then a boat (PhP500 two-way plus PhP50 for environmental fee, PhP20 for the terminal fee in Batangas and another PhP10 for the terminal fee in Puerto Galera). 

We stayed at White Beach Resort. It's my second time staying there (I dunno what came into me and I booked a room there, I was cramming our reservation). We payed PhP3000/night for a room with two double beds. Location was good: very near the beach but not very near the noisy bars. However, there's dust everywhere, the flush lever is broken (and was replaced with wires), the towel holder is also broken and kind of rusty. But we managed anyway. I just don't think I'll return to that resort.

Thanks to my cheap mini-tripod, we have a complete photo.

The waves were big when we got there last Friday because of the monsoon. I didn't swim that day; I just took photos of the beautiful sunset. 


Look at that beautiful gradient

The moon was beautiful too. It illuminated the sea at night.

On the second day, Saturday, we woke up early to go snorkeling. We rented a boat for PhP2500 (good for up to six persons), we rode a tricycle to the port (PhP 50) and paid a terminal fee (Php160). The waves were big and the boat ride was scary! We also hired a smaller boat (PhP300 per person) to tour us around Coral Gardens, to the giant clams and to the underwater cave. We saw not just corals, lots of fishes and giant clams but also a big pawikan! However, we weren't able to enter the underwater cave because of the high tide and the strong current. But we went to the sandbar and to Bayanan beach. I don't have photos because I didn't bring the camera to the sea.

After lunch, we went to the South side of the beach.

Lesson: don't wear braids when swimming, lots of sand will get caught in your hair!

Waves crashing

White Beach

We also went swimming in the late afternoon where I got thrown all over the shore by the big waves. In the evening, after dinner, we got henna tattoos.

"Hello, I got myself a wing."

By Sunday, the waves were already calm. Supposedly perfect for swimming but we were already going home by then!

Since my last trip to Puerto Galera two years ago (with family), I'd say things have become standardized and regulated. Before, the boats (small or big) docked almost anywhere. Now, I think they have designated docking areas. They also have standardized prices for the tours. Just one thing: I wish that the beach would get rid of trash.

Until next time!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Best Seafood Pizza

On our third and last day in Coron, we had breakfast in Malcapuya Island and then left for Coron town. We went back to Coron Village Lodge to fix our things for our flight home and then bought pasalubong. After that, we went to Seadive Resort for lunch.

Whenever my dad goes to fielwork in Coron, he always stays in Seadive Resort and he says that they have very delicious seafood pizza there.

When we arrived past 1pm, there were very few people and we were the only Filipinos customers. We ordered seafood pizza. The waitress told us that one pizza serves 2 to 3 people so we ordered 4 pizzas plus other dishes (chicken, fish, squid). The waitress also told us that we had to wait 45 minutes for the pizza. We were okay with it because we were not in a hurry.

The view from Seadive resort's restaurant

I don't have good experiences with seafood pizza from restaurants in Metro Manila. It's like they're not worth the money. However, because my dad attested to Seadive Resort's seafood pizza, I was game to try it.

Finally, the pizza arrived. 8 slices, around 10 inches in diameter. The waitress was saying the truth, it will really serve 2 to 3 people! If it were in Manila, I'm sure they'd say it'll serve 4. (In my experience in Manila, waiters and waitresses always tell customers that their food can serve this much people but it's never enough.)

The camera's battery was going nuts hence a phone photo.

And dad was right! I think it's the best seafood pizza ever! It was loaded with shrimp, well-cooked squid (soft and not the rubbery kind of squid; did not hurt my teeth) and big chunks of tuna (not the canned one). It's not malansa at all because EVERYTHING WAS FRESH! And the best part: it costs only PhP320! For nice ambience, free tea and coffee and good service, I'd say it's definitely worth the bucks!

In summary, I'd definitely recommend Seadive Resort and it's not just for the seafood pizza:
  • The tables and chairs are beautifully made of wood. (They feel like the living room set in your grandparent's house.)
  • The interiors are very Filipino. (They use a lot of native materials.)
  • The area is very open and there's no air-conditioner but there's lots of fresh air!
  • The balcony overlooks to the sea.
  • They have free-flowing tea and coffee (and the waitress was kind to mention that early on).
  • We brought some mangoes we got from the market and asked them to slice it and they did so with a pretty presentation too. How nice.
  • There's free wi-fi. LOL.

Finally, we were ready to go to the airport. But before that, we dropped by Busuanga Diesel Power Plant to see some of dad's colleagues. It's my first time to see a power plant!

And that concludes the Coron trip posts. I am still hoping to visit Palawan next time, Puerto Princesa most probably because I like their hopia (and El Nido is just too expensive LOL). But I wish my dad would go back to Coron soon so he can bring home seafood pizza. :))

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Happy-logue 05-22-12

Things that make me happy recently:

1. Eating at Bellini's and then watching The Cabin in the Woods with my high school classmates

Last time I went to Bellini's was around 3 years ago, during an orgmate's birthday party. I was totally amused with their interiors: murals, violins, wine. The place is very Italian (well, afterall, it's owned by an Italian man) and the food is great too! However, after eating there last weekend, I think I'll give my wallet some rest. The prices are a little too steep so I spent more than what I thought I would considering the small amount of food I consumed. But then, I'd give it a slack because I rarely see my high school classmates. Also, I forgot my camera so I don't have photos.

And then from Cubao X, my classmate drove to Megamall so we could watch The Cabin in the Woods. It took us two hours to get to Megamall!! Can you imagine that traffic? I thought we weren't going to make it. We were a little late for the screening (because we still bought popcorn) but at least we made it. 

The name "Josh Whedon" should ring a bell. The Avengers!

I honestly do not like horror movies. I've only watched two horror movies my entire life. However, my motivation to watch The Cabin in the Woods was (1) Chris Hemsworth a.k.a. Thor (lame, I know, but at least I'm telling the truth) and (2) one of my orgmates said it's the best horror movie ever.

And it did not disappoint! It was definitely worth the money. I think that the movie targets horror fans but I enjoyed it, nevertheless. About halfway through, I wanted to chicken out (as I said, I don't really like horror stuff) but it I'm glad I didn't! I think it's a different kind of horror movie and although it made me scream a number of times, I don't think it's the scariest movie of all. This one is fast-paced and I felt like it has more depth to its story. And I guess those are the reasons why I like the movie

However, don't be fooled by the marketing. Chris Hemsworth may be one of the protagonists but I wouldn't say that he's the main protagonist. But in any case, it's still a great movie!

2. Spontaneous dinner at Friuli with my college friends

Friuli is a small restaurant in Maginhawa Street. They serve pizza, pasta and desserts. I've been there a few times but never got around to blogging about it. (Yes, they have good food.) Yesterday, I was drenched in the rain because I walked around a kilometer in raging rains just to get to Friuli. But I'm still glad that I was able to meet my friends. We used to dine a lot in Maginhawa Street before everyone got busy with their jobs (and one with law school). We were far from complete yesterday but that spontaneous dinner was definitely nostalgic. I still wish we could do that more often. :(

3. Not getting pimples these days.

Most probably because (1) I don't get as much stress and (2) I don't wear makeup this summer because of the heat. Meh, but I guess when school starts, my face's happy days will be over. :( Oh well.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Things I Miss: School

Yes, I may be in school almost everyday (even during summer) but being a teacher is still different from being a student.

I just got officially admitted to Masters studies. The same day, I checked my CRS page just to look at my new course. Haha, what a weirdo.

Ah, I miss sitting on those black fiber glass chairs and be the one listening and asking questions to the professor. And I know this sounds crazy but I sometimes miss cramming requirements, taking exams and seeing my exam results.

I also miss pre-enlisting classes and waiting for the randomized results. But then, pre-enlistment in graduate classes is easier than in undergraduate ones. There's less thrill, probably almost none.

I'm excited to learn new stuff (especially because my MS is different from my BS). However, graduate classes are in the evening. After a whole day of teaching and meetings, I don't know if I'll still be able to concentrate in class. I've enlisted a straight three-hour class. I'm sure my head will start drifting after an hour. 

Well... good luck! My feelings are mixed. I kind of dread the start of classes because I'm sure I'll be getting stressed and start growing pimples again. Teaching load + research load + study load = dead. But I'm also excited because... well, it's a new semester!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Malcapuya Island is Paradise Defined

Malcapuya is a remote island in Palawan, more than an hour away by boat from the Coron town proper.

We went there during our second day in Coron, after island-hopping. We were staying overnight so the caretakers asked us for PhP700 per person. We thought is was too expensive so my mom haggled it down to PhP400 per person.

They had a number of tarpaulin huts with tables and chairs. I also saw a grilling area. There are also some hammocks around.

The cottages are just nipa huts with very minimal privacy. Our nipa hut didn't even have a door. They gave us foam mattresses, blankets, sheets and pillows, which I really appreciate. (Apparently, that's where the entrance/overnight fee goes.) However, during the night, a rat was playing around the roof and in the morning, we found out it ate our bread!

Our cottage

Our cottage's interiors

The restrooms are pretty nice and even had tiled floors. There was no water closet though but there was a huge pail and a dipper for flushing.

The dead coral curtain is cute!

Unlike the restroom, the "shower room" was rundown. It's just a makeshift structure made of bamboo/wood frame, plastic/tarpaulin walls, nipa roof and a shower curtain (in place of a door). The drainage and flooring the was simply gravel. There's no shower head. You have to draw out water from the deep well just outside.

Water from the deep well was very hard and smelled rusty. (Hard water is water rich in calcum and magnesium. It is difficult to make soap bubbles with hard water but it makes rinsing easy. Boiling hard water leaves scaly residue in kettles. However, hard water doesn't necessarily mean dirty water.)

Being a remote island, electricity is powered by a generator which only runs for around four hours a day (usually around 6 pm up to 9 or 10pm). My father has a lot of stories about these kinds of places and situations in the provinces but it's my first time to actually experience it! (I was born and raised in the city.)

My photos don't do justice to the beauty of the place.

However, I think all the difficulties were worth it. The word "beautiful" would be an understatement. Very fine white sand. Very clear waters. Beautiful rocks. Paradise, indeed.

The west side of the beach

There's sea grass debris. However, during low tide, the sea grass are swept to the shore.

Oh, and did I mention that our group (my family and a family friend) were the only guests in the island? The place is so remote but I felt like a million dollars! I felt like we had the whole island for ourselves. Haha!

Great place to hang out

According to the caretakers, the owner plans to develop the place and construction is taking place this June. I guess when that happens, the place is going to be expensive. I'm really just glad that I was able to visit there while it's still affordable.

The east side of the beach as seen from the view cliff

By the way, Malcaupya island has its own website. The photos in the website do more justice to the place. I was quite surprised that this very remote and undeveloped island has a pretty nice website. Perhaps the owner is really preparing for development.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Palawan: A Piece of Paradise

On our second day in Coron, we went island-hopping. Coron isn't like Boracay or Puerto Galera where the beach is just in front of the resorts. In Coron, you have to leave the main island in order to see the beautiful places.

We rented a boat and went to the docking area. It's just beside the public market so the waters were dirty (read: effluent). It was a little disappointing but I guess it can't be helped. In any case, there's sea grass nearby which helps in aerating (a.k.a. cleaning) the sea.

A few minutes after riding the boat, the waters became very clear and the beautiful islands can be seen. They're exactly as I see in photos. Very picturesque and breathtaking. One of the things that make me say "I love my country. Indeed, it's more fun in the Philippines."

Our first stop was Kayangan Lake. Entrance fee was PhP200. (The popular islands in Coron usually have entrance fees for maintenance by the caretakers.) I heard that the government already gave Kayangan Lake to the indigenous people. They're the ones maintaining the place. I'm pretty okay with that. I'd prefer giving my PhP200 to indigenous people than to some rich person.

Sky blue waters! My favorite color.

We climbed a man-made trail for a few minutes before we were able to find this paradise. Kayangan Lake has brackish waters (just slightly salty and you can still open your eyes underwater). It's also very clean.

I wish I rented mask, snorkel and fins. The lake was deep and I had to swim with a life vest (which was difficult due to the drag force) because I easily get tired when treading in water and I'm scared of getting cramps while swimming too. But if I had fins, I wouldn't have used a life vest.

Can you see how clear the waters are?

We swam a lot and then went back to the boat. Before we left, Dad saw this monkey. I was a little far from it and this was the best shot I could get. This is the first time I've seen a monkey in the wild! Super cool!

We proceeded to Twin Lagoons (entrance fee: PhP50). I don't have a photo of the place because we had to swim before we could get there and I couldn't bring my non-waterproof camera of course. There's a one-meter underwater "tunnel" that will lead you to the lagoon but there are also wooden platforms and ladders above the said tunnel (you still have to swim to get there though). One meter underwater is fine. However, I did not take the risk because the boatman said that the rocks are sharp and I could hit my head and bleed. I'm a buoyant person (I float easily in water; I need heavier lead weights when scuba diving) so I just took the wooden platform instead.

And then we went to have lunch in Banol Beach. It pays to look at surroundings while riding the boat because I SAW A PAWIKAN in the shallow part of the sea! I was actually just looking at the corals but I was very lucky to see a pawikan as well. It's my second time to see one. The first was during the check-out dive (scuba diving) in Anilao, Batangas and we saw the pawikan around 70 to 80 feet underwater. This time, I saw one in shallow water. Super cute!

However, our boat had no place to dock in Banol Beach so we were forced to go to this beach instead. I'm not sure if the place even has a name but I'm not complaining! It's the first beach I saw in Coron! Look at the powdery white sand and super clear waters! I think we paid PhP300 for the use of a cottage and for docking the boat.

After lunch with liempo (grilled pork), chicken, grilled lapu-lapu (fish) and crabs (!!!), we went to Malcapuya Island. However, that place deserves a separate post so I'll write about it next time!

Isn't it cool? The trip to Coron gave me a lot of awesome experiences. Those experiences used to be just stories from my dad who goes around the country a lot for fieldwork. Now, they're my stories!

And honestly, I don't think my photos do justice to the places. They're much more beautiful in actual.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Palawan... Check!

I spent the last weekend in Coron, Palawan with my family.

Palawan is one of my local dream destinations. I'd pass on Boracay but definitely not Palawan. (Well, now that I've gone to Palawan I guess I can save up for Boracay now haha.)

A very typical view in Coron

We left last Friday and I was very disappointed with the 1.5-hour flight delay. Here's a confession: I've been to a few countries but I've never flown domestic and I haven't been to Visayas or Mindanao. Yes, I know, I'm such a stranger to my own country but I'm trying to change that now!

Fortunately, my dad has been to Palawan quite a lot for fieldwork so he knows the place and some locals from their office.

We stayed in Coron Village Lodge. We rested a little and then waited for the rain to stop before Dad's colleague drove us to Maquinit Hot Spring. It's a few minutes away by car (or by tricycle) from the town proper. The road leading to the hot spring is a private and unpaved road. Entrance fee is PhP150 per person.

The first thing to greet you would be these mangroves.

Since the rain just stopped and it was a little cold, the hot spring was very relaxing. I love hot baths.

The water is salty. It comes from the sea and is heated by something from the ground (most likely a volcano).

The place has restrooms but no place to shower. You'll have to go back to your lodging to take a shower.

We had dinner in Maquinit (dad and his colleagues bought food from the local market) and then we headed back to the lodge.

It was unfortunate that I wasn't able to scour the places around Coron Village Lodge. There seemed to be a number of interesting coffee shops around. Heh, that's the thing when I travel with family... I tend to be play-safe and become less adventurous (I can't let the parents worry too much).

And that's the first day (of three days) in Coron, Palawan.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Beach with ICE

I had a blast with ICE (Institute of Civil Engineering) during the weekend, courtesy of our institute director, Doc A. Almost all the young instructors and a number of the professors went to Doc A's resthouse by the beach in Batangas.

That's Mindoro over there!

It's my first trip to the beach this year that's why I was very excited. The area was very private with very few people, which is great!

We arrived Saturday noon. In the afternoon, Doc A took out his speedboat and drove us around. When we rode the speedboat, I felt like I was in the movies. I felt like a million dollars haha!

photo by Sir Eric

photo by Sir Eric

Doc A's speedboat

At 3:00pm, clouds covered the sun and low-tide approached so we were able to enjoy the beach a lot minus the sunburn. We swam and played in the sea until 6:30pm, had dinner and played games until 2:00am.

Sadly, after this shot, my camera's battery died. The sunset was really beautiful!

The next day, Doc A took out his jetski and everyone took turns to ride it. Now that's one thing off my bucket list! I only rode the jetski for a while but I enjoyed a lot! The sea was clear (not much people, not much boats) that's why I was able to drive fast!

thanks for this photo, Sir Eric!

I really enjoyed my weekend, thanks to Doc A and to ICE!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Happy-logue 05-03-12

I like making lists of things that make me happy. It makes me feel blessed despite stress. It gives me a more positive attitude toward life. As they say, "good vibes!"

I used to do this kind of list a lot (I wrote almost everyday in a small notebook) back in 2009. Until one day, I stopped (probably because of a broken heart?) and never got back to it again...

...until today! Yay~

A list of things that make me happy recently:

1. I'm baking again!! I unintentionally went on a baking hiatus. I was so busy last semester. And I think I kind of lost heart. Fortunately, I watched Bridesmaids and Life As We Know It (two romantic comedies where the lead females both bake). I think the movies reminded me of my love for baking. Today, I made cinnamon roll cake. Cinnamon = one of the best things in the world.

2. School supplies from Saizen. I bought a rotary cutter and a sakura puncher. I honestly don't know where to use these things but I'll find a way.

3. I'm jogging around the academic oval again. I can't run as much as before but that's expected after months of not jogging. I might not be able to keep this up though because when June comes, I'll be teaching again and I will start my Masters studies too.

4. The more forgiving weather.

5. Landmark Trinoma now carries Human Nature products! I'm glad I unintentionally passed by the beauty section. I no longer need to go to their branch in Teacher's Village everytime I run out of shampoo or conditioner or facial toner!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Things I Miss: Making Headbands

Mid-April, I was thinking about opening to commission projects again. But before I could announce anything, Kat asked me to make a fairy-ish headband she could use for her graduation rites. Perfect timing or what? :))

Kat gave it to me to design. She just said she wanted to look like a fairy. After weeks of thinking (it's my first time making something like this), I settled for flat velvet cords, handmade ribbon flowers and beads.

I would like a hippie band for myself right now. They'll look good with my summer uniform (I don't really have a uniform but you'll mostly see me wearing a circular skirt, a cotton shirt and Grendha sandals). I just need brown velvet cords but Landmak was out of stock the last time I went. I hope they restock before summer ends.