– the day's happenings in perspective –



May 06, 2014, few hours before we leave 020

Strolling Incheon’s sidewalks made some discoveries which were not common in some parts of the city. There was a small portion of the sidewalk which the owner of the establishment has made into a front yard horticulture display section. Species of cactus and other flowering plants in small pots  were for sale. There were few people walking on the sidewalk so a portion can’t be such a distraction to people passing by.

Weekly Photo Challenge – WALL

incheon,korea 056

This wall is made of tin cans, pressed and stacked in blocks to form a high wall. This is found inside the area of an island for tourists, the Nami Island in South Korea.

Gone!? Where are the pearls?

Are you still looking for the pearls from Davao? Those that came from the Sulu seas? Those oysters that were shipped to Samal island coming from different places of the country were to be cultivated and let to mature into pink, white, and golden- colored pearls and  prepare them for processing after the harvest. Where are they now? And the farms?


After I checked in at Regency Inn Hotel in Davao city, I began my wandering moments walking around the city just to experience the best way to find out the whereabouts of city roads. Without losing the thought of buying pearls as my present when I come back from this trip, I wrote a message on a piece of paper which was actually my plane ticket, “pearls for mama and my sister”.

It was tiring going nowhere. I was like a satellite making an orbit around my hotel until I took notice of a book store a few meters away from where I began feeling, I should piss off. I came in and browsed some post cards displayed unattractively at the shelf. Five pieces were not enough to caught my interest but one. The Pearl Farm beach resort post card had my curiosity bloomed and made my mind beg for inquisitive action. Asking where, what, how had me for positive replies that suited my resources. The attendant was kind enough to tell me the nearest travel agency for a reservation. And the deal was finalized and closed. I would be crossing the sea for Samal island where Pearl Farm is, tomorrow.

The morning has come to sail the South sea. The moment I saw the silhouette of the Pearl Farm, I felt a different kind of feeling. It was like I’m on the clouds making some attack dives at the “Parola”. My excitement was raging and ready to burst out as I step on the wooden planks of the quay. Tourists, including me, were greeted with ice-cold, blood-colored fruit drinks as soon as the lady receptionists approached us with smiling faces puffed with powdered pinkish make-up. Exclusively for corporate tours only, each member was given a locally made necklace for souvenir. What a pity! I should have mixed myself with them just to have that necklace.

After checking my reservation, I was led to my cottage and as we walked, I can’t help but admire the beauty of the resort’s amenities. The myriad of birds flying above head was a welcome treat. I haven’t seen the whole surroundings yet, but I had concluded that it was a perfect setting for lovers.


It’s a bamboo cottage humble enough to be much bigger than an ordinary bamboo house. As I entered, a large bed greeted my eyes.There were orchid flowers strewn all over the spread and linen. And that made me think that this cottage is for newlyweds on a honeymoon bout. The soft bed was much wider than a queen size or matrimonial bed, as I wildly guessed its measurements. There was a large TV set with cable connection, a small ref with chocolates of different kinds, bottles of beer and soft drinks, and a telephone where guests can order food and have it served in bed. It was really amazing as there was a garden at the back where you can relax and inhale the coolness of the humid mountain breeze and the arid light wind of the nearby beach. The safety vault was a surprise to me. Now I could leave my wallet, cellphone, and other important items in it while enjoying this once-in-a-lifetime experience.


The next morning was a bit lazy for me to flex some muscles. I was still heavily laden with dreaminess. At 7 a.m., breakfast was already waiting for me at the Pavilion. 

There was a wide array of food to choose from. Set at the long line of tables were, American, Asian, and the native dishes of the region. Although it was an eat-all-you-can package , I still heeded my doctor’s advise back home not to overeat so, I settled for a low-fat, low, salt, low-calorie breakfast. And that meant american bread, a little of light butter, fruit juice and the fruits of the season. I thought that what I have eaten was not worth my regular breakfast back home but, it was healthy anyway.


Without boasting myself, a lady approach my table, and with pride, presented  herself  as the manager and the heir of the property.  Opening up a conversation with  me which touched our personal lives and a little of current events was a wonderful chat to end a meal.

The rest of the days were spent swimming at the white sand beach at the nearby island and at the infinity pool. I don’t own a muscled sexy body and, at the same time, I don’t have hairy chest. I am just blessed with a saintly face. As I said before, I’m not boasting but again, a woman approached me by the poolside and made a striking talk with me. I did not even made an eye to eye contact with her nor our sights met somewhere. She made her life open to me while I kept mum about myself. She continued conversing with me while her foreigner husband kept on looking at us while tending their child at the pool. I broke off the conversation as I sensed jealousy was slowly getting the better time of her husband. I went back to my cottage but spent a little while at the outdoor Jacuzzi. Enjoying the bath while several species of birds were flying over head was like taking a bath in a biblical river. What a day !

Meanwhile, trekking was a discovery. My first sight of a white parrot was really an educating task. I only know multi-colored ones and it amazed me to see a different specie of parrots. As I continued my trail, I passed by several women weaving sari cloth while some teens were assembling necklaces and bracelets that were up for grabs. There were also an assemblage of imported pearl products and other similar stuffs for sale at Pearl Farm.

The remaining days was swimming, and swimming all the time.


The hectares of cultured pearls are gone and it really puzzled me. But despite its disappearance, Samal island has still more beautiful places to visit, more interesting things to discover and more smiling and friendly people to be with. The island is still green and thriving with nature’s lives. These are the reasons why this island is called the “Garden City of Samal Island” and it saddened me when the time to say goodbye is at hand. I grieved in silence when the last passenger has taken his seat and the boat’s engine started to grind. I guessed, this was the kind of feeling one had experienced when they left this garden city. Needless to say, I can be counted as one of those whose heart was heavily knotted to this paradisiacal beauty of the place. Samal Island is truly a garden island.



“I Spent My Holy Week in Abu Infested Basilan”




Disembarking from the ship from Bongao, Tawi-Tawi I happened to pass by the ticket office of ferries going to Basilan, a terrorist’s lair. It was a Holy Thursday so ferries were few with a handful of passengers making a short queue to buy tickets for the island. A bit nervous to scour and sail the sea, I have to be stouthearted just to be there and spend a week to observe how it was like in Abu Sayyaf infested Basilan during the Holy Week.

It was already 11 a.m. when passengers and I boarded the large wooden motorized boat. The aerodynamically designed boat was long but without a balance on both sides. We were already in the middle of the sea when I saw two speeding gray gunboats approaching at our direction. I was not sure if they were Philippine boats because the flag looked like Malaysian. I estimated the distance of the first one to be a kilometer away from us and the second was just about a hundred meters. They were travelling so fast parallel to our route. The gunboat’s speed accumulated a big mass of water ready to hammer our boat. True enough, the silent, swelling and bulging waves surged to our path and rammed its force directly on the right side of our boat which shook heavily. The shaking didn’t stop immediately. Passengers were shouting as they fell out from their seats leaving me alone seated for I held tightly on the window pane. “This is the end of my trip”, I quipped. Children were crying while holding unto their parent’s hands.

I thought the boat would capsize and eventually sink. But our navigator was alert enough to put off the engine. After a few minutes of floating and drifting aimlessly, the boat gained balance again as we made way to the island.

This is the gun boat that caused our wooden motor boat to nearly-sink  in the middle of Zamboanga and Basilan..

This is the gun boat that caused our wooden motor boat to nearly sink in the middle of the sea off Zamboanga and Basilan..

This is a similar wooden boat I boarded in going to Basilan from Zamboanga...

This is a similar wooden boat I boarded in going to Basilan from Zamboanga… (This is at the Port Of Maluso, Basilan)

Houses on stilts were visible as we approached the waterway of Isabela, Basilan’s capital city where an unfinished lighthouse stands as if greeting its visitors from other places. At that time, the ebb tide made it hard for the passengers to disembark and unload the boat.

Houses on stilts at the waterway's entrance...

Houses on stilts at the waterway’s entrance…

The unfinished lighthouse...

The unfinished lighthouse…

Catching sight of a famous fast-food chain was a relief for my protesting stomach. The strain in following it became a pressure embraced by nervousness due to the presence of so many Marine soldiers at the plaza. Police were at every corner of the streets. The whole scene looked like there was a military uprising where the plaza became a war zone of sort. I didn’t know that Marines were on high alert status in this area.

The cathedral nearby was also watched by Marines and truckloads of soldiers were dropped at strategic city streets. They were heavily armed and ready to fire their weapons whenever an Abu Sayyaf group attacks the city any time of the day.

Sta. Isabel Cathedral in Isabela, Basilan...

Sta. Isabel Cathedral in Isabela, Basilan…

In the morning of Good Friday, I visited the Sta. Isabel Cathedral right across the plaza, two blocks away from Sofia Hotel where I stayed. A lot of Catholics in the capital braved the rebels’ threat of aggression as evidently shown by the overflowing presence of devotees at the side entrance. Marine soldiers’ visibility near the altar was a manifestation of how dangerous it was even in the house of God. Even ATM machines have Marines on guard.

After my Visita Iglesia at the cathedral, I hanged out at the plaza and happened to know a Muslim woman who works at the Provincial Capitol of Basilan. She told me that a 10 o’ clock curfew was imposed in the city because of threats coming from the rebels. In fact, a human head on a bamboo pole was displayed at the plaza the morning after a grenade exploded one night.

For an hour, our conversation flowed smoothly and ended offering her trike that I could use to go around the city and the outlying areas. Without hesitation, I grabbed the offer with her two sons as my guide and driver. The next day we left Isabela city and headed to Lamitan District Hospital in Lamitan city, the place that once shared the headlines because it was used as a hiding place of the kidnappers. With their victims in their hands they were pursued by the military and slipped from the pursuit operation. A nurse showed me the room the rebels occupied. I also visited the Lamitan Catholic Church which was bombed by soldiers because the rebels hid inside. Now it has a beautiful interior after it was rebuilt and refurbished. Lamitan is also proud of its beautiful city hall building.

Lamitan City District Hospital

Lamitan City District Hospital

Knights of Columbus, Lamitan city,  Basilan

Knights of Columbus, Lamitan city, Basilan

Lamitan City Hall

Lamitan City Hall

Several checkpoints spaced every three or more kilometers dotted the road. As we came nearer to the town of Maluso, the place where Ces Drilon and other reporters were abducted years ago, sand bunkers by the roadside were strategically erected with government soldiers positioned.

Every minute was a heart-stopping suspenseful journey like a post-war  Iraq. I was always waiting to be kidnapped on the road.

At the checkpoint in front of a Marine’s barracks, I took some photos of the building where the soldiers stay not knowing that they would suspect me as a spy for the Abu Sayyaf. My driver told me to delete what I have just photographed while he drove past the two manning soldiers. We were stopped at the other end of the checkpoint fifty meters away. The soldier let me scanned my digital camera. Failing to see any suspicious shots that would endanger their safety, they let us go.

I heeded my guide’s request to backout from proceeding to Tipo-Tipo and Sumisip towns as there were groups of rebels roaming around those areas.

On the way back to my hotel, we passed on lonely roads and bridges. Not a single human being was seen walking on the road. It looked deserted. We stopped at a ravine where victims of ambuscades where thrown into just like dead animals.

Perhaps, hundreds of dead bodies have been hurled into the ravine and souls were searching for earthly figures to reincarnate and continue their interrupted lives.

Before I returned to my hotel, I passed by the market and I’ve finally concluded that Isabela is a progressive city. Judging from the marketplace, it was very clean and orderly and sells almost everything from clothes to construction materials, from kitchen wares to food products, from fish to detergents, etc. Passing by the Basilan Provincial Capitol Building was a pride every Basilanon felt as it is Muslim inspired. Just nearby is the Sta. Isabel Cathedral and adjacent to it is a Jollibee branch. See, business thrive in this diverse meeting of cultures. Before, my idea of Basilan was a land of war where Catholics and Muslims fight. But after the visit I discovered some tourist attractions where, sad to say, I felt I was the lone tourist in this island. But after awhile these discoveries of waterfalls, white sand beaches, rubber plantations, beautiful resorts, etc. changed my perception. It has its own share of greens making it a precious gem to be owned by anyone who wishes to unmask Basilan and experience what it has to offer. Asala malay cum!

This is Basilan..309558_246346782074555_336833608_n

To prove that I've been to a

To prove that I’ve been to a “war zone” island..

Washing hands on a brook in Basilan...

Washing hands on a brook in Basilan…

At Farmland Resort, Basilan...

At Farmland Resort, Basilan…

Inside of one of the stilt houses...

Inside one of the stilt houses…

Tree house, Farmland resort, Basilan

Tree house, Farmland resort, Basilan

With Muslim students...I was advised not to pause very closely with females..

With Muslim students…I was advised not to pose very closely with females..

Busay Falls, Basilan

Busay Falls, Basilan … nearly dried out

The ravine where ambuscades  victims were thrown into...

The ravine where ambuscades victims were thrown into…

white sand beach in Basilan...

white sand beach in Basilan during low tide

Inside the Provincial Capitol...

Inside the Provincial Capitol…

At a rubber plantation...

At  Menzi rubber plantation…

The muslim

The muslim “Kumpit” as it overtakes us


“Chinese Filipino” cemetery, Basilan



An Evening to Remember

beautiful poem!


Her eyes had a tinge of sadness, ingrained
and her smile, few dabs of a haunting pain,
as if her soul was bleeding but I thought
was it truly so or just weariness,
from a long and arduous day, setting in
on her plain and simple but elegant face!

Although many months have been written down
in the annals of human history
with minute polish and minimum care,
since I saw her last and breathed in her scent,
a mild aroma of sweet lavender,
not a single crease blemished her flawless skin!
I wondered how she could remain so deaf
and unfazed by the woes and glees of life?

Yet, once she started opening up herself,
through the apparent calm of thirty years,
in glimpses I could see the child, dwelling
inside her indifferent demeanor.

Soon I could feel the urge growing on me
to reach out and touch her…

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5 Skills that you can develop with Blogging

So, you gain from blogging… read !

Scribble and Scrawl

By Somali K Chakrabarti

Blogging as a trend is on the rise, with blogs increasingly emerging as a mainstream media platform.

Whereas earlier the Blogosphere in India was heavily dominated by men, but now many women students, homemakers and working women are also entering the blogging arena. The availability of blogging platforms, formation of blogging communities and the widespread use of social media, make it very easy to start a blog.

The ability to express oneself creatively through blogging is a reason that draws many people towards blogging. Blogging provides a means of personal development.

Not only that, some skills acquired from blogging can also be put to use in one’s professional life. Let’s have a look:

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Chinese smartphone makers moving into fast-growing Indian market

Cloud News Asia

IndiaMany Chinese smartphone makers have entered India or are set to make inroads there to take advantage of the country’s rapid growth in demand for smartphones and low labor costs. Leading Chinese mobile phone manufacturers Xiaomi, Lenovo, Huawei and Coolpad have expanded into India, while Taiwanese Hon Hai Group, which operates many its factories in China churning out iPhones and iPads for Apple, and Shanghai HuaQin Telecom technology are planning to set up assembly lines in the country.


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Bacon Tomatoes and Okra

Jan's Gluten Free

Bacon Tomatoes and OkraIMG_2224

Don’t worry,this is not slimy. When you add in the tomatoes, the acid breaks down the slime of the okra.

1/2  Pound of GF Bacon

4 Cups Sliced fresh Okra

2 medium Cloves of Garlic (chopped)

1 Small Jalapeno chopped (Optional)

2 Cups cored, peeled and chunked tomatoes ( About 3 medium tomatoes chunked into 1 to 1  ½ inch cubes)

1/2 Teaspoon Salt ( or less if you are watching your salt intake)

I medium skillet fry bacon just until crisp. Remove bacon from grease, to crumble into chunks and reserve for later. Add garlic, jalapeno and sliced okra to grease and fry on medium high heat just until okra is soft and starts to turn brown, stirring so that it cooks evenly. Reduce heat and add tomatoes and salt. Raise heat and let vegetables just come to a simmer. Remove from heat, stir in…

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Five American Service Men ! / Allah’s Victims .

this is timely, this is really true…!

Calling Emily Post: A Blogging Etiquette Roundup

The Daily Post

If you’re a new or recent arrival on the blogging scene, there’s definitely a lot to process: themes! Widgets! Stats! Taglines!

Then there’s the large set of (mostly unwritten) rules that govern the smooth functioning of the blogging community. Just like going to a dinner party in a country where you’ve just landed, you want to make a good first impression, or at the very least not appear like an irredeemable oaf.

Thirsty for more? You can browse our entire archive of blogging etiquette posts.

Being kind to others and asking questions is always your best bet. For more specific cases, though, we’re here to help with some of our most popular posts on blogging etiquette.

The ethical use of others’ content

If you’re a blogger who prefers to restrict access to some or all of your posts, be sure to read about your blog’s privacy settings, as well as…

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You have the greatest gift of TODAY. Invest it wisely !

just another out there !

02:23 AM, Wednesday.

Yesterday one of my very old friends called to say hello. He was a very dear friend of mine back in my Nainital days (Uttaranchal). It was somewhere 2001-02 back then, almost 13 years ago. People call it Uttarakhand today. For me it will be always Uttaranchal. I did my schooling here. I was completely shaken when the name flickered on my cellphone, simply out of the blue he had called.

By the evening one of my college friends argued with me over a call, on how could I miss a wedding of indeed one of my dearest friends. Its hardly 3 years since we left college. His exact words were,” Bhai tu to bada aadmi ban gya. Bahut busy ho gya. Meri bhi shaadi me aayega ki nahi ? “(Brother, you have become big. You are too busy. Will you even care to attend my wedding…

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