God rest ye merry gentlemen!

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This is a time when families, friends and loved ones would gather and celebrate the gift of togetherness and celebration as we remember once again the joyful event which was the birth of Jesus Christ.

Christmas, as most Christians call it, is little by little losing its essence. Today, its kinda more on the gifts, toys, and expensive decorations.

The spirit of Christmas is not about earthly possessions but mostly on the spiritual aspect wherein the gathering of souls enhances the very essence of human existence, and inner strength.

A little reminder, don’t think too much on the pricing of the gifts, but the effort and thought that were embedded in it. Ok?

Make it merry, make it awesome!

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Isla Gigantes: Nature’s Amazing Creations

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Iloilo is truly a rich destination to visit. NO! We are not talking about the internal revenue allotment or the fiscal standing of the province but the wealth in culture and folklore, natural resources and tourist destinations.

One of the not-so-widely known tourist destinations in the province is the “Isla Gigantes” which is located north of the province near Carles and Estancia. Isla Gigantes (Spanish term for “giant islands”) consists of many islands both privately and publicly owned.

The municipality of Carles is vigilant of the blooming tourism in the area thus they assure the travelling folks that more means of transportation will be provided, problems with electricity be solved, and the development and maintenance of the islands be strictly regarded.

When I was invited by my pal Dexter for a summer adventure with his family in Carles, I immediately said a booming “yes.” I prepared all my things straightaway because it was a shotgun invitation and I didn’t want to miss this valuable chance of a lifetime.

It takes an approximate amount of 2.5-3 hours worth of travel time from Iloilo City to Carles via private car but if via bus it can take more likely 3-hours. When we arrived at the Carles Port, immediately we loaded the ferry boat and made ourselves comfortable. Then we were off!

Our first stop was the well-known hidden salt water lagoon popularly known as “Tangke.” Watch out though since some rocks are slippery and pointy. You can hear birds chirping beautifully and there were also monkeys hiding in the shadows but alas they were too afraid to come down and be fed because of our noises. Swimming in the cool waters of the lagoon was a great experience and while floating and looking at big rock formations and the big blue sky, you can imagine how beautiful this planet really is especially with all its natural wonders and creations.

big rocks

entrance

guardian

near entrance

whole plae

pool 2 pool rock swimming

Our next stop was the Kabugaw Island. It is a small island with white sand, clear waters, and beautiful corals and pebbles. Photographers are able to take a full shot of the island once they climb the rocky formations up to its peak.

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Next destination, we made a quick stop in Pasil Island where we witnessed a trail of sand. Ferry boats can drop off tourists from the end of the trail and let them walk the sandy path to the island.

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Next, we made a stop at Atoneya Island where we were able to discover a cave that residents say may be a tunnel that leads to Pillar (an area in Capiz popularly known for its big statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary n top of a hill). We were not able to go deep inside the cave though because we didn’t have a tour guide to assist us.

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Thereafter, we arrived at Granada Island. In the island, tourists can visit the lighthouse and another cave that is said to be a tunnel network to Negros Occidental. Being at the top of the lighthouse is breath-taking and inside the cave gives you goose bumps all over.

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We were able to visit those islands in approximately 8 hours and we had our lunch and snacks inside the ferry boat while sailing. This strategy conserved a lot of precious time to be used for adventure time. I give my Isla Gigantes two thumbs up for the awesome scenery and amazing adventure. If I was only able to explore the caves then I would have given it 4 thumbs up (including my toes).

What Makes A Filipino: Values and Beliefs

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A nation empowers itself depending on the beliefs, goals, ideals, aspirations, and values of its citizens. In order to achieve national unity and progress, it needs the full cooperation of its people. Values as a people and as a nation gives the identity that differentiates one race from the others. These values may improve or hinder development and progress but nonetheless, with unity of diversity, development and progress are achievable.

A Filipino holds strengths that most other nationalities admire but there are also weakness that makes him a laughing stock of its foreign neighbors.

STRENGTHS

  1. Close Kinship – a Filipino considers family as an important social structure that they must love and care. Close family ties results to the family still being intact regardless that the children are old and with families of their own.
  2. Respect for Elders – the use of “po” and “opo” in conversing or addressing older people is a sign of a Filipino’s respect for the elders. Filipinos do not send their elders to nursing homes because they still value the worth and presence of the elders at home.
  3. Hospitality – the Filipino community are very warm and hospitable. They even give “pasalubong” (welcome gifts) and “pabaon” (farewell gifts) to guests. At times, they sacrifice their own comfort to accommodate their guests very well.
  4. Strong Faith in God – their faith in God keeps them united to overcome all the problems and challenges of life.
  5. Flexibility / Adaptability / Resiliency – the Filipinos have the trait to laugh at themselves and their misfortunes or failures. This is a coping mechanism to balance emotional stress and to boost the capacity to survive. They can smile in midst of problems and hardships. They can still crack jokes despite the stresses of their daily lives and during calamities. They are strong and cheerful people.
  6. Ingenuity and Creativity – they are good inventors. They often improvise and make productive use of available resources.
  7. Patience and Self-sacrifice – a remarkable quality of a Filipino is his capacity to endure difficulties and hardships. Maybe related to the long suffering they endured during the many colonization in Philippine history. They are patient enough to wait for their turn to be blessed with greener pastures as long as they do what is right and good.
  8. Hard work and Industry – Filipinos are globally recognized for their excellent performance in any physical and technical tasks. Maybe visible due to the desire for economic security and advancement for one’s self and family.
  9.  Fairness and Justice – they always show concern for the well-being of others. They uphold the humanity of all people and regard everyone with respect and empathy. They are keen on interpersonal relationships, their primary source of security and happiness.Fairness & Justice –> Equality –> Social Justice –> Development & Progress.
  10. Readiness to Share and Help – they re always ready to lend a hand, not only in times of need (calamities or disasters) but also in festive occasions (“fiestas”, baptisms and weddings). The “bayanihan” spirit, or giving help without expecting something in return, of a Filipino is widely admired.

WEAKNESSES

  1. “Bahala Na” – this is also synonymous to the phrase “Que sera sera” (Whatever will be, will be), or “Hakuna Matata” (No Worries). It leaves everything to chance or just let the circumstances take care of themselves, embracing luck over good reason.
  2. “Ningas Kugon” – “kugon” is a kind of grass that burns easily when dry but extinguished easily as well. Like the cogon grass, Filipinos start things with great enthusiasm but at the first sign of difficulty, the enthusiasm is consumed as fast as it has ignited.
  3. Colonial Mentality – Filipinos prefer foreign-made products instead of patronizing Philippine-made ones. This result to higher gains for foreign businessmen than local businessmen. Thus, it motivates Filipino businessmen to improve the quality of their products to make it more competitive against foreign ones.
  4. “Mamaya Na” or “Bukas Na Lang” Habit – a poor habit, a sign of laziness, of leaving for a later time what can be done at the moment or today. Thus resulting to stacked workload to be done and then complain about it.
  5. Crab Mentality – a troublesome trait evident in a Filipino where when one sees the progress of a comrade, the other becomes resentful rather than happy for the achievement. Rather than to praise, he would highlight everything negative about that person in an effort to bring him down or destroy his reputation. They would focus on other’s own faults rather their own inadequacies.
  6. “Patigasan” – most Filipinos find it hard to say “I’m sorry” or “pasensya na”. Their precious pride always gets the best of them.
  7. “Kanya kanya” – a trait which shows self-centeredness and lack of regard for others. There are Filipinos who give priority to what they and their families could have, rather than what they can do to share their wealth and serve others better. This trait shows poor signs of patriotism, loyalty to community, and concern for the needs of others.

Passivity (submission to others or to outside influences)

  1. Indebtedness “Utang Na Loob” – Filipinos are fond of asking for personal favors from others. It is ingrained for them to acknowledge the person who had helped them in times of need. This is a good act but if forced to repay with something bad to show gratitude then it becomes a problem. “Utang na loob” must not be paid with unlawful acts.
  2. Interpersonal Relationships “Pakikisama” – every person wants to belong to a group where they can share ideas, jokes and feelings but sometimes it becomes a negative thing when the group is the one that influences the person to do unlawful or foolish things in order to belong or to gain approval. This is usually evident in the Filipino youth where peer pressure challenges someone’s morality.
  3. Lack of Self-confidence “Hiya” – the Filipinos are shy to boast their achievements because they might be regarded as show-offs. They prefer to just hide those achievements and call the idea “being humble”. This is actually a sign of lack of self-confidence.

These characteristics are a challenge for every Filipino. In order to attain development and progress, they must value and prioritize their strengths rather than hide under the clutches of their weaknesses. Embracing the strengths and conquering their weaknesses will truly help the Filipino nation go forward in attaining its plans and aspirations for a richer and more fun Philippines where most foreign countries will be jealous of.

Reference: Fajardo J., Balagtas M., Belarde R., Flora A., Ubiña M., dela Cruz, S. (2013). Philippines’ Pride 6 (Ed). Manila, Philippines: Rex Book Store.

A Productive Hobby?

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A Productive Hobby?

Do you want a hobby that is both healthy and eco-friendly? Yes!

Have a bike? Yes!

Good!

Biking is slowly gaining back its reputation in the city maybe due to the reasons that more roads are built nowadays thus a lot of alternate routes are now accessible for jogging and biking. And, it’s an old hobby and still one of the best ways to stay fit. I sure hope that in the near future, the city government will propose and implement a project for the construction of a bike zone in ever road built like what you can see in Beijing, China. It may not be a priority, but it can advocate healthy lifestyle and eco-friendly transportation.

So. . . . . . .

Bike like the wind!