Thursday, March 27, 2008


And the winners are:

Congrats guys!  
Email me now so that you can claim your prize.


I received quite a few applications for the overnight tour to Corregidor (I got almost 30). Some were really creative, some were poignant, and some were, well.. kinda ridiculous. Here is a sampling of some of the reasons why I should give away a trip for free to these folks. Enjoy...

We promise ourselves we won't travel abroad unless we have seen completely the beauty of our own country. As what they always say, love your own. :) And as people of their words, we will definitely keep this promise!

Being the competitive person that I am, I like joining games, contests, and raffles. Now, to bet on the 6/49 Lotto while the jackpot is in the P160M mark...

It's for free

I am a blogger.

I have no reasons.

I have been to the south, to the north, and now I want to cross the sea to Bataan.

I love Carlos! (not in the Lets-Get-Married sense of love but more of His-Tours-Rock kind of loving! )

Some sent poetry:
Simple lang naman ang dreams ko
Maka takas lang kahit once sa trabaho
Kasi sasabog na ang utak
Sa mga deadlines na sangkatutak

So be my pinoy superman
And give me a chance to go there naman
Bunutin mo yun name ko sa magic hat
Kung hinde you’ll feel my wrath

Hehe loko lang
Wala kasi akong naisip na slang
Para matapos itong entry ko
At mapadala na sa iyo.

Some sent haikus:
two years, i've worked here (well, one year and 8 mos, but that won't fit 5 syllables.)
never been to anywhere
outside manila (other than on client field-work).

day in and day out
making tax computations
oh, gimme a break.

Some had purely selfish reasons:
To take photos of my dolls in Corregidor. See attached photo.

While some were doing it for others:
I constantly torment him just to get a reaction other than polite pleasantries and well, I just thought it would be a really nice surprise to win this trip. He would go insane if he knew of this but I know it would make him really happy. And it would really make me happy if he is.

So my Alex could test her new Gorillapod aka Gorillaz (since we always forget what it's called).

In a few months I’m heading home to Australia after almost 5 years living/working in the Philippines – and I STILL haven’t been to Corregidor. My fiancĂ©e Doreen has lived in the Philippines for 28 years, and she STILL hasn’t been to Corregidor. Winning the raffle would set this travesty right.

My son wants to be a hero someday. He wants to be a soldier and fight for his country, for truth and right. He wants to be a protector of the weak and uphold justice. I think visiting Corregidor will give him perspective and a sense of the enormity of the sacrifice of all who died there.

My parents just celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. And I really wanted to give them something. But I had to pay for my licensure exam. I'm a pharmacist you see. So all my savings went to pay for the foreign licensure exam instead. I sort of promised myself that I will give my parents a gift this time around because I wasnt able to give them a "bongga" gift during their 25th.

Hubby wants to visit the place too. This is one of the many chances to spend quality time together.

My now fiance deserves a break! He got held up at gun point in Taguig 2 days before proposing and my supposed engagement ring was inside the bag that was stolen..

Some are doing it because they like my dad.

I just found out that Carlos' dad is our family doctor. ( hmm this is still subject to confirmation). But if his dad is the pedatrician with hairy arms and hands out choco lollies after every session, Then i deserve this dammit!!! i practically spent my childhood in that office listening to kids screaming their lungs off from injection issues. and then screaming my lungs off when my turn came. and then staring at his kids caricature drawings he displays proudly in his office ( hmm come to think of it... i wonder if they are carlos' work?) . My last check up was like when i was 27 years old.

While some are applying because they like me.
I've always wanted to go to Corregidor because of my grandfather's stories, but never had the extra money nor the time. Now I have a bit of the first, not enough of the other, but something you said during last Sunday's tour struck a chord. That to change Manila, we have to change how we see Manila. My grandfather was one those soldiers during the War, he was a pilot, and he survived the Death March. Barely, but still. He was saved by his cousin Elisa (whom we now know as the first congresswoman of the Philippines, Elisa Rosales-Ochoa) from rotting to death by the roadside. And I grew up with his stories in my head, mind-pictures of places I've never been to, times I've never lived. Being here in Manila for the past ten years, I cannot reconcile those mind-pictures, those memories passed on to me by my grandfather. But after joining your tour, and especially hearing your spiel at the San Agustin crypt, I realized that you and your words could reconcile those mind-pictures for me and effectively transport me to those days long gone, for me to better understand how it was back then to learn from the experience and change what needs to be changed.

Because I want to meet the new skinny & anorexic Carlos.
And of course, some applied because they were just desperate.

I desperately need a vacation. PLEEEEZEEE PICK ME! ( im on hand and knees here)
Here are some of the more interesting shots that were sent...

Everywhere except Corregidor she said...

I don't even know how to begin making a comment on this shot...

Some even sent pictures of orbs..

And some were thinking positively and were sure that they already won...

But the real winner is....

Log on tomorrow..

Monday, March 24, 2008


I must confess that last night I was once again on the blog of that poor disenfranchised Australian man (google whistleblower + Australian + Boracay). Ever since it came onto the scene two weeks ago, that blog has just been burrrning with vitriolic statements about Manila's supposed "upper" crust. Specifically, jabs were made about the apathy and insularity of Manila's "true" elites and the delusions and deviousness of Manila's "pseudo" elites. And truth be told, it's been riveting reading. Now, let me make it clear that I am not taking pleasure in watching these people being taken down a notch, but moreover, I'm only reading it because it's an insight into the travails and machinations of Manila's misbehaving "burgis" class. And what I gathered here is this: There is NO such thing as "high society" in a country that was built by the money of glorified farmers (hacienderos) and merchants (the Ilustrados). Period. The stark reality here is that the Philippines has NOT had royalty in over 3 centuries, so the concept of being "elite" in the Philippines is totally manufactured. Jeez, even the Zobels and Sys and Gokongweis had their beginnings as simple shopkeepers. So having said that, ANYBODY can be "High Society". In a good way, everything becomes quite democratic, the field is level when it comes to choosing who should be our society's "icons". But sadly, instead of choosing Filipinos of merit/morals to be our role models in defining the modern Philippine lifestyle, it seems that the mainstream media has chosen to glorify pretentiousness and choose posers as the ones the masses should emulate. And as I kept clicking through the blog, it was really shameful to see where this has all come to.

But then again, ever the optimist and proactivist that I am, perhaps we should start looking at this situation in a different way. So how about this? In lieu of finding people to tear down, let's look for people that we can celebrate instead. Let's take a good look around us and find Filipinos out there who should really be our role models, our icons, our "High Society" so to speak. So please allow me to nominate people who I think should be considered as Philippine High Society to replace the ones that have failed us in oh so many ways.

My nominee for this month: Guillermo Ramos.

Now, you guys might not know of this person from Adam but I think he has all the ideals of what Filipinos out there should emulate. I have known this man for years and can verify that he is a bonifide law abiding, non-littering, twice-a-day bathing, tax-paying Filipino citizen who has never nicked couture from anyone's collection nor cash from anyone's life savings. He is a cultured man in a committed interracial gay relationship, a graduate of University of St. Thomas in the district of Sampaloc, and runs his own design agency in Intramuros. Guillermo has never been known to beat his maid, leave any bar bill unpaid, nor laugh at anyone's shortcomings. He also lives in a lovely flat overlooking the Manila Bay sunset and travels the world once a year. And for the last few years, instead of throwing an ecstasy fuelled birthday party for some sorry set of snow moochers and parvenus, he celebrates his birthday with street children in Pasay City.

And he'll be doing it again this year as usual. I just recieved this in my mail:

Hi Carlos! You're invited to come help me celebrate my birthday at the Pangarap Shelter for Street Children. 2503 Taft Avenue corner Escobal Street, Pasay City (its about 150 meters from the Libertad LRT Station, direction: EDSA) on Sunday, 6 April 2008 at 4:00 pm. In lieu of gifts for me, please see the attached wish list for the boys (ages from 10-17). You will also have the opportunity to purchase some of the wonderful products made by the residents as part of their income-generating project.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Please RSVP by April 3.

Wish list:
Toothpaste (sachets)
Bath Soap
Laundry Soap (powder or bars)
Shampoo (sachets)
Combs and hairbrushes
Nail cutters
Pens and school supplies
Soy Sauce
Cooking oil
Tomato and Fish sauce
Rice (the shelter consumes at least 1 sack of rice each day!)

Now that's what I call class. That's what I call "High Society". Take that as a lesson, Gucci Gang.

Now if anyone out there wishes to donate anything from Guillermo's wish list to the orphans on his birthday. Please just text me at the number on the top of my blog and I'll find a way to get it to them.

How about you? Anyone out there you wanna nominate as a member of Manila's New High Society?

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Australia Rocks. And so does Mr. Richard Jinman. A billion thanks to you for the lovely mention in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald. Although it didn't really go into depth about the things I truly love about our city, it was still a rare positive review about our country as a whole. And as far as I'm concerned, any good reviews right now are a welcome respite from the international media's steady diet of local coups, rallies, and scandal. Thank you Larla and Penelope for emailing me the link. Now if I could only find a hard copy of the paper... Anybody out there in Sydney got one? I'd be more than happy to repay you for the postage and copy itself. I can send the money to Australia by Western Union. Promise.

And WOW. Check out these rare and exclusive photos of the mysterious Rizalista cult of Mount Banahaw on Sidney Snoek's blog. Amazing stuff. I would've posted a picture of this sect that believes that Jose Rizal is a prophet but I'm not allowed. You have to go to the site yourself. Log on here.

Lastly, thank you so much Cathy Paras for the post in SPOT Beta.

Happy Easter one and all!

Thursday, March 20, 2008


UPDATE. Yes, I have lost more than ten pounds already since January. And yes, I still take Rogin E everyday. Sigh. I wish they could send me a free case but I bought my own bottle just because it's easier than making it out all the way to Gold's Gym to get my free supply. Quite frankly (and I hate sounding too much like a plug), it gives me the energy boost to do two tours a day. And truth be told, I ditched Jopet's workout program. I am doing my own thing to lose weight. I've stopped eating midnight snacks, I've ditched all softdrinks and junk food, I don't eat meat and eggs for breakfast anymore (goodbye anything-silog), I run on the treadmill for half an hour almost everyday, and I'm instead doing my own regimen at the Peninsula gym and am now taking in a few sessions at InstitutSantre (Thanks Leia and Joy) to move things along faster.

I highly recommend these guys - and NO, Santre is NOT about liposuction or fat melting injections and all that jazz. It's more like electroshock and lymphatic therapy to get your muscles toned and that's it. There is nothing surgical about it AT ALL.

One more month and ten pounds to go. Yay tofu! Sigh... I miss corned beef though...

Monday, March 17, 2008


So my facebook "I will Wait Till 2010" has topped 735 members as of midday today. Cool. And just a few days ago, I received a letter from a lovely young lady who said that she had an inspired moment after reading the post. I think the "silent ones" are slowly finding the words they are looking for. This is a good example of that. And a good example that even though we are willing to wait, we aren't ENDORSING GMA's wrongdoings either.

Hi, Carlos.

I discovered your "I Will Wait Till 2010" group on Facebook last night and it inspired something of a "Jerry Maguire moment": I just could not stop writing! Below is my little reflection on the value of waiting, which I had originally planned on posting on my blog. After some thought, I decided against it because of the Internet's uncontrollable viral nature. However, I sent it to a few close friends and would like to share it with you, as it was your initiative that inspired this in the first place :)

If you feel like re-posting it, my only request is that I remain completely anonymous.

I do hope the movement catches on; last count was 580 and at least seven of the new recruits are mine :)

Warm regards,
G****** ******

I Will Wait

Before the Feb. 29 interfaith rally, I texted my college buddies; the same people I was with during EDSA 2 and all the rallies leading up to it (Batasan, Senate.. you name it, we were there). Feeling absolutely no motivation to once again heed the calls for mass action, I wanted to know if my peers felt the same way. So I asked: "Anyone feel like joining the rallies?" Every single one of them responded in the negative.

I was relieved then, to find that I was not alone… but not nearly as relieved as I was to discover the "I Will Wait Till 2010" group on Facebook. Founded by blogger Carlos Celdran, 2010 is an online community of like-minded Filipinos who do not believe in ousting President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (through extra constitutional methods). Irony of ironies, I chanced upon said group while reading the comments on an anti-GMA facebook page. A poster on the latter group's page noted that the former actually had (as of her writing) as many members as theirs. Intrigued, I searched for 2010 and signed up within a minute. I became "I WILL WAIT TILL 2010"'s 534th member.

Here's why I Will Wait Till 2010:

I Will Wait because I see no clear, viable alternative. I Will Wait because I believe we need to show the world (and ourselves!) that unseating presidents hasn't become our national pastime. I Will Wait because I do not want to compromise our economic growth; especially not while the very real possibility of a US recession is looming over our heads (don't people freakin' realize that wealth won't trickle down to the poorest of the poor overnight, and that we need at least five years of sustained growth for it to do so?!?! For crying out LOUD! Some PATIENCE!!! *end rant*) I Will Wait because I do not believe in shortcuts.

I Will Wait because I'm all rallied-out: I'd rather work hard at my business so we can create more jobs, export more products, bring in more dollars, and create a positive image of the Philippines worldwide. I Will Wait because if Erap becomes a caretaker president, it will break my heart and spirit. I Will Wait because I love this blessed country of ours just as much as all the angry, noisy rallyists do; I just choose to love it in a way that is different but by no means wrong.

But to PGMA, if you're out there, do know that I am not waiting till 2010 because I am a fan of yours. Nor am I condoning the corruption that I sadly believe exists in your government. I am all for uncovering the truth, and if it is found that you have indeed been robbing us in one way or another, I am all for prosecution. Should you be found guilty, I am all for seeing you imprisoned… just revoke Erap's pardon while you still can, so the pair of you can be jail buddies ;)

In this respect, in this yearning for truth and justice, I'm sure all of us are united. We all love our country and believe it deserves capable and honest leadership. It's just that the majority of us, silent though we may be, are willing to… Wait.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Oh my god. Malu Fernandez strikes again. Now against BLOGGERS. So as a person whose blog pretty much created his career, all I have to say is: "What the hell?" But then again, this is a woman who was shredded into ribbons by bloggers for her disparaging remarks about OCWs, maybe she does have a bone to pick with us. But I'm also wondering what's the deal with her smarmy remarks about some blogger of Spanish descent. I wonder who she's talking about. And what is it about this year? It's just one bloody ta-e* explosion after the other on the blogosphere. Read her comments about bloggers here. Thanks Bryan for the link and the analysis. Now this is the last time I'm going to say anything about this subject (I swear - kinda). Now everyone, if you wish to start a discussion about her, go ahead. But please don't use the words, "fat" or "pig", and avoid making comments that would veer off the main topic about blogs, OK. Let's keep this clean.
*Tagalog for "feces".

Oh. And thank you heart-2-heart for the cute post!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


¡Mire esto! ¡Yo lo adoro! Yo no cuido lo que nadie dice.

This Spanish TV commercial by McCann Erickson was sent to me by my cousin Isabel in Madrid. Now some might call the ad a bit condescending, but I don't. I think it's cute, fresh, funny, and shows Filipinos as clean, hardworking people (albeit a little silly - which we are.) Then again, I was one of the people who thought we shouldn't have been sensitive about those Filipinos Cookies. I don't mind being called something delicious that is brown on the outside and white on the inside (which once again, we are to a certain degree.)

What do you think of the ad?

Note that Ronnie Lazaro (the lead in Tikoy Aguiluz's boatman) is also in the ad.


Received this passive aggressive letter today from some guy name A*****.

I don't know. I think this whole ZTE/Lozada/People Power 4?? topic is dead. Other people seem to have better blogs to read nowadays. And really, I don't know why when it comes to politics, some people just can't help but resort to insults. Jeez.

From A*****:


I am interested in doing one of your tours, however, I think that your political opinion is in the category of a spoiled brat/I live a happy live so everyone stop wanting to change yours category.

My question is, will your tours be free from these opinions of yours? Because, I must say, from what excerpts I see on TV, political immaturity aside, you do a good job with your tours. If so, I will definitely take some foreigner friends to attend very soon! Hope you don't take offense.



My reply:

UM. Sorry. But I do take offense with terms like "political immaturity" and um.. spoiled brat. You have some nerve so I really did think to myself "who the hell are you to judge me?" when you have no idea what my tours are about and what else I do aside from my blog.

But thats ok. I like fiesty people and I like the fact that you aren't afraid to tell sh** to peoples faces..

The tours have my opinions of course. Anything I do will have my opinions (which I NEVER AIR ON TV by the way).

The choice is up to you.


Hope you don't take offense.

His reply:

Dear Carlos,
I guess I have to apologize. I honestly didn't think you would take offense, what with all the crap that have been said about you in your comments section. Mine seemed mild. In any case maybe I was out of place. I am sure, you are a nice guy despite our difference of opinion. Enjoy your day!

My final reply:

I really didn't take that much offense dude. I get stuff like this all the time. But my blog is out there and it is your choice to log on or not.

You went out of your way to email me, inquire about tours and insult me. Were you really expecting me to agree with your unsolicited opinion? I'm not dumb dude. I can tell a backhand insult when I read it.

I'm glad you see how out of line you were. But no worries man. Were ok. Peace bro.

I'm sure you are a nice guy too and perhaps we would get along when we meet IF we don't talk politics. Most people do.

Cheers and have a great week ahead too A*****.

Take care (I'm serious - I'm not being sarcastic). :o)


Why can't we all just get along? Sigh... I am so sick of this topic. Really, if you don't like my politics.  Leave my blog.  I have stopped going to your sites, so stop going to mine.  Sheesh.

Sunday, March 09, 2008



It's easy.  ANYONE CAN JOIN.

Just send me an email with your name, your phone number (land or cell), and your blog address. Along with those details, include three (3) - or more - good reasons why you and your companion(s) should win this contest. This could be in any format. Poem, prose, drawing, photograph, film clip. The more creative your entry, the better.  I will then print it out and put it in a hat for a raffle (just to make it fair for everyone).

Looking forward to getting your emails.  
I will pull the winning name out of my hat in a couple of weeks.


**Accomodations only valid for overnight tours that I host.
Dates and details for the tour listed here. Accomodations also subject to availability.

*or three (3) if you all don't mind sharing a room.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Wow. I am really kinda overwhelmed about the response I have been getting from my "I WILL WAIT TILL 2010" group on facebook. In the last 48 hours, over 316 people have signed up. I know it's not a very large number, but I still consider it to be rather significant. I found it also interesting who see who were willing end their "silence" and willingly announce that they are NOT supporting PEOPLE POWER 4 or attempts to bring the presidency down through extraconstitutional methods. And such an interesting mix. There were students and alumni of colleges both here and abroad, high school students, Fil-Ams, Fil-Canadians, OCWs, artists, and professionals. Bloggers like Anton of Awesome Planet, and Mike Aquino of Reason is the reason joined the group. Artists/designers like Tippi Ocampo, Gian Romano, and Astrud Crisologo joined the group as did dancer Donna Miranda and celebrities Bituin Escalante, Jamie Wilson, and GR Rodis. Even journalists RG Cruz and Daphne and Patrick Paez were willing to wait till 2010 like me. Now we might not be collectively as impressive as say, the Makati Business Club, or have the same celebrity clout as Jim Paredes, but still, it's still a great collection of good Filipino citizens. And please realize that none of these people are SAYING THAT they love or support the president at all. What it just says here is that people who are willing to see the president out in 2010 are not the apathetic, morally vacuuous, unintelligent people that some folks out there have made us out to be.

And since it's orbs month too, here are more shots of San Agustin by Ryazan Del Carmen of Ateneo (above). Thanks Ryazan!

Now, either the place is dripping with ghosts. Or the place needs dusting in a major way.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


I'm going to be a bit more proactive here because I believe in the power of the ballot. Just yesterday, I created the "I'M WILLING TO WAIT TILL 2010!" group on facebook just to see who out there might possibly agree with me. So, if anybody out there believes that all the current protesting is futile; if any one out there does NOT believe the use of extraconstitutional methods to bring down the presidency of the Philippines would be beneficial to the country as a whole; and most especially, if anyone out there believes PEOPLE POWER 4 is pointless because the 2010 elections is LESS than two years away, then join the group HERE and let's start focusing our energies in looking for a proper candidate to replace GMA in the next election. Let's be smart this next elections. It will be here quicker than we think, so let's be prepared.

And don't think of this as some "Pro-Glo" group, think of it more as an "Anti Mob Rule" group. So far, I have only 40 members who signed up in the last 24 hours. Not much that is true. But as the other side says, the numbers aren't what matters as long as you stand up for what you believe in, right?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Here's an issue for all you Anti-Gloria folks out there to figure out and perhaps pursue. While you were busy protesting, did you notice that the Comelec (the Commission on Elections) is missing? As in: Missing. As in: the building which once housed the institution responsible for counting all of our electoral votes is gone. GONE. Pfft. Poof!

Such a shame though. Not because considering the controversy surrounding the last elections, the place should have been classified as a crime scene. But judging by the huge adobe block in the foreground (above), the former COMELEC building was actually a real 19th century structure. The thick volcanic tuff walls attest to that. And real 19th century structures are a real rarity in downtown Manila now. So sad.

Oh well, I guess it's better off as a parking lot? Sigh.

Here a couple of shots of the COMELEC the day it burned. (above).

Monday, March 03, 2008


So I woke up this morning and went to the Starbucks to get a coffee. While at the counter, I bumped into my friend Diana and she asked me if I was going to the "Interfaith" rally (photo above). "You must be joking of course," was my reply. Truth be told, anything that mixes politics and religion seems as ridiculous to me as a horse wearing pantyhose. But having said that, I wanted to check who would be going to this thing. So I asked the barista in front of me if he was going and he said "no." Later on, I went to work out and asked the receptionists and the trainers if they were going and they all said, "no." I had a meeting with a client after gym and asked her if she was going, and she also said, "no." None of the waiters in the restaurant I had lunch at said they were going either. On my ride back to Malate, my cab driver said he wasn't going and neither was the lady behind the counter at Aristomart where I bought a pack of smokes and a lighter. And when I went on my afternoon tour, I learned that nobody in the San Agustin front desk was going to go to the rally, the museum's curator Father Galende wasn't going, Connie from the canteen wasn't going, and neither was Jun the janitor. My secretary Lesley wasn't going and neither was my maid, Joanne. And at Robinson's Midtown, the place was packed to the rafters with people NOT GOING TO THE RALLY. Furthermore, none of the neighbors on my floor went, my wife didn't go and neither did anyone from my immediate (or even extended family). And so I wonder, if none of them went and neither did I - WHO went to this rally then? Because if I didn't go and neither did any of the dozens of people I encountered today, then nobody went. Truth be told, I heard more complaints today about the traffic caused by the rally then about the ZTE scandal or about Gloria herself.

Note to the organizers of these rallies: If you want to really get our attention, you must try to beat the 70,000 attendees of Beyonce's concert at the Fort. 15,000 to 20,000 is just Araneta Coliseum at capacity. C'mon! I can't take these numbers seriously considering we are a city of over 11 million. And while you are at it, try to bring in more people than the usual suspects who would be there anyway. Now, if you can get the office workers of Ayala Ave to start coming down from their buildings to JOIN YOU on the street instead of walking away from you towards the malls, then maybe you would have something. But until then, I hate to say it, the tipping point ain't coming and People Power JUST isn't gonna happen this time.

Sigh, I wish all this grandstanding and esoteric condemnation of "corruption" would all go away already. Truly, these guys need to find another more effective way to "get rid of corruption" or get back to work like the rest of us. This whole "People Power" BS is soooo totally going in the wrong direction and it's just becoming boring, annoying and sad. And judging by the crowd - less than a third of it's predicted numbers, I think many others might be agreeing with me too. I think the majority has spoken. We are all willing to wait two years. Deal with it.

Thanks nerdy_m4rc for the photo.

Sunday, March 02, 2008


I have gotten quite a few responses to my post about the ghost "orbs" on Corregidor. Miss Primavera of Davao was even compelled enough to send me some shots she took of a whole lotta orbs floating around the staircase of the San Agustin Church in Intramuros. Personally, I have never encountered any paranormal activity in the cloisters for the past six years that I have been touring the church. But considering the storied and tragic history of all of Intramuros, I would't be surprised if San Agustin was the Grand Central Station for ghosts. Anyone else out there got any orb shots?