January 31, 2014

Is Seeing Alone Satisfying?

If I just wanted to see something, I would simply look at photographs. Only that, I would rather not just see something. I want to taste that something, or ride that something, or in this case, bathe and swim in that something.

After visiting Osmena Peak, I had three other nearby places that I could check: Kawasan Falls, Obong Springs, and Dakong Bato beach resort.

1. Kawasan Falls

Just worth a quick look and dip

You can trek from Osmena peak to Kawasan Falls. It will take around 4 to 6 hours from the summit. But as our team did not have that luxury of time we opted to ride a bus to Kawasan Falls. As it was almost evening and the weather has been erratic, the water was very cold. But the Dutch (from Holland) I met in the area thought otherwise. Next time a foreigner asks me if the water is cold, I'll just say it's okay. HAHAHA

When you visit Kawasan Falls, remember that there are 2 other falls if you go further up in the forest. There are guides who will volunteer themselves for a fee, but I think that you can easily follow the trail on your own. The falls are beautiful, but I dislike the way it is manage (i.e. sitting in one of the chairs would cost you 300php, using the raft would be another 300php, and then there will be 2 boatmen for the raft who would suddenly ask 100php each for the 15 minute ride on the raft - that you have already paid 300php anyway) The food is also expensive!

I think I wouldn't go back to Kawasan Falls on my own. Thinking back, I should not have rented the table, and the raft (and the boatmen that goes with it.) I could have just swam to the falls to experience the pressure of the falls, and then left. After all, my friend and I only stayed for less than an hour.

 2. Obong Spring

Not worth a quick look nor dip

From Osmena Peak, you can ride a habal habal to Obong Spring, it would cost around 350php. The place is clean and the cottage rental is only 100php. However, less than 30 minutes in the water, my friends and I decided to leave and look for a good beach instead. The group before us also left after a while.

It's because it stinks. Since the entrance fee is only 5php (and you don't really need to rent a cottage), there were a bunch of kids in the area. You have to pay 5php to use the dark and tiny urinal so I guess the kids just chose to pee in the fresh water.

I wouldn't go back to Obong Spring. 

3. Dakong Bato Beach Resort

This is perhaps the biggest disappointment among the 3, but for a different reason. The place is well managed. However, the waves were so big and strong at the time of our visit that we were unable to swim to our hearts content.

The raft is dancing!

Say hi to my new friend MM (left) and to my travel buddy Sam (right)

I would definitely go back to Dakong Bato on a sunny day!
Seeing places alone is satisfying, but is definitely not enough (sometimes!)

See you around!


My road name is Alex (or Max or Jenny or Lisa or any other random name I could spout of!) HAHAHAHAHAHA.

Other Cebu Related Posts
Was it a Mistake to See the Whale Sharks (Oslob, Cebu) - January, 2014
Sinulog is One Proof (Cebu City, Cebu) - January, 2014
Zero Visibility: Following the Melody (Osmena Peak, Cebu) - January, 2014
For the Love of Good Old Times, Choose Cebu - January, 2014
Moalboal & The Friends That I Won't Make (Cebu) - January, 2014 

January 30, 2014

Oh Fred (and George)

Fred (and George)

I was browsing Quora yesterday night and saw Dale Thomas's short sad story about Anna and Abby:
Abby was always ignored. She assumed it was because her sister Anna was the pretty one, but the truth is that Anna was the one who survived.
And then I remembered Fred and George of Harry Potter.. and then I drew this. Well, that's it!


January 29, 2014

Zero Visibility: Following the Melody

Arrogant are people who think they can conquer mountains, but more arrogant are people who try to conquer mountains without regards for certain conditions.

We were supposed to have a 360 degree view of the Mantalongon mountain range had the fog not been this thick.

 Numerous flights have been cancelled in the nearby areas, and news of a coming storm in the region were spreading. It was the day of our climb to Osmena Peak, the highest point of elevation in Cebu. I was with two other girls who were as excited as I was to trek Osmena Peak for the first time- so we became arrogant.

Getting to Osmena Peak

You can start your trek from the Mantalongon market to the foot of Osmena Peak. It is about a 2-3 hour trek depending on the size and stamina of your group. It would be a good idea to bring a jacket as temperature could suddenly drop. You can ask around for complete directions, but from the highway coming from Mantalongon market, you should turn left twice on the first 2 fork roads, and then turn right on the 3rd fork road. After that, the trail will be one way only (but I'm not very sure as I don't remember the trail that much anymore.)

During our hike, it was already raining so we opted to take a habal habal (motorcycle taxi) from Mantalongon market to the foot of the mountain to avoid further delays that might increase the chances of experiencing heavier rainfall while ascending the mountain

Strong wind, and painful raindrops

Hey, we have to be happy with our choices - no matter how much we wish for a different circumstance!

From the foot of the mountain, it is a 15-30 minute trek to the summit. You can ask the kids around to guide you or you can do it yourself: just be on the lookout for the trail leading to the summit.

We got ourselves a kid to guide us because the fog was already so thick and we figured it would be problematic if we ended up getting lost in that weather. Regretfully, the kid wasn't particularly guiding us: he was too far ahead of us that we had a difficult time seeing him let alone following his steps. His only saving grace is that he was singing a calming song all throughout the climb - at least we were able to follow his voice.

I  think I just wasted my time taking this photo of nothing but whiteness

The trail wasn't tiring but it was extremely muddy and slippery because of the non stop rain in the area. I had to remove my shoes to avoid accidentally slipping off (Yes, I still don't have a good trek shoes until now, HAHAHA) I did not slip off, but my feet were covered with cuts and bruises from branches of shrubs to edges of rock. Ouch!

Osmena Peak

"The cold never bothered me anyway" - NOT!

Cold is an understatement. There were a few seconds wherein the surrounding was completely quiet. The wind stopped blowing, and everything was still. We were so freaked out of what could follow that we stayed close with each other. Thankfully, nothing happened. We had a quick rest, and then we descended immediately as the weather was getting worse.

It's thrilling.

Take care!

Osmena peak  is considered as the Little Baguio of Cebu.

Other Cebu Related Posts
Was it a Mistake to See the Whale Sharks (Oslob, Cebu) - January, 2014
Sinulog is One Proof (Cebu City, Cebu) - January, 2014
Is Seeing Alone Satisfying? (Kawasan Falls, Obong Spring, Dakong Bato - Cebu) - January, 2014
For the Love of Good Old Times, Choose Cebu - January, 2014
Moalboal & The Friends That I Won't Make (Cebu) - January, 2014

January 27, 2014

Sinulog is One Proof

We celebrate events without understanding them, and why not? Aren't we all guilty of nodding approval without the littlest bit of comprehension?

When I attended Sinulog, I know nothing about the festival. When I went home from Sinulog, I still know nothing about it. But I certainly enjoyed it! Colors, smiles, chanting, dancing, gorgeous faces (and bodies!), adorable trinkets, loud music, lively crowd, what's not to enjoy?

Well I am unsure if he was smiling, but he is definitely charming!

If there were a Miss Congeniality award

Of course I need to have my vanity shot too, HAHAHA

Face mask necklaces

Aside from the highly festive environment in Sinulog, I also like it because it showcases the ingenuity, creativity, and cheerfulness of the Filipinos. But most of all, I love Sinulog because it is one proof that we can beat the "Pwede Na Yan" mentality. "Pwede na yan roughly translates to "That's okay" which is almost always used by Filipinos as an excused to be mediocre in any undertakings.

Nothing in Sinulog festival is mediocre: just take a look at how elaborately crafted the costumes of the participants are, or the permanent smiles of the participants throughout the day, or even the backbreaking steps of some of the dance groups. One look and you know that lots of people worked hard together to make that one Sunday beautiful and lovely. And that is admirable.

Viva Pit Senyor!


Sinulog means "flow of the river." During Sinulog festival, different groups perform a dance resembling the flow of the river (which includes 2 steps forward and 1 step backward). The festival used to symbolize gratitude of the locals to to the Cebuano pagan gods, but was later celebrated in honor of the Sto. Nino or the child  image of Jesus Christ.

I find this painting very interesting since the anitos are kept in the background while the lady prays to the Sto. Nino.

January 25, 2014

Was it a Mistake to See the Whale Sharks?

Just recently, I tried and greatly enjoyed whale shark watching in Oslob, Cebu. I felt like a tiny little kid standing next to a giant creature. It  was scary, wonderful, and sad at the same time.

It was scary because the whale sharks (butanding in local language) were so big, and I just shrink to nothingness beside it. When it swam towards my direction, I felt blood quickly rushing through my head out of panic. I swam away as fast as I could.

It was wonderful because then I realize that there are just so many amazing things out there. I call these my aliens. The world, the ocean, the universe is so vast for me not to believe in aliens or the unknown. And it is almost arrogant of me not to believe that there is something else unknown out there. Modern civilization has already discovered a lot, but that doesn't mean that there is nothing else more to discover. Heck, we haven't even discovered our own bodies and brains completely.

It was sad because I also remember the atrocious things humans have done to similar creatures. How can one kill something so alive and gentle; it is almost like killing a baby.

Nonetheless, it was still mostly a wonderful experience and I thought to myself, "I will definitely come back and do whale shark watching again."

And then, I came across a petition to stop whale shark feeding in Oslob and wondered if it will be a mistake to see the whale sharks in Oslob once again? I wasn't able to find any research on how whale shark feeding would be detrimental for the environment, but I did see that Oslob's conservation practices were needing improvement. Theoretically, one should be at least be 4 meters  away from the whale sharks but everyone was so close (including me.)

Honestly, I do not regret going to Oslob and seeing the whale sharks, and I don't want the practice to stop yet, but I would be happy to see improvements in wildlife conservations in Oslob. I read that it is much better in Donsol, Sorsogon; perhaps I'll visit there next time.

Getting to Oslob
From Cebu city terminal, you ride an aircon or non aircon bus to Tanauan, Oslob. Just tell the driver to drop you off at Tanauan for whale shark watching.

Expenses (January 2014)
Fare from Cebu city to Tanauan - 160php

Whale shark watching including snorkels and mask - 600php 
I brought my own snorkels but forgot to ask if the fee would be reduced had I not rented the snorkel and mask.

Underwater camera rental - 500php 
Their cameras don't really take good quality photos but the boatmen are so accommodating so you would momentarily forget that issue. You can also bring your own camera and pay only 100php to register it - I'm not sure why that has a fee though.

Edited: February 2014

Because of the call for better protection of the whale sharks, the local government has established some rules for the activity. New rules are constantly being added as the community learns more from the experience.

1. Attend the 10 minute orientation at the briefing center before swimming with the whale sharks – this is included in the snorkeling or diving fee that you will pay the resort.

2. Maintain at least 6m distance away from the whale sharks. That is to say, do not touch, hold, ride, or restrict in any way the natural movement of the whale sharks.

3. Do not wear lotion, sunblock, or similar skin protection as it affects the ph level of the water.

4. Only paddle boats are allowed in the area. Report your resort if they use motor boats to transport tourists. 
5. Viewing is only for 30 minutes
See you around!

Other Cebu Related Posts
Sinulog is One Proof (Cebu City, Cebu) - January, 2014
Zero Visibility: Following the Melody (Osmena Peak, Cebu) - January, 2014
Is Seeing Alone Satisfying? (Kawasan Falls, Obong Spring, Dakong Bato - Cebu) - January, 2014
For the Love of Good Old Times, Choose Cebu - January, 2014
Moalboal & The Friends That I Won't Make (Cebu) - January, 2014 

January 13, 2014

Student Life vs Working Life

Graduation is just around the corner, and I'm sure a lot of bright eyed seniors are scouting for a spot in the corporate world already. Hence, my friend and I decided to make a comparison between the student life and the early working life. 

It's best to anticipate what you are getting into after all. 

1. On clothes and overall appearance
In my university, we didn't have dress codes so I used to go to class wearing shorts, shirt, and slippers. Of course this is not the case in the corporate world, but I didn't expect that almost all of my clothes will be useless - well mostly because my work then was from Mondays to Saturdays. Hence, I only use my casual clothes on Sunday, and if you're the type who goes to church on Sundays, then perhaps you're better off lessening your college wardrobe, and have an overall wardrobe change.

2. On going out with friends
Unless your friends work in the same company as you do, chances  are that you'll have to schedule all your dates together. This is a test of friendship: because of your limited time, you prioritize the dates you go to and the people you meet, hence you come to realize who among your friends are worth exchanging some personal time or some family time for.

3. On changing numbers and getting data plan
I noticed that after graduation most of my friends and I switched to getting a postpaid plan (which for those who chose Globe ended up regretting afterwards - but that's  another story.)

4. On idealism and wanting to change the world
Fresh graduates are usually hopeful of the future - and rightly so. However, the road ahead might not be as easy nor as adventurous nor as glamorous. It's filled with sentiments like "Am I on the right path?", "What the hell am I doing with my life?", "Fuck this shit", "What happened to partying like a rockstar?", "How am I going to travel the world now", or "Where's my iPhone, iPad, DSLR, Toyota Camry, etc?"

5. On working with stupid or annoying people
In the university, you can always choose to ignore stupid or annoying people. You can also give them a poor evaluation if it's a group or forced pair project. This is not the case in the workplace. Your teammates will not change as often, and so you'll have to learn how to collaborate with them effectively and efficiently or the whole project will suffer. This can also be applied to accounts, clients, or even consumers. Try reading 99u or Harvard Business blogs to have an idea on how to work with them.

You're getting paid to work with your team or your clients after all. Please try not to strangle any of them.

6. On Friday syndrome
TGIF! Everyone is lively or happy on Thursday, because it will be Friday the next day. People are all the more happy on Friday. You hear everyone singing merrily "It's Friday tomorrow lalala" or "It's already Friday lalala" I guess some things never change, huh?

Conversely, you'll see some people sighing during Mondays.

7. On holidays, storm signal suspensions, and vacations
Your vacation will not be 2 months long anymore. You will have to report to work on certain holidays. And most of all, you will acquire a superpower: you will be waterproof. 

8. On financial status
You'd often wonder why you''re still as broke as when you were still a student. In fact you might wonder why it seems like you had more money when you were just a student. You're either hopeful or desperate on the days nearing the 15th and the 30th of the month. On the bright side (or not), you can also put your expenses on credit now.

9. On eating and gaining weight
You now google the word diet, or how to lose belly fat. You even think of getting a gym membership. You used to eat a whole pizza for yourself and not get a bulge, but now, but now?! You're just going to drink coffee, and you're asking if it's sugar free? Yes, your days as the dirty sexy little bitch is over.

Well, I have nothing more to do here. Congratulations on your graduation! And good luck surviving your early days in the corporate world!


All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is purely coincidental. If you don't believe me, hey chill! It's just a blog post. HAHAHA

January 10, 2014

Diagnosing Oneself

"Maybe you are depressed?"

Asked by my friend during our little Christmas reunion last December. 

"I would never have imagined that you're experiencing 'quarter life crisis', you travel and go out a lot; I saw your Facebook account."

Stated another friend 

Aren't you too young for that, you're what, 21? 22?

Remarked another

For the record, I am not depressed. I don't even feel sad. I'm not satisfied with the present though - and no, it's not because of my relationship status. People who insist so are not listening, not to mention annoying. 

Well, that's about it. The quarterlife crisis never ended, perhaps because I never solved it a year ago. 

You thought I'll end this post with something like, "But it's all good now- thanks to all the people around me, and cheers a to a bright future ahead of us all!" HAHAHA, sorry to burst your bubble I'm still in the muddle, and it has been inertia for a while now. I think I'm afraid to take that leap of faith (which is ironic because people and surveys tell me I'm brave - see below result for a sample.)

I have a faint (and highly ambitious) idea of what I want in life, but maybe I'm still afraid to act upon it for fear of assured failure, and then judgement, or maybe I'm afraid to look stupid (society likes to make fun of average people who try their hardest or maybe I'm just judging myself prematurely - declaring myself a loser before I even sign up for the battle. This paragraph has easily become an unregulated thought space.) HAHAHA never mind.

Look, I recently took a survey on character strengths at viame.org. And my results are not at all surprising (a bit sigh-inducing though, because of my present situation.)

Character strengths of Arlet as of January 10, 2014 according to VIA inventory

1. Bravery
You are a courageous person who does not shrink from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain. You speak up for what is right even if there is opposition. You act on your convictions.

2. Honesty
You are an honest person, not only by speaking the truth but by living your life in a genuine and authentic way. You are down to earth and without pretense; you are a "real" person.

3. Judgment
Thinking things through and examining them from all sides are important aspects of who you are. You do not jump to conclusions, and you rely only on solid evidence to make your decisions. You are able to change your mind.

4. Perspective
Although you may not think of yourself as wise, your friends hold this view of you. They value your perspective on matters and turn to you for advice. You have a way of looking at the world that makes sense to others and to yourself.

5. Perseverance
You work hard to finish what you start. No matter the project, you "get it out the door" in timely fashion. You do not get distracted when you work, and you take satisfaction in completing tasks.

My least character strengths are love, leadership, forgiveness, kindness, and humility. I have qualms on leadership though because the survey describes a leader as someone who will prioritize peace and harmony in the group. If that is a leader, then that is really not me. Logically speaking, I think my character strengths (excluding honesty) according to the survey determines what a leader should be. Now you understand why humility is one of my least character strengths. HAHAHA 

Cheers to a good person! (even if kindness, forgiveness, and love are rated as my least character strengths HAHAHA)


Happy New Year!