Saturday, December 16, 2017

A High School Reunion To Remember

December 2016

40 Years After:
Reunited and it feels so good...

like the good old days

Proud to be a member of this batch...Classmates from near and far gather round after every five years to once again foster bonds, reminisce loving memories of our teenage life, dance and sing like we used to and/or just monkey around with our laughing buddies.

Wacky pose

Behaved pose

Our section (St. Mark)  presentation, dancing to
'All I Want For Christmas'
And then we went on to win the grand prize!!!

section: St. Mark

Thank you to our Alma Mater, St. Peter's College of Toril, Davao City, Philippines, for being the source of all the unforgettable memories!!!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

A Night Of Fun, Food & Frolic

Forget the worries for a while. Immerse in sheer joy and laughter. Reminisce the good old days.Okay, these and more were what we did during our annual Christmas party on 9th December, 2017. For the second time, Wilberto 'Nonoy' Al-ag played host to the batch's gathering  in his large mansion!!! Love you Noy from all of us.

Again, we felt we were always in our teens when we're together. What magic could there be? Just so amazing!!!

Us together again

And this time, the party was like we're having our after-every-5-years reunion, in terms of attendance. Though almost half of the group cannot be with us since they're overseas or just living far away from most of us, pretty sure the spirit of camaraderie will always be present.

Like in the past Yuletide gatherings, once again, generous classmates have shared their financial support voluntarily, without us asking for donations. Kindhearted ones, you know!!! Grateful to have you guys in our life!!!

These are their high school pics

Actions speak louder than words. These photos below need no explanation...See how obvious everyone's delight is!

Hoping everyone could come round/come home for the next big reunion in 2021. God bless us all. To God be the glory!!!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Batch ’76 Invades The Visayas

Yes folks – you heard it right. We flew all the way to the Queen City of the South from Davao in the Land of Promise. We made Cebu the entry point to the groups’ journey to other wonderful places in the Visayas.  

It isn’t every day that high school classmates get to bond together and go to areas outside of their hometown. But, we did, all eight of us (7 ladies +1 gent). Our flight to Cebu was on Sept. 12th and the journey ended on the 18th. Because we are suckers for promos, we were able to chance upon a promo flight as early as March of the same year. It was literally six months of waiting! Gosh!

The early birds, Eva Vallecera,
Cecille Ledesma & Lucille Fornolles

Day 1
Nothing could ever stop us, come hell or high water. Though we went in two batches, yet, circumstances failed to break us apart. Why in two batches? You see, our chosen time of departure couldn’t accommodate us all since promo seats are limited only. 

So, what happened was, three ladies went ahead in the morning, while the rest of the group took the night flight. It was only around 10:00 PM on that unforgettable day when we next saw each other again, this time in our hotel room.

Together again at the hotel

Raring to go

Day 2
We wasted no time in visiting exciting places in Cebu and toured the city as well. First stop was Sirao Flower Garden in mountain Barangay Busay, also dubbed as Little Amsterdam, since they had an assortment of breath-taking flowers blooming in different periods of the year. There were ample blooms enough to serve as background to our selfies and groufies.

Next stop was the Roman architecture-inspired Temple of Leah which was undergoing renovation at that time, since some portion of the place incurred damages from a strong earthquake some years back.

Third stop was the oh-so-charming-ever Taoist Temple in Beverly Hills. It’s good to see the place well-maintained after all these years. It still continues to attract tourists since it opened some decades ago. All these three attractions offered magnificent views of Cebu City from various angles.

From the mountains, we proceeded towards Cebu’s newest mall - SM Seaside, said to be the biggest and the most glamorous of the malls in the Visayas and Mindanao, and in addition, the third biggest mall in the country.  

Me and my kids at one of the restos inside SM Seaside

Finally, the group headed south – to Cebu’s Castle Church – the Monastery of the Holy Eucharist, which also houses the miraculous Shrine of Simala in Sibonga. But, before that, we made a stop at Carcar’s shoe arcade where the girls bought some cheap footwear for pasalubong. And the excitement mounted as the van driver directed us to the pasalubong center in Carcar. There, we had a buying frenzy, as if there was no tomorrow. We were tempted to buy its world-famous chicharon, masareal, ampao, otap, rosquillos, among others.

I led the team to Ronda, my hometown where they were billeted at a local hotel while I stayed with family. It was the last time we were together since all throughout the vacation, I was with family while they continued their Visayan tour.

Pics taken in Ronda

Day 3-5 – Dumaguete/Siquijor
On their way to Dumaguete, the group made a stop at Kawasan Falls in Badian and took pictures. After Dumaguete, they also went to see the lovely town of Siquijor and went back to Dumaguete for their lodging.

Day 6-7 – Bohol/Cebu

Day 7 – Home Sweet Home

In closing, I'd like to thank the son of classmate Chito Buat (US-based) who tended to our booking needs through his travel agency; classmate Roy Ruiz ((Canada-based) who sponsored our Suroy Sugbu; classmate Lucille Fornolles for the use of her credit card to purchase our tickets; Joy Fornolles, Lucille's hubby, for fetching us up from Davao International Airport; Cecille Ledesma for providing the venue for our group meetings.

Likewise, grateful for my Ogario family in Ronda, Cebu for our good  and delicious times together, especially with Alex and Zephora Blanke (Adelaide-based) who warmly received us at home.

Lastly, to my BFF Elvie Manus way, way back from our PLAN International days, thanks for accommodating me and Shalom, my daughter in their lovely home in Mactan and for touring us in Lapulapu City - 10 000 Roses, Virgen de Regla Shrine, Pueblo Verde, and more.

Me & my best friend Elvie

Time will pass and so will people,places and events. But the memories will linger in our hearts forever. Buti pa ang memories may forever...

Here's more of those sweet memories...

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Discover The World Via Holiday Cruise

Have you ever been on a cruise? If you haven’t, good to know that the sailing itself plus the boat’s amenities are what make the experience exciting! It’s a great way of rewarding yourself for completing a year or two of hard labor. If you’re going by your lonesome, fine, coz it means less expense. 

However, if you’re going in a group or as a family then, that would entail perhaps, those extra cash incentives, bonuses, overtime pays, all for the sake of loved ones. Be aware though, going on a cruise holiday is no simple joke.

Planning Is A Must

I must say, three months of thorough planning is good before you actually take the plunge.

  • Where would you like to go and why?
  • How long will you be gone and with whom?
  • How much can you afford, given the length, destinations and number of company involved in your cruise?
  • Do you already have the necessary documentations required of this voyage?
These and many more are the kind of questions to ask yourself to guide you through.

Making A Reservation

Where before you might find it tedious to make a reservation via telephone call or actually paying your favorite travel agency a visit, today, it’s pretty fast and simple. 

If you are technology-literate, a click of the button will bring you to numerous websites offering reasonably-priced cruise deals. Yes, you just have to assess which one of those offers suit you best in terms of budget, time frame and destinations. The best packages most often come inclusive of so many perks like discounts on gadgets, food, drinks, and more.

On site, you’ll find whether a ship is a new or old. You’ll likewise see photos of their bar, dance floor, cabins, the pool as well as the roof deck area. 

And check out the menu beforehand including the dining area if these as well, suit your taste. There are cruises that have special offers like ocean view films for the showbiz fanatic.

On top of those matters, you still have to consider the shore and land excursions, the port shopping where you would need to carry a substantial amount of cash, just in case. 

Whatever your choice,  make sure that your holiday should be worth every cent. Finally, have somebody you can trust to watch your over home while you’re holidaying. 

Bon Voyage!!!
Happy Cruising!!!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Bliss That Travelling Brings

What makes travelling so fascinating? Why do most people love to travel? Well, first of all, there’s a change of scenery or environment whenever you get to a certain place new to you.

Second, no matter how timid you are, you will always have the opportunity to meet a new friend or two even if you don’t remember their names.

And third, ahhh the memories backed up by selfies and groupies! Years may pass but never the exciting memories etched in your mind forever or in social media, perhaps!

The Wanderlust In Me

I’ve been to a lot of places in the Philippines, some awesome while others are just so-so. My first trip outside of my hometown of Davao was when I was 13 years old.

My father (may he rest in peace), used to bring us siblings to summer vacations to where his ship went. You see, he was a ship purser. We’ve been to GenSan, Zambo, Cebu, Iloilo, Manila, back in the 70s.

During my college days in Cebu, my boardmates used to go home to their respective hometowns during the sem break and more often than not, I used to be alone in the boarding house during breaks. So, I thought maybe, it would be kind of fun if I went with them to their areas. So, vacation times saw me travelling to Oslob, Sibonga and Tabuelan, Lapu-lapu City, all in Cebu, plus Cagayan de Oro and Surigao, all in Mindanao.

Then again, my job after college as a social development worker also brought me to different places – Bacolod, Dumaguete, Iloilo, Manila, plus different municipalities of Cebu. Of course, since the internet wasn’t popularly-used and no smartphones yet in those times, the memories were left between the pages of the photo albums!

In my lifetime, I have switched careers that likewise made me travel, this time to places where there were Muslims and Indigenous Peoples, mostly in Davao, Cotabato, Marawi, Iligan, Zamboanga, Ipil, Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro.

Then, as a freelance community development worker, my involvement with Plan International, World Vision and Save The Children again had me travelling to their respective areas of coverage such as Sarangani, Cotabato and Davao Oriental.

My family holidays as well entailed travelling to Surigao, Lake Sebu, and Mati, Davao Oriental.

My Foreign Travels

I had my first crack at seeing other lands outside of my own country Philippines, in the summer of 2017, courtesy of my kid sister and niece. They sponsored my very first leisure trip to Hongkong and Macau, China. And since the happiness and enjoyment cannot be contained anymore, I had to blog about them and shared the excitement I felt to the whole wide world.  Here are the links:

Now that I’m nearing retirement, I am looking forward to travelling again, whether domestically or globally. Who knows where my itchy feet will bring me next?

Well-liked Travel Quotes

Just curious, what is really the substance of travel? To borrow from some popular writers, below are terrific quotes personally hand-picked to best describe the very heart of travel:

If we were meant to stay in one place, then, we’d have roots instead of feet.”

It’s better to see some place once than to hear about it a thousand times.”

 “Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”

Travelling isn’t something you’re good at. It’s something you do – like breathing.”

And so on, and so forth.

So, there you are. No more words are needed to understand why travelling is a very significant thing to do in life. 

How about you – do you have an interesting travel quote to share?

My Happiness

General Santos City

Mt. Apo, Kapatagan, Davao Sur

Taoist Temple, Cebu

Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur

Cordova, Cebu

Tsim Sha Tsui (TST), Hong Kong

Lake Sebu, South Cotabato

Disneyland, Hong Kong

Macau, China