Wednesday, 29 April 2009

PAL's REAL DEAL Promo is REALLY a BIG deal

Well, it sure is especially since i tried to book a flight online and tried calling last Monday. I got a text from Baby T last Sunday saying to chek out Philippine Airlines' (PAL) two-day promo. I immediately forwarded the text to Jun N so he can plan our trip.
Jun stayed up all night Sunday online and finally gave up by noon the next day. He decided to go to the PAL ticket office to queue. Lo and behold, there were hundreds there. He waited three hours and since it was a real steal at USD 508 round-trip to Las Vegas including taxes, he booked two trips.
I guess people got wind of it because the next day, Marjo B rushed to PAL's ticket office at 4:30pm where she was served queue ticket # 815. At 9:00pm, she got a booking and was ticketed at midnight. She didn't mind the wait since she paid only PhP19,000 all-in to Melbourne. She said that there were about 150 people still waiting when she left.
Warning to those booking domestic flights online during these "real deals", it will be useless to do so. Best bet is to book through your travel agent where they can access directly through their system. The downside is you pay a transaction or service fee. The upside is you don't waste time. And to those who wish to avail of the promo, skip the online system and go straight to the ticket office!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Enjoying downtown - CCP to Chinatown!

I'm hardly in downtown Manila - - so today, after spending the day in the Historical Museum in Rizal Park doing post-Living Awake with Art Park, we decided to hie off to the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) to catch CRTL+P, a forum on contemporary art and the art market.

Despite the economic situation, the art scene has been picking-up lately as evidenced by the number of art show invites every week and the growing number of Art galleries - like Art Informal in my hood in Greenhills; the converted warehouses along Pasong Tamo extension and even all the way out to Casa San Miguel in Zambales and Sta. Cruz, Laguna. It would be interesting to hear the views of artists, curators and gallery owners on this phenomenon.

Alas, what timing! The street down to CCP was closed because of the Grand Aliwan float parade. This is dubbed the 'mother of all fiestas', an annual event showcasing different cultural festivals of the Philippines. More than 20 contingents were vying for the half a million pesos top prize. The parade was emanating from our desired destination - the CCP Complex and causing major traffic havoc. We were re-routed to Mabini (road parallel to Roxas Blvd). We decided to park in Vito Cruz and walk to CCP. The place was packed! All sorts of people were milling around from the regular parade onlookers, tourists, vendors plying fresh coconut juice, chips, drinks; police and security; media; and photographers with mega lens (for the photo competiton)! We caught the gigantic float representing Laoag City.

Unfortunately, the forum ended when we got to CCP so we decided to check out the ongoing exhibits. Jing Turalba's armor sculpture (left) was part of the show "Uncommon Sense: trauma, interrupted" on the 2nd and 3rd floor hallways. The sculpture weighs 2 kilos and made of .38 and shotgun shells. It was first exhibited in Berlin in 2008 and then in New York.

There is the national artists exhibit (permanent disiplay) at the 3rd floor gallery and in the main theater lobby, an exhibit of furniture, clothes and sculptures made out of waste products like bottle crowns, shredded paper (right photo).

From CCP, we zipped back up to Binondo to eat authentic chinese food! Binondo-resident Terrence (and our tour guide) said that 5% of the Philippine population are chinese and 70-80% reside in Binondo. I felt like I was in Hong Kong!

First stop was "Sincerity" on Carvajal St. (tel 241-9990) to sample the best fried chicken in town and also oyster cake, kikiam, sauted gabi (root crop) with vegetables and shrimp, kiam pung (sticky rice), cha misua (noodles), black gulaman, cha o yi (fried gabi balls) and corn soup. Yes, served in that order. Then we walked down the corner to Mr. Ube's "Eng Bee Tin" (left photo) on Ongpin St. (Tel 242-9765) for almond jelly shake. The place is famous for its machang (sticky rice) oxtripe soup and ube-flavored hopia (moon cake). There is a coffee shop in the second floor where the proceeds go to Binondo's Volunteer Fire Brigade. To cap off the evening, we walked to a crowded un-chinese Starbucks by Plaza San Ruiz for coffee.

So if ever you find your self in Manila, Manila - - zip from end-to-end of Roxas Blvd and enjoy downtown!!!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Pinky Amador as Mrs. B, a dinner benefit for the families of Desaparacidos

BFF-Pinky was tapped by the Concerned Artist of the Philippines (CAP) to play the role of the mother of abducted activist Jonas Burgos, Mrs. Edith Burgos. Her son was taken by a group of four unidentified men and a woman while eating inside a mall in Quezon City on April 28, 2007.

The play is a dinner benefit for the families of the desaparcidos, or victims of involuntary disappearances.

The term 'disappared people' was initially referred to South American victims of state terrorism during the 1970s-1980s. The Philippines became notorious in perpetrating enforced disappearances at the same period during Marcos' martial law regime. At that time, human rights groups placed the number of victims of extrajudicial killings at 1500 and over 800 abductions and watchdog-Karapatan records show 759 desaparacidos. American military historian Alfred McCoy in his book "Closer than Brothers: Manhood at the Philippine Military Academy" cites 3,257 extrajudicial killings, 35,000 torture victims, and 70,000 incarcerated under Marcos.

The same practice continues today (as of August 2008), the Alliance for the Advancement of Human Rights has documented a total of 193 desaparecidos since Macapagal-Arroyo assumed the presidency in 2001.

The play is to commemorate the second year of abduction of Jonas who was tagged by the military as a member of the New People's Army. Jonas is the son of the late press freedom icon Jose Burgos, Jr, (publisher of the We Forum and Malaya) who fought against Marcos. Jonas continued his father's legacy of serving the country, however, through teaching organic farming to farmers. He is an agriculture graduate of the Benguet State University (BSU) and a trainor of the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Bulacan (AMB), an affiliate of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP). He is married with one child.

Pinky's role as Mrs. B, the voice of the desaparacidos, in this 2-hour monologoue is worth the watch! A graduate of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and a two-time Aliw Awardee for best stage actress, she is known for her powerful performances onstage, on TV and films.

The play, co-written by Grundy Constantino and Rowena Festin and directed by CAP's Secretary-General Soc Jose will premiere this Saturday, April 18, 2009 at Ten02 Bar & Resto (#33 Sct. Ybardolaza St. corner Timog Ave.) in Quezon City. Ticket is P500 per person with dinner. For more information contact Grundy at 572-4410 or 0919-8388443.

check out photos taken during the premiere night here:

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Orbs in Banahaw

When I showed my Banahaw photos to Tesa P, she said "what orbs??.. that must be dust from your camera!" It can't be specks of dust because the orbs are perfectly round-shaped of various sizes, colors and there is some kind of geometric pattern within.

If you look closely at the orb in the left photo, you'll see a baby's face in it! Well, unfortunately I couldn't make it out and saw instead a Mickey Mouse-shape.

I took some shots while trekking in Dolores, Banahaw along the river bed from San Bernardo to the falls in Sta. Lucia. The orbs appeared in the first "puesto" (right photo) and kept registering until we reached our destination.

Dave Juliano of the defines an orb as "the energy being transferred from a source (i.e. powerlines, heat energy, batteries, people, etc) to the spirit so they can manifest. This may not even be a conscious thing the spirit is doing, just a natural way they get their energy." He said that this would explain why the orbs are round balls. According to the laws of Physics, energy being transferred like that would assume a natural shape of a sphere. This theory can also be tied into the EMF readings we get during spirit activity.

A dormant volcano, Banahaw is reputed to be a center of psychic energy. It stands on a power point where the ley lines of the earth intersect and experts say that wherever such latitudes and longitudes meet, they create energy fields that allow higher frequencies of perception, physiological or otherwise. People living in the foot of the mountain speaks of apparitions of Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary and even Dr. Jose P. Rizal.

Frank Regis of the InterSelf Empowerment Institute said that Banahaw can be summarized into one word which is Healing - this is, physical, emotional, spiritual healing. Banahaw has all the natural healing "OIC" factors - that is, 21% Oxygen versus less in the city, nourishing negative Ions from moving water (falls)and the energy of Chi.

He said that most people who visit Banahaw go for healing to visit the so-called power sites (note: 200 sites) or locally referred to as sacred "puetos." These "puestos" can be a spring, waterfall, stream, tunnel, face of a rock, cave. Regis said the visits to the sites are structured for physical cleansing, inner purification, a connection to natural energies that leads to the experience of relaxation and peacefulness.
The popular areas are Sta Lucia, Yapak, palacio ni Moses (left photo), colegios de santos, jusgado and Jacob's well.

Well, whatever it is in Banahaw, the orbs only registerd in MY camera. So, either I'm picking up the energy or my point-and-shoot can record EMF readings and is therefore very high tech! Whatever it is, I find myself going back to Banahaw where its wildness and beauty evoke inner stillness.

Note that Banahaw is still closed for climbers. The areas open are Dolores (low level at 1200 ft) and Kinabuhayan (mid-level).