Thursday, June 25, 2009 2 comments

bamboo chronicles Part I

Living with an American husband in my own country has been a hilarious treat for me. The gap between the first world and the third is indeed oceans apart. With my dear husband's permission, i therefore publish the bamboo chronicles.


Charlie:I saw the funniest thing today, shals. I was riding along carmen market and i saw the biggest pig you ever saw being made to ride a motorela! There were like two guys pushing it on to this thing and i swear to God that is the funniest thing ever. It was a big momma pig, man! I wonder how much the pig has to pay...

After a while...

Charlie: Then I saw this old lady with a purse and she was walking along with a pig on a leash! Isn't it funny how you guys let your dogs bark all night and refuse to put them on a leash? You have no problem putting pigs on 'em!
Shal (no comment)
Charlie: Well, I guess you would put dogs on a leash if you eat them too.

Charlie: The pigs in the United States have their own cars. It's a rich country."


Shal:Are you older than your teacher?

Charlie: O yeah! I am older than everybody else. Older than the principal. Older than anybody. You have to get two and a half people to get my age.

Charlie: How come you're not in school today, Shals?
Shal: It's a national holiday. I forgot which.
Charlie: Oh I know. It's National Flip-flop Day!


"Do I look like a sardine to you?"

"If it wasnt for multi cabs some people wouldnt experience any touch at all."


Shal: I have to make you your own blog. I'll call it Bamboo Chronicles for the sake of posterity.
Charlie: Prosperity.
Shal: No, hon. Its posterity.
Charlie: Oh, is that like, posture?


Shal: How come you can swim underwater?

Charlie:I dont know. I dont think when I swim so I can't talk about it. I can't talk about something I haven't thought of. I have to think so I can talk.


Shal: How did you do it?

Charlie: Oh, you just follow your head.



Charlie: You are always good at what you love.


Charlie:Where does the word heaven and hell come from?

Shal: Do i look like an encyclopedia to you????

After watching angels and demons, Charlie casually told me he was one of the thousands in st. peter's square during the Pope's election but that he had no idea what it was all about. I exclaimed in amazement, "That is like one of the most important event in our history??! He looked at me, puzzled. "Why, because he went out of the window?"

(man, there is something definitely wrong with our conversation.)

After resolving that it wasn't actually the Pope's election, I asked him who the pope was. " I don't know. He was this very old guy. It took him one whole day just to walk out to that tiny window."


Shal: Why do u call the zipper a Fly?"

Charlie: Coz when girls pull it down, we fly."


Shal: CAn I use the computer? Remember I told you last night I have to do college work overtime tonight?
Charlie: Yeah Im sorry I forgot. You can use it now.
Shal: Thanks. (Opens google Chrome. Clicks on Facebook. Saw 2 Farm Town Requests. Clicks. Accept. Accept.
Charlie: Shals, those are chickens and cows. Are those your college work?
Shal: (speechless)
Charlie: That's interesting...

Saturday, June 13, 2009 3 comments

random cuteness

Shal: Look, they cleaned the canal!
Charlie: Oh wow, do you know who did this?
Shal: I think the barangay had it done.
Charlie: Who is this barangay and why haven't I met them?
(paging barangay...)

While observing some kids in Siargao playing tumba-lata..
Charlie: These kids are so poor they can't afford toys. So they take off their shoes and throw 'em at each other.

Monday, June 08, 2009 2 comments


I love junk food. I am a certified KFC Hotshots Meal fanatic. It's my comfort food. Nothing beats the taste of crispy fries dipped in a special KFC gravy. Yum!

When I met and married Charlie, my junk food trips became less and less frequent. Yeah, he is a health freak. I thought that was cool at first, being married to a vegetarian. But reality bites with a big Ouch. I've never done anything as difficult as turning my head when I pass by McDonalds. It doesn't help that he would tease me everytime. The first few months were torture. I felt like an addict deprived of my choice of drug. I wanted to join Junk Food Anonymous. "Hi, Im Shal. I'm a KFC Hotshots addict."

BUT my healthy diet (which consists of organic, unpolished red rice grown in Bukidnon, cucumber, leafy greens, fresh fish, chicken, eggs and crackers) did a lot for my health. When everybody else are getting the flu, I didn't get it when usually i would be the first casualty. So after months of torture, I am getting the benefits.

I still miss junk though. My dear husband will oftentimes take pity on me and bring me to good old McDo for a cheeseburger and fries. The only thing he likes there is the airconditioner. When i firs met him last year, he was very vocal about his dislike for McDonalds and fastfood. He would often ask, "Why would somebody sell people food that will kill them? It's all about profit motive. They dont care if you get sick!"  I often would grow tired of hearing his complaints so I just avoid the junk as much as I can for the sake of peace.

Then yesterday, he showed me this documentary. It was interesting and I feel I understand where he is coming from now. You can find the whole video on YouTube divided into 10 parts.

Tell me what you think.:)

Saturday, June 06, 2009 4 comments

richard parker

For those who have read the Life of Pi, the name Richard Parker may be familiar to you. It's the story of an Indian boy named Pi who survived a ship accident and lived on a boat with a tiger for company.  He named the tiger, Richard Parker. 

But who is Richard Parker.  For many years, I have been reading blogs and articles about Siargao. Ironically, I found the most witty and candid accounts about this island's life and it's people from a foreigner. Yes, he is Richard Parker.  I have been folowing his blog for years and even wrote him. I got no response (boohoo!!). Then I got busy with school and weddings and other extra's so I almost forgot about him already.

But then, God must have another gift in store for me days after my wedding coz on the day before Charlie and I would leave Siargao, Richard Parker came walking by our cottage. Of course, I didn't know it was him. We were wondering who this friendly guy was who walked around in his white shorts. We thought he was a new guest at the resort. He came by to chat and of course my talkative husband accommodated him. After about 2 minutes, we got around to introducing ourselves and to my extreme surpise, he said, "I'm Richard Parker." My jaw just dropped. Richard Parker in the flesh! I then grabbed my camera and ordered my amused husband to take a picture of us.

The next day, we went to his tiny house for a visit before leaving.  I just sat and stared at the rows of books and the paintings on the wall while Charlie chatted with Richard Parker forever. I learned something new.Richard Parker is also a painter!  

A month later, we wanted to contact him for a business proposal and again found his work online. Another discovery. Richard Parker is a very gifted photograper! I dont know what kind of camera he uses.  I can't believe the one he is holding in the picture is responsible for the amazing pictures here

Why do I like Richard Parker? Hmmnn... Maybe it's because he reminds me of Fr. Bob Hogan, SJ my spiritual director. Maybe he is just one good writer and gifted artist, a combination that will always merit my infinite awe and wonder. Or maybe it is his irreverent and often sarcastic and huorous view of life and everything beautifully wrong with it that makes me laugh. But most probaby it's because he is and choses to be in Siargao, writes candidly and beautifully about it and I, a Siargao sucker can't help but love him for it.

If you are curious, check out Richard Parker.

i'll never love blue eyes again

i wish i had a better camera.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009 2 comments

officially on tour

The night is so quiet and I finally have my chance at the computer. My husband is gently snoring beside me and I could not sleep. A thousand thoughts flicker in my mind like fireflies. Ideas are chasing each other and dreams beckon once again.

I remember what Paulo Coelho wrote in The Alcemist about the universe conspiring to give us what we most desire. It's a lot like Ignatius' Id Quod Volo or The Secret's Law of Attraction. Over the years, I knew deep in my heart what I desire. I seldom talk of it and I think I've written about it in one of my blog posts. But everyday I make a fervent, hopeful wish and prayer.  I had no doubt it will happen. I just didn't know when.

Bugoy has never disappointed me.  And it is in His infinite love that I place all my hopes and dreams. I have strayed a trillion times and expected all sorts of punishment and karma known to womankind. Yet, he still GIVES. It never ceases to amaze me. Talk about being the Ultimate Provider. 

And so I am at this thirty-ish point in my life when I knew I just have to try my hand at something I love doing at the place I most love. Siargao--my Soul Place. This tour business thing is not so much a business but an invitation to experience the sacred. I was apprehensive when I started this. I did not want to ruin my sacred experience by mixing it with something as "cold" as business. A million things could go wrong and my dream place just might become my worst nightmare.  But I looked back over the years and I remember the people whom I have brought to Siargao. I remember their awe and wonder at the sights that I feel such deep joy in being a part of it.  I found these pictures and somehow a deep, still voice is telling me that I am doing the joyful thing...

My first Siargao trip with my beloved SICO people from Davao. I remember that I spent a meager Php1,500 for the whole 3 days 3 nights trip. We crashed at my cousin's place. 
Unforgettables: There was a tropical depression and the banca's motor got wet. A speedboat owned by a hunky Aussie surfer had to tow us to safe waters. We discovered that our Bankero was a former surfing champion and speaks English with a British accent 
Motto: The muffler got wet!
Tour mates: Ate Tess, Ate Liza, Jennybabes, Liyah, Sherlo

This is my first combi-tour. Friends from Davao and CDO came to Siargao. Again, we crashed at my cousin Mariave's place.
Unforgettable:Being able to steal our way into Pansukian Resort for 5 minutes,  go to Sohoton Cove and meet the hilarious fine trees and fitcher flants tour guide, luch at Taktak Falls in a forgotten island.
Motto: Ang Tunay na Pag-Ibig, Itsahi na lang na sya og halas!(coz Cez wont jump!)
Tourmates: Gen and Fr. Xave from CDO and Cecil, Dr. Lore and Liyah from Davao. 

This is my special tour for Binsoy from Japan, Ana K and Mark from Davao. Binsoy is visiting and wanted to tour Siargao. I think this is also the last time I saw the surfer bankero.
Unforgettable: Binsoy lost his sandals. We wanted to go to Sohoton and we had no money but some Yen nobody will exchange. The first time I used the roro to get to Dapa (4 hours!)
Tourmates: Binsoy, Ana Karenina, Mark

Another group from XUHS went to Siargao but we have no soft copy of the pictures. Only Gen had a camera and it was not digital. (Will scan pics as soon as i get my HP printer)
Unforgettable: We went to Mam-on and La Janosa Islands! The waves were HUGE and we spent the entire boat trip praying. Gen's logical argument with a local surfer that got us a surf board for rent at 50 pesos only for 2 hours!
JVP's in Siargao. I helped organize the gorup's Year-end Evaluation and R&R. It was a 2 days 2 nights tour that was a lotta fun! It was the first bigh group I brought to Siargao.
Unforgettables: Zawu thought there are real snakes in the water! Riding a motorcycle around GL for free. Ate Grace, Mitch and Shy thought we were kidnapped and looked all over GL for us in the middle of the night. The sack of Saang we ate raw. Gate-crashing at Castrence's Reunion party.
Motto: Batchmates!
Tourmates: Ate Shy, Ate Grace, Ate Mitch, Ate Ayns, Zawu, Joel, Bryan, Kale, Ate Gloan, Sir Chuck and Dr. Jojo.

OSASI in Siargao. We got a go signal from our beloved Fr. George to spend our year-end evaluation in Siargao. Gen and I get to visit Sohoton once again. Sadly the amazing tour guide was not around and the sea of jellyfish was not in season.  
Unforgettable: Had to haggle with Satur-Honor for the resort rates. Nitz and Angie screaming over HUGE waves. We actually had a whole day evaluation.
Motto: Ayaw ko ihapi! (Nitz)
Tourmates: Nitz, Gen, Angie, Pam

Another combi-tour of friends from everywhere. Another Siargao magic is being able to bring different people together and still have a blast! 
Unforgettable: Snorkeling in Daku Island, riding the habal-habal in the rain, going all the way to Nabago and finding no crabs just crablets.
Tourmates: Janice, Gerlie and Larsen, Macoy and Bakit, Rosela

And the stories will continue with these official tours from my yet-unnamed tour company. The first group who actually paid for my services are these guys from CDO. They got the promo offer so I actually got nothing. Hahaha! But I was on honeymoon too so I didn't care about not getting anything.  Plus the joy of seeing them there was enough.
Marie Tinampay and cousins in Daku Island. You have no idea how hard it was just to get to that rock. Oh yeah, that was hard on their feet.

Michael Ho and the Addiks. Another Siargao Jump.

I'm just starting and so far this looks like a fun thing to do. Next up is getting legal and serious. Plus I have other tour packages soon. We will be exploring all those secret places other tourists wont discover on their own. 

I will keep you posted.