Maybe it is fate that brought our restless group to a haven nestled in the heart of Morong, Bataan. Maybe it is actually a call by Gaia to explore the bounty of a green kissed land. Maybe our tired body and soul needed a respite that can only be found in the warm sanctum of a divine place called Kai Lodge.

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Kai Lodge, if looked up in Google, would be described as  a perfect place for travelers seeking recreational activities with their family and friends. It boasts of an excellent service and essential facilities via its six well-furnished suites and two enormous family/barkada rooms. All rooms have air conditioning, large cabinets, lampshades, cable television, private toilets and baths equipped with a shower heater, and toiletries.

Much to our surprise, the stay and experience we had at Kai Lodge was phenomenal. From the moment we arrived, we had a world class welcome coupled with refreshing cucumber drinks and the most congenial staff. We need not ask for anything twice as the service provided was fast and efficient. Even the grandson of the owner, Ino Habana, was on hand to make sure that we get attended to. He would pop in from time to time and check up on us, he would also join in on our small drinking session. Ino’s gestures in making our stay comfortable and memorable made our team building all the more relaxing and extraordinary.

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Along with the warmest of welcome, Kai Lodge proved to be quite a gem well hidden in a cluster  of trees. It was huge yet peaceful. Indeed the tranquility of the lodge provided a respite to the noise and hustle of city life. The pathways afforded quiet walks for meditation and introspection. I had my one on one with God and the weather even cooperated with me, overcast skies threatened to pour down heavy rain but did not do so until late that day. It was a great nature walk as I looked at abandoned houses, basketball court and overlooking ledges surrounding the path. It is so easy to fall in love with the place and be lost in its rustic beauty.

Latter part of the afternoon, Ino volunteered to tour us around. Relics of Vietnam and Cambodian shrines abound. Although there were not much of the Cambodian and Vietnam gods left, the idols left behind still gave such a historic feel to the place. Ino was knowledgeable and eager to share. We were thirsty for knowledge and drank in whatever piece of historical memorabilia remained.

The next day, we trudged to the beach but because of the nonstop rain, the waves had an undercurrent and made swimming in it dangerous. So Ino, our wonderful tour guide, brought us to a unadulterated flowing river just a couple of minutes away from the lodge. The water was cold, fresh and crystal clear. It was a great place to cap the second and final day in Bataan. A nice old lady manned the place and she was as accommodating to my motley crew as Ino was. She allowed us to use her ihawan and she also regaled some of the team members with her stories. By 4PM, after going to the hanging bridge and having our late lunch we packed up and made a promise to come back. It was worth every penny we spent because we all had the best nature trip ever. So those bikes better be there when we come back Ino 🙂

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In light of the May 9 presidential election and a promise of new beginnings, I pray and hope that given the power to run a country, much less a city truly serve for the people who begrudgingly or not, elected them as leaders.

May 3, my boyfriend parked the cab he drives in front of the building where I live. As you can see in the picture below, Avida created a parking space for its customers.

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Ample space provided for by Avida for the pedestrians passing by. Around 4PM, a Sto. Nino towing truck came and towed my boyfriend’s cab. He left a paper citing him for obstruction claiming that where Ricky parked was a towing zone and obstructed passersby.

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As shown above, space was created for parking. The area where this SUV was conveniently parked was where Ricky parked his. Notice the indentation and color variation from the street claimed by Sto. Nino as a no parking tow zone.

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We called the moment we looked outside my window and noticed that the parking area was empty. Ricky went down immediately. He wasn’t even in my unit for an hour when this incident occurred. When he came up we dialed the contact number printed on the piece of paper left by a certain PF Derilo. Someone named Virgie answered the phone and said Derilo left since it was nearly 5PM. I asked if there was someone else to talk to because we’d like to get the cab. Ricky was cursing in the background and was hardly any help with the situation. He was getting ready to confront the guy who towed his cab. Virgie said it wont help going there that time as they were about to close at 5PM, that we need to wait til the next day and clear the mess up in city hall. She then passed the phone to a guy named Aguirre who tried to explain to me that the violation was clearly obstruction. Naturally I told him it was parked inside a parking slot and being a resident for nearly a year now, I am well aware of the traffic rules around me. The cab was not in any way obstructing anything. Avida had that space for their customers and yes, Ricky wasn’t a customer but if it was any other car they wont have towed it.

Since the talk on the phone proved useless, the very next day we went to Avida and got Mark to tell us that the space was indeed a parking space and that any other vehicles not Avida customers will be towed for illegal parking. They did not report Ricky’s cab for illegal parking. They were also not asked about the cab being there with no driver present.

The guards of my building were also asked and they told me no one approached them to inquire where the driver went. Armed with the photos and then the ordinance 588, s-2014 we went to file a complaint against the illegal towing at the legal department of the Mandaluyong City Hall.

The complaint was filed at 11AM and the male arbiter told us they’d message Derilo. In three hours if he does not show up we wont pay a single cent. They called him around 1135AM, meaning we would need to wait until 235PM. Despite the grumbling of our stomachs, we stayed inside the office because we do not want to lose due to technicality or “non-appearance.”

It was nearly 235PM when the guy named Derilo appeared  but the hearing did not start immediately. It took some 20 minutes more before Ricky was called inside the cubicle. I was advised not to join so I stayed at the far corner. The arbiter who took the complaint left and was replaced by a female arbiter who far more interested in other people’s fight than the case she was handling. She also did not even look at the photos nor videos we brought with us. The ordinance we photocopied and highlighted points for our defense was likewise dismissed. She insisted that Derilo did his part and there was obviously an obstruction of a public area. Basically we needed to pay the 2K penalty for the towing. She ignored the part that Derilo failed to look for the driver just because they only had a 5 minute window to find the driver of an abandoned vehicle. Since Derilo did not ask the guards of my building, he felt it was right to tow and penalized Ricky for “obstruction.”

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Merriam-Webster defines obstruction as a blockage or hindrance. The cab was parked inside a parking space and was not a hindrance to foot traffic. When asked why the other vehicles that were in clear violation of the no parking-tow away zone were not towed, her only reply was that they cant tow all at once. It had to be Ricky’s unlucky day to be the only cab in a parking lot with two other cars because that made him a viable victim.

An entire day was wasted only to lose still. She was adamant and insisted that they from time to time would just let a violation go with a slap on the wrist. As for Ricky, the fine stands. You can imagine his fury. He lost a day and a half of earnings on top of the 2K fine he was about to pay.

Honestly the whole deal was fishy for me. The male arbiter leaving, the guy Derilo arriving 10 minutes prior to the 3 hour limit, the female arbiter getting all defensive but not paying heed to our evidence…you can’t help but feel they are all in cahoots with each other. The Sto. Nino towing company was not even government owned and the place they were at looked more like a junkyard. They got in for the kill and victimized someone who worked hard to earn a living.

This is extortion at its finest. Camouflaged by a so called ordinance to milk unassuming victims out of their hard earned living and deprive them of a daily income. The government people behind this should be the ones penalized and to think there are tarps everywhere showing a complaint should just be an hour tops. What good was the complaint forum for if they would play deaf and dumb to evidences that prove them wrong?

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The Story of Us

Posted: April 29, 2016 in My World in 4D

It may be too preemptive to write a story that has yet to unravel but then again if not now when. The start of our journey was not tumultuous but rather it was not my usual either. My last relationship was a decade ago and it took me quite a longer time than necessary to pick up the pieces and patch myself whole again. So when you came into my life February 11 while I waited for a ride to work I did not expect how unceremoniously you’d entered my life.

The way it started was how totally egotistical you are. You never stopped talking about how good looking you are and how lucky the cab company you worked for is for having such a handsome fella in their midst. But the way you delivered it was not obnoxious, it was the matter of fact vibe I got off from you that I found myself engaged in a conversation until I reached my destination. You got my number and two days later you called.

Our story seemed to be a reminiscent of a 2000 B movie directed by Jose Javier Reyes which starred Angelu de Leon and Diether Ocampo. Angelu played the role of Abby Mansueto who does not believe in love. Her parents led separate lives, the mother has a young boyfriend while the father has another family. Tessie Tomas played the part of the jilted wife to an annoying T as she kept harping about the choice of partner the husband replaced her with. Diether on the other hand has fathered a son and led a life of spoiled discontentment. You can say that this is another one of those love stories that Viva Films kept churning. However the twist lies in the fact that Abby has a convoluted view on love that she kept pushing Jimboy away. When Jimboy said “I love you” she countered with nakajackpot ka lang sa akin nag I love you ka na.

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Of course you are not Diether and I am not Angelu. Still after not being in a relationship for a decade I have become particularly cautious. You are after all a stranger with tons of emotional baggage that can last a lifetime if the stories which you openly told me were all true. Despite the caution, you were intent on being a part of my life. There was no other choice but yes to being your girl. You said you never were good in courting. You know what you want and you often get it. In this case you wanted me.

The first few weeks were tricky. I was often halfway through the door. I did not know what I wanted and was often confused about my feelings towards the us. I know I am attracted to you despite not being my usual type. You are buff, have a leathery reddish skin, and bearded. You do not caress me. You do not hold my face. You do not hold my hand. You often ask about getting into a business with me. You did not finish high school. You have a lot of women and kids. Your body has a number of scars and a faded tattoo of a former flame. You don’t like to foreplay and you looked stricken after the deed as if I repel you. There are still a lot of uncertainties, flaws and insensitivities.

Yet twice because of being too drunk you picked fights with me because you did not feel appreciated and accepted. That you take the time out of your usual route, you bring me home. That I do not see how you make me your priority, you’d even be willing to drop everything if it would mean that it would interfere with our time together. That I, like Abby to Jimboy, forgot that you have feelings too and got hurt by words I say. You have always been open about your limitations, you even mentioned you are not perfect and this is me – take it or leave it. I guess that was when I slowly piece together why I was not comfortable with the us. It is not because of your imperfections, it was because of my own expectations of what a relationship should be.

We are far from having a wonderful relationship, one that is all gooey and stuff. But so far you listen to me, you care about me, you protect me and despite the gruffness, you do thoughtful things. You went to my lola’s birthday party and was not scared to meet an entire clan, my father’s side of the family. You wanted to always impress my mom and wanted to know what she has to say about you. You reminded me to bring my medicines and did not even allow me to drink any alcoholic beverages because you know it was contraindicated. You know when our monthsary is and you would often kiss me back when I kiss you. You hug me tight when you think I am about to fall out of my small bed. Little things my dearest Ricky. Little things that are becoming more and more important to someone as jaded as me.

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A funny thing happened on my way to NSO Pasig. Actually it isn’t really funny but the irony of seeing signs like be careful of fixers because they are mandurugas (cheaters or thieves) but you get overly taxed for a copy of a birth certificate from an actual government office/personnel is hilariously annoying.

Imagine saying fixers create a loss for the Filipino folks because they milk the money out of the people and the government. But what say you about having to pay a hefty P440 for 2 copies of a birth certificate when the same can be had for only P100 per document at any SM customer service centers? It is less of a hassle but may just mean having to wait a week to get it. Still a much lesser expense compared to one coming from a government agency being housed by another government entity. I asked the guy who told me to cough up P280 for the documents after already paying P120 at the 2nd floor cashier. What the heck was the P120 for and why is it different from the P280? He mumbled an answer that sounded so gibberish I can only sum up to “tax.”

So who is cheating who? The fixers or the government?  You tell me.

 

We Find Ways

Posted: February 9, 2016 in Services Review
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Today while inside the BDO branch in SM Light, I found out BDO closed my account which just a week ago I used to pay for my bills. Funny thing was while I gave P13K cash for deposit to the last teller on the right, she did not readily gave the cash back. She took hold of it, stared at her screen and told me matter-of-factly that I cant deposit. She ignored my questions why my account was closed. I kept saying Miss, naririnig mo ba ako? (Can you hear me) even if we were face to face.

After my nth question why the account was closed, she mumbled zero balance. I know it was a zero balance but it was a payroll account and I can deplete its contents without worrying that it will get closed. I then asked her when the account was converted from payroll to personal savings, she again totally ignored me. Miss, kakausapin mo ba ako o ano? Asan manager mo? (Are you going to talk to me or what? Where is your manager?)

The girl again ignored me. Until that time she did not return my money even if she knew the account was closed, she kept looking at her screen then counting the bills I gave her. She smiled too. I then asked her what is so damn funny? Why are you not giving me back my money when the account is closed? It took a lifetime for her to give me back my money and get the manager. When she came back, the teller’s excuse was that she likes to smile. Thing was she only smiled after she said I cannot reactivate the account, how annoying was that? No empathy, no apologies, just that your account was closed since it was zero balance then that smug smile.

I talked to the manager there, her name was Grace and told her I understand why my account was closed but I do not get why the teller could not even answer me anything and instead ignored me while I stand there infuriated. I was going to deposit so I can pay my bills, now without any notice at all BDO felt it necessary to close my account and this teller while smiling like a Cheshire’s cat did not feel like returning my money. So is that really how BDO finds ways to annoy their customers better? Grace apologized and told me I can always open an account again since the teller was just one, that I ought not allow one bad service to affect how I feel about BDO. Well I am not a happy camper. I use my BDO account to pay for my bills because I have gone thru the paperless route. And that teller had the audacity to smile and not give me my money back?! How incredulous that was indeed, to be treated so shabbily.

I did not make a scene. It was useless. I just have to find a way to pay for my bills without further hurting Mother Earth.

BDO, indeed like your mantra, you find ways to create such a bad image.

Friends with Benefits

Posted: February 7, 2016 in Movie review

I chanced upon this one lazy Sunday afternoon. I watched this already before and the title actually gives you a gist of what the entire movie is all about. Let us call a spade a spade, a FUBU what else but a FUBU.

Still even if I know where this movie is leading, I did appreciate the route the movie took to get to the finale. Two gorgeous people with emotional baggage hooking up, a fine formula for another run of the mill, romcom flick. Still the sap that I am, watched how these two unmask the love they have for each other.

Mila Kunis is the New York head hunter Jaime while Justin Timberlake is an LA based art director of an online blog. Their paths met when Jaime got Dylan hired as GQ’s art director. Their professional relationship blossomed to friendship as they began hanging out. While watching a sappy girl flick, Dylan suggested they play “tennis” and soon enough the two were in bed doing the deed.

Of course, sex was supposedly just sex but eventually expectations happen as emotional investments become part of their romp in the sack. This led to complications, obviously and soon the two had a falling out because the sex became a sort of relationship they both agreed was not what they wanted. Go figure right?

Anyhow, movie has to be happy, boy and girl made up via a flash mob dance at the Grand Central train station. How else can you end a movie but through some corny lines and a song and dance?

It isn’t a favorite but it is an okay movie with some good lines. Woody Harrelson may be gay in this film but he gets it and he delivers some of good quotes for a take away:

Tommy: You know what I discovered? It’s not who you want to spend Friday night with, it’s who you want to spend all day Saturday with. Feel me, Felix?

Dylan: Yeah, but then it’s every Saturday for the rest of your life…

Tommy: It’s OK, you don’t get it. It’s no big deal. But you will. One day you’ll meet someone and it’ll literally take your breath away. Like you can’t breathe. Like no oxygen to the lungs. Like a fish…

Dylan: Yeah, I… I get it, Tommy.

Tommy: Yeah, you don’t.”

 

Dylan: I’m supposed to meet up with Jamie.

Tommy: Who’s that? That headhunter?

Dylan: Uh-huh.

Tommy: What, you guys going out now?

Dylan: No, no, no, we’re just friends. We’re… messing around a little bit.

Tommy: What do you mean?

Dylan: Sleeping together. But it’s just sex.

Tommy: That never works, bro. She’s a girl. Sex always means more to them even if they don’t admit it.

Dylan: Jamie’s different.

Tommy: Does she have a penis where girls have a vagina

Tommy: Then she’s no different.”

(Credits to imdb for the lifted quotes)

 

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Downtime on a lazy Sunday

Posted: February 7, 2016 in My World in 4D

There is something rather calming about just waking up late in the day, sipping a hot cup of coffee and lounging lazily on my day bed. The little things can truly be quite remarkable if you allow it.

The tediousness of life comes to a complete halt in my little space. I can just be in my shorts and nighties, hair unruly from a just woke up fashion and have a grand ball just chilling. Now how can this day not be great?

Work is at the far recesses of my mind. I have watched two movies, Guardians of the Galaxy and Friends with Benefits, and now have a must write-it-down pull thus this blog. I am grateful for this leave. A chance to just re-energize my already depleted and rather battered emotional-psychological-mental battery.

On February 17 I will be back in training. This rather low blow insult had me raging for days. So this off from work allows me this time to be at peace with the idiotic move. I have to be better than just remain snippy and dejected. Apart from that, I need to stop being angry at those who connived against me. There is a comeuppance to every dastardly deed so I need to allow fate to do its job.

For now I take in the bad and blow it out of my system. I look out of my room window, observe the daily grind, hear the cacophony of sounds below and breathe. Just breathe. Life is good. Life will always be this chill.

Thank goodness for the downtime and the java jolt 🙂