Monday, November 30, 2009

silent mode


I miss the ringtone of my cellphone

In the middle of the night

Every time you send me

A three-word text message

I smile

Coz it means a lot to me

I miss the miss calls in my cellphone

You’re doing in the middle

Of my daydreams

My heart skips a beat

You swept me off my feet

For a while

I miss the wallpaper of my cellphone

Where your face paints hope

That fulfills a destiny

That I am meant to be loved

By a stranger

Who send me sweet message

Every other day

I miss the inbox in my cellphone

Where your sweet nothings and unfulfilled ardor

Paints a thousand reveries

Of you and me

Reaching the sky

With our undefined friendship

And you defined

Something real inside

I miss my cellphone so much

We’ve been through a lot with life

Before you started texting me

With saccharine promises

That only soulmates could define

But now

I can’t hear the ringtone

wait for your miss calls

See the wallpaper with your face

Or read your romantic messages

For I lost it last night

To a thief who stole it

Just like the way your stole

my heart away!

(remembering your sweet messages in my stolen cellphone…phoenix

sign in


I hate to open my YM

when you have no

offline messages to leave

and leave my thoughts restless

chasing dreams with your presence

out of my unspoken misery

sometimes I wonder

if you made yourself invisible

when you sign in and chat

for other fidgety strangers

while I am waiting you’d show up

and heal my emptiness

with your meaningless words

shallow it might seemed to be

but it felt like I’m alive

every time you read

my long poetic lines

and emotional dialogues

that could have move mountains

and rearrange stars in the sky

instead of visual stimulations

and hopeless happiness

you react bluntly

I smiled silently

as if the world turns around

for me and our reveries

but how can I dream on?

when your offline messages

spoke nothing but pressures

and obvious denying lately

what have I done to you?

that you mysteriously

left me without words to ponder

I may not be perfect like others

but I am perfectly sensitive

with the obvious change-of-heart

that your silence spoke sincerely

nothing but conclusion and commas

so I wish you’d remember me someday

like a song in the radio

that after you heard it

it leaves echoes of ardor

I have no intention to search

for another stranger

and exchange flowering words

for you are there inside me

I’m hoping and waiting

You’d leave something

like offline messages

So before I sign off

give me a chance to let you go

and remain a stranger from afar


open inside...


I have to send this email

To the wind and stars

That made up your eyes

And numb heart

It’s nothing personal

It’s not even all about you

Or the “what-ifs”

And “what-might-have-beens”

Very honestly

It’s about me and my misery

To find myself again

After I risk the sanity

Of my defensive heart

It’s time to grow up

And leave the fairy tales

Behind the innocence

Of my childish thoughts

I’m twenty seven

And you’re twenty nine

We’re old enough for games

And the “signing-ins”

To strange relationships

And “lovers-to-friends” thing

I hope you know

And let me know

If we’re meant as friends

And end up friends forever

I thought love knows no face

and inequity from gender issues

but this is the real world

we were meant to live with it

and die in your silence

which you claim to be your nature

after one year and seven months

you still take my breath away

with your cryptic responses

but hurts me when you sign off

for I have to tirelessly wait

for your offline messages

I hope you feel

I hope you understand

That my email contained

My “supposed-to-be” closure

Close enough for you to see

the open door I left

and my hushed adieu

last night

Sincerely weary…pheonix

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Passion for food review


(published in itravel Philippines July-August 2009 issue,

Sometimes, I have this desire to satisfy my craving for the word “scrumptious.”
It was more than five years ago when I first set foot on a high-end bistro called The Promenade of Days Hotel Iloilo in The Atrium on Bonifacio Drive just across the Iloilo Provincial Capitol. Honestly speaking, those early years of my exploits as a newbie features writer for a local tabloid led me to discover a lot of fascinating destinations in Iloilo. Writing about the sprawling restaurants and bars in the city was indeed a fascinating delectation. The Promenade is no exception.

My first Promenade dining experience enticed my keenness on food writing. Irrevocably obvious, the culinary creations, serene ambience, and congenial staff are sheer elements of its success in capturing countless diners that made the bistro their regular habitué. Its international culinary connoisseur, food and beverage manager Rey Ponsaran has the knack for conceptualising unique, if not tastefully themed, gastronomic fare. A reason why it has established a word-of-mouth praises from food lovers who have a taste of Iloilo’s best.

This bistro is a hub of delectation for diners and their dining affinity. For one, diners can pick anything from the menu book and can expect something scrumptious. The Promenade buffets are tongue-pleasing, eye-catching theatrics of culinary parade that climaxes to a satisfying and fulfilling healthy feast. Salad bowls are freshly prepared, appetisers are succulent, main courses are mouth-watering, and desserts are simply a treat to one’s sweet tooth.

In lieu of its tradition for capturing the taste of food aficionados, The Promenade redefines its reputation as metropolitan Iloilo’s finest through its palate-pleaser buffets: daily Power Breakfast from 6 AM to 10 AM, “Indulge” Saturday dinner buffet from 6 AM to 10 PM, “Meshi” Japanese dinner buffet from 6 AM to 10 PM, and Las Paellas Spanish dinner buffet from 6 AM to 10 PM.

Every dining experience at The Promenade leaves a pinch to the heart, a distinct pull to the taste buds, and a desire to come back again.

So, I realise my first dining experience at The Promenade wasn’t the last. It feels and tastes like it’s always the first every time I follow my desire for the word “scrumptious.”

The Promenade is located in Days Hotel Iloilo in The Atrium on Bonifacio Drive— with telephone number (033) 3373297.

Chinese savour


(Published in itravel Philippines July-August 2009 issue,

No flight ticket is required. Not even packing up your bags. Just follow your palate for some scrumptious cuisine without ruining your budget. Head to the premier shopping malls of Iloilo and Bacolod cities, then, viola, you have Hong Kong Kitchen to fulfil your gastronomic cravings.

More than a food trip, Hong Kong Kitchen started to fascinate local Chinese food lovers a few years ago on the ground level of Robinson’s Place Iloilo. Since its opening, the bistro’s authentic Chinese cuisine has magnetised people from all walks of life. A real trip to Hong Kong can be self-indulging by savouring its dishes which are reasonably-priced to woo the discriminating taste of the Ilonggos.

Hong Kong Kitchen’s restaurant manager and food connoisseur who has worked in the food industry for 14 years, Arceli Parreňas Abria takes pride of the restaurant’s authentic Chinese cuisine. Peking duck is what Hong Kong Kitchen is known for amongst its regular diners. And amidst its high-end price, some of them find the right reason to spoil themselves on such palatable gastronomic fare. All-time favorite Chinese dimsum, noodles, soup, fish, veggies, and poultry specialties are worth flaunting the way they tease the tongue with authentic and healthy cookery. Preserving their reputation in the food business, Hong Kong Kitchen chefs use only imported natural herds, secret spices, and cooking techniques to create the best culinary creations. Even in the midst of recession and price increase nowadays, the resto’s food quality is maintained in a high-standard height to satisfy its diners. Cost cutting of ingredients is not its option.

Diningwise, Hong Kong Kitchen’s ambience appeals to all and even to the discriminating diners of Iloilo and Bacolod. Its Chinese elemental atmosphere exudes an inviting feeling for everyone to dine in and enjoy a good meal.

At regular weekdays, most especially during lunchtime or dinner, their usual customers are students, yuppies, and professionals. The bestseller is its budget friendly merienda meals from 2 PM to 5.30 PM for only Php 78. The luscious Chinese combo meal is worth dying to the palate for as much as Php 98. Of course, ala carte and short orders are still available for choosy diners who want a more personal choice of premium Chinese dishes. At weekends, families and sweethearts often find the place perfect to spend their special moments over luscious gastronomy. To cater groups of diners, Hong Kong Kitchen offer a set of menus just enough to tickle the tummy of five or more people for Php 980. Whatever choices and variations of Chinese dishes you have in mind, their affable and customer-oriented wait staff is always there to assist and definitely never forget to wear a smile.

Although there’s a lot of thriving bistros and specialty restaurants in Iloilo City nowadays, Hong Kong Kitchen may be one-step ahead not because it serves authentic Chinese cuisine or having an inviting ambience. With no pretense, it strives to exceed what excellent dining truly means—value for money, delectable food, and an ounce of positive energy.

Fly straight to Hong Kong and savour its luscious kitchen creations without actually going there. Hong Kong Kitchen is strategically located both on the ground floor of Robinsons Place Iloilo and Bacolod with telephone numbers (033) 338-2677 and (032) 441-0718.

Of oyster and gastronomy


(Published in itravel Philippines July-August 2009 issue,

Alan Legislador may have been a simple guy from Villa, Iloilo—unassuming, patient, and realistic. But fate has its own way of finding our place under the sun. Fortunately, that destined place is intertwined with our passion and rooted from what we really want to do in life.

His story started with the same success story that we always read from books or see in movies. Fifteen years ago, in a small kiosk sheltered by ordinary trapal (tent), Alan started to sell talaba (oysters) in Oton, the first municipality south of Iloilo City. Everyday he purchases a sack of talaba delivered from Roxas City and sells it patiently under the scorching heat of the sun. Though Oton is a shoreline town in Iloilo, it’s not suitable for cultivating talaba. But the locals are inclined to eat talaba since it is a well-known and favourite Ilonggo delicacy either grilled or steam. And since he is the only talaba vendor in Oton at that time, his kiosk attracted many customers. Some are locals while others came from Iloilo City and far away provinces.

Five years later, Alan’s Talabahan expanded and catered large number of customers demanding more space and upgrade of services. The business minded Alan convinced himself to embrace the demand of change for his business. With the support of his wife— Jocell, an HRM graduate—together they ventured in mounting their menu, adding more dishes mainly seafood, grilled native chicken, and pork chop in the tradition of Ilonggo cooking. The lack of proper studies in culinary arts did not hinder Alan’s desire to expand his minibistro business slowly gaining a name.

He experimented with flavours, spices, ingredients, and techniques in cooking but making sure the scrumptious quality of every dish he added to his menu remains acceptable to the palate of his growing loyal customers. His artistry is also evident in his effort to creatively redesign the interior of the restaurant reflecting native ambience and using exotic recycled materials like seashells and plastic containers.

But the attractive, if not magnetising aspect of his business is the excellent flavour of his food which loyal patrons are gushing about. With the absence of commercial advertisements, word-of-mouth praises from diners and customers did the walking talk about Alan’s Talabahan. In fact, famous people and personalities from different parts of the country visit his restaurant just to dine in and enjoy the same homegrown service. Steadily, Alan’s Talabahan has carved a gradual niche in Iloilo’s local gastronomy scene if we base it in affordability of food and word-of-mouth referrals. Such fact is indeed true and visible. At Alan’s, one can order per serving of talaba ranging from Php 30 to Php 60 which depends on the way it is cooked—either grilled, steam or the bestseller baked talaba with mouth-watering quick-melt cheese. Native dishes such as boneless bangus (milkfish), pusit (squid), steamed kasag (crab), pork chop, native chicken, and a lot more are reasonably priced for people with tight budget. The name Alan’s even reaches the shores of Manila since he got several offers of catering services from notable corporate events and parties which he gladly accepted. But in the meantime, the proposal for franchise is not his interest. He is grateful that even if he only has one branch, he still believes that honest and homegrown service will keep the loyalty of his regular customers who do the personal promotion of the place.

Fifteen years later, Alan already has what he wants in life—a happy family, hardworking employees who help him expand his thriving business, and a countless number of customers who keep coming back. Typically, they are coming back with friends or buddies who can’t get enough of Alan’s Talabahan.

Alan’s secret of success is no secret at all. His passion is a word-of-mouth story that reminds the Ilonggos of delicious yet affordable gastronomy in a close-to-home setting.

Masquerade and revelry


(published in itravel Philippines July-August 2009 issue,

Being known as the Philippines’ “city of smiles,” Bacolod City remains steadfast to invigorate its flourishing tourism industry by preserving its past and embracing the visions for tomorrow.

As part of Negros Occidental province once known as the cradle of sugar industry in the early 19th century, Bacoloders conceptualised and created MassKara Festival in 1980 when the sugar industry weakened. Wearing multicoloured masks, beaded and colourfully designed costumes dancing to the lively Latin music—graceful Bacoloders dancers paraded the streets to celebrate life and abundance, and spread revelry throughout the city every third week of October. Such a grandiose festival came to fruition when the people and the government officials decided to create an annual event to uplift the hope of many due to the depression caused by the decline of sugar industry in the province. Since then, MassKara Festival has become a cultural tradition, a reminder of hope and inspiration amidst the social challenges that Bacolod City or the province of Negros Occidental has been struggling to overcome for the past almost three decades.

“MassKara” is a portmanteau of “mass” (people) and “kara” (mask)—which has close resemblance to the Mardi Gras of Brazil and other South American festivals. The famous festival has gone through notable progression and reinvention to intensify its concept of capturing the cultural passion of the Bacoloders and preserve its love for music, carousing, and celebrations. Participated every year by contesting groups coming from different barangays and private companies that deliver a kaleidoscopic display of grace, colours, and breathtaking performances, the festival has already made significant legacies and memoirs reflecting the flamboyant character of the people of Bacolod.
Preserving and harnessing the inclination of the Bacoloders in culinary arts, the government of Bacolod City spearheaded by its visionary leader, mayor Evelio Leonardia and past Bacolod mayor Jose Montalvo conceptualised the staging of the first Chicken Inasal Festival from 15 to 20 May this year. The weeklong festival highlighted the effort of the city government to make the Manokan Country as an emerging tourism destination where more than twenty chicken inasal stalls are located. During the opening ceremonies, Negros Occidental governor Isidro Zayco was the guest the speaker and honoured the laudable effort of dynamic personalities who catapulted Bacolod chicken inasal’s popularity.
Another captivating objective of the festival is to be included in the Guinness Book of World Record by staging the “largest barbeque grill in the world” held at SM City Bacolod North Wing vacant lot. The newly established festival targeted one whole chicken per foot or an estimated 18,000 chicken with 800 to 1,000 sacks of charcoal and 72,000 barbecue sticks facilitated by 20, 000 volunteers. The larger-than-life chicken grill event happened on 19 May which was attended by thousands of spectators both local and foreign tourists wanting to taste the world famous flavour of Bacolod chicken inasal that has captured the palate of the Filipinos throughout the country.
Time already proved how far the people of Bacolod have put their city in the map as one of the best tourism destinations in the Philippines. I guess their charm and luck lie in character to wear eternal smiles.


A glimpse of Iligan

(published in itravel Philippines July-august 2009 issue,

They say travelling is a treat to the heart when one wants to rediscover places and leave life’s baggage for a while. If you’re searching for the perfect getaway that would make you breathless and wanting to come back again, Iligan City is a must-visit tourism destination.
Located at the northern part of Mindanao and approximately 800 kilometers south of Manila, Iligan City is famous a tourism gem for thrill-seeking travellers. This city, known for its majestic waterfalls, is bustling with flourishing economic life and natural wonders. Major shopping establishments are sprouting in the city despite economic downfall of some of its major industries (cement and steel). It has become a major shopping destination in Lanao del Norte and Sur. Locals and visitors find the best items or native products for souviners. Its location outside the typhoon belt has made it a suitable place to stay, unwind, spend time appreciating the scenic view of nature and local culture.

Top tourism spots

Topping the list of the best tourism spots for a worthwhile visit is the majestic Maria Cristina Falls. Aside from being a major tourist attraction in the city, the falls also serves as a major vehicle for Iligan’s industrialization. The falls, with its height of over 320 feet, spews 130 cubic meters per second of water thereby making it a hydroelectric potential of about 944 megawatts. For nature-trippers, Maria Cristina Falls is a beautful site to appreciate Mother Nature.

Another interesting place to visit is the Timoga Cold Springs. Its pristine, cool and clear water freely flowing into several swimming pools has made it perfect for swimming and relaxation.

Well, if your heart can take it, another interesting place to see in Iligan City is the Tinago Falls. Literally hidden, in order to go and take a dip in its crystal-clear waters, you have to take more than 100-step of stairs down to the falls. That’s probably easy to descend, but going up is another story. Definitely it adds more excitement and adventure for travellers.

Ideal places to stay

Aside from natural wonders, Iligan is known for great accomadation with its posh hotels scattered around the city. One of them is Elena Tower Inn known among tourists for its close-to-home comfort. It is a 7-storey building boasting with 42 guestrooms located along Tibanga Highway. Maria Cristina Hotel named after the famous waterfalls is considered as the oldest and classy hotel in Iligan City. It is located at the heart of the city fronting the public plaza.

Cheradel Suites is a perfect place to stay and relax with its beautifully landscaped grounds, well-maintained facilities complimented with a very friendly and accommodating staff. This should be on top of your list once you visit Iligan City.

Best bistros

Iligan City takes pride of its attractive bistros and dining destinations that continuous to capture the discriminating taste of locals and tourists. Some of these famous restaurants that serve various kinds of culinary specialties are Sunburst Fried Chicken House along T. Badelles Street in Mahayahay, Dear Manok and Paengs’ Grill both located on Quezon Avenue extension; Tita Fannies along Zamora Street; Chrisven Restaurant situated on Juan Luna Street; and Kuzina Iliganon along Tibanga Hi-way. In fact, some of these bistros offer budget-friendly meals but luscious to the taste buds of diners.

Must-buy pasalubong

Iligan City is popular to some of the yummiest and exotic food pasalubong that visitors never failed to grab before they get home such as Chedings Peanuts, the Sukang Pinakurat, and Timonga’s Lechon (roasted pig).

Reaching Iligan City

The nearest airport to Iligan City is the Cagayan de Oro Airport. Flight time from Manila to Cagayan de Oro Airport is approximately one hour and 20 minutes.
From Cagayan de Oro Airport, get a taxi (to take you direct to Iligan), or get a taxi to drop you off at Bulua Bus Terminal (Cagayan). At Bulua Bus Terminal you can find buses going to Iligan. Travel time from Cagayan de Oro to Iligan is approximately one-and-a-half hour.
From Manila, you can take a boat going to Cagayan de Oro seaport, and then take a taxi or bus to Iligan City. From Cebu, there is a daily boat schedule going to Cagayan de Oro seaport.



(itravel Philippines July-August 2009 issue)

I am inspired with life. The traveller within me is driven to explore the horizon, the possibilities, and realisation of my dreams that springs from the deepest depths of my soul. I have this inner desire to share, to unravel the concealed wealth and wonders of a world around me through my genuine writings. Sometimes we desire for those that are not meant for us and end up losing our true identity along the way.

But in my altruistic and patient journey on a rugged road to nowhere, I found myself embracing something relevant: what makes us happy and inspired to live a contented life is treasuring what we truly have right from the start. Happiness is just a simple riddle of the heart if we learn to simplify the meaning of reality.

Travelling is a passion for me. I have always desired to convey my travels through my gift to write. For me, creativity as a writer is an instinct and the weight of my writings is an inner intuition. But still, at the back of my head, I have this belief that a “writer’s life” is a fate, an inevitable destiny to traverse.

Founding the first and unique magazine—i travel Philippines— is an incorporation of fresh, vibrant, and forceful ideas of passionate writers. We have the mutual desire to uphold our own cultural heritage, empower the tourism industry, bring back the pride as Filipinos in every piece that we write, and inked by the blood of our heart.

Embracing such selfless destiny of advocating the essence and significance of tourism industry, the sage writers behind this trailblazing magazine breathes with optimism and beautiful intentions. Tourism encompasses not only those places and destinations that grace the pages of books and magazines, landmarks and historical sites that mesmerise tourists and travel enthusiasts. If we could somehow learn to open our heart and soul to the real, realistic milieu of what tourism stands for-then we will unearth and bring to light its truest quintessence.

Tourism is not just a social theory. Everything around us is intertwined to create the focal concept of tourism. From the warm greetings you show to a stranger along the way or the candid conversation you always have with your favourite talaba vendor, the way of life within our community, locality, or society are indeed fragments of the entire substance of tourism. Tourism should be classless and universal. Each of us, our cultural identity, and our sense of pride as optimistic people is a living force of tourism that determines a congruent impression: this country truly deserves to become a perfect destination.

Associate Editor Bombette Marin has proven his prolific vision and noble aspiration as a travel writer for many years. In fact, being a resourceful and brilliant writer, he remained tireless, truly dedicated to promote the west Visayan culture through his widely published articles in national broadsheets and magazines. In this issue, he unravels the ancient-old, hand-woven fabrics of Iloilo and the festive energy of Badiangan’s Panadayan festival. Renewing his vow for mother nature, he takes us on a nature-tripping mood to the unspoiled treasures of Ajuy and the elemental mood of Igbaras’s Tangyan Festival.

Roger Rueda always knew he has the knack for writing. As this magazine’s managing and articles editor, his far-out ideas and enthusiasm for British English invigorate the desire of the editorial team to be distinctive from other magazines. In fact, he has just published his second English grammar book entitled “Apple Grammar.” Meanwhile, his fondness for scenic sites and pristine wonders inspires him to provide helpful travel tips for travellers.

Features Editor Lourdes Jiz de Ortega, a prolific PR consultant from Manila, has remained as one of my best friends in writing throughout the years. Because of her desire to appreciate the significance of her home city as the centre of commerce and cultural wealth, she weaves an insightful article about Manila.

Unexpected addition in the editorial team is my shy and witty cousin, Jordainne
Patrick Longno. He lends his pop culture instinct to review selected CDs featuring various genre of music artists. Travel and photography enthusiast Noel de Leon is another addition to the magazine’s creative team. His artistry and passion shows in every picture he captures for the magazines’ articles. Mayor Jerry
Treňas, the true inspiration of every Ilonggo and the visionary leader that has put
Iloilo City in the limelight of yearning for the crown as another Queen-City-in-the making is finally expressing his heart and reveries in a special interview.

So much has been said and written about Boracay Island. But none can be far more fascinating with Canadian-born and international blogging sensation Brian Gorrell in his article as he unveils his early fondness and memories of the paradise island. Brian’s sincerity is delectable as his phraseology.

Our navigational compass brought us to the shores of majestic Cebu, this month’s cover story. We explore her hidden treasures and old-world charm. Orlando Janson Cajegas chronicled the Queen City of the South glittering light by night.

Travelling with a purpose can be inspirational. I bet it is substantial.

Enjoy reading i travel Philippines.

Postscript: Substancewise, no matter who we are and what we have in life, we are nothing without our ideas that spark from our passion. It is from this very end that defines what we are truly capable of giving back to God who has bestowed us with gifts to redefine life to its fullest purpose.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

nostalgia of u and me...

Nostalgia from the heart:

a letter from someone far far away... and a memory away...

You could have kissed me
Like this wasn't gonna last
Kept me from saying
Something Ill never take back
You could have held me
Like there was no chance
Of me waking up where I am
You could have stopped short of
Every dream I've ever had

You had to be there when that old sun came up
Making last night feel like a vision of things yet to come
You just had to hold me like nobody else
Now look what you've gone and done
You had to love me
Till I just cant get enough, please, please

So help me friend you've gone too far
Its way too late to save my heart
The way it feels each time we touch
I know I've never been so loved

And I can't help myself
So help me...

(words filled my head as I turn back the hands of time
and find myself alone again in the ocean of words
weaved by a friend that I met out of nowhere)

Hey Rein,

Your account was very you have another friend I
ques, I sended you a friendrequest of hi5. And I hope you will
accept...........Rein, that is a dutch name is it....fill me in some



Hey Rein,

What nice of you to accept me as a friend. Were you surprised to hear
from someone?
I think that a lot in life is made possible by God. That means all the
people we meet....I can not tell from you message if you believe in a
God or in something esle, but he, we can learn from eachother, can we?
When I read your text, I get the impression that in a way you are in
need for a good friend, am I wrong?
I already can read inbetween the lines that you're a very nice and
good guy.
I'm looking forward to get to know you a lot better! And maybe we can
meet sometime in the future.

Hope to hear from you soon!!

your friend,


Hey Rein,

This is my work:

Hope you enjoy

Talk to you soon

friend William

Hey Rein,

Let me tell you a bit more about were i am from.
I was born in Sneek, Frieland, a northpart of the Netherlands. We
speak our own language there: Frysk.
It is a flat country with a lot of history. I grow up in Langweer a
smal village with about 1000 people.
This part of the country has the most old historic organs of all the
world. (
The oldest one is build in 1657. When I was 18, i moved to the city of
Rotterdam, one of our biggest city's.
I studied woodworking there intil i finished at age 22. Since then i
work in organbuilding.
It is a very short summary, bur everything you want to know , you may

And agian, I would like it a lot to have you as a new friend.

take care buddy!

Wim (William) Dijkstra

hey pal,

I'm turning 28, and you will be 24? Hope you don't mind 4 years of age
I always think that age is not that important.
The level of communicate is more important.
And I think we connct in that..
Did you see the work I do? and www,

well hope to hear ya soon,

do you have msn?



dear Rein,

If you want, we can also talk by phone sometime, There is a time
difference, but that isn't a big problem I guess.

Here is my number: 001 423 236 5466

Within two weeks that number is disconncted, but I'll have a

I'll let you know waht that number wil be.

Hope you'll try sometime.

We have still seven hours to go to newyear.

hope you have fun!

your friend,


Hey friend,

When I read this message, you make me quite....I think you found a
soulmate amd so do I.
It are words which, in maybe a little different way, I could write
down the same for you.
Don't worry, we'll be longlasting friends.
whenever there is a problem, or other things to talk about, please do,
I'm a good listener.
I am very happy that I responded to you hi5-account......Hope we'll
meet sometime soon...

have a great new year!
God bless.

your friend,

William Dijkstra.

hey friend,

will you try that phonecall soon?
I'd really like to talk to you in person! You can even call in the
middle of the night....
How much timedifference do we have between here and the philipins?
Hope to talk to you soon!


Dear Rein,

Thanks for your message. I'm happy to hear that I already can mean
something or you.
You really can make a difference, to people, to the world, in any way.
You've got skills to use, love to give and words to say. You can do
I think when people see your picture, they can know a lot already
about you, if they want to see it.
That is important: do we want to see the mirracles still happening in
the world. How would you your life be, if I didn't responded on your
hi5 photo? How would my life be? For me to go to this other end of the
world is a lifetime chance to meet a lot if people. And you are one of
them. Again, you CAN make a difference if you want.
But you know, it starts within yourself, you have to believe in
yourself, love yourself, then, only then you can give love to others.
And for the few words I have read from you, I already know you're going
the right way...keep it up!
About a girlfriend or married: I am still single....he you would be a
nice person to spend a life with....just joking....
I hope to hear you soon, by phone or by email.

have a good start of the new year!

love and hugs,


to be continued... I hope so....

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

young hearts on fire...

Perfect Prom
When you attend a JS Prom, what comes in your mind? I’m serious. I’d really like to know.
Okay, maybe everyone here tonight including myself have the same thoughts about JS Prom—disco gid ni ya sigurado indi bala? But let me give you three reasons why you’re here tonight…or some sort of a guess, I should say…
One: You’re here because you want to show your classmates that you can strut your stuff, move your body gracefully and express yourself through dancing. In other words, you want to dance even if you’re not the best dancer.
Two: you’re here because you believe that your best friends or your secret crush might find you attractive tonight. Bottom line, you’re hoping to impress them.
Or three: you’re definitely here because you want get over your insecurities and prove to everyone else that you’re confident enough to be yourself. Let’s cut the chase, you want people to accept the fact that soon you’re going to be a lady or a gentleman.
JS Prom is a turning point in your high school life. It is one of the most precious moments that you’ve been waiting for since you were in first year, isn’t it? This is the perfect time for you to come out of your protected shell and be given a chance to socialize with your fellow schoolmates, to establish rapport, camaraderie with your fellow juniors or seniors, to take responsibility of your actions, to develop yourself further and become someone that the whole world is waiting for.
But before we take deeper reflection and put everything into better perspective, let me tell about the cultural significance of JS Prom around the world. In the United States and Canada, a prom, short for promenade, is a semi-formal dance held at the end of an academic year. Though smaller schools in the US or Canada hold “Proms” open for all students, the bigger schools have two exclusive events the “Junior Prom” and “Senior Prom”. And when these two events were combined, the Junior Class take the responsibility of organizing since they will be left behind when the Senior class will graduate.
The term “Prom” was derived from the late nineteenth century practice of a promenade ball. The end of year tradition stemmed from the graduation ball tradition. Common prom activities include dining, dancing, the crowning of a prom King and Queen, and socializing. Boys usually dress in black tie (a dinner jacket and bow tie), though any sort of formal wear can be worn. Traditionally, girls give boys matching boutonnières to be worn on their tuxedos or waistcoats. Girls traditionally wear formal gowns or dresses adorned with a corsage given to them by their dates.
Other European countries especially in United Kingdom, Proms is also known as Leaver’s Dinner or Dinner-dance. In Argetina and Chile it is called "fiestas de graduación” while "Fiesta de Promocion” is the term used in Peru held in prominent hotels and convention centers. In Austria is it known as “Maturaball” (derived from the word “mature”).
Bailes de formatura or formal dance is the term referred to proms in Colombia and Brazil. In Germany, it is popularly known as Abi party or Abi ball derived from Abifeier or graduation certificate. In India, it is referred to as “farewell gathering”. In Italy, it is much known as Mak 100 because the event takes place 100 days before the graduation or Šimtadienis in Lithuana.
In Sweden, it is called as Studentbalen or Student Ball and in Turkey is connected with Graduation ball.
In the Philippines, it is popularly known as JS prom, a combined special event among Juniors class and Seniors class usually held in connection with Valentine’s month or February. Traditionally, JS prom is a formal ceremony as turning over of responsibility from the outgoing Seniors to the Juniors.
And what are these responsibilities? Literally, it include the responsibility of the juniors to take care of the student body, to become good role models of the younger students and set a strong moral, academic and spiritual leadership that would fully develop their self-confidence. Likewise, the Juniors will also accept the challenge from the Seniors of giving honor and great achievements to their alma mater or school that became not only the center of wisdom and learning but as an institution that has close resemblance to their home. Thus, their ever-devoted and persevering teachers that stood out as the molders of their minds should be given outmost respect, a role that resembles their parents at home.
Likewise, JS Prom is an important event for young people because it is aimed to boost not only their self-confidence but develop social grace or the proper way to act on formal occasions in the society. Furthermore, this kind of social event introduce them to society as responsible, ethical and self-motivated individuals ready to accept their relevant social status. So, it feels like a debut or another step in the social life for students in any academic institution wherein they were given a chance to mingle, establish rapport, learn the value of camaraderie and socialize with their fellow youth on their own. Thus, it is appropriate to say that JS Prom is indeed a coming-of-age event for young people to discover the essence of sense and sensibility.
On the lighter side of pop culture, Proms influenced the themes of various chick flicks or teen movies visually stating why it is important for teenagers to attend this kind of event before graduating in high school. Fashion continuously revives the elegance of formal attires such as gowns for girls or tuxedos among boys.
Unquestionably, JS prom is an event for the young hearts, a red letter day for young people who wanted to understand how it feels to share love and be loved. Every student looks forward to wait for the right time and attend their own JS Prom in high school. If you miss JS Prom, then you missed half of your high school life. For the boys, they say “Patience is a virtue”. Indeed it is true; JS prom is the perfect time for boys to appropriately ask or invite a girl for a dance. And every girl should be nice and accommodating since it is a proper social occasion. Likewise, boys should wait for their turn to dance with the girl they like. Now, if each one of you tonight can exemplify the proper ethics of socialization then that makes you the perfect gentleman and ladies of the occasion.
You see, doing a slow dance with the one you like or fond of during JS prom is not only an initial sign of expressing your emotion or feelings but a gesture of respect and a promise of lasting friendship. “Siyempre indi tanan nga ginainvite mo masaot sa tunga mangin potential girlfriend mo indi bala gentlemen?” Some of them might be your best friend or even your favorite teacher right? I’d like to point out that it’s all about a sense of respect and friendship. “Of course, lovely ladies dapat mangin open-minded kamo to accept these gentlemen for a dance since it is their social privilege to express how much they admire and respect you”.
On the other hand, I know that some of you who haven’t got over with their feeling of shyness or were thinking less about themselves would remain cold and hesitant to mingle or have fun tonight. Be realistic: JS prom is a once in a lifetime chance in high school to freely express yourself and be happy through socialization. Juniors, don’t even forget that you have the responsibility to become responsible Seniors next year who will accept the challenge of becoming effective role models and leaders to the lower years. Seniors, be strong and confident to make the last days of high school worth remembering. Remember that success cannot be measured by medals or wealth alone, significant success comes from your choice to use your heart in sowing seeds of hope to other people, touching their lives and making a difference in the society. Never ever forget your teachers who gave their whole heart in molding you to become the catalysts of change and goodwill. And definitely, if you let this chance slip away then you’ll gonna have a lot of hang-ups after high school. Believe me, I learned from the best teacher—they call it “experience”. But of course when the music starts to play tonight, every one of you should know your limitations especially with the concept of having fun right? But seriously, try to be happy and make this night the perfect JS Prom for yourself.
Now, this is a personal advice to all the Juniors and Seniors:
We all want to have a perfect JS Prom right? Who would not wish for it? And if ever I would given a chance to become 16 again I would want it that way—a JS Prom that perfectly fit my expectations. But you know, I’ve come to realize something better tonight: There’s no such thing as perfect in life. Perfection is only a state of mind, a sort of “wishful thinking” and we can’t live forever in superficial thoughts. In my point of view, we were meant to truly enjoy life if we teach our hearts to accept reality and learn that people around us tonight, our schoolmates, classmates, best friends, crushes, parents, teachers and everyone else that filled our inner universe, the whole concept of the high school journey were there to help us realize that “happy memories” are far more lasting and important than anything else in this world. And if ever we look back a few years from now, we will have no regrets to make.
So cheer up, you don’t need to become somebody else to impress someone tonight. Be yourself, you‘re far more beautiful or handsome than you could ever think of. Just keep that radiant smile in your face because you’ve always been special deep down inside. Never mind if you can’t dance better than your cheerleader classmate. Just dance, leave your hesitations behind and grab someone straight to the dance floor. I’m sure the operator will play your favorite song tonight. You wouldn’t want to miss the chance to dance with someone that can magically hang stars in your infinite sky or make your heart skip a bit for a while. After all, Valentines month isn’t over yet, right?
This is now or never ladies and gentlemen. Tonight, take the chance to make happy memories that would last a lifetime. Thank you, and good luck!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

tears and love...

Born free again
(A tribute to my grandfather)

When my Lolo, Alejandro Ladiao was born in May 3, 1920, the eldest of five siblings from Brgy. Cabudian, Duenas, Iloilo, his journey has began, a journey that would leave a mark of inspiration in each of us in our family. But before he walked the final road of his life three years ago, he always asked me to write his autobiography, his life story and when he’s gone in this world, I would read it in front of his family, relatives and friends. I usually told him “Lo, gusto ko ya tani kon isulat ko gid man ang istorya sang kabuhi mo…gusto ko handa na gid ang isip ko…pungkuan ta gid mayo kag istoryahan sa tama nga panahon”. He would respond: “ti to ginasulat mo gani kabuhi sang iban nga tawo sa newspaper dapat tani kon isulat mo gid man ako akon gid pinakanami ”. Then he would laugh softly and continue reading the newspaper that he’s holding. I have no concrete response but a smile in my face and told myself that one day I will do it. I realized my Lolo is a deeply sentimental man… just like me. Way back in high school and even in college, I often asked myself where did I got my sentimental nature as a writer. Why do my writings bear mostly my deepest recesses and emotion? When I started to got myself involved in campus journalism and newspaper writing job, he would usually read my articles word-by-word or sometimes bother me with his unending questions about vocabulary. Later, I finally grasped the thought that indeed we have the same level of sentiments when it comes to expressing ourselves.
But my Lolo is not a writer. He’s a humble carpenter who builds dreams with his hammer and saw. When he was a boy, my Lolo used to tell me that he had big dreams. With his undeniable wit and sensible thoughts, he used to tell me that he always got the admiration of his teachers and classmates in school. Though he doesn’t weave and play with words like me, he was gifted with numbers, a mathematician by heart. But hardship and poverty left him with no choice but to give up his quest to finish his studies and pursue Architecture or Engineering in order to support his family. At a very young age, he stood out as a breadwinner of the family. But behind the struggles of daily life, my Lolo kept several pages of his drawing plan about his dream house that he wanted to build someday, a specific dream that gave him inspiration to transcend such wonderful reverie to his children.
In the wake of World War II in 1940s, my Lolo who was in his late teen, he met my shy and soft-spoken Lola who was seven years younger than him. When Japanese invasion started to send ripples of fear in the country, Alejandro and Monserrat got married, the couple who became my beloved grandparents. When the war ended, they headed to the city to start building a happy family with nine children. Two of their eldest children died in their younger years and only seven of them were able to survive. Still plagued by poverty, my Lolo pursued his humble job as a freelance carpenter and construction worker while my Lola took care of the family. Though my Lolo became a disciplinarian and emphasized the importance of education as their chance to build a better life for his children, he never failed to build a happy home bounded by strong spiritual faith. He knew that his strongest shield is his faith in God.
With his perseverance and patience amid his meager salary, he was able to send his children to school and taught them to help each other. One by one, his children finished their studies, earned their diploma and became professionals. But the road to success of his children was a tiring journey. There were stories of heart-touching sacrifices and inspiring struggles to pursue their dream. My Lolo used to tell me how his heart breaks deep inside every time he saw his children walked kilometers to go to school or let my Lola carry the burden of fitting his meager salary to the needs of the family. But as the story goes on, his strong faith in God assured him that indeed his children will succeed and fate was truly kind.
Then I was born, his first grandchild. My Lolo assumed his role as a loving grandfather. Then my bother and my cousins were also born. Like me, they were also loved equally by my Lolo as the extension of his dream and hope for the future. For him, we were his sunshine behind the dark clouds that tested his faith to see the brighter side of life. Maybe, it’s also true that when a father becomes a grandfather, his perspective about love deepen even more. He was a good grandfather to us. He was there for us in every step of the way and if ever we lose our way home, his love lead us back to his arms. I am most grateful for my Lolo for everything he did for us. He honestly taught me that money can’t buy everything in this world. But sincerity, forgiveness, contentment and happy memories can conquer every man’s inner universe.
A month before my Lolo bid his fateful goodbye, I woke up one night surprisingly saw him finishing the drawing of his dream house. I remember him telling me about his drawings when he was a boy, a boy who was destined to become a humble carpenter and a loving family man. I watched him while sketching the final details of his dream house in recycled bond papers. All these years, he never gave up his dream to build a better home for us. And when I literally analyzed his dream… it doesn’t actually mean a big beautiful house that might worth million of pesos to build but instead a small simple home filled with love and happiness that cost nothing. Now I know, this is my lolo’s dream… his dream house is us, his family… Someday Lolo, we will build your dream house.
For me, my Lolo was a great man. He is the greatest man I’ve ever known in this lifetime and if I might live five more lifetimes I couldn’t accomplished what he had sow, achieved and given for his family. His greatness transcended inspiration of passion and optimism in our family and those people who knew him closely. For me, I would love to remember my Lolo as a leader of the band. His words were capable of giving us wings and lift us up to a higher ground. My Lolo is not afraid to cry when his heart breaks because he knew he was human enough to understand the matters of the heart. Sometimes, a man needs to cry not to show his vulnerabilities but to admit the existence of the heart. Whenever my Lolo goes he brought a piece of us that only he can return to its proper place and make us whole again. Likewise, he left us seeds of faith to God that if nurtured properly it would lead to an inspiring life. All my life, I never truly had a real father. And finally, fate made me realize that the father I was looking for was right there beside me, waiting for the warmth of my sweet embrace while extending his open arms. For us, his grandchildren, my Lolo was more than a father. He was more than a teacher, a mentor, a confidant, a friend and a best friend. When we were afraid he gave us strength, when we were alone he gave us a family, a home where we could rest our tired hearts. Now I know, my Lolo was a great man because his greatest possession in this lifetime is not worldly things but only his fragile heart, a heart that doesn’t stop loving his family unconditionally.
I know that I didn’t kept my promise to my Lolo to write his life’s story and print it in a newspaper for he is gone to follow a journey that never comes back to us but a road that leads to eternity. The greatest fan of my lonely writings as a sentimental writer had left for good when he took his last breathe in the morning of December 28, 2008 at St. Paul Hospital. It was a peaceful sleep with an eternal smile on his face knowing that his fragile heart led him to fulfill his destiny for our family. Now, no one will bother me with questions about vocabulary and read my writings word-by-word. But I guess, it’s better this way because I understand what God wants me to do—to write my Lolo’s life story through the ways of the heart.
Thank you, Lolo Andong for everything. You were born free again…