Extreme Family Adventures in the Sand Dunes of Laoag (video)

Extreme Family Adventures in the Sand Dunes of Laoag (video)

LAOAG CITY. MAY 2, 2014. – It’s the second and last day of our Ilocos family road trip. We just visited the bell tower ruins of Bacarra, Ilocos Norte. Our next stop in our very busy itinerary for the day: the sand dunes of La Paz in Laoag City.

We arrived in the sand dunes of Laoag City around 1:00PM. Not the ideal time to do any of the activities waiting for us in the sand dunes. We know that all too well but we really did not have much choice. That was the only available time for us to visit the place.

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A white-washed anniversary get-away

IT IS also known as Marinduque’s Elephant Island. Bellarocca is an island resort characterized by white-painted buildings and villas that has the look (and supposedly feel) of the famous Greek island of Santorini.


My family went to Santorini, I mean Bellarocca, to celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary in December 2011 (almost exactly a year ago). It is an idyllic, picture-perfect place for a family vacation. It is the perfect place if your idea for a vacation is to lie down lazily under the sun or dip the whole day in the pool or in the sea while sipping margarita. Read more

All Strings Attached

FIRST, I have to give credit to Marielle for creating this cheesy but quite appropriate photo art (using Photofunia, I assume).

Marie is actually complaining about this photo. She said that to be fair, Marielle should have also used her college graduation photo. But that would not have made the photo right either, because although Marielle used my graduation photo (According to her it is the only decent enough photo of me that she could find. Ouch!), it was actually taken during my MBA graduation just about 5 years ago.

Setting aside our frivolous complaints, Marielle actually made a photo that perfectly captures the very essence of the last 12 years. Yes, it’s been 12 years that Marie and I have been stringed and attached together. As far as I can tell neither of us is complaining. Or maybe I should speak only for myself, LOL.

Our life together isn’t perfect and between the two of us there are still many dreams that are yet to be realized. But our own personal dreams have now been set aside in favor of our dreams for – and the personal dreams of – our two wonderful kids, Marielle (9) and Johan (7). I guess you can say that Marielle and Johan are the strings that bind us together, forever.


When I was small

THIS IS probably my oldest still surviving photo. I was six years old.

I have a very vivid recollection of when this photo was taken because it was on the sad occasion of Inang Maring‘s death.

Inang Maring was my grandmother on my father’s side of the family. She succumbed to ulcer. It may be difficult to comprehend now but way back then people, especially in the provinces, actually die of ulcer.


This photo was all but ready to disintegrate when I digitized it by scanning some time last year (2011).

Bong and Johan: Football Superstars

JUST FOR FUN, Marielle superimposed photos of me and Johan in this photo (using Photofunia). And then we all had a good laugh about it. My ex-girlfriend commented that I actually look good when morphed into a a football superstar’s physique. Haha, was that wishful thinking on her part? Maybe I should start playing football.

Some quarter of a century and 50 pounds ago

HERE’S another recent find I made from my pile of old documents and photographs. This one is already in a very bad state. A couple more years and I may not be able to salvage it anymore.

Hey that’s my ever cool Nanay Paz, looking like she was going to the “disco” with that skinny, drug-addict-looking guy beside her.

But wait… that skinny guy is… was… ME!



Our “Timeless” Friendship

This colorful calendar and the rest of this blog post (after the “~~~~~” mark) were actually the works of my good friend, Aileen Caalim. She sent these via e-mail to me and the rest of the Housemates* just this afternoon. She’s been tirelessly – and futilely – trying to schedule a simple and short dinner for the Housemates for the past 12 months. Or is it 24?

I am posting Aileen’s email here (without her permission, as usual) for three specific reasons:

  1. I was amazed that she actually took the effort to put together something as complex (to me at least) as this, although I am keenly aware that this is hardly complex at all in Aileen’s standard.
  2. It very graphically and poignantly illustrates how good friends find it more and more difficult to find the time to spend with each other as they become more and more busy with the business of living their own separate lives. But still they try, never mind how pointless it gets some time.
  3. I find it extremely amusing.

The following vividly illustrates the Housemates’ “timeless” friendship. We simply do not have time!

~~~~~ Read more

Laughter and Gossip at Tapella. And food, too.

I haven’t been doing much of FOOD blogging for quite some time now. In fact I haven’t been doing much of ANY blogging at all since November last year. Time to break the dry spell. And what better subject to break a dry spell than food?

On Sept 28 I had a dinner date with five ladies at Tapella in Greenbelt 5. They are former colleagues of mine and I call them the xACIS ladies. Of course one of them happens to be my xGF, too. Read more

Destination: Marinduque

Trip to Marinduque

DECEMBER 2, 2011 – For our annual family vacation to celebrate our wedding anniversary this year, my xxGF and I brought Marielle and Johan to a still undisclosed place somewhere in Marinduque (i.e. the kids did not have any idea where exactly we were going until we got there). Read more

41 years behind, 41 years ahead (?)

SEPTEMBER 17, 2011 – Today I turned another leaf in my so far exciting and fulfilling life. Today I turned 41. It feels good to be 41, at least as far as I am concerned. And why not, I have  no reason to be cynical and all the reasons to be grateful for the first 41 years of my life – great family, great career, great adventures, overflowing blessings… While other folks my age are having a midlife crisis, I am having a midlife boon!

The prospects of the next 41 years are even more encouraging. Just look at my beautiful family. I have the best life partner that I could only dream about. And I have the sweetest, smartest, and cutest kids. Just the way I dreamed them to be.

Any my kids… They’ll have even better – so much better – lives than the best I can manage to have.

So I look behind the past 41 years with a big smile and look ahead to next 41 with an even bigger smile. Quite frankly, however, I don’t see myself reaching 82! Just the possibility of it scares me, LOL. But if I get to 82 nonetheless then that would be great, too! CHEERS! Read more

A Taste of the ‘Suite Life’

MY FAMILY had a taste, albeit briefly, of the “suite life” one weekend in July 2011.  It was July 9, a day after Marielle’s 8th birthday.

About a month from that particular weekend my sister Kiddo gave us a Gift Certificate for an overnight stay in Peninsula Hotel Manila.  She didn’t know what she was giving away.  It was not for an ordinary room.  It was for a Premium Suite. We decided to use it on the weekend following July 8, Marielle’s birthday.

We did not stay in the Premium Suite, however.  Guess what?  We’ve been upgraded to an Executive Suite!!!  Holly molly wow!

Of course curiosity got the better of us and even while still in Manila Pen, using Manila Pen’s complimentary Super fast Wi-Fi, we googled the rates of Manila Pen’s rooms.

The original Premium Suite costs at least PhP 14,000+++ per room night.  Wow. But wait, we didn’t stay in a Premium Suite, remember?  So how much does an Executive Suite cost?

At least PhP 20,500+++.  WOW!!!  Even if we could afford it, and we couldn’t, we would not have paid for that room.  Thanks a lot, Kiddo!  We love you oh so very much. :)

PS>  View the complete set of our Manila Pen photos in my Picasa Web Album.