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29 May 2014

A Call Center Girl Shouts Vacation at Last!

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Edna De Lara , A call center girl rediscovers the Lubang Island after she escapes from her stressful  work. She shouts " VACATION AT LAST" 


When you are exposed to work for a long time and you feel like being exhausted all that you’ll be longing for is a vacation, a little break or even just a bit of relaxation you’ll consider it a golden time, and when the opportunity comes all that you can say is “vacation at last “- all you going to feel is relief .This is how my vacation goes.


My shift starts at 9pm to 6am but I have to be on the bus before 6am. So what I did is I requested to have an early out and luckily may boss allowed me to do so

Coastal Bus Terminal is just a few minutes away from my office. I jaunt a taxi going there, taxi fare would be 80 pesos since there is no heavy traffic - it was early in the morning and the Bus terminal is just a few meters away from SM moa. From Coastal Mall I galloped on a CELYROSA BUS going to Calatagan which takes 3 hours travel time , I opted an ordinary bus because Airconditioned buses trip are scheduled  to depart at 7am  and If I’m going to wait for it, there is a possibility that I won’t be able to catch up the ferry boat going to Lubang Island .


                 Calatagan is one of the towns in the province of Batangas, It has its own port since it’s a town is near the seashore or should I say it’s a place surrounded by sea -no wonder there are  lot of beautiful  beaches situated in this place such as Ronco Beach Resort ,Blue Waters Beach  &  Lago de Oro to mention few. From Calatagan bus Terminal, I need to ride a tricycle going to Calatagan port, accordingly the fare is 15pesos. The simple design of the port is intended to accommodate small vessels like fishing vessel which locally known as (BASNIG) which used to catch fish-it has its own crews. It is also intended and/or considered as an entry point for all the Ferry boats (“Bangka”) bound to various places in Mindoro.

            From Calatagan Port I just have to wait for the Ferry boat that is bound to Lubang Island -fare is 500 pesos but lately they decreased it to 400 pesos with terminal fee amounting to 15 pesos... Boats  bound to Lubang Island depart at exactly 11am meaning if you arrived too early , I can suggest that you rove around  like you can buy goodies at the market because it is just a tricycle ride-away from the pier( fare is 20 pesos which will cost you 40 pesos back in fort). There are available tropical fruits to buy which is least expensive compared in Metro Manila indeed it is more convenient. You can proceed inside the boat even if it’s not yet boarding time and stay there until the departure.

               Travelling via ferry is more relaxing to me .In fact I always choose to sit adjacent to the window; aside from comfortability, I can appreciate the panoramic view and breathe fresh air.


Lubang Island was a natural entrepôt and was situated at the crossroads of sea routes of several major early historical polities in the Philippines.The trip between Calatagan and the Port of Lubang at Tilik takes approximately two hours. M/B God's Grace II & III Lubang Island Group has two public sea ports – one in the town of Lubang (Tilik) Location, one in Cabra Island, Lubang, Mindoro Occidental, Philippines the archipelago through Verde Island Passage, one of busiest sea routes of the Philippines.


            Undeniably this place is full of beautiful beaches and scenecal views aside from historical stories that this place has to share is the last japanese gerilla was captured in this island by the name of Hiroo Onoda, who has died at 91, He was a Japanese soldier who surrendered in the Philippines 29 years after World War II in the place called onoda cave in Lubang Island.
In Lubang Island is the place where my son is currently studying, and that is my reason why I kept on visiting this place. I was able to rove the entire proximity and embrace the astonishing nature. Far from the nature of my nerve-racking work- fast pacing lifestyle and stressful environment. “ VACATION AT LAST”!


Edna De Lara is a 35 year old strong woman and a mom of 12 years old boy, who believes that travelling, is a way for you to escape the stressful work. She works in a BPO company every weekdays and she still allocates her weekend to travel (sans laundry and house cleaning). She finished Bachelor of Science in Business Administration major in Management at New Era University QC. “I travel for soulsearching” she said.

28 May 2014

My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 6 : What Ever Happened in Galera Stays in Galera.

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I’ve been to Boracay and experienced the nightlife there. Truly Boracay has a vibrant nightlife and if there was a beach that had a nightlife that’s as lively as Boracay’s, it would have to be Puerto Galera. Yes, the stretch of “White Beach” shoreline is the witness how really exciting this place when the sunset starts.

At night, the establishments by the beach are filled with party-goers. Or should I say those individuals looking for hook ups .When darkness comes, it’s a great time for bar-hopping and making new friends. After partying the night away, you could just sit on the beach and witness a brilliant sunrise, and then say, “What happened in Puerto Galera, stays in Puerto Galera”
.
“What happened in Puerto Galera, stays in Puerto Galera”- Oh it’s a big no no to me. What happened to me in this place is worth writing for.  Actually, while scripting this story, I had a doubt to continue writing and posting it in my blog – maybe it’s a kinda awkward or whatever worries me is the reaction of my readers.  Well that’s reality, sometimes we are all afraid on admitting our failures and mistakes in public (remember Venus Rah’s Q and A). But what happened to me in Puerto Galera is part of my travel and if I won’t write about it, it’s like I am stealing one thing in myself. And it’s like I am deleting a part of my life and trying to avoid it – a thing wherein it really happened to me.

The first Sunset – That was Good Friday April 18, 2014. 5PM – We were together with my newly friends in Coco Aroma (restobar). We started drinking beer while waiting for the astonishing sunset. Everyone had fun and we were introduced to each other – names, jobs, etc... Until I realized that I had way too much to drink.

Mike (my friend) introduced me to Mark – A Deaf. Well, he is truly young and good looking man. At first I had hard time to converse him since I’m not capable of doing sign language. “ Ikaw na bahala sa kanya (You take care of him)” Mike said to me. “Diko to kaya kausapin (I can’t talk to him)” I answered.  There were silence exist between the two of us.



All of them were staring towards us (Mark and I). They were like expecting more from the two of us –I felt strange exist. “ Oy bagay kayo (You guys have a chemistry) ” one of them said.  “You guys are both single right? Ayeeh Right timing” another friend uttered. I grabbed my phone and write this “Let’s go to the beach”, I let Mark read this message and we decided to separate from the group since we become now the center of fun. Text message is the only medium of our communication. He is “Deaf” and I am “Hearing” we are totally come from two different world but we still communicate clearly.



The color of the sky was orange due to the sunset. The instant was perfect for a romantic moment. We sauntered as if we don’t know our destination. I noticed that this man is truly gorgeous because of other men were staring at him – maybe because of his physique or it can be his flawless skin which stands out at the beach. I was dizzy that time; I still had the bottle of beer in my hand while walking and still drinking it. He started to hold my shoulder and supports me while walking the stretch of the shore. We ended up to the extremely end of the beach (AKA Jurassic park) wherein there were only other few couples having intimate moments.

It was almost 6:30PM and darkness started to embrace the surroundings. We both opted to sit for a while below at the cliff (AKA Jurassic park). We started to converse using my phone through texting- about life, work, love life and etc. . . . Until, he holds my hands and kisses me. I retort the act, now this time, more intimate and passionate. I am about to stop him because we came from same circle of friends but half of my mine tells me to continue the moment.  we don’t care about the surrounding; all we care was just the two of us. Until we were surprised, another man started to join us - While few silhouettes were watching and indulging the scene.  I am dizzy that time but I know what I’m doing, it’s just that I don’t have an inhibition to do any stupidity ( or should I say; things that are new to me ). Until we finished cruising, together with the third party who joined us.

After it, we went back to Coco Aroma (8PM) unfortunately Mike and other friends were not there so I have to find them as well as Mark; he also needs to look for his Deaf friends therefore we both parted without saying goodbye. Luckily, I found Mike together with Dante and Paul in one of the restaurants for the dinner. They smiled at me (A meaningful smile). We ate our dinner without telling them what happened between me and Mark, but Mike was really stubborn and he kept asking me. So I disclosed him later on.

After the dinner, we went back to the room to take a power nap (10PM). We have to wake up 12 midnight for “Friday Beach Party”. Actually Party starts at 3PM up to 6AM (except Good Friday since they need to be in silence in respect to Jesus’ Death), so since it was Good Friday, Party starts at 12 midnight Black Saturday.

12 midnight we woke up, everyone was busy fixing themselves – their looks, their outfit and etc. We drink first at the room “ Kailangan natin mag painit muna (We need to warm up)” Dante said. He prepared a hard drink – too hard to the point that we were almost drunk while we were walking ahead towards the Party.

Photo by Micheal Angelo 
The Party was RAVE, HOT and WILD, I thought that Boracay is the only place wherein ecstasy exists (during beach party) but in Puerto Galera, there is. We were dancing and drinking all night long without any reticence. I noticed even my college batch mate who won the title for MR. University (during my college days) with his boyfriend. I saw my workmate who I thought a straight man but then he was kissing with same gender. Indeed, sometimes there are things which are more visually clear in the darkness – things that we shouldn't expect we can discover.

I saw Mark dancing with other man, so I opted to ignore him and let him enjoy the night. I focused myself meeting Mike’s friends who are also writers of Outrage Magazine (since I also write for the said magazine) – socializing. I had also a chance to meet Michael Angelo (Travel Blogger) that time. So totally, I disregarded the man who had shared with me the meaning of sunset a couple hours ago.

Oy bakit di mo daw siya pinapansin, nagtatampo siya sayo. Porket may nagyare na sa inyo (As per Mark, Why you ignored him, is it because you already done doing cruising with him.” Mike whispered me. “Walang hiya ka, nahulog na sayo yung tao (He is in love with you)” he added. I was laughing “That was just fun for me, and besides this is Puerto Galera . And you know what I meant” I answered. “Yes, I understand but Deaf people are very emotionally vulnerable” Mike said. I felt guilt deep within nevertheless the atmosphere is not worth for drama so what I did was indulge the moment and be at the moment.

I was too wasted (extremely wasted), vomiting at the beach... I gave my belongings (phone, pocket money and etc) to Dante to secure those. I continued the night, embracing the night… dancing and meeting new people (as if naman matatandaan ko pa sila),

LIGHTS OFF………

I woke up inside in a 4x4 wheel drive with someone barely naked... at the back seat there were also two individuals sleeping. I can’t remember what happened, the last thing I remembered was the “vomiting scenario at the beach”…then the rest was history….. Headache… It was 8AM already...

I quickly wore my dress silently and went back to the room...

Maybe you guys after reading this story of mine (especially to those Puerto Galera’s tourists), you might say “Been there done that”. Well, it’s true; my story is not new to you – with the environment, people and the rave culture of the place. I am sure that I am only one of the thousands of holidaymakers who experienced it. But the great multitude preferred to leave their stories in the island, unlike me I chose to bring my story to my readers no matter what will be their reactions. Because, I am writing what really happened, not for myself, not for my blog, however for my readers …
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 1
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 2
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 3
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 4
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 5
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 6
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 7
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 8

24 May 2014

My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 5: Gay Mecca of the Philippines

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So you want to wear your newly purchased swimwear?
              So you want to experience a white beach near Metro Manila?
                      So you want to involve yourself an overnight beach party?
                                 You want to dance the night away without inhibition?
                                          You want to find a lover or for one night only?
                                                   You want to… “book”?




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“You should experience Puerto Galera during Holy Week”- This was the statement of my friend Mike who always come back this place in Mindoro. “Even once in your life, you should go there”, he added.

Mike’s word makes me feel intriguing towards the place…… “Why?”I asked. The only he uttered was “BASTA”.

Until time emanates that I discovered the hidden stories about this long white beach of the island. Let me share you ….

At the beginning of my travel (right at the port in Batangas, ) I noticed that majority of the passengers of the ferry boat were all men. I was wondering why? Well, there were few women but I must say that 95 percent were men- there were groups, solo and partnered passengers. I observed at them and obviously I knew that these men were not straight – I was not born yesterday (and I heard some feeds and information online that Puerto Galera especially the white beach is MSM oriented place.)

When I arrived, I noticed that the crowds speckled at the beach were all men too. It seems that the stretch of the shoreline is a catwalk for men bikini competition due to the various swimming trunks with gorgeous bodies sauntering around.

Crucifix Party ( Photo By Mike Tan ) : There was a  Crucifix in the middle of
the party -  Mike says while capturing this "Perhaps (finally) recognizing 
that organized religion is losing out to the vacation mode many have
 during Holy Week in Puerto Galera, some Christians saw it fit to inject
 religiosity in partying. As for the effectivity of the approach, 
the jury is still out.."
Who would expect that Philippines is now adapting the Western Gay Concept – gay man with masculine aura and a gorgeous body. And you will find it in Puerto Galera during Holy Week. Indeed, Puerto Galera is the Gay Mecca of the Philippines because MSM people are likely to visit the place during Lenten Season rather than doing “Visita Iglesias” of Churches.

Grabe mga bakla ngayon, ang gaganda ng mga katawan, talo pa mga lalaki (Amazing !Gays nowadays are sexier than those straight-claimed men” ,as a resident of the island said it to me while having short conversation with them.

Ang mga bakla na nagpupunta dito hindi para mag beach bumming, kundi para makabooking at umaura (Gays opted to go here not to indulge the beauty of the beach, however  they just go here to look for one night stand and display their body” my roommate Paul said. Indeed, as I meandered around during day time, naked men were just roaming around – they were like displaying their body with swimming trunks.
You want to dance the night away without inhibition? : This
is the scenario of the beach party - RAVE , WILD and HOT.

I went out for night party with Mike, Paul Dante and other friends, and it was totally different experience compared to my Boracay days. I can’t describe how wild and liberated the party was. It was like a place wherein I lost my inhibition – and so others. Drink and get drunk... … The crowds were all gay men – flirting, kissing and etc... I got tanked-up... And oh did I forget to mention that recreational drugs also exist in this place during night party. So be careful and be cautious to those who offer you a glass of drink or else you will see yourself lying in another room.  Hahaha .  

Once the inhibition evaporates, the drunkenness will leads you to get a random partner from the crowd and bring him to the “LANDMARKS”. The landmarks mean the “Jurassic Park” and the Rockwell (when facing White Beach’s water, that’s to the scrublands in the extreme right, and to the rocky formations in extreme left, respectively). What happens there? One word: CRUISING. This is best experienced to be appreciated. And, oh, this is where the BOOKING (as earlier mentioned) happens in Puerto Galera. (Don’t worry guys, I will be writing what Jurassic Park and Rockwell is all about on my next post.)

Yeah. It was fun.. For me.. a new environment ( Imagine the GCircuit Songkran Party in Thailand)   – hehe and the rest was part now of my history.

This Image is captured by Micheal Angelo ( My Friend  and a travel blogger ) during the party 


Truly, now I understand why Mike persuades me to visit the place as a traveler, I shouldn’t neglect and I must include Puerto Galera in my bucket list during Holy Week. Because Puerto Galera is worth writing for. There are colorful stories that you can witness in the middle of the darkness ( or sometimes you got involved with it) – life changing stories, tales that later on, it makes you laugh while remembering those stupidity you've done. Stupidity which reminds us that once in our life we had our youth and we enjoyed it.

In the same manner, Puerto Galera is an eye opener to me – to embrace and respect diversity without any judgment and condemnations that religion does. Now, I understand why Gay people escaped from the city and create this Mecca – to avoid the society, the society who dictates the norm. And to experience the sense of belongingness.

My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 1
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 2
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 3
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 4
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 5
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 6
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 7
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 8

18 May 2014

My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 4: Sudden Taste of Food.

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Food, How significant it to you while travelling? How important is food for you when deciding on a destination?


I love trying local foods so it’s quite high on my list when I travel however I would not let my destination be determined by food. I basically will eat anything. Food is not a decisive factor in deciding where I go (or where I don't go). I experiment by variable lengths depending on the place and circumstances but never too much. While I, to some degree, enjoy trying new stuff, food is a functional thing for me and definitely not a consideration on deciding where to go.

Banana-que during my first day
But during my Puerto Galera Vacation, it changed my total mindset. I will go back to this place due to one food I’ve tasted and it was part of the whole travel experience for me. There're some memorable moments about food and local food culture that I remembered since the day I started to travel – Fern in Baler and Chaolong in Puerto Princesa City- and in Puerto Galera offers me the food that surely I won’t forget for the rest of my life.


Lomi in Manalo's Lodge (First Day)
From the span of my staycation, I already tasted Food e.i Tapsilog PHP120, Cordon Blue PHP250, Chicken Barbeque PHP160, Lomi  and Tinola (Manalo's Lodge) those foods that are available in restaurants situated in front of the beach (so that’s why the price is too luxurious), I also ate at the eateries located at the back of the beach (behind hotels and apartments) for a local plate amounting to PHP50 with one cup of rice and one viand (so it’s quite least expensive). However, those foods were not too appetizing to me since the tastes of those were very similar of what I’ve tasted in Urban Restaurants, therefore nothing is new.

Breakfast at Manalo's Lodge
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But out of hundred Bars and Restaurants in Puerto Galera, only one of them is very remarkable. It is COCO AROMA.


Situated at the remote (but not too far) left side of the shoreline (when you’re standing on White Beach while facing the sea), is a resort along with restobar is the pride of Cora M. de Veyra and her husband Joel (an artist) who – after inheriting the piece of land from her mother – transformed it into a hub for the marginal tourists. This place offers the heavenly taste of “CHOCO-BANANA PANCAKE”.

Aside from the distinctive touch of the area- reggae, light rock and blues, masks carved on driftwood, people with dreadlocks, wooden construction materials, and hammocks by the sea – the very advantage that Coco Aroma can offer with - is their special “ CHOCO-BANANA PANCAKE”.

How Special? Well, I will not put up an effort to write about it, if it was not worth writing for.  I already tasted the luxurious pastries and sweets in Spiral Sofitel and Coco Aroma’s Pancake was the best pancake I’ve ever tasted so far. Their chief uses homemade ingredients that Coco Aroma’s trade secret only possessed.

Dante (my roommate) ordered one Pancake for the group. When they served it, the aroma apprehended my attention. The plating was very appetizing with a brown pancake which size was good for 5 pax. The syrup they served was also homemade.

“IT MELTS IN YOUR MOUTH”. The pancake is perfect partnered with black coffee. It was like – I’m eating and relaxing in a five star coffee shop while I’m updating a blog. So heavenly experience…glorifying..

In addition, according to Mike David Tan (a good friend of mine, EIC of Outrage Magazine) on his Website Review: “Yes, drinking (and… smoking) is what comes to mind when at Coco Aroma (heck, there’s a poster of Mona Lisa with a joint on the bar’s wall), so worth considering are Coco Aroma Sling (the venue’s version of the Mindoro Sling, in itself a take on Singapore Sling) and the bottomless Margarita. But even though the sun’s till up (think late afternoons), hanging out here is fun while chewing the house specialties fruit pancakes (flavors include banana, mango and choco banana) at P185; any of the curried dishes (e.g. vegetable curry at P150, and curried tofu at P120); and pansit (noodles) from P180. Watching the sun set away from the crowd while slowly sipping kapeng barako (brewed coffee using local beans) is an option worth considering (versus ice cold beer in hand).

If I going to visit again the said place, I’ll make sure to include in my itinerary this must-experience Resto . Not just because it’s too far away from the crowded area but it’s because I want to experience all over gain the heavenly taste of their “CHOCO-BANANA PANCAKE”

For more information on Coco Aroma, contact Cora M. de Veyra at (+63) 9166167337, (+63) 9194728882 or (+63) 9232187399; email cocoaroma_5203@yahoo.com; visit www.cocoaromapg.com
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 1
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 2
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 3
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 4
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 5
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 6
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 7
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 8

16 May 2014

My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 3: Unexpected New Friends.

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The exciting part of Travel is meeting random people in the middle of the road. Travel is not all about the destination but also the people that play a huge role in our life. Who would expect that these two models are twins and become a good friend of mine.. Who would expect that a guy with stripe sando is DEAF and he barely hear me- not my voice but my messages
Friendship is a relationship of mutual fondness between two or more people. Friendship is a stronger form of interpersonal bond than an association. Although there are many forms of friendship, some of which may vary from place to place, certain characteristics are present in many types of friendship- includes affection, sympathy, empathy, honesty, altruism, mutual understanding and compassion, trust, and the ability to be oneself, express one's feelings, and make mistakes without fear of judgment from the friend

But during my Puerto Gallera escapade-for me friendship is more on enjoyment of each other's company regardless if that person - you barely known each other.

Dante, Susan and I
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After Mike picked me up at the beach, we went directly to the room where they stayed (also my room wherein I’m gonna spend with them the whole time of my vacation). He introduced me to Dante, his very long close friend. “This is Dante, Dante this is Athan” as Mike introduced us to each other.

“He just came from his work and he followed us”, Mike told to Dante.

“Anyway, Dante is my friend since we were in Australia. We studied in same University – I took Mass Communication while he took Accountancy”, Mike added.

I was like dizzy that time due to a long travel; in addition I came from a graveyard work. Indeed, I was not able to remember Dante’s name right away. The only thing I know was he will be one of my roommates -a bald man who is very silent and serious type of person.

I went to the room and there were only two beds inside and a comfort room. It was a nipa hut (made of native craft) and inside there were few used dress and belongings scattered on the bed. It is not air-conditioned – will its better – (as I posted in my previous post that never ever pay for an air-conditioned room if you are a budget traveler  because you will spend majority of the time outdoor so you can’t maximize the facility). I fixed my backpack and all my belongings.

“Let us eat our brunch (Breakfast/Lunch- it’s a meal within 10am-12nn).” Dante said.

We went to a restaurant and grabbed a bite together with Dante and Mike.

While waiting for the orders, a woman joined us in our table; she is in her late 30’s I believed.

Susan and I
“Oh this is Susan... She was also my schoolmate at University of New Castle. We’ve been friends for a long time.” Mike stated. “This is also Jonathan, he is a writer of Outrage Magazine” Mike introduced me.

Indeed, Mike introduced Susan unto me. Susan has two children, a transwoman and a gayman. We started to talked various things until one of friendship’s characteristics mentioned above arises – trust. She started to trust me when she learnt that I am also a “Bisaya” (Local from Visaya) and so am I (Susan is from Cebu). She even narrates her story how proud she is towards her two LGBT children.

“I’d rather choose to have gay children than to have grandchildren at my age”, she said it while laughing.
As our conversation went vast, we continued to talk and as the brunch went on we got to share a lot of things even though we barely knew each other. –We also learned that we are working in the same company; we were surprised to know that we are workmate hence in different department. She is working as a process trainer.  She also introduced me to her transwoman daughter named Amanda.

After we finished our Brunch - so that was merely 12NN – we went back to the room to take a nap.

From the left : Paul (touches the table ), I and Omar ( Omar is Mike's Housemate in Makati) 
At the balcony of the room, a man smiled towards us. And he was Paul. He was one of my roommates, he is also a silent type of person and Paul is also a Bisaya.

Bebo as he/she posed like a model
Inside the room is a longhaired gay man lying on the bed. When he observed that there were people at the balcony, then he went out to join. I wondered why Mike is doing a sign language to him until he introduced him to me. He was Bebo , President of a SEC registered organization for LGBT Deaf community of the Philippines- to be specific he is also a Deaf. He can’t speak coz he can’t hear anything. But what I’ve learned from them (Deaf is the appropriate word and never ever use “mute”), they can dance. It was surprising to know that they can dance regardless if they can’t hear the music. Mike told me that Deaf people can sense the vibration of the music coming from the speaker so therefore they can dance in harmony to the beat of the music. Actually, I witnessed him that he can really dance well. If you are watching him dancing you’ll never thought that this man is PWD. Together with Bebo was another Deaf, he was Bebo’s assistant since Bebo is a businessman.  

One of Bebo's friends named Jhon, He is also a Deaf
I never expect that my Puerto Gallera escapade was a start of meeting more people within proximity. As I’ve also mentioned in my blog posts, the best part of travelling is you get to meet and talk with random people in the middle of the road – People that when you meet as acquaintances would end as a friend.

Michael Angelo and I, at the beach party
I was able to meet in person my online friend named Michael Angelo. He is also a travel blogger. I met him due to a blogging contest that we had both joined. He informed me that he was also at Puerto Gallera that time and so we decided to meet. We met in the middle of the beach party during my first night in Puerto Gallera.

“I am with my friends; we’ve been here since Thursday. At last, I’m happy to meet you”. Michael Angelo said.

Michael Angelo is a gorgeous gay man, in relationship with a gayman for almost 7 years now.  At first, I thought that he is really a straight man with his manly physique. “Ito kasi ang peg ko. (This is how I express myself)”, he said.

Not surprisingly, due to the number of tourists in White Beach, it is impossible for you if you won’t meet someone. You just have to be open-minded and embrace diversity because meeting people is one of the important parts of the journey.

They are my circle of friends 
Mike also introduced me to his other circle of friends one by one however I cant remember their names, sorry.
This raining men are Micheal Angelo's circle of Friends  (photo by Micheal Angelo)

To be continue…
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 1
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 2
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 3
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 4
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 5
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 6
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 7
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 8

14 May 2014

The Business Owner's Guide to Really Enjoying a Holiday

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Entrepreneurs often struggle to get away from work. With plenty of responsibilities falling on their shoulders, who can blame them if they are hesitant to go on a break? According to other professionals, though, vacations can be good for business as they can spark creativity, which might just be what your company needs.

At first, it can be tough to go on holiday without experiencing pangs of guilt, but it's not entirely impossible. Here's how you can do just that:

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Preparing Your People: For your enterprise to function properly during your absence, your staff has to be able to make the right choices. This requires making sure they are equipped with the necessary information to do their jobs—and maybe a part of yours too. This usually entails calling for a meeting and delegating temporary assignments. You might even have to give of possible action plans for tackling any and every situation that might arise.

Managing Client Expectations: Letting clients know that you'll be away is probably the most unnerving aspect of vacation planning. Of course, you have to make certain they understand that the same level of work will be done while you're absent. If you can, inform them who will be handling what tasks and that your employees can contact you in the event of an emergency. It is ideal if you can let your clients know at least a month ahead of time so they won't be caught by surprise.

Arranging for Virtual Services: Technology has brought forth a lot of great things for business travellers. Some of these are telephone answering and mail handling services. With these, you are assured that you don't miss any opportunities while on your well-deserved break. It can be easy to book these as you can simply upgrade your office space for rent in Quezon City or in other locales. Just check with your commercial space provider and see what virtual packages they have to offer in your area.

Planning Around Slow Periods: If you've noticed that there are predictable weeks when the demand is low, that is the best time to go on vacation. For instance, if you've observed that the months of August to November are less critical for your target audience, schedule your trips then. However, you will need to take note of busier times of the year too as you don't want to be absent when a flood or orders or projects comes in.

Setting a Schedule: Some entrepreneurs are able to cut communication with their office completely. More often, though, they set aside times during the day when they make calls or check their inbox. You could, for example, read your messages first thing in the morning and right before bedtime. Or, you could carve out two hours in morning to attend to calls about projects and other concerns that can't wait until your return. The important thing is to never let your work overlap with other things on your itinerary.

Parting Thoughts
Running a business comes with many duties but that doesn't mean that you should not give yourself time to recharge your batteries. In fact, you should have all the more reason to set aside time for relaxing and understanding how you can improve your company even from a distance.

Working long hours with little to no “me time” will take a toll on your physical and psychological health. The last thing you would want is to experience burnout. So, pack your bags and book your tickets. If you are still having second thoughts about going away for a while, just refer to the tips mentioned above.

About the Author: Jenna Cruz is a freelance writer from Regus in the Philippines, a company catering to those looking for rental office spaces and virtual services. They also have solutions to offer to home-based entrepreneurs.

12 May 2014

My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 2: What about Puerto Galera?

by


The name Puerto Galera is Spanish for “Port of the Galleons.” For centuries, trading vessels would drop anchor of the shores of this place on the northeastern coast of Mindoro Island.


The Place is a soothing vision of shimmering seas surrounded by lush mountains. It is deliberated one of the most beautiful and developed beach resort community in the country.

When walked towards the strewth of Galera's shoreline I noticed these sporty men playing volleyball
A restaurants human-sized figure display
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Starting from "backyard tourism" wherein local residents accept local and foreign tourist as stay-in guest, the island’s tourism has flourished. In the course of time, several hotels, resorts, inns and restaurants have mushroomed within the area.

There are a thousand things one can do here. Landlubbers can pitch tents, light bonfires, play volleyball, toss a Frisbee, go beach-hopping, watch the sunset, gaze at the stars, hike, go rock climbing, carom off on a motorcycle, discover Oriental Mindoro’s other tourist spots or simply live it up.

But water is certainly the main attraction of the island. Crystal clear and shimmering especially during the hot summer months, the sea framing Puerto Galera is ideal for swimming, sailing, surfing, snorkeling and scuba diving. In fact one doesn’t have to go by boat to get to a dive site. Within a kilometer from the coast, schools of Moorish idols, trumpet fish, frog fish, lion fish and leaf fish weave in and out of thriving corals and sea anemones while species of starfish – from the speckled red-and-white to the neon-blue Pacific – rest on the sandy floor.


Gradually sloping beaches – with the terrain ranging from powder white sand to grainy dark sand to smooth stones to rough coral rubble – comprise a large chunk of the island’s 25 thousand hectares. And while the Department of Tourism’s last count pegs the number of resorts at 115, pockets of isolated and virtually resortless coves and beaches are tucked between massive rock formations.


Outside of minor glitches, Puerto Galera is a tropical paradise that is both rustic and thriving. By day it echoes with the soft breeze and the pounding waves. At night, it comes to life with heady laughter and the clink of wine and glasses, only to segue once again to the barest whisper of the elements.


1. Where is Puerto Galera situated?


- Puerto Galera is located on the north shore of Mindoro Island, 130 kilometers south of Manila and 14 nautical miles away from Batangas City. It is the northwestern most municipalities in the province of Oriental Mindoro, Philippines. You can reach Puerto Galera by land transport to Batangas pier and then by sea ferry to Puerto Galera.


2. How long you’re going to travel from Manila to Puerto Galera?


- Land transport to Batangas pier takes 2 to 3 hours depending on the traffic. The fastest route from Manila to Batangas is by SKYWAY, South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) then CALABARZON highway which now traverses all the way to Batangas pier. The ferry boat ride takes 1 hour up to 1 hour and 30 minutes.


3. How much does public transportation cost per person and Accommodations?



- Puerto Galera’s close proximity to Manila, a 4-hour bus and ferry travel worth less than 500 pesos (one-way), make it the cheap alternative to Boracay. One way to get to White Beach is by taking a bus marked "Batangas Pier via Calabarzon" at the bus terminal at the corner of Gil Puyat Ave and Taft Ave in Pasay City. The fare for an aircon bus is less than 200 pesos and it will stop at Batangas pier. At the pier, there are many Puerto-Galera-bound ferries, choose the one which goes directly to White Beach. The one-way fare is 250 pesos. Pay the Environmental User Fee (Entrance Fee to PG) and the Terminal Fee worth 50 and 10 pesos respectively.


Prices can be luxurious, especially during the Holy Week, when the businesses there become opportunists. How expensive, exactly? Well, during off-peak season, accommodation prices can be as low as P500 per night for an air-conditioned room – that inflates to well over P4, 000 during peak season. Solution: when visiting, go with friends so you share the expenses. Many resorts offer group packages for a minimum of 10 persons worth around 1800 pesos per person per day inclusive of ferry, meals and accommodation. Other resorts offer tour packages to Puerto Galera’s numerous tourist spots, like Bayanan Beach, Haligi Beach, Bulabod Beach, Tamaraw Falls and Tukuran Hidden Paradise.  As for the other expenses (e.g. food, drinks), don’t frequent the seaside restos – instead, leave that for the evenings (when you have to see and be seen) and discover the venues inland at other times of the day.
There are many resorts in White Beach which offer rooms with aircon, cable TV and hot/cold shower. The room rates vary according to the season: when it’s normal season (June to October), a room will range from 1000 to 1500 (good for 2 persons), when it’s high season (November to May), the same room will range from 1500 to 400.

4. What time does the ferry leave for Puerto Galera?


- The first ferry trip to Puerto Galera departs at around 7:30 AM. Thereafter, a ferry leaves every 1 hour until 5:00 PM which is normally the last trip to Puerto Galera. But Holy Friday the last trip is 12nn


5. Where should I stay, Sabang or White Beach?

This is how the preparation goes for the Sunset Party
Party Starts 3PM- 5AM non-stop

Sabang and White Beach are the two most popular tourist centers in Puerto Galera. Most of the foreign tourists prefer to stay in Sabang while most of the local (Filipino) tourists go to White Beach.

Sabang boasts of many high-class resorts that offer the best dive education in the country and dive sites are literally a stone’s throw away. Sabang also has a distinct nightlife reminiscent of the old Ermita, former red light district of Metro Manila.
Sabang, they say, is for divers, for the young and adventurous; while White Beach is for families, for the tourist who is content with the sun, sea and sand, for friends who want to escape Manila, recharge their batteries while relaxing in nearby Puerto Galera.
White Beach (Brgy San Isidro) is the most popular of Puerto Galera’s 32 beaches especially among Filipino tourists. Come summer, from March to May, Manila tourists flock to Puerto Galera by the hundreds, and during the Holy Week, by the thousands


White Beach, during this time, is the scene of many concerts and festivals organized by big corporations like San Miguel, Smart and Globe. The beaches are filled with people, relaxing, walking to and fro, sunbathing, playing volleyball, riding jet skis and banana boats. At dawn, people sit at the beach to witness one of the best sunsets in the country. At night, more people come out to enjoy meals at beachfront restaurants. There are several open-air bars with "gay dancers" and serving Puerto Galera’s trademark concoction, "Mindoro Sling". There are also many tattoo shops and souvenir shops along White Beach.


6. Is there an ATM in Puerto Galera?


Yes. There are, at present, 3 ATMs in Puerto Galera; 2 are located in Poblacion and 1 in Sabang. All accept the 3 major ATM networks as well as foreign cards.
If you’re in White Beach, ride a tricycle to Poblacion and tell the driver you are going to Allied Bank- the special trip costs 100 pesos.


My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 1
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 2
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 3
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 4
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 5
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 6
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 7
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 8

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