Draw, Explore, and Serve the People: Mapping the Philippines and I

Google Mapmaker

Ever since I was a kid, I held fascination over maps. I buy maps—err; I let my parents buy me some maps. From the cheapest school maps to book atlases perhaps. Geography is my favourite subject in school. This is where you get to memorize the provinces of the Philippines and its capitals, per region, their culture and history. I sleep with the old Manila book maps back in the 1990s. I bring them at school. Maps have been my obsession-seeing places, imagining places and even memorizing the way how to get there. In other words, GPS has been programmed already since the 1990s, hehe!

Maps have given me comfort. It is one way to see the world—for me. Atlases at least gave me some glimpse. Yet it’s not enough. Postcard perfect photos, very shallow write-up, outdated facts and not so detailed maps were the limitations of these. Internet back then was still very limited and expensive—and was turtle slow if we compare it on today’s standards. So, I just go to the library and browse every atlas or any other books relating to culture, history and geography of the places. I’m not also that rich to go to Disneyland or Paris or NY…these were my humble flying carpets.

Continue reading Draw, Explore, and Serve the People: Mapping the Philippines and I

A Filipino Travel Blog in Spanish

Most of the Philippine travel blogs are written in English, and some in Filipino and other vernacular languages of the republic. Understandable enough since these are the main modes of communication here in the country and the rest of the world. However, I ought to think of something different. Something that is “not normal.” How about writing your travel experiences in Spanish?

Hence, ViajeroFilipino.com came into my mind-the Spanish sister of HabagatCentral.com.

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Give that Pilipinas Tara Na logo to DepEd Instead!

The official yet may not be the final logo of Pilipinas Tara Na

At first glance, I thought it was some sort of a Grade 1 to 4 textbook cartoons. Second, it does look like Batibot or some sticker from the 1980s. But look closely, its Department of Tourism’s “Pilipinas, Tara Na” (en. Philippines, let’s go! | es. ¡Vamos Filipinas!) official logo! Lo and behold, after the failed “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” fiasco, it seems that we have another logo going down the drain!

Continue reading Give that Pilipinas Tara Na logo to DepEd Instead!

From Iloilo to Sendai with Compassion


Sendai Airport CCTV capturing the tsunami engulfing its tarmac (video courtesy of Russia Today)

On March 11, 2011, the world was shocked and awed again with nature’s raw awesome power as Japan’s Tohoku region was rattled by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake, and after that-the sea gobbled up cities, towns, farms and people — seven meter tsunami has changed the Japanese psyche and landscape forever. The aftermath was devastation and death. Japan’s worst crisis since the end of World War II.

Iloilo Airport was brought by the cooperation between the Japanese and the Filipinos

What I couldn’t believe was that even Sendai Airport was like a sitting duck in nature’s fury as its runway was submerged in sea water of debris and destruction. Come to think of it, the airport is already located more than a kilometer away from the coast (the tsunami was reported to have reached as far as 10 kilometers inland!) In a way, Sendai Airport reminds me of Iloilo Airport…however its far from the coast line and was constructed with Japanese backing and aid.

Continue reading From Iloilo to Sendai with Compassion

First Day On a New Perspective: My Dinagyang Experience

Few days before Sinulog, I was scrambling to get a way to Iloilo for the Dinagyang Festival. For the moment, I thought I wouldn’t be pushing through with my las celebraciones grandes de enero—a feat which I last made in 2007 when I celebrated both grand festivals in a year. Then I was informed, something beyond what I was expecting…the Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation asked me to become one of the judges for street dancing competition! I was speechless and to be honest, it is beyond what I have been expecting for. My original plan was just to cover Dinagyang the way I cover it for the past few years. Yes, I took the offer as an honor for my service for my beloved banwa (hometown). I was placed on a different perspective…from appreciation to decision-making. This Dinagyang season changed the way I see Iloilo’s grandest fiesta.

The good news is, after weeks of rain in the Visayas, Haring Araw was there to say hello all over the weekend!

Continue reading First Day On a New Perspective: My Dinagyang Experience

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