I know. This blog is late. I've been putting this blog off for the longest time already, but I said I will be blogging about the highlights/craziness I did when I was 24 (which I never got around to doing), and this trip is high in the ranks (if it isn't up there yet). I went to Puerto Princesa, Palawan last June, and this trip is the first of many things.
It was my first trip with Yayay, and my first trip very far from my parents with only the boyfriend. I didn't know how to tell my parents until a few weeks before the trip (and we booked it 3 months in advance). I was so happy my parents didn't make such a big fuss out of it, but I was sad because it meant I was too old already I can go wherever I want to without hearing a lot from Mama and Papa.
It was also my first time to ride an airplane. Technically, because I am sick, the doctor told me that riding an airplane may not be a very good idea. The pressure in the airplane may be something my lungs won't be able to take, and so for 24 years, I didn't go anywhere. I was really antsy and scared during the last few weeks leading to the trip. I was constantly online researching on whether I would be able to take the pressure. But the flight went without any hassle at all; I fell asleep 10 minutes into the air and woke up when we're in Palawan already.
First airplane ride!
First view of Palawan
I was all giddy when we landed! The airport terminal is small which suits me just well since I can't do a lot of walking anyway. We had an itinerary the entire trip so we didn't really worry about where to go.
We spent our first afternoon in Palawan touring the city. A lot of people there went on group tours in vans, but one of Yayay's friends highly recommended Kuya Rolly, a local who owns a tricycle, so we spent the afternoon in his tricycle getting to know the city. Palawan has very nice tricycles -- really different from the cramped ones we have in Manila that also get us soaked when it rains. We were quite happy to book Kuya Rolly. He's very hospitable, just like every Palaweno, and he filled us in with all there is to expect in Palawan. He's also very handy with the camera! :) Here's the first day in pictures:
Typical Palawan tricycle.
That's Kuya Rolly for you! He kept on talking during the ride to the Crocodile Farm amidst the tricycle noise, and I'm like "Ah talaga po. Ahh." And when Yayay asks me, "Ano daw?" I answer with "Ewan ko. Di ko maintindihan. Ang ingay eh!" Hahaha.
With a baby crocodile.
With the biggest crocodile at the farm. It doesn't look too scary in the picture, but it's Godzilla-big in person.
At Mitra's ranch.
At Baker's Hill. This is where all the baked goodies are.
Gooey pizza at Baker's Hill.
Weaving at Pinagbuatan Creations.
The first day at Palawan is like a warm-up of sorts. Day 2 is when the actual fun starts with a trip to the Underground River! Imagine going to one of the finalists of the 7 New Wonders of Nature! The trip is made up of usually rough roads.. Though rough, the ride had been nice. It was a view of mountains and valleys to fall in love with. Finally, we got to Sabang after 2 hours where we have to take another 45 minute boat ride that will take us to the Subterranean River National Park. After registering, we trekked for a few more minutes before we, again, boarded a boat which will take us inside the Underground River.
Finally, Sabang after two hours!
Panoramic view of Sabang Beach.
Boat ride at Sabang.
A rock formation.
Mandatory couple pic. :D
A monkey and a monitor lizard roaming around the Subterrenean National Park. The monkeys are notorious for bag-grabbing!
All geared up for the Underground River tour!
The cave's mouth.
This is what the inside (nearest the cave's mouth) looks like. It's pitch dark inside (zero visibility) and there are a lot of bats (and bat shit!). :)
We conquered the Underground River, yo!
We had our first lunch buffet after the Underground River Tour before we went back to our hotel. We didn't have a photo of the food, but they serve great food in Palawan! Usually, food included in tours/packages are unsatisfying, but that was NEVER the case in Palawan. I'd go back for the food alone! There weren't a lot of choices but what they had were a lot and were cooked really well, too.
We went back to the hotel late in the afternoon, showered, and went around the city. I went ukay shopping near the town's market (what's a trip without a little [thrift] shopping!) and then headed off to Kinabuch's for dinner. Kinambuch is famous for the tamilok, a local worm delicacy, which Yayay was looking forward to try. I would've been coerced to eat it, but just my luck that it wasn't tamilok season! :P
Day 3 of our Palawan adventure is our trip to Honda Bay! We decided to leave my digicam at the hotel since we have the DSLR, and my cam went unused the day before. To our dismay, we found out that the digicam would've been the better camera to bring here since plastic pouches can be rented at the jump-off point so that we can take pictures underwater while we go snorkeling. That was a real disappointment, so we just promised to go back just to go to Honda Bay again and take pictures underwater. :)
First stop is at the Pambato Coral Reef where we fed the fish, and I had my first snorkeling experience!It was scary at first to have myself floating in water and not seeing the ocean floor at all, but I was able to let of our guide after a while, and Yayay and I roamed the ocean ourselves. I am still at a loss for words as to how beautiful the depths of the water is.
We then went to Snake Island for lunch and for more snorkeling! There are no snakes here, but the sandbar is shaped like a snake from an aerial view, thus, the name. Snorkeling here was easy and really fun. The snokeling spots are just 10-15 meters away from the shore!
At Snake Island.
Next stop was Pandan Island which was a bit commercialized. We snorkeled some more before we showered and went back to the hotel.
What are these two up to? ;)
The fourth day is when we went back to Manila. Our flight was at 1pm, so we roamed the city one more time for pasalubong. We went to Plaza Cuartel which kind of has an Intramuros vibe, dropped by the church, ukay-ed a bit more, and off we went for the pasalubongs.
But more than the sights, Palawan has the best people. It was Filipino hospitality at its best. We had the best van drivers and the funniest tour guides! We felt really at ease in the city, so we just hail a cab outside the hotel at night, and go around the city by ourselves. The only think lacking here is a proper mall (though a Robinson's mall was being constructed at the time of our visit), but it wasn't too much of bother, really. I guess I just really felt very far from home without a mall around. Haha.
My trip to Palawan will always be very special. It was the first major trip I paid with my hard-earned money. In a way, it's like an initiation to adulthood, and it affirmed my love for travelling. I also realized how beautiful the Philippines is. It's a wonder how people are all looking forward to go to Europe, to go to the Carribean, when the places to see are right here. I have long stopped raving about Palawan (I did talked about it non-stop for weeks, and took it upon myself to convince everyone I talked to to go to Palawan), but I loved Palawan so much I already have another Palawan trip scheduled on March. It's going to be Coron this time, baby!
I welcomed my 24th year on Earth in Philip's house playing Wii. We had dinner of Mama's famous baked tuna, took pictures, and played Wii after until the clock struck 12. I know that my eyes are giving away the sadness; I didn't want to be alone on my birthday, but I still felt alone. All throughout the night, my only thought was "My first birthday alone in 4 years." That night ended early, and home I went. I still had classes in the morning, so I need to sleep early.
I wasn't really expecting anything. As a matter of fact, I wanted to take a leave on my birthday. I just didn't want to work. But I didn't, so I went to school. When I got to my class, I was surprised to have a cake waiting for me. The first birthday cake I ever got in my whole life. My Expository English boys gave it to me. We ate the cake instead of having a class and I took pictures with each one of them. Debutante ang peg. Ako na! That class ended and I didn't have the second one because it was exam week and they're taking their tests for their other subjects. My anak, Karla, and her gf Kathy found me and they treated me to Starbucks.
Me and my cake!
My Expository English boys.
Karla and my Happy Birthday frappe.
I was more than happy getting a cake that I raved about it non-stop to Philip (complete with gushing) as we made it to the office from school. I didn't know that there is an even BIGGER SURPRISE waiting for me in the office. I still can't quite find the words to describe the awesome-ness that is my 24th birthday party (and it's going to be a year in a few days), so instead of not giving enough justice to it using my words, I'll let the pictures do the talking.
Post-it covered table c/o Gaiman.
The roses were from my Gaiman boys. :)
SURPRISE. There is a video version where I looked doubly stupid. Haha.
With the mastermind. =)
Whut! Another gift?
Dedications at the back of a picture. Best.gift.ever.
Perfect gift for the vain.
With the bosses.
Letters from the Gaiman girls. :)
A complete SMT picture was actually the only gift I was asking from them.
I certainly got a lot more. =)
If my 24th year on Earth can be judged by how it started, you sure can say it will be awesome. But was it? Let's see in the coming days. =)
I didn't plan to be in Clientcomm for long. As a matter of fact, I didn't really have plans when I was just almost 21. I haven't graduated yet. Thesis is waiting to be finished. I just really need to earn money to pay what's left of my balance in school, so I can graduate already. I found myself in training at a call center July of 2007 where I met Donna who would eventually lead me to Clientcomm. "You'll love the people there", she said. "They love reading and writing, too." My only concern was if I will be good enough to be there. After all, I didn't have any serious writing experience. "I just really love to write" is my usual answer to people who comment on my writing. "Kaya mo yon!" Donna urged, so I went to take the first two sims which I have to say is just really hard I've no brain cells left anymore after taking it. It was pain from start to finish. I didn't even know what a thesis statement is yet! But I passed that initial screening, took sims A & B, proceeded to training, and on Oct. 4, 2007, I was hired -- my first job ever.
First CCI Christmas Party. This is practically the whole team minus three people.
It's been four years since that day, and I can say that some essays still get the best of me. I doubt if that'll ever change. I still don't like literary papers, and I think that Australian and Capella students should just quit school and stop making my life so hard. Haha. That was a joke. But seriously, Clientcomm is never just work now. If I leave in the future, I'd always thank Clientcomm for the person I have become. Even with the issues and all.
Christmas Party '08. An almost complete SMT. Only Mich was missing here.
My stay hasn't been all great. I've had issues with a lot people there. Let me say that again: I've had MANY issues with a lot of people there, and the way the company is being run. For a number of times, I was tempted to leave -- to seek greener pastures in Singapore, to seek some company with more stability, to seek a job that is more rewarding and one where I can actually feel like I am getting promoted -- but I always end up staying. There is always a reason to stay. Right now, I figured it's because my job here is just not done yet.
My first team. "Team Three O'clock habit" minus Kat and Pinky.
Another Team 3 shot now with Pinky. Kat is still missing.
Original Gaiman in my surprise birthday party last year.
Another Gaiman shot.
Last July, I recruited people to complete my team lineup, and I was able to recruit 7 wonderful people and trained one, and they have been wonderful additions to my already wonderful teams. During my 4-year stay at Clientcomm, I had people guiding me every step of the way, and now it's my turn. I want these people to be the kind of worker that I am. I want them to stay because they love what they're doing and not because they don't have anywhere to go anymore. I will tell them that essaying is never easy, and they will get to a point where it's sickening already, but I hope that they don't grow to hate it. That they don't look at essaying as just a job and Clientcomm as just a company. I want them to see it as I see it: something that molded them to become the persons they want to be.
First CCI-SMT sTLs.
I've learned a lot from Clientcomm, and most of those lessons I learned from getting things wrong. The job is never easy. Just when you think nothing can break your stride anymore, there it will be hitting you right in the face, but there is always something to love. Clientcomm has the best people, and I really hope that they learn to give back to them. Not that they're not giving back. Maybe something's just lacking. Maybe things are just too slow. Maybe there are just some things that I wish they see and finally change. It's not the best company there is, but it was there when I needed it, and for that, I will always be grateful.
Second batch of sTLs with Mich.
I found the coolest boss there who is THE ONLY BOSS I saw who crawls under a table to fix the Internet connection. I found a friend in a boss I didn't actually like before. I made enemies out of my friends. Some new people irritated the hell out of me, but I eventually liked them. I found my tough-love good friend there. I found my soulmates there. I found my bestfriend-eventually-not-anymore-but-then-he'll-always-be-special friend there. I found a Kuya there. A lot of shit happened in my life, but people from Clietcomm has always been there.
Team Gaiman Productivity Award (Fall Term 2010)
I've also not been in the best shape to lead last year, but Clientcomm never gave up on me, although I feel that it has forever tainted my abilities to be an effective leader. I sometimes wonder if things will ever be the same for me again, company growth-wise, but that I leave to time.
Random 2010 shots.
Christmas Party '10
A lot of the events in my life have been crazy roller coaster rides, and Clientcomm is one of those. This one, however, hasn't ended yet. I don't know when it will end, and if it will, will I ever find myself seeking the thrill of that roller coaster ride again like a lot of people who came before me? Maybe. Maybe not. What I know is I am where I am supposed to be right now. Work is not yet done. Actually, it's already 1:32 am, and I still need to be in the office early tomorrow and start the first day of my fifth year.