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Palawan - The Last Frontier

Quit your job

Not ready to go out on your own yet? Need to keep your full-time job? No problem–but make sure it’s the right full-time job. This article was published originally by inc.com.

Quit your job to take a better paying position? Sure. Quit your job for a great opportunity? Definitely.

Quit your job to start your own business? Absolutely! (Keep in mind there are compelling reasons to hang on to your full-time job as long as you can while you get your business going. Also keep in mind you can start a company in just a few hours.)

But there are a lot more reasons to quit your job. And they all fall under one main category:

Life’s too short.

Life’s too short to go home every day feeling unfulfilled. Life’s too short to work for a terrible boss. Life’s too short to go home every day feeling taken for granted, feeling taken less than seriously, or feeling taken advantage of.

Life’s too short to not be as happy as you can be.

Say your grown daughter called and said, “I hate my job. I’m bored, frustrated, and feel like I’m going nowhere.” Wouldn’t you tell her to look for another job?

Shouldn’t you follow the same advice?

Here are reasons to stop being miserable and start looking for something better:

1. Your input is disregarded or even not wanted.

Everyone has ideas. And everyone loves when his or her ideas are taken seriously–and implemented. The feeling that you’ve contributed in a special way is incredibly gratifying.

But when your boss or company shoots down or even laughs at your ideas, it’s not only insulting, it’s demotivating. And pretty soon you stop caring.

Life’s too short not to care.

2. You get criticized publicly.

We all need constructive feedback. We all need a little nudge. We all need to be told when we can do something better–and how to do it better.

But we need to be told those things in private.

Life’s too short to walk around waiting for the next time you’ll be criticized–and even humiliated–in front of other people.

3. You never hear the word thanks.

Everyone also needs praise. We all need to know when we do something well (and everyone, even poor performers, do some things well).

Life’s too short not to be recognized for the contributions you make.

4. Your boss manages up, not down.

You know the type: As a leader she should focus her time and attention on her direct reports, but she spends all her time “following” her boss. It seems like your only job is to contribute to the greater glory–and advancement–of your boss.

A great boss knows that if her team succeeds–and each individual on that team succeeds–then she will succeed too.

Life’s too short to spend your time developing your boss’s career at the expense of your own.

5. You feel like you have no purpose.

Everyone likes to feel a part of something bigger. Everyone likes to feel he has an impact not just on results but also on the lives of other people.

Life’s too short to go home every day feeling like you’ve worked, but you haven’t accomplished anything meaningful.

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6. You feel like a number.

Everyone is replaceable. Everyone, ultimately, works for a paycheck. But people also want to work for more than a paycheck. They want to work with people they respect and admire, and they want to be respected and admired in return.

If your boss doesn’t occasionally stop for a quick discussion about family, an informal conversation to see if you need any help, or simply to say a kind word, then you’re just a cog in a larger machine.

Life’s too short to only be a cog in a larger machine.

7. You aren’t even mildly excited to go to work.

Every job has its downsides. (I’m willing to bet even Richard Branson has to do a few things he doesn’t enjoy.) But every job should also have some fun moments. Or exciting moments. Or challenging moments. Or some aspect that makes you think, “I’m looking forward to doing that…”

Life’s too short to spend only looking forward to quitting time.

8. You can’t see a future.

Every job should lead to something: hopefully a promotion, but if not, the opportunity to take on additional responsibilities, learn new things, tackle new challenges. Tomorrow should have the potential to be different–in a good way–from today.

A decent boss works to improve the company’s future. A good boss works to improve her employees’ futures too, even if–especially if–that might mean some of those employees will eventually move on to bigger and better things.

Life’s too short to live without hope.

9. No one has the same dreams as you.

Countless companies were started by two or more people who at one time worked together and realized they had complementary skills–and realized they wanted to carve out a new future together.

If you plan to be an entrepreneur, working for a big company first is one of the best things you can do: It’s a risk-free environment where you can meet future colleagues and co-founders. Pick a dozen companies at random and you’ll find at least a few that were founded by aspiring entrepreneurs who met as co-workers and went on to launch awesome startups together.

Life’s too short to spend working with people who don’t share your hopes, dreams, and passions.

10. You don’t think you can do anything else.

That’s the best reason of all to quit your job. I know what you’re thinking: “I make too much in my current job; I’ll never find something comparable.” Or, “There just aren’t any jobs where I live.” Or, “I’ve put too much time into this company (or career or industry).”

Or, “I don’t have what it takes to start my own business.”

All those things are true–if you let them be true.

You can do something else. You can do lots of something “elses.”

You just have to believe–and trust that your creativity, perseverance, and effort will take you to new, happier, and more fulfilling places. Thousands of people start their own businesses ever year. The only difference between you and them? They decided to take the chance. They decided to bet on themselves.

They decided that life’s too short to just stay where they are instead of doing everything possible to live a better life.

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The Secret Why I Love Packed Lunch

Why I Love Packed Lunch

Everyday I’ve been awaken by the smell of whatever my wife is cooking for my breakfast and lunch. As always, it smells good. That is why I am conditioned to fill my stomach every morning before leaving home for work. That’s how I was pampered by my sweetheart, Susan, and this is how I started the day.

I was asked by my colleagues why my wife has to do it which is only pressuring herself into getting up early in the morning when I can handle the lunch myself. They say that I can buy my lunch outside, which is true. Not only that. I also run into some negative aspects of packing the lunch like:

  • It won’t save much money
  • My lunch will be the same every day
  • I’ll feel left out when my friends get food at a fast food chain outside
  • I’ll feel like a child who brings a lunch bag to work
  • and a lot more!

My reply: Nothing of those matters. I am not bothered by these negative elements of packing my lunch. I have my own reasons, which are stronger than these.

My wife loved doing it for me just like how I love having my lunch prepared by her. I’d like to emphasize that her food is hygienically prepared with health aspects in mind. Also, every pack of my lunch was prepared with full heart in it. Every bite I took was sprinkled with love. In comparison, I never knew how those fast food chains or rows of restaurants around our office area handled the issues on sanitation. I never knew how they handled the entire process from the kitchen up to the plates of the customers. That’s important.

Few years ago, when we were both working, my wife didn’t have time to cook for my breakfast, especially to prepare and pack my lunch. We both needed to hurry and had our breakfasts to our respective offices where we work. The only time she cooked for us is during the weekend.

Now that she take good care of our children and tends them as a full time mother, I know she has a much tedious job (where she can never complain nor resign). Despite that she still fulfills her fashion by filling my stomach with delicious and nutritious servings of food on a daily basis. And I know how good my wife is in cooking. My office mates even knew that since I shared with them what I have for the day’s lunch! I was surprise to know that sometimes their food which were bought outside were the same type with what I have. The only difference is – the taste – due mainly that mine is home-made and my wife has gone through innovations to make a simple recipe appetizing and more delicious. Nevertheless, a healthy packed lunch let me avoid the lunch lines and even helped me to avoid unhealthy foods. With my own lunch I can control exactly what goes into my plate to eat.

Sometimes our kids eat breakfast with me in the morning. They too took the nourishments their mother is giving at her best. In every day of our lives my lovely wife continue to support our family by providing us a healthy and innovative food servings, which is good to begin the day. The next few moments we spend in that dining table set the manner for everything that will follow throughout the next few hours. After the breakfast, I will be gone for the next 10 hours or so. What energizes me is how she started the day with the smell of the pot with a mystery that only my nostrils, taste buds and stomach can understand. That same effort also fills my noon with proper nourishment contained in a lunch pack to recharge my strength for the remaining day’s work. Are there any more reasons other than these?

None.

We are now living in the modern times and each one of us is getting busier. We even forget to pay attention to the wellness of the family, which starts in the stomach. It’s true that we need to work at least 10 hours a day but we need a time in between to slow down, recharge and look at small things that strengthens a family. A house is only a home if love is in the center of it along with every meal. Each member of the family has his/her own duties to fulfill without being obligated and asked nothing in return. My job is to support the needs of my family while my wife sustains the well-being of each member of our family.

Tomorrow is yet another day but small gestures of love can make it brighter and exceptional. See how those little things made a big difference in your life just like I did. Try to pack your own lunch and create your own story.

Mount Mantalingahan as seen from Ransang, Rizal, Palawan. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Mount Mantalingahan as seen from Ransang, Rizal, Palawan. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Want a challenging climb in the Philippines? Try it right here in Palawan at Mt. Mantalingahan.

Palawan is the last frontier in the Philippines that is why we have featured different tourist destinations here. It is known more for its beaches, marine life, and tourist spots such as the Puerto Princessa Underground River, Honda Bay, El Nido, and Coron to mention only a few. However, Palawan is also the last frontier in Philippine mountaineering as a group of mountaineers call it. The length of Palawan which spans over 600 kilometers is a big potential as a hiking spot. The mountain ranges still have many peaks which are unnamed and unexplored waiting for a visit.

Mt. Mantalingahan, locally revered as “The Mountain of God”, is one of the most difficult climbs in the Philippines and it is graded Difficulty 9/9 by local mountaineering website. Rising at 2086 meters, this wild and mysical realm encompasses the southern towns of Rizal, Brooke’s Point, Quezon, and Bataraza. The usual route starts from Barangay Ransang in Rizal on the south-west coast of Palawan. An average of five days is required to reach the summit, that’s three days hiking to the summit and two days to return to the jump-off. Highlights of the trail include encounters with the Tau’t Bato tribe and the “Knife Edge” Canopy Walk that leads to the summit.

Mt. Mantalingahan was once home to the feared Tau’t Daram, the “People of the Night” who were known for their cannibalistic ferocity. The Tau’t Daram were said to have superhuman abilities such as the agility to leap from tree to tree; the use of poison darts with blowpipes; as well as the strength to carry whole trunks of hardwood. Although this tribe has become extinct with the death of its final chieftain decades ago, its legend lives on, and old accounts of the hike spoke of “shadows” that leapt over the thick jungle at night.

Today, the Tau’t Bato, the “People of the Stone” continue to dwell on its forests, living by hunting birds and animals; gathering forest fruits; and perpetuating the ‘kaingin’ (slash-and-burn) system of farming. Although fast dwindling in number, the Tau’t Bato is perhaps the last tribe to live with the old ways.

The uniqueness of Mt. Mantalingahan has attracted few tourists to take on the adventures. In response to the effects of human activities, the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) of Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape (MMPL) approved a resolution imposing conservation fees for recreational activities in the protected area, including hiking, mountaineering, and birdwatching.

Under the PAMB Resolution 2012-04, a conservation fee of PHP100 for locals and PHP200 for foreigners were imposed for “less than five days of camping, hiking, trekking, mountaineering, birdwatching, wildlife viewing, cultural/educational tour and other similar activities.” Activities that take more than five days will require a special permit from the MMPL Executive Committee. Students can avail themselves of 50% discount, while fees for residents of MMPL municipalities, PAMB members and formally recognized partners are waived.

Conservation fees are one of the usual ways by which a protected area can generate revenues to support management or protection expenses. Prior to the issuance of Resolution 2012-04, visitors to MMPL were not charged any fees.

MMPL is a relatively new protected area, having been proclaimed as a protected landscape only in 2009 and with its 70-member PAMB being convened only in 2010. With a total area of 120,457 hectares, it is the largest terrestrial protected area in Palawan province.

Recommended Tourist Activities in Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape

A. Hiking/trekking/mountaineering trails

1.    Peak of Mt. Mantalingahan, Ransang, Rizal, Palawan

  • jump-off point: Ransang barangay proper
  • estimated duration: 3-day climb to the summit

2.    Kamantian, Samariniana, Brooke’s Point

  • jump-off point: Kamantian, Samarinia barangay proper
  • estimated duration: 5-hour hike to Kamantian peak

3.    Maruyog Ecological Park, Tub-tub, Brooke’s Point

  • jump-off point: Maruyog Farms and Garden Resort (30-minute ride from Brooke’s Point poblacion
  • estimated duration: 1-hour walk to Maruyog Ecological Park

4.    Tres Marias Candawaga, Rizal, Palawan

  • jump-off point: Sitio Kadulan, Panalingaan, Rizal
  • estimated duration: 2 to 3-hour hike to Tres Marias

B. Caving

Tau’t Bato, Barangay Ransang, Rizal, Palawan

  • jump-off point: Barangay Ransang
  • estimated duration: 7-hour hike to Tau’t Bato caves

C. Waterfalls

1.    Mantayob Falls, Bunog, Rizal, Palawan

  • jump-off point: Bunog barangay proper
  • estimated duration: 2 to 3-hour hike to the falls
2.    Kapangyan and Lalatuan Falls, Malihud, Bataraza, Palawan
  • jump-off point: Bono-Bono-Malihud-Bulalacao Multipurpose Cooperative
  • estimated duration: 3 to 4-hour hike to the falls
3.    El Salvador Falls, Pulot Interior, Sofronio Espanola, Palawan
  • jump-off point: Pulot Interior
  • estimated duration: 2 to 3-hour hike to the falls
Guides (usually Palaw’an indigenous peoples) can be hired at the jump-off points. The standard rate per day is P150/guide/day plus meals to be provided by the tourist/climber.
For more information, contact the following:

Sources: www.conservation.org, www.pinoymountaineer.com, www.en.wikipedia.org

The pocket of white sand beach grown with coconut and few other trees.

The pocket of white sand beach grown with coconut and few other trees at El Nido.

Have you heard the news? Boracay is no longer the top island in an international travel magazine’s list, but another Philippine island has taken its place – that’s Palawan!

Travel+Leisure magazine named Palawan the best island for travelers in the “2013 World’s Best” putting Boracay, which previously topped the rankings, to second place. Based on a survey of the magazine’s readers from December 2012 to April 2013, Palawan had a total score of 95.04 points while Boracay got 93.58 points. The island of Maui in Hawaii ranked third followed by Santorini in Greece and Prince Edward Island in Canada. My review of Palawan is now validated as you can read here (Palawan is the best, no earthquake, the safest).

The Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) in the city of Puerto Princesa in Palawan province, Philippines - one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature

The Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) in the city of Puerto Princesa in Palawan province, Philippines – one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature

Respondents of the survey have been asked to rate islands based on natural attractions, beaches as wells as activities. Well, food and people never escaped the criteria. After all, food delicacies here is truly mouth watering and exceptional not to mention how friendly our folks out there. It’s really a totally deserving evaluation for Palawan. I even compared it to Batanes, another tourist destination in the country. If you really want to tease your imagination watch this video featuring the Magical Palawan.

So, what are you waiting for? Visit Palawan and experience the day fully-packed with great adventures!

A spontaneous visit to the “Crown Jewel of the North” – Bolinao, Pangasinan is a worth one. Even though we don’t have a concrete itinerary at hand, our friend’s effort paid off since we really enjoyed the tiring trip. We spent our limited time in this third class municipality of Pangasinan by visiting some spectacular sites pictured below for you to see. Have fun!

1.  Wonderful Cave

This fading directional sign says it all. Unless you have experienced visiting this cave, you will not know if it really is “wonderful” to begin with. More so, about enjoying the fun with your family and friends. Located 20 minutes walk from where we stay, a private residence will be reached near the cave. Well, that is enough to burn our calories in the process, the natural way. The place is owned by a family residing near the vicinity of the cave. According to a local tour guide, the cave was an ancient place where the ancestors of Bolinao once live. The owner of the place even collected some precious artifacts and stone wares there. And finally, the family find a potential for it to be a tourist destination so, they opened their gates to share its history and the natural beauty brought by the underground pool which slowly gaining familiarity from the outside world. An amount of Php40.00 will be collected per person to allow passage to the cave which will be used for its maintenance. Another cave can be visited at the upper side of the mountain where the edible bird’s nest of the balinsasayaw will be found. Wonderful Cave is one of the 3 caves located in Patar. The other 2 were the Enchanted Cave and the Cindy’s Cave. I hope to experience them soon.

A directional sign can be seen along the Barangay road leading to Wonderful Cave in Patar, Bolinao, Pangasinan.

A directional sign can be seen along the Barangay road leading to Wonderful Cave in Patar, Bolinao, Pangasinan.

Tourists going down the cave entrance of the Wonderful Cave.

Tourists going down the cave entrance of the Wonderful Cave.

Inside the small space underground pool.

The inside of the medium sized space with underground pool of cool fresh water.

Panoramic view of the Wonderful Cave.

Panoramic view of the Wonderful Cave from the view deck.

2.  Patar White Beach

Patar shoreline has a varied landscape where one part are sharp and have rugged boulders where waves crash violently while another is a smooth stretch of pure, cream-colored sand. It also has a 20-kilometer coral reef sprawl that’s home to king mackerel, Lapu-Lapu, Tuna and the endangered taklobo.  

The magnificent stretch of nearly white sand particles along Patar shore.

The magnificent stretch of nearly cream white sand particles along Patar shoreline.

3.  Bolinao Falls

An hour rough ride from the National Road will lead you to Bolinao Falls #1 and #2 which is now gaining popularity. Thanks to the efforts of Bolinao Tourism Office in promoting Boilnao as the Crown Jewel of the North. The falls are situated in Barangay Samang Norte and flows down to Balingasay River connecting to West Philippine Sea. The falls is approximately 8-10 meters high. The surrounding vicinity is owned and maintained by a private entity.

Bolinao Falls at the midst of remote mountains of Pangasinan.

Bolinao Falls at the midst of remote mountains of Pangasinan.

Tourists enjoyed cooling down at downstream side of the falls.

Tourists enjoyed cooling down at downstream side of the falls.

4.  Souvenir Shops

Don’t leave Bolinao without bringing home some souvenir items. Not only you will please someone whom that little piece of remembrance will be given but most importantly, you are helping the economy of this place in your own small way.

Don't leave Bolinao without bringing home some souvenir items. Not only you will please someone whom that little piece of remembrance will be given but most importantly, you are helping the economy of this place in your own small way.

Souvenir items available at Souvenir Shops around Bolinao with their destinctive designs.

That’s it. I hope you enjoyed our trip to Bolinao. I wish this blog helped you in providing relevant information and reasons to visit this place which is known as the “Crown Jewel of the North”. And watch out for our next trip to Hundred Islands National Park, a tourism destination composed of 123 small islands, located off the coast of Barangay Lucap, Alaminos City.

If up until now you are still THINKING, DAYDREAMING about experiencing Palawan, a remote province located in the southwest of the Philippines, THINK again. I found one of the best short film featuring the secret world with the most pristine beaches you could imagine, a magical area with such a view that until recently, was only for the birds. Filmed and Edited by Scott Sporleder, this aerial journey is so nice complementing my El Nido travel stories.

What’s more? Explore hundreds of remote islands of Palawan from North to South. Explore secluded coves and underwater caves, snorkel pristine reefs, sunken shipwrecks and emerald lakes, visit hidden lagoons, explore water falls, trek lush jungles and experience the famous underground river.  You may want to see a group of crocodiles too which most of the times are in the news headlines. These are among the many wonders of Palawan, available for your senses to feel and experience.

Now, do you agree that Palawan is one of the best places to visit? So, what are you waiting for?

Courtesy of http://www.matadornetwork.com

If you had been to Palawan, I’m sure you’ll agree that, indeed, it is one of the most beautiful places to visit and explore. For those who are not yet stepped in the country’s last ecological frontier, read this story to know why Palawan is among the best: “Palawan is the best, no earthquake, the safest”. (And hey, take advantage of those cheap tickets offered by airlines flying from and to Palawan. Who knows, few months later the fares would shoot up and it would be more expensive to avail.) What’s more if you got the chance to explore Batanes! That’s great guys! I suggest you read this (Tayo na sa batanes!) to know more about Batanes. Now, if you’ve been to both places or still planning to get there, here’s the question for you: Which do you think is the best, Palawan or Batanes?

In my experience, Batanes is among the top tourist destinations in the country. The only setback I see is its accessibility from the mainland. When I went there, only one airline (SkyPasada) is flying from Tuguegarao. And just recently, on occassional basis, other budget carrier airlines started to have flights going to Batanes in predetermined schedule subject to actual weather conditions. Through that, tourism is expected to boom in the island due to this new development in the tourism industry.

Now, enough for my talk and let me bring you the experience of Batanes through the following photo essay of featured places -  a must see attractions that will inspire your senses. Please enjoy as you browse along this page and may you have the desire to experience them live. You will not regret visiting the place for your experience will be unequaled and immeasurable. Why? Here are among the top locations in Batanes that will stir your imagination.

1. Road Trip

Road Trip in Batanes

Road trip in Batanes is not exciting without the unusual sights like this one. The zigzag road has sturdy looking cliff of coralline materials on the other side towering almost vertically that makes it unusual and thus, requires careful and full attention of the driver when passing by.

Road trip to Batanes is a challenging and untiring adventure. Why would I say that? This is the time when I travel without experiencing too much tiredness. Why should I when all I could see were the magnificent view of the surroundings and the cool breeze from the sea that’s truly relaxing.

2. Valugan Bay

Valugan Bay along Batanes circumferential road.

When I first saw the sea shore of Batanes having irregular rock formations, I’m in awe to see a span of sea shore stretched with finely shaped boulders. It has been said that in 400 AD, the eruption of Mt. Iraya leave these enormous rocks along the shore. I find this place good for spending time to pass by or even good for healing broken hearts and souls.

While on a road trip circumferencing the Batanes main land in Batan Island, you will pass by this long sea shore known as the Valugan Bay. The sea shore stretched with finely shaped boulders is a nice view. It has been said that in 400 AD, the eruption of Mt. Iraya leave these enormous rocks along the shore. It’s a fact that I find this place good for spending time to pass by or even good for healing broken heart and soul.

3. Marlboro Hills

Well, our tour guide told us that Batanes getaway is not complete if you cannot feel the sea breeze at Marlboro Hills. It is a good place to sit idly by and dream of your paradise at present moment in the confinement of Batanes scenery overlooking the mighty sea. The lush greenery I failed to smell for a long time reminds me of my childhood while dreaming of becoming ‘something’ and attaining ‘something’ in life when I grow up. Here, I relive that day and it’s soothing to feel being young again.

Well, our tour guide told us that Batanes getaway is not complete if you cannot feel the sea breeze at Marlboro Hills. It is a good place to sit idly by and dream of your paradise at present moment in the confinement of Batanes scenery overlooking the mighty sea. The lush greenery I failed to smell for a long time reminds me of my childhood while dreaming of becoming ‘something’ and attaining ‘something’ in life when I grow up. Here, I relive that day and it’s soothing to feel being young again.

When you want to relax, go and sit on the green grass and feel the gentle breeze at Marlboro Hills. The cool breeze will calm your being and draws you in one with the nature. The concept of time will vanish from your mind and the serenity will set in. Hear the music of the wind, splash of the waves, and let the singing of your soul begin in silence.

4. Lighthouse

The lighthouse is a good spot to view Batan island from one side to the other side. The cool breeze here truly calms the being and draws you in one with the nature.

The lighthouse is a good spot to view Batan island from one side to the other side. The cool breeze here truly calms the being and draws you in one with the nature.

 

This towering lighthouse is the magnificent watcher from either side of the island.

This towering lighthouse is the magnificent watcher from either side of the island.

When you want to see the vastness of Batan Island, the lighthouse is a good spot to position yourself into. Immerse yourself into the secret of nature as if you are touching the sky.

5. Oldest Stone House

This is the oldest house in Ivana, Batanes which was built in 1887 and is still standing up to now. Its walls are made of stone and limestone. Typically, the houses here are divided into three sections: the rakuh or main room includes the living room and bedroom, there’s a kusina which is of course the kitchen, and also a rahawung or storage shed.

This is the oldest stone house in Ivana, Batanes which was built in 1887 and is still standing up to now.

Can you imagine a house that last until now since 1887? It is located right here in Batanes and is still standing proud against the raging storms that frequented the island every now and then. Its walls are made up of stone and limestone which was partly influenced by the environmental condition of Batanes and were designed to protect against the hostile climate. Typically, the houses here are divided into three sections: the rakuh or main room includes the living room and bedroom, there’s a kusina which is of course the kitchen, and also a rahawung or storage shed.

6. Mahatao Deck

We just had a stopover in this view deck to see different angles of Batanes – towards the sea, across the road behind a towering cliff, along a winding road, etc. I may consider this as one of the spot perfect for picture taking. As you go closer to the deck, you will find a grotto perfect to release your day’s tiredness due to non-stop activities. This is the Mahatao View Deck.

An eco-friendly waiting shed near Mahatao View Deck.

 

This is the Grotto at Mahatao View Deck, a perfect place to be quiet and for paying full attention to yourself. Cool breeze will take you to calmness of your being.

This is the Grotto at Mahatao View Deck, a perfect place to be quiet and for paying full attention to yourself. The cool breeze there will take you to deep meditation towards calmness of your being.

Have a stopover at Mahatao View Deck to explore Batanes at different angles – towards the sea, across the road behind towering cliffs, along a winding road, and so on. And I consider this view deck as one of the spot perfect for picture taking and selfies. As you go towards the viewing deck, you will find a grotto which is perfect to release your day’s fatigue due to non-stop activities.

7. Fundacion Pacita

Fundacion Pacita is a boutique hotel with rooms that resemble galleries. It is also the most expensive accomodation, with rooms costing from around five thousand pesos. Though part of the proceeds is used to support young Ivatan artists and heritage conservation projects in Batanes.

The Fundacion Pacita front view.

Fundacion Pacita is a boutique hotel with rooms that resemble galleries. It is also the most expensive accomodation, with rooms costing from around five thousand pesos. Though part of the proceeds is used to support young Ivatan artists and heritage conservation projects in Batanes.

8. The People of Batanes

They are the last but not the least of importance when you came to Batanes. They are admirable people. They respected the nature so much, which in return provided them their daily needs. They din’t even forget the basic of morality. They are kind, compassionate and courteous.

I would like to salute the Ivatan people for instilling in the mind of tourists, locals  or foreigners alike, the value of courteousness at all times when the rest of the world is losing their humanity. Their tradition is characterized by courtesy and gracious good manners. Why? They don’t even hesitate to lend you a hand when you needed them. And in my stay there, townsfolks always greeted us, strangers, by saying “Magandang umaga po!” (good morning!) or “Magandang hapon po! (Good afternoon!) whenever they come across unfamiliar faces. “Po” and “Opo” are distinctly Filipino ways of showing respect to one’s elders – which is slowly dying in this modern time. Everyone we encountered along the road would do that with a smile from their hearts! Imagine that. You can feel in your heart, the deepness, the truth they are trying to share. They live a simple life and contented to do so which in a way telling us something from our world so busy that we don’t even care to smile. One more thing, Batanes is one of the safest place to live in. In terms of crime rates its at an all time low. That’s one of the advantage of small population with high moral values.

I must admit, my admiration to Batanes is going deep to a point that I wanted to help preserve and promote Batanes as “The Ultimate Cultural Destination in the Philippines”. When I learned the history of Batanes I wish to see the Ivatan Cultures preserved, as well as experience the reviving Old Ivatan Traditions. As a tourist who saw the magnificent structures which invaded the fury of the storms, I longed to save Ivatan Architectures as well such as stone houses like the “old stone houses” in Ivana. I can not physically do those dreams but in my little way, through this blog, I can do my share in telling the world that Batanes is a great place to see and experience, a sea away from the luxurious lifestyle of the mainland where simplicity of life exist. If tourism improves it will generate jobs and provide income to the local people there and even to the local government to help sustain their mission of preserving and sustaining Batanes.

So, that’s it! I encourage everyone who dreamed of experiencing Batanes to start planning now. There are promotional tours offered by various travel agencies which are friendly in the pocket. The experience is worth your time and money. Before going outside the country and experience other cultures, first visit what naturally is ours, like Batanes. It is one of a lifetime experience and you won’t regret including Batanes in your travel plan.

Have a pleasant and memorable trip to Batanes! And when you have done that, now is the time to answer my question, which is the best place to visit, Palawan or Batanes? We will wait for the answer you are going to make.

Are you not familiar with Palawan? Search it in google map and here’s what it looks like:

Palawan map viewed from Google Map application.

Palawan map viewed from Google Map application.

Palawan is composed of the long and narrow Palawan mainland, plus a number of other smaller islands surrounding the main island. The Calamianes Group of Islands to the Northeast consists of Busuanga Island, Coron Island and Culion Island. Durangan Island almost touches the westernmost part of Palawan Island, while Balabac Island is located off the southern tip, separated from Borneo by the Balabac Strait. In addition, Palawan covers the Cuyo Islands in the Sulu Sea. The disputed Spratly Islands, located a few hundred kilometres to the west, are considered part of Palawan by the Philippines, and is locally called the “Kalayaan Group of Islands”.

And in my point of view, what makes Palawan unique are the following:

  1. Palawan is the Philippines’ Last frontier
  2. the Palawan island is made up of continental, not oceanic, rock
  3. NO earthquake

Philippines’ last frontier

Many people who have been to Palawan testified for its unique environment rich in flora and fauna. In its forests and grasslands, the air was filled with different songs of more than a hundred kinds of birds. Butterflies flutter around the mountains and grass fields of Palawan which attracted thousands of hosts plants found there. Sea turtles nest on white sand beaches, though at present they are facing extinction.

I did not mentioned all these because I am a Palaweno but a person who have heard testimonies of what other people foreign from this land have experienced once in their lifetime. I have lived for years both in Palawan and Manila. My first 21 years of existence was spent there in the former.

As a matter of fact, Palawan, the only Philippine island cited, is rated by National Geographic Traveler magazine in 2007 as the best island destination in East and Southeast Asia region, and the 13th best island in the world having “incredibly beautiful natural seascapes and landscapes. One of the most biodiverse (terrestrial and marine) islands in the Philippines… The island has had a Biosphere Reserve status since early 1990s, showing local interest for conservation and sustainable development” (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palawan).

What more? The province was also categorized as “doing well” in the 4th Destination Scorecard survey conducted by the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations, and Conde Nast Traveler magazine voted its beaches, coves and islets as the tourist destination with the best beaches in Asia. Also, a renowned underwater explorer has described the province as having one of the most beautiful seascapes in the world. And in the future, who would think that the islands of northern Palawan become a future destination for Asia’s growing economic and environmental conferencing? I already witnessed the beauty of the northern Palawan, El Nido, in particular.

In 2012, the purple crab was discovered there along with four other species.

Palawan island is made up of continental, not oceanic, rock

Would you believe that Palawan is stable largely because the island was once part of continental Asia which separated around 100 million years ago and drifted toward the Philippines? That’s according to some experts. Further, the rock of the island is continental and different from other parts of the country, which is made of oceanic rock. Sounds safer? Read this Wiki description of islands for reference.

In details, the crust of the island is thicker at 30 kilometers, compared to the 12 km of the oceanic rock, having derived from the Pacific seabed. The crust of the island is thicker and older and, therefore, not as prone to earthquakes.

NO earthquake

The richness of spectacular landscapes and seascapes that has made it the favorite of many travelers, it would seem that the paradise island of Palawan also offers the safest haven for those fearful of a Haiti-like tremor occurring in the country. Compared to other parts of the Philippines, Palawan is “relatively stable” geologically, according to experts at the University of the Philippines National Institute of Geological Sciences (UP-NIGS).

According to them, there are hardly any earthquakes in Palawan and certainly none strong enough to cause major damage. The whole island is probably the most stable area of land in the country. I can attest to that since up until now, I did not experienced a single ground movement there as a result of a seismic activity. Additionally, there were hardly any active faults under the island compared to the rest of the country. Plus point for Palawan, huh.

Attractions in Palawan

The Puerto Princesa Underground River

The Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) in the city of Puerto Princesa in Palawan province, Philippines - one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature

The Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) in the city of Puerto Princesa in Palawan province, Philippines – one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature

The whole underground river has been designated as the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park and is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites worthy of preservation because this underground river flows directly to the sea and so its cavern entrance is subject to tidal influences that brings about a unique sort of marine diversity to the river.

Read my adventure in this wonderful natural park which is one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

Coron Island

In the town of Coron, Coron Reefs could be found which attract nature lovers featuring the Seven lakes surrounded by craggy limestone cliffs. Busuanga Island, on the other hand, is the jump-off point for numerous dive operators. The principal dive sites are 12 World War II Japanese shipwrecks sunk on September 24, 1944 by US Navy action. They depth of the dive site from the surface is approximately 40 meters. This offers exciting wreck exploration for enthusiasts, from novice divers and snorkelers and recreational divers to experienced divers. The aquatic views from the sunken Japanese warships off Coron Island are listed in Forbes Traveler Magazine’s top 10 best scuba sites in the world.

Visit the picture-perfect town of Coron on the island of Busuanga at the northern tip of Palawan, known for its majestic limestone islands, crystal-clear blue waters, and pristine white beaches. Watch this:

Pamalican Island

Between Palawan and Panay, in the northern part of Palawan, Pamalican Island is situated. It is a small island of the Cuyo Islands in the Sulu Sea. The island is set in the middle of a 7 square-kilometer coral reef. It has a length of 2.5 kilometers, and measures only 500 meters at its widest point. The island is serviced by a Dornier 228-202K plane flying from Manila, which is used to ferry customers and to bring supplies to the resort. Each bungalow comes with a personal buggy for free circulation throughout the island. The atmosphere around the island is extremely tranquil and secluded.

Want to have fun? Diving activities are available, allowing for nice coral viewing and encounters with large turtles and rays. Several windsurf boards and sails are provided at the “Windsurf hut” on the north shore. During the northern monsoon season (usually during November to May) when the wind blows onshore, easy windsurfing on a flat surface of the shallow protected lagoon is especially favorable.

Did you know that the resort has been nominated as one of the best island resorts in the world? Nice, no?

As others put it, “Set on its own private island in the Philippines’ Sulu Sea, Amanpulo gives a perfect setting for sentiment, encompassed by white sand beaches and crystal-clear aquamarine waters teeming with marine life”, Pamalican Island is quite a remarkable place to go. Watch this video to take  a closer look:

Tubbataha Reef

Tubbataha Reef Marine Park is the protected area of the Philippines located in the amidst of Sulu Sea. It is a marine and bird sanctuary which consists of two huge atolls, the North Atoll and South Atoll and a smaller Jessie Beazley Reef covering a total area of 97,030 hectares. It is a unique example of an atoll reef with a very high density of marine species; the North Islet serving as a nesting site for birds and marine turtles. The site is an excellent example of a pristine coral reef with a spectacular 100 m perpendicular wall, extensive lagoons and two coral islands. The reef is located 150 kilometres southeast of Puerto Princesa City, the capital of Palawan province.

A lot has been said about the Tubbataha Reef and its role in the global maritime ecosystem. But how important really is it and why should we continue to protect it? Watch this:

Honda Bay

Have you heard Dos Palmas resort? Well, the place where this known resort is called Honda Bay, a bay on the eastern shore of the island of Palawan near Puerto Princesa City. The bay is used for both subsistence and commercial fishing and recreational activities. Boats can be rented there for the day and used for travel to nearby islands. Honda Bay is ideal for snorkeling.

Want to ride an outrigger boat to Starfish Island, Pandan Island and Snake Island? Experience it at Honda Bay. You may find starfish which is a common site at Starfish Island.

El Nido Marine Reserve Park

A visit to El Nido can never be complete without experiencing island hopping. So, we woke up early to prepare our things and ourselves for this first time island hopping in this part of Palawan. Catch my travel stories in El Nido.

Inside El Nido's Small Lagoon.

Inside El Nido’s Small Lagoon.

Did you know that on the January 2008 issue of international magazine Travel + Leisure, published by the American Express Co. (which partnered with Conservation International) listed El Nido’s sister hotel resorts El Nido Lagen Island and El Nido Miniloc Island in Miniloc and Lagen Islands as “conservation-minded places on a mission to protect the local environment? The resorts are active in both reef and island conservation which are both worthy of your visit. Read my El Nido travel stories here.

 

7 Truths About Working Abroad

What a 2014 ! It’s just the start of the year and here I come, in a down-to-earth decision making dilemma. Just received a call overseas and you know why I turned panicked when it was just a call? I had a job offer abroad that is hard to reject. The terms are good and chances are I can get the job with greater probability. The bottom line is – I have my mind set not to leave the country. I argue to myself before that what I earned here is just acceptable but then truth kicks me off the chair. And that hurts. My finances are getting bigger and bigger as my family is getting bigger. Heard of the same story? Well, just in time. Jobsdb.com gave me ideas something about working abroad. Please read below for the following may help you decide. Just like I do (perhaps). Good luck to us.

suitcase2 Leaving to make a living outside your home country is a difficult decision to make. Whether it’s because you landed a job offer, following a dream or maybe a simple change of scenery, the realities of moving and living abroad are often bittersweet.

It takes a good deal of courage, determination, and strength of mind to leave everything you’ve grown to love and cherish for a long time. Everything from preparing your travel documents, packing your luggage, and finally saying goodbye can be a struggle.

Whatever your reasons are or wherever it is you’re going, here are the top 10 bittersweet realities of working/living abroad.

1. New-found Freedom

Working or living abroad will help you experience a new-found freedom. A sense of being able to do and go as you please, the freedom to explore new places and make new choices can be overwhelming. If you’ve never had the chance to be yourself back home, being overseas will help you be who you want to be without worrying about what other people think of you. It’s a wonderful feeling you’d only know when you experience it yourself.

2. Time Flies By

When you’re abroad, your concept of time changes. Life back home goes by so fast and the next thing you know, your kid, your niece or your nephew, even your parents and your siblings are already a year or two older. You miss being part of their lives as you struggle to make sense of your’s in your new environment, this can make your personal relationships either strengthen or fizzle out. . However hard it is, the fact that life goes on for the people you left behind is something you have to learn to accept.

3. Meeting New Friends and Leaving Old Ones Behind

While you meet new friends, it is also inevitable that you lose old ones. As you spend more time trying to get to know people from your new workplace, your new neighborhood, or perhaps your new school, some of the relationships you’ve built back home begin to decay. “Out of sight, out of mind” is definitely a bittersweet reality you’d have to embrace as you begin your life abroad.

4. Language

Unless you’re moving to an English speaking country, learning a new language is a necessity if you want to be able to communicate with the locals. Imagine how amusing it would be for your co-workers to talk to you in the native tongue and then hear you reply to them in the same language? You can also explore the area with confidence if you can read and understand what the signs are saying. More importantly, you can haggle for lower prices during your weekend shopping spree without letting vendors take advantage of your inability to speak the language.

5. New Stories To Tell

The stories you experience and pick up during your stint overseas will help shape your own personal adventure, especially if you work in an internation company. our co-workers will no doubt have new and interesting stories to tell, most of which will definitely help you learn a thing or two about their background. The majority of these stories would make an amusing insight of your new life when shared with family and friends back home. Truly, spreading your wings takes on a new meaning when you’re living or working abroad.

6. Homesickness

Perhaps the single, most difficult part of living and working away from home is when homesickness sets in. You may have read stories of people not finishing their employment contracts abroad simply because it has become too much to bear, this does happen. At the end of the day, the question is, how important is this experience and opportunity for you? Are you going to allow yourself to feel homesick and just throw everything away? It’s a good idea to remember that home will always be there and you can return anytime, if you feel your time abroad is up then it may be the right time to return to your motherland but if you have any doubt think about the opportunities you may be giving up overseas.

7. Personal and Professional Growth

Being in a place that is thousands of miles away from your home can make you grow up fast. With no one but yourself to rely on, you have to step up and face the challenges of living and working abroad. No more parents to help cook meals, do your laundry, or wake you up in the morning, either you do things on your own or you end up finding yourself on a flight back home.

You also need to adapt to working with people from different cultures, work ethics and attitudes that may be very different from your own or you’ll find things difficult at work. The sooner you accept the fact that you need to speed up your personal and professional growth, the better your chances of moving up the the corporate ladder.

The good thing is you don’t have to do everything in a day. Start slow, test the waters and see how far it’ll take you. Sure, you’ll start alone, but you will meet new friends down the road and when you do, working and living abroad isn’t as hard as you first thought it would be. Save yourself the trouble and don’t panic because when you think about it, you only have two options, sink or swim, fight or flight. The choices you make will decide the kind of future you have abroad so make sure you plan and make decisions carefully. Good luck!

If this is helpful, please keep me updated. Okay?

3Questions_7 Yesterday, I was tasked to interview two (2) civil engineer applicants. It is my first time I do such an interview and I recalled the old times when I was in their shoes. And that’s five years ago! Job interviews are really nerve cracking. Coldness even enveloped me when my turn is coming. My heart beats fast and sounds like a thunder. Oh my God!

Anyway, yesterday’s interview with new applicants turns out well. And I can feel the same feeling they had just like myself back then. I just hope there are no other applicants who will surpass their qualifications so that they get the job.

Here’s the top 3 common interview questions and best answers I read from jobsDB.com. I believe they are helpful.

Going on a job interview is always an unnerving experience.  Most job seekers dread the idea of facing interviewers and fear the possibility of giving the wrong answer to the questions they may ask.  Fortunately, most companies use a standard set of interview questions and knowing these common questions allows you to practice how best to answer them.  If you go through the questions and answers in your head even before you step inside the interview room, you will have a better chance at giving the best answer and ultimately getting the job.

Here are some of the most common job interview questions and the corresponding suggestions on how to answer them.  Remember that your answers to these questions should be spontaneous, so you don’t risk sounding as if you memorized your replies on your way.

Question number 1: Tell us something about yourself

What makes this question very difficult to answer is that it’s too broad.  The question also sounds disarmingly informal which throws a lot of job seekers off balance, enough to lose their concentration and begin rambling in their answers.  Most recruiters and employers often use this question both as an icebreaker and as an opportunity to get to know you beyond what’s in your resume.

Suggested Answer: Highlight your Unique Selling Proposition or Personal Branding Statement

This is your opportunity to capture the interviewer’s attention by providing a short “synopsis” of your unique selling proposition or personal brand.  Give a one to two sentence description of who you are followed with a statement on your strongest personal strength and how the company can benefit from the strength you have mentioned is an ideal structure to wrap your answer around.

Add more value to your answer by incorporating a monetary value to the strength(s) you bring to the table.  You are most likely to get a follow-up question probing the scenario behind your answer so be prepared to talk about the details of your response.

If done correctly, your answer will pique the employer’s attention and they would want to know more.  This will help increase your “recall” value that will also increase your chances of getting considered or possibly hired for the position.

Question Number 2: Why do you want this job?

Interviewers are looking for a compelling reason about why you want the job and why they should give it to you. Answering this question correctly helps move the interview forward as the question of how much you want the position is already answered.

Suggested Answer: Come Up with a Great Sales Pitch

The Undercover Recruiter shares four key steps in selling yourself into the job.

Step 1:  Flattery Will Get You Somewhere

A little bit of flattery will get you somewhere.  Start your answer with a short statement on why you’d like to work with the company and what you really like about it.  The only way you can answer the question without sounding insincere is when you research about the company prior to the job interview.  Use the internet to find out as much as you can about the organization, the culture, and the people working for the company.

Step 2: Share Your Insights About the Job Posting

Impress the interviewer by sharing what you know about the job posting.  This shows that you are genuinely interested in understanding the dynamics of the position and are willing to embrace the requirements of the job posting.

Step 3: Relate Your Previous Achievements to the Job Posting

Interviewers and employers alike will appreciate your efforts to relate your achievements to the job posting you are applying for.  This indicates you won’t have problems going through training, seminars and other activities you may need to attend to do the job well.

Step 4:  Prepare a Rebuttal Statement

Expect follow-up questions that may question your suitability to the job and be ready to fend off concerns about why you’re perfect for the job.  Always wrap your answers around the fact that you are genuinely excited to be working with them and that the skills you have fit perfectly with the job requirements.

Question Number 3: Tell us about your Strengths and Weaknesses

Recruiters, hiring managers, and employers ask this question to assess job seeker skills and assets that will prove most valuable to the company once hired.  The question also allows them insights to job seeker traits that may be problematic for the organization in the long run.

Suggested Answer: Highlight your Strengths while Downplaying Your Weaknesses

Emma Charnock, Hays Hong Kong Regional Director suggests highlighting the skills you are good at and demonstrating a competency relevant to the job applied for, such as report writing, time keeping or your ability to get things done on time. Review the job advertisement for information on the skills required for the position and focus on these areas by using examples that demonstrate these skills.

With weaknesses, Charnock suggests talking about things you find difficult doing and putting a positive spin to it. For example, you are very thorough which can take time, but you’ve also found this means the quality of your work is always high.

Sample Answers:

“My greatest strength is my ability to multi-task without sacrificing the quality of my work.  I do this by keeping a daily calendar of the things I needed done for the day and sorting them according to priority.  I also make sure to follow-through with the schedule as much as I can and in case I am unable to complete them that day, I make sure they’re first on my list the next day.  My greatest weakness is my tendency to over-think. I sometimes find myself taking too much time strategizing on how to go about a certain task and testing several solutions before settling on something which was in fact one of the first things I thought of.”

“My greatest strength is my ability to work in a highly-organized manner.  I like to plan my strategy from start to finish making sure to anticipate any hiccups or roadblocks that I may encounter along the way. My <greatest/biggest> weakness is related to my greatest strength, I am very organized to a point that when things don’t go according to plan, I begin to worry and can be a bit inflexible.”

These are just three of the most common interview questions job seekers are likely to encounter in the course of the job search process. I hope these help. Good luck to job seekers out there.

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