Protected: life is a journey

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Postcripts to a bloodbath

•August 24, 2010 • 1 Comment

We all knew what happened yesterday at luneta, the drama of having Chinese tourists be hostaged in a supposed to be safe and tourist friendly manila.  Yes it may be, as what they’ve said, an isolated incident but you couldn’t stop thinking on what the other nations are now saying about the Philippines or us Filipinos specially after witnessing how the authorities handled the situation and the media worsening it for being too unethical to show scenes that shouldn’t have been aired.

Early this morning, I have received an article allegedly written by one of the survivors of the hostage drama yesterday. I felt heavy upon reading this so im sharing it here. I don’t know the authenticity of this yet, but if it were true, then this can give a very interesting perspective of what has happened during the incident (instead of watching the overhyped local media)

Mr. Mendoza was already upset even before he saw on television what the policemen did to his brother. The other tourists who remained inside the bus were complaining. Wei Ji Jiang wanted to go to the bathroom. Dao Chi Yu was hungry and the rest were just groaning and whining like they have forgotten that our lives rest in Mr. Mendoza’s hands.

The hostage taker, as you know him was really nice. He treated us okay and even let the elders and the children leave the bus. He said your policemen treated him unfairly. He was a policeman too and was accused of doing something he had no knowledge of. But your government didn’t listen so he used us to get everyone’s attention.

Things would have never turned for the worst if he didn’t see how his family was dragged out of their house and taken into custody. He was watching the news all the time as we huddled around each other behind the bus. He shouted some words in your language then started shooting in the air. A girl about my age started screaming. Mr. Mendoza demanded her to stop but she didn’t understand English. God, he had to slash her neck with a knife just to put her to rest. Her boyfriend who tried to hit him was shot in the head. Tension was rising. You can see in his face how scared and confused he was.

The bus driver ran away leaving him alone with strangers from a distant land. I can see him walking across the aisle, sometimes pointing his machine gun to one of the tourists. But he tried his best not to hurt us, especially those who really cooperate.

I guess its in your nature not to inflict pain on others unless it was necessary. I remember him saying that he will free us before sundown and implored us to forget everything when we return home. But his words don’t matter now.

The policemen were trying to force their way in, while we all lied down to shield ourselves from bullets. Mister Mendoza blindly shoots at his enemies which I think kept them from rescuing us. I hear sobs under the chairs. Some were even shouting the names of their loved ones even when the air merely eat their words. Kevin Tang tried to escape when the glass door was was shattered, but one shot and he slumped on the floor with blood gushing from his mouth. Heavy rain pitter-pattered on the rooftop. In old Chinese saying, it means an end to a struggle.

Finally, somebody was able to open the escape hatch at the back of the bus. Freedom. But I knew Mister Mendoza was still alive. I knew he was just waiting for a chance to strike back at his enemies. So I told those around me not to escape. Let the authorities come for us instead. Then there was gunfire. He was firing at his enemies with a machine gun. Those who were at the escape hatch fled abandoning us once again. It’s like a nightmare with no end and to wake up means a certain death.

Then somebody from outside the bus threw a canister. It forced out a black smoke that is so painful to the eyes and putrid smelling to the nose. People started screaming. We cannot breathe. Some ran in front of the bus but Mister Mendoza warned them of stray bullets.

It was too late. One was hit on the head, the other was hit on the shoulders. Bullets were now flying. Its like the authorities thought we were all dead. Mister Mendoza finally admits his mistake and said sorry to everyone, dead or alive. He then ran towards the front of the bus where he would meet his maker. As he passed by my chair with bullets whistling overhead, I clutched my hand on the velvet curtain and wrapped it around my face.

All I could think of was to stay alive – for my child who is waiting for me back in Xinjang.

I know I will survive, I will come home.

Bang Lu Min

Survivor, Quirino Bloodbath

Its a sad story to know that a meek policeman who was accused of drugs and extortion be easily removed from his post and be stripped from his retirement benefits while a rich obstinate congressman who was found to have been carrying illegal drugs in hongkong still able to pay millions of pesos to bail himself out of jail, probably enjoying life outside the philippines, and still have his government post.

I condemn what happened yesterday. I feel sorry for those involved yesterday, the victims who were very unfortunate to be included in the incident and the cop mr. mendoza who was stating that he was a victim of injustice during his service as a policeman. I also condemn the overexposure the media has given to this incident how it worsens the situation and said to have caused ire to mr. mendoz which pushed him on killing a hostage. I do hope that none of this happens to our country again. For all those who have passed away during the incident, may your souls rest in peace.

my laguna trip

•August 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I have been in a lot of roadtrips before but I rarely visit the south. So I was really anxious when my officemate invited me in laguna. Laguna was one of the nearest provinces near the metro but I think I have only been there once or twice before.

The adventure (or misadventure) started when we boarded a lucena bound bus instead of Sta Cruz. It was a long ride considering the long stop at alabang, an abnormal downpour, and the heavy traffic at SLEX. To make things worse, we took off on the wrong stop and have to walk more than a kilometer near some ricefields in calamba. We did however reach UPLB but that was around 5½ hours after we left mandaluyong.

It was 10:30 when we arrived at UPLB. Fastfoods were closing during that time and we haven’t had our dinners yet. But among the closed establishments near UPLB one small carinderia stood out, the Papu’s Siomai!

11pm and still not sleepy so to exhaust myself more for me to sleep I was given a midnight tour at the campus.

The next morning (or hours later), we’ve then meet up with the group which ill be joining during the hike, they were a group of UPLB Stat graduates. Had a small chitchat while they are on their short breakfast and after that we then headed to siniloan, laguna.

At this point I really don’t have any idea what we will be doing. I just know that there will be falls and a hike so I was surprised that it will be a climb on mt romelo. I was a bit hesitant since I haven’t had a good sleep for almost a week now, the weather was freakingly bad, and I haven’t climbed a mountain yet. But I embrace new adventures. I like new experiences and for sure this will be a lot better than being idle and lazing back at home.

The trek wasn’t that hard from what I’ve thought at first but the rain sure made it harder by making the trail muddy and add up the torturous smell of freshly created horse dung. Most of our group who were all somewhat unprepared for the trek has given up their sandals since it will surely snap due to the mud sticking to it. Lucky me, I was wearing my dependent shoe hey i was the only one who didn’t slipped in the mud. Im really amazed on how the others managed to do the trek without any protection behind their soles and yet able to walk faster than me. By the way, a lot of them were girls and none of us had any experience climbing a mountain.

Around 2½ hours we reached the camping site. It was a bit disappointing and ive felt that we haven’t reached the top since it has no good views around it. Few steps from the camping site was the very steep and very slippery trail towards buruwisan falls. From hereon, this was the hardest part of the trek for me jelly feet jelly feet. My shoes weren’t that suited for moss covered rocks, I may have not slipped from the mud before but i may easily slip here in this terrain.

We had our lunch near the catchbasin below the falls. The falls didn’t have much water that time probably because of the el niño, nonetheless, it was still a delight to our senses. Tired, hungry, and a front row seat of the scenic falls sure made our lunch much more delicious. After an hour, we then headed to Lanzones falls. For one to be able to go to the second falls, youll have to cross upstream and some few cliffs (where I almost fell) with vines as your only aid. Compared to buruwisan, lanzones is smaller and shorter which is surrounded by a somewhat rocky cave.

Around 4 we decided to return good thing the trail was much easier now since the mud has already hardened. During the descent we paused in one spot of the trail which has a very good view to take some pics and of course the very traditional jumpshots :D. we had our dinner in one of the tourist spots in laguna, the exotik restaurant. The place was, from their name, was exotic. They offer various delicacies which you wont find in any of the restos inside your malls in manila. Price was reasonable and the food was delicious I never knew ginataang pating would taste that good. After the sumptuous dinner we call it a day and returned to manila.

end the hiatus

•August 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Im finally back to posting here in my page. Its been months since ive posted an entry and much has happened during that time which hopefully I’ll be able to write it here and update the few readers on what has been during the time when this page was stagnant. Ive had a lot of ups and downs hmmm but I think ill try to focus more on the positive and just pout on the few negatives.

It has been a very eventful period, I was able to travel outside philippines, been to probably the most beautiful place in the country, resigned from my job, been hired to another, ate sumptuous grubs, climbed a mountain, met new friends, attended various classes, and being married to the most beautiful girl in the world nahhh just kidding . Whatever it is ill try to write most of them here so I hope I still have the all the details at the back of my head, stop being lazy, stop the procrastination and end the hiatus.

on to the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto in Bulacan

•April 2, 2010 • 12 Comments

I am so tired right now. I just got home from the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto at San Jose del Monte, Bulacan. Haven’t slept yet, walked 16.5kilometers one-way trip from our place to Bulacan,  survived the hustle and bustle on the way there and putting the last ounce of my  energy on to writing this while the experience is still new.

I really wasn’t ready to do the “walk” last year. I remembered that by the time we reached SM Fairview my feet (yup the 2 of them) were already bleeding probably because of the sandals I wore. Didn’t bring any water and didn’t even brought enough money that time so instead of buying a mineral water, I bought around 10 bandaids just to patch up the blisters on my feet. But now I have brought enough money to even eat in a resto, a jug filled with water, and wore my most durable and comfy shoe (the one I wore during the 12km walk in San Miguel, Bulacan).

Distance from our place up to the Lourdes Shrine was 16.5kms (based on wikimapia), add the distance from our house to the main highway and the distance to finish the stations of the cross will sum up to around 17.5kms.

Unlike last year, walking up to the Lourdes Grotto took us longer, much, much longer. We started walking from Seminaryo (my place) at around 8:30PM and arrived at our destination past 2AM. Well at first we were a bit slow since we have female company this year, but the one that ate up most of our time was the last kilometer before reaching the grotto, from Tungko to the grotto (12:30-2:10am).

A few meters from tungko the pace has slowed down, much like the pace of a snail. Everything was in disarray. Vehicles which aren’t supposed to pass the hi-way (based on last year) squeezed themselves and now stuck and blocking a big part of the road, sidewalk vendors who are almost at the street whining that some of their goods were being trampled (tumabi kaya kayo ng di kayo sagabal at di kayo magreklamo), inconsiderate scooterists/cyclist who thinks they own the road and even resort in using their horns (di na nga makadaan ang tao pero ang gusto pasingitin pa sila. no choice naman kasi masasagasaan ka ng gulong nila), police/traffic police who were just whistling and waiting for their “lagay” (yup saw it 2times with a jeepney driver and a trike driver), and of course the loud, aggressive, uncultured, rowdy teenagers who were shouting curses and kept on pushing the ones in front of them. Yup it was chaos.

Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Church

I was drenched in sweat, feeble but never smelled (syempre dapat mabango, dapat gwapo pa rin :D). Finally we reached the Lourdes Grotto and did the stations of the cross. Did some reflections in my life, recited a passage and prayed for the continuity of blessings, good health and safety for the people dear to me.

Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto

I really didn’t bother at the people (mostly teenagers) who were supposed to be a devotee, praying during that time and doing some penance while visiting the grotto shrine but Ill just want to express it here. LENT ISNT SUPPOSED TO BE A FESTIVE EVENT AND RELIGIOUS SHRINES/GROTTOS ARENT A DATING PLACE.

A lot of the attendees who were teenagers used the time to mingle with each other the noisy way. Some were singing emo songs loudly (ughh) in tune with their oh so sossy phones while others with their guitars. A lot of them were smoking and just throwing the butts at the grassy side of the stations of the cross (ever heard penitence or penitensya?) and still a lot of them were doing PDA. Sheesh I had to repeat my prayers 3times in one of the stations because some people were loudly shouting, singing, flirting, laughing, cursing and smoking just beside that station.

Ok ok inhale exhale calm down and try to let them be holy week ngaun.

It really is sad (and somewhat annoying) to see the regressive solemnity of how filipinos celebrate the holy week.

one of the stations of the cross

We left the grounds at around 3:20am but because of the clogged hi way outside, the jeepney driver took us to a roadtrip (yes!) around some areas in san jose del monte, marilao, bagong silang, and zabarte and was able to return home at 6:30am.

My legs and ankle ache and my eyes feel really heavy.  I truly have to sleep now.

with Team D3k

•March 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

With all the dials, knobs, switches, options, numbers, exposures, twists and clicks, learning photography aint easy. But with the help of others learning it can also be enjoyable.

Last weekend I was asked by my elementary classmate Ron to join his group for a photowalk in La mesa ecopark. ive liked the idea, ive wanted to come but I was hesitant since Blair was a Canon 450D and it was a group who uses a certain model(D3000) and a certain brand not similar to mine(Nikon), they were the Nikon Team D3k.

They were a friendly group of photographers and after a few conversations and exchanges of opinions my inhibitions slowly fade. Im still not that proud to share my photos here but slowly im learning bit by bit. It was a fun and somewhat educational day. til the next photowalk team D3k!

starcraft 2 beta

•March 11, 2010 • 1 Comment

First and foremost, I am not a hardcore gamer anymore. I have already given up that title years ago. Yup nagbago na ako! (but still a casual gamer from time to time hehe). But this incoming game should never ever be missed. it’s the second coming of the probably the best RTS, the granddaddy of them all, Starcraft II.

StarCraft II is a sequel to the most popular kickass real-time strategy game StarCraft. Its development was announced as early as 2007(i think) by Blizzard and has made a lot of gamers worldwide drool in excitement and anticipation. After the announcement, a lot of gamers have already participated in a lot of online forums and communities to provide their insights about the game, share some images, bombard Blizzard with questions on when it will be released and throw in a lot of questions on game balancing considering SC2 packs a whoopass of an upgrade from its predecessor.

Here are some of my observations of the beta version of the game:

Ghost finally looks like a sniper now. Unlike its previous look, a sniper with a shotgun duhh

Supply depots can be lowered underground to provide more area for units to walk to and with the help of the command center, it can be modified to provide to double its supply (from 8-16). One reason why i hate terran in SC1 was having its structures taking up too much space so this function really is a good upgrade on the terrans.

Still hate the add-ons on terran structures though.

Nukes are still on the game and the targets are still aided by the ghosts. Nukes are now produced at the academy.

Terran Marines still packs the old attitude “you wanna piece of me boy?”

I think battlecruiser still is the strongest aerial unit with its yamato cannon (di na sya yamato gun, cannon na!). Battlecruiser’s voice doesn’t have the russian accent anymore (battlecruiser operational)

Siege tanks now look puny when paired with Thor, the ultimate most bad-ass arnold schwarzenneger-voiced heavy assault mech of Terran. Think of a MAU having the skill of chain rocket in rf. Also thor for me, has the funniest voice actor in the game.

Zergs are as alieny as ever.

Overlords are still the slow flying creatures that supply the control for the swarm. They now have a skill that lets them excrete creep below them (think of an overlord pooping). however, they no longer provide detector ability and must evolve first to an overseer to be detectors.

Sunken colonies are now replaced by spine crawlers that impales incoming land units aboveground compared to the previous’ underground attack. And just like ancient protector in warcraft3, they can be uprooted and place them on strategic grounds.

Ultralisks are now a force to be reckoned with. Ultralisks in SC1 were a lousy chunk of meat with huge tusks that deals a very low damage output. They also now have the ability to burrow! (wtf? up to now im still wondering how the hell are they able to burrow underground)

Queen is now a support defensive land unit. They can now attack land and air units and have the abilities to spread the creep around the base, heal zerg structures, and provide additional larvae to a hatchery/lair/hive.

Zerg units don’t have any cloaking abilities but they can burrow underground. And now they can move underground while burrowed.

Hydralisks are almost the same except for the ability to further evolve to a lurker. They now have 2 different attacks one is the usual ranged spine attack and the other one was a melee type using it’s scythe-like arms. Spine attacks now really looks like spines coming out from their bodies unlike the SC1 version complete with greenish goo like substance na akala ko dinudura nila :D

Protoss’ Nexus now have the ability chrono boost which boosts any activity a protoss structure is doing (unit production/upgrades).

Gateways can now be transformed to a warp gate that instantaneously warps a unit to any field in the map that is covered by a psionic area by the pylons. Perfect for providing reinforcements to an expansion or a prelude to an ambush.

My favorite unit in SC1 the dragoons, were no longer in SC2.

The reaver is also no longer in SC2 but they now have the Colossus, a tall robotic unit that fires a sweeping beam damaging clusters of enemies (think of the robots in the film war of the worlds). I also like the animation of zergs and some terran units that are burnt by a colossus.

Carriers are still in the game along with its interceptors. They now have an upgrade that makes their interceptors launch faster. Di na rin sya mukhang saging :D

Zealots now looks much cooler with their ability to charge up on enemy units. Sana ganito rin ung sprint ng zealots ng rf sabay full swing ng psionic blades.

Probably the most powerful unit in the game was the Protoss Mothership. Mothership was a powerhouse unit with very high HP and shield, high attack power that can kill small units instantly, skill that can slow/stop enemy units and attacks in a wide area, mass recall that summons units to the mothership’s location (similar to the arbiter’s skill), cloaking ability for all units/structures close to the mothership, a black hole like vortex that removes land and air units temporarily, an instant town portal, and the planet cracker that deals massive damage below the mothership. But now the mothership has been NERFED A LOT! and been reduced to an overrated arbiter.

Max number of units, like in SC1, are still 200.

There are now golden minerals which give off more minerals per travel of a worker compared to the usual bluish minerals.

You can now easily select an idle worker just like in warcraft3.

There is now a tab for control groups (Ctrl+#) which makes it easier to remember or select units in a controlled group.

Player can now select a huge number of units unlike in SC1, where the max number of selected units are only up to 16 (i think?).

Maps start out explored (but hidden due to the fog of war) rather than completely blacked out as in SC1.

Starcraft2 will no longer support LAN connection. Yup playing starcraft with friends will now be impossible without internet connection very very bad on the part of PC shop owners here in the Philippines.

What im currently playing right now is just a beta of the game, and up til now, the release of the game is still unknown. I really am excited to play the commercial release of the game but im doing trying to have some more patience til the game is released. Besides I don’t want to play a crappy half-cooked bug-infested game just like RF Online.

Beta is already up and the commercial release is nearing and nearing. And when the game is finally released in the market, its power will truly be overwhelming :)