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RUPTURED BRAIN ANEURYSM: Living with a Broken Brain

RUPTURED BRAIN ANEURYSM: Living with a Broken Brain. A unique insight into the fragility of the extraordinary human brain. A true st...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


"It is the journey not the destination that matters."
We went on a road trip to Davao on my fourth day in Mindanao. The Ladaran family from Polomolok fetched me at 4 o'clock in the morning from Tito Boy and Tita Malou's house in Polomolok then we traveled by land to Davao. 

The main purpose of our Davao sojourn is to visit the son of Tito William and Tita Nelly Ladaran who had an accident a few months back. He got hit by a vehicle owned by a certain Melanie Tan of Davao City while aboard his motorcycle. Both of his legs were injured and also one of his arms. 

The driver of the vehicle at that time bought him to the hospital. They were paid a total of P150,000.  Tito William was made to sign a paper stating that it would be the total money that the owner of the vehicle would pay, no more, no less. Unless he signs the waiver his son would not be operated on. In a situation like that na gipit na nga lalo pang ginigipit, what would a poor father do? To ensure the safety of his son, he had to sign the waiver so the operation would be done. "Pikit mata kong pinirmahan ang papel para maoperahan na ang aking anak," said Tito William. 

Anyway, the total bill at the hospital amounted to more than P180,000. He was still crippled up to this writing. He need to undergo physical theraphy but due to budget constraint they had to resort to a quack doctor in Samal Island, a certain Kapitan Bale for their son's therapy.

After visiting their son in a Davao shanty we then went to Davao Port. In order to go to Samal Island, private cars and public utility vehicles has to avail of the roll-on roll-off (Roro) ferries in Sasa Wharf. 

It was my first time to try the roll-on, roll-off (Roro) facilities in the Philippines. ( I first tried it in Malaysia. ) The ride took only 15 minutes. 

These happy bunch became my instant family. They may not have all the riches in the world but I love how they take things lightly despite not having a tons of money.  They were always laughing.  The genuine smile and happiness was contagious.


They were all smiling despite the fact that we had walked for almost half an hour on a very muddy road to be able to reach Kapitan Bale's abode.

Muddy ground 


Finally! After waiting for Kapitan Bale for almost half an hour at the Cabana ( Bahay Kubo). The quack doctor began treating his patients. 


 The healer in action.

He don't ask for money but his patients brought coffee, sugar and bread.

Kapitan Bale's altar.

Posterity pose with the Ladaran family at Kapitan Bale's bahay kubo.


All smile again despite the illnesses they suffer.  The old woman has fungus in her lungs, the old man her husband, suffers from hypertension, rheumatism (rayuma) and gout, the little girl has sepsis and the guy had a motor accident and had stainless on his arms

While in Kapitan Bale's place in Samal Island we tried this super cool drink. When in Samal you must try this pure cow's milk!


You can buy a bottle of fresh cow's milk for Php35 a bottle. They have different flavors such as:
  • melon
  • durian
  • mango 
  • chocolate 


Kapitan Bale posed like a bale. Lols 

This time around, I saw and experience the other side of Davao and Samal Island. A far cry from my first visit to Davao and Samal Island wherein I experienced and saw only the rich lifestyle of Davaoenos and its wonderful sites..


Walking back to the main road


We met a cow along the road on our way back to our service...mooooooooooo

A pose with the cow under the noon time heat


The little girl in our group is the one who spotted the cow first mooooooooo...


Finally our vehicle by the road side.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


On my second night in Lake Sebu, I met at the lodge good hearted people from Polomolok, South Cotabato. Tito Boy and Tita Malou Restificar, Tito William and Tita Nelly Ladaran, Kuya Rey plus a lot more, and of course the recollection master of the group Fr. Bobby Calunsag who had just arrived from Italy, where he was assigned as a priest for more than twenty years.
Fr. Bobby Calunsag and Tito William Ladara

They invited me to join them for dinner and to their recollection. I don't understand their dialect, so they spoke in TAGLISH. They made me feel important. They were genuinely kind and sincere with their invitations and really kind hearted individuals.
Tito William and Tita Nelly Ladaran

At 4 o' clock the following morning, I joined Tito William and Tita Nelly Ladaran and Fr. Bobby on the way back to Polomolok, South Cotabato.

We dropped off Fr. Bobby at the church gate before we proceeded to the house of Tito William and Tita Nelly.

I took a bath then had coffee for breakfast. Then the three of us proceeded to Cannery where they dropped me off 'coz they still have to fetch the other recollection participants back in Lake Sebu.
Alone in a town I've never been before, I decided to catch the activities at the Pinyahan Festival at Cannery upon my new found family's suggestion.
The third Pinyahan Festival's stage at Cannery
Department of Tourism Region XII signage.
One of the major sponsors of the event -DOLE PHILIPPINES.
There's an abundance of Watermelon in Polomolok.
SMB's Giant bottle besides the stage is so prominent. He he!
The kids had fun posing in front of this Giant SMB inflatable bottle.
Look! They're all there! I wonder what they're up to?
Onlookers filling up the truck cum stage. 

Curious as I am, I asked one spectator what was the event that they're waiting for? He said they're excited to see the Lumba Kalabaw race of Bgy. Cannery, Polomolok's Pinyahan Festival.
There's a lot of spectators, who came from all over Polomolok. And they do not mind the heat of the noon time sun.
The Carabao jockey waving at his fans.
The participants painted their carabao with paints to make them look attractive. This one is green color.

I wonder if they're not allergic to the paint. Oh I almost forgot they are "balat kalabaw" (meaning, thicked skinned). Water buffalo is a beast of burden known as carabao in the Philippines. Carabaos are associated with farmers, being the farm animal of choice for pulling both a plow and the cart used to haul produce to the market.

Before the start of the carabao race, onlookers inspect which carabao they're going to put their bets on.
The audience went wild when the race started. It was very entertaining! I even cheered with them!
The carabao jockeys gear up with motorcycle helmets and tennis shoes some in their slippers. I wonder if the organizer has safety standards set for the carabao jockeys.

There were moments when the carabao jockey would fell from the carabao. Everytime it happened, it really had the crowd roaring with laughter and cheers.

Bilib din ako sa mga Carabao Jockeys. They had plenty of fighting spirit. They still climbed up their carabaos to continue the race. One jockey even had to run side by side with his carabao when he found it difficult to climb back.

And there was one carabao who went wild and decided to run on his own and left the poor jockey altogether.

But what was really funny is the carabao that decided to join the crowd to watch the race.

Overall, I had fun watching the 3rd Pinyahan Festival's Carabao Race under the heat of the noon time Polomolok sun.

Live life to the fullest!

Smile always!

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Lake Sebu, Philippines, High-in-the-Sky,Mindanao
The mountaintops of Lake Sebu provide the perfect stage for a zipping adventure. The high-thrill act is now whizzing the mountain wild of the lakeside villages of Lake Siloton and Lake Lahit in Lake Sebu, considered the summer capital of the province of South Cotabato.

I hired a habal habal (motorcycle) for P30.00 (one way) to bring me to the zip line area.The zip line only operates along the second falls up to the fifth since the first, sixth and the seventh falls are 1.2 km off the four falls. The Seven Falls is a series of river plunge along the mountain forests of Lake Sebu.

There is an entrance fee at Falls Number 2 set at P 20.00/ head. I had photo ops near the falls, then went to the zip line area but nobody was there. My habal habal driver decided to fetch the zip line crew upstairs. When he came back, he told me to wait for a little bit longer because the crew members were eating their merienda (snacks).

Then the zip line moment came! Whew! Nobody is in line. The rain has just stopped. That is why I have the zip line all to myself! Wooooot!

"You are up here in the Seven Falls,” said one of the crew members. “And we assure you that it’s going to be a unique and happy experience. No athletic ability is needed here,” he assured me.

The harness drapes around my back, chest, legs, and hooks onto the metal trolley. I asked him what the weight limit is for the harness. He said the limit is 170 kilos. So I am safe.

This is the Seven Falls Zip Line.
As I hang with the 3/4 inch cable above me along the 700-feet-deep foliage, I wanted to scream, but nothing came out of my mouth, except for ha ha ha! With my body extending forward like superman, hands slumping, hair raging in the gush of misty winds, I flew at 120 kilometers per hour toward a hardly visible spot in the distance. I saw a carpet of trees and bushes in fiery colors of green, hill-walking trails and the regal falls opened up beneath my feet with no structures to break the spell in an area inhabited by bird-monkeys, butterflies and tarsiers.
LUPAD (native dialect for flying)

For that first zip, I looked to my right side to see the mesmerizing falls, then I looked down and marveled at the wonders of nature. “Dear God, you’re truly amazing!” is all I can utter. It was an exhilarating feeling!  I can't explain the happiness I felt.
Lake Sebu, Philippines, Zipline
 Flying high at 700 feet deep, 700 meters long zip line 
As I get to the other end, the zip slowed down and rocked to a stop, the jolly crew cheered. And asked me if I am all set to do it again at the other tower.
Lake Sebu, Philippines, Zipline Crew, Zipline Team
Lake Sebu’s zip lines provide thrills for young and old alike, as long as the riders have no fear of heights. They said you have to be intimately involved with the cable in order to achieve bliss.
At the view deck after my first zip line wala lang parang tanga lang ha ha ha! 

The first zip ride took only 38 seconds, but why rush it? The crew suggested a slower ride with an appropriate wind breaker to slow down the speed in order to better appreciate the sights. On the second zip, the ride was full of sights of more trees, falls, falls, falls and falls—the sight of the gushing falls below. It’s over, finally, in 15 seconds.
Lake Sebu, Philippines, Zipline Adventure
Zip at the second line 400 meters long, done in 15 sec.
Lake Sebu, Philippines, Zipline Adventure, Lake Sebu, Falls,
Beautiful Falls

Zip-lining is a sport that requires floating through the thick forest while linked to a network of solid wires strung between stands.
Lake Sebu, Philippines, Zipline Adventure
Combined weight of up to 170 Kilos is allowed.

In between, the zip line hits the speeds of 100 kph. The dual zip lines, one traverses 700 meters and the second, 400 meters, strung over mountains, trails and seven falls at 700-feet deep—the record-holder among zip line operators in terms of height.

The slant of descent, the length of cables and the aerodynamic form all go to the speed and length of the ride. Added amenities hang over the zip line such as the trailing, bridges, rest rooms. Now that they have laid down the foundation for zip-line touring in Lake Sebu, the provincial government is already looking to expand and enhance the experience.
Lake Sebu, Philippines, Zipline Adventure Rates
In the next months, they said they plan to open further expansions such as cable cars, a gazebo, stick insect and butterfly farms, and tarsier and bird-monkey watching in their own sanctuary as the new adventure outpost.

The twin zip line ride will cost you P250 per ride on a weekend, holidays, fiesta/ anniversaries. Entry fee to the waterfalls is P20 per person and the landowners get a 15-percent monthly share from the provincial government. They are likewise given priority for future employment.

You ought to try it too! Come visit Lake Sebu and experience the warmth and hospitality of the Tboli tribe and eat the freshest and biggest Tilapia you'll ever see. Visit the Philippines!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Magandang GENSAN!

August 27, 2010 marked my very first visit to General Santos City in Southern Mindanao.
Inside the plane, I was nervous (yeah, Filipinos smile the nervousness away), apprehensive and jittery.

Well, I am Luzon-born, so people from Luzon could relate with me. I don't have a hotel reservation, no specific itinerary and to top it all, I don't know anyone from GENSAN! 

The tuna festival was moved to September 18-26. I was disgruntled, and I can't think of anything to do in GENSAN after I learned that the Tuna Festival was moved to another date. My PAL ticket is a promo ticket which I got several months ago for P1,240 Round Trip. Promo tickets come cheap but you could not re-book or transfer them. 

So, I googled about the white beach in GenSan and found GLAN, Gumasa in Saranggani Province, where my idol Manny Pacman Pacquiao is the newly elected congressman. 

I thought to myself, here I come, I will be swimming non-stop for 7 days and my resolve to travel on a shoe string would be a thing of the past. The thought of shelling out more than P 20,000 pesos for my hotel accommodation made me shiver. 

Armed with my backpack, life vest and snorkeling gear, I was all set for GENSAN, Wish me luck~!
Meet Tita Aliza, a native of Koronadal City also known as Marbel, South Cotabato. She was my seatmate in the plane. She is a Muslim. She's kind hearted and offered to share the taxi with me from the airport since taxis in GENSAN don't use meter (that reminds me of Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, where taxis don't use meter and you have to agree for the fare beforehand. I hope Mayor Darlene would do something about this).

The usual rate is P300 (airport to Gensan proper). Tita Aliza convinced me to go to Lake Sebu, instead of Glan, Gumasa in Saranggani. I readily agreed. So I changed my destination to LAKE SEBU! I was so excited and nervous at the same time! From the airplane's window, I saw Mt. Matutum for the very first time. Yehey!
Then our plane smoothly lands at the General Santos International airport and we walked from the plane to the arrival area of Gensan airport.

After we disembarked @ GENSAN INT'L AIRPORT, we waited for our checked-in bags at the carousel. This took so long because suddenly it rained after we disembarked from the PAL plane. So, while waiting, I posed for posterity in front of the poster of the tuna festival inside the airport (see picture below).

After eternity or so it seems, our checked-in baggage finally came. We went out of the airport and saw a huge number of people waiting outside. Different mode of transportation were available pala. There are jeepneys, taxis, free shuttles of different hotels and habal habal (single motorcycle). We rode a taxi, and off we went to TOYOTA GENSAN branch, where we were supposed to pick up Tita Aliza's vehicle, which she left a week before. Service in that particular branch is super slow, so Tita Aliza had to come back another day. So, we waited for a YELLOW BUS which, they said, was the usual mode of transport going to and from Marbel town, then a non-aircon van pulled over and tempted Tita Aliza with a lower fare. So we got in, but the van stopped and pulled over whenever the driver saw a prospective passenger. Tita Aliza decided we will disembark in POLOMOLOK, so we can transfer to a YELLOW BUS. The bus ride from Polomolok to Marbel was smooth and comfortable since the yellow bus has an aircon. Tita Aliza instructed me to ride another yellow bus from Marbel to SURALLAH town. We said our goodbyes and off I went to the terminal across from where I alighted.
I hurriedly crossed the Ped Xing ( Pedestrian Crossing, in case you are thinking it is a Chinese term, lols) towards the yellow bus terminal and looked for the SURALLAH signboard from the lines of buses @ the terminal. Inside the Bus I met Tita Sally, a retired teacher who will be visiting her mother in Surallah. With her is her 78 year old aunt. According to Tita Sally, her mother is 80 years old and will be turning 81. She even invited me to come to the birthday party the following day.
When we arrived in Surralah, they instructed me to look for a jeepney with a sign- Lake Sebu @ the terminal. Inside the jeepney bound for Lake Sebu, I met Tita Linda Weaver, she's from T'boli tribe, and she is very accommodating. She was the one who helped me find a lodge and toured me around. We even visited her house and that of her daughter Lyn lyn.

When she showed me where to eat, Tita Linda brought with her, her granddaughter Moonie, who is so cute and bubbly. We ate fresh tilapia at a restaurant with the very picturesque Lake Sebu as a backdrop. Total lunch bill is around P250.00, inclusive of 4 servings of rice, 2 bottles of pop cola, 1 kilo of Tilapia. It rained while we were eating our late lunch, so we stayed put for a while inside the resto where Tita Linda had a concert @ the videoke machine to while the time away. After the rain we went to check inn @ the lodge ( P60.00/ head)
This is the P 60.00/ night bed in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato

After checking in, we went out and toured Punta Isla. Transport cost to and from Punta Isla is P130.00 (P 10 pesos from her house to the resto, then P120 going to the inn and then to Punta Isla then back to her house where we fetched her friend whom she invited to join us in the inn for the night, and then back to the lodge.) If you are alone, I think you will spend around P30.00 for the habal habal ( I learned that habal habal fare is from P5 to P15 only.) 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010



I arrived in Manila @ 4:30 AM my brother fetch me from the terminal and we immediately proceeded back to our town house. I catch an hour of sleep and begun surfing the net for last minute travel tips for kota kinabalu since we did not book a hotel in kk I am a bit nervous. My brother went out to run an errand ( job related) and instructed me to just take a taxi and off he went.

Catching a cab from our place is a bit challenging, but I found one. a TAXI WITH PLATE # TXF810 WHICH YOU OUGHT TO AVOID LIKE A PLAGUE. The good for nothing taxi driver took 2 hrs to reached our destination when normally it is just 30 minutes and the normal P 80 pesos bill became P 238.00 I handed him P 240 I know KARMA would eat him out. I almost missed our ride to Clark because of him. He was actually offering to take me to CLARK for 3 thousand pesos and I said NO, I am not going there via taxi he said a lot of his passengers, who reached the terminal late agreed with his rate just so they'll be able to reach DMIA on time for their flights. Hmmm, I sense some delaying tactics here and there so he can convince you to hire his taxi. AVOID HIM AT ALL COST!

After my horrific taxi mishap, let me proceed to my wonderful Kota Kinabalu adventure, thank GOD! Our Air Asia flight went a breeze. We then met Hans from Germany he is our seatmate on the plane so we shared a taxi ( RMB 30) going to downtown Kota Kinabalu hotel ten minutes away from the airport.

We checked in @ Lai lai hotel and called up kuya Nelson for our tour around kk. His contact # +60 16 803 4277 geez Lai lai management charged me with a whooping RM  47, kaya kayo wag na kayo doon, mahal na super pa kung mag charge ng local call! E eto naman kasi si kuya Nelson ang sabi sa akin wala naman daw bayad yun kasi naka check inn naman kami sa hotel nila. Disappointed ako, sobra wrong info and wrong ang hotel dapat mag post sila sa kwarto para wag gamitin ang telepono nila!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Miss Philippines 2010 Venus Raj Top 5 Question And Answer



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