Today, I receive all God’s love for me. Today, I open myself to the unbounded, limitless, overflowing abundance of God’s Universe. Today, I open myself to your Blessings, healing and miracles.Today, I open myself to God’s Word so that I become more like Jesus Everyday. Today, I proclaim that I’m God’s Beloved, I’m God’s Servant, I’m God’s powerful champion, And because I am blessed, I will bless the world, In Jesus Name, Amen.

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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...

Saturday, July 23, 2011


There will be a four-day long weekend towards the end of August, Malacanang announced on Saturday.

In a radio interview, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said August 29, a Monday; and August 30, Tuesday, have been declared non-working holidays.

August 29 marks National Heroes’ Day while August 30 is the end of Ramadan. - source

Thursday, July 7, 2011



JULY 15 & 16, 2011


Saturday, July 2, 2011


photo by wowee dollente

photos by vic nierva

PNR Bicol Express train fares are as follows: 

P    548 for the tourist section
P    950 for family-style cabins 
P 1,000 for executive cabins


The tourist section of the train features reclining chairs and more space for passengers. Meanwhile, family coaches provide double-deck beds that can accommodate up to 4 people and the executive coach has private cabins.


Travel time to Naga via the Bicol Express trains is expected to be 10 hours, all in the comfort of new air-conditioned coaches that the Philippine National Railways recently acquired. 

photo from RIHSPI
Soon, more features will be added to the Bicol travel such as television sets and free Wifi access.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Photo by Wowee Dollente
The fully-rehabilitated PNR Bicol Express  have 3 kinds of coaches : tourist class with reclining seats and in-coach movie and sound systems

photo from vic nierva

Sleeping cars for families and for the executives
photos from RIHSPI

The family sleepers (FS) car is one where the passenger can lie down on a full-body bed-like seat with a curtain which can be drawn close to provide privacy. There are four of these "beds"- two on each side of the open-cabin, one above the other. 
The family sleeper car is big enough for four adults. Children may be able to share one bunk bed. Going up the elevated bunk-bed though was a little challenge . Look for this metal bar which could assist you in climbing up the upper level bunk.
Photos from Chito

Dining car with first class amenities.

The dining car (DC) is a semi-full service dining facility, i.e. with waiter but no kitchen at the moment which can seat 50 people at any one time.

The projected journey of less than ten hours will put the Bicol Express at a competitive advantage with buses which take a full ten hours to make the trip, while offering travelers a superior riding experience at attractive fares.

Full service at 4 round trips a day (with a six-coach, 400-passenger capacity) is expected in September in time for the pilgrimages to the Festival of the Virgin of PeƱafrancia.

An additional 16 round trips will start next year.

Monday, June 27, 2011

One-day e-passport processing slated for PNP personnel and dependents

Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel and their dependents will have the rare chance of getting their e-passport processed in just one day on July 30.

PNP Director General Raul Bacalzo said that as part of the celebrations of Police Community Relations Month held every July.

The PNP leadership is coordinating with the Department of Foreign Affairs in holding a one-day passport processing at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame in Quezon City for PNP personnel.

Bacalzo advised interested applicants to bring their National Statistics Office (NSO) birth certificate and at least two valid identification cards.

This year’s theme is “Matatag na Ugnayan ng Mamamayan at Kapulisan tungo sa Mapayapa at Ligtas na Pamayanan (Strong Alliance between Citizens and Police toward a Peaceful and Safe Community).” 


Saturday, June 25, 2011

VIGAN, ILOCOS SUR: My Burnay Making Adventure

VIGAN, ILOCOS SUR: My Burnay Making Adventure

Pagburnayan Pottery Making in Vigan, Ilocos Sur is a popular destination among tourists.
When in Vigan, do what the Vigans do! 

I readily agreed when the Manong Kutsero (horse drawn carriage driver) ask me if I wanted to visit the Pagburnayan Factory. 

Arriving in the factory in a kalesa ( Horse drawn Carriage) distinguished tourists from locals. Not only because the locals know how to speak Ilocano but also because they usually ride the tricycle or walk around town.
I was filled with awe when I saw hundreds if not thousands of Burnay upon entering the factory! The burnay is an earthenware jar crafted by a potter’s hands with the aid of a potter’s wheel. It uses fine sand (anay) as a tempering material and fired at a high temperature in a huge brick-and-clay ground kiln that makes it is harder and more durable than other terra cotta. According to the Manong Kalesa driver who also serves as my guide, the local bagoong (fish sauce), sugarcane vinegar and basi wine would not taste as good if not fermented in stoneware burnay jars.

Burnay technology was brought to Vigan by Chinese artisans, who, according to Vigan folk historian Damaso King, came from Kwi-Sao, Chun-chiu province in Mainland China. As such, it may have existed in the area even before the coming of the Spaniards in 1572. These Chinese artisans who set up this cottage industry depended on the natives for their clay supply and labor.Fidel Go, owner of the Ruby Pottery and descendant of the first Chinese potter who came to Vigan, has his own account of the burnay industry’s history in Vigan.

Burnay Making

According to him, burnay technology was introduced to Vigan around 1890 by Pedro Go, a Chinese settler from Chinkang, in Fukien, Mainland China. He set up his camarin (jar factory) along what is now known as Rivero Street in Brgy. VIII. Around 1916, Ongkai Go, son of Pedro Go’s brother, came to the Philippines and worked with him, then went back to China to marry when he was 18 years old.

Ongkai came back to the Philippines around 1922, now with his cousin Igan Go, to set up their own jar factory, which is now known as Ruby Pottery. At such time, there were five (5) burnay factories in Vigan – that of Pedro Go, of Igan Go, and of relatives Ramon Go (owner of RG Jar Factory), Buki Go, and Domingo Go. The separate camarin of the last four (4) were all along what is now known as Gomez Street in Brgy. VII.

Fidel Go is the son of the late Ongkai and inherited the Ruby Pottery from Igan Go. He was awarded the Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan (National Folk Artist Award) of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts in 1990 for continuing the craft he inherited and for himself knowing all the rudiments of the craft. He claims that between the two (2) surviving Chinese-owned jar factories, he is the only one (now with one of his sons) who still does pottery himself.

Zosima Amistad, wife of Pedro Amistad, the proprietor-potter of NP Jar Factory, supplies supplementary information to Fidel Go’s story.

She remembers that there used to be seven (7) jar factories (presumably at a time when Pedro Go’s camarin already went out of operation). Aside from the four (4) already mentioned, there were those of Filipinos Jovencio Adora along the present Katipunan Street, Nicolas Amistad, and Evaristo Amistad whose camarin were near the southern end of Rizal Street.

Nicolas Amistad and Evaristo Amistad were the son and nephew of Iban Amistad respectively. Iban Amistad learned the craft while working as cook of one of the Chinese factory owners. According to Zosima, Iban learned to mold jars in the potter’s wheel while his Chinese master went away to gamble. He then taught his son Nicolas who later set up the NP Jar Factory. Nicolas’ son, Pedro Amistad, inherited the said jar factory and like Fidel Go, himself molds jars, sometimes with the help of one son.

Today’s Barangay VII is still more popularly known as Pagburnayan, which literally means “place where burnay is made”. This section was so aptly called because all the burnay camarin (cottage factories) were located in this southwesternmost part of the poblacion.

But about 15 years ago, there were only four (4) burnay factories left in Vigan. Three (3) belonged to Barangay VII’s jurisdiction, and one (1) under Barangay VIII, but all were neighbors.

However, one of the burnay factories (that within Barangay VIII) ceased its operations in the last decade. Presently, three (3) burnay factories remain: RG Jar Factory, Ruby Pottery, and NP Jar Factory. These burnay factories are the only ones found throughout the country.

At present, a variety of burnay products are made, mostly for decorative functions. These are jars of different shapes, sizes and designs, plant pots, ashtrays and others.

These are marketed within the country and abroad. The factory owners’ business contacts, other local and foreign traders order the jars with specifications or purchase these on the spot. About four (4) traders from Bulacan and some others from Manila frequent the jar factories in Vigan. It is said that the Bulacan Garden in Manila is the strongest dealer of burnay. Other Filipino and foreign exporters also patronize the Vigan burnay jars.

Volume purchases or orders are bought at discounts and are transported to other places by hired freight service. In one instance, Ruby Pottery delivered three freight loads of jars to an international shipping line to satisfy the order of a foreigner businessman who would take these to Belgium. While exportation is not yet regular, demand continues to expand to other foreign countries (e.g. Great Britain).

Local and foreign tourists also buy jars directly from any of these factories. Since Pagburnayan is a must-see section in Vigan tours, jars, especially the miniatures, are easily sold. The miniatures have a potential for expansion as they are bought and resold with some value added, as in converting these into painted decorative items.

Source: "Lifted from the Vigan Ethnographic Studies by VMP Socio-Cultural Team"

Monday, June 20, 2011


Pagmulat ko ng mata ngayong umaga, naalala ko na ngayon ay special non-working holiday dahil ilang linggo na ang nakakaraan ay idineklara ni Pangulong Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III ang June 20, 2011 bilang special non-working holiday in celebration of national hero Jose Rizal's 150th birthday.

Ipinanganak si Jose Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonsa noon June 19, 1861 at binaril sa Luneta noon December 30, 1896. 

Sabi ng WIKIPEDIA si lolo Jose daw ay isang Filipino polymath, patriot at pinaka prominente na advocate for reform in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era. 

He is regarded as the foremost Filipino patriot and is listed as one of the national heroes of the Philippines by National Heroes Committee.

His execution by the Spanish in 1896, a date marked annually as Rizal Day, a Philippine national holiday, was one of the causes of the Philippine Revolution.

Rizal was born to a rich family in Calamba, Laguna and was the seventh of eleven children. 

He attended the Ateneo Municipal de Manila, earning a Bachelor of Arts, and enrolled in medicine at the University of Santo Tomas. He continued his studies at the Universidad Central de Madrid in Madrid, Spain, earning the degree of Licentiate in Medicine. He also attended the University of Paris and earned a second doctorate at the University of Heidelberg.

Rizal was a polyglot conversant in twenty two languages. He was a prolific poet, essayist, diarist, correspondent, and novelist whose most famous works were his two novels, Noli me Tangere and El filibusterismo. These social commentaries on Spanish rule formed the nucleus of literature that inspired peaceful reformists and armed revolutionaries alike.

I-re-republish ko ng buo ang Proclamation Number 154 ni Pangulong Aquino.


WHEREAS, Sunday, June 19, 2011, marks the 150th birth anniversary of Dr. Jose P. Rizal, our national hero;

WHEREAS, to give all Filipinos the opportunity to commemorate Rizal’s patriotic deeds and sacrifices for the country, rekindle their admiration and respect for him, and to celebrate this milestone with appropriate ceremonies, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) requested that Monday, June 20, 2011, be declared as special non-working holiday instead of June 19, 2011, which falls on a Sunday.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BENIGNO S. AQUINO III, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by law, do hereby declare Monday, June 20, 2011, as special (non-working) day throughout the country.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Republic of the Philippines to be affixed.

Done in the City of Manila, this 26th day of April, in the year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Eleven.

By the President:

Executive Secretary


Saturday, June 18, 2011


The only photo of Jose Rizal smiling.
Jose Rizal the original traveler on a shoestring will be celebrating his 150th birth year on June 19, 2011. Pres. Noynoy Aquino declared June 20, 2011 as a special non-working day as requested by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

"To give all Filipinos the opportunity to commemorate Rizal’s patriotic deeds and sacrifices for the country, rekindle their admiration and respect for him, and to celebrate this milestone with appropriate ceremonies."

Who could forget that during his travels all over the world that he had a can of biscuits which he budgeted to last for a month. 

Rizal was a penny-pincher! Lol!  A real traveler on a shoestring!

As chronicled in Ambeth Ocampo's Rizal Without the Overcoat. Rizal was once invited to a New Year's potluck party where he was assigned to bring champagne. He did not like the idea, and throughout the merrymaking, he lectured everybody and advised against drinking, gambling and womanizing—the key points of the night. Then, Rizal stood up, announced that "inabonohan niya lang" and requested everybody to pay their share of the champagne bill. Stunned, the partygoers thought it was a joke—until pre-national hero Rizal passed his hat around.

Before checking into a hotel, Rizal would also ask the front desk how much the rate was with and without breakfast. He usually opted for the latter and used the money saved to buy alcohol, tea or biscuits.

Another "kuripot" story made its way to the pages of Leon Ma. Guerrero's First Filipino. Rizal supposedly survived on P50 a month in Europe, and he once wrote his sister Maria in December saying that he had not taken a bath since August, because it was "really expensive." That's four (4) long months! Whew!

Stingy as he seemed to be, however, he set aside funds for photographs. Ocampo published a list of Rizal's
monthly expenses and there was an allocated amount for photographs.
   For more details regarding this photo contest pls visit this.

As a Filipino you must know our National Hero lolo Jose! Get your Rizal passport @ DOTand retrace his footsteps, now na, go!

                   You can have your passport cum brochure stamp in all 27 places that Lolo Jose had been to.

Backpacking to retrace Lolo Jose’s footprints may be a better and pleasurable way of knowing the national hero than simply reading history books.

The Department of Tourism is encouraging Filipinos to travel around the country, with a “Rizal passport” in hand, and explore designated age-old churches, train stations, parks and little-known beaches, among others, seen through Rizal’s eyes.

The first 100 tourists to visit all 27 designated destinations connected to Rizal’s childhood and journey to martyrdom may present their passports with the appropriate stamps to the National Historical Commission of the Philippines to win an official “Kalakbay ni Gat Jose Rizal” certificate and other tokens.



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