Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tropical Storm Maring & Emergency Infographics

I can't think of anything suitable to post today. While I have all the time in my hands to go over and finish my backlog, I just don't have the juice to do reviews or personal happy posts at this point. The news are shocking. Aside from the devastation brought upon by Tropical Storm Maring, we also face the tragedy of the ship collision/sinking in Cebu and oil spill. 

For now, I thought of compiling some easy to understand infographics that will help us better prepare for unfavorable situations like typhoon and massive flooding. Remember that it's vital to plan ahead and not to panic. Be in the know by watching the news and heeding the experts' advise and warnings.

Lastly, no material possession is ever worth a human life. So make your and your family's safety a priority above anything else like belongings, work etc.


See more from Rappler: http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/31242-prepare-disaster-kit



Be alert and stay safe, everyone! Let's work and pray together for this tempest to quickly pass.

From the Nook,

Monday, August 12, 2013

Rainy Day Commuter Must Haves

It's been raining most of the long weekend and Labuyo is no ordinary typhoon given its wind speed. Rainy season in my part of the world (sunny Philippines) usually starts in June, but we're not spared from climate change that we get sunny mornings but really wet afternoons and nights lately. Then comes floods, heavy traffic, long lines in the terminal and all sorts of commuter nightmares. Don't fret; instead, be smart and be ready with these rainy day commuter must haves.

1. Umbrella 

This is the number 1, no brainer rule. Every morning, my mom tirelessly asks me if I have my umbrella with me. It should be a bag staple because you need it, rainy or not, period. I know people in High School who thinks bringing umbrella is so not cool. Wait 'til they're soaking wet, and let's decide who looks cool now. Tip: Don't scrimp. Buy a good quality one that will last the summer heat and windy/rainy days. 

2. Jackets/Hoodies

We should dress appropriately any day, but most especially on rainy days. Be ready with freezing AC in the office, or the shuttle air con blasting on your face with some extra fabric. There are lots of stylish and office-appropriate cardigans and dressy jackets, or you can play with layering and colorful scarves, too. If you're feeling extra playful, check out these cute Happy Hoodies, though make sure you wear it during dress downs and no-client-interface days. :D

Photo from Happy Hoodies Philippines

3. Hand Sanitizer/Disinfectant 

Don't compromise your health and safety during rainy season. It's the time of the year when virus and other disease are easily transmitted. Aside from your daily dose of vitamins (I take 500-1000mg Vitamin C everyday), be sure to have a hand sanitizer and/or disinfectant in your purse all the time. Commuters are especially exposed to germs and viruses in public transportation like shuttles, trains and buses so it's always best to spray some disinfectant every time you handle money (fare), hand rails, MRT posts, etc. Of course, wash your hands with soap and water AS SOON as you get the chance. 

I prefer using alcohol that has moisturizers to prevent skin dryness and peeling. The new Rhea alcohol has moisturizers and smells like baby cologne! :)

4. Jelly Flats 

Don't you hate it when rain ruins your favorite shoes? I've been a victim of this several times, and I don't want to waste any more of my babies shoes, so I bought some pretty Jelly Flats from SM Department Store. It's soft and comfy and most of all, super affordable at only Php 300.00. This is a lot better, prettier (and safer) than changing to rubber slippers when commuting.

5. Rain Boots 

It's signal number 2 and you still need to work. It s*cks, I know. But make your day a bit better and warmer with some funky rain boots. It's always good to know that you're protected in case you have no choice but wade on filthy water.

6. Overnight Kit 

Last but not the least, be ready with an overnight kit. There are days when it's wiser and safer to stay overnight in the office or a friend's place than braving the traffic, flood and heavy rains going home. I work in Makati and live in the "province" of Las Pinas, so I keep a kit with all my essentials to at least survive a night away from home. 

The content of your kit depends on you, but bare minimum are travel sized toiletries, disposable undies, extra shirt/dress and phone charger to let your family know that you're safe. Save important numbers and emergency lines on your phone book, too.

I hope you picked up a thing or two. Stay safe and dry, everyone!

From the Nook, 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Enchanted Island of Siquijor

I visited Dumaguete to try my luck and find a pawikan in their natural habitat in Apo Island. No matter how tempting swimming with the butandings (whaleshark) may sound, I did my homework and learned about the negative effects of this tourism to the lives and natural habits of these gentle marine creatures. (They become dependent on feeding and eventually weaken their hunting abilities, associate all boats to feeding time, hence they get too close and injure themselves with propellers etc.) So I packed my bags, bought new water pouches and snorkel and booked a day trip to Apo Island. Unfortunately, the skies didn't agree with me (again). The hostel's weekend trip to the island was cancelled due to heavy rains and thunderstorms. On my second day in Dumaguete, I made a call and went ahead with plan B: stop whining, jump on a ferry and visit Siquijor.

Siquijor is a small island province located in the Central Visayas Region. This island has long been labeled as a land of witchcraft and sorcery, featured in several Pinoy horror movies. Others may find this scary, but I personally think it adds to the character and charm of the province. I spent two days in the island, and it felt like being transported to a different era where the roads are huge and almost always empty, most business (meaning sari-sari stores and few, small food places) close at seven or eight and crabs, not stray cats, cross the streets. I loved it!

Here are my journal notes from my #SiquijorChronicles. If you're on the lookout for pristine beaches, rich marine life and want to escape the noisy city life, this is the place for you.

Going to Siquijor from Dumaguete City is a breeze. There are numerous fast crafts traveling to and from daily with trips as early as 5am to as late as 7pm. You can check the schedules HERE, but they change the schedules sometimes so best to check from the pier. Dumaguete pier is right in the heart of the city along the Rizal Boulevard so it's easy to find. There are several fast crafts but I prefer Ocean Jet because they have newer, bigger boats. Fare is about Php 160.00/person/way.  There are fast crafts and RORO from Cebu, Bohol and other provinces, too.

We arrived at Siquijor port in less than an hour, and boy, the waters in the pier is already so blue and sparkling clear, I had to fight the urge to jump!

The best way to wander around Siquijor is via motorbike. There's few public transportation available other than tricycles which can rip you off. It's better to rent a scooter for Php 300/day if you know how to drive. Unlike in Dumaguete where they will ask for your license and wearing helmet is a must, the folks here are very "relaxed". But be responsible and make sure to be always on the legal and safe side.

We took this short cut from the town of Larena to Maria, in search of the famed Salagdoong beach. The road goes through steep mountains and ravines so be extra careful, but it's rustic and extremely beautiful and definitely worth the shot.  

Siquijor island is pretty small and you can actually drive around the whole island in a day. Beach hopping is also very easy. Just be ready to be a "cowboy" since there are only few decent facilities in their public beaches like Salagdoong in Maria (above). They also have man-made slides and platforms for cliff diving, though I prefer if they leave the rock formations alone. It's beautiful as is!

We had to drive wet (and got dried) on our way to the next beach. It's cold, I got wind burns and my hair's a mess, but hell, it's fun! So loosen up a bit and leave your worldly cares behind. ;-)   

Siquijor also boasts of very rich marine sanctuaries and dive sites in almost every town. So for licensed scuba divers, you might want to keep Siquijor in your list.

If you're into history and culture, visit the old church and bell tower of St. Francis de Assisi right in front of Siquijor port. They also have the massive convent and St. Isidore de Labrador Church in Lazi.

I didn't have enough time to go spelunking or visit the old enchanted Balete tree but I guess these are good reasons to go back.

Since we're also feeling a bit romantic, we went to Coco Grove Beach Resort in San Juan, one of the more luxurious resorts in the island and capped the day with a candle light dinner by the beach. It was a good night talking about colors, the other side of the world and the years to come.

With my favorite travel buddy, J. 

That was a long post! Thinking about this trip gets me giddy already. I can't wait for my next adventure. Come explore the Philippines. Happy traveling! :)

From the Nook,