BICOLANO’S PRIDE: OUR BEAUTIFUL CALAGUAS ISLANDS

Presenting Bicolano’s Pride: Our Beautiful Calaguas Islands
Pristine, unspoiled and picturesque, Calaguas Group of Islands. A hidden paradise in Camarines Norte

Calaguas Group of Islands is located in the town of Vinzons, Province of Camarines Norte. The island can be reached by virtue of a two (2)-hour boat ride from the mainland. It boasts of powdery white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and unspoiled natural resources, a place where you can truly relax while enjoying the beauty and serenity of the place.
The long stretch of beach named Halabang Baybay/ Mahabang Buhangin (long stretch of sand) is found in a cove located in Tinaga Island. It is a picture perfect paradise with its long stretch of fine white sand dotted with volcanic rocks on both ends. The place is the most frequented camping and swimming site by tourists from all over the world.
The jump-off point going to Calaguas Islands is Daet, Camarines Norte if you will be going  via Vinzons. 
From Daet, you can catch a jeepney going to Vinzons and get off at the Pandawan Fish Port. 
A boat going to Barangay Banocboc departs from the fish port at 11 A.M. daily. From Banocboc, you can hire a banca (small motorized boat) to take you to Calaguas Islands for as low as P500.00 or even lower depending on your haggling skills. 
Please take note that the return trip to Vinzons fishport leaves Banocboc at 6 A.M. the following day. 
Another option is for you to hire a banca from Vinzons fish port to Calaguas Islands. Price depends on the capacity of the boat. You could hire a small boat that can fit four (4) to five (5) people for about P2,500-P3,000.00. Please note that it is a two (2)-hour boat ride from the port. So please prepare your Bonamine (medication for motion sickness) and plastic bags just in case you happened to be a byahilo (mahihilohin sa byahe or one who has motion sickness).
Enjoy CALAGUAS ISLANDS magnificent view of sunset, explore OUR BEAUTIFUL CALAGUAS ISLANDS beauty… you’ll definitely find a reason to smile and be happy.

Paracale, Camarines Norte, a  town popular for its gold mines (which also happened to be my Mama’s birth place), is another entry point going to Calaguas Islands. Daet, Camarines Norte can be reached in less than two(2) hours by public vans. Fare is around P100.00. But if you are coming from Manila, Superlines buses have direct trips from Manila to Paracale/Panganiban, Camarines Norte. Get off at Paracale and then make your way to the fish port. Or you can ride a bus to Daet, Camarines Norte, then get off at Barangay Talobatib in the town of Labo and ride another bus for less than an hour to get to Paracale town and then proceed to Paracale fish port by riding a tricycle.
At the fish port, ask around for the fishermen’s boats going to Halabang Baybay (which is a Bicol word for Mahabang Buhangin or a long stretch of sand). The boat rate going to Calaguas  is as low as P2,000, which is good for five (5) to six (6) persons already. Or you could opt to ride the boat that goes to Barangay Mangkawayan, Calaguas for a cheaper fare of P50 per person. However, please note that the schedule to Barangay Mangkawayan, Calaguas is unpredictable as there are no regular public boat with scheduled departure but more of fisherman’s boat going to Barangay Mangkawayan, Calaguas.
Going to Paracale from Manila, there is Superlines and Philtranco buses which have direct trips to Paracale. Alternatively, you can ride Daet-bound buses and get off at Talobatib junction where buses going to Paracale pass by. Last trip from Daet to Paracale is 6PM and 4PM for Paracale to Daet.
Philtranco, Amihan (Contact No: 387-1792) and Superlines buses offer Cubao/Pasay to Daet for a travel time of approximately 7-8 hours . Fare cost differs. It ranges from P450.00 to P750.00. Tip: The buses give special discount to passengers during off season.
The place mainland is called Mahabang Buhangin (long stretch of sand), a one-kilometer stretch of powdery-white sand coupled with cool and crystal clear water.
The visitors are allowed to stay overnight with their own tents and camp whilst gazing at the wonderful sky above and feasting on delectable seafood.
It is best to visit the place from February through September.
Since it has no resorts or facilities, the island promises a wholesome and memorable nature trip.
  Tranquility
It is not surprising if you will come back for some more fun in the island. Discover Calaguas Group of Islands, swim on its turquoise water and sit on its fine white sand.
For sure, once you got the taste of Calaguas, you will certainly would want to keep coming back.

Photos by my architect friend Khae Anne Naguit. Super galing ng shots niya talaga!
See you in Calaguas Islands! God bless us all!

DO IT YOURSELF HOW TO APPLY FOR A PHILIPPINE PASSPORT FOR FIRST TIME APPLICANTS

First Set an Appointment at:

www.passport.com.ph 
or
www.megamall.passport.com.ph
or
you can call the DFA Hotline at (02) 737-1000 


This is a FREE service provided for the convenience of Filipinos. There is no charge for making an appointment with the DFA Main office (at Diosdado Macapagal Blvd. Aseana, Pasay) or its sattelite offices.

For your convenience, you can file your application for Philippine Passport or its renewal at the following DFA offices in malls:

DFA in SM Manila (at the back of Manila City Hall) 

DFA Megamall Consular Office, 7th floor of SM Megamall Building C in Mandaluyong 
(10am-8pm)
DFA NCR Central at Level 1, West Lane of Robinsons Galleria in Ortigas (10am-7pm)
DFA Robinsons Gen. Santos City (opens on September 3, 2013)
DFA Lipa City at Level 2 Expansion Area, Robinsons Place in Lipa City
DFA office in Pacific Mall Cebu
DFA office in Robinsons Starmills, San Fernando, Pampanga
DFA office in Marquee Mall, Angeles City
DFA Legazpi in Pacific Mall, Legazpi City
DFA Consular offices will be opening soon in other malls.
DFA offices in malls are usually open to the public from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mondays to Saturdays for both processing and releasing and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays for releasing only.
Those in provinces can also apply at the nearest Regional Consular Office or during Mobile Passport Service (MPS)
Download, print and fill-out the passport application forms completely with the appointment reference numbers.

Please note that Applicants will not be admitted at the entrance gate without valid appointment and application forms.

Photocopy all the necessary documents before proceeding to DFA Aseana.

Applicants will not be processed if they do not have complete set of photocopies of their documents.

Please make sure that you are familiar with the application procedures before proceeding


REQUIREMENTS FOR FIRST TIME E-PASSPORT APPLICANT


* PERSONAL APPEARANCE IS REQUIRED *

• Duly accomplished application form (CAN BE DOWNLOADED ON LINE)

• Original Birth Certificate on National Statistics Office (NSO) security paper.

• Any two (2) of the following valid IDs:

Social Security ID/Government Service Insurance 
System ID

Computerized Voter’s ID

Professional Regulatory Commission ID

LTO Driver’s License with OR

School ID with original registration card/transcript of records

Or any old documents with date and place of birth


ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS

a. For Married women 

• Marriage Certificate on NSO security paper 

• If married to a foreigner, Certificate of Filipino Overseas (CFO)

b. For Minor applicant (below 18 years old)

• Original passport of travelling companion 

• If travelling with father, Marriage Certificate on NSO security paper 

• If travelling with guardian:

Affidavit of Support and Consent from Mother (authenticated by the nearest Philippine Embassy if Mother is abroad)

Special Power of Attorney (authenticated by the nearest Philippine Embassy if Mother is abroad)
DSWD Clearance

c. For Seaman 

• Seaman’s book

d. For Muslim applicants 

• For those whose births were registered, Please refer to requirements for first time passport applicants.

For those whose births were not registered: 

• Late registered Birth Certificate (BC)on NSO security paper

• Original and photocopy of Voter’s Affidavit or other supporting documents indicating date and place of birth and citizenship, identity and tribal affiliation. 

• Certificate from the Office on Muslim Affairs (OMA)

For converts: 

• Submit annotated Birth Certificate (BC) on NSO security paper 

• Court Order granting change of name 

• Shari’ah Court Order 

• OMA Certificate of Conversion

Warning: Submission of false information and falsified documents are punishable under Philippine Laws. It is up to the discretion of the DFA to accept, reject or request for additional supporting documents or personal appearance from the applicant.


Passport Fees

Regular Processing: Php 950.00 (15 working days)

Express Processing: Php 1,200.00 (7 working days)

Note: An additional fee of Php 200.00 will be charged for processing of Lost Passports if it is still valid.

Please be advised that appointments from 5:00PM onwards will be considered rush processing.

DO IT YOURSELF HOW TO APPLY FOR AN SSS ID CARD

DO IT YOURSELF HOW TO APPLY FOR AN SSS ID CARD 

The SSS ID Card is one of the many goverment ID cards that you can use for business transactions like opening a bank account or applying for a DFA passport. The SSS ID is given for free to SSS members.

The application process varies from time to time but here’s are quick steps to apply for an SSS ID. Applying for and getting an SSS ID ( Social Security System ID Card) can be easy and at the same time very tiring and frustrating. Some people get lucky why applying for an SSS ID while others are not.

Here’s how to apply for and get an SSS ID:

  •  Download the E-6 form from the SSS website. 
  •  Click on Forms at the left navigation panel. 
  • Then select E-6 from the list. 
  • Or click here for the direct link: SSS FORM E6. 
  • Print then fill up the information needed.
  • Click on Employment History at the left panel. You will be shown a list of all your employers, past and present. Copy the employer number of your company into the form.
  • Click SSS ID Clearance at the left panel. If the note says “Member Qualified for an SSS ID Card”, then you are cleared and eligible to apply for the ID. Print this page. Just click the File menu of the browser, then Print.
  • Go to the SSS Office. Tell the guard you already have an SSS number, the E-6 form and the ID Clearance and that you are applying for the ID. He should give you a priority for your picture to be taken.
  • Get in line at the SSS ID section and get your picture taken. Present two IDs from the list stated at the 2nd page of the E-6 form. If you have your company ID and an ATM card with your complete name, then you should be fine.

6. You’re done. Just wait for the SSS ID to be mailed at your home or office address. Or you can get the SSS ID at the SSS.

EARTH HOUR @ MOA STARTS @ 6:00 P.M. COME ONE COME ALL!


The main switch-off event will begin at 6PM on 26 March at the SM Mall of Asia Globe area. The event also serves as a kick-off for a planned year-long WWF climate change solutions campaign. Still, thousands of Filipino towns, cities and landmarks are expected to join the switch-off.

10 ways to spend Earth Hour 2010 


Filipinos from 1,041 cities and towns will join the world in spending Earth Hour and environmental group World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines listed 10 ways to do as Filipinos turn off the lights from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday.



1. Document Earth Hour celebrations in photos and videos and win gadgets such as DVD players and cell phones in the Earth Hour contest. For details, visithttp://wwf.org.ph/earthhour/2010/03/a-contest-earth-hour-photovideo-documentation


2. Host an outdoor evening party with friends and family. Fire up the flashlights or candles, dine on organic food and talk about ways to reduce energy use.


3. Encourage kids to unplug their electronic gadgets to play and explore the outdoors. Play traditional Filipino games like “patintero” or spend the afternoon birdwatching.


4. Do a recyclables’ hunt. Get your flashlights and find cans, bottles and boxes that can be reused to reduce items that end up in landfills. A fun tip: reuse plastic grocery bags.


5. Green that workspace! Aside from turning off the office lights, make sure to unplug computer screens and speakers instead of leaving them on overnight. Shutting the screen and speakers down when unused can lower power consumption and electricity bills drastically.


6. Involve local leaders to set up a community “green” discussion in a public building from on March 27. Help organize attendance and ask your leaders of their plans to make your area greener.


7. Clean up your street. Grab a flashlight and walk down your house street, picking up trash and recyclables as you go. It’s a great chance to do some stargazing too!


8. Unplug electrics and just chill out. Turn off the screens, shut your cell phones and just have an hour of steady time with your family.


9. Give yourself an energy makeover. Use Earth Hour as a reason to make your home more energy efficient: Replace old incandescent bulbs with energy-saver, more efficient CFL bulbs. Install power strips to turn computers and electronics on and off more easily, since appliances on standby mode consume up to 30 percent of energy.


10. Make a pledge for the planet and take a first step toward lowering your overall impact on the environment after Earth Hour. Recycle, take public transportation, unplug electronics when not in use, and spread the need to reduce our carbon footprint.


Earth Hour shouldn’t end at 9:31p.m. when we turn the lights on again. It’s a step towards making a personal pledge to be more environment-friendly. You’ll hit two birds with one stone by saving on both cash and carbon emissions.

BUY DIS KWENTO

Details
  • Domestic & International Seat Sale.
  • Booking Period is from March 22 to March 25, 2011 or until seats last.
  • Pick your favourite Domestic seat from as low as P499.
  • Pick your favourite International seat from as low as P899.
  • Supersize your baggage! Pre-book and SAVE up to 50%.
  • Get insured in travel insurance.
  • Choose from available domestic and international rooms with Hotels.
  • Quoted fares are one way
  • Limited availability.
  • Fare are exclusive of government fees and taxes.
  • International fares are exclusive of fuel surcharges. For Osaka, Japan surcharges will take effect on April 1, 2011.
  • Fares are non-refundable.
  • Flight changes must be made more than 24 hours before scheduled time of departure.
  • Go Lite Fares are available upon booking for guests traveling without check-in baggage.
  • Add P 100 to fare upon booking if traveling with check-in baggage.
  • CAB approved terms and conditions of carriage apply


Domestic Flights Go Lite Fare
Manila to Bacolod, Boracay (Caticlan),
Iloilo, Kalibo or Roxas
P 499
Cebu to Boracay (Caticlan) P 499
Travel Period: July 1 – September 30, 2011
International Flights Go Lite Fare
Manila, Cebu or Clark to Hong Kong
P 899
Travel Period: July 1 – September 30, 2011


ZEST AIR PROMO




Details

  • Seat Sale is from March 23 to 27, 2011 only.
  • Travel date is from June 15 to October 15, 2011 only.
  • P388 for Manila to Iloilo, Virac, San Jose and Busuanga.
  • P488 for Manila to Bacolod, Cebu, Kalibo, Catarman, Calbayog and Legazpi.
  • P588 for Manila to Tagbilaran and Tacloban.
  • P688 for Manila to Puerto Princesa.
  • P788 for Manila to Marinduque and Tablas.
  • P1,088 for Manila to Masbate and San Fernando, La Union.
  • P1,388 for Manila to Davao.
  • Per CAB Aproval
  • Inclusive of Fare and Taxes
  • Exclusive of ASF and ASF VAT
  • Limited seats only.

I survived brain aneurysm

I find brain aneurysm almost unique in its ability to strike like lightning, without rhyme or reason, and too often without mercy.

When the cerebral artery bursts and causes brain hemorrhage, sudden death may result.

1/3rd of people with ruptured aneurysm die before they get to the hospital.

1/3rd die after they get to the hospital.

1/3rd survive after they get to the hospital. Of these, 40% end up with neurological problems that make life difficult.

The mortality rate following a rupture aneurysm is about 60 percent, and another 25 percent die from complications

For those whose precious lives are snuffed out in a brief moment, and whose loved ones’ lives are dramatically altered forever by the same event, there seems to be no justice that I can comprehend.

For those fortunate enough to survive the rupture, a battle begins for the amount and quality of life that can be recaptured. Your doctors and nurses are only one part of your armor.

The key to your victory, your healing, is your will, not only to survive, but to conquer.

Mental positivity and for some, spirituality, along with a focus on personal health and well being like not smoking, a nutritious diet, lots of sunlight, and a regular exercise program, a strong social support network like relatives or friends in a social circle are all critical.

Do not be burdened by statistics. Every battle is unique and, if fought well, won.  

 

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I am presently recuperating from my operation and I am glad about the progress I am making. My left eye still has no vision. I still could not walk. But my doctors assured me that I will be back to my normal self in 6 months to 1 year, not 100% though. But within that time, I will have my eyesight back and I can walk already.

The doctors said that I was very lucky. I escaped death by a hairline. My aneurysm ruptured last January 18, 2011. I never knew that I had aneurysm until that fateful night, when I lost consciousness inside the toilet. My left eye might have hit the lavatory. And the pail of hot water that I was supposed to use might have spilled, thereby causing a huge 2nd degree burn on my left thigh.

When I regained consciousness, I tried calling for help from my house boy downstairs but he did not respond to my cry for help. Maybe you can call it a miracle. I was able to walk from the toilet towards my room and made it to my bed. I had the worst headache ever and I kept on vomiting.

I then sent text messages to my cousins since I don’t have my parents with me anymore. They have both passed away. But my cousin said he couldn’t contact his driver.  So I was bought to the hospital only the following day by another cousin. Lucky me! According to statistics 1/3 of those who had a ruptured aneurysm died within 3 hours.

A CT Scan was performed and a lot more medical procedures were done. Then I was brought via emergency ambulance to UST Hospital where a brain aneurysm coiling operation was performed by 2 neurosurgeons assisted by a cardiologist, an anesthesiologist and some nurses last January 22, 2011.

Since returning home to our townhouse in Manila, I kept on going back to my doctors for follow-up check ups and I was not allowed to go back home to the province just yet. 

So what would an active travel blogger like me do at home since I cannot walk or see yet from my left eye?

How to donate to JAPAN RED CROSS AND PHILIPPINE RED CROSS


“Those wishing to kindly extend assistance through financial donations may direct them to the Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS),” said Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Makoto Katsura.

Cash or check donations intended for victims of the tragedy may be made through JRCS account number 8047670 at the Ginza, Tokyo branch of the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. Donations intended for the rescue and relief efforts of JRCS may be sent to JRCS’ account number 8047705 at the same bank.

In Manila, donations may be forwarded to the Philippine Red Cross headquarters at Bonifacio Drive, Port Area, Manila.

Checks should be made payable to “The Philippine Red Cross (FAO Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster).

Donations can also be deposited in the following:

• PRC peso bank accounts: Allied Bank-Intramuros, account No. 1941-01347-1; Banco de Oro-Port Area, 453-0018647; Bank of the Philippine Islands-Port Area, 4991-0010-99; Metrobank-Anda Circle, 151-3-04163122-8; and Philippine National Bank-Sta. Cruz, 3623-3680-0011.

• PRC dollar accounts: Banco de Oro-Port Area, 453-0039482; Bank of the Philippine Islands-UN, 8114-0030-94; Metrobank-Anda Circle, 151-2-151002182; Philippine National Bank-Sta. Cruz, 375-283500026; and Union Bank of the Philippines-Sta. Cruz, 132-070001012.

• PRC euro account: Metrobank-Binondo, 016-201650005-9.

• PRC yen account: Metrobank-Anda Circle, 151-2-15130001-9.


NOTE: JRCS-Japanese Red Cross Society
               PRC-  Philippine Red Cross