January 12, 2014

White Water Rafting in Cagayan de Oro!


(Auggie the Lion)

Brave the waters
Never mind effortless water striders
Forward, back, stop
Ride, maneuver or you drop! 

Paddle hard, harder, hardest 
Make yourself, your momma proudest 
Sit at the side, stay inside
Balance, sway, go with the flow, they say. 

Rapids are rough
Raft is tough
Rocks, boulders bump and grind 
Scream Wohoo!, Yeah!, no one will mind.

Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines


Some say we should start the year with a bang! I say, start it with a splash! White water rafting has long been on my bucket list and finally this year, my time and resources (Thanks to my sister, who arranged the adventure for me and my cousin.) have conspired and left me with no reason to say "maybe next time". 

Start-off point


We started our journey at exactly 8 AM when we were picked up by CDO BUGSAY guides at Gran Europa village's entrance. There were three guides, a driver and two other guests with us inside their jeepney/saraw service. The weather was exactly what we wanted it to be - not sunny and not rainy (although halfway in our course it did rain and made the water cooler). My cousin and I would have wanted to go for the Advanced Course but the two other guests from Manila weren't up for the added challenge so we had no choice but to settle with the Beginner's Course. We arrived at the start-off point and I could barely contain my excitement when I saw the river that I wanted to grab the raft myself and start the adventure right away. 

With my cousin Dianna from NZ


We suited up with life vests and helmets as soon as we arrived in the site. One of the guides warmly welcomed us and gave a short introduction about himself, the other guides and the company they were representing. A brief orientation about water rafting including proper handling of the paddle, conduct inside the raft and some important safety reminders followed thereafter. After we were told that when one of the guides shout, "High five!" we bring our paddles up and yell, "Bugsay!", we immediately jumped into the raft and started the three-hour journey downstream.

Brief orientation with our Bugsay guide before the ride

Our first of many encounters with the rapids


Our first encounter with the rapids happened as soon we took off. We paddled according to the guides' instructions whether to paddle forward, back or stop. My cousin and I were seated at the front part of the raft which was perfect! Our feet were planted firmly on built-in feet anchors so we wouldn't be thrown out easily when the going gets tough. The two other guests were seated in the middle and the two guides at the back. It was exhilarating! I learned how to paddle at a very young age because I grew up in a coastal town but paddling and, at the same time, maneuvering the raft with unpredictable river current and obstacles of rocks and boulders ahead, is totally different. Good thing the guides obviously knew what they were doing so I never had an ounce of doubt regarding our safety. Besides, I was looking for an adventure so I was expecting that I'd get thrown out or at least get eaten by a hungry crocodile for snack. (Haha! Just kidding on the crocodile part.)

"Wohoo! Yeah!"

Paddle hard, harder, hardest!


As we headed further downstream, more challenging rapids awaited us and to add more thrill to our already thrilling ride, the guides modified our 'roles' and positions inside the raft. They made us stand in front or sit at the front bumper part while our feet hang or shifted the raft's position backward as we approached the rapids. The most exciting part was when we braved the rapids very fast before we intentionally collided with a boulder in the middle of the river (see video below). I expected our raft to topple over but it didn't and I was a bit disappointed (but was thankful after because I couldn't imagine the scene if we did). There were times when the waters were calm and we were allowed to dive off the raft and swim. The water was almost ice-cold so we had to keep our muscles active all the time. Flora and fauna were abundant in the vast stretch of greenery along the river. There were wild ferns, orchids and wild animals such as colorful birds, lizards and snakes. 

This snake, probably a red-tailed green ratsnake (Gonyosoma oxycephalum), was hanging by the cliff, motionless and resting comfortably. 

One of the Philippine sailfin lizards (Hydrosaurus amboinensis) we spotted along the riverbank.


The last portion of our ride consisted mostly of swimming and more chit-chats with our guides and other guests. We also had a chance to climb up a volcanic rock formation in the middle of the river and each one of us was 'required' to dive or jump off before we advance downstream. One of the guides dived first and I followed right away. It took a long time for the three female guests, including my cousin, to gather enough courage to jump although it was only about 10 feet high. After the jump, we braved our last encounter with the rapids before we reached the end of our roller coaster river ride few minutes past 11 AM. It was definitely the best way for me to start the year. Water nourishes life and having said that, I hope I will be as aggressive as the rapids and come out stronger and tougher than any obstacles that will come my way this year! Cheers to more adventures, lots of blessings and a year-round full of love and success for me and everyone! ;)

The diver in me. Haha!

Water's rough but we're tough!

Start your own adventure now! Contact CDO BUGSAY RIVER RAFTING at: 09177035558 or 09228377646.

Here are the videos:

First Encounter

We stand strong!

Head-on collision

Man (women actually) overboard!

February 26, 2012

American Idol Season 11 Twist: The 13th Guy

We all know 13 is not considered a lucky number (e.g. Friday the 13th) but this season on American Idol, Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steve Tyler were compelled to select the 'lucky' guy among the immensely talented pack of contestants to complete this year's top contenders (from top 24 to top 25) for the most coveted singing competition title in the world. So who will be the lucky 13th guy

Vocal Calisthenics Pro

1. Johnny Keyser, who wowed the judges most notably Jennifer Lopez, was surprisingly eliminated in Las Vegas.  Was it due to lack of enthusiasm, poor group choice of song, singing uninterruptedly while his group mate collapsed on the floor (Hollywood group rounds) or taking a swim with fellow contestants while others were ultra busy perfecting their Vegas routines? He was definitely not eliminated for lack of talent, that I'm sure about, after JLo told him, "You know you're gonna be a star, right?". Did JLo remember what he told Johnny, then?

The Gentle Giant

2. Jermaine Jones, the big but definitely not bad bass singer who sang "I Believe In Love" for the final 24 spot, was among the last to be eliminated. His deep voice would have given variety to this season's range of vocal talents but his last performance didn't seem to impress the judges. Or have they reconsidered his previous performances that brought him far in the competition?

The Michael Jackson Prodigy

3. David Leathers Jr., the only contestant carrying the I've-Beaten-Out-Scotty-McCreery-In-A-School-Competition title, was the last one to be denied a spot in the top 24. This young but promising performer greatly reminds us of Michael Jackson in his younger years. Before he got eliminated, he expressed his deep desire to become a singer as it's the only thing he sees himself doing in the future. Can the judges bear to break this young dreamer's heart?

The Cowboy/ The Law

4. Richie Law, who became infamous for his cockiness and being "above the law" among his group mates, also met the ax when the top 24 contenders were chosen. His McCreery-like deep voice made him popular early and later in the competition but it's either the presence of more talented singers in this year's pack or his arrogant behavior, which Hee Jun would surely agree with, made the judges cut his chance to advance further.  Or maybe the judges need him back for more drama in the show? 

There you go folks! This year's American Idol will not be chosen without a bit of a twist and suspense. So who do you think it will be? My two cents worth? I'd go for talent so it's Johnny Keyser for me but Jermaine or David won't hurt, either. Just keep Richie Law out, please. I can't wait 'til Tuesday.

January 13, 2012

Supernatural Season 7 Episode 11: Adventures in Babysitting

Supernatural Season 7 did not open 2012 on a festive mood but with something depressing, heartbreaking especially for the Winchester brothers. Another major character bid farewell from our favorite series.

RIP Bobby

Bobby Singer, Sam and Dean’s second dad, died after their last encounter with the Leviathans. While the brothers buried themselves with grief and beer, a teenage girl named Chrissy called in to look for Bobby. Turned out she’s a daughter of a fellow hunter, who went missing for five days.

Dying Note

Before Bobby’s last breath, he left a 5-digit code that greatly puzzled Sam and Dean. From lottery to voicemail, they singled out one possibility after another but only when Dean found Frank did the numbers make sense.

45489 + 3 = Coordinates

Frank ran the 5-digit code into the computer adding another digit in it and matched a location in Wisconsin owned by Dick Roman, the Senator-Leviathan who shot Bobby in the head. Both Frank and Dean went to the area and set up surveillance.

Sam and Vetalas

Sam found a lead on Chrissy’s missing hunter-dad and went straight to a town where a pair of Vetalas, monster-vixens disguised as hooker and waitress, greeted him with a bloody kiss on the neck. Sam was held captive along with Chrissy’s dad and both of them satisfied the vixens’ daily blood thirst.

Dean the Babysitter

After Sam failed to call back, Chrissy called Dean. Dean decided to follow Sam’s lead then. He didn’t want Chrissy around but since she burned all the info her dad kept in his closet and put everything to memory instead, Dean’s left with no choice but to tag her along.

Baby is now a Lady

Dean cuffed Chrissy inside the car and went on to face the monsters alone. He wasn’t able to single handedly bring down the monster pair but his babysitting paid off. Chrissy was able to pick her handcuffs but got caught by one of the monsters when she tried to rescue her dad. But it was part of her plan, actually. She acted helpless until she stabbed one of the Vetalas when her dad was about to get devoured. Eventually, she saved them all from the bloodsuckers.

Playing Tough

Dean continued to play tough and projected his big brother image to Sam as they went on the road with a collective quest to bring down Dick Roman. He got teary eyed when Sam dozed off, though. The memory of Bobby Singer couldn’t sustain the act.

Catch Supernatural Season 7’s next episode Time After Time After Time tonight!

September 19, 2011

THE OTHER WOMAN: A Short Story (7 of 7)


“Why did you tell me she’s your cousin? Did you really think I wasn't going to find out?” He looked straight into her eyes.

“Do you love me?” she asked him.

“You know I do from the very start. How long have you been together?”

“We’re not together anymore. We’re just good friends now.”

“So do you feel the same way like I do for you? Do you love me?” He held her tightly and brought her closer to him so he could hear her words clearly. She pushed him back a little and she tried to look at the direction of the other woman who wasn't her cousin after all.

“Yes, I do.” But her eyes rolled to the left when she said that and Bong understood. He didn't want any more lies. He thought he had enough of it. He kissed her in the cheek. It should have been placed on her pouty red lips but thought against it. Truth hurts but the lies that cloak the truth hurt even more.

Leo (July 23 to Aug.22) – You will finally have a chance to come clean and unleash the flame that’s burning up inside you. Be careful, though. It might burn you in the end.


- END -

September 17, 2011

THE OTHER WOMAN: A Short Story (6 of 7)


She left Bong in a state of wanting to deny what he had just heard and confront Ellen about it at the same time. Is this a confirmation of what he had feared of knowing before? Was he really blind or did he see it coming and just ignored it? He thought of the many times they were together and something or someone – phone calls here and there which she had to take out of his earshot, tons of text messages, a car waiting for her outside the school and lots of alibis for all occasions - would suddenly come and mess up his plans for the day. He began to connect the pieces of the puzzle he’d been trying build up before but never had the will to finish. He just nodded after every piece fitted. He knew the moment he saw the picture. He knew but hoped he was wrong, that he was just imagining things. 

Ellen saw him in a pensive mood while holding his bottle of beer so she approached him. “What’s wrong? Is the beer cold? It’s supposed to be cold, right?” She knew something was disturbing him. Her attempt at humor didn’t make him laugh or smile. Bong finished his beer hoping it would knock him out of this situation and wishing maybe, just maybe, it was all a dream and that he would wake up in the library staring at the picture without the other woman in it. But everything was real. How stupid of me to think of this as a dream! Besides, he needed a dozen bottles of beer or even more to overcome his tolerance level. Then Toto’s I Won’t Hold You Back played in the background after a series of upbeat tempos filled the airwaves after dinner so he asked her to dance with him without saying anything more. Eyes were on them as they headed toward the center of the dance floor, right under the rotating ball of glass. The chitchat around grew louder and Bong didn’t care nor did Ellen. She always didn’t. She was the kind of woman who could take any word said against her. Is this the reason she doesn’t care if I find out she wasn’t telling the truth about herself and the other woman? Why is she very confident that I wouldn’t mind? He decided he would finally ask her.

(to be continued...)

September 16, 2011

THE OTHER WOMAN: A Short Story (5 of 7)


The other woman continued to bother him after that. Something was wrong in that picture but he couldn't downright prove it. Then he thought she wasn't important. She shouldn't be. He knew what his goal was and he shouldn't be distracted by anything or anyone so he brushed her off his mind. He continued to woo Ellen’s heart by spending more time with her in and outside school. They ate out and watched movies together whenever time and money permit them. They felt something special for each other. Their friends thought they looked perfect together and they just smiled about it. Everything started to fall into place as he hoped it would – or so he thought.

“Happy birthday to you…” Everybody prolonged the last line of the song pretending they didn't want to finish it right away so dinner would be served. It was the birthday party of their common friend Teresa. Bong knew a lot of people present in the party – classmates, friends and some teachers. Then he noticed someone he had not wanted to see in person – the other woman in the picture. He didn’t know she was Teresa’s friend, too. Small world.

Ellen sat beside her cousin and looked uneasy. She didn’t look happy nor did she have that party spirit in her that night.  Bong just stared at her and the other woman, who had a masculine built, and was taller and bigger than the rest of the female species around. He didn’t notice that almost everybody in the party was talking about Ellen and her cousin. Then they would look at Bong right after they glanced at the two women sitting in the opposite table.

“So how is it Bong?” Janna, one his classmates, approached him and asked.

With a quizzical look, Bong asked her back, “How is what?”

“C’mon, you can’t be that na├»ve. I mean, what does it feel when you see her?” her eyes pointed to the direction of the other woman.

“Oh, you mean Ellen’s cousin? Yeah, what about her?”

“Cousin, huh? That’s funny ‘cause everybody thought you knew she’s no cousin of Ellen at all. Wake up, man!”, then she left to chat with her friends in her table, probably spreading the latest tittle-tattle she had about Bong. 

(to be continued...)

September 13, 2011

THE OTHER WOMAN: A Short Story (4 of 7)


Bong actually planned on telling her about his feelings for her on that very day and the horoscope just reinforced his plan so he did tell her. She was surprised, indeed. She didn’t know what else to say except that she feels comfortable and happy being with him.  From then on, Bong couldn’t stop thinking about her day and night. In fact, he made sure he greeted her every morning and wished her a good night's sleep through late night calls and text messages. He missed her presence though he would see her in school five or six times a week. Ellen was beginning to play a major role in Bong’s life of drama and comedy where Cupid has gone MIA. This was it, he thought. If things fall in their right places at the right time, maybe Cupid could finally pay him a visit.

“You look sexy in that picture.” he commented as he browsed Ellen’s Facebook account and saw her in spaghetti top and skimpy shorts. She quickly put her hands on the monitor to cover the primary picture.

“Skip that, will you? That’s so embarrassing!”

“Then you shouldn’t have displayed that picture there in the first place,” Bong answered.
The library was packed with students and the noise was close to that of a market. The student assistant in-charge of controlling silence seemed to have conceded defeat after she realized that her constant banging of the little bell in her table would only add up to the deafening noise around. Everybody has his or her own business apart from studying and observing silence. While some were living up to their nerdy habits, others reading magazines and newspapers, Bong was glued on to his laptop surfing the net with her at his side. A picture of her with another woman appeared on the screen. It was taken at a white sand beach but Bong wasn’t interested of the place. He got curious of the other woman.

“Who is she?” he asked

“Oh, that’s my cousin. We went to this sand bar near Tree Bird Island and we spent the night there. It was amazing. The water was so clear and the sand powder white. The place is perfect!” she described the place with utter excitement. “We should go there some time.” Her use of the word “we” was something new to him and it was music to his ears. But he couldn’t stop staring at the other woman in the picture.

“Yeah, we’ll think about it. It looks really tempting”.

(to be continued...)