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December 25, 2008

Cristmas Pictures In Singapore

On this day, the celebration of Christmas in this island of Singapore is in full force especially for the Christians like the Filipinos. I was grateful enough to at least attend three out of nine night masses (simbang gabi) in different Catholic churches spread around Singapore.

Here's my share of pictures I took while enjoying various trips along the heavily decorated (and overly chaotic) Orchard Road, Raffles City, plus a peak to the food feast my friends and I had partaken for our Noche Buena.

Red, red poinsettias
These are red poinsettias found inside a church.

Lucky Plaza dangling Christmas decorations
Here are some dangling Christmas decorations adorned at the entrance of Lucky Plaza.

The wonderful Filipino choir singing
Here's the wonderful Filipino choir singing before Tang's mall one night last week.

Experimental light streaks from passing cars
I experimented with taking shots of speeding cars at the Orchard Road intersection. Look closely at those long light trails. Those are the cars and buses' headlights.

Golden Christmas balls
This is a simple shot of golden Christmas balls used as table decorations by my friends inside their flat.

The guarding giant toy soldier before a Christmas tree
Inside UOB building in Raffles city, here's a giant toy soldier guarding an equally giant Christmas tree.

Salad and lots of fried chicken for Noche Buena

This was our Noche Buena feast last night: Cold Storage styled vegetable salad, some KFC fried chicken (in the picture above), baked macaroni, butter cake, spaghetti and oven toasted chicken (again).

Merry Christmas to all!

December 08, 2008

Pacquiao Gobbled De la Hoya

Pacquiao did prove me wrong with my predictions that he will lose his fight to the more experienced and bigger Oscar. That's good. That is very good. I lost confidence with him for quite some time now after his character turned for the worse throughout the years (the noted gambling stories, controversies with women, his penchant to run in politics like it's the only thing he can do good for the public people, his current government affinity and tendency to say and do "yes" to all kinds of filthy and corrupt politicians out there).

Oh, I saw this internet poster from this Nike site for Manny Pacquiao (we all know he won already).

It was a different story yesterday afternoon. I was able to watch online a live streaming video of the fight with my laptop. I knew I was going to be late with my meeting with friends that afternoon but I decided I better stick in and watch the entire match for it will be very difficult to catch replays online. All my notions of Manny have gone into smoke from the time he stepped into the ring beaming with a smile to his people to the 9th round when Oscar called it quits and slowly went up to Manny to embrace him. What a fight! But as some of my flatmates and friends mentioned, it could have been a better and more exciting fight if De la Hoya displayed more aggressiveness like what Manny did. He looked more like a punching bag or sparring partner to Manny (his handsome features reduced to a heavily sored and pinkish mess). As one ESPN announcer had mentioned -- a beating of an old De la Hoya.

The running joke is that Manny has more beatings with his post interviews such as this.

Congratulations, Manny, for winning the fight!

December 01, 2008

Days Before Christmas

It's just 24 days before Pasko (Christmas Day). I could barely feel the Christmas chill here though in Singapore (unlike in the Philippines) and instead always feel hot and sticky from the humid weather outside. The aircon inside my room barely delivers the chilly temperature that I need. Looks like the global crisis has also invaded the airconditioning unit (or maybe I just need to remind my flatmates that we need to have our aircons cleaned up before the year ends).

A Christmas tree

I'm breaking on this day my long vacation from blogging since the beginning of the half of this year. There are many things I'd like to tell again, stories and things I'd like to record again in this blog.

I did miss blogging and never really forgotten about it.

Hello again to all.

October 15, 2008

On Poverty: Some Points From An OFW

This is my entry for Blog Action Day 2008.

As an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker), I wonder from time to time whether the money I religiously remit back home does contribute greatly in helping out not just my family but also my country (thinking of the money I send as financial aid to our suffering economy). I know my country is poor and in very bad shape. The years pass and several presidents have come and go (either finished their term or removed from their seat of power) yet nothing concrete was still accomplished in addressing the widespread poverty plaguing my country. The illusions created by the current president are not enough to paint a rosy picture of a “stable country” capable of withstanding this global crisis, trying to cover and sweep under the rug the evidences of dirt poorness brought about by corruption, bad governance, massive consumption, overpopulation, low productivity and inadequate education among the people.

As an OFW, I always think nowadays how I could possibly contribute in helping out the poor back home. While I know that the money I remit to my family is just enough for their needs and could not possibly be shared to other people, I’m thinking of various ways on how to help out my poor fellowmen. As of now, I’m thinking of contributing my old stuffs, particularly my old shirts, and other usable clothing to any possible institutions back in Manila (ala Salvation Army like here in Singapore). I’d like to someday join my fellow office mate here who usually joins his other friends in spending their vacation in the Philippines doing Gawad Kalinga activities like helping out in building houses for the homeless. I like also the idea before of Bob (from Live In The Philippines) when he mentioned about him and his family buying and gathering some of their food from fast-food restaurants and distributing them to young beggars and street children near their vicinity. I know, there are many things that an OFW can do to help out the poor and needy in the Philippines but these are some of the ideas I can currently think of. Maybe someone out there have better ideas.

* * * *
On the side note: Here are some other web links I find interesting, tackling the issue of poverty especially in the Philippines.

If you care about the poor, let's brainstorm for ideas.

Poverty is a simple issue.

Corned Beef (a moving article from

Street Children of Manila (this links to good friend Sid's photo blog and his magnificent photographs of Manila's poor and yet smiling street children).

October 08, 2008

Blog Action Day 2008 Registration

I've finally registered for the Blog Action Day 2008 event (only 7 days to go). I've got a few days left to spruce up everything here and get back to blogging.

See you then (we might see again earlier if possible).

August 18, 2008

Sabbatical - Blog Break

I know I haven't written anything new since last month, after I lost my domain (jiometry) and website hosting of my wordpress blog. Now I came back to my old blog at blogspot (I tend to treat blogger like a loyal friend always ready to support and cherish me with open arms even if we haven't seen each other for a long, long time).

I'm still on the verge of fixing things and thinking deeply of many things (mostly of personal matters). Soon, maybe by the start of the next month, I'll be back. A promise that should not be broken.

June 22, 2008

Seeing Little Things In Grand Villa Resort

I've managed to take close-up snapshots of objects both plants and insects while we were enjoying our visit in the Grand Villa Resort and Butterfly Center in Laguna.

Inside a yellow gumamela

We're peering here inside a yellow gumamela (hibiscus) flower. This flower is found inside the butterfly caged sanctuary.

Knotty vine tendrils

This looks like a tied-up knot; an extension of the vines I noticed entwined around iron grills.

I'm looking up close to an unknown white flower, a yellowish flower blossom, and a stem wrapped with tiny flower buds and blossoms below.

White flower blooming

Yellowish flower head

Flowery white stem

Meanwhile, lots of insects can be found crawling or hovering on flowers and shrubs around the garden pool, like a black wasp I noticed resting on a vine tendril, or a spiky caterpillar nipping at some plant buds, a big black ant methodically scavenging around a leaf, or even a pair of mating yellow ladybugs (let's not disturb them below).

In the shadows rest a waiting wasp

Spiky caterpillar on a plant stem

Ant scavenging on a leaf

Mating bugs on a leaf

On the wooden table tops and stools dotting the scenic gardens around, interesting tiny objects can be found, like a hairy pod or plant pollen, a possibly dried up, knotty fruit seed, and an undetermined fiery orange outgrowth that could be a fungus below (certainly it doesn't look like a bubble gum; I never dared to touch it).

Some small, green, hairy pod or pollen on a table top

Knotty, woody fruit seed on a bench

An orange unknown growth on a stool

These are rusts on a decorative iron swirl, part of a makeshift metal shed in the garden area (image below).

Rusty iron swirl

June 12, 2008

Happy Independence Day

Happy Independence Day for all of us Filipinos, both still living back in the Philippines and those living overseas - either as migrants or workers!

Philippine flag, waving high
I greeted some of my officemates here who are still busy doing some work here, oblivious of the fact that today is our country's birth date and (official) independence celebration. I have been greeted by them with surprised looks; they seemed to be awakened from some deep suspended animation upon realizing that, indeed, today is the 12th of June, an important day for all Filipinos worldwide. "Ah oo nga no, araw ng kalayaan ngayon. Gusto ko nang lumaya dito!" (Ah yes, today's independence day. I wish to be free from here!). My officemates are referring to their plight of doing heavy work that they yearn to be free from what they're doing, drop everything, go out of the office and be merry all day. Hehehe. I wish it's that simple, but we're all deep at work concentrating in finishing assigned tasks especially fixing some production issues.
* * * *
A prayer for my country: "Dear God, bless my country and us, her children, so that we Filipinos can continue to grow and be fruitful in our lives without fear, but instead filled with love and compassion for one another. Continually bless and nurture our souls to appreciate more the beauty of our lands and to have a sense of pride and dignity to our heritage and what we have at hand, without the feelings of contempt and regret for what we lack of. Thank you God for the gift of freedom. We truly appreciate this as it contributes greatly to our distinct glow of happiness and resilience renown throughout other nations."

June 07, 2008

Butterflies And Flowers Of Grand Villa Resort In Laguna

Besides the usual features found in every swimming pool resort in Laguna, the Grand Villa Resort and Butterfly Centre offers much more with beautiful botanical landscapes (lots of plants, trees, and ornamental shrubs) and their main attraction - the butterfly sanctuary, near the far end of the resort, before the adventure camp area.

As I said, this resort has some magnificent display of tended gardens and plant landscapes showcasing a variety of flowering plants and shrubs. Some of these are the colorful orchids featured at this mini-garden with a wooden shed in (which also doubles as a swing) in the middle.

Wooden garden swing and shed

White orchids

Reddish orange orchids

The butterfly garden was not yet fully open to public (or was still being maintained by the staff) when we arrived there. Some people emerging from the place told us to use the exit door to enter the garden (I'm confused there). So we entered through that door. We beheld in awe the enchanting surroundings that greeted us inside. There were lots of trees, flowering plants, shrubs, and ornaments all neatly arranged to make the enclosed garden look like a fairytale place.
Pathway in the butterfly garden

Unusually colored yellowish hibiscus or gumamela flower
I initially mistook most of these white and black spotted butterflies as the monarch butterflies until I later searched through google images similar to these. These are actually the Paper Kite butterflies.
An unmoving Paper Kite butterfly

Pair of mating paper kite butterflies

Paper kite and another butterfly sharing some flower nectar meal

Paper kite butterfly up close and personal
Meanwhile, the pair of mating butterflies below (a lot of them are actually doing this inside so that's why I could take pictures of them without bothering or scaring the butterflies away) are from the species of heliconiine butterflies, specifically the Leopard Lacewing.
Mating Leopard Lacewing butterflies
On the other hand, I am not so sure with the correct species of butterflies for the these two (another acrobatically mating) butterflies pictured below. I searched in the web and the nearest butterfly species I could tag the pair is the Ornithoptera priamus (the Cairns Birdwing butterflies). Am I right?
Cairns Birdwing butterflies

May 31, 2008

Summer Outing To The Grand Villa Resort In Laguna

It was a good, sunny day when our family went to Laguna and traveled through winding roads to get to Grand Villa Resort and Butterfly Centre. It was our last get-together outing before the summer season ends in the Philippines. Together with my parents (my Dad who came back from Kuwait, also an OFW), my brother, my sister-in-law, their son and my nephew, and the immediate family of my sister-in-law, we had the entire day enjoying each other's company and as well as exploring the beauty of the vast area of this resort.

I was impressed with the place when we got there. I like the way the garden landscapes were integrated in the design space of the resort. There were lots of greens - flowers, trees, and shrubs. Might be because of the flourishing garden scenes in and around the place, I noticed some uncommon birds flitting and seemingly playing in dense foliages. The place has a picturesque mixture of nature and architecture which delighted the photo bug in me.

Statue of two kids bathing near the water pump with their pet dog

Before the entrance to the main resort pool, we passed by this trio of metal statues (above image) right in front of the spa building. The carved expressions of the kids sort of remind everyone to relax and enjoy their stay in this resort.

Arches with vines at the entrance towards the main pool

This entrance leads to the main pool of the resort which is also the pathway towards the dining area and mini-bar. There are lots of hanging vines entwined around the metal arches of this entrance.

The mermaid fountain near the entrance to the pool

Again at the entrance, we passed by another statue, this time of a sitting mermaid on a rock. Amidst the background of trees and plants, the mermaid looked more (out of place) like a welcoming guardian of botanical nature instead of the aquatic type.

A cool wooden shelter with ladder and attached with wheels

I don't know exactly why this structure has wooden wheels at the sides, but it does appear like a cross between a calesa and an elevated waiting shed. There are two of these inside the main pool area. Most of our group liked to relax and sit within the cool premises of the shelter.

Innovative washers using jugs as faucets

It's quite innovative to form these washer faucets (above image) as jugs (as if somebody is pouring water over your hands after you twist the knobs).

Yellow bell flowers entwined around the metal grids and poles

As mentioned before, there is a variety of flowering plants found in this resort. Bright yellow bells are some of these flowering plants found in abundance here (image above).

Wooden benches with clay jars near the pool walkways

Old, irregularly shaped woods were used to form the benches scattered around the garden area lining around the swimming pool. I thought the landscape artist did great with this place.

How about the swimming pool? We did not come here just to view and enjoy the garden scenery. Here are some of the pictures of the swimming pool area.

Clear swimming pool

Huge water fountain with playful dolphins painted on the wall

Water dribbles down this huge pool structure (wall painted with playing dolphins) at the laddered sides. Water also falls from above the sheltered portion of the structure. The falling water has enough (bearable I say) pressure to provide a massaging effect to one's tired torso and shoulders. This is not suitable though for kids though.

Water spewing out from top of umbrella like pool shades

Small girl by the swimming pool's edge

Besides bringing along some food and drinks, our group also opted to order additional noodle dishes like the tasty pancit bihon (below) and pancit canton at the nearby restaurant and mini-bar. The staff was friendly and accommodating and the service was fast.

Tasty pancit bihon cooked by the attending restaurant staff

Next post, other plants, trees, and the butterflies of this resort.

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Known to be the webmaster of the defunct Taym Matsing website (well, that's old news now...)