2008 – my year that was

January 5, 2009 at 1:05 pm | Posted in All, Blogging, Life et al | 1 Comment

Oh boy, how long has it been?
Too long a time since my last post was seen
I have been slack in updating this blog
As slack as one can be when Melbourne’s in fog

Six months? What have I been up to?
Quit my job of four years to start anew
Had a two-week break, t’was all I needed
To get away from it all, and feel rejuvenated

Began my new job on the 1st of July
Remember everyone’s name, I thought I should try
At first, work load was overwhelming
“Take it easy”, I was told, “you are still learning”

I still learn now as I go
The range of instruments is too diverse in a short time to know
Each day is different, it’s ever challenging
New stuff to learn, it’s never boring

The work I do, I actually enjoy
Happy with my boss too, whose name is Ploy
The eight-hour days don’t seem that long
I feel this company, is where I belong

Enough of work talk, let me move on
Though there is not much really, on the home front
Same ole, same ole is what they say
Not much happenings, not much hooray

I thought 2008 was a year of boom
Then came the credit crunch, the world’s in gloom
US carmakers crashed, while some banks folded
Stockmarket plunged, downward we were all headed

US Government came to the rescue via some bail-outs
It might have helped but don’t we all still have doubts?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being negative
It is the reality of our world today, let’s not be naive

While Kevin Rudd guaranteed all Australian bank deposits
Some business survived, some called it quits
Job cuts here, reduced work hours there
Everyone was affected, nothing was as-you-were

Christmas and new year was spent with family
Lots of laughs, lots of cheers, days went by merrily
Had too much to drink, when red wine kept flowing
Did not heed the warning, I ended up chucking

Golf is always a part of our holidays
It is the craze, not just a passing phase
I may not be good at it, but I will keep trying
I have improved my swing, will do more with putting

Once, my ball went in the bush beside a tree
Tried my darnedest to get it back to the fairway
On the follow through swing I hit the tree trunk
Broke my No. 6 Callaway, my game stunk

Holidays are over, now I’m back to work
Load is light, not much in the lurk
A bit quiet as everyone’s not back yet
Might take another week  ’til we all get back to it

Before I end this post and hit publish
A good year for everyone, is all I wish
Look forward positive to what lies ahead
The call to frugal living, let us all heed.

Holiday Recap

June 10, 2008 at 1:57 pm | Posted in All, Philippines, Travel | 2 Comments

It has been almost a month since we got back from our holidays in the Philippines. Happy to be back in the cold weather of Melbourne after the searing heat in the Philippines.

Our first week was spent in Cebu doing shopping and sight seeing. My brother drove us around Cebu City and Mactan. We went to the (Chinese) Taoist Temple and also visited Magellan’s Cross and Fort San Pedro. On a clear day, there is a good aerial view of the city from the temple. Fort San Pedro, a monument of Cebu’s turbulent past, served different purposes in the island’s colourful history. But visiting the place at dusk, the museum-park is one big dating place for the teenage locals. In every corner, every nook and every canyon, there is a pair. We jokingly looked for our own canyon and gamely posed for a picture.

In Mactan, we just missed the re-enactment of the landing of Magellan in Cebu. It was the 487th anniversary of the Magellan’s demise. Manny Pacquiao played the role of Lapu-lapu and Dennis Trillo as Magellan. We later saw it on TV.

We also went to a lot of restaurants in Cebu -the Golden Cowrie, Chika-an, Cafe Laguna, Krua Thai to name a few. We enjoyed eating out but I have one complaint, a lot of food from the restaurants are cooked in oil, either deep fried or at least sauteed. I’m no big fan of oily food. There was another restaurant on the hills that we went to but the name escapes me right now.

Shane went crazy over shopping and spent over $700 in clothes. I was shy by about two hundred.

And finally, I had my impacted (wisdom) tooth extracted, for just a fraction of what I would pay here. We only paid Php3500 for cleaning (Shane and I) and three fillings for me plus another Php7k for my surgery + extraction including antibiotics and pain killers. The dentist, Dr David Alesna, President of Cebu Dental Association, was very thorough and has the gentlest hand ever. My last experience with a male dentist was awful but that was all forgotten now. I didn’t feel any pain at all during the surgical procedure. His hands were so light I called them angel’s hands. The best thing about it is that he still gave me a Php500 discount after all the hard work. I wouldn’t think twice about recommending Dr Alesna to everyone.

Our high school reunion was a success. We had a lot of fun. I was so happy to see my classmates and friends after so many years. Though the heat was unbearable, (and me with swollen gums) we still enjoyed the occasion. It rained a bit on the second day but it only made the humidity worse. Even when just sitting in the shade, Shane sweated like he just did aerobic exercises.

Still, this did not deter him from playing golf after seeing the Victorias Executive Golf Club. One of my classmates has a friend whose family lives in Victorias Milling Company compound. She took us there to attend a house blessing and to see a bit of the place too. It was also my first time to see the sugar refinery. It is in this place where the Church of the Angry Christ is located.

I was hoping not to get sick but the quick transition from the heat to the cool aircon either in the car or hotel room made us both crook. Swollen tonsils and cough. I got worse on the day we played golf and was only able to play the front nine.

The weather cooled down a bit when we drove for Dumaguete due to an impending tropical cyclone. While everyone was complaining about the rain, we were happy and actually welcoming the cool change, until the typhoon actually came and caused flood displacing people from their houses. We were lucky to have missed the heavy downpour in Dumaguete. We might not have made it to Bohol in time had we stayed there a day longer.

Alona Palm Beach Resort in Panglao Island, Bohol was very nice. The 8-hectare luxurious resort has only 12 villas which means a lot of views of either the sea or the garden. All villas are huge and tastefully fitted and decorated. The mini-golf was so-so. (Where we live here in Melbourne, we are surrounded by golf and mini-golf courses). But I think the infinity pool was cool and the outdoor chess board was awesome. It is located beside the pool bar. We played three times. I won twice. 😀

As the sea became rough, we weren’t able to enjoy the beach much. But just the same, we walked along the beach in the rain. I enjoyed every drop of it. I don’t get to enjoy that here in Melbourne. First, because it doesn’t rain much here now and second, when it does, it is usually cold.

The gods must have smiled at us on the day we decided to take the day tour of Bohol. The sun was up and the skies are clear. We took a lot of photos but I have yet to upload them on Picassa. Soon.

A bit of trivia: Alona beach was named after the late Philippine cinema actress Alona Alegre when in the seventies she shot a scene for a film where she was seen naked running along the beach.

After over a week of relaxing in Bohol we headed back to Cebu for the last dew days of our holidays. We chose to stay in Mactan Island to cut back on airport travel time. The closest hotel to the airport was the Waterfront Hotel but I didn’t like the idea of a casino in it as it would be busy and might be noisy at night so we stayed a bit farther in Hilton Hotel in Punta Engano, about 20 minutes drive from the airport. The room was not as nice as the villa in Alona Palm Beach but then Alona was more expensive. I liked the toiletries though, from Crabtree and Evelyn. And the housekeeping staff check on the room every few hours and they happily provide extra stuff like bottled water, toiletries and towels if you ask nicely. There was a stuffed toy in the bed, Nemo. I thought it was complimentary. Uhuh… I could take it home, for an extra Php500 pesos. Boring.

The hotel has its own private beach. A very small one and man-made at that. it is nice on a dry and sunny day but I think it is best at night when it is converted as an outdoor dining area. The hotel restaurant would place a few tables and bean bags in the beach and use candles for lighting. On a cool night, it is very relaxing and can be romantic too with the candlelights.

Holidays, I could use another one right now.

Singapore Transit

April 26, 2008 at 9:11 am | Posted in All, Blogging, Philippines, Singapore, Travel | 2 Comments

Currently in transit at Changi Airport Singapore on the way to Cebu, Philippines for a three week holiday.  Going to attend a high school grand alumni homecoming. Will also be seeing places around Cebu and will visit Panglao Island in Bohol for five days. Will also do a bit of side trip to San Carlos City and Dumaguete City, both in Negros Island.

Left Melbourne on a nice and cool weather at around 20 degrees. The heat and humidity here in Singapore was a bit of a shock to our system. A few minutes in the Sunflower Garden at Terminla 2 and I was already feeling sticky.

The last time I came back to the Philippines, i got sick. The heat was just too much. Transition from hot to cool/cold weather seems a bit easier on the body than the other way around.

Hope I acclimatise quickly and not get sick. Can’t afford. I’m going back to see friends I haven’t seen for some twenty years so this is no time to get sick. No way.

Only my third time

April 16, 2008 at 2:41 pm | Posted in All, Conversations with Chuck, Something Funny | Leave a comment

It was a bit cold last night. I had a few trips to the loo.

While watching TV in bed, I felt the urge to go again.

Me : (A bit annoyed) I have to go to the toilet again. This is going to be my third time.

Chuck : (A bit amused) That’s a pretty good effort, darling. After 38 years, this is only your third time.

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