28.11.08

Little Pieces of Peace


. . . In a local barrio elementary school last night, I noticed that people are different: wearing clothes of various ethnic origin. They all look like Filipino to me but somehow different in the way they talk, move and in some physical features.

With what is happening in Mumbai, India as well as the political turbulence in Bangkok, Thailand plus the neverending war in Iraq, it seems peace is a far fetched dream of mankind. Locally, there is the unresolved war in Mindanao between the government army and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. No one wins in war. Adverse impact include displacement of locales, hunger, injuries and even death.

And suddenly a small piece of experience... that moved me.


I went to Pinagbayanan Elementary School to watch and pick up my son who will be performing that night as a member of their school's Folk Dancers. I know there is some sort of a program but I am not exactly aware what the occasion was all about.

It turned out that the people I saw, some in costumes, some in their regular attires were actually delegates coming from different parts of the country. Most of the elder people that I saw prior to the start of the program were all volunteers - some even coming from foreign lands.

The program held in our province is just their second time of having a "National Youth Camp For Peace". Attended by youths of various ethnic groups from as far as Mindanao of Southern Philippines to Northern Luzon. It was held for almost a week with the send off party being held that night. The objective of the encampment was to inculcate to the youth the importance of peace - traversing religion, beliefs, location and cultural differences. As I understood, religion was one of the focal points of the events - focusing on what was common good or they called "pearl" in every religion. The pearl that will serve as seeds of peace that will be planted into the hearts and minds of the youth and thereby share to others.

I never realized that picking up my son will be worthwhile. The stage reflects serenity and was further explained by one teen delegates.

It is the first time I attended a program wherein the opening prayer is done - first the Christian way and then the Moslem way.

I listened. And I prayed. I just used my heart when the Moslems were praying.

It was so peaceful. The harmony floating in the air.



They presented videos of the youth camp activities. Of the roles of volunteers in Mindanao and in war stricken areas of the country. They showed the adverse effects of not having peace.

The program that night included presentation of Filipino folk dances from various schools of our town as well as traditional and ethnic songs performed by the delegates themselves.

I saw how the children of different background interacted with each other. Some of them discussed in front of the audience what they have learned and how they were moved by the program - being together for almost a week. Some are really youthful and dreams full of hope and aspirations.

Generally, their dreams are just as simple as to live together as they were given the opportunity to share their experiences, ideas and insights from within the participants belonging to different ethnic groups and religion.


I listened to their versions and understanding of peace. Their roles in promoting it. And their plans of sharing peace to others.

I felt the honesty and commitment of the children, delegates, participants and volunteers of the Peace Camp.



Peace... No boundaries, no borders.. Regardless of race, religion, ethnic origin or political affiliation.




I felt the harmony.


As I watched... and listened...
To the Little Pieces of Peace.


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My admiration and congratulations to the organizers of the camp for peace. One small step of planting the seed of peace in the young minds of Philippine future. Hats off to them!



25.11.08

Filipinos Becoming Animals?

"Hayup ka!" is often heard as a joke nowadays which means "You're an animal!" But the root of this idioms is not really through kidding but was usually heard when a person is mad which could also mean rude or inconsiderate. Nowadays, we also hear or see "Hayup!" (no pronouns) as an expression even in chatting or texting which could either refer to a person or something amazing done or said.


So are Filipinos really turning into animals?


Nahhhh.. It just so happen that animals, their name and characteristics have been a part of Filipino language, most of them as a part of speech or idiomatic expression. It's like turning the person or the subject person into an animal. I hope I can give justice to it and translate the "Filipino Animals" properly. It really sounds so different and funny if forced to be translated.

"Kapit-tuko si Pedro sa asawa!" Peter holds on to his wife like a lizard. The animal tuko or green lizard known to have a good grip is being used to connote a person who cannot let go and holds on to someone or to something.

"Kayod- kalabaw" Or works like a carabao. The animal is a Filipino farmer's best friend and works the whole day tilling the land. If a person's way of labor is compared to a carabao then he really works hard.

"Anak ng Pating" - literally means a baby shark. This is generally used as an expression of frustration about something missed or not done. "Anak ng pating, hindi natapos!" translation: Son of a shark, it's not finished! This can be used towards a person as well "Anak ka ng pating!"


Most famous and always seen on the street - the "Buwaya" - or crocodile. Now often refers to corrupt and greedy person. More often, this is used on the policemen (being on the streets or since they are known for being corrupt?) and politicians. But generally, buwaya means greedy and must come from the root word "buwakaw" of the same meaning.

"Usad Pagong" - Pagong is turtle and usad means move. Hence, a turtle person is one who moves hecka slow.

"Utak-biya" - Utak is brain while biya is one of the smallest edible freshwater fish in the Philippines. Imagine comparing an individual's brain to that of a small fish? How to use: Your progress is like turtle-phase because you are fish-brained! (Oh, so rude!)

"Lakad bibe" - (walks like a duck) butt out, usually to recognize a female with big butts and sways her hips while walking. Usage: "Oh Daisy is really pretty plus she walks like a duck!"

"Butete" - or tadpole. Refers to a person, usually male with big bellies. (Some kids catch tadpoles during my time)

"Kiti-kiti" - which means larvae of mosquito. "Para kang kiti-kiti" is a person who is constantly moving, uneasy and cannot stay in one place.

"Hanep" - gnat, a very very small insect. I remember only feeling them whenever I get eggs from our native hen's nest when I was young. Seeing them? it's like seeing small dots crawling on your arms! Hanep is an expression meaning very impressive, amazing, extraordinary or outstanding! Use: "Hanep sa likot ang batang ito, parang kiti-kiti!" Translation: "Gnat in naughtiness this kid, like a mosquito larvae!" Whoaaahh! Forgive me! I cannot help it but that's the way it goes!

"Baboy" - is Pig. Period. Do I have to explain why someone called you a pig? Hehehe! Just a gossip: Last time I heard, Baboy refers to the presidential spouse (The First Gentleman?)

"Linta" - leech. This one is also used by other countries as well. Refers to persons who are like parasites - sucking the blood of another! Ewww! No, I have not heard this being actively used for our politicians (yet). Wanna start?

"Palos" - Eel. Flat, slimy and slippery. A person is called palos if he always escapes being caught similar to Leo DiCaprio's role in the movie Catch me if you Can.


"Tusong matsing" or clever monkey - This came from Aesop's fables (the monkey and the turtle). A person who takes advantage of the situation or of the weakness of the other person. Use: "Hindi nila mahuhuli ang palos na si Leo dahil tusong-matsing ito!" They cannot catch Leo the eel because he is one clever monkey!"

"Boses palaka" - refers to the singing voice of a person that is not pleasant to the ears. Means the person "croaks like a frog!"

"Boses Ipis" - Voice sounds like a cockroach. Well, have you ever heard a cockroach talk or make a sound? Obviously, this means the voice is hardly audible or cannot be heard at all.

"Parang palakang naulanan" - Like a frog under the rain. Refers to group of persons that are loud and wild, just like the frog in a pond when it rains!

A teacher to her students: "Children, how come during our recitation, your voice is like that of a cockroach and when I leave the room for a while, you're like frogs under the rain?" in Tagalog: "Mga bata, bakit kung tayo'y may talakayan kayo ay boses-ipis samantalang pag alis ko naman ng silid-aralan ay para kayong palakang naulanan?"

i know I may have missed a lot of animals. But we cannot deny that some of our acts or features are really comparable to these innocent animals anyways.


If you have other animals in mind, leave a comment here!

One thing I know and just realized: this topic is sooooo difficult but I enjoyed writing it!

Animal ang dating di ba? Translation: Animal arrive, isn't it? Hehehe! The word animal here refers to the outstanding or extraordinary (animalistic?) appeal of a thing, event or person.

Haneps!!


Important note: No animal was harmed (or abused)in the course of this activity!

24.11.08

Dividing Philippines Into Two Regions

The Philippines has suffered and has also benefited from regionalism. Since eons ago, loyalty and favors are more focused towards the region or land of origin, ethnicity or dialect.
This can be traced back to the inherent search of an individual to satisfy the need to belong, become a part of a team or group of people. And feel the sense of belongingness.

The Filipino and our national identity is a blend of diverse ethnic and linguistic groups that can be a combination of various background. This is brought about by the archipelagic land formation and various native dialects, plus the political regions comprising the country. Geography, religion, dialects and other beliefs and traditions are some of the causes of regionalism and division amongst Filipino people.

One of the advantages of regionalism is the the tendency of people to be more competitive in order to become better than the other region.

But this time, with great media influence, the Country has only Two New Opposite Poles! Two New Regions!

It is not based on geography, ethnic background or language anymore. This, I can say, is the impact of media to my countrymen, that affects including those abroad.
The advent of media has divided country into two new regions:

Kapamilya

and

Kapuso


These are the two major television networks competing against one another in the country, as far as I can remember.
Kapamilya (Family member or relative)is by ABS CBN Broadcast Network, usually on Channel 2. It also has regional networks to attend to palate of various areas in the country. Famous shows on this network are Wowowee (known to TFC subscribers), Maala ala Mo Kaya and some drama soaps like Kahit Isang Saglit and the fantasy soap Dyosa. It also has its roster of talents that showcase their singing and dancing prowess on Sunday's ASAP variety show. It's news and magazine shows like TV Patrol and Correspondents are what I always recall. The Kapamilya channel is known as The Filipino Channel or TFC in other countries.

Kapuso (Of the same heart or Heart Beating at the same time) - or GMA Channel 7. also has regional networks. Known for programs such as Unang Hirit and the longest running variety show Eat Bulaga. GMA 7 is also home to Bubble Gang the longest running gag show. News and public affairs programs are 24 (Beinte Kuwatro) Oras, Reporter's Notebook, Pinoy Abroad, Imbestigador and Kapuso Mo Jessica Sojo amongs others. Fantasy Soaps Gagambino and Lalola are also shown on this channel. Sunday variety show has almost the same format called SOP. Their network outside the Philippines is called GMA Pinoy TV.

Both of them has received local and international awards as well. Meaning, they are both really doing well and are recognized in the Philippines and abroad. They are both doing good and i am proud as a Filipino for having both channels.

The two channels have almost the same television format and programming on a day to day basis. It's like competing head-on. Their types of program and genre are being shown simultaneously. If the other network is showing soap, expect that the other one is showing the same thing. If not, expect that one of them will adjust their programs and time slots in order to realy compete with the other.

At times, there are mud-throwing incidents especially with their noon time variety show hosts.

You will hear Filipinos nowadays discussing or debating which one is better. Even in a single household, there can be two regions or beliefs in terms of what channel to watch. As personally observed, elder people are mostly Kapamilya and the teenagers, yuppies and young parents are generally Kapuso.

I have personally witnessed more than one heated discussion about the network war. In fact, this has crossed the Philippine borders already. More than once it happened that my 'beer session' has debates focusing on what is the better variety show: from host, to games, to dancers! This also happens in some households that I know.

Well, I have my personal opinion and I think it is obvious which one I prefer. However, there are programs that are undeniably better that the other network. Let me just say, I believe Kapamailya has also good and sometimes better shows or programs. But most of the Filipino programs that I watch are in the Kapuso region. It just suits my taste. But, it's just my opinion. My perception.
So, I guess I am a Kapuso.

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Putot


I am not really sure where the word originates from. I am not even sure if it is Tagalog or not.


What I am sure of, is the meaning and reasons behind the word "PUTOT".



The term refers to the food that is taken home by guests or given away to guests of a party or any gathering.

Filipinos are known to prepare a lot of food during occasions, parties and even small gatherings. Foods being prepared are usually in excess of expected number of guests. Hence the excess food.


Well, putot does not necessarily mean excess food.

It just means food from a party or any gathering that is taken home by a guest. It can be before, during or after the party. Putot are usually provided by the hosts to their guests. but some guests are thick-faced, packing foods even if the party is not over yet. (With the hosts reluctantly saying it is okay.)

In some parts of the country, take-home foods are considered part of the tradition for Filipino events like Baptisms and Weddings. Special food is prepared generously and packed like a gift exclusively for the principal sponsors or ninongs and ninangs. It is still putot, but this is is the kind that became a sort of tradition, giving prepared foods, packed specifically and especially for the sponsors.


Filipinos in other countries practice this as well. I have observed this in most of the gatherings from Christmases, Thanksgivings even Superbowls. Excess foods are packed and sometimes forced to the guests. Well, instead of having spoiled or throwing the excess food, might as well give it away.


Oh, it will be Thanksgiving in a few days and whoever Filipino hosting the family gathering will surely prepare excess foods, aside from dishes that will be brought by guests.


For Sure, ziploc and plastic wares will come in handy....
Happy Thanksgiving!!
****
and
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Get ready... for your Putots!
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The Entries and Walks

Babette slowly writes the amount on her paper and exclaimed "Are you sure this is debit one hundred twenty pesos?"

"Yes", replied Germie. "But I am not sure why!" If you wanna copy! Just copy!" I just copied it from Diana!" and he continued pinching Babette's ears. A habit he is well-known for.

"Let me see, let me see!" said Helen. She fully trusts Diana's answers being on top of their class. She grabbed the sheet of paper and continued comparing their assignments while combing her hair.

"Don't worry I'm not gonna ask you about any of this entries! I'll just copy! Hehehe!" Puroy told Germie, grabbing the columnar pad from Helen.

While starting to copy and write, Maribeth was surprised when Puroy grabbed the copy "Hey Yayang, let us all see! Do not be bwakaw (greedy)!" And then suddenly she laughed...

The rest of the group wondered why the so called Amazona is laughing on her own. Maribeth continued giggling.. "Look guys! I was copying even Diana's name! So stupid!" Hahaha!' And everybody laughed with her.
"Shhhhh! Silence!" Said Odette and Lorie almost at the same time, placing their forefingers on their lips. "Our Boss is coming any minute now!" said the two, who works as Student Assistants in the Library.
Arlene kept her mum. Writing with hair almost covering her face, she reminded the rest "Come on guys, we only have a few minutes left before the start of class with Sir Oca!" Sir Oca is a funny and well respected professor but he's not the kind any student would want to mess up with. Known for his jokes that anybody who will not follow will be hit by a palatiaw (hatchet) on the face! ("papalatiawin ko mukha mo!").


"Ahhh, this is an adjusting entry that's why this account is debited, am I right Tess?" Joseph staring at his papers asked one of the topnotchers in the class.

"Yes, I think so, said Tess." I did the same thing as Diana's" and she continued reading her book for the next lesson.

Frowning, Elena childishly dropped her pen and paper on the table and said "I really hate Sir Bobs for this assignment! Does he think we are enjoying this? Hmph!"


"Let it go sister, let it go! Just copy, hurry up!" Said Orly in his baritone voice. Elena was also known as Sister for acting like a nun (or pretending) sometimes.

"Hey, how come I did not have that entry and my Balance Sheet is okay?" asked Eva, eyes enlarged while habitually pressing her calculator at random. "Do you think this is right, Paul?"


Paul replied, "Well, this problem is tricky. I think you need to change your answers! Where is Diana when you need her?" waving his hands, shaking like a nervous person.
"I think she's in the acacia tree near Acad Building. Classes are about to start, she's waiting there." Fe exclaimed while scribbling fast on her columnar pad!


"Hey, hey! Do you have a spare columnar pad with you?" asked Cherry almost shouting from the other table. "I still need a few sheets to finish my assignment!"

"Here, I still have some!", said Imelda passing the lined paper to Cherry through Michael who keeps on pouting while writing and then to Roy. "We are slaves of paper! Hehehe!" Roy, the school's (not so famous) heattrhob added, as he gave the papers to Cherry.

"Thanks Puto! Hehehe!" Cherry teased Roy. (Puto, meaning rice cake, the alias of Roy).

"Hey, it's time to go! Our classes with Sir Oca starts in 5 minutes!" exclaimed one of the guys.


"We will just finish this between classes!" said most of the girls. "Babette, let us have some of your baby powder!" a couple of girls exclaimed as they start to fix themselves.

The large group of students stood up almost at the same time, grabbed their school things and left the library. Acad Building, where business subject classes are held, is adjacent the library building and takes about a couple of minutes walk.

Puroy and Cirilo bragged and joked around " Hurry up slow people! You did not finish 'coz you're all so slow! Next time, just copy and do not use your brain anymore! Hehehe!"


And the group walked together...

The walk that is just a start

of their life's journey...

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This is a typical scene, where a group of students study together in order to cope up with the demands of their chosen field of study.
Dedicated to:
Batch 1993
Bachelor of Science in Commerce Major in Accounting
Wesleyan University Philippines
Cabanatuan City


23.11.08

Favorite Lyrics

Filipinos are usually known for our talents in music. I am proud to be a member of a family with somewhat inherent inclination and skills in this field. In one way or another, members of my clan is interested or involved in something that has something to do with music. Some of my siblings and relatives are choir members, singers, guitar players, drummers, cellist, pianist. Others even play the trombone, clarinet and other musical instruments.

Unfortunately, I was not able to master any of those instruments. My father even sent me to a guitar school when I was nine. He gave me a harmonica as my birthday gift when I turned 11. But I was not able to learn well. Somehow, something happened and I could sing in front of the audience. I started singing in front of the crowd when I was 9 years old and ever since performed in school programs, family gatherings and videokes (even drinking sessions) and whatever occasion.

People are entertained and becomes connected through music... through songs. I just realized that my favorite songs are somehow connected with each other as well. Here are the Bits, pieces, portions of the lyrics of some of my favorite songs. Try humming and naming the songs!

For just this skyline pigeon
Dreaming of the open
Waiting for the day
When he can spread his wings
and

If I can see it
then I can do it
If I just believe it
there's nothing to it
I believe I can fly
I believe I can touch the sky
I think about it every night and day
Spread my wings and fly away

It's little things that only I know
Those are the things that make you mine
And it's like flying without wings
Coz you're my special thing
I'm flying without wings
I'm flying without wings
And that's the joy you bring


Did you ever know that you're my hero?
You're everything I wish I could be
I could fly higher than an eagle,
Cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

Can you take me Higher?
To a place where blind men see
Can you take me Higher?
To a place with golden streets
So lets go there,
lets go there,Come on, lets go there

Lets ask can we stay?

21.11.08

Understanding People Through Candy Wrappers

People have different characters. Individual differences is actually one of the reasons that make people get along with one another.

As a social person, we live amongst throngs of various groups of people and try to live as harmoniously as we can. Whether admittedly or not, we tend to analyze the people we try to socialize with - no matter how deep or shallow (our method of analysis - not the person :)). There are people who seems to be more judgemental and keep away from people who, in their personal opinion, are considred not good influences. Some people has the tendency to be more observant and try to dig deep into behavioral aspects of another person. This is how we, as a people, cope up socially.

The saying 'birds of the same feathers flock together' is not made out of nothing. There are some similarities that we see in each other that's why we stick together. This could be our race, class, social status, georgraphical location or even behaviors, abilities and disabilities. But opposite poles attract as well. Recognizing we have individual differences is one of the means by which we can understand people.


I personally try to distinguish people, including myself - in the socio-physchological realm. There are so many underlying factors with which to 'individualize' a person. However, other factors necessitates deeper understanding or observation and even involvement.



What is the Candy Wrapper's role in analyzing or understanding human behavior?

I use the Candy Wrapper to recognize and understand a person. This is easy. With my method, there are two kinds of categories:

First, is the concerned and conscious - the person throws the small candy wrapper in a trash can. Exerts effort in looking for a proper place to throw the smallest of trash wrapper usually made of plastic or foil. Puts it in a pocket or personal bag if trash cans are out of sight. This individual is concerned about the environment and society- consciously or unconsciously. Can also be considered an organized person.


Second, is a carefree person - throws candy wrapper anywhere. Just puts it where it is convenient - on the
ground, on top of the table, on a corner of the bus seats or car seats. Just everywhere and anywhere. This does not mean the person is not concerned about the environment or about other people. But this person does not know or realize the impact of a disorganized conditions, impacts of plastics or trash in the environment among others.


I get along well with either type of persons. The objective of recognizing an individual is to understand or maybe categorize. Not to seggregate nor promote misunderstandings due to differences. I may favor the first category above but it does not necessarily mean the second is a bad person. It's just one way of categorizing individuals.


I still see a lot of candy wrappers, cigarette buts, bottle crowns and other trash thrown everywhere. (All of the photos shown here are taken in our neighborhood this morning.) Hence, there are still a lot of people belonging to the second category.


As we go out and socialize, try to observe friends, coworkers, classmates, church leaders, politicians, neighbors and other members of our society - What category do they belong to?

You....Where do you belong?


19.11.08

Wow! Paksiw na Bangus!

Oh, nothing can beat the bangus for paksiws! Especially if the bangus is really fresh and one from Dagupan.

There are other types of fish that can also be cooked paksiw like galunggong (roundscad) or Salay (trevally) that are delicious as well. But the meat of the Philippines' national fish has a distinct taste and flavour that fits this type of dish!

Whether locally or abroad where Filipinos thrive, bangus is one of the fast-selling fish. (Tilapia beats the rest of them). In the retail supermarket where I worked, I remember even selling Dagupan Bangus in Northern California and it was selling like hotcake!


When my byenan or mother-in-law prepares paksiw the native promdi way, all I can say is "Wow, Paksiw!" Almost the same way advertised in the famous kapamilya program of Wowowee. And with the way she cooks sinampalukan na bangus (Milkfish in tamarind broth), I cannot help but exclaim, "Aysus, Sinampalukang Bangus!" And prepare our palates for the tasty meal and (over)fill our hungry tummies.

Paksiw is a vinegar based delicacy that is super easy to prepare. It will be on the top of the dish list if I will prepare a book entitled 'Idiot's Guide in Preparing Meals' . Paksiw of whatever fish specie, from the smallest dilis to butanding (whale shark, hehehe!)- has the the same process of cooking.


Let me share how E-A-S-Y it is to prepare paksiw na bangus. This is based on my byenan's way of cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large or 3 medium milkfish, cleaned and gutted, cut into 4. Do not remove the scales (Filipino way to cook paksiw, it should have scales)
  • 1 small ginger (the size of two toes ) - peeled and crushed
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 4 -6 pieces of siling green (green pepper)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper (grounded)
  • 2 small ampalaya (bitter melon), cut into 1-inch size. (optional)
  • 2 small talong or eggplant. cut into 1 inch size (also optional)
  • 1 spoonful patis (or depending on your taste); or use salt, about half teaspoon
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 1 cup water

Step 1: In a pot (kaserola), preferably palayok or earthen pot, arrange the ginger, garlic and vegetables at the bottom.

Step 2: Place the bangus (fish) on top of the vegetables. Add the water and vinegar then the black pepper and patis. Do not cover. (Don't ask me why, she just told me not to cover it.) Bring to boil.
Step 3: Add the green pepper on top of the boiling mixture. Season to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Best served with, what else? RICE! Garlic fried rice also goes well with Paksiw. Try it and let me know how loud you shouted "Wow, Paksiw!"

Wow! Paksiw na Bangus! is really mouth-watering even just as I imagine it! Oh, hold on, I just need to wipe my mouth.....

17.11.08

FILIPINO Life is A Beach!


The archipelagic land formation of the Philippines promotes appreciation of the waters and of island living. Surrounded by waters, the more than seven thousand islands of my country has major tourist destinations anchored on beaches and its resources. The sea also serves as the major source of living for most people living in coastal areas.

I remember when I was young, my family and friends have to travel more than four hours just to enjoy the nice beaches of Pangasinan.

The Central Plains of Luzon where I grew up is, as the name implies, far from beach resorts. (Well, we boast of being the rice granary of the country.) My almost annual summer vacation in Botolan Zambales to visit my paternal grandmother 'Papo', will not be complete without spending days on the beach.


As years passed by, I became a beach bum and tried to visit the beach if location and time permits. I was lucky to have visited different beach resorts that my country is proud of. Aside from being scenic, the climate offers the right temperature and weather (especially summer), that is incomparable to other counties.

Coastal areas in the Philippines is so picturesque, I can't help but spend a lot of time gathering photos. Unfortunately, during those times, digital photography was never heard yet. (Hence I have spent rolls and rolls of films! Hahaha!) But I already have a few collection that I can share.

Looking at some of the photos, it makes me crave to go to the beach again. ..

Let's go and enjoy Philippine beaches!!!

(Oops! No pun intended! Peace!)