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On Getting Inked

By On August 28, 2013
Most elderly people look at tattooed men or women as if they have just been fresh out of jail (read: jail ink). I totally understand this as our elders lived in a time when people got inked while serving time. So when my husband got his very first tattoo recently, he hesitated a bit as he knew how his parents are going to react.

I, however, supported him all the way, as I am open to this kind of penchant. I have an uncle who's a tattoo artist, who happened to be the one behind the tunnel piercing for my ears (done 11 years ago) . And oh, by the way, I've got a plan on having my own tattoo but I haven't really decided yet as to which tattoo designs I'll have. I'll have to choose something that's not unpleasant.It's quite common for older people to disapprove of getting inked. "Dinudumihan nyo lang ang balat nyo" (You're only tainting your skin), they usually say. Or most often it's "Mukha kang adik!" (You look like a substance abuser/druggie). 

That's how they (mostly old folks) see inked people. It's due to the fact that people their age who have tattoos used to spend time in the slammer or were addicted to prohibited substances. I find this notion so disappointing. It's become a reason anyone with a tattoo to be ridiculed or be a victim of discrimination. Totally different from OUR generation and from OUR time. At present, tattoos are artistic representations of oneself permanently marked on skin.Some crowd get tattoos for different reasons. Many of them choose to document the highlights or significant events in their lives through tattoos. I've known a few people who got their inks just because of heartbreaks (some may find it ridiculous, but that's what they felt like doing at that time, so their reasons are none of our business, haha!) There are also people who get tattoos because it's "uso" (fad). Masabi lang na astig sila. Or it could be due to a kid's impulsiveness and curiousity. The list could go on forever.

Having a tattoo does not necessarily mean that one doesn't respect or take care of his/her body. I remember a feature that Kara David of GMA once did for i-Witness in 2010. It's called "Ang Huling Mambabatok". It's about the Filipino culture, particularly of people of Kalinga. Our ancestors' bodies' used to be embellished with intricate patterns or "batok" (native term for tattoo) to signify their strength as warriors. This is the very reason they were referred to as "Pintados" by the Spaniards. So, you see, that's just their artistic way of telling everyone that they've been through a lot as warriors. These markings represent who they were and what they've done. Which is similar to someone opting to get his/her skin ink marks to artistically show what his/her passions are and what makes his/her entire being.Or simply just for one's love of the tattoo art.

Time For A Break!

By On August 23, 2013
Whew! I have never felt so refreshed. I've had another project done. Yay! Good vibes! It really feels good to know that at least one person believes in my ability as a writer. Though I'm just making some baby-steps to my own success, I am on my way to reaching it. I'm a hard knock, y'know. Haha! No one and nothing could stop me from pursuing this career. And Stef Gonzaga released "The Freelancer's Manifesto" just in time. It's such an inspiring piece that freelancers must read. In case you're wondering what I'm referring to, here's the link to the book: The Freelancer's Manifesto.To any freelancer who might be reading this, you can click on the link I've provided, make sure to share it with anyone whom you think might need it. It'll surely boost your confidence and morale.

Reading it made my day. What a nice way to have a break. Plus warm hugs from my husband and son. I had no idea that freelancing can be physically and emotionally draining until I went full-time. But it's worth my time and effort. I have all the time to work, get into some other gigs online, take care of my family and write on my blog every now and then Great, right? Being happy with what I have and what I do keeps me going. I'll still continue what I've chosen to do, and I'm going to work really hard to become a seasoned freelance professional. To all new fellow freelancers out there, don't let anything or anyone stand in our way to stop our success.After all, we are solo professionals and no one owns us.

My RCBC MyWallet Visa Experience

By On August 15, 2013
I recently got my RCBC MyWallet Prepaid Visa Card and initially, I was happy with the service. I got a personalized card (with my name on it) and Paypal verification was a breeze using it. The RCBC Cabanatuan branch personnel made sure that all the necessary fields in the form were filled out during application

Note: Paypal cannot make a charge for verifying the card if your email address was not included in RCBC's system, so you better fill out the email field during application)

For the application process, I just presented my police clearance (I have no other valid ID card at that time, as I have surrendered my company ID when I resigned and great, I lost my postal ID). I had to photocopy it for bank records purposes. I made an initial deposit of PhP 120.00, activation fee included. I was then advised to come back after a week to claim my card. And so I got it and happily went home to have my Paypal account verified. Once I linked the card, I immediately sent an email to their contact center to request the expanded use code be sent to me through email. After five hours, I received it,  and had my Paypal account verified after a few minutes.

I have added it as my bank account on Paypal for withdrawal purposes. The first few withdrawals, I only got charged PhP 10.00 each (there's a PhP 50.00 fee for Paypal withdrawals below PhP 7,000 though). Transactions went through within the given time frame (2-4 business days). So, to sum it all, I was pretty satisfied with the service.

The experience was good until recently, something went amiss. I've transferred my Paypal funds to my MyWallet account. The funds did not arrive until after 5 days (if they say 2-4 business days, I expect the funds on the fourth day). And, I also found out that they funds I transferred did not match the account balance on my RCBC account. I was only expecting a PhP 10.00 fee for the transfer but it turned out I was charged an extra 100. It may not be a huge amount, but as a customer, I should be made aware about changes on their banking fees. I only learned about the "foreign fee" they've deducted from my account after I sent them an email. I was so frustrated that I lashed out on them through my email that the changes weren't well-communicated to customers. It's not even on their website.

It was disappointing, knowing that RCBC is not transparent enough for small clients like me. I don't really know how they treat their big-time clients. I just hope they make it a point to let all customers know about any changes as soon as they implement those.

Casapsapan Beach in Aurora Province

By On August 08, 2013
Here's another must-try whitesand beach in the Philippines. The Casapsapan beach in Aurora Province (I'm a fan of beaches in this province 'coz they're just a few hours away from Nueva Ecija). In case your point of origin is Manila, here's a map showing the route that you will have to take to experience one of the less popular but great beaches in the Philippines.

For me, it's one of the best beaches in the Philippines as it's not been commercialized yet. Many beaches in the Philippines like Boracay Beach has been receiving too much amount of popularity that most people, celebrity or not, choose to explore it than the other less known ones with the same amount beauty.

The map above shows only the route that you can take using your own vehicle. There's a different route available if you take public transportation

Casapsapan, Casiguran, Aurora, Philippines

The snapshot above gives you a clear view of what to expect during your travel to Casapsapan beach. Notice the muddy terrain, which is just a usual scenario in the daily lives of Casiguran locals.

Road going to Casapsapan, Casiguran

Now, this shot of the road above also mirrors the description I've posted for Dinadiawan. Here, you can see a brook running across with some really bumpy and muddy portions of the road. That's why you may have to travel using a SUV for more ease in traveling.

Dinadiawan Beach

This photo above was taken in one of the many spots along the way that are often used for taking pictures by travelers. This spot is located somewhere near Dinadiawan beaches.

Finally, after approximately 5 hours of travel time, having covered around 221 km, we have pleasured ourselves looking at this beauty sans the crowd that you'll usually see in Boracay.

Casapsapan beach shoreline, Casiguran, Aurora Province

The view up here is even more awesome than in Dinadiawan due to the almost pristine whitesand beach (well, almost, since some folks have already been here). This shot was above taken around 10:30 AM when we arrived.

Sunrise at Casapsapan Beach

Casapsapan beach is even more breathtaking at dawn. Unbelievable as it may seem, but this snap above was captured around 4:00 AM.

The Aurora province has a very rich flora and fauna. So during our visit in Casapsapan, we took time to see what the place has in store for us. One of the most fascinating plant we have encountered was the Catmon tree.

Catmon Flower

From afar, it may look like any ordinary tree and the fruit somehow resembles a guava fruit. Look at the flowers more closely.

Catmon fruit unopened

The catmon fruit (better known as Elephant apple in some countries), to me, seemed like it was a flower bud. Little did I know that it was indeed a bud that would turn into a flower.

Catmon fruit peeled

Note the red vein-like structure. It's similar to the "veins" you'll find in the middle of the flower. Locals said that if a fruit was not harvested, it further matures and grows into a flower. Interesting, isn't it? For other regular plants, it's flower first, then turns into a fruit.For catmon, it's the opposite.

We have also visited a little zoo which houses several species of the animals that can be found within the region. Some of them were the deer, monkey, and wild pig. It was such a great experience that five-day stay seemed to be too short. This place will surely be included in our vacation this coming summer (may be too early to plan, heck! I just love the place).

Wild Hog, Casiguran, Aurora Province, Philippines

Deer in Casiguran, Aurora