Business Life Updates

Happy Valentine’s Day

It’s hearts day today.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

For the past few days I’ve been thinking of ways how to celebrate the day with my beloved wife.  She’s been busy the past couple of weeks because of her work, sometimes even spending some weekends at the office.  I want her to just spend some time to rest a little while and take some time off.  So, instead of going somewhere, we planned to just stay at home and celebrating with something a little bit personal. 

It’s a bit tricky to pull up a surprise for something you spend almost 24 hours everyday with.  I wanted to surprise her before she wakes up. And so, I got up early this morning to buy some flowers for my beautiful and loving wife.  It was still dawn.  I walked the dimly lit walkway down to the train station.  The flower shop is about 7 stations away.  It’s about 30 to 40 minutes trip back and forth so I figured I still had quite a few minutes before my wife wakes up. 

Just before sunrise, I arrived at our sweet home.  I sneaked into our love nest quietly.  But as soon as I stepped inside, my wife woke up.  My wife being a very observant lady that she is, caught me holding the bouquet of dozen roses, trying very hard to hide it.  I just smiled, kissed my wife and greeted her a happy valentine’s day.  Yes, she was surprised.  Not in the way I imagined, but I’ll take it anytime.  As long as my wife is happy, I am happy. 


What a way to get the heart’s day started.  How about you?  How did you celebrate valentine’s day?

Business Life Updates

Trip to Ilocos – welcoming arches, amazing bridges, and refreshing sceneries

About two years ago, me and my fiancee (now my wife) went to my hometown – Ilocos.  Instead of taking the usual bus trip at night, we decided to drive the whole stretch of Manila to Ilocos during the day.  We wanted to explore and do some sight-seeing while taking the long trip to Ilocos.

We departed from Manila around 5am in the morning to get away from traffic.  Since it was still early, we were able to reach Tarlac City at around 7am.  Just in time for breakfast.  As we were feeling a bit adventurous, we decided to park on the side of the national highway and eat our breakfast behind the refreshing view of corn fields and sunrise.

Here’s a picture of the sunrise while we were having breakfast on the side of the road.



Look how near we are from the road.  I could feel the trembling when a big truck passes us by.  It was an adventure and it was certainly fun. =)



The trip was long but certainly full of unusual and very interesting sights along the way.  Here’s a picture of a small shanty anchored atop of a tree-less mountain.   I can’t imagine having to climb the mountain everyday just to get to your house.

To prevent boredom, we took some pictures from each town while driving.  It’s amazing to know that each town actually has it’s own arch to welcome visiting guests.  Here are a few of the arches we were able to capture.

La Union

I was told that the province of La Union is actually a “union” of lands taken from surrounding 3 provinces: Ilocos, Abra and Pangasinan.  La Union is considered one of the top surfing destinations in the country with its beaches’ powerful waves.

Vigan, Ilocos Sur

Upon reaching Vigan City, visitors are welcomed by a modern steel arched bridge connecting the city from nearby Narvacan town.   The 300-meter length bridge is breath-taking as it is supported by the scenic view from the mountains on both sides and adorned by the peaceful river down below.

About 30 minutes from the bridge is the main plaza of Vigan City.  Here lies the junction, welcoming visitors with its lovely arch.

Vigan is one of the most popular destinations in Ilocos region mainly due to its historic Spanish villas along Crisologo street.  Vigan is also famous for its mouth-watering delicacies like Vigan Longganisa, Royal Bibingka, Empanada, and many more.

Ilocos Norte

After almost 10 hours of travel, we finally reached the province of Ilocos Norte.  Here’s a picture of the province’s welcome arch supported by bricks.  Ilocos Norte is known for its tobacco, garlic, and especially for its most famous citizen, the late president Ferdinand Marcos.

Laoag City is the capital of Ilocos Norte.  You can learn more of the tourist attractions in Laoag City by reading my previous post “Laoag City Philippines – Sunshine city of the north.

Further along north is the tip of the Luzon island, the beautiful town of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.  The town is popular for its untouched natural resources like Saud Beach, Maira-ira Beach also known as “Blue Lagoon”, and some waterfalls along the way to Cagayan province.

There’s also a breath-taking view of the “Patapat” viaduct.  This is a very long stretch of majestic beauty: the green mountain view on one side and the refreshing mist of the wild sea from the other.

So many towns and cities.  So many arches and bridges.  So many beautiful places to see.  Take a trip to Ilocos.  Explore the refreshing sceneries of northern Philippines.

Business Life Updates

Laoag Philippines – Sunshine City of the North

Last December, me and my wife spent our Christmas vacation in the northern part of the Philippines.  As I grew up in the north and am a true born Ilocano, I had special memories to reminisce as we visited the sunshine city of Laoag, Ilocos Norte.

Scenic view from the Gilbert Bridge


“Laoag” is the Ilocano term for “light” or “sunshine”.  It was a shiny day as we were welcomed by the scenic view from the Gilbert Bridge.  The bridge is the first  one to greet visitors of Laoag city and the last thing that will say goodbye when they leave.  I took this picture from the bus while travelling on the bridge.  As a kid, I have spent many times riding the bus going through and out of Laoag and it’s always a special feeling when I take a step into this beautiful city.  I have very fond memories here.  I spent some of my most cherished personal victories like when me and my high school classmates won the provincial statistics quiz.   Or the time when I took and passed the UPCAT (UP College Entrance Examination).  Now, I am adding more beautiful memories as I tour the city with my wife.

Sinking Bell Tower


At the end of the Gilbert Bridge lies one of Laoag’s most popular tourist spot – the Sinking Bell Tower.  Yes, it is still sinking.  Well, at least that’s what some of the people are saying.  The “sinking” of the tower is mainly due to its sandy foundation.



While waiting beside the Sinking Bell Tower, I caught a glimpse of this very peculiar transportation in Laoag City – the “Calesa”.  The “Calesa” is a very eco-friendly horse-driven means of transportation within the city.  I remember when I was still in grade school, my family and I rode the “Calesa”.  The “kutsero” (a local term to refer to Calesa driver) was very nice and offered me to sit beside him in front and let me try to drive the Calesa by myself.  It was one of the most exciting things I’ve done as a child!

There were many things I still wanted to go to and visit in Laoag but we needed to get back home to Batac (nearby town) to prepare for Christmas celebration.

How about you? Have you been to the sunshine city of Laoag?

Business Life Updates

Tagaytay, Philippines – Sonya's Garden Anniversary Lunch

Last December, my wife and I along with my in-laws went to Tagaytay, Philippines to have our anniversary lunch at Sonya’s Garden.  Tagaytay is a 2-hour drive south from Manila, the Philippines’ capital.  It’s a windy place similar to Baguio (the summer capital of the Philippines) with its scenic hills and slopes.

In Tagaytay, there’s a very popular place they call "Sonya’s Garden".  It’s a favorite place for weddings and other special events.  Their specialty is serving home-grown salads like the one below.

Although I am not a big fan of salads, the experience at Sonya’s is certainly a delight. I even had a great time drinking their bottomless tea.

After lunch, we went around the garden and took some pictures of lovely flowers.

There’s also and old wooden bench with wheels on the side.

Sonya’s Garden is wonderful place to relax, have some fresh salads, appreciate the natural beauty that is within us. Although it doesn’t come cheap, I am glad my wife and I spent a few moments to enjoy the food and take a walk along the garden paths and appreciate the beautiful flowers, reflecting the wonderful experiences we had the past year.  Maybe I’ll come here again next year.

Life Updates Money Mindset

Goals for the year 2009

First day of the year 2009. I was on a plane going back from my home town in the Philippines to my work in Malaysia.  It was an interesting flight for me for two reasons: 1) It’s New Year! and 2) I didn’t need to go to work the next morning, which was a Friday.  I’d have the whole weekend to rest and reflect.

Since my wife has 1 more week of vacation before flying back to Malaysia, I had the whole weekend all by myself.  I used the time to reflect on the past year.  What were the things I learned?  What I would like to improve?

There are 3 things I learned from last year.  One, that the most important things in life cannot be bought – like time, family, happiness. Two, there are so many things I wanted to do last year, but for one reason or another, I always found an excuse not to be able to do any of them. Lastly, we can never know what the future may bring.  We can be afraid to take a step, we can stay relaxed on our own little world, we can work hard, but at the end of it all, the day that has passed can never be brought back.

So for the year 2009, I’d like to focus on three things: 1) passion to pursue my dreams, 2) courage to act in spite of fear, and 3) staying alive in the present and treasuring the happiness that today brings.

Next year, I’d like to go back to this 3 things again and see how I did!

Happy New Year!

Life Updates Money Mindset

Love on the sands of time

Business Life Updates

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all! It’s been a long time since I wrote on this blog.  Almost a year has passed.  So many things have happened.

New year. New perspective.  New beginning.

This year I’d like to focus on three things: 1) my own financial education, 2) my new photography hobby, and of course, 3) my sports, TV & DVD tidbits =)

Let’s get it on!

Business Life Lessons Life Updates

a little something about me

This is my first post. I’ve been toying with the idea of a website for quite some time now. I haven’t really figured out what I really want. I love reading books, and I wanted to create an online bookstore. But then I realized, I don’t have the infrastructure to support the whole thing. I don’t even have any experience setting up anything like it. I guess it is just a dream for now…it will have to wait.

As a first blog entry, I wanted to tell a little something about myself. It’s my simple way of introducing myself to the world.

I am a software testing consultant by profession with extensive experience in mainframe, banking and credit card systems. I love reading books, listening to music, playing basketball, going to the beach, singing karaoke, playing guitar, dreaming and sleeping.

That’s it about me for now…next time I will share something about what I really like.