Friday, April 27, 2012

On business and unsecured business loans

My friends and I have been planning to put up a business since we were in high school. We thought of putting up a restaurant, a boutique, an internet cafe and even a gasoline station. We wanted to have our own business in preparation for our retirement. We have been too busy the past years that we have forgotten about the plan until recently when one of our friends who now works abroad asked me to research about franchising a restaurant. I thought, why not. If there is one thing that unites us, it is food.

I did a little research on franchising a restaurant business. Like with any business, we need a capital to start with buying a franchise. My other friend suggested we apply for a business loan because we do not have that big amount of money to buy the franchise. So, we thought of having a business loan. 

I have heard of unsecured business loans wherein a lender will not be required of a collateral such as property. One of the advantages of an unsecured loan is that there are no late fees since banks and other financial institutions give grace periods.  I asked one of our friends to ask about the advantages and disadvantages of secured versus unsecured business loans to banks with clear policies.

I hope this time, we will finally make our plan come true.

On weddings and wedding decorations

Every woman has her dream wedding. It is like a young girl dreaming of fairy tales coming true. Just like me, I dream of wearing the most beautiful wedding gown, walking down the aisle with my groom waiting on the altar and reciting our vows in front of our dearest guests.

Wedding days are special because it opens a new chapter of a woman's life with the man who will be her life long partner. Having said that, women take time in preparing for the wedding--from the date of their wedding, to the guest list and even the wedding decorations

If I were to have a garden wedding, I'd choose subtle but romantic decorations that will complement the theme. I don't want the guests to be overwhelmed of the grandeur of the event. I don't even want a big celebration, to begin with. I want them to be relaxed and feel that they are a part of the celebration and not simply as guests. I simply want them to remember that on that day, two individuals were united in love by God.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Re-Post: 5 Things Teens Should Never Live With

My cousin is back into blogging. It has been a year since her last post. I am glad she's back because I know she has a lot of nice things to share.

And speaking of share... I would like to share her first post this year. It is an excerpt from the Little Black Book about the 5 things teens should never live with. Adults should also apply these to their lives.


The world is full of people who look back with regret on their teenage years. So here are those 5 regrets you don't want to live with the rest of your lives.

1.) Moral regrets. Don't allow yourself to compromise your purity and be remembered forever with the stains of sexual sin(Rom.12:1)

2.) Ministry regrets. If the Lord is speaking to you about sharing your faith w/ a classmate, take the opportunity. It may never come again.

3.) Mentor regrets. Submit yourself to a good pastor and others you trust to mold you and develop you as a leader. Now is the greatest time of learning and personal development.

4.) Maximum regrets. Never leave yourself wondering what could have happened- in school, athletics, church, or any other part of life- if you would have given all you had to give to succeed.

5.) Media regrets. Don't ever allow yourself to look back at your youth as a time when all you did was to watch TV, play video games, and go to movies. Do something productive in your life,along with your entertainment.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Passage into Manhood

In the Philippines, aside from summer being the season to enjoy the beach and the pool, it is also the season for young boys to undergo a ritual... a passage into manhood... circumcision. It is commonly done every summer since there are no more classes.

Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin that covers the tip of the penis. In other countries, it is done before a newborn leaves the hospital. In the Philippines, it is commonly done to young boys of age 10 to 14. Parents who choose to have their sons circumcised is often based on religious beliefs, hygiene, or social and cultural reasons.

My nephew just had the ritual. It was hilarious. But, I am proud of him because he took it like a man. Next school year, he can now boast to his male classmates that he is no longer a baby but an adult... an adult who is ready to take more responsibilities.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Random Clicks: Hundred Islands, Pangasinan

That's me! Photo taken at Quezon Island, Hundred Islands, Alaminos City, Pangasinan.
My Aunt and sister have been planning to have a vacation since February. The initial plan was to go to Hong Kong with the kids but we could not find airplane seats for the dates that we wanted so we decided it would be better if we just go to some province in the Philippines. And so we decided to go to see the Hundred Islands  in Alaminos City, Pangasinan. Perfect!

After too many weeks of planning, it ended up with just me and a friend having a vacation. It was so frustrating that they were not able to join me despite all my efforts. Anyway, at least I was able to have a vacation.

It was my friend's first time to drive there so it took us eight long hours of land travel to go to Alaminos City, Pangasinan. 

First things first, we need a place to spend the night. We went to Brgy. Lucap, the closest place to the Hundred Islands and the one with the most number of hotels to choose from. I was expecting we would have a hard time finding a room because it is still summer but we did not.

The hotel front.
We stayed at Vista de las Islas Resort Hotel. The receptionist priced us with Php2,000 a night without breakfast. The receptionist sensed that I am hesitant so she gave me Php1,500 a night for their Deluxe Room that can accommodate at most five persons. 

The Deluxe Room that we rented for 3 days and 2 nights.
The room is air conditioned, has cable television and personal ref. The bathroom is decent enough. You cannot bring food inside the hotel (boo!) but if you get hungry, their restaurant on the first floor is open from 6AM until 10PM. They also have a convenience store and souvenir shop. Oh, and they have a WiFi connection so that you can immediately upload your photos and update your Facebook status.

If you plan to take a swim in the evening, they also have a pool. But, I was turned off by the color of the pool water. Maybe next time when I finally see the bottom of the pool.

We rented a boat that will take us to the Hundred Islands for Php1,500. It is a fee for the whole day tour, exclusive of the things that you will need to fully enjoy the trip... ergo... snorkel and kayak. We paid Php100 per snorkel and my friend rented the kayak for Php150 for 30 minutes.

TIP: Before checking in at hotels, visit first the Hundred Islands National Park Tourism Office in Lucap Wharf. You can find great deals for tours, hotel rates and just about anything you need to know about the Hundred Islands. They regulate the prices for day tours and if anyone offers you a higher price than the prescribed, you can report it to their office. They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The pier where boats are on stand by for tours at the Hundred Islands.
The boat was supposed to sail at 7AM but we got up really late so we began our tour at 8:30AM. It took us 45 minutes to get to the first island.

The Governor's Island. The gateway to the Hundred Islands.
Our island hopping adventure began in Governor's Island. It is one of the largest islands with white sand beach and the entry point for the island hopping adventure. You have to pay Php20 per head as entrance fee. There are convenience stores on the island so you don't have to worry if you did not bring any food or water... but expect that prices are doubled. Anyone can also stay on the island for Php10,000 a night. There is no power line on the island but they have a generator... whew!

What can you expect at Governor's Island? The view of the entire Hundred Islands! You just have to be patient in going up almost a hundred steps to see the 360 degrees magnificent view.

The Hundred Islands also has diving and snorkeling sites. Behind those two islands is where tourists can have a close encounter with different colorful fishes and giant clams. I enjoyed this activity the most because it was my first time and I got to see a parrot fish in the wild!

The dock of Quezon Island.
Our next stop was Quezon Island. It also has a beach and cottages where tourists can really spend the day swimming, snorkeling and kayaking. Giant clams can also be viewed on the island. They also have convenience stores. 

The Quezon Island with a bridge connecting to another island.

What I like about the Governor's Island is the bridge that connects it to another island. Hopefully you'd get to meet Apl De Ap's look alike who sells fresh cold coconut juice... I seriously wanted to have a photo with him. We stayed on the island for an hour. My friend had his first kayak ride... he was good in rowing that he'd pass on as a double for the remake of an actor's famous clothing brand commercial. Haha!

The Children's Island.
My favorite island of them all is the Children's Island. It was named such because sea level is only at waist level during low tide and chest level when high tide... the perfect water levels for children. Anyone who is not a good swimmer, like me, would enjoy swimming on the shallow water. Snorkeling on the island is fun, too.

The shallow water on the island is perfect for non-swimmers.
Tourists can also spend the night on the island. My friend and I did not bother checking the island because we were too busy enjoying the water and chatting on the beach.

Manong Danny, our tour guide, also showed us a cave that passes through the other part of the island. Our day tour ended with a closer look of the Paniqui Island that is a home to hundreds of huge bats. He said that those bats were once a delicacy in Pangasinan.

The Hundred Islands is considered as a world heritage site. It is believed that the islands were more than two thousand years old and were once corals that were slowly formed by the changing tides.

My experience has changed me to become a better Filipino. It made me proud to have an access to such a magnificent place. It made me want to find more time exploring other wonders of my country before finding time exploring the rest of the world.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Photography 101

Photo taken in Pangasinan, Philippines using Canon PowerShot A3200 IS.

I love photography. I do not own a DSLR. What I have is a point and shoot camera that I bring with me wherever I go. A photographer never leaves his camera because he will never know when a perfect photo moment will come.

Just a backgrounder... I love photography because I love nature. I like to look at the clouds, the moon and the stars. I am a sentimental person and it is through photos that I remember the significant moments of my life.

In my list of the 10 things I will accomplish this year, owning a DSLR is one. And I am getting closer and closer to accomplishing that goal. So excited!

So... while the DSLR waits, here are some great tips from Eric Kim, a known street photographer.

1. Just because someone has an expensive camera doesn’t mean that they’re a good photographer.
2. Always shoot in RAW. Always.
3. Prime lenses help you learn to be a better photographer.
4. Photo editing is an art in itself
5. The rule of thirds works 99% of the time.
6. Macro photography isn’t for everybody.
7. UV filters work just as well as lens caps.
8. Go outside and shoot photos rather than spending hours a day on photography forums.
9. Capture the beauty in the mundane and you have a winning photograph.
10. Film isn’t better than digital.
11. Digital isn’t better than film.
12. There is no “magic” camera or lens.
13. Better lenses don’t give you better photos.
14. Spend less time looking at other people’s work and more time shooting your own.
15. Don’t take your DSLR to parties.
16. Girls dig photographers.
17. Making your photos b/w doesn’t automatically make them “artsy”
18. People will always discredit your work if you tell them you “photoshop” your images. Rather, tell them that you process them in the “digital darkroom”.
19. You don’t need to take a photo of everything.
20. Have at least 2 backups of all your images. Like they say in war, two is one, one is none.
21. Ditch the neck strap and get a handstrap.
22. Get closer when taking your photos, they often turn out better.
23. Be a part of a scene while taking a photo; not a voyeur.
24. Taking a photo crouched often make your photos look more interesting.
25. Worry less about technical aspects and focus more on compositional aspects of photography.
26. Tape up any logos on your camera with black gaffers tape- it brings a lot less attention to you.
27. Always underexpose by 2/3rds of a stop when shooting in broad daylight.
28. The more photos you take, the better you get.
29. Don’t be afraid to take several photos of the same scene at different exposures, angles, or apertures.
30. Only show your best photos.
31. A point-and-shoot is still a camera.
32. Join an online photography forum.
33. Critique the works of others.
34. Think before you shoot.
35. A good photo shouldn’t require explanation (although background information often adds to an image). *
36. Alcohol and photography do not mix well.
37. Draw inspiration from other photographers but never worship them.
38. Grain is beautiful.
39. Ditch the photo backpack and get a messenger bag. It makes getting your lenses and camera a whole lot easier.
40. Simplicity is key.
41. The definition of photography is: “painting with light.” Use light in your favor.
42. Find your style of photography and stick with it.
43. Having a second monitor is the best thing ever for photo processing.
44. Silver EFEX pro is the best b/w converter.
45. Carry your camera with you everywhere. Everywhere.
46. Never let photography get in the way of enjoying life.
47. Don’t pamper your camera. Use and abuse it.
48. Take straight photos.
49. Shoot with confidence.
50. Photography and juxtaposition are best friends.
51. Print out your photos big. They will make you happy.
52. Give your photos to friends.
53. Give them to strangers.
54. Don’t forget to frame them.
55. Costco prints are cheap and look great.
56. Go out and take photos with (a) friend(s).
57. Join a photo club or start one for yourself.
58. Photos make great presents.
59. Taking photos of strangers is thrilling.
60. Candid>Posed.
61. Natural light is the best light.
62. 35mm (on full frame) is the best “walk-around” focal length.
63. Don’t be afraid to bump up your ISO when necessary.
64. You don’t need to always bring a tripod with you everywhere you go (hell, I don’t even own one).
65. It is always better to underexpose than overexpose.
66. Shooting photos of homeless people in an attempt to be “artsy” is exploitation.
67. You will find the best photo opportunities in the least likely situations.
68. Photos are always more interesting with the human element included.
69. You can’t “photoshop” bad images into good ones.
70. Nowadays everybody is a photographer.
71. You don’t need to fly to Paris to get good photos; the best photo opportunities are in your backyard.
72. People with DSLRS who shoot portraits with their grip pointed downwards look like morons.
73. Cameras as tools, not toys.
74. In terms of composition, photography and painting aren’t much different.
75. Photography isn’t a hobby- it’s a lifestyle.
76. Make photos, not excuses.
77. Be original in your photography. Don’t try to copy the style of others.
78. The best photographs tell stories that begs the viewer for more.
79. Any cameras but black ones draw too much attention.
80. The more gear you carry around with you the less you will enjoy photography.
81. Good self-portraits are harder to take than they seem.
82. Laughter always draws out peoples’ true character in a photograph.
83. Don’t look suspicious when taking photos- blend in with the environment.
84. Landscape photography can become dull after a while.
85. Have fun while taking photos.
86. Never delete any of your photos.
87. Be respectful when taking photos of people or places.
88. When taking candid photos of people in the street, it is easier to use a wide-angle than a telephoto lens.
89. Travel and photography are the perfect pair.
90. Learn how to read a histogram.
91. A noisy photo is better than a blurry one.
92. Don’t be afraid to take photos in the rain.
93. Learn how to enjoy the moment, rather than relentlessly trying to capture the perfect picture of it.
94. Never take photos on an empty stomach.
95. You will discover a lot about yourself through your photography.
96. Never hoard your photographic insight- share it with the world.
97. Never stop taking photos
98. Photography is more than simply taking photos, it is a philosophy of life
99. Capture the decisive moment.
100. Write your own list.

Friday, April 6, 2012


Fear is the most paralyzing of all emotions...

I can never forget that message from one of my professors in medicine. I also couldn't agree less.

I am actually enveloped by fear right now. I have a new relationship and I could not let it out in the open because of the fear of jeopardizing my plans with my life and my son's. I fear rejection. What if his family will not like me because of my past? What if he could no longer wait for me to get married? What if it will not work out? 

What if?

My life is full of uncertainties... and fear is slowly taking full control of my life.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


I have a new manicure that is perfect for summer. I rarely wear nail color but since I am on vacation for 5 days, it wouldn't hurt trying on one.

It is 32 degrees outside and all I could think of is having an ice cold drink. 

Got my bangs back. 


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