Friday, August 26, 2005

Just called home

I just called home. Amats is on a bus on his was to Kabayan. It is good to hear Amats clear over the Pacific. Yehey!

Annisah my friend

The girl on the right is Annisah from Papua New Guinea in Kimbe Bay. She works for the nature conservancy. On the right Jona from Verata here in Fiji. They are my group mates. Now we are preparing for a presentation.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Navakavu youth drama

The local youth organized a drama club called--coastal forest and fisheries youth drama group and they presented a play about the forest and oceans, how we as a community should help to preserve these for our children and our future

Navakavu Village Children

We arrived at Navakavu at around half past 3PM yesterday. These are the beautiful children I met when we were walking around the village. One child was gathering the dried leaves and her mother will weave mats out of these long dried leaves.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Fijian prayer

Worshiping in tongues-- this was the exact feeling I got when we closed the session yesterday. The local chief led the closing prayer and all (except us Asians) sang along in their deep bass voices mixed with a bit of jamaican accent. I cannot understand the lyrics but I felt that indeed it was soulful prayer.

This morning we likewise opened our workshop with another local song of praise and I felt that indeed I am blessed to be here in the islands. In the midst of crunching numbers and cerebral work, I felt that I was in a "prayer room" praying alone together and this made my prayer time and day complete.

In the South Pacific

Today is our second day here at Suva, Fiji. I am writing this here at the office of Alifereti Tawake I borrowed his computer now during our lunch break. We had a great two days here at the University of South Pacific. Yesterday, I was very sleepy having travelled since Saturday evening from Manila then to Sydney where we waited for 7 hours for our connecting flight to Nadi. We arrived around 8 in the evening Sunday August 21. Iswha and Aquila picked all the 6 of us (4 from Phil, 2 from Indonesia) from Nadi airport--it was another 4 hours drive down to Suva. We arrived last Sunday almost midnight at the Peninsula where we are staying. I was really tired and I could smell myself hahaha haven't slept well on the plane on the way. I felt like a Zombie

Work is good and a lot of learning from our biological monitoring is coming up. I am happy to share a room with Jovy. Estong and Mel stayed together. Yesterday evening I got to drink my first bowl of Kava.

Tomorrow we will be visiting a village at Navakavu near Nausori. It is great to be back in the South Pacific.

PS. Amats sorry the roaming doesn't work here in Suva. I guess it only works at Sydney and hopefully in Auckland on my way back.

more stories later!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Middle Earth

I got my visa to Middle Earth yesterday. Really excited to see NZ. Yey! salamat po God.

living it out

I was just thinking about Dada I remembered the time when during our hiking days together in the mid-90's we both dreamed of going to Machu Picchu. Now, a post card of the Inca empire is pasted on the wall here at home just above my laptop with a note from Dada. I remember reading the entry in her blog about her hike towards machu picchu with a line that say she is not ready yet to make her dream come true.

Now I realize that the blue print of our lives begins with hopeful thoughts in our minds. Eventually we just come to that moment when see ourselves that we are actually starting to live it out.


P.S. one of our top 10 list of places to see is Milford Sound, NZ which I think is a close second to Portugal

last night at He Cares

Last night was I think the 5th in the series of the CLS (Christian Life Series) that is being held at He Cares every Wednesday evenings where Amats and I volunteer to help out. We arrived a bit late for we had dinner at home first.

I was happy to be in the midst of many faces, friends, familiar faces, staff, the kids and the regular volunteers. I came just to help out but as the evening unfolds, I realized that He is talking to me again, gently reminding me about things that I have taken for granted. I am new in the area of ministering to others in a discussion group. As it always turns out, instead of hoping to help, I find myself the one in need of help. I felt I was the one being ministered with every word of the speaker. My own personal concerns pales in comparison to the palpable hardship in the stories behind these now familiar faces.

As we closed our sharings, and said our good nights at around 10, I mentioned that I will be away for about two weeks because of work. I mentioned to Marivic and Dyline that I will ask someone to let them join another group for a while, a slight tinge of saddness remained at the back of my mind. In the rush of the evening, I talked to Ate Brenda and asked her to please look after them, that I will be back soon.

Amazing indeed how God allows us to live the many dimensions of our lives--a life full of simple yet complex moments we open up ourselves to experience.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

tag, tag, tag

The double tag came from Joni, then Ella here are some thoughts:

1. What are the things you enjoy doing when there's no one around you?

Reading. One great treat for me is to be able to curl up in bed or in my favorite couch with a good book. I love reading, brings me to new places, introduces to me to people, inpires me to no end. Travel books and even cook books. The latest of which is "spicy salads" been reading on it and just looking at the pictures. I bought in on sale at Powerbooks Makati just last week.

Walking. Be it be around the village, around UP among those old growth trees to recuperate energy. I like taking time to walk. Sometimes if I have much energy to spare, I walk the malls.

Writing. Like now, time alone gives me the space to examine my own thoughts about the past days, writing about anything. Writing to friends. Writing on my blog. just writing.

Planning to Travel. This is my one great pastime. I can just sit here surf the net about places that I really want to visit. Just now I was dreaming of Milford Sound in New Zealand aka Middle Earth and how on earth I will be able to see Europe or Latin America.

Lounging in bookstores. If I have the luxury of time, I would spend hours on end alone at bookstores esp. at Powerbooks.

Cooking. I love experimenting in the kitchen (disclaimer: not because of Nigela) one of my favorite things to do since way back.


Stare at the Ocean. I do this a lot when I used to be assigned to the islands.

2. What lowers your stress/blood pressure/anxiety level?

same as above and;

Stay put. cry. rant. be silent. rant. be silent.
Talk to Amats and friends.
If I have time and energy: I literally take a hike.
Climbing mountains. Hiking any trail, breathing in fresh air, sitting under trees and on jagged rocks, crossing rivers and seeing unnamed waterfalls;
Swimming and snorkelling. In the ocean or in the pool;
Hugs from Amats;
Playing with my baby niece Jane Allison;
Looking at old pictures;
Meiji Black.
Cat nap.

Pray some more.

3. tag five friends and post it in theirs.
Randee, Dada, Honey, Earnest, Darleth

I need to grow more

Being in an E.R. I guess would un-nerve anyone. After having bp off-the-scale and past two days in the hospital my father is back at home again. I guess life would be incomplete without life's dramas. It is in the most trying of times that we observe ourselves and our reactions. I realized that I need to improve on my emergency mode and more importantly, that I really need to grow more on being patient and loving.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

travel prep

When it rains, it pours. I got my Australian visa one year multiple entry--one of the best among the shower of blessings that I received from Him recently. In the coming weeks I will be traveling soon to the South Pacific. Thank God for His generosity.

underwater photographer

my one and only picture underwater, over the weekend expedition.

Then there is this dancing blue star fish. Will post more pix later.

Expedition leader Mel

Lex deploying the blocks

TJ hammering away

Benny extracting crown of thorns

Monday, August 08, 2005

Work Dive Weekend

Last weekend, this past two days was fully packed with the biological monitoring of the Marine Reserve in Lobo Batangas. We had great volunteer divers Mel Deocadez, Benny Campos, Lex Reyes, TJ Isla. We deployed permanent blocks to mark the transects.

Last week we had a pre-dive meeting at Muang Thai and discussed about the prep. It was UPCAT weekend no French and Spanish class for me and the best time out of QC. Meanwhile during the week, there was a storm "Gorio" we monitored his movement to Taiwan and by last Saturday morning there is still some gale warning for northern and western Luzon and satellite images showed cloud cover all over the country a sign of inclement weather. Early morning Saturday, it was raining hard and dark clouds lurk in the horizon. I prayed hard for good weather and safety. It is very difficult to set up all the logistics, air tanks, BC, reg, blocks. It is even more difficult to get the right people on your team because they are all busy and to have a common available time is rare.

The weather cleared mid-day Saturday when we arrived at the site. After lunch and preparation of gear it was around 3:00PM for our first dive. Waves measuring more than a meter and currents strong due to the Habagat season. I was recalling, last September 2004 was my last monitoring dive in Candelaria.

First dive, we were all adjusting and the visibility less than a meter. Underwater I can actually see the particles across my mask like dust rain. Due to the strong current, I had difficulty focusing the digital camera I was able to take a few then, having diffulty with my bouyancy, I signaled to Lex that I am going back to the boat and handed him the camera. The weather did not cooperate. Still I was praying for good weather all throughout--at the pre dive we agreed if weather not good we will abort. In the boat with ka Oca after a while, Mel surfaced and we threw the blocks out to the sandy bottom. After that TJ surfaced apparently he got the "maso" from Lex when he saw the blocks, the moment he put down the "maso" he shot up. After this one transect, we were tired. We did only one and we have to do six.

Over dinner of grilled chicken and freshly made salad we were laughing at our eventful day and strategized for the next day's work. We exchanged stories of places we went, dive stories, field work stories, ngongo stories and anything under the sun after a bottle of "emperering" and Amats having amats, we called it a night.

The whole night it was raining and early morning I was constantly praying to God to grant us good weather. Amazingly, the conditions Sunday got really better. We finished two transects with one tank before lunch. I was able to do all the photodocu of the coral along the transect. TJ and Lex on the blocks and hammering away every 10 meters. Benny on LIT and Mel on FVC. It was great and visibility was really clear we saw lots of crown of thorns though and Benny even extracted one--I'll post that picture here later. We also established a new control site near Kamantigue their coral are really nice almost all of it branching Acroporas. After two dives we even have some air to spare from our tanks and were off for lunch.

After lunch and SI, we did two more transects but since then the current and tide have changed, conditions were more difficult. After the 3rd dive in the afternoon TJ and Lex were a bit cold and the last dive was on an outer edge of a reef slope. I guess it was a blessing that Mel found that Porites coral that marks the spot of the 5th site it was almost 4PM when we did the dive and it is darker underwater. Good thing it was on the reef slope at least I was able to steady myself and focus better. After the dive, going back to the boat, climbing up the banca was a big challenge my upper body very weak (my butt getting heavier by the minute hehehe).

All in all it was great work dives. I guess Benny, Lex, TJ and I made our max of 4 dives a day. Mel said they once did 8 with Ting before in Kalayaan Islands. Amazing where Mel gets his energy. Work dives are indeed tiring but very fulfilling once the job is done.

On the way back, on the boat Mel and Lex dis-assembled the gear to wind up the day's work. Then we went back to the house and we got ourselves ready to leave. In silence I was thanking God for keeping us safe.

(I'll be posting lots of pictures here about these dives.)

Friday, August 05, 2005

on defining ourselves

I was watching an old movie last night I would decline to mention the title for now. What struck me was this line: "What defines us as a person is not who were are, we are defined by our choices."

I was wondering if this is coincidence again because the other day, I was working on my virtual class room for my online class ENRM 241. Our new teacher just recently introduced herself online. I was happy to know that she will be our online instructor for the rest of the semester, I met her before in a NOAA workshop last March that is why I know her.

One of the things the student has to do which my classmates before me already did was to introduce themselves. I've been delaying this particular part because sometimes it is difficult for me to introduce myself. Anyway, to acknowledge my appreciation to our new instructor on-line I typed away and introduced myself. The usual always happen I mention my name which organization I am working with etc. the usual lot. At the back of my mind, I was thinking, does these define me as a person? Actually, I want to write what I love to do, my favorite food, that I am married to a wonderful person, but then again the discussion board at IVLE is a bit formal so I do what the Romans do.

That being said, that is why I was struck by that line in that old movie. Indeed it is true, it is not the things that we actually are that defines us but it is our choices that set us apart--that defines us.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Email from Japan

Last August 2, 2005, I was really elated to receive a notice from Japan that they have receive our proposal for the project entitled: "Youth Environmental Awareness and Research Technology Project Philippines (Youth EARTH Project Phil.)" this was the proposal I wrote about 3 weeks ago and submitted through mail photo finish again.

Even though the decision if we got accepted or not, will come on October 2005, I was really happy to receive that email--it made my day! I told a friend about this and asked him to pray for this that hopefully in October 2005 we will be blessed.

I never thought that a mere acknowledgement of something I wrote could bring me to this state of bliss.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Honey's house of party

To eat, drink and sing with friends at Honey's house last Sunday evening was one really one real celebration. It was time really well spent with old and new friends. Friends from He Cares Kuya Joe Dean and Ate Ardis (He Cares was featured in Rated K that evening along with Papemelroti), the brother's household in Montalban Mike, Norman, Ian, Reggie, friends from Lingkod Johanna and Jaz, good friend and batchmate from Lakay Jeryc, and of course Lex because he was youngest in the lot cannot relate to some of the songs being sun by the gen x kids. The anak-anakan of Honey Jeryc was there singing his heart out playing the guitar with AG on percussion, "Robert" on bass guitar, Gary and Boging alternating on the lead guitar, Snappy dancing and Bro. Daniel drinking wine on the side. Honey and Jeryc belting on U2, Spandau and all those 80's hits. Amats and I on the tamborines hehe remembering my carolling days. :O) Have a great year ahead Honey! God bless!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Photos by Lillian

Last saturday we had a cookout with the applicants of Lakay. Good thing I didn't have a Spanish class as prof W was in Cambodia.

And we had a very special guest: Hannah.