Wednesday, February 29, 2012

how to sink a plane, part 1

Once upon a time, I was president of the Boracay Association of Scuba-diving Schools (BASS). For four years, in fact. I was personally trained, mentored and groomed into leadership by Dirty Harry who was president before me. In La Famiglia, which is how I fondly think of the BASS, I was Michael Corleone.

I initiated quite a few projects during my term, but I was constantly hounded by the entire Boracay diving community's desire to create another wreck dive. (The first one was the Camia, a fishing/cargo vessel that we sank in 2001.) No matter how good I was at my job, all I ever heard was, "When are we gonna have a new wreck? Huh? When?"

The Camia is one of Boracay's best dive sites, and IMO one of the Philippines' best wreck dives.

So. In 2009, the universe gave us one.

15 December 2009, the first time I saw her. What a beauty.

Her radio call sign is Tri-bird because of the three jet engines.

But in my heart, she's always be "YAK"!

But it was not the right time.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

book three

I had been looking for John Le Carré's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy for months and months, so when I found this dog-eared copy at a secondhand bookstore in Kalibo last month for only PHP100 ($2.30), I was ecstatic!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

all dogs go to heaven

Didi the Dalmatian (or Deedee-- we could never agree on the spelling) was born on 26 April 2000. Her father, Spooky, was a macho hunk of a doggy, who had a black patch over one eye like a pirate. Her mother, Gale, was a sexy looker with one blue eye and one brown eye, kind of like Kate Bosworth.

We claimed Didi as our own when she was three months old. It was the first time I'd ever seen a liver-spotted Dalmatian. She was the liveliest and friendliest among her littermates. The caretaker said, "Makulit 'yan."

Monday, February 20, 2012

hot air balloon festival at clark 2012

We left Quezon City at 3:10AM. It took us one hour and ten minutes to get to McDonald's in Dau. Thank gad they have decent coffee now, although the breakfast food seems to be more plastic-like than ever before.

At 5AM, we entered Clark Air Base, parked the car (Php50 per vehicle), paid the festival entrance fee (Php200 per person) and planted ourselves at the fence to wait for the event to begin. Cheap acid techno versions of insipid pop songs blasted our ears and I thought I would go mad.

Finally, at 6:22AM, a bunch of jeeps and pick-up trucks drove onto the field and dawn started to break. (Sunrises are really very nice, if only they weren't so early.)

Testing the burners.

Inflating the envelopes.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

ati-atihan in kalibo 2012, part 4

During last year's Ati-atihan, we missed the Sunday morning mass because it was raining and our chauffeur Man Friday refused-- absolutely refused, I tell you-- to pick us up and bring us to church. In fact, he turned off his mobile phone and slept through the whole thing, oblivious to the fact that we had been awake and waiting for him since 5AM.

This year, we made it in time for the communion. It was the first time I had communion since my university days, I think, and it was completely accidental. While squeezing through the crowd to get to a good vantage point, I turned around and found myself nose-to-nose with a priest. He held the host in front of my face and I instinctively opened my mouth. Pop!

Attending the 7AM Sunday mass is truly a must-do. All the tribes gather in the plaza in front of the cathedral, in full regalia. It's an amazing sight.