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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Suroy Suroy sa Sugbo

Suroy Suroy sa Sugbo is a Visayan dialect that translates to "going around Cebu". Cebu Province's Gov. Gwen Garcia has spearheaded the project Suroy Suroy Sugbo. It's a way to promote countryside tourism in the province of Cebu. They have organized trips like:
The Southern Heritage Trail, Northern Escapade, Discover Enchanting Camotes, Explore the Midwest and Urban Adventure...

If my memory serves me right, my parents have tagged along in at least three of these. As they narrate, no less than the Governor joins the group and with her around, the group is always met by local officials with unparalleled hospitality and elaborate showcase of the visited town's best talents. My mom swears the performances are of world class standard. Some says it's like going through a political campaign, while others welcome that added attention from the locals, every stop is like a feast not to mention, food is free flowing. Aside from that, what's nice about the tour is the flexibility to choose the type of accommodation to suit your budget and you may opt to take their bus or drive your own car.

The next Suroy Suroy Sugbo will be on August 16 to 17, 2008, called Suroy Suroy Sugbo 2008 Urban Adventure. It covers city tour of Mandaue City, Lapu-lapu City and Cordova, then island hopping around Mactan Island including Olango (bird sanctuary) and Gilotongan Island (fish sanctuary) and an overnight stay in a beach resort of your choice. The tour ends with a showcase of Cebu's best talents with over a hundred performers at Cebu Parkmall grounds, right across Cebu International Convention Center, CICC.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

UNESCO World Heritage

How much of the UNESCO World Heritage have you explored?

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.

Five spots are identified from the Philippines:

1 Baroque Churches of the Philippines (1993)
2 Tubbataha Reef Marine Park (1993)
3 Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (1995)
4 Historic Town of Vigan (1999)
5 Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park (1999)

I've only been to one, the Rice Terraces in Batad and Banaue. I've been wanting to go diving in Tubbataha but I guess I'm not yet skilled enough to go there. I thought Calauit Island Game Reserve is listed but apparently it's not.

I somehow equate the identified sites of UNESCO World Heritage as a must see travel places. I regret why I passed the chance to see the Pyramids of Egypt!

As I browse through the list, I've been to more UNESCO World Heritage sites than I thought:

1 Summer Palace, an Imperial Garden in Beijing, China
2 Yungang Grottoes, China
3 Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, China
4 The Great Wall, China
5 Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay, France
6 Vatican City, Holy See
7 Temple of Heaven: an Imperial Sacrificial Altar in Beijing
8 Palace and Park of Fontainebleau, France
9 Cathedral of Notre-Dame, France
10 Historic Centre of Avignon: Papal Palace, Episcopal Ensemble and Avignon Bridge, France
11 Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie with "The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci, Italy
12 Piazza del Duomo, Pisa, Italy
13 Historic Centre of Florence, Italy
14 Venice and its Lagoon, Italy
15 Cinque Terre, Italy
16 Works of Antoni Gaudí, Spain
17 Historic City of Ayutthaya, Thailand
18 Statue of Liberty, USA
19 Historic Centre of Macao, China
20 Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, Canada
21 Palace and Park of Versailles, France
22 Roman Theatre and its Surroundings and the "Triumphal Arch" of Orange
23 The Loire Valley

To add to my must see sites before I die:
1 Taj Mahal, India
2 Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area, China
3 Tubbataha Reef Marine Park, Philippines
4 Halong Bay, Vietnam
5 Angkor Wat, Cambodia
6 Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites, UK
7 Grand Canyon National Park, USA
8 Pyramids of Egypt

But why am I looking at the list? With too much work at hand, I can't seem to focus on what I'll do first, I can't even clear the clutter on my table, I can't stop thinking about the long holidays that is coming up.

I somehow came up with the idea of a 6 day trip to cruise Halong Bay in Vietnam and see Angkor Wat in Cambodia. As I googled, looks like 6 days isn't enough, uh oh. Won't this be anti-climatic for a follow on trip to Coron, Palawan? Hmm...If you have any tips, do drop me a line. :D

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Beijing 2008 Olympics Opening

I missed the opening salvo of Beijing Olympics 2008.  With all the good reviews, I am but curious how it went... wow, it really is impressive.

Only China can pull off something like this.

Notice the missing FUWA (Olympics mascots)?  FuWa litteraly means lucky dolls, but superstitious belief has spread that the recent misfortune of China are related to them.

Check out a slide show, video.  Many videos uploaded have been suspended due to copyright issues.

for full length vids, download from

credits to the owners of the pics -

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Lea Salonga as Cinderella

My being a Lea Salonga fan dates back to when she first released her LP album entitled Small Voice. As a lil girl, every night I climb up on the sofa to reach the player and play and sing along with my favorite songs like the Alphabet Song, I Am but a Small Voice and Someone's Waiting For You. Those were the days when cassette tapes were scarce and CDs have not yet been invented. (how long ago was that?)

I have not followed her much as a teenie bopper on the big screen and on That's Entertainment, I know she too didn't like much of what she was doing back then. ;)

Her biggest break should be as Kim in Ms. Saigon, I flew to Manila from Cebu and watched her at CCP and I was so hoping that it should be her and not her alternate and YES, it's her! As the singing voice of Princess Jasmine in Disney's Alladin and Fa Mulan in Disney's Mulan, I never thought she'd sound good for cartoons!

Over the weekend, I purposely flew to Manila from Cebu once again to watch her as Cinderella. I booked tickets and tagged along my aunt, 3 cousins and 5 nieces! I was so excited.

I am impressed with the production, performance, the lyrics & script and the whole cast. The carriage was oh so pretty; the rats were hilarious; i just love her gown for the ball and how it turned to rags ooh, they just made impossible things happen... everything is simply magical. Have a sneak peek!

Watching the show, brings me back to my happy childhood. I enjoyed watching these disney princesses finding their prince charming and lived happily ever after. I never realized their's was a case of whirlwind romance (ten minutes!), of course I didn't know anything about that back then. haha The story brings hope to anyone.

Nothing can dampen my spirit, not even a seven hour flight delay back home. Impossible things happen everyday in more ways in than one. :)

Rodger's & Hammerstein's Cinderella runs from July 29 to August 24, 2008 at CCP main theater. Tickets are available from P500 to P7,000 at or selected block sales agents. Their Asian tour will follow soon.

Do catch her...
*Lea Salonga will be performing on all shows sans injury or illness. According to Lea herself when I sent a PM on her multiply. ain't she so cool?! :)
*The show lasts for two hours. (There are 2 acts, each lasting an hour.)
*Show starts promptly as published (3pm or 8pm), late comers will be allowed entry minutes later.
*Cameras are not allowed.
*Be warned, there's a long line to the comfort room.
*Bring some cash, souvenir program (P200), a Tour Cast Recording CD (P550), caps (P400), shirts (P700), glass slippers key chains, charms, rat stuff toy (you'll appreciate it after watching the show) and more are available for sale.

More about Lea Salonga.

Watch and blog about Cinderella and win glass slippers!

Monday, August 4, 2008

I Give Up on Cebu Pacific

To add to my long list of Cebu Pacific's bad service...

9. Our flight this morning scheduled at 10:15am left SEVEN hours later.

Need I explain further? At least two aircrafts were down (or so they said), as their announcement goes, 30 minutes before the flight "flight number... is delayed to 11:15 due to the delayed arrival of turn around aircraft." an hour later, same announcement was made and moved the flight to 2:30.
Thereafter, the boarding gate was filled with disgruntled customers with indefinite flight status. The manager on duty never showed up until some passengers went down to their office and demanded for free meals. They were able to negotiate and lunch was served past 2pm. Several flights were cancelled that day, hundreds of passengers were stranded in the airport (the only consolation is they now operate in NAIA Terminal 3). Passengers on cancelled flights got free airtickets (excluding taxes & fuel surcharge), overnight stay and three meals, while passengers on delayed flights for more than 6 hours gets free travel voucher, but we didn't get any simply because boarding announcement was made a few minutes before 6 hours would pass. Boarding announcement was made around 4pm but it doesn't end there.

This is another ordeal with Cebu Pacific, it is such a shame to us Filipinos especially Cebuanos for them deliver such service. During the whole time, I didn't bother to argue with them, the same people who assisted me during my missed connecting flight, was the same person handling us! I tried to haggle with my softest voice for our tickets to be refunded and be moved to PAL to no avail since the manager on duty never showed up to approve my request. So I quiet myself and bought The Secret.
But I couldn't keep my foot down, I went around, eavesdropped and talked to several strangers and shared experiences. Several passengers missed important meetings, several passengers came from Bangkok, their 10pm flight left 4am and were connecting on the same flight as I am.

I befriend the check-in counter staff, had our bags retrieved and had my ticket rebooked to another flight hoping it will leave earlier. Hours later, my original flight's aircraft arrived so I ran back to the counter and had my ticket rebooked again to my original flight. So my checked-in luggage and I were on separate flights, however, my checked-in luggage arrived earlier than me since we were kept an hour more on the plane before it finally left the runway. Sigh!

As we leave the arrivals door, the security guard asked us "you still taking Cebu Pacific?"

I don't exactly know how this will appear on the news, abs-cbn was there to cover it. I hope they will deliver an impartial report, a wake-up call to concerned government agencies to take some action.


After much controversy which remained unsettled, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) 3 opens its door to the public last July 22, 2008. I was looking forward to seeing the place and bet my fate again on Cebu Pacific.

-1. The main driveway leading to the departure terminal was not as wide as Terminal 2, this will definitely cause traffic once the terminal is fully operational.
+2. The area where the check-in counter are, is spacious and has high ceiling, much like the terminal 1 of Hong Kong Airport.
+3. Terminal fees remained at P200 per head for domestic flights.
-4. Immigration counter are in place even for domestic terminal.
+5. There are two operating x-ray machines, separate lines for male and female
=6. The hallway leading to the boarding gate are wide but there are no shops constructed yet, except for center aisle kiosks of Delifrance and Go Nuts Donuts and make-shift stalls of National Bookstore, a convenience store and Cinnabon. Shops are expected to open six months later.
-7. The waiting lounge wasn't enough to accommodate the passengers considering it is not yet fully operational. There were four rows of seat that lead to a long stretch of boarding gates. It's not well lighted, it looked gloomy just like the weather outside.
+8. There's one walkalator.
=9. The comfort room has more than ten cubicles but toilet papers aren't always replenished. I overheard the housekeeper complaining to NAIA supervisor how dirty it has been. Actually, I didn't find it dirty, maybe the old lady can't handle all cleaning by herself with the numerous passengers around.
+10. Public Annoucement facility was available with make-shift speakers spread throughout.
-11. LCDs were not yet operational on each boarding gate. One make shift screen using excel file was show on screen but wasn't updated.

I am quite disappointed with what I saw. It's trying hard to be of international standards, had it been opened many years back, it could have looked more impressive. Actually, it's not yet ready to service the passengers. There are no enough man power, there are 8 running tubes but only 3 operators are available. No personnel available to assist the sick and elderly needing special care like wheelchair. As the steward on flight commented, the President's state of the nation address (SONA) compelled them to operate unequipped. The SONA was delivered 7 days after it's opening, did she mention anything about NAIA3? (I didn't get to follow that.) Flights are delayed for at least 30 minutes since and it is expected to remain that way for the next two months.

More than anything else, as I push my luck with Cebu Pacific, it just added to my already long list of bad service by them.