Monday, June 20, 2005

Off to School!

Monday, June 13. We squeezed in a quick visit to our favorite beach in Dauin, getting there at around 4 pm. Cloudy day, heavy rain over Siquijor, but just before 5 there was a break in the clouds over Negros and the setting sun lit up this rainbow that stretched from Siquijor halfway to Apo Island.

Jordi and Louie both say they miss their cousins. "Take a picture of us, Mama, so our cousins can see us."

"Over here, too!"

Jordi did his Darth again - Vader, this time and in sand - and as quickly as he did it the first time on the boulevard. This was so big I had to stand on a chair to get most of it in the frame.

Wednesday, June 15. Second day of classes at Holy Cross High School, Lolo David and Lola Pening volunteered to do the morning run to school. Lolo looks older, doesn't he? That's only because he's not smiling; he's still pining for that bright yellow Picanto. :-)

Sunday, June 19. 5:30 pm at the boulevard. The waxing moon above and anchored fishing boats below....couldn't ask for anything more... ok, a Sprite Light and 2 slices of Quattro Statione pizza at Why Not. Would you believe they have not had pizza on their menu for about a month now? Something to do with "bad" mozzarella. Maybe it ran off with the Parmesan.

Took this photo because the kids wanted to have a record of that cloud over Siquijor that looks like a goldfish/airplane with a bent wing/bottom of a golf club/a Sith sky-raider.

Kittens abandoned at the boulevard. If Patrick were here, he would've scooped them up gently, carried them carefully, and delivered them quickly to the keepers at the Center for Tropical Studies (Centrop) at SU. He says we should always make their lives count for something.... Oh, over there, they get fed to the snake. Patrick insists that it's better than their being drowned, or run over, or simply starving to death.

This morning, I couldn't resist taking a photo of this man and his official "Tourist Certified Driver" t-shirt. It's a new classification given by the City Tourism Office. Saw an article about them two weeks ago that said they'd gladly carry your bags up to your room or something. I suppose they also know the best places to go for budbud and tsokolate, baye-baye, sylvanas, bulad, tableya, and manga.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Week Patrick's Summer Vacation Ended

Monday, June 6, I came home early to pack for the trip to Patrick's school the next day and found these urchins dancing around yaya Rose's unauthorized bonfire. While the neighbors' girls stayed well away, some even going home to just watch tv, these boys found long sticks and proceeded to skewer some leaves to "roast"!

Tuesday, June 7, Patrick and I left on the 7:25 a.m. bus for Bacolod. We got there about noon, jumped on a taxi and got to the 12:30 Weesam fast boat to Iloilo with 10 min to spare. In Iloilo, he looked for a "Light of Glory" taxi because he says they don't overcharge. That ride was mercifully quick, strictly by the meter, and we were each having siopao (the only food they had for sale!) and a glass of water for lunch at the school canteen at 2:30.

To make the very long, butt-numbing story short, we un-stored, un-packed his things after un-"biodiversifying" his room and closet. This included a visit to SM for what he always calls "proper food"; I didn't fancy another siopao either.

So, Patrick's always told us about the "biodiversity" at his school, and I've never quite believed it'd be so bad. That is, not until I stayed at the girls' dorm. My room had a resident cockroach (and I can show you its front door), 3 types of slugs on the walls and floor, 3 kinds of moths, some in the bathroom, the requisite mosquito by the bed, and get this, I had to shower with this 3-inch tree-frog watching me! Talk about a QUICK shower.

It was a regular zoo in there! By that I mean it was fun. Nothing like squashing the offending cockroach to give you that I-can-do-anything boost to your spirits. And people pay hundreds of dollars to vacation in places where they're close to nature, where they shower with the sky overhead. Well, those places don't have this tree frog!

Thursday, June 9. And see what I mean by "zoo"? Patrick found this baby snake next to his shower caddy. All I can say is, I'm grateful for cable tv, National Geographic and Animal Planet; he says he learned how to catch and hold a snake from all those shows. And like their hosts he then proceeded to show off the snake to the breakfast crowd at the canteen. Don't worry, he let it go in the tall grass outside his dorm... :-) I know Papa will never spend a night there, for all the money in the world. Hmmm...maybe a Picanto.

Thursday, June 9. Did the entire butt-numbing trip again in reverse and alone.

Was just wondering though, why can't a huge bus company like Ceres provide its passengers decent toilets at the bus terminals and various stops? Passengers are willing to pay for proper facilities! We're already paying anywhere from P1.00 (Mabinay) to P2.00 (Kabankalan) to P3.00 (Bacolod) for dirty, smelly, watertank-less, of-course-they're-seatless toilets in "comfort rooms" with flooded floors, missing doors, hole-y walls, and never mind asking for toilet paper.

And the Department of Tourism keeps exhorting us to travel and see the Philippines? They obviously haven't done this trip on a bus. They should make sure the bus companies provide us with more than the basic shack - for example this one in Kabankalan(left most) - with only 2 toilets which you can flush with a bucket of water you scoop up with the bottom half of a plastic gallon jug, from a barrel outside the barely-there door... Can you imagine needing to go when it's raining?

Took several photos of Bais Bay and only this one turned up with stuff that didn't look like it was in another dimension, with trees all bent out of shape and people stretched sideways.

Mt. Talinis as seen from just outside Tanjay. Isn't she beautiful? Took a gazillion shots but they were mostly marred by the ubiquitous electric/telephone/cable lines and poles....

Saturday, June 04, 2005

It's Always a Good Week When You're Within Sight of the Sea

Sunday afternoon, May 29, Jong took me on a circuitous but admittedly scenic and traffic-free route, up to what he calls "The Heights". He'd been up here before with our friend Peter who'd bought this spot we were standing on, with enough space for a house, a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a garden. Up on one foothill of Mt. Talinis, the weather was several degrees cooler than sweltering Dumaguete, seen here in the photo in a kind of haze you'd normally see when you're toasting fresh bread in a toaster oven.

It was quiet up there, the view both breathtaking and relaxing. And the people headed back up to their homes with roosters and plastic bags and baskets, were friendly and helpful with directions - not that we were likely to get lost when there was only that one road. Still, it was nice to be warned of parts that were more like dry creek beds and those that were more like vertical drops. It was a "quickie" trip on a motorbike, over before you could get to that part in Star Wars Episode 3 where Padme whines, " You're breaking my heart, Annie!" (Yes, I am still upset about how her part was "whiny-fied" :-)

Tuesday afternoon, May 31, and Dominique and Patrick were locked in mortal card combat again. Jong and Jufer dropped by to have a quick consultation, and Edith didn't want to be in the photo.

Meanwhile, back at the house, Louie, Jordi and Matt had built several planes all outfitted with guns and special engines, plus a fully-equipped airport. Lego blocks, when added to every birthday and Christmas and graduation and any extra special occasion, can be a lifesaver for any harassed, taking-on-too-much-work mother. It's simply something any parent worth his/her weight in platinum should invest in.

Wednesday morning, June 1, we took Dominique to the tabo at Malatapay, or more accurately he drove us there in his dad's new Honda CRV. The tabo's gotten bigger since I last came here with friends several years ago. The road's concrete now, they've put up designated parking spaces, and there were more cattle and pigs than I'd ever seen outside of cowboy and Tagalog movies.

Before we had lunch in one of several semi-outdoor carinderias, the boys had to go take photos of the tabo. And so I fried in the noonday sun at the end of what was supposed to be a fish-port but is now merely a huge groin that's stopping the flow of sand south, down the beach.

At left is Apo Island and in the distance is Northwestern Mindanao. On a clear day, you can indeed see forever.

High noon and these boys were still playing in the water, jumping off the anchored boats, splashing and swimming and racing.... Reminded me of the boys I used to see a lifetime ago, doing exactly the same things in the deeper waters of the Dumaguete Port. I'd often wondered why were there never any girls? Were they home learning how to cook, sew, clean the house, do the laundry?

Thursday afternoon, June 2, the 9 kids (2 couldn't make it that day) who took part in TVB Group's 2nd Creative Writing Workshop with Dr. Cesar Ruiz Aquino were awarded their certificates of participation. This was a good group, all innately talented. With the Dep Ed's help, here represented by English Supervisor Mrs. Paloma, we could conceivably do this again soon - with more kids from public schools.

The most heartfelt line in the renga "Wishes" - if not the entire collection of poems - was Patrick's "I wish I were somewhere else." He truly understands the perils of having a mother who organizes workshops and who has oversight powers over treats and privileges.

Friday, June 03, 2005

When Patrick Wished He Were Somewhere Else

These are photos from the 2nd Creative Writing Workshop for Young People, with Dr. Cesar Ruiz Aquino, held at the College of Law, Foundation University (May 7, 14 and 28).

Dr. Aquino was amused at his "Dream" poem, again about being some place else. All the output from the workshop are at the TVB Group's wiki

Having rock-hard ice cream on the last day, or at least trying to have some ice cream. I think they bent a couple of spoons. The break was extended for another 10 minutes, to wait for the ice cream to thaw a bit, and then it was every would-be poet for him/herself. Hmmm... should've included the photo with Dr. Aquino looking on as these kids fought with the ice cream.