Friday, January 29, 2010

Aussie Open '10

I feel sad that the Australian Open's about to end. I love tennis. It's one sport I'd really love to excel in. Unfortunately due to a busted knee and an unfit body (heart and lungs included), I just can't play the game anymore. Hopefully my jogging would help me get back a good enough form to handle the physical game that is tennis.

Anyway back to the Australian Open. I was very happy for Li Na and Jie Zheng to have reached the semi-finals. Unfortunately the better tennis players (Serena Williams and Justine Henin) seized their slot for their 1st ever final appearance.

Li Na was a revelation to me. I've seen her play. But her game in this year's AO is her best ever! I gotta commend this girl. I'm sure we'll be seeing more of her this year. Can't wait to see her at the French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open.

On the other hand, for me, Jie Zheng can be inconsistent. Her game at the AO was a breakthrough. But I'm hoping she can maintain this kind of form for the entire ATP tournaments this year. I remember her best when she played doubles with a fellow Chinese...I'm still waiting for that day Jie Zheng would make her mark on me as a singles player. Although I'd have to admit...SHE WAS GOOD! :) ALL HAIL CHINA! :p

But we've come down to the Finals. And it's comeback queen Justine Henin and World No. 1 Serena Williams. If the AO has Alan Trengove's fearless forecast, here's Mai Dumana's own version of Fearless Forecast: Justine Henin in 3 sets.


No one can deny Henin's AWESOME form this year! Had I not known that she retired, I'd really think she had never left the ATP. Her stamina was tested against Nadia was just a superb game. I was about to think the Petrova was gonna e Henin's downfall. But seeing her come out of that ordeal VICTORIOUS, I wouldn't have any doubts that she can equal or even surpass the ever-powerful Serena Williams. Everybody seems to think Serena should be in the Men's Division.

But my money is on Justine. Maybe I'm biased because I'm not a big fan of Serena. But Henin's performance is enough to persuade me that she'll be kissing the plaque over the weekend.

If not...well then...maybe next tournament? :D

Thursday, January 28, 2010

how Palawan made my world smaller part 1

I fell in love with Puerto Princesa, Palawan the moment our Cebu Pacific plane touched down. We had about an hour's delay at NAIA 3 due to the long cue of planes taking off. We were all sooo excited to get there, and the delay wasn't helping much to keep our excitement at bay. We wanted to be up in the air heading towards Puerto Princesa airport already.

But what I didn't expect was how small my world was. You'll see how this blog progresses. But maybe a sign of things to come here's our first "it's a small world" picture. Cory Quirino became my EIC for quite some time in the magazine I was handling back then - Zen Health. She missed her earlier flight to Palawan, so she took the latest flight out, which turned out to be our flight as well. =)

Ms. Cory with me and Chuchie at the NAIA 3

Anyway! When we finally got there I immediately knew I was in paradise for the next 3 days! Together with my constant travel buddy, my Canon EOS 500D, I sensed the coming adventures would be memorable and FUN!

First stop: Microtel Puerto Princesa
The good fortune for me during that time was that I was a travel writer and staying in hotels and going on tours was absolutely free. In Puerto Princesa we stayed at the Microtel Hotel for our first 2 nights. Located some 15 minutes away from the airport and about 10 minutes from the city proper, the hotel was the only beach front hotel in Puerto Princesa at that time. To me it was a very homey hotel. The beds were absolutely comfortable, the sheets smooth and mabango, the rooms were big, and being a beach front hotel the cool wind served as an airconditioner for the lobby. And as an internet freak, the first thing I checked was free Wi-fi. And yes, they do have free, fast Wi-fi! :)

The resident hotel manager, Mr. Raul Suarez, was very hospitable. I even saw him talking to some of the guests. He made sure we were okay and that we got around the city despite it being a it far. Microtel has a service van which picks up hotel guests from anywhere in the city and then back to the hotel, and vice versa. They have obviously planned the whole thing well, as operations were smooth, although delays are quite inevitable.

The food is served at an airconditioned hall beside the main hotel building. We ate breakfast and lunch there. And the food was really good. Mr. Suarez said that they have partnered with a local and popular cafe to cook the food.

Our 2 night stay at the Microtel proved to be a really good experience. For those who aren't so much concerned about their hotel's location, I would strongly recommend the Microtel Puerto Princesa. The staff is very friendly, the hotel comfortable, and the stay as great experience. Mr. Suarez said that they are still planning on arranging tours (Underground River, Honda Bay, etc.) for guests. And it's quite since it's outside the city proper. Best place for the perfect Puerto Princesa getaway! :)

Anyway here are some pics I took.

The signage outside the main entrance

The signature multi-colored Microtel facade

The beach during low tide. Even during high tide the beach is relatively safe. You can wade as far as your bravery could serve you and the waters would still be knee-high! :)

An artsy-fartsy shot of the pool located behind the hotel. It offers a good view of the beach! :)

Oh! And my "it's a small world" moment. My mom's friend from way back in the day when she was still with the National Media under Marcos was there. They were friends and the woman had wanted to meet me. She was also a friend of my late Ninang Baby. Also a friend of Mom's from the Rotary Club of Makati was also there. Apparently Mom was friends with all of them. And it was weird being in the middle of it all! I just don't have the photos to support this hehe!

Part 2 is the next 2 days of our Palawan adventure. This is where our tour of the city actually began. So hang on for more! :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

a passion for traveling

Traveling is my passion. Thankfully, my first job gave me the opportunity to travel to places I haven't been to in the Philippines. Being the head writer of Travel Plus magazine opened my eyes to budget traveling. Yes, budget traveling can indeed be done without sacrificing your travel experience. But since my current job doesn't get me to go anywhere except the bathroom, the ground floor, and the surrounding areas around Salcedo Village, I could only just stare in envy at travel blogs and reminisce the good ole days when I was the one writing my experiences. I realized how special being a travel writer was until 2 months after I left the publishing world. Like a drug, I keep looking for it and by the day I get obsessed in wishful thought that I could do that all over again.

Anyway here are some recommended sites for aspiring travelers out there. The best I've seen so far today (I still got 8 hours to spare) are these websites:

Ivan Henares' travel blog
Seriously I envy the dude. He's been EVERYWHERE! His site doesn't only provide mouth-watering pictures of the places he's been to. Ivan has also included information for travelers like 2010 holidays so you could book your travels in advance, vaccinations, cheap lodging in those places, and how to get there. It's a great site especially for the OC travelers who need to have everything straightened out before leaving. Great site to visit everyday and not get tired of it. Traveling is like education, it's a constant that you keep reviewing details because you will never get it right the first time! :)

And since I'm a frustrated photographer, Ivan's photos are just to DIE FOR!! Ivan if you could read this please man! You gotta teach me some of your neat tricks! I promise I won't leak them!!! :)

Anton Diaz
It's not as thorough as Ivan's but it's still a site worthy of a quick read. Anton, like Ivan, has a great passion for the great outdoors. As of this writing Ivan has just left my province of Cagayan Valley and is now on his way to Pagupud. I'm soooo green with envy! What's nice about Anton's blog is it also offers theater schedules, and food and hotel reviews. So for those looking for alternatives, Anton's blog is a must-visit.

Old Manila Walks
This isn't a blog site. But for those who would want to get to know their city better, here's a chance to do it, while walking. For those who hate walking, here's one reason why to LOVE IT! The walking city tour is great. And Ivan and Anson have tricks up their sleeves for those who sign up and take their tours. My mom and I are about to embark on a walking tour of Binondo on Chinese New Year, and I am sooo thrilled. It's a chance to get to take photos of Binondo (a place I haven't visited), taste more Chinese food (although I've done that before with my ROTC officers), walk with Mom, and of course get to know another side of Manila.

Ivan and Anson...we'll be coming for yah soon!! :)

Walk This Way

Probably the most popular walking tour in Manila, Carlos has been dubbed as the "Pied Piper" of Manila. And why wouldn't he be called that? When the man walks a whole crowd follows. Where to? Around Manila! :) Visiting Carlos' blog offers a wide array of information on HISTORY! As a history freak (yes, I can be a history freak. When I was in high school in St. Scho Manila I remember ace-ing a test in history! geek much?) I love reading up on historical stuff. It would be even better if it were put in a totally fun way! So if you're up to a lot of walking, look up Carlos' schedules and be prepared for fun!

Other things in Carlos' site are for art junkies, foodies, and photography enthusiasts!!

Hope you travel freaks enjoy looking at these sites. It will make you envious of their capability to travel. Don't get depressed though, just keep in mind that one day you will be able to do JUST THAT!! :)

I am now sooo ready for more traveling. Can someone please give me money and TIME! :p

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Third Secret

Seriously I am a devout Catholic. I believe in God and whatever miracles, great or small, have been performed by Him or His mother. I do not question His presence...Omnipresence it was called right?

But here comes the little devil: The Third Secret by Steve Berry. I first encountered this brilliant author when I first read one of his books, The Romanov Prophecy. It's something I would recommend my friends (who read) to buy. Anyway, The Third Secret has gotten me hooked. And here at work, I find myself unable to let go of the damn book. Bought it last Friday (before I got drunk and forgot to buy), and now Tuesday, I'm about to end it. I've just been trying to postpone the inevitable. And one of my means is writing a blog about it.

Why I say this is brilliant? Well first I'm a sucker for books/novels based on controversies intertwined with historical facts. Of course it all depends on how the author put a twist to it just like Dan Brown has done in his controversial books (Angel and Demons, The Da Vinci Code, and his latest The Lost Symbol).

I won't put a spoiler to the book's plot. I'd want more people to read. It's a shame how people turn to e-books instead of actually reading. But this book would actually toy with your FAITH. As I said I believe in God and I have no doubt of His existence. I believe that many people are actually sane right now because of their firm belief that He is with us. But there are just some points in the Roman Catholic belief system that doesn't acquire to my liking and which I have not really followed. Some of them is the belief that we are all SINNERS (come on!), that the only way to feed the soul is through communion (another oh! come on!), and penance is granted by talking to a priest who like me is human (thus a sinner as well), the only difference is that he's on the other side of the divider or whatever you call it.

The book delves into the scandals of the Church and among it its people. Yes the Popes, the Cardinals, the Bishops, and the priests. Yes, it excites me that someone actually has the guts to publish the goings-on of a very mysterious organization. It just goes to show that these men no matter how divine they are, are human too. Imagine a priest having an open relationship with a woman. A Cardinal hungry to be Pope could kill just to get to his most coveted position. It's a strong test of faith for Roman Catholics out there, and another bullet to shoot down the Roman Catholic Church by critics. Because it is indeed happening.

But what's important is that this book despite showing the Church's controversial side, it still sticks to the matter of Faith. A line keeps repeating in that books that dwells on us here on earth have been asking too many questions instead of just acting on it. Maybe it's time for us to stop questioning. But how do we when we know that most canon laws are made by man not by God. It's an open debate everyone! And like I said it all boils down to faith and what you choose to believe.

Filipinos have this "saradong Katoliko" thing going. And I am that. I'm not changing my religion for anything. But this book just made me realize how important faith is, blind faith. Talking to a wooden statue of a person. In the first place, weren't not even sure if that's how He really looked. But it's a movement that has changed the world.

But with the controversies starting to slowly leak out, how can we still maintain that faith? Our leaders aren't perfect sure, but they shouldn't be hypocritical about it. Exactly like in the book. A priest can still love a woman and preach the Gospel right? No difference! It's a matter of expressing your beliefs and sticking to it. If you believe in our God and what the promises He will fulfill when the end has come, then I guess having a parish priest with a wife doesn't really matter. At least you'll know that when you confess, you don't have this little argument at the back of your mind saying, he's not perfect. We're all equal, whether they're people of the Church.

Kudos to Steve Berry! I'm about to buy another one of your books very, very soon!! :)

To Dan Brown, please don't fret. You are still my original Idol!! :D

Sunday, January 24, 2010

bottled up

I've always been a feisty kid. For me I never saw anything wrong with being feisty. It has always worked to my advantage. One of those advantages was that I get the upper hand in getting to know someone else first. Since they think I'm mataray, they don't have the guts to be closey closey with me. And with that I get to know whether she's a worthy friend or person to be with. It's only when I do get to feel comfortable with that person do I show my weird side. It has always been that way...And I've always liked it that way.

But recently I'm finding myself uber mellowed down by my new environment. I should really see it as something good but I've been having mixed emotions about it because I feel like it's not me anymore. My gosh! Me not not not laughing out loud...and me being JUDGED by other people. Now that's the bitter pill that's hard to swallow. It's been really hard to adjust and I've allowed 2 months for me to get comfortable with my new self. But still I feel like I've been bottled up. People say I should open my mind up to it. Seriously I have.

And no matter how much I've been warming up to my new tasks, the task of adjusting to a new me is bringing me down. Maybe some more time. Hopefully I'll learn to adjust to my new self in no time.

Friday, January 22, 2010

the first of many (hopefully).....

I am actually a's just kind of sad that I don't get to do it more often that I should. I used to pour my emotions over at my multiply site. But after a sad encounter (with love) I can't stand opening that blog page of my multiply site. Everything on that blog site was just toooooo detailed. I tried re-reading my entries and I actually found myself laughing. Laughing at my stupidity and my "love sick puppy dog" entries. I was smitten by a guy I hardly knew...a guy who eventually broke my heart. But thank God he saved me! :)

So I start of my blog with an introduction of myself. I don't really care if I'll have followers...the point is for me to actually have something to put my bottled up insights (har!)

Anyway I'm Mai..Maierz, Mayee, Mai-Mai, and very recently thanks to Chuchie (my officemate turned gem of a friend) and The House Bunny I earned a new nickname Mahi-Mahi. It's funny how through my 24 years of existence I earned lots of nicknames. For me each nickname represents a characteristic of mine. Mai, to those who know me very little. Maierz and Mayee to those who know me well enough to make fun of the "Mai". And Mai-Mai for my family...I don't really know how they know me as a person...but my friends of 10 years call me that...

I'm a Virgo and actually there are some Virgo characteristics that I have "inherited". They Virgos have a small quantity of friends...which is true...and I don't feel sad about it because these few friends are my TRUEST friends. they know and love me the way I am and they have come to accept my kalokohans.

They also say Virgos are very good at directions...maybe this explains why my barkada treats me like their human GPS. My most frequent customer is Mariko...asking me random questions on how to get to Point A from Point B. It's actually interesting how I get to remember the places even if I haven't gone down that area in a looooong time. Yes, I sometimes surprise myself. :) But it's proven to be very useful...not just for myself but for my friends as well.

I'm also very good at remembering dates and phone numbers. One of its many benefits was during the summer of 2009. My college barkada (Steph, Par and I) went to Pagudpud to relax. Going back to Manila we stopped at this gasoline station in Ilocos Sur ( i forget the city). Steph who was driving thought I had gotten inside the car and just suddenly drove off. She didn't notice I went to the store to buy a drink. And so panic overcame and I just had to ask the Ate's in the store to use their cellphone (and their very precious load) to call one of them. See! Amazing! Thank God for good memory.

I love tennis... love watching basketball...I love alone time...I find pleasure in reading. And I have just realized that I'm into books that are mixed with historical facts. Take for example The Da Vinci code or The Romanov Prophecy. I'm a geek in that way... :)

And with that I end my first blog...I really hope that I get the time to post. I'm a frustrated blogger and I just want to share some thoughts. And so maybe this blog and I would become really good friends!! :)

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