Mostly Everything

Chinatown and Quiapo with a Samsung Pixon M8910




Carlos Celdran (@carlosceldran) gave us a walking tour of Chinatown and Quiapo. These shots were taken with a Pixon M8910, Samsung’s latest 12MP cameraphone. From the photos above, all I have to say is that the vignette / rustic modes are the best ever. ‘Nuff said.

Mostly Everything

Corregidor, The Remake


So my Tuesday was particularly interesting. Gabe Mercado (@gabemercado) called the day previous inviting me to sample a new Magsaysay Group product offering for Tantin, our common friend from PhilMUG.


Corregidor is an underrated wonder, being stereotyped as an “old” tourist spot that brings back the memories of MacArthur’s folly. I remember experiencing the gun battery and Malinta Tunnel tours when I was younger and really, this is what Corregidor has been stereotyped into. There’s so much potential!


As it turns out, the recent turnover of operations to the Magsaysay group in the past two years (I sure hope I got these facts right) allowed them to rebrand Corregidor into something more than the “Rock” of Manila, adding other recreational activities apart from team building activities and historical tours.

Nothing final yet but imagine this: a true one hour journey (while sleeping!) from Manila Bay is an island park where you can bike, hike, jog, run, camp, bird watch, dive, snorkel, surf, sail to your hearts content. The exact words: we are turning Corregidor into a “central park” for Manila. The zip line is almost complete and will open in November.

You know what would be cool? Airsoft!! (as long as you use biodegradable bullets)

Stay tuned! This is Corregidor 2.0, a good reason to say “I shall return!”

Mostly Everything

The Mabuhay Guide Project


Had dinner last night with one of my best friends from college. She had been pursuing dinner for the past few days so that she can announce something — I knew she was back in school, but it was an odd thing to do, since I knew she already had a masters degree.

I was floored (and extremely happy, excited, ecstatic) to find out that she got into the Mabuhay Guides program of the Department of Tourism, yet another project of the visionary Secretary Durano. Out of the 50 applicants who passed, she was one of the 23 who were accepted and training has begun.

Lightly put, the Mabuhay Guides program is a rigorous six week course that trains passionate individuals to become well … Carlos Celdrans. HAHA! But seriously, the chosen few will be brand ambassadors of the Philippine identity, touring dignitaries around the Philippines. From what she told me, they are always on call and the investment is serious business – if you pass the final exam you are given a year long contract to travel and tour dignitaries around the Philippines. My friend quit her job in advertising so pursue her dream 🙂

Here’s a quote from one of the lucky individuals who got into the program (that blog isn’t my friend’s, but its great to find out that some of those who got accepted into the program are also blogging!):

The Department of Tourism with the able leadership of Sec. Ace Durano is trying out this new program called Mabuhay Guides. I was able to get in due to some twist of fate and now we are training to become the Department of Tourism’s official tour guides. We will be asked to guide tours of foreign dignitaries, journalists and official guests of the Department. They picked “the best of the best” to train with experts in many aspects of culture so that we have a lot of things to talk about in tours and with a professional tour guide trainer from London. The program is handled by Susan Calo Medina, host of Travel Time. [Oblectamentum]

What is the Filipino Identity?

I just had to ask her, “so I’ve been dying to ask, now that you’re in this program, what really is the Filipino identity? A lot of people say that we’ve lost it.” Her response excited me:

She told me that Filipinos think we’ve lost our identity to the Spaniards, Americans and the Japanese. Truth is, the Filipino identity is ever much alive in the way we take care of one another, in the way that we look after our families and think of others first rather than ourselves. This is why texting is big. This is why events are big. This is why peoples’ opinion of you matter, when in fact it shouldn’t. This is why Facebook is big, or any online activity having offline (face to face) fulfillment.

This is why there is cronyism. This is why we get hurt most when we are betrayed by a friend. This is why we still live with our parents after graduation, and it’s perfectly fine. This is why we think of our families first before pursuing our personal dreams.

If Secretary Durano ran for president one day, I’d muster the effort to vote. We live in exciting times. No, really we do.