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Monday, May 30, 2011

Pilipinas Got Talent Season 2: Fifth Semi-Finals

The fifth set of semi-finalists (L-R): First row: Buildex Pagales, DJP Trio, Kenny Padalla
Second row: Jacqueline Schubert, Karinyoso Boys, Ariana
Last May 28 to 29, 2011, the fifth set of semi-finalists compete in a live performance of Pilipinas Got Talent. This batch is definitely the best in terms of having their star factor and personality.

Jacqueline Schubert, the singing beauty queen from Cebu performed "Crazy in Love" by Beyonce. The German-Filipino beauty queen selected a good song choice, very good packaging especially her beautiful face and she did a good job in singing an upbeat song. However, her performance is like singing in a karaoke bar. Therefore, she has a future in other beauty pageants or modelling industry. 

We also have the funny dance troupe from Dumaguete, the Karinyoso Boys did one of the coolest performances of the season. They have a very good song selection that jives with their choreography. They were charming comedians and dancers.

Kenny Padalla, the singing heartthrob of Baguio City proves that he is not just good-looking and handsome but he has the singing talent. He has a wide range of vocals and his style is contemporary especially in pop music. He needs to practice on how to reach higher notes while singing. He is cute, handsome and got the packaging of a star and he has the heart while performing.and definitely, he deserves to have a break in show business. He performed Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey's "When You Believe." 

Ariana from the Bourbon Duo did an exceptional act in pole dancing. The dance routine was very clean and flawless. Her sexiness matches her balancing skills and the gracefulness in pole dancing. It was a breathtaking and amazing performance.

The cute singing divas from Bacolod, DJP Trio shown their confidence and unity in singing. The young singing trio have their angelic and harmonized blending of voices in their performance of "One Night Only" from the Dreamgirls soundtrack. 

The closing act of the night was Buildex Pagales who performed "Marry You" by Bruno Mars. He has a very good vocals, guitar playing skills and contemporary music style. His vocals is on the mainstream which is similar to Jason Mraz and Bruno Mars. He is definitely deserving to have an album because of his overwhelming entertainment value and he will be the next acoustic singing sensation in the country.

DJP Trio got the highest number of votes and got the ninth slot in the grand finals and Buildex Pagales won the judges vote over third placer Kenny Padalla. Next week, the last batch of semi-finalists will compete on the live performance night of Pilipinas Got Talent Season 2. Will another singing trio made it to the finals which is Joy's Diva? Can the lone ballroom duo of second season Elizabeth Dazo and Leoniel Enopia will the first ballroom dancing duo made it to the grand finals of Pilipinas Got Talent? Will the acrobatic movements of Larvae made their way to the top? Will the judges entertained by Suwahib Samplidan because of his singing prowess while eating roasted hot peanuts? Can the second timers Kapidamu Band made their way to the grand finals? Will the early favorite and Youtube sensation Marcelito Pomoy stand out all the way to the grand prize?

Don't miss the sixth semi-finals round of Pilipinas Got Talent on ABS-CBN, Saturday and Sunday 9:00 p.m.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Weighing the Pros and Cons: 12 YEARS OF BASIC EDUCATION

Source: http:///www.pinoyexchange.com
Recently, the Department of Education proposed a program that improves the quality of our educational system. It is called the K+12 Basic Education Program. It comprises of kindergarten, six years of elementary education, four years in junior high school and two years of senior high school. This program will implement starting the school year 2012 – 2013.

In connection with this program, one of the plans of President Noynoy Aquino in his administration is to move our basic education system from the current ten years system to twelve years. This agenda will be a major change to our educational system, but there are many people reacted to this issue, some were agreed while others disagree. In addition, there are pros and cons to be considered in implementing the said program.

There is an advantage of this program for those students who are going to work after pursuing their secondary education. According to Education Secretary Armin Luistro, high school graduates can be productively employed even without a college degree. If the student is a graduate of senior high school and at the legal age to work, it means that he or she can land a job. If the student is not able to take this degree, technical vocational education is the alternative. This senior high school is an addition to the basic education system which is fundamental and essential for learners in order to have an opportunity towards a better life.

The curriculum of this K+12 basic education program will also allow specialization in science and technology, music and arts, agriculture and fisheries, sports, business and entrepreneurship. These fields are relevant for the learners in order to prepare for their desired careers in the future. Hopefully, the curriculum will also focus on subjects that enhance their academic competency, develop their skills and values, and recognize multiple intelligences.

Regarding with the curriculum of the twelve-year basic education system, it should be expanded through adding new subjects and dividing fields of interest which is integrated in major subjects. Based on the experiences of other students, there are topics in the textbooks that are not tackled due to lack of time (one year is not enough to finish the lessons for other subjects – sometimes those lessons are appearing in diagnostic examinations and achievement tests). That is why we need to add subjects which can consume for the twelve years basic education. It would be possible that if the program will implement and establish in the coming years, there will be additional subjects that are advanced and relevant to the learners’ competencies in order to become globally competitive.

Lastly, this twelve-year system will also address the problem in the earlier years in schooling. In United States, there is a law called No Child Left Behind which sets the high standards and establishing measurable goals that can improve individual outcomes in education through assessment in the basic skills which suit to their age. The result of this program was successful where some of the learners made progress in Reading, Writing, Science and Math at their very young age. In the Philippines, educational programs like English Proficiency program, Science and Math proficiency and “Every Child a Reader” by Grade 1 are already planning to implement in order to improve the problems in the earlier years of schooling such as poor reading and writing skills. Hopefully, the outcomes of this program in our country will also the same in the United States and other countries with high literacy rate.

But there are problems to be encountered why there are number of Filipinos are not favor with this twelve years system. There is a comment from a news website said that parents can hardly afford to pay for four years of high school, they are going to add another two years which is true among the students who came from the masses. It is not the number of years or the financial status that matters in this program. The disadvantages to be considered are the lack of textbooks and educational materials for the students, lack of teachers, lack of classrooms and facilities, large number of students in a crowded classroom, incentives and performance measures and teaching quality. In relation with the short basic education cycle, the low quality of education is also transparent by high dropping out rates of students and failing in national achievement tests and diagnostic examinations. These problems are interconnected with each other which results into low quality of education in our country.

In order to comply with these problems, currently the government has a budget for education in order to create additional classrooms and schools, facilities, and textbooks. In addition, the teachers should strengthen their knowledge and skills in order to bring better instruction to the students. Perhaps, the teachers should be given proper motivation to work responsibly through proper salary, incentives and performance measures. In terms of educational materials, the textbooks and pamphlets should be less errors and accurate in terms of content and grammatical context and there will be better instructional materials to be used in the class. This system will help the teachers to teach better.

Therefore, the 12-year basic education program is one of the solutions in improving the low quality of our education system. There are cases that ten years of basic education did not recognize in foreign universities and colleges, where they have the twelve years system. That is why; we need to establish the twelve years of basic education system in order to make our educational quality to go with the global standards and it is a major breakthrough in our educational system which leads to change towards progress of our citizens in terms of their academic competency.

In the end of this note, the 12-year basic education program is not all about quantity versus quality. It is not all about adding of classrooms, expenses and number of years. It is all about the quality of education that is needed to improve and enhance because it is the one that helps us to become globally competitive and responsible citizens of our country.

Related Articles: Weighing the Pros and Cons: Mandatory Kindergarten Program

Monday, May 23, 2011

Street Children and Education

A rovingcart with educational materials.
Source: Google Photos

Street children are exposed in living on the cities, working heavy jobs and navigating the streets just to provide the daily needs of their family. They are still young to accomplish these duties. The only thing they have to do is to play and study their homeworks in school just as the typical pastime of ordinary children. But the only problem is they have to work hard for the money to help their family and themselves for daily needs.

Street children have the rights to a better education in order to achieve a bright future. The factors that serve as hindrance are lack of financial and moral support. There are street children who want to finish their studies and achieve their dream like to become a doctor, a teacher, or a lawyer someday. Recently, the problem of providing better education for the street children is being solve with the help of non-government sectors such as social welfare institutions, religious associations, and foreign volunteers. They provide regular classes and services for the street children for free. These classes are composed of academic literacy lessons or basic education, values education, sports and recreation, free school supplies and expenses, livelihood programs and spiritual lessons in order to attain high literacy and morality. There are persons who also volunteer to help street children or out-of-school youth in other places aside from streets such as graveyards, ruined buildings or dumpsites where some poor people lived in these areas.

Every child has the right to gain quality education without any equivalent of money and expenses. Even the child suffers from poverty, they still have the right to learn and acquire knowledge. The parents should continue to encourage their children to study and develop their potential skills. The government should also give more priority for education of street children or out-of-school youth and continue to improve the system of education and support the non-government sectors in educating the poor. For the non-government sectors, continue the good job of helping the street children through education. Always remember that money and poverty are not hindrances for children to study and acquire knowledge, skills and values in school in order for them to learn and have a better future.

Hopefully, There's a Wildcard in a Kapamilya Talent Show Franchise!

There are many talent shows in the Philippines and around the globe considering a wildcard round. It can be held for those talented, remarkable and exceptional contenders who didn't make it for the grand finals and gave them another chance to prove themselves that they deserve to win. There are moments that wildcard hopefuls are emerging to grand winners. These include singers Erik Santos and Jerome Sala in Star in a Million and dance group XB Gensan in Showtime.

Pilipinas Got Talent is one of the popular talent shows in our country and now on its second season. Last season, there are lots of remarkable acts like band troupe Kapidamu Band, dancer Alexis Carpena, dance troupe Experience Kidz, and opera singer Fame Flores, did a very exceptional performance and they deserved to be in the grand finals. However, there is no wildcard round in this season and they lost in the semi-finals round in the show.

This second season, it was more controversial and surprising when the 60-year old magician Romarico Sanorjo (a.k.a. Rico the Magician) didn't make it to the finals. He made an overwhelming impact and entertainment to the viewers because of his funny magical act. But he got the second highest number of votes (next to dance troupe Freestylers who automatically made it to the grand finals and the top act who got the highest number of votes) and he lost to the judges vote over the singing trio Madrigal Siblings. In addition, the all-gay cheerdance and acrobatics troupe Dance Selection received a standing ovation from the crowd because of their death-defying stunts. Also, singer Maribeth Callanta got the positive comments and approval of the judges because of her vocal prowess and soulful performance. However, both of them didn't make it to the grand finals or even in top three highest votes. There are also acts who stand out in auditions but didn't make it to the top 36 like pianist Agnes Ignacio, sand artist Mark Kenneth Dolom, magician Gino Janducayan, and band troupe The Asidors. They show their exceptional talents which made them stand-out in their auditions.

Hopefully, there will be a wildcard round because it proves that there are bunch of exceptional talents in this season. In addition, there are eliminated contenders who did a very good performance and they deserve to be given another chance to prove themselves to win the competition.

There are still twelve remaining acts to compete for the fifth and sixth semi-finals round. Who ever makes it to the grand finals, they deserve it and for those who are eliminated, don't lose hope and improve their craft. The twelve remaining acts to compete are: 
  • Bourbon (Feliz Ria Pichay) - the pole dancer who auditioned with her partner; but in the judges cull, her partner didn't make it because of injury.
  • Buildex Pagales - the teen acoustic singer who wowed the crowd in Davao auditions with his rendition of Bruno Mars' "Billionaire" and "Just The Way You Are."
  • DJP Trio - the all-girl kiddie singing trio from Bacolod with their pretty looks and harmonized blending of voices.
  • Jacqueline Schubert - the singing beauty queen of Cebu who sang a Jessa Zaragosa hit "Bakit Pa" although she didn't speak in Tagalog.
  •  Joy's Divas - the singing trio from Batangas
  • Kapidamu Band - the returning band troupe who lost last semi-finals
  • Karinyoso Boys - the funny dance troupe where they called the judges "friendship!"
  • Kenny Padalla - the singing heartthrob and balladeer from Baguio City 
  • Larvae - the flexible contortionists and acrobats 
  • Leoniel Enopia and Elizabeth Dazo - the only ballroom dancing duo who made it for the semi-finals this season
  • Marcelito Pomoy - the man who has a pure dual voice (male and female voices) while singing and later became a Youtube sensation
  • Suwahib Samplidan - the singer who hits high notes while eating roasted peanuts.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pilipinas Got Talent Season 2: Fourth Semi-Finals

The fourth set of semi-finalists: Filogram, Maribeth Callanta, John Michael Narag, Genevieve Arandia, First Beat Effect and Next Generation Band. (Source: http://www.pilipinasgottalent.multiply.com)

The fourth set of semi-finalists competed last May 21 to 22, 2011 for the seventh and eighth grand finals slot of Pilipinas Got Talent Season 2. The singer from Pangasinan, John Michael Narag got the highest number of votes which automatically proceed to the grand finals and the dance troupe Filogram, won the judges' vote to get the eight slot.

The first act of the night was the dance troupe, Filogram from Baguio City. They have a very good choice of music where they used old school hits like 80's and 90's dance hits. They have a very good choreography and the entertaining and cool moves. 

Maribeth Callanta of Dagupan City did a rendition of Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" which is a very good song choice that matches her vocal quality and prowess. She has a powerful and soulful vocals and it was pitch perfect. Overall, it was a very good performance and Maribeth is one of the best female soloists for second season.

Another female soloist is Genevieve Rochelle "Ivy" Arandia from Las Pinas City. With her performance of Carrie Underwood's "Angels Brought Me Here" she shown her strong vocal prowess and clear diction. I love the song choice but it fell short in reaching the high notes.

One of the unique contenders in this season is the beatboxing quartet from Bacolod City, First Beat Effect. They have a very catchy entrance where they used a door and they have a very exceptional sound effects in their beatboxing skills. It was creative, entertaining and funny where they used comic effects, native musical instruments and current music hits in their act.

The kiddie band from Davao del Norte Next Generation Band proved that they have very exceptional talent at their young age. They chose "Awit ng Kabataan" (Song of Youth) by Rivermaya which matches their age. The two vocalists have strong vocals and the guitarist who gets blindfolded was truly a prodigy in playing the electric guitar. However, they are not just talented kids but they are honor students. I really appreciate this group because of their dedication for their talent and studies.

Last performance of the night is John Michael Narag from Pangasinan. He has a very good singing talent and vocals. In his audition, he has a pure voice in singing and in his performance of Journey's "Open Arms" he needs to improve to reach the higher notes and he needs to practice more by singing different songs and he needs to know his vocal style or identity as a singer. However, he has a down-to-earth personality.

Next week another batch of semi-finalists will compete for the fifth grand finals. Watch Pilipinas Got Talent Season 2, Saturday and Sunday 9:00 p.m. on ABS-CBN.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Legal and Personal Impacts of Online Abuse

Source: Google Photos
The Internet is considered as an open and digital world by getting closer to the world with just one click away. By simply sitting in the front of our computer, we can search the stuff that we want and we can communicate with people through long distance, just to feel that they are just here.

We are fond of surfing the Net as our pastime through research, online games, forums, discussions and social networking. We can meet new friends, join in forums and discussions, sharing personal insights and opinions, and post journals, photos, and videos. In addition, it makes our communication and research easier through Internet.

Some young Filipinos are spending their time on surfing the net and they take advantage on the freedom of using the Internet. On the contrary, some of them want to harm others through Internet which leads to abuse. Some examples of these cases are online pornography, threats, gossips, hacking, online scams, hate letters, and cyberbullying that results into negative impact to other people.

In some social networking sites, we can report these cases but we need to wait for the approval of the website for the official sanction like canceling the message, photo, video or blog reported and suspension of the personal account of the user who created and spread the abusive stuff. However, these abusive stuff that considered as crimes like cyberbullying, pornography, hacking, gossips, and others are still spreading in the online world. Like what is mentioned before, there are sanctions for these cases but most of us are unaware and ignoring these things that we have the right to report the abuse of Internet that harm others.

Therefore, we can say that there is an absolute freedom in using the Internet. But the outcome is too bad for those who abuse it that results into defamation and conflict. As a matter of fact, Internet users that be careful in meeting people online, use our limitations and be responsible in using the Net and do not use it for abuse and harm. Don't be afraid to report cases of online abuse, we have the right to use it to defend ourselves. For the website administrators, operators, analysts and upcoming Internet professionals and workers, be strict and aware to that negative stuff spreading online. For the government, start making laws on proper use of Internet for the Filipinos because we are in the contemporary world and technology is dominating in our society. To all lawmakers and government officials, give priority on the proper use of Internet as one of the major issues in our society. Finally to all Filipinos and to people in different countries, open our minds for awareness on online abuse and crimes. We can start it in ourselves to stop the abuse on using the Internet for harm and damage of other people online. Use the Internet for good and friendly purposes towards harmonious communication online.

Hopefully, there will be an online profession which is similar to detectives, inspectors, or patrollers that block the abusive online habits, as well as the people who spread the abusive stuff in the Internet and give the appropriate penalty.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

In The Island of Stars

My family and I got back from our trip to Palawan last year where we visit some of the tourist spots in Puerto Princesa City including Honda Bay. It is a perfect place for island hopping because the exotic and peculiar features of the islets and the panoramic view of the bay makes the tour more exciting. In addition, it is an ideal venue for snorkeling because of the abundance of marine creatures from shallow reefs to the deeper parts of the bay.

The shore of Starfish Island.
There is an island in Honda Bay where you can see a lot of stars. If you want to know about it, you can go to Starfish Island. You can travel there through boat, many less than twenty to forty-five minutes from the shore to the island. Boats can be rented in Sta. Lourdes Wharf, Barangay Tagbanua, Puerto Princesa City.

The lucid and clear water of Honda Bay from Starfish Island. You can see numerous starfish in this shallow reef.
A starfish found in the most shallow area of the bay.
The starfish teemed up with rocky reef and clear water of Honda Bay.
Starfish Island is famous for its fine white sand beaches, stony reef and pellucid water of the bay where many starfish are abounded in this area. In addition, this island is covered with mangrove trees. You can have your overnight stay by checking in to Sandbar Resort and some cottages which serve as lodging places in the island.
A lone starfish in the clear saltwater.
A starfish crawling to its next place.
A small hard coral.
A baby crab. This is the smallest crab I've ever seen in my whole life.
We spend in this island for almost twenty to forty minutes. We enjoyed our stay here by taking photographs and walking in the seashore to feel the natural beauty and discover the diverse creatures found in this island. The most memorable experience in this island is to see the numerous starfish scattered in the shallow and rocky reef of the bay. It was visually captivating to see many brown and orange starfish distributed in the clear and tropical water of Honda Bay. There are also few small gray sea stars in the bay. You can also found some creatures such as crabs, hard and soft corals, and some clownfish that dwell on sea anemone.

We also did fish feeding but only few were coming in the shallow part unlike in nearby islands where you can see colorful schools of fish. There are few fish with white, brown and gray colors are coming to eat the bread crumbs. In addition, you need to become cautious because of stonefish. They were able to camouflage which look like a rough stone under the sea that matches the rocky features of the reef. If you attacked by this creature, your whole leg up to your thigh will be in intense pain because of the neurotoxins released from their glands at the base of needle-like dorsal fin spines.

Aside from the abundance of starfish, there are lots of white shells in this island which look like a dollar coins. These creatures are called sand dollars. They are distributed from the seashore to the bay. But when we take a glimpse on these coin-like creatures, they were already empty. However, when sand dollars are alive, they have a substance which makes their brown color and they have their spines to move coordinately. We didn’t see any living sand dollars or else they are living underwater or in muddy areas.

As we walk along the moist and sandy seashore, we found a dead starfish which smells too bad because it was decaying. If a starfish is continuously crawling to the beach where there is no water, they will die. We saw other starfish in the shore. They were pale and dry due to too much exposure in air and sunlight. However, they are still living. In order for these sea stars to live longer, we take them back to their habitat in the bay.

Starfish Island is near in Snake Island where you can enjoy fish feeding and snorkeling where you can see colorful school of fish, coral reefs and clams. In addition, there are lots of small fish in the shallow reef of this island. You need to become careful also because there are triggerfish that will join the school of fish during the fish feeding and they can bite you with its strong-jawed mouth. In addition, tourists gather in this island for their lunch break and it can be joined by the souvenir vendors to sell their items for the tourists. Snake Island is named because of its shape is similar to  a slithering snake.
 The magic circle of stars in Honda Bay. Brown and orange starfish gathered together in a circle.
Starfish Island is such a peculiar tourist spot in Honda Bay. It was a surreal encounter when you see numerous starfish in the clear, tropical waters of the bay and their way of living in this island along with other creatures. Although we stay there for less than an hour, it was an exciting thing to discover more of the small islands in Honda Bay which has peculiar and exotic features and it proves that our country is such a beautiful place to live.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pilipinas Got Talent Season 2: Third Semi-Finals

The third batch of semi-finalists: Rafael Pavia, Jem Cubil, Collins Gutierrez, Zaldy Carlos, Happy Feet, and Dance Selection. Source: http://www.abs-cbn.com
Last May 14 to 15, 2011, an all male group of contenders from different demographics showing their unique talents compete for the the third semi-finals round of Pilipinas Got Talent Season 2.

The show started with the all-gay group of cheerdancers and acrobats from Taguig, Dance Selection. They have the strongest audience impact of the night and it was the best way to start the show because of their death-defying stunts in their dance routine. They have a breathtaking performance, colorful costumes, and a shocking, surprising stunts. Overall, it was fantastic!

Jem Cubil, the singer and musician from Cebu got the overwhelming impact among girls with his looks, height and the talent with his performance of "The Time of my Life" by David Cook. He got the right song choice which matches his vocal quality and musical talent. In addition, his musical style is on the mainstream and he needs to keep on practicing to get a slot in the recording industry. He improved a lot from his auditions and he is one of the dark horse for this season.

The youngest finalist who made it on Pilipinas Got Talent was five-year old rocker Rafael Pavia of Davao. With his rendition of Europe's "Carrie" (which performed by Jovit Baldivino last season), he has a right timing in the musical accompaniment and he sings clearly with a strong showmanship on stage. In addition, when he grow up, he has a potential to become a successful recording artist.

Zaldy Carlos of Manila did a very good job in singing "This Is The Moment." He has a very good vocal range and the song choice matches his prowess. Technically, he is one of the best performers in this competition and he can reach the high notes.

The music teacher from Laguna, Collins Gutierrez did a very good performance of Sharon Cuneta classic "Sana'y Wala Nang Wakas" (If Only If Would Never End). He has a very good vocals, song choice and the musical accompaniment. In addition, he know his style and his identity as a singer and recording artist which is an edge to stay longer in the show business.

Last performance of the night is the brothers and tap dancing duo from Bukidnon, Happy Feet. They have the proper rhythm and precision of tap dancing and they have very exceptional skill in that kind of dance. At first, they didn't know the term for this dance, they got the idea from the movie "Happy Feet" and in their auditions, they used black shoes in their routine. When Ms. Ai-ai De las Alas gave them tap dancing shoes, they were more eager and passionate to perform plus they are really humble.

In the end, Happy Feet and Jem made it to the grand finals for this batch. Next week, the fourth batch of semi-finalists will perform on the stage. Who among these contenders will made it to the finals? Will it be the kiddie group Next Generation Band of Davao del Norte, dance troupe, Filogram of Baguio City or First Beat Effect, the beatboxing group from Bacolod? Can the singers Maribeth Callanta of Dagupan, Genevieve Arandia of Las Pinas and John Michael Narag of Pangasinan will sing their way to the finals? Watch Pilipinas Got Talent every Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 p.m. on ABS-CBN.

Honda Bay Island Hopping

The Honda Bay postcard I bought in Palawan.

Palawan is one of the best tourist destinations in the Philippines because of different natural wonders such as limestone formation of caves, diverse flora and fauna, verdant mountains, lush rainforests, fine beaches and tropical blue waters of the sea. In addition, it is an ideal place for your summer getaway because of the clean environment, beautiful tourist spots, and the abundance of natural resources in the island province.

I got back from a trip to Palawan last year where we visit some of the tourist attractions in the province. One of the places we visited was Honda Bay. It is an ideal venue for island hopping and snorkeling. In addition, this place is known for white sand beaches, the blue and crystal clear water and the richness of marine creatures in the bay. Honda Bay is located 12 kilometers east of Puerto Princesa City and composed of several islands within the area. The bay is used for commercial fisheries and recreation. Boats can be rented in Sta. Lourdes wharf in Brgy. Tagbanua, Puerto Princesa City. These boats can be used for travel to nearby islands, many less than 45 minutes from the shore by boat. 
Sailing across the Honda Bay.
During our island hopping in Honda Bay, we visit two islands and one diving spot. Our first stop is in Pambato Reef where corals are abundant in this area. According to other travel blogs, there is a huge fish density and underwater visibility in this diving area. I wanted to see the coral reefs during that time, but I was afraid to go in the reef because I don’t have enough experience to swim in the deeper part of the bay. Besides, there are tourists who injured because of corals. So you need to be careful in swimming and do not step the corals. 

The colorful school of fish in the shallow reef of Snake Island.
After forty-five minutes, we proceed to Snake Island. This place is known not because there are many snakes in the island, but it is named for the shape of the island which looks like a slithering snake. We spent for almost one hour and enjoyed our stay in the island covered with mangrove trees. First, we saw a lot of tiny fish with white and brown colors in the part of the bay that almost reaches the shore. Besides, I had a lot of fun in snorkeling. But the most unforgettable encounter in this island happened in fish feeding.  It was a surreal experience because there are schools of fish with bright colors of black, white, blue and yellow were surrounding around me. Also, there are two to three medium-sized fish wants to join the group in feeding the bread crumbs. While waiting for our lunch, I saw a small crab with a shell in its back (I think it’s a hermit crab). I try to look at this crab and touch its shell until it runs fast and hides in a small hole in the sand. Then, we had our lunch and picture taking in this island. Also, my sisters and friends helped the pasalubong vendors in making accessories and souvenirs. 

The sandy seashore of Starfish Island.
The lucid and tropical water of the bay from Starfish Island.
The fine white sand, rocky reef, and clear water teemed with starfish.
The circle of starfish.
Our last stop is in Starfish Island. When we landed in the island, it was amazing because of fine white sand and clear water that teemed with the numerous starfish scattered in the shallow reef of the bay. We spend our time there through taking photographs and walking in the seashore to discover other creatures aside from starfish. In addition, there are plenty of empty and white shells which look like a dollar coins. These creatures are called sand dollars. In fact, these sand dollars are color brown when they were living. We also found a dead starfish, decaying in the shore. They died due to continuously crawling to the beach which is a dry place and out of the water. Because of what we saw, we decided to save some starfish in the shore by getting them back to the bay in order to live longer. You need to become cautious also because there are stonefish found in this island. They are able to camouflage which looks like a rock under the sea. But, if you attacked by this creature, your whole leg up to your thigh would be numb and be in intense pain. We also continued our fish feeding but there are few fish with colors of brown and white fed the bread crumbs and stay away;  unlike in other islands where there are colorful schools of fish. 
A place similar to the Exile Island in hit reality series Survivor.
Lu-li Island
Taking a glimpse of the bay before we go back to the wharf.
Therefore, there are other islands in Honda Bay which are interesting to visit due to its peculiar and exotic features. There are islands which are known for the richness of marketable creatures such as Canon or Cowrie Island where you can found many cowrie shells in the shore and SeƱorita Island which serves as a breeding site of lapu-lapu fish. We also have Lu-li Island which coined from the first syllables of two Tagalog words Lulubog meaning sinking and Lilitaw which means showing up, where one part of this island is sinking during high tide. Also there are islands named after a flying mammal and an endemic plant. These islands are Bat Island where it is the home of fruit bats that coming out of holes during sundown for their evening feed and Pandan Island where it is named after a native plant found in the island and an ideal place for snorkeling. Lastly, we have islands known for its resorts like the Arreceffi Island where you can found the Dos Palmas Resort and Meara Marina Island where you can have your overnight stay in this island because of its resort.

This island trekking experience is exciting and relaxing because you will appreciate the abundance of natural resources, the beauty of the islands and the captivating scenery of the bay. If I were given a chance to come back to Palawan, I want to complete my island trekking experience in Honda Bay in order to explore the uniqueness of every island and the panoramic beauty of the bay.
Photos by: Diesta Family (jondiestaportfolio.blogspot.com)
Text by: Jonathan B. Diesta
Other Sources: http://www.puertoprincesa.ph

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Interests in Writing: The Beginning

Every people in the world has its own talents and skills granted by God. The Philippines is a third-world country but every citizen is endowed with spectrum of talents in various genres. Lastly, I am a Filipino, born in Cavite, a province located in the Philippines, possessing my own talents and skills.

I am a young guy who has a wide imagination. I love to read and study. I like to share my knowledge through teaching. I am a talkative person who tells a lot of stories which is interesting but majority of it is non-sense. Most of all, when I am quiet, there are lots of ideas running in my mind that I like to share to others (sometimes there are moments that I talk to myself alone or in my inner thoughts). These ideas are diverted into writing.

Before, I was a type of person who is not fond of talking too much. However, because of the influence of people who has a gifted skill in conversation, I am willing to share my experiences also. But there are times that you cannot please everyone to listen in what you are saying because they have different interests.

I really love to write. When something comes into my mind which enlightens or entertains me, I will write it. I love to have my pen and paper in my stuff. I am also interested in looking at everything around me, writing in my journal, watching TV, reading books, and browsing the Internet where I get inspiration and ideas in writing.

During my younger days, I am fond of reading fairy tales, history books and even my books in school. Until now, I still love reading books: from humorous books of Bob Ong to Alex Lacson's "12 Little Things That Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country" and even inspirational books like "Kokology" by Professor Isamu Saito.

I am interested in politics, TV shows, entertainment, travel, feature articles and personal essays. I am fond of writing essays but not skilled in writing poems. In addition, I want to experience writing a short story or a play.

I write when I have distinct ideas come into my mind that is interesting and I want to share it  to others. First, I write it on a paper, then encode it in a computer, edit or revise and print. After printing, I will share it first to my circle of friends and keep it in my folder. This is my routine and process in my writing skill.

 didn't expect to get compliments from other people because of writing. It was started in sixth grade, when our teacher is finding a representative for our section to join the essay writing contest about health and nutrition. Two of my classmates said that I am the one to join in the  contest. Although I don't have any idea what an essay is until I agree to participate for our section. When the contest starts, I found out that an essay is a form of writing which brought together groups of paragraphs from one topic. I just write anything about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and nutrition for kids. Until I got the third place in the said contest.

In high school, I still continue to achieve the dream but it stopped due to busy in studying. However, there are still written activities in some subjects in school. During our senior year in high school, my friends and I were able to submit an article to our school paper but we're failed to make it.

When I came to college, I was motivated to pursue the dream once again. In first year college, I joined the Essay Writing Contest during the National Language Week (Linggo ng Wika). I wrote an essay about our national language and how it evolves and used it in everyday life and its reflection in our culture, using Filipino language as a medium of communication. Therefore, I achieved my very first medal which I got the second place in the said contest. In my junior year in college, I also join in our campus publication. However, due to lack of funds, our articles were not published. It is also the first time when I hooked up to blogging through Friendster. I express my thoughts through blogs but it is hard to convince people because they judged your work by criticizing it.

During the time when I don't have a work, I'm always staying at home, spending time with my parents and in front of computer. Until I'm addicted to Facebook notes and Blogspot. I wrote some essays covers different topics including extraordinary experiences and views about current events. The most unforgettable thing happened to me during that time is when I become part of the Online Writing Contest in OfficiallyPhilippines.com. I wrote about Filipino food during summer entitled "Cool Pinoy Delicacies for Hot Summer." It was published in the said website where the contest held, in my Facebook and Blogspot account. Also, it requires online votes because it is a nationwide contest. In the end, I didn't win and I still continue to pursue my dream as a writer.

As of now, I am still writing with the help of paper, pen, television, computer, blogs, imagination and even imaginary friends. I am not yet a well-known writer. I'm still a neophyte in this field. Although it is just a beginning, I am eager to reach it for those who believe and support in this talent. Thanks for those people who believe in me. I cannot write this without your moral support. Most of all, I would like to extend my appreciation to Our Lord because You gave this skill that I have to share with other people. This is a humble beginning for a novice like me.

(This blog entry was translated with the help of Google Translate and revisions by the author. The original title is "Ang Aking Hilig sa Larangan ng Pagsusulat: Isang Pagsisimula")
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