Tuesday, December 17, 2013

UP Diliman's Trees, Sunken Garden

One of the things that make me proud of being a University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman alumni, is the wide area of green spots in the campus, with many tall and big trees. I stayed in the dormitory inside the campus (Molave, Yakal, Narra dorms) in my undergrad days in the 80s.

Below, the UP Administration building surrounded by big trees to its left, right and back. An open space at the back of the building called the Ampitheater is used for some big events in the university, such as the awarding of the annual UP Lantern parade, or university graduation, or some concerts.

The succeeding photos below, I got from Paulo Alcazaren's facebook page.  He must be taking these shots from a chopper. The long straight road in front of the UP Admin building is the University Avenue, going straight to Philcoa.

Another view of the Ampitheater, the Administration building, and the trees behind them.

Lower photo, the white tower is called the UP Carillon, it's between UP Theater on the right, and the UP College of Music on the left.

Monday, December 16, 2013

My Wedding, 8 years ago

Eight years ago, December 17, 2005, I married my ex-officemate, Ma. Ella Calaor-Oplas, at a church in Iloilo City. Ella is from Lapaz, Iloilo City, Iloilo province while I am from Cadiz City, Negros Occidental.

My parents escorted me in the processional.

Ella walking down the aisle.

I immediately hugged her when she came to me.

Medium size but nice church in Iloilo City.

The "I do" part. My father and mother in law to Ella's left, Mama Nenette and Papa Leo.

Ella's close friends from DLSU who flew from Manila.

Kristine de Villa and Brian Co.

Kitt Santos and Eileen Manabat.

From left: Kristine, Jane Capacio, Eileen, Ella, me, Joel Ciron, Arvin Sy and Kitt.

Second row, my sisters in law Jonjee and Nanette Calaor, Ella, me, Mark Agaloos as my Best Man, Anton Paredes, Ella's cousin. The two kids in the front were my sister Neneng Marycris' kids, Guen and Lance Alas.

The bridal car.

All photos from Kitt's camera. Thanks Kitt.

Boat Ride to Cagbalete Island, Mauban

The boat plying the Mauban-Cagbalete Island route, only two trips a day. It leaves Mauban around 10am, reaches the island after about 45 minutes, go back before 12 noon, and takes the second and last trip at around 2 or 3pm.

Elle Marie, Bien Mary, my wife in the "front seat". Mcrae, the man in green shirt, a colleague of my wife at DLSU, also joined.

People in the boat's body, cargo on the outrigger. Rice, various food items, beer, softdrinks, ice.

This old porter caught my attention. He can carry 50+ kilos of cargo with ease, despite his advance age. I asked him how old he was, he replied something like 62 years old. Sun-burnt, lean but lots of muscle, bow ako sayo, lolo.

The boat cannot dock at the shoreline as it is shallow, a smaller boat fetches passengers from and to the shoreline of Cagbalete Island.

Nice view of the island, but this side, there are no beach resorts, only the fishing village. Visitors have to walk about 20-25 minutes to the other side of the island, where the various resorts are located.

Mauban Port, Quezon

Last May 18-19, 2013, my family joined a tour organized by a friend, Ritchie Mauricio, to Cagbalete Island, Mauban, Quezon. It is a small and sleepy town, relatively isolated, Pacific Ocean side.

The port at that time was undergoing expansion and repair, the work is supposed to be finished last July.

Cagbalete Island is not far from the town proper, it can be seen from the port. As the island is famous for many tourists, the port and the public market are the busiest parts of the town.

Going to Cagbalete Island, here are the fees to pay and the boat fares. Not sure if these rates still apply, most likely. I notice that only the tourists and visitors pay the environmental fee and terminal fee, the locals, both of the island and Mauban proper, just go straight to the boat without paying.

Many people rely on the port, boats for rent, and fishing as their main livelihood. Many houses on the shoreline.

Close up of the houses and boats on the shoreline, right side of the port.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Nessa Oplas-Sy Wedding

Bacolod City -- Yesterday, my niece Nessa Oplas got married in this city. Her husband is Jayme "Jun" Sy, Jr. Nessa is a bright lady. High School in Cadiz City, undergrad BS Biology from University of the Philippines (UP) Baguio, BS Medicine 2nd year at St. La Salle Bacolod. She shifted to MBA at University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos (UNO-R) then pursued and finished her Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) from the same university. She is the CEO of Alas Oplas and Co CPAs, Bacolod branch. This is my sister's accounting/audit firm with head office in Makati City.

Jun is also a very talented man. Undergrad from De La Salle University (DLSU) in Manila, Bachelor of Laws from Ateneo de Manila University (AdeMU), placed #1 in the bar exam during his time, and pursued MBA from La Salle Bacolod.

Wedding was held at Birhen Sang Barangay Chapel, Sta. Clara Subdivision, Bacolod. There were five officiating priests.

Full house at the church. About one-half of the guests were from Jun's family and relatives, they have a big family covering three generations in attendance. The other half were Jun's friends, Nessa's friends and her family, both from father and mother side.

Nice bridal car, ala Batman's car.

One of their pre-nuptial photos.
Reception was at Ayala North Point clubhouse, Talisay City, the next city from Bacolod. Lots of food and drinks.

Sugarcane Farms of Negros Occ., Part 2

Bacolod City -- Arrived here yesterday to attend the wedding of my beautiful niece, Nessa Oplas-Sy. This morning, I went to my hometown, Cadiz City to see again my parents. I stopped by some areas to take photos of the rural scenes.

Out of the 84(?) provinces of the Philippines, I would say that Negros Occidental has the most optimal land use. One will hardly see even half-hectare of idle land. Cities, housing villages, coconut, banana, tree farms and sugarcane farms. Lots of it, Hundreds of thousands of hectares of sugarcane farms.

Harvested sugarcane.

A transloading station of sugarcane trucks. The canes are unloaded from 6- or 10-wheeler trucks, weighed, then transferred to 18-wheeler trucks, to be be brought to a sugar central for refinery..

A transloading station in Manapla, about 45 kms. north of Bacolod. This is one town before Cadiz City.

Another transloading station near Caduhaan, Cadiz City.

This 18-wheeler truck full of sugarcane is a common sight in the province.

Portion of a road in Silay City, 14 kms. north of Bacolod.

See also:
Sugarcane farms of Negros Island, March 23, 2012
Cadiz City, Negros Occidental, May 27, 2012
Canlaon, Negros Occidental, June 10, 2012
San Salvador, San Carlos, Negros Occidental, June 10, 2012
Elle Marie in Negros Occ., August 20, 2012
Ilongo ka gid Kon... July 18, 2012

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Plaza Athenee Bangkok

On October 20-24, I stayed at this hotel in Bangkok to attend the Economic Freedom Network (EFN) Asia 2013 Conference on "Middle Income Trap and Economic Freedom", October 21-22, then the GCOA-EMHN policy dialogue on ageing, October 23. My family joined me as they did not have to pay extra for the hotel, only the plane fare where they got a good price via Air Asia flying from Clark Airport in Pampanga.

The hotel is part of the four-buildings complex that includes a second hotel building plus the twin towers Athenee condominium. 

It is in the city center of Bangkok and is near other big hotels in the area. A train station is just two blocks away.

It has a nice garden and swimming pool on the 4th or 6th floor (I don't remember now).

Two swimming pools, the bigger one for adults, and the smaller one for children, only about 0.75 meters (about two feet) deep.

An open function room on the same level as the pool. A welcome dinner with program during the EFN Asia conference on the night of October 21 was held here.

The pool for adults, nice clean water.

A garden near the pool. There is a short jogging path in this area.

The main restaurant of the hotel on the ground floor. Buffet breakfast is served here.

A nice shallow pool with fishes on one side of the restaurant.

I enjoyed my stay in that hotel. Thanks again to EFN Asia for bringing me to Bangkok to attend the conference.

See also:
Thailand trip, Part 1, June 10, 2008
Thailand trip, Part 2, July 22, 2008