3/28/16 ; Ateneo on Lockdown

I guess I wasn’t the only one dreading going back to school today as on my way to my first class, it was announced that there had been a bomb threat on campus. They were having all the students evacuate the building and go to the field that was just right next to campus. It made no sense to me to stay there so I just walked back to my dorm. The dormers were advised to just stay in the dorms as it was considered safe for now but we were all advised to pack emergency bags but they didn’t announce anything at all or update us in anyway until about 2 hours after they evacuated campus. Also, the main method of communication is through facebook, which I found really funny.

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They reopened campus at around 5pm. Before then, no cars were allowed on campus and if people were to leave, it had to be on foot and they weren’t allowed to return. If they were dormers, they weren’t allowed to leave campus until the investigation was complete. I wasn’t scared because according to my classmates, this wasn’t the first time Ateneo received bomb threats. Everything is okay now and school is pretty much back to normal.

It received national coverage as my cousin texted me asking if I was okay.

Here’s the news article: http://news.abs-cbn.com/nation/metro-manila/03/28/16/bomb-scare-forces-evacuation-at-admu

Official memo:

Memo on bomb threat

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3/24/16-3/17/16; Cebu

Day 1: Thursday

We had to ride a boat going from Bohol to Cebu which took about an hour and a half. Our lucky boat number:

Once we got there, we went straight to our hotel to drop our things off. We ended up eating at a restaurant right next to our hotel called House of Lechon, where they served cebu lechon straight from carcar. We tried both the regular and spicy lechon. It was true that you don’t need any sauce for lechon in Cebu. (I guess I was too hungry that I forgot to take a picture).

Tabo-An Market~ it is known for their dried fish and other known foods like Otap, dried mangoes, etc.

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We decided to visit all the historical places in Cebu City since we only had half of the day left. Luckily they were all walkable for us, about a 10 minute walk in between places.

We walked down Colon Street, which is known as the oldest street in the country but it no longer looks like how it did before and is very modernized and just looks like an average street now so we didn’t even recognize we were walking on it and unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to take a picture (but these are from the internet to get an idea).

Cebu Heritage Monument~ The monument depicts scenes from the baptism of Rajah Humabon, a procession of the Santo Niño, a Roman Catholic mass, and the Battle of Mactan between Lapu-Lapu and Ferdinand Magellan.

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Yap Sandiego Ancestral House~ This place is known as one of the oldest houses in the Philippines and one of the first ones owned by a Chinese. The current generation of the Yap family still lives in the home on the weekends. It’s a cool place to visit because you are allowed to sit in the chairs and freely touch everything. I mostly videoed the house because it was easier that way but here’s a few photos.

video links: house view 1, house view 2, house view 3, house 4

Basilica Minore del Sto Nino~ Since it was Holy Thursday, there was a lot of people at the church. There was also a mass going on when we got there, so I didn’t want to take a picture of the inside and disturb the mass.

video: outside church

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Magellan’s Cross~ Ferdinand Magellan he had a cross planted to mark his arrival in Cebu.  The original wood is encased in this cross.

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Fort San Pedro~ This was closed because of Holy Thursday but we just walked around the area.

Day 2: Friday 

It was pretty hard to find places that were open on Good Friday.

We just ate breakfast at the 7-11 right next to our hotel and went directly on the way to the Daoist Temple, which was a must see apparently. There was surprisingly a lot of people there for it being 11am. You could ask to make a wish at the altar of the temple, but unfortunately I couldn’t go inside because I had only packed shorts for this trip and there was a strict dress code for the altar.

video: temple 1, temple 2, holy shrine

Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary~ This was also one of the few places that were open on Good Friday. Unfortunately, they said it wasn’t a good season for the butterflies as most of them die during this time due to the heat. As a result, we didn’t get a chance to take pictures of them as the only ones that we could see were pretty small. There is, however, a museum of all the butterflies collected and the scientist that founded the museum actually created artwork using only the damaged wings of butterflies. In the pictures below, all the artwork is made from the wings. We weren’t allowed to take pictures of it close up but it was really amazing. Even his signature was made out of the wings. (You can also see the progression of my insane tan :)).

We ate lunch at Lantaw Native Restaurant because it was that or Jollibee or McDonalds that were open on Good Friday. I ordered garlic butter shrimp since I can’t eat meat and it was actually amazing. Marco ordered Bacolod chicken.

My sister’s 18th Birthday~

I’m really glad I had internet in my hotel so that I was able to call my sister. Although the connection wasn’t the greatest, it was still nice to be able to greet her at the right time. I realized that I’m starting to miss home a lot more.

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My sister with my part 2 of her bday gift.

Crown Regency Hotel & Towers~ 

For our final spot for the day was going to the 38th floor of the Crown Regency Hotel, where they had things that would satisfy any adrenaline junkie. My friend, although he insisted on going, is afraid of heights. For some reason he though he would probably get over it when we got there, but he didn’t. As a result, he asked for the rollercoaster not to be tilted and to go slowly. It wasn’t the adrenaline pumping for me but the view was nice at least.

For the rollercoaster, it’s supposed to be tilted like this to be fun video: tilted version. But it was too much for Marco. As you can see from our photo, it was leveled so it just felt like a kid’s ride to me.

Day 3: Saturday 

Kawasan Falls~ It was pretty crowded when we went. There was no room for parking so our driver had to just drop us off and come back later. We had to wait a few minutes for our turn on the raft. The rafting activity let us basically go under and through the waterfall. We got soaked. At first it felt like a massage but then it felt like water was pelting your back when we were getting out of it. Marco volunteered his phone for this, so I don’t have most of the pictures yet (so, more pics to come). You could also hike up the four tiers of the waterfall, but it was so crowded hiking up after the 2nd tier we went back down and there wasn’t much a view afterwards anyway.

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Moalboal Beach~ By the time we left Kawasan, Moalboal was packed. Everyone was tenting overnight there. When finished eating lunch there wasn’t much room to stay around for long. Marco and I just ate lunch there and he swam for a bit. I was already pretty tired and I didn’t feel like getting any darker so I stayed in the shade and relaxed on the sand.

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We ended the day eating dinner at the Ayala Shopping Center which was right across from our hotel. Afterwards Marco said he wanted to watch a movie so we watched Batman Vs. Superman and the theater was surprisingly packed as well. They also make you sing the national anthem before the movie starts which I thought was interesting. For the movie itself, I give it a C-.

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Day 4: Sunday – Going Home 

Our check out of our hotel was 12pm but our flight was at 8pm, so we asked if we could just leave our luggage in the lobby. We decided to just stay close by and went shopping at SM City Cebu which is the biggest mall in the Philippines. It was a really nice place to go shopping but I didn’t bring a luggage big enough to fit it all. So we just bought a few souvenirs. Marco wanted to leave for the airport super early because he was afraid of the traffic so we left at around 4pm. It turns out, it wasn’t traffic at all and our uber driver said it’s usually Mondays after Easter when it’s traffic and not Sundays. Either way, we stayed at the airport for a good 5 hours because our flight was delayed. The flight made up for lost time and we got home at around 11:30. I was welcomed back to Manila by feeling the wondrous heat that was not so apparent in the provinces.

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3/20/16-3/23/16; Bohol Trip

** I don’t have enough disk space to upload all the pictures onto my laptop but here are the highlight pictures of my trip! Will post the rest soon!

Day 1: Sunday

We arrived at the Tagbilaran airport in Bohol at around 10:30. It was the smallest airport I have ever seen. Inside is just a single baggage carousel and nothing else. We stayed at my friend’s insanely beautiful home for the 4 days we were there (not pictures for privacy). We ate her mom’s home cooked meal for lunch, which consisted of a seaweed salad, grilled fish, garlic shrimp, and rice. We sat around my friend’s living room for a while and then took a quick nap before dinner time. For dinner we ate at a beach resort, where we went night swimming. It was so peaceful and relaxing because we had the pool to ourselves. You could also see the full moon and the stars in the sky clearly from the pool.

Boffo Resort~

Day 2: Monday 

Tarsier sanctuary ~ This was the place I was the most excited for. Tarsiers are known as the “smallest monkeys in the world” and they can only be found in the Philippines. When we went it was around 10, so it was their nap time so most of the tarsiers were sleeping. Thankfully, there were some that were awake because they’re known for their huge eyes and for being one of the few that are exclusively carnivorous. They’re no bigger than the size of a person’s hand and they look so fragile and adorable. Apparently, Prince Harry bought a tarsier from bohol but it died on the way due to stress. The tarsiers are actually prone to suicide by wrapping their tails around their neck, which is why the sanctuaries no longer let tourists hold the tarsiers like times before in order to keep them from going extinct.  

ATV riding through the Chocolate Hills~ I was surprised at how easy it is to actually operate an ATV. Although getting sand in your eyes is inevitable, it was so much fun to be able to speed as fast as you wanted as there was no traffic whatsoever. We had the whole road to ourselves and with an amazing view of the hills.  

Actual Climb to Chocolate Hills ~ The hills got this nickname because they used to look like Hershey’s kisses – not because they’re actually made of chocolate or are growing cocoa trees. Bohol experienced a 7.2 magnitude earthquake around 3 years ago and not only did it damage most of the buildings, it also affected the shape of the hills. Nonetheless, it’s still an amazing view and it can be seen after going through a 217 steps long climb. 

Man-Made Forest This man-made forest can be seen on the way back from the Chocolate Hills. It was made a reforestation project because of the kaingin aka “slash and burn” farming system during WW2. As a result, the Bilar man-made forest became a part of Loboc Watershed Reforestation Project. It was a fun place to take pictures because we had to keep dodging cars that were on the road in order to do so. 

Loboc River & Lunch Cruise ~ There was basically a large bamboo boat/raft that took a tour around the Loboc River while also being able to eat lunch on it. The view was nice, the food was all you can eat, and the weather was perfect. We ended up having a late lunch (around 2pm) so not a lot of people were on the boat which was nice so we could have it all to ourselves.  

video links: boat tour, the view, performers

Prony- The Largest captive Python in the Philippines  ~ We went to a snake sanctuary afterwards, where it held the largest python in the Philippines. Apparently Prony, the largest, died but its skeleton is still displayed at the sanctuary. Its offspring known as Prony 2, which isn’t as big but the 2nd biggest. took her place and is shown as pictured. We were allowed to touch the snakes and be in the cage with them. *(More pictures to follow) 

video link: Yasmin and the snakes

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Baclayon Church ~ It was currently under renovation from the earthquake so there wasn’t much to picture but it was Bohol’s the second oldest stone church in the Philippines (the oldest is San Agustin Church in Manila). 

Blood Compact Shrine ~  This was where the first treaties made by the Spanish, Legazpi, and Filipinos, Datu Sikatuna. It’s called a blood compact or Sandugo (“one blood”) because they would slit their arms with a dagger and pour their blood into a cup of wine and they would both drink it as a sign of friendship.

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Day 3: Tuesday 

Hinagdanan Cave~ 

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Shell Museum: *no pictures yet

Alona Beach: *pictures to come

Bohol Bee Farm~We ate here for lunch. It is an actual bee farm but we didn’t take the tour and only ate lunch. They served a homegrown honey spread which was amazing. I had the honey glazed chicken which was also delicious (I also finished it before remembering to take a picture). Right below the restaurant was also a small waterfront area, as shown in the pictures. *more pictures to come

 Dauis church, which was also under reconstruction so I couldn’t get a nice picture of the inside. Inside there’s a miraculous well but was covered to keep from getting the debris from the renovations from getting inside. According to the legend, the people of Dauis were being invaded by pirates and sough refuge in the church. They were running out of water supply and a well appeared miraculously at the foot of the altar and the water is said to have healing powers.

video: reconstruction work

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 * (the well photo below is not mine; just for visual aid)

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Day 4: Wednesday 

Balicasag Island ~ An insanely beautiful island just an hour boat ride to get there. Here, we went snorkeling for a good three hours. We saw the giant clams, the sea turtles, and fish sanctuary. 

Virgin Islands: Another 30 minutes from Balicasag was the Virgin Islands. It has a new nickname now because a new politician owns the island but it’s still commonly known as the virgin islands. It’s known for it’s white sand bar, which felt like walking on flour. It was the softest sand in the world. You could swim in the water but it was pretty shallow and you could easily find starfish and other small fishes in the water.

video: reaching the end of the sandbar

 

 

 

3/9/16; Recovery day

I woke up today with enough energy to actually go to my morning class. I woke up earlier than my alarm and I got ready just in time. It’s extremely hot now since it’s the Philippine’s “summer” season. So naturally I’m sweating from the heat and semi from being sick. Everyone in class kept complaining how hot it was but I’ve been hot since January so now it’s extra hot. Basically, it’s hot when pretty much all of your classmates are posting this on Facebook:

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I sat in my first class, cooling down in the delightfully air-conditioned room only to find out 10 minutes later that we had a “free-cut” as they call it here or pretty much class was cancelled because my professor was stuck in traffic. I thought I had a nice break already until I found out I had another “free-cut” in my next class. I had time to order jolibee delivery to my dorm and it was the best Php200 I ever spent – I got a whole container of spaghetti, large fries, and three peach mango pies (which I later shared with friends obviously) delivered right to my dorm lobby for the price of about $4. Anyway, I only had one class today which was nice. However it’s my four hour lab class which is my least favorite class of the whole week not only because it’s once a week for 4 hours but because my professor isn’t the best. She was a strange professor in general but today she decided to make me a victim to her craziness. I had finished my part of my lab and having to listen to her 3 hour lecture beforehand nonstop, deal with the heat that I hadn’t dealt with for a couple of days and having to wear pants, still having a stomach ache, and all those factors I was getting a headache. Since I was done with my part and my lab group was all just conversing with one another about unrelated class things, I thought it would be okay if I just leaned my head on my hand and checked my phone because everyone else who was done was. However, she decided to think that I was being “unparticipative” (yes, I know it’s not a real word) and began to scold me for a good minute about it. After letting her rant, I explained to her that I finished all my work and I wasn’t feeling well. She began to scold me about how I would have to have a doctor’s note if I wasn’t “feeling well” and I immediately took out my hospital note as she was still talking. She stared at me and asked, “you were confined?” I nodded and she began to blame me for her scolding me because I didn’t present it to her beforehand even though she started class right away and she never had time for me to even go up to her. She just walked away after that and my headache grew. There are a lot more things wrong with her like she has misogynistic tendencies and she says a lot of insanely politically incorrect things and for the most part I just dealt with her “dark age” mentality but today I was really done with her.

As a result. I left immediately when she dismissed class and apparently Kim was having a bad day at school too so we decided to go out to eat at Earth Kitchen where we ordered jasmine tea, shrimp spring rolls, fish tacos, and the beef kabob which were their most favorite dishes and had every reason to be. It was nice to eat a place that actually clean, tasted good and was healthy. While it was traffic to get there (it’s a 7min drive without traffic but took 20 minutes with it), it was worth it.

Afterwards we decided to continue with the pampering and we got a pedicure (only hands because it was closing soon). It took longer than expected though because they got new polish and it took longer to dry apparently but it came out nicely and it was all somewhat worth the stress of today.

 

3/1 – 3/8; Sickness & Hospital Beds (Long post)

Tuesday night at around 10pm, I got started to feel a fever coming on and since I had a big midterm the next day, I decided to take advil to help me feel better. I woke up sweating in the middle of the night even though I was feeling immense chills. At around 3 am, I decided to check my temperature – 102. I took another advil because I really couldn’t afford to be sick. I woke up again to get ready for class and had bad stomach pains. I really couldn’t afford to miss school that day so I decided to tough it out the whole day, but I could only handle the day in hour intervals.

That day I had my midterm for my genetics lab. But before that was my 3 hour lecture. I had to leave halfway to compose myself and them came back. After lecture, my professor made us stay outside in the heat for what she claimed would only take 20 minutes- but actually took more than an hour. I had to wear pants for lab so being outside in direct sunlight with pants on, still feverish, and with incredible stomach pains made me completely miserable and I ended up not even doing well on my midterm.

My relatives decided to pick me up and go to Bulacan to get a check up because I wasn’t feeling well. I was reluctant because I knew I had a major test on Friday and I could not study well if I went home but I did want to get medicine that would help me get better so I went home. I found out that there was actually no running water at their house, so I became more miserable because having stomach problems + no water = disaster.

Thursday morning we went to the doctor. I was still trying to tough it out as the doctor gave me my medication. I barely had the appetite for anything as my stomach rejected even crackers and hot water. However, the medication that my doctor gave me were very strong. High dosage of medicine + “empty” stomach = disaster.

I began to throw everything up, which luckily wasn’t a lot because I barely ate. But I thre up consecutively. My body began cramping up completely and all I felt was a strong tingling sensation from my toes to my face. I could barely move anything but my lips. I started to cry uncontrollably because of the immense and unbearable pain. I found out later by my doctor that my throwing up and stomach problems caused me to lose so much electrolytes plus I was extremely dehydrated  which was why my body began to cramp up. Electrolytes help conduct nerve impulses throughout your body, which cause muscles to contract. When your body loses enough water and/or electrolytes, the nerve impulses from your brain to your muscles become messed up and your muscles start cramping.

I could not physically move to contact my relatives downstairs and had no control of my fingers to even text them. I just laid there in immense pain for a good 2 hours before my cousin came in to call me for dinner. They contacted my doctor was rushed to the nearest hospital immediately where my relatives basically had to carry me to the car and to and from the hospital bed. It sucked because it was around 5pm so it was insanely traffic.

One of the nurses could not understand that my body was completely cramped and kept forcing my hands to open up which insanely hurt. She tried to inject the IV into my completely closed up hand and my vein popped, which I now have a giant circular bruise on the back of my hand. My left hand was slightly more relaxed after a while, so they were able to inject the IV there and was given dextrose immediately (below).

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Once that was in me, I completely passed out from the pain. While I am in no place to say this, my stomach hurt as if I was in labor, which was ironic because my relatives took me to a maternity hospital (because it was the closest to them). I woke up 2 hours later with the dextrose almost empty but feeling much better. They said they it was like my body was slurping up the dextrose. I felt really bad for my relatives because they were all freaking out over me and they were really disoriented. They didn’t need that kind of stress on them and I wish I could’ve just been able to handle it myself. But I am very thankful for them and had they not picked me up, even though I thought I could handle it, I don’t know what I would’ve done (also thanks to my mom for suggesting they pick me up ;)).

Anyway, we stayed there overnight but it was a tough night for me. While my body wasn’t cramping up anymore, my tummy still felt like someone was consistently stabbing me there. The nurses also came to check my vitals every 2 hours and whenever they open the door, it sounds like someone’s breaking in since it’s so loud. My aunt barely slept too because I moved slightly at around 3am and she immediately got up to make sure I was okay.

In the morning, the doctor came to check up on me. He gave me the run down as to why I was feeling what I was feeling and gave me an analysis of my stool and urine samples. Basically I got a horrible case of amebiasis from either something I ate or drank. Looking back, however, I’ve only eaten at upscale restaurants or my cafeteria so it was hard to find the culprit. He said to just drink distilled bottled water and just eat plain foods for now. He told us we had to stay there for another day just to make sure that I don’t have that cramping problem again.

I was really restless to get out of the hospital as the bed was extremely uncomfortable and I kept feeling guilty for putting my aunt under all that stress. Also, I forgot to bring my phone charger so I was phone-less for a few days. 🙂 I finally convinced the doctor to let me leave Saturday, but he told me that I should still be on bed rest for the next few days.

I really didn’t want to miss anymore school so I asked my relatives to drop me off back to school on Sunday so that I could go back to class. However I woke and got ready for class on Monday but walking to class, I just couldn’t handle it. Philippine’s “summer” season has started so it’s hotter than ever. I can barely walk to class without feeling like death. Even with plenty of bed rest, I am still feeling sick. My head won’t stop hurting and my stomach is still not back to normal, but my doctor said it will still take 4-5 more days for be okay again. 😦 But I guess it’s all part of the experience.

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2/27/16; Spa Day

On this day, my friend and I decided to have a relaxing weekend after a hectic week of midterms. The spa with the best ratings that was near us was Bluewater Day Spa in Greenbelt. It was in a really nice area and the spa was decent. We thought we had our reservations confirmed online but they said their online website is broken and that it says we were booked even when we physically weren’t which seems to be a typical problem here anywhere we go.

Luckily, they gave us a private room without the extra cost because of it. The room was nice and came with a private shower and bathroom in the room (not pictured). There’s calming music played in the room as well and was mainly lit by candles. They also offered hot tea but I didn’t drink it because it was hot already.

The spa ladies brought their kids to work that weekend so it was kind of hard to relax when the children would open the door often and make noise but it was fine. It was just funny but they kept apologizing to us. Kim had never gotten a massage before so I let her choose which one she wanted. She went for the Swedish massage which was okay but she really liked it. The facial was the best part in my opinion.They gave us an estimate on how long it would take so we were expecting to be done in 3 hours but it actually took them 5 hours. So once we got out we decided to just eat dinner and hang around the mall which was right across the street from the spa.

Pictured: Spa images, mall area pictures, dinner: shrimp, fried rice, sauteed vegetables, mango juice; mall escalator that weren’t steps, just a large slope. 🙂