Friday, December 23, 2011

nerdy wish list

Only a few more days and it's Christmas. I wish I had the bookshelf space and money to buy these 3 books.
  • The Lost Diary of Rizal by Filipina author Scy Sze(Lunar Publishing, P340)
  • Naermyth by Karen Francisco (Visprint Publishing, P250)
    Anecdotes, Lectures & Articles from the Advertising Wars"

    By Greg B. Macabenta (P500)
I wouldn't mind getting an ebook too. Hay! I really wish Santa would visit my house soon.

Monday, October 24, 2011

vigan adventure

it's my first out of town trip this 2011. along with my buddies, joyee and jaz, we set out to Vigan, Ilocos Sur. the trip itself was planned a month and a half before, with some glitches here and there. i did the research part, finding the best value for the tour. i ended up with Shore2Shore Travel Services. they were very flexible and accommodating. Our package included:

Tour 1 - Thorough Vigan Tour
Baluarte, Burgos Museum, 3 Hours Calesa Tour (Bantay Church and Bell Tower, Crisologo , Museum, Jar Making, Hidden Garden, Syquia Mansion, Heritage Village), St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral, Arzobispo Palace and Museum, Salcedo Village, Heritage River Cruise

there we were sitting at the Partas Bus station, Pasay waiting for the 11pm bus out of Manila. Fare costs P600. expected travel time was 10 hours but we arrived 2 hours earlier since our driver was determined to make the bus fly. at 8am we got off the bus and walked the early morning streets of Plaza Salcedo. breakfast at Mcdo Cathedral (we call it that because of the fake belfry) was the pretty much the same as in Manila and we checked in our hotel (Hotel Salcedo de Vigan). one thing i noticed is that the entire location is near the plaza. you really can't get lost as long as you've been to the place once. we did a lot of walking there since everything was accessible- the market, souvenir shops, bakery, eatery, church, etc. and on the occasion that we'd need to ride a tricycle, fare was a minimum 10 pesos.


wanting to get the most out of our Vigan trip, we set off preparing our journey to the Marcos Memorial in Batac, Ilocos Sur. it was a 2 hour bus trip from Vigan according to my dad so we took the scenic route (ordinary bus). we didn't expect that the bus would take a lot of stops and so we arrived in Batac very hungry and tired. after lunch at Jolibee, much like all lunches in Manila, we set off to the ex-president's memorial. to confirm--the figure above is indeed WAX. the real body of Marcos is underneath the crypt that the dummy is lying on. next was the World Peace Center -Marcos Photo Gallery. here you can view the past and present of the Marcos family including wedding pictures, state visits, articles on the Marcoses, their family line and it also features a wall mural. all this is for FREE.

Day One was exhausting but quite enjoyable as we ventured back to Vigan in Plaza Burgos during the afternoon. we followed our empty stomachs and headed off to the Vigan Empanadahan to sample their unique fare. Vigan empanada is a tortilla type snack. the dough is rolled and flattened out and then the filling is added. it consists of Vigan longganisa, shredded cabbage and carrots. and then it is folded into half and dropped into a large "kawa" (a very large frying pan) for deep frying. it comes out crispy outside and hot and delicious inside. it's eaten with a vinegar dip. Costs around P35-Regular, P10-Bite sizes (no longganisa in the filling). with satisfied bellies, it was back to the hotel for the night but not without drinking some hot choco at The Perfect Cup cafe to unwind. we looked forward to day two since it will be the start of our Vigan tour.


we woke up to a rainy Friday morning, a gloomy and wet start for a day of adventure. but the cold weather didn't dampen our excitement as evidenced by our gleeful conversations in the hotel lobby. thank goodness no one was there to tell us off.

while waiting for our tour guide to pick us up, we had breakfast at the hotel resto having our share of, what else, but a VIGAN breakfast! it's basically vigan longganisa, garlic rice, fried egg and atchara with black coffee and a balikotcha ( a sugary tablet that doubles as a sweetener). definitely a heavy meal. here's a trivia: biguenos rarely eat bread. they are not fans of pandesal. instead they have native snacks made of rice and coconut or kankanen and eat heavy meals. i think it has to do with their source of livelihood. they are farmers, blacksmiths and potters. and they need all the energy to last the day to finish their work.

carlo, our tour guide, started us with a walk through calle crisologo. this famous street features old spanish style houses and a bricked pathway so that wherever the horse drawn carriages or kalesa goes by there's a distinct "clip-clop" sound that's quite adorable at first but it kind of gets annoying when you realize that in the olden days this is what was known as noisy traffic. another trivia for you: as much as this is one of the tourist spots of vigan, nobody wanted to walk along this street in the good old days. why? since there was not proper sewage system back then, people would empty their arinola (chamber pot) out on the street and it would smell really stinky, especially at noon when the sun is at its hottest. i'm so glad i live in this century!

as we registered for the vigan heritage river cruise (100 pesos-adults), we had fun looking over the mestizo river. unlike the rivers in manila, this one didn't reek of oil, garbage and slime. i actually appreciated the way these people respected nature and how they were taking care of the environment that they are dependent on. we definitely should learn from them. as the river tour progressed, we listened to a recorded audio track of vigan history. it was wonderful learning about another place's origins.

after the tour, we headed off to Syquia Mansion. the Syquia Mansion houses President Qurino’s extensive memorabilia is actually owned by his wife, Dona Alicia Quirino and we had the privilege of being shown around by the house's caretaker, Rusty. Vigan is the proud birthplace of the Philippines’ sixth president, Elpidio Quirino and their family is keeping the history alive in their ancestral home. you should definitely have him to give you the tour. he knows every story, every item and every angle since he took the pictures for our group all over the house. all this for a mere 20 pesos per head.

next we headed back to plaza burgos to visit the St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral, Arzobispo Palace and Museum. to the catholics, vigan was a seat of power when the diocese of Nueva Segovia found a home here. until now, Catholicism rules the heart of a bigueno which makes them God-fearing and obedient to the church's teachings.

Padre Burgos museum was the next stop in our adventure. the museum had more artifacts on the natives and their way of life as well as life after the Spaniards settled in the area. Padre Jose Burgos was one of the three filipino priests fighting for equal rights among the spanish friars. he was suspected of treason and of being an insurgent. He, Gomez, and Zamora were executed in Manila’s Bagumbayan (now known as Luneta) as an example to all subversives. their death sparked the revolution that andres bonifacio, another filipino hero, waged against the abusive spaniards.

by this time, we were very hungry. so carlo took us to Grandpa's Inn for our lunch. the ambiance was very homey and the prices were very reasonable. we enjoyed the food and welcomed the respite. we went back to the hotel to freshen up for the second half of our tour.


when we stepped out of the airconditioned comfort of the hotel, we found carlo already waiting for us with a tricycle. our next destination was the Sta Maria church and bell tower. this centuries-old church nestled atop a hill at the townproper of Sta. Maria was used as a fortress during the 1986 Revolution. the guard and caretaker, manong oscar, led us inside the bell tower and showed us the vigan skyscape. i think he moonlights as a tour photographer too since he knew where the best spots were for taking a picture. he even took perspective shots for my friends and i, with the bell tower as the subject. and in fairness to his skill, the pictures turned out great.

boarding the tricycle, carlo instructed the driver to take us to the Baluarte, the mini zoo owned by Governor Chavit Singson. he's quite infamous for being the whistler blower of ex-president Joseph Estrada's jueteng operations. now although he may be a state witness, it's insinuated that he also benefitted from the ex-president as evidenced by the gold building standing behind the Baluarte. all politics aside, the mini zoo was great. we took a kalesa ride around the property where ostriches, deer, horses and sheep roam freely. then we walked into the butterfly enclosure leading to the stage where they do animal shows for environmental awareness. we were looking forward to having our pictures taken with one of the zoo's famous creatures, the tiger. unfortunately. he hasn't been fed and we wouldn't want to be part of his breakfast either so we left.

our last stop on the tricycle ride was the Crisologo Musuem. the museum houses the memorabilia of  Vigan’s beloved late Governor Floro Crisologo, father of Bingbong Crisologo, and probably the most famous in the Crisologo clan. his killer was never caught. the museum is open from Monday to Sunday and managed by the Crisologo family for a mere contribution to their donation box.

after a trip down the region's celebrity home, ancestral it may be, carlo then hired a kalesa to bring us to the Pagburnayan Jar Factory. clay jars and flower pots are still in demand in this area although i've noticed a lot of the pottery are for landscape use.i also saw a lot of thick, wide clay rings. carlo explained that those were used to line the walls in the process of building a deep well. everything here is done the same way as the old times, hand made pots and jars cooked in an underground kiln.

and where do those pots end up? here in the Hidden Gardens, nestled in barangay Bulala, rows and rows of flora and fauna greet your tired eyes. the burst of vibrant color and the smell of fresh grass revitalizes your spirit especially after the kind of day we've had. there were bonsais for sale, potted herbs and spices, ornamental plants and even for grass landscaping jobs. the place also boasts of a bar and restaurant inside the garden, perfect for those who wish to relax and take in the scenery while sampling some Ilocano delicacies and sipping an ice cold beverage. but since we were pressed for time, we skipped that leisurely part of the tour and hopped on to our kalesa and headed back to Plaza Burgos.

in this time of quiet reflection, say about 10 minutes or so, i am grateful for my job. it's not easy working in a stressful environment where you are nothing but a number and yet it is because of this job that i have been blessed with the means to travel, meet new people, experience my country in a new light and enjoy the finer albeit expensive things in life, if only for a brief moment.

upon arriving, we decided to end the tour with our favorite Vigan Empanada. by now you would have come into conclusion that our trio is addicted to the stuff. with raised glasses filled with sweet soda, we said our thanks to carlo for a delightful tour of Vigan and a promise of return.

wanting to make the most of our Vigan stay, we decided to walk around the area of our hotel. after gossip and life stories swapped over some hot chocolate and cake at The Perfect Cup, we strolled along the cobbled stone path of Calle Crisologo. i took several photographs and was stunned by the eerie beauty Vigan had at night. the yellow gas lights overlapping the electrical bulbs illuminated the streets and gave it that romanticized look. it's no wonder this place is a favorite spot for pre nuptial and wedding pictorials.

we woke up around 6 am and started to get our things ready. we had one final stop on our Vigan tour  which is the pasalubong shopping. we took a tricycle and headed off to the wet market, which is quite near the bus terminal. our bags were loaded with key chains, native purses, chichacorn, bagnet, Vigan longganisa, shirts and other souvenir items bought for our loved ones back in manila. you definitely must have some haggling skills to get the best value for your money.

the bus trip home was relatively unexciting and had an air of sadness to it. when we went to vigan, we stepped back in time to experience a different era where life was relaxing and beautiful and now we were returning to another one where life is fast paced and nobody stops to appreciate the simple things in life anymore. if there's anything this trip has taught me then it's to value the simple things in life, be proud of what you do as a living and keep those you love close to you.

until next my travel time!
(for a great resource on Vigan tourist spots, check out: About Vigan )

Monday, September 26, 2011

travel writing

i think this is everyone's dream - to travel the world and experience new cultures and learn something new about yourself and the world during the adventure. i haven't had the privilege of traveling outside of the country with my limited budget and all. so i decided to at least see the sights and sounds of my homeland - the Philippines. with more than 7,101 islands, i think i have my work cut out for me.

i'm fairly new to this genre. i've seen a few blogs like and who's been doing this for quite some time. they have a strong following because of their fluid storytelling, unbiased first person POV and a wonderful appetite for life. i wish to do the same.

i hope that you'll read about my next adventure in the papers soon. nevertheless, plan B (this blog) is always in my back pocket if things don't go according to plan.

tara na, pilipinas!

Friday, September 02, 2011

book hungry

these are but a few of the books i've seen in bookstores that were too expensive for me to buy at that time. i'm saving up for them as part of my christmas list. :)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

it's off to write i go

Hey, no grumbling! No “but I'm special and the exception to the rule” allowed! If you’re not published yet, you’ve still got work to do, my friend. If getting a novel published by a major house was an easy task, nobody would be pining away in offices or waiting tables. They’d all be sitting around in coffee shops, bent over their laptops. Getting published is not for everyone, not everyone will attain that goal, and it really has to be earned.-Mary Kole, literary agent


Although my none of my stories and a few of my essays have seen the daylight, I plod on. It feeds my soul and makes me feel alive to creative something out of nothing. In the realm of fantasy, fiction and personal essays, I RULE. That's according to my number one fan - ME.

Writers write and they tell a story. So to anyone who would care to listen, look me up.

Monday, July 18, 2011

book pandering

yes. i want more books. curse this desire to read more and more stories. could someone please get me these books?
  • Harry Potter book collection (1-7) by J.K. Rowling
  • The Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman
  • Someone like me by Roald Dahl
  • The Skeleton Key, Map of Bones, The Devil Colony, The Doomsday Key by James Rollins
  • The Perfect Killer and Slatewiper by Lewis Perdue
i know i still have a few in my list but for now, can't it be Christmas yet?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

another personal collection

My Hardcover Book Anthology Collection
  • A treasury of Modern Mysteries - Doubleday
  • 100 Malicious Little Mysteries selected by Isaac Asimov
  • The Complete Murder Sampler ed. James Nelson
  • The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Best of Weird Tales ed. John Betancourt
  • The Telltale Corpus Delicti ed. Sanders
  • Arabian Night's Entertainments
  • The Fantasies of Robert A. Heinlein
  • The Fifth Galaxy Reader ed. H. L. Gold
  • Science Fiction of the 50's ed. Greenberg and Olander
  • Nightfall and other stories by Isaac Asimov
  • The Monster Book of Monsters ed. Michael O Shaughnessy
  • Necronomicon: The est Weird Tales of H. P. Lovecroft
  • The World Treasury of Science Fiction ed. David G. Hartwell
  • The Complete Science Fiction Treasury of H. G. Wells
  • The Science Fiction Century Vol. 1 ed. David G. Hartwell
  • The Science Fiction Century Vol. 2 ed. David G. Hartwell
  • The Minority Report and other Classic Stories by Philip K. Dick
  • Paycheck and other Classic Stories by Philip K. Dick
  • Second Variety and other Classic Stories by Philip K. Dick
  • Science Fact/ Science Fiction

Thursday, June 02, 2011

favorite author

in 2005, i was able to meet one of my writing idols Neil Gaiman. it was a dream come true for me. today, i wish to meet 2 of my other favorite authors: Stephen King and James Rollins. These men represent my love for the macabre, dark fantasy, horror, historical mystery, thriller, science and adventure.

can't wait for my dream to come true once more.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

my collections

yes. i am a book worm. and here are some of my prized collections (images from left to right):
  • The Hot Blood Series ed. by Jeffs Gelb and Michael Garrett - erotica and horror, what other combination can beat that?
  • Laurie King's Holmes and wife Series - what attracted me to the novel is the possibility that Sherlock Holmes was indeed real and he found a match in Mary. The manuscript is a mystery itself and being a Holmes fan, I was naturally drawn to the plot. To all feminists, please indulge in this collection.
  • Dan Brown's books on Robert Langdon - I find symbolism fascinating and although his facts are sometimes fiction, I think he was able to capture the "instant gratification" need of a good mystery for today's busy crowd.
  • James Rollins' Sigma Force Series - From the first book I read, Map of Bones, I knew I was going to get hooked. Rollins writes an amazing combination of science and history which is both plausible and unbelievable at the same time. Think Indiana Jones and his posse.
  • Travel Books - Ok so it's not really a series but more of indulging in my dream of the Ultimate European Trip- Romes, Venice and Italy.
  • Alfred Hitchcock's collection of Short Stories - He deals with horror, mystery and murder. I eat horror, mystery and murder for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A perfect match.
  • Ray Bradbury's stories - By now, you sense a pattern in my tastes for stories. Blood, Gore, Scary Stuff, Mystery and What if's. And he writes all the best kinds too.
  • Stephen King's short stories and novels (not all though) - The master storyteller himself. I thought I didn't like him as much but when I reviewed my bookshelf, his name appeared more than anyone else. He is unapologetic and writes about our deepest, most disturbing fears. I've never been able to read Thinner again because it scared me too much. He doesn't just make you scream, he makes you squirm in your seat long after you've closed the book. He gets inside you and to me, that's the worst kind of horror there is.

Monday, May 02, 2011

new additions

New books, new stories to tell.
Buy them now!

Monday, April 18, 2011

another idol

  • Pattern Recognition
  • Burning Chrome
  • The Difference Engine (with Bruce Sterling)
  • Neuromancer
the first time i read his book, "Neuromancer", i literally had a headache. reading gibson's works require a concentration akin to aiming a warhead in murky waters. he is a futurist who wrote about it while its tendrils were just reaching out to society. he saw the norm in what others considered a fad. and he is every bit a storyteller as much as an oracle in this sci-fi genre.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

2010 reading list

Worm Status: Had my fill (2010)

1. The Last Oracle by James Rollins
2. The Third Secret by Steve Berry
3. Twisted 8 1/2 by Jessica Zafra
4. The World's Greatest Secrets by HAMLYN
5. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
6. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
7. Possible Tomorrows ed. by Groff Conklin
8. Sandstorm by James Rollins
9. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
10.The Masada Scroll by Paul Block and Robert Vaughan
11. Matchmade ed. by Cel Coscolluela and Faye Ilogan
12. The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin
13. The Sword of the Templars by Paul Christopher
14. Dune by Frank Herbert
15. Hotter blood edited by Jeff Gelb and Michael Garrett
16. Do androids dream of electric sheep by Philip K. Dick
it's a definite improvement from last year (9 books). aside from reading a lot of the classics, i was also able to sell a few of my paperbacks. i still have a lot to go through and i relish each book.

i am also hopeful that i can release my first collection of short stories by mid year. wish me luck!

Monday, February 21, 2011

10 x 5 challenge

10 stories in 5 days. 1,000 words or less for each story spread over 120 hours. so that would be 2 stories a day or 2,000 words max within 1,440 minutes.

i'm going to make my pen bleed.
let's do this!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

something different

meet MIO, our baby siamese cat. i've always loved dexter, my orange tabby cat, but since he passed away 3 years ago i have felt this emptiness in my life. now that MIO is here, i have my newest inspiration.

thank you daddy for my post birthday gift. :)

Monday, January 17, 2011


Horror, Fantasy, Fiction and Science Fiction Fans

Here it is: Books from my personal collection. I have scoured book sales and book fairs to build my all too original collection and now I am ready to share the stories that have delighted me so. These books are pre-loved so please forgive the yellowing pages, tattered covers and folded papers. But I guarantee that stories are intact and a wonderful read while drinking coffee, sitting on a couch or riding a bus.

Return to the Twilight Zone ed. by Carol Serling
Deathport ed. Ramsey Campbell
The Skin Trade introduced by Douglas Winter
Renaissance Faire ed. by Andre Norton & Jean Rabe
Reave the Just and other tales by Stephen R. Donaldson
McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales ed. by Michael Chabon
Science Fiction
Sometimes, Never by William Golding, John Wyndham,Mervyn Peake
The 3rd OMNI book of Science Fiction
Mother's Day ed. by Isaac Asimov
Thorns by Robert Silverberg
The year's best SF7 ed. by David G. Hartwell
Space Shuttles ed. Isaac Asimov
Future on Fire ed. by Orson Scott Card
Star Trek: The New Voyages 2 ed by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath
Writers of the Future vol V ed. L. Ron Hubbard
The best science fiction of 2003 ed. Haber and Strahan

To Order: Please send me a PM FIRST!
Shipping cost will be shouldered by the Buyer
50.00-Within Metro Manila
100.00-Within the Philippines

Payment is thru deposit BPI ExpressCash, G-Cash or Smart Money
You can txt: (GLOBE) 0916-4930067 or (SMART) 0949-6440317


Monday, January 03, 2011

the year that was

Worm Status: Had my fill (2010)

1. The Last Oracle by James Rollins
2. The Third Secret by Steve Berry
3. Twisted 8 1/2 by Jessica Zafra
4. The World's Greatest Secrets by HAMLYN
5. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
6. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
7. Possible Tomorrows ed. by Groff Conklin
8. Sandstorm by James Rollins
9. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
10.The Masada Scroll by Paul Block and Robert Vaughan
11. Matchmade ed. by Cel Coscolluela and Faye Ilogan
12. The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin
13. The Sword of the Templars by Paul Christopher
14. Dune by Frank Herbert
15. Hotter blood edited by Jeff Gelb and Michael Garrett
16. Do androids dream of electric sheep by Philip K. Dick

I definitely had a better year in terms of finished books so I'm very, very happy. Not only that, I was able to increase my library with 42 books and I hope to add more to that this year. I want to focus on the classics and history but it'll depend entirely on my mood.

Right now, I'm in the middle of these books:
  • Altered Voices compiled by Lucy Sussex
  • Paycheck and other stories by Philip K. Dick
  • Unusual Suspects: Stories of Mystery and Fantasy ed. by Dana Stabenow
  • Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny
  • Thou shalt not kill ed by Anne Perry
Looking forward to adding business books to that list should my application for masterals push through. I'll be attending more workshops from Writer's Block as well to improve my writing skills.

Here's to a great 2011 ahead!