Thursday, July 28, 2011

Six of seven

I will be flying again to Singapore tomorrow in what would be my 7th overseas trip this year. Of the seven, six have been to Singapore, which I now regard as a home away from home given that we have a residence there. The only month I haven't been to Singapore has been last May when the Clairvoyant went to the US but passed by Manila along the way. I have already booked perhaps all my trips to Singapore until the end of the year with flights scheduled this August, September and October. In November, I will be traveling with the Clairvoyant on our first trip together to the US as we meet with friends and family in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. She will be taking her Christmas vacation here so I won't be traveling to Singapore in December.

It's quite tough being away from each other but the technology these days at least help alleviate whatever loneliness one might feel. Skype, Gmail and Yahoo! all have video chat features that allow for us to talk real-time given that we both have decent internet access at home.

I've packed my bags and my four-wheeler's already in the office. Tomorrow I will fly again and spend the weekend at our home (away from home). Harry Potter is in the itinerary and we're supposed to have lunch with friends Saturday. Perhaps some time, too, at the museum on Sunday after Mass to see the terracotta warriors on loan from China. It will be a busy weekend but one that will surely be fun and allow for me to recharge my batteries after some draining work the past weeks.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Filipinos were treated to two friendly matches between NBA players and our very own PBA selection and national team, the game with the nationals is still on as of this writing. The NBA players were no pushovers as most were All-Stars and A-listers in as far as basketball is concerned. The visiting team is led by 5-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant, reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose, and recent Team USA leader and gold medalist Kevin Durant. Also, starting for that team was All-Star point guard Chris Paul and slam dunking/shotblocking center Javalee McGee. Other players include Bryant's backcourt mate at the Los Angeles Lakers, Derek Fisher, bearded James Harden, Tyreke Evans and this year's No. 2 in the draft pick Derrick Williams. Some people were saying that perhaps, if there was no lockout in the NBA the sponsors could have brought in Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra to be coach of the visiting team.

The first game was more exhibition considering how starstruck the Filipino players were and how conscious they were with their game. It was mostly open court basketball with lots of fastbreak points and alley-hoop dunks for the NBA stars. I found it a little irritating that those interviewing the NBA players were just too eager and too excited (masyadong kilig). Of course, who can blame them considering this rare opportunity.

Today's game was more serious with a more physical game and more organized ball movement from the national team. I guess the nationals just want to also show that they could play with the best and that they would be no pushovers. The game, after all, can be used as a tune-up for future matches as the Philippines prepares for the Olympic qualifiers in Asia. For the visitors, I guess they could treat this game as a good workout, a competitive one where they could sweat it out while also promoting the game in a country where basketball is tops. Below is one of the more memorable moments where Kobe Bryant passes to Derrick Rose for a slam.

Perhaps the MVP group, the sponsors for these games, could also lend a hand to Philippine football by bringing in a very good team to play a friendly against the Azkals. Perhaps that team should be one with which the Philippines share a little bit of history. After all, there's one team in Europe where a Filipino, Paulino Alcantara, holds the record for scoring - reigning European Champions FC Barcelona. Who knows, this might just be one of those tipping point moments that will give our football program a push.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Haircuts at Mulong's

When the Clairvoyant came home last weekend, she took advantage of her open schedule to book an appointment for hair treatment. Haircuts and other procedures are quite expensive abroad and since she comes home quite often, she makes it a point to have her hair done at her suki at salon in a nearby mall. I think she must have been going this salon for a couple of years now and this after finding a good stylist and manicurist/pedicurist at that salon. She is quite picky when it comes to her hair and nails, and I understand this based on her having not so pleasant experiences with other stylists in the past. Of course, she also found good ones before but most of them eventually leave her old salons and either she couldn't trace them or the salons where they transferred to were not convenient to go to (e.g., out of the way, too far, etc.).

In my case, I have entrusted my hair to only one barber in the past 22 years, not counting the time I was in Japan from 1996 to 1999, when I found my barbershop of choice in the Meguro District of Tokyo. Not counted also are years when 2 or 3 barbers were giving me haircuts, particularly since in the years preceding my meeting my suking barbero I had no choice or was not the one who made decisions on who will cut my hair. Those years, it was my father who took me to the barbershop and who made the decisions (usually good ones) on who would cut my hair.

I remember I met Alim back in 1984 or 1985 at a makeshift barbershop at the Cainta Public Market. The barbershop, Mulong's, was named after its owner/proprietor Romulo Santos, who I remember was a fixture of sorts at the munisipyo, being identified with the Felixes who were the political clan to beat in Cainta until a TV news personality decided to run for mayor. Mulong's then was somewhat seedy, having wallpapers made up of a collage of magazine covers and centerfolds showing scantily-clad or nude starlets. Back in the 1980's, those starlets included the softdrink beauties, the Seiko talents, and those who acted in films produced by the Experimental Cinema of the Philippines (ECP). In fairness, some of those starlets were good actresses and we know them even today as the likes of Jaclyn Jose and Anna Marie Gutierrez. Wallpapers like that were supposed to attract the men, and that was how Mulong's barbershop was in those days - a rite of passage of sorts for teen-aged males who obviously enjoyed being taken by their fathers for haircuts and practically sanctioned our feasting our eyes on what may be considered as soft-porn.

Alim was always the silent one among the other barbers and was always made fun off by the others for his not engaging in chatter, the kwentong barbero that people seem to expect when having one's haircut. He would just smile and shrug off the jokes. He would always mind his own business and talk only to ask the customer what kind of haircut and/or how short the latter wanted it. He was one to always follow instructions and that was how I came to be his suki. During my ROTC years when I was a freshman and sophomore at the university. The rule then was for maxtol (maximum tolerance) haircuts; the equivalent of 1/2" (side) by 1" (back) cuts. I found the barbers at the university to be somewhat hardheaded and gave us 1 by 2 or 2 by 3 haircuts. Meanwhile, the other barbers at Mulong's (2 others aside from Alim) couldn't seem to find the consistency for giving me a maxtol haircut as I described to them. Only Alim knew what I wanted every time I sat on the chair every other week to maintain my maxtol (Note: ROTC was 16 Saturdays per semester over my first 2 years of university.). That was when I probably realized who was to cut my hair from then on.

Flash forward to more recent times and the old barbershop was eventually demolished along with other shops, stores and eateries to give way to the expansion of the market. The barbershop relocated to a formal stall where it is now located and I continued to go there for my regular haircuts. In fact, it was Alim who cut my hair when I needed a good cut for my yearbook photos, university graduations and yes, even my wedding. I would always just come to the barbershop, now named Romulo G. Santos Barbershop, and he would always know what to do when I sit down on the chair.

It's not only me who has been a suki of Alim for quite some time now as I also see former neighbors and other familiar faces who go to him for a haircut. Then, of course, there is also Tatay and my brother who also have their hair cut by Alim. We usually have small talk about anything under the sun and he still is the silent type who focuses on the task at hand once you're comfortable on the chair and have already given instructions for the haircut. And oh, did I mention the price of a cut is only 60 pesos?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Restricted opinions

I would really love to write about what I think about certain things in the news these days. Two, in particular, are quite controversial. One is about a certain person who is among the prime suspects in a heinous crime that was so big it eclipsed news on the aftermaths of two powerful typhoons that wasted much of Luzon. Another is about a person who is supposed to be my higher up at my work.

I choose, however, to restrain myself from writing about my opinions on the evolving news about these people partly because it seems so easy to search for such stuff in the internet these days. I am afraid that such will be taken against me despite my having my rights to my own opinion and my feeling that much of the suspicions against them have some truth in it. No matter how they spin it, I would like to believe that the truth has its way of coming out. And I also believe that justice will be served especially where the victims of the heinous crime is concerned. Meanwhile, I am free to express my opinions in private and personal conversations. That would matter more, I think, since it allows for interaction and analysis.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I have many shoes. I think there might be so many of them that some people might accuse me of having some sort of a fetish. In my mind, I may have gotten this liking of shoes from the Clairvoyant who has quite a number herself. And this number had increased while she's in Singapore - not that it wouldn't if she were here. We do agree that we need these shoes for various purposes including making sure they provide us with the best support and shock absorption when we use them for walking, running or playing sports.

I have 5 pairs of athletic shoes including 3 that I use for running, 1 for field surveys and another for badminton. I used to have a couple of pairs of tennis shoes (one Adidas and another a Nike) that I purchased and used when I was in Japan and brought back home when I returned but these have been retired and passed on to other people. I also had 2 pairs of Nike ACGs that were my favorites for field work but I gave up due to my having trouble finding a good shoe repair shop to repair them once they showed signs of wear and tear. I used to have a splendid pair of Yonex badminton shoes but I lost that to the burglar who robbed back when we were still living in UP Village. Currently, all my athletic shoes are Adidas and based on what I've seen in Adidas' and Nike's designs, the former will remain my choice for a while still. I haven't considered other brands despite being attracted to some designs quite many times. I guess its a matter

I also have a pair of boots that I have just had repaired. These were my second pair of hiking boots that I had also purchased and used in Japan. The first one was passed on to a cousin who's now with the Philippine Marines, and who attested to the pair's durability and water-proofing. I have used such pairs during rainy days and have used my current pair for walking along shallow flooded streets. They have kept my feet dry and warm not only during rainy days but on snowy ones, too. The only thing with them is that they are uncomfortable to use for driving though I have used them on occasion when I felt they were most appropriate those times.

I have 4 pairs of shoes that I use for driving and walking. All of them are waterproof leather as I have made it a point to get water-proof or water resistant pairs given the rains in the Philippines. One does not want the experience of wet and cold feet and I have experienced these quite a few times before. I have 2 other leather shoes including the pair I wore during out wedding. But I use these pairs sparingly these days as they look too formal and are not as comfortable for walking as my other shoes.

My favorites are pairs that I consider to be very good investments as they are the most comfortable pairs for me. There are 3 - a couple of Cole Haans and one Timberland. My first pair of Cole Haans I purchased during my first US trip in 2007. I almost didn't buy the pair as I thought I could do with 1, the Timberland pair that felt so good on my feet when I was trying them on. It was a good thing our friend who accompanied me in shopping convinced me to buy a second pair. I must admit though that I couldn't really decide which pair to buy at the time so the logical thing to do was really to get the two pairs. The price was right and I knew I couldn't afford the shoes if I bought them in the Philippines (the mark up is just insane and unfair). The second pair of Cole Haans was one that was in my wish list and the Clairvoyant got them for me during her recent US trip. Of course, she herself got her own pair after trying them out and finding out for herself just how comfy these were. In fact, the old pair of Cole Haans had Vibram soles while the new ones had Nike Airs, ensuring a good comfy walk with them.

I am no expert in shoes as there have been misses in as far as my selections are concerned. One such miss was a pair I bought at Cartimar in Pasay. That pair was a good fit but I eventually noticed that it had a certain bounce I was uncomfortable with. My feet also ached after walking some distance with the pair and I decided to give it up and pass it on to an uncle who fancied the pair. I also had a pair of athletic shoes that wore off quite quicker than my other athletic shoes. I suspected that these may have been fakes that got mixed into the real ones at the store. Some shops in the Philippines have been reported to do this and this has made me check again and again if indeed I was buying the real things.

Last week, I already had my eye on a pair that I could use for my field work. I relented from purchasing them only as I still had 2 pairs in excellent condition and I found the ones at the store a little expensive. In fact, I do have many shoes but most of them I bought on sales and discounts. Cole Haans cost something like 10 to 15 thousand pesos here in Manila but I got my two pairs for between 5 and 8 thousand pesos only. Not bad for investments that keeps my walking and driving comfortable.

Friday, July 15, 2011


The Clairvoyant has an eye for sights that I've been using for my wallpapers for quite some time now. Her trips to the US and Europe have yielded quite a number of photos that I believe are worthy of having their compilation. Below are some of my favorite photos taken from our summer getaways. The first two were taken in Gumasa in the town of Glan, Sarangani Province while the last two were taken in Panglao Island in Bohol Province.

These show some of the excellent beaches in the Philippines and just two of where we have been, either together or as individuals. I am searching for photos the Clairvoyant took on her trips to Boracay, Aklan and Malapascua Island, Cebu.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tempest over academic rank | BusinessWorld Online Edition

A friend shared a link on Facebook today that caught my attention. What was going around the University as a nasty rumor was true after all. It is, for me, a very disappointing and very disturbing development. It goes to show how ambitious some people can be. There's another word - avarice - which probably best describes the person accepting such an arrangement thinking (and believing) he can get away with it. To quote one former government official, "Moderate your greed!"

Tempest over academic rank | BusinessWorld Online Edition
Solita Collas-Monsod

Should the president of the University of the Philippines automatically be conferred the highest academic rank in the university? Yes, says one group, citing Section 14 of the University Charter of 2008 (Republc Act 9500), which states that “The President of the university is the chief academic officer, head of the university, and chief executive officer of the university.”

The logic is that if you are the chief academic officer, you must also have the highest academic rank, which in the university means a Professor 12 -- and if you don’t have it, it should be conferred on you at the earliest possible time.

The most conspicuous members of the group who think this way are Dean Edna Co, of the National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG), and Dr. Prospero de Vera, a faculty member of the same college and currently UP vice president for public affairs.

But how did the issue arise in the first place? Well, apparently, Co, on her own and without the knowledge/consent of the Academic Personnel Committee (APC -- the committee which passes on faculty appointments and renewals) of the NCPAG, wrote to UP President Alfredo Pascual on March 14, inviting him to be a faculty member of the NCPAG -- an invitation which was accepted with alacrity (the next day) by Pascual.

But it was only nine days later, during the meeting of the College APC, that Dean Co announced what she must have considered a coup: that the UP president was going to join the faculty. This naturally took the APC by surprise, but since the invitation had already been extended and accepted, the APC considered it a “fait accompli” and made no demur.

What was also surprising was Co’s announcement to the APC that President Pascual was going to bring to the college his own item -- a Professor 12 item that “would stay with the College when he leaves.” Now a dean cannot on her own transfer an item to her unit -- which led one of those present at the meeting to surmise that Quezon Hall (read, the UP administration) was involved in the process even before the NCPAG was apprised that he would be a member of its faculty. But the overall implication seems to be that neither the faculty of the NCPAG, nor its APC were active participants not only in the decision to invite the president to be a member of the faculty but also in recommending his professorial rank.

Suffice it to say that after two more meetings (a second APC meeting and a faculty council meeting) during which questions were raised as to what Pascual would teach, and whether he was qualified to be a Professor 12 -- and resolved to the satisfaction of the dean -- a letter was sent to Diliman Chancellor Caesar Saloma recommending the appointment of President Pascual to the faculty of NCPAG as Professor 12.

At this point, a word on Saloma: an internationally recognized physicist, multi-awarded both as a researcher and a teacher, Saloma was dean of the UP College of Science (and before that head of the National Institute of Physics). While dean (automatically head of the college APC), he was legend for insisting on the strictest compliance with the criteria for academic promotions.

What Saloma did when he received the NCPAG letter was to go strictly by the rule book (no exceptions for anyone, not even the president of the university). He sent the recommendation letter to the Diliman (campus-wide) Academic Personnel and Fellowships Committee (APFC) of the University Council for evaluation.

Nothing can ever be kept secret in the university, and by this time, the Diliman community was abuzz with rumors and speculation, waiting with baited breath for the results of the evaluation.

The APFC having submitted its evaluation to Saloma, he summoned (on May 17) the NCPAG APC (Dean Co was abroad at the time) and informed them of the APFC’s action: in brief, the APFC returned the appointment papers of Pascual for two reasons: 1)Need and 2) Rank. With respect to the first reason, the APFC pointed out that the justification given by the NCPAG for the appointment of Pascual did not indicate the need for his services -- except to say (are you ready for this, Reader?) that he was an “intellectual giant,” and other words to that effect -- an assertion which failed to impress the members of the APFC. With respect to the Rank issue, the APFC ‘s evaluation, based apparently on the CV of Pascual, was that he qualified for the rank of Assistant Professor 3 -- which is about 33 steps behind a Professor 12.

During that meeting, the college secretary reported to the body that upon instructions of the dean, she called up the president to find out what course he wanted to teach. The reply, as reported, was that it was never Pascual’s intention to handle a course. What he had in mind was just to deliver a few (3 or 4) lectures. It was clear therefore that this could not be a full-time faculty appointment, not even a regular lecturer but perhaps only a guest lecturer.

The chancellor said that he would return the papers to the college for it to reconsider the recommendation. Which he did, the very next day, with a cover letter to the same effect.

One would have thought that would be the end of that. An all’s well that ends well sort of situation. But no.

Dean Co, on her return, was not having any of it. In the subsequent (June 13) faculty meeting, she asked faculty colleague Popoy de Vera (as mentioned above, currently UP vice president for public affairs) to speak. It was De Vera who read Section 14 of the University Charter: “The President of the University is the chief academic officer, head of the university faculty and the chief executive officer of the University. The President of the University shall exercise the powers specifically provided for in this Act, those determined by the Board, those which pertain to the office of the president of a university, and those which are related or necessary to its functions. The Board shall determine the compensation of the President of the University.”

And based on this provision, De Vera then reportedly concluded that neither the University Council, nor the APFC had any jurisdiction over the matter, but only the Board of Regents. He reportedly also pointed out that when Edgardo Angara was UP president, the UP College of Law appointed him Professor 8 (then the highest academic rank). When a faculty colleague pointed out in rebuttal that Carlos P. Romulo was appointed Associate Professor, and that only after two years into his UP presidency, De Vera ignored the comment. Dean Co then averred that she would not consider a rank lower than Professor 12 for President Pascual.

So what is the situation now? Co wrote Chancellor Saloma that the NCPAG is taking the position that it is the Board of Regents (BOR) who should decide on the matter. Slap. And she has written to the BOR asking them to appoint Pascual as Professor 12 of the NCPAG. The letter is not coursed through channels (i.e., Chancellor Saloma) but sent directly to the BOR. Double slap.

Do Co and De Vera have the right of the matter? Not according to what has to be the majority of the academic community. According to one, to be the chief academic officer cannot and should not be equated with having the highest academic rank -- while an executive position is bestowed on a person who heads an institution, an academic rank is earned according to specific criteria. An analogy is used (by a dean): the President of the Philippines is commander in chief of the armed forces. But he is not given the rank of General, much less a four- or five-star general.

The major point, though, is that the academic community holds their academic ranks dearly. One colleague tells me that it took her 30 years to become a full professor, and another 15 years to achieve Professor 12. It is earned, after evaluation according to set criteria. And the evaluation is done not by administrators, but by academics.

And the message is: Being the president of the country is a matter of politics. Being the president of the university, is a matter of politics. But being a Professor 12? That is a matter of academics. And never the twain should meet.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tech Support

I encountered a problem with my broadband stick last Sunday when, after attempting to set-up a WiFi using my crappy DSL, the set-up seemed to have changed some settings in my notebook. It was a frustrating experience considering my broadband stick was quite dependable almost anywhere that I traveled to given my job.

The first thing I did last Monday was to test the stick with another notebook computer at the office. This was to determine if there was something wrong with the stick rather than with my notebook. After all, it can be that the stick became defective and not the other way around. I made this assumption after repeatedly tinkering with my computer including a few rounds of uninstalling and re-installing the broadband service software. When it worked with the other computers at the office, including my old notebook, it became clear that something was wrong with the configuration of my notebook. I then decided to call for tech support considering that it was probably the drivers of the stick that became corrupted or had corrupted the system of my computer.

The call for tech support didn't go very well. The person on the other end of the line was kind enough and I have to give credit to what I perceived to be an eagerness to help. However, in cases such as mine, kindness and eagerness are not enough to provide solutions. I believe the other person didn't really know about computers and was probably hired by some call center and given a manual stating frequently asked questions. Sure, maybe she can handle basic questions like how to load the stick or how to install the thing but any knowledge or experience beyond that is probably nil or close to it. So, after practically telling me all that she knew, we came to the inevitable conclusion that I had to go to one of their wireless centers, a term they use for their sales/service branches usually located in malls.

The online fora that is also a common resource for many users like me of this trendy computer of mine were not much of help either. The information there was limited and was certainly not enough considering I did try some of the stuff recommended by other users. It just didn't work for me and I decided to go to the nearest branch of my broadband service to ask for help.

I actually expected a little more from the people at the service center considering they should be quite familiar with notebooks like mine given the current popularity of the brand. After tinkering with my computer for some time, I knew they couldn't help me with my problem. Again, the kindness and eagerness were there but these were not enough for serious problems like mine. I was already saying to myself in my mind that I already did what they did and I knew what they were trying to do. They also tested the stick on other computers there and it worked, even showing it had more than enough credits on it to eliminate the possibility that it simply ran out of load. So the conclusion was that there was probably something wrong with my computer's system, probably its registry. Problem is, they couldn't tell me what it was short of asking me to go across to the exclusive local distributor of my notebook.

An opportunity finally came up when the person handling my case casually mentioned they had a new stick for sale. She even demonstrated on their computer the interface for this new product. What caught my attention was her saying that the stick came from the same manufacturer of my old one. Inspiration came to me then and asked if I could test the new product and if it would run on my notebook. They agreed and let me borrow their demo unit. The moment I inserted the stick to the USB port of my notebook, it did what it would automatically do - it installed new software to my computer. The result was that it probably replaced and overrode the old files, including the drivers, of the old software. It worked on my computer and we tried my old stick again to see if it really did the trick. The outcome? My old stick worked but now it was running the new software for my broadband service.

The tech support people at the branch were happy to see the result and probably learned something new yesterday that they can share with future customers. It was probably one of the oldest solutions to computer problems - get an upgrade! An upgrade it was and with the new software and better interface, I was able to use my notebook again last night to chat with the Clairvoyant. She too was amused with my experience when I related it to her. Sometimes, it just takes some good old fashioned common sense in such cases to eventually make things work.

More at the Garden

I forgot to include in the previous posting two excellent and very elegant photo taken by the Clairvoyant with her trusty BlackBerry Torch at the Botanical Gardens in Singapore. These two are actually my favorites as they also bring back memories of Nikko National Park in Tochigi Prefecture north of Tokyo. The lake in the photo below presents an almost perfect reflection of the flora and evokes a certain serenity that would surely make one appreciate the gift of nature and how it can make us feel relaxed, calm.

I like the second photo below because of the combination of colors and the swan just going about its business. I also remember from this photo a picture I took of two swans swimming along the moat of Nagoya Castle in Japan. Unfortunately, this was among those lost in Typhoon Ketsana's floods, along with other photos I took during travels when I was in Japan from 1996 to 1999.

I already am looking forward to the next visit to Singapore, our home away from home. Perhaps the Clairvoyant and I would be taking a nice stroll in the Botanical Gardens and share appreciation of its beauty. Perhaps, too, we can bring a better camera and take more photos for posterity.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Clairvoyant at the Garden

The Clairvoyant recently visited the Singapore Botanical Gardens when she met up with friends for a jog around the park. Sending photos taken with her trusty BlackBerry Torch, I can't help but appreciate the nice features of the garden. I agree it must be a great place to jog considering the environment. The great Philippine hero Jose Rizal must also agree as he did visit the park several times when he happened to be in Singapore. The city-state was a regular stop-over for ships traveling between the Philippines and Spain and remains perhaps the most important port in the region. It is also the place where we are told Aguinaldo met with one Spencer Pratt who claimed to represent the United States and misled the President of the first Philippine Republic into trusting him with arrangements for the "liberation" of Manila and the country.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Pacific Sunrise

I have no memories of looking over the Pacific Ocean from the Philippines apart from glances during a drive from Manila to Tuguegarao, Cagayan a 3 years ago and some short visits to Mauban, Quezon 5 years ago. I had never stayed long enough to appreciate the sunrise over this great body of water while having experienced great sunsets from places like Bohol, Manila Bay, Cebu and Vigan. I finally found an opportunity for some quick, unplanned shots of a majestic sunrise over the Pacific Ocean when I happened to stay in Taft, Eastern Samar last week. It was actually the perfect place to be in, staying at a beach resort looking out across the ocean with the morning breeze gently brushing by. I took a couple of shots with my BlackBerry Bold and voila! Pacific Sunrise!

I bet I can do better with my Canon Ixy and definitely much much better if I had a DSLR. I am, however, content with my shot and the experience that's now in my memory, and which even a professional camera cannot perhaps approximate.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Inflight photography

The first time I traveled by plane was when I was a toddler. I already have memories of looking out the window as my father pointed out islands, mountains and buildings in what was probably my earliest lessons in geography. I always took a window seat whenever I would be flying to a new place like my first times to travel to countries like Japan and Thailand, and local destinations like Palawan and Bohol. One gets to see landmarks we used to read about in grade school textbooks and which capture our imaginations and pique our curiosities when the opportunity to see these up close and personal comes by. That's why I always have my camera ready to take photos and I do try to take ones whenever I choose a window seat on a plane. What follows are a few shots from a recent trip to Leyte and Samar. It was a good thing the weather was good enough to take photos of familiar landmarks. Only this time, all shot were taken from a plane.

San Juanico Bridge linking Leyte and Samar

Mayon Volcano blocking low clouds

Sangley Point airport in Cavite

The new NLEX-C5 interchange
(I sharpened the photo a bit as the original was blurry due to haze.)

Bonifacio Global City with the Makati skyline in the background

The TESDA reverse pyramid building along SLEX