Tuesday, June 24

after frank

i came home early from school yesterday (hmmm... i shouldn't even have been in school really) and adri and i decided to take issa and sam for a short walk to the playground.
by then, most of the streets had been cleaned of fallen plants and branches, so there was barely a trace of frank's aftermath in our little subdivision.  the height of the creek's water the day before was marked by plastic bags caught on plants growing on the stone wall.
there wasn't anyone at the playground, and just a few boys (and men) playing halfcourt basketball.  sam and issa played at the swings, slide, monkey bars and seesaw (bakit walang playground nung bata ako?) for a bit and then we took the long way home. 
barely a trace of frank's aftermath, no one at the playground, no classes...

we hardly ran into anyone on the street, no kids on bikes, no kalye badminton, no bouncing balls, no running kids in rubber slippers, no one. just a maid walking a dog, people cleaning the street and watering their plants and a few construction workers on their way home. all adults. wow, where were all the kids?  at the risk of sounding old, i HAVE to say... dati basta walang klase nasa kalye na kami! patintero, bikes, or just roaming the streets. i suppose now the kids were inside playing some game, or surfing the net or watching tv or a (pirated) dvd; discovering the world from inside their rooms.

ay, iba na talaga. i suppose my nieces and nephews wouldn't know patintero from shato, or piko from agawan base. back then, indoor games meant scrabble or monopoly or pusoy or clue  (which reminds me, adri was able to install clue on my computer.. so now you can play a game originally meant to be played by three or more people by yourself!).

oh well. the world turns. life goes on. ladida.

Sunday, June 15

bye to lippy

(caution... graphic photo)

i've had my lipoma on my left arm since forever, and yesterday, edna finally cut it out.

it hadn't really been a bother most of my life, except in the past three years of exceptional weight gain, it suddenly grew to ugly proportions.

so edna arranged OR (yes, put me to sleep so felt zero pain) under george's name at st. lukes, and in under an hour, lippy the lipoma was in a zip lock bag.

bye to lippy the lipoma!

it my first surgery (having my eyes lasered really doesn't count) and my very first hospital wristband. edna said it took me quite a while to be sedated and that i was very yappy in the OR.  how embarassing.  i am now dr. canlas' weepy and yappy sister who had to be put to sleep for a simple procedure. i really don't remember much, she could be inventing stuff.  i do remember waking up in recovery and edna showing me lippy.  cecille was right, anaesthesia is a very restful experience.

was quite hungry by the time i left the hospital (didn't have a bite to eat or a drop to drink at the wbcp "meeting" the night before, thank you)... so adri, edna and i had pizza, chicken wings and pasta at yellow cab. yum.

p.s.  i was edna's very first official surgery patient!  yay! (i didn't point out to her that i was a non-paying patient, so it shouldn't really count)

Wednesday, June 4

...and birding with the marines

so with the sight of a tricycle on the ternate-nasugbu highway construction site imprinted in our brains, leni,adri and i headed for caylabne at the end of the road, to help out with a guided trip for the participants of the resort's preservation bay coastal clean-up.

we missed mike's go at the microphone by a few minutes, but were just in time to join them for lunch.  arnel, tintin, caloy, cel, alex l., mel and kitty were already there. 

the weather is strange as it went from rainy last week to HOT and humid this week.  caylabne graciously prepared a 3-bedroom unit where we could all relax after lunch until 4pm when the guided trip was scheduled.

it turns out that it was a small group of volunteers we were tasked to introduced the wonderful world of birding. :)  a group of young jaycees and a group of (just as young) marines.

mike tasked adri and i to lead the marines through the trail by the river (the "harder" trail by mike's standards, hehe).  it was difficult birding with such a large group on such a small trail, but the marines had quick eyes and were very alert to even the tiniest movements of the small birds.

they were familiar with the orioles and the philippine woodpecker, but strangely it was the first encounter with a tarictic for all of them.

adri showing the marines their first luzon hornbill

it was funny (and not in a ha-ha funny way) how you would hear the comments about shooting the birds and slingshots.  obviously, there is still that mindset among many filipinos about the challenge of hunting something beautiful. but it was still great to see their smiles and their excitement at seeing the hornbill, the sea-eagle and even the tiny rhabdornis.  truly, all you need to know is what's out there to see.

later on, we all realised how young these marines were. it was their last 3 months at the marine base in ternate, right between the ternate-nasgubu highway and caylabne, before they were shipped of to god-knows-where to fight in a war which really makes no sense to a lot of filipinos.  this short time, picking trash from the coast and birding with us, was already a big vacation from them, a break from their usual routine.  my prayers are with them as they go into battle.

we ended the day with sunset at the view deck.  overhead, house swifts chattered and twittered noisily as they swooped for insects. we rested on the lawn and enjoyed the cheerful company of birders.

a view of the el fraile battery, corregidor and the mountains of mariveles

arnel practices rock climbing and hangs on for dear life
... or so you think!
as we sat and exchanged stories with the other birding group, arnel suddenly shouted "uy, ano yun! anu yun?!?"

and we quickly followed his gaze on a black-and-white pigeon being mobbed by the house swifts as it flew a few meters above us... pied imperial pigeon!!!! (yes, i truly believed and we all agreed it was a pied imperial pigeon) woohoo!

what a great way to end a long day.

the sun sets on another day of birding

palay-palay road update...

inspite of the rising gasoline prices (see my previous blog entry), adri and i decided to drive to ternate last sunday for the caylabne preservation volunteers' guided trip. 

and since we were driving anyway, se decided to leave in the wee hours of the morning so we could squeeze in some birding at the ternate-nasugbu highway construction site, which i last visited over two months ago (see pictures from that trip here). happily, leni s. had the same idea and we met at the (now non-existent!) gate to the site at 6am (which happens to be way past sunrise at this time of the year by the way).

so update on the road... the gate is now gone so anyone can enter freely it seems.  no need to flash your birding paraphernalia or your wbcp id or name drop.  and at the "basketball court" you will be greeted by several trucks and heavy equipment.  and look!

yes, there is now a two-lane concrete road for the first couple of kilometers.  and the small herd of goats has now multiplied into a small armada which are let loose to invade the virgin road and the roadside vegetation.

the birds were very noisy at the place where we usually park and start our birding.  the black-chinned fruit dove was still there, and the white-browed shamas and tailorbirds and black-naped monarchs sang noisily behind the vegetation.  the air was buzzing with guaiabero activity, and adri was able to scope an unusually sad little bird for leni to inspect.
we saw a couple of male tarictics, one feeding at a fruiting tree that leni identified to be Trema orientalis. we wondered how such a large bill could pick out such dainty fruit. 

much of the roadside vegetation had been cleared, so i was thinking of what lydia would think of that when i saw a few butterflies flitting about the now bare soil.

and as usual, it was not just birding for me but "bugging" as well. since i touched up on my zoology i now know that this is a millipede and not a centipede :)

the morning grew warmer and we rested by the roadside before heading back up.  while waiting for a pair of greater flamebacks to re-appear, several philippine falconets kept us company. 

movement in the trees turned out not to be a bird, but a large male macaque (and you all know how i detest monkeys) hanging out on a tree far, far (thank goodness) above us, probably trying to make out what we were doing (and if we had food).

as we were pondering the fate of mt. palay-palay and imagining the sight before us in a few years after the road is finished and opened, a familiar, but out-of-place sound reached our ears.

and as if it seal the inevitability of the future, what else would come up the dirt road...

a tricycle in the middle one of our favorite birding sites.  how else could we react?  leni let out a big "OH NO."  and we laughed and joked about how that lone tricycle shuttling passengers to the end of the dirt road could be used to shuttle the dude-birders (you know who you are) for 15 pesos one-way.

here's leni, almost incredulous at the sight of the tricycle coming from down the mountain after a few minutes.

and with that, we packed our water and biscuits and sandwiches, shook the dust (from the tricycle which passed by of course) from our pants and headed up to meet mike and the others at caylabne.

we could only imagine what sights will greet us the next time we find ourselves at the infamous ternate-nasugbu highway.
(to be continued...)

Monday, June 2


53.57 pesos to a liter of unleaded gasoline!!!
After a peso increase each week, this week it was suddenly a peso and fifty centavos.

Should i drive less (should i walk more?) Should i hitch rides more (should i drive by myself less?)  Maybe i should drive my normal routes and give up other expenses. What, what should I do? WHAT?!?

Wow.  When will it end?  I dread waking up on Saturday to see how much gas prices have increased. 

Reminder to self: gas up on Fridays.

It now costs my car about a thousand pesos to get 200-250 km around or out of (and back to) Manila.

Argh.  ARGH.