Friday, July 29, 2011

A Forest in the City

I love parks! I like strolling along tree-lined pathways, bringing homemade snacks, and just letting my kids run and play while I read a good book. It helps me relax after a busy work week. But because of the weather, we cannot do that these days.

I just wish it was still summer. It was in April when me and my kids went to La Mesa Ecopark in Quezon City. I heard so much about it and our stroll there was my first time. The entrance fee is P40 for Quezon City residents and P50 for those who are not.

You will be greeted by these wooden signages. I am surprised that the Butterfly Farm signage is not there anymore. I found out later that La Mesa Ecopark management closed it.
We went there on a weekend so expectedly, there were many visitors.
Going up and down the stairs of Shell Flower Terraces helped me flex some muscles!
La Mesa Ecopark is a haven for photography enthusiasts, especially those interested in flower macro. I lost count of how many kinds of flowers there were!
With these beautiful flowers and lots of trees, La Mesa Ecopark is indeed a forest in the city. :)
That was Gabby and Sunday's first time to ride a horse! And they weren't afraid!
I was the one who was nervous for them!  Fee: P50.00
There were other park facilities which we weren't able to try and visit like the Petron Fitness and Mountain Bike Trail. Also, boating at the Lagoon was stopped, said the vendors when I asked them where the boats were. So better call La Mesa Ecopark's office first for inquiries on ride availability and fees. If you're planning to go there, I suggest you visit the park as early as you can. If it's your first time, you won't enjoy the park and its facilities enough if you visit after lunch.
I wish there were more play areas there. The playgrounds of Quezon Memorial Circle were more in number and better in quality.
At first I was hesitant on letting them lie on the picnic ground. But seeing that there were wash areas and remembering that I brought hand sanitizer and extra clothes, I let them enjoy nature!
La Mesa Ecopark is a joint project of ABS-CBN Bantay Kalikasan, MWSS, the Quezon City Government, and ABS-CBN Foundation. Seeing this collected plastic wastes, I cannot help but admire ABS-CBN's ecological advocacy.
As said in its website, just by visiting the La Mesa Ecopark, you are already actively participating in saving the La Mesa Watershed. Go and visit it now! :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Model No More

I didn't imagine myself being a model for a photoshoot of any company. Never. But last June, I was chosen by the Marketing Department of our company to be one! I was flattered. Who wouldn't be?

The Project Head of one of the company's projects was cutting costs and instead of getting professional models who charge exorbitant fees, he resorted to check out if there were model wannabes in our office! Our Creative Head took pics of the employees, sorted them and choose those that pass the qualifications: mom-looking and presentable, I guess. They presented the pics to the Project Head and other managers for approval. To make the story short, I was chosen. I was one of the three moms handpicked for the shoot. We were to act as mom on family activities like picnic, walking in the park, having breakfast or just jogging in the neighborhood.

Fred was happy for me. Even though it was small time, for him, it was BIG TIME. He was so proud of me. It was something that only happens once in a lifetime, I guess.

But sadly, I let it pass. I declined. My inferiority complex got the better of me. I felt I was fat, though most of my officemates said it was alright. They told me they can Photoshop it. Hehe. But I still said no. I wasn't confident. And I know it will show in the pictures.

Gabby and props during the photoshoot

But despite that, I have good news. Gabby was chosen to model, too! He was supposed to be my son. (Reel and real.) But since I declined, he had to play son to another mom, and he did it very well. Almost everyone commended him, even the photographer. I believe Gabby has the makings of a model. He even got up early (3:30am!) so we won't be late for the pick-up service on the way to the shoot location. I was so proud of him.

Yes, I am a model no more. I might regret saying no to it someday. And hate the idea that pictures of me and Gabby should have been on a billboard or brochures. For now, I will just cherish the idea that I was chosen. That alone is already an honor. :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Veggies in the City

I would really love to grow my own vegetable garden. And because we don't have a plot of land here in the city, a container garden would do. I love the idea of harvesting fresh vegetables and fruits!

It was this love for everything fresh that made me stop and take some shots on these verdant scenery I discovered one hot Thursday this July.
Imagine seeing pechay growing just below LRT1 station in Manila!
This is in UN Avenue, a very busy thoroughfare. But look at the veggies.
They're green! And they're healthy!

I'm not sure if this is part of Senator Angara's Oh My Gulay! advocacy. Or it can be one of the projects of the city government or the World Health Organization which is located along UN Avenue. I really don't know who spearheaded this. But I'm happy that someone did.

I didn't like the sight of empty candy wrappers and cigarette butts near the plants. *Sigh. There are some people who don't realize our country's agricultural wealth. (Read: how rich our soil is and how conducive it is to growing anything thrown at it.)

There were other vegetables growing in that sidewalk. I remember seeing papaya trees. Whoever thought of this, I commend him. I wish to see more of this on the streets of Makati and other busy thoroughfares! It's time we all live a healthy life in a healthy environment. :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My first time in Pagsanjan!

I never thought I would be able to see the Pagsanjan Falls. I always dreamt of going there but I don't know how to and I was always preoccupied with other more important things.

The artists and copywriters in our department have decided to unwind one weekend, so we thought of going somewhere all of us haven't gone to before. Rowel, an officemate who hails from Cavinti, Laguna where the famous falls is located, finally agreed when we asked if he could take us there and be our tour guide. (Yehey! After a year of prodding. Hehe.)

For a group of seven on a just-enough-budget, the easiest way to go there is to take the Greenstar Bus in Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue corner Taft Avenue. We left Manila past 6:30 am and we were already in Sta. Cruz at 8:30am. We took a jeepney ride going to Cavinti and left our things in Rowel's house, went to the resort where we paid P1,350 for the boat (and lifevests and insurance) and off we headed to the falls. The boat can carry three passengers, aside from the two boatmen. So if you want to save, better ride in threes.
Tourists may opt to ride the raft and go under and behind the falls.
I highly recommend this! The experience was so unforgettable.
Note: The rafters didn't require us to pay. We voluntarily tipped them.

Two boatmen were assigned on each boat. I noticed that they wore shirts with numbers (and some others, even their last name) printed at the back. This maybe so tourists can easily remember who their boatmen were, should something went wrong. Or maybe, so that those in-charge of organizing the boatmen's schedules will have an easier time.

Prior to going there, I read from blogs that there were boatmen who would ask for tips after the ride. We thought of giving them tip, really. But when we saw how strenuous shooting the rapids was, we were more than willing to give them more than what me and my officemate agreed about. It was real, hard labor. Maneuvering the boat against the current was difficult enough. What more when we passed by curves and huge rocks. They literally carried our boats! I was very impressed with their strength. You would really feel that you were in good hands...and arms!

View from the Picnic Station

I really had a great time on my first visit to Pagsanjan Falls. I wish I would be able to bring my family there. It was really an unforgettable experience! :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

To Blog or Not To Blog

Tonight, I thought, should I renew GoDaddy's domain hosting of my blog or not?

When I received an email last month telling me that my blog's domain name was about to expire, I just archived it and almost forgot about it. I didn't lose interest in blogging. I was just so busy with so many things. A full-time job, teaching the kids and helping them with their assignments when I return from work, and chatting with husband before I go to sleep. Weekends are spent on bonding with the kids, grocery/shopping, and teaching the kids (again) and going to church on Sundays.

Learning photography: One of the things I am busy with right now

So if I renew the hosting and not blog, I am just wasting my money. But if I don't, someone else will get my precious domain name. :D As usual, human nature got the better of me. (Translation: I don't want others to own my domain name! Haha!) Tonight, just days before the hosting expires, (and while I am writing this), I logged in to GoDaddy and fill the cart with this blog's current domain name and clicked Place Order. There.

For the meantime, I will go to sleep and forget about blogging for a night. After all, this blog's domain name is still mine. For a year, at least. :D