Saturday, March 28, 2009


Nature Photography is more that just a personal hobby. Beyond the enjoyment that I get from photographing natural wonders and the artistic appreciation of the nature photos I took is a genuine realization of the human-like attributes of these living creatures caught by the flash of my point-and-shoot camera.

A glimpse at these often-neglected creatures give us great inspirations that would help us deal with life's abundant perplexities.

Look at this beautiful flower. It's so confident, so blissful, and so natural. It doesn't have anything adorned in her petals but its beauty still stands out.

Like flowers, people need to portray good and natural self-concept. Nobody could demand appreciation and respect from others without appreciating and respecting himself first. We could not expect others to look at us positively if we have negative self-image. Like flowers of different varieties, people only project their personal images.

Look at these bees. Do they worry much about tomorrow? They just enjoy hopping from one flower to another and rejoice over its nectar which nourish them as days go by. As long as they continue to fly in search of a nectar-rich flower, they would never run out of food.

Like bees, we don’t have to worry much about the things that would happen the following day because life has its own way of solving it. We only have to be expectant that beyond our wonderful toils is a rewarding moment of fulfillment. Just enjoy the present for it is a gift.

What a stunning tree! Strong and directed like it never struggled through nature's adversities. But, in reality, this tree has gone through all the humps in search of the sun yet it never gave up and did its best just to see the light.

Like trees, people face the unpredictable adversities of life. But, with a goal in mind, one will surely hurdle every impediment along the way. Everyone could unswervingly proceed into his own direction like a tree determined to follow its way to the sun.

Photos were taken at:
FLOWER---> Huahin, Thailand
BEES IN LOTUS---> Huahin, Thailand
TREE---> Rayong, Thailand


Thursday, March 19, 2009


I've always thought that happiness is relative and plenty of my life experiences have really proven that happiness is a choice which everybody can choose to enjoy. We can choose to be happy even if everybody doesn't seem to be and everything seems to be very down from the peak where we are standing. It's so simple to achieve a happy life for it all depends in us.

Do you want to be happy? Of course, you do!

Simply put life as it should be in order to feel the feeling of contentment that we have been longing for. Do the things which you hate to do and keep on cursing while doing it. You know, life would eventually listen at your complaints and it would exactly give you what you really wanted. Start the day with an utmost regret that you have to face the day again. Curse the sun for shining when you still want to enjoy the comfort of your bed. As you go to the bathroom and feel that the water is too cold, shout and ask why it doesn't coincide with the temperature that you wanted. Actually, water has a life of its own and it could make itself hot when you complain.

Are you now heading for work? Well, you don't like it, do you? Continue to hate it and you will be very productive for the rest of the day. You will even enjoy it that you could expect that you will be promoted the following day. And then, you will surely encounter people you don't like and they do make you happy. Curse them and continue to express your hate to them - they will be sad and you will be happy in the end.

Now, have you thought of the things you wanted in life and wondered why they did not come? Frankly speaking, they really came but you unconsciously blew them away because you were overwhelmed by your happiness. It sound so cool right? It's even sounds cooler to curse life again - it would make you happier.

To live a happy life, simply throw what you do have and envy for the things that you don't have. Be regretful for what life has offered. Yes, staying happy simply means living a life full of bashful mouth, ill mind and totally damaged emotion. You can live this kind of HAPPY life if you want and slap your face if at the end of the day you end up crying in a corner because everything seems to be very cruel. You have to take a rest, indeed, and be ready to slap your face once more.

You do understand what I meant, don't you? If you don't, then you have to e-mail me for a HAPPINESS THERAPY. LOL

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Ultimate Rayong Escapade

Hiking back to the highway after a trek and camp out at Khao
Chamao National Park in Rayong-Chantaburi boder in Eastern
Rayong province in the eastern part of Thailand does not just boast its name being an industrial haven in Thailand. Ultimately, it’s Thailand’s “travel-without-border” hub which offers an array of picturesque destinations that range from white sandy beaches to amazing varieties of flora and fauna nestled in its natural habitat. Despite the booming number of industrial plants around the province, Rayong has still protected its rich ecological parks – something that the province can be proud about.

Aside from the infamous Samed Island National Park which I was able to explore with my friends last December 2007, there are still undiscovered jewels in the province which are perfect for budget-conscious adventure lovers. For as low as 3,000 Baht (about $ 90), one can enjoy the sandy shore and whopping waves at Maeramphueng Beach while staying overnight in a collapsible tent and then lay in the bosom of Mt. Chamao National Park where a variety of flora and fauna can be found within the breathtaking views of the rainforest.

Sandy and wavy Maeramphueng Beach
attracts local and foreign tourists alike.

A friend of mine in Bohol, Philippines once advised me that if I would like to go for mountaineering, one of the preparations that I need to undertake is hiking in the plain while carrying heavy bag. Yes, I took his advice and planned for a city hike around the busy capital of Thailand. For me, exploring Bangkok would be great for I guess there is so much to explore in the capital despite of my almost one year of stay here.

Afraid to be eaten by my boredom if alone, I invited a friend, Donna, who is also into mountaineering (she has climbed the fourth highest peak in the Philippines so far). However, my original plan was changed when she suggested to direct our city hike in Rayong which is almost three hours bus ride from Bangkok. Considering a very meager budget for such hike, we contacted our classmate in the graduate program who is teaching in Rayong and eventually found a shelter to stay (and even food to eat). Thank you very much to Charlou for offering her place for a night and for guiding us around Rayong. Actually, we were able to explore more than what we thought we could because of Charlou’s kindness.

After more than three hours of travel from Bangkok, I and Donna arrived in Rayong about eight o’clock already. It felt so good to know that a very hospitable Charlou prepared sumptuous Filipino dish for us – something that would remind us to keep on going back to Rayong for soup-ala-Charlou was truly Rayong-flavored.

After having our dinner, we headed to PMY beach which is just within Rayong City. It’s very nice to go swimming but the current of the water is too dangerous for swimming – it might be good for surfing. After enjoying the cool breeze along the seaside, we headed back to Charlou’s place which is about 2 kilometers from PMY Beach. And the hiking experience really started that very night. The aftermath, obviously, was a long undisturbed sleep that even my mobile phone’s alarm was not able to wake me up.

Fueling the bonfire to warmth the cold
atmosphere brought by the cold breeze in
Maeramphueng Beach. 
Who would have thought that we will be brought by our feet into the sandy shore of Maeramphueng Beach? It was already late afternoon when we hurried up to catch the last trip of the songtaew (it looks like a cab) which would bring us there. Luckily, we were able to catch the last trip and we eventually spent the whole night at the shore as we enjoyed the cold breeze. We made a bonfire beside our tent and chatted the night away until we fell into sleep. Ironically, I was inside the tent while the two women slept near the bonfire which gave them warmth over the night.

As I woke up in the morning, I saw plenty of beach patrons strolling and swimming. Some were obviously having a great time with their love ones while some were idling their moments with the hush of the sea. The view became even clearer and more picturesque as the sun started to rise and finally found its place behind the blue sky. It’s so sad to leave that lovely beach but I had to accept that I had to leave and bring nothing but memories.

I thought we will be back to Charlou’s place that morning but what happened was the exact opposite for after having our breakfast we immediately headed to Rayong bus station to catch a bus going to Chantaburi province. Before reaching Chantaburi, we stopped at Ban Khaon Din intersection where we rode a motorcycle going to Mt. Chamao National Park. There was no other way to reach Mt. Chamao except through motorcycle which costs 120 Baht. It really hurts my pocket that I first wanted to trek the twenty-kilometer road going to the national park. However, I didn’t have choice but to pay because the residents (especially the motorcycle drivers who were there for business) told us that it’s dangerous to hike going to the place. I thought, “So pathetic, don’t you think riding motorcycle isn’t dangerous at all? Almost everything is dangerous!” Anyhow, I still rode the motorcycle and reached Mt. Chamao exactly when the food is about to call our appetite for lunch.

Walking through the shrubs finding shortcut in a time-limited
trek at Khao Chamao National Park.
After having lunch, we looked at the map and decided to trek first the Mt. Chamao Waterfalls which is composed of eight magnificent levels. The span of the trail is more than two kilometers but we were not able to finish because we were fascinated by the cool rapids where we drowned ourselves for refreshment. I felt the bliss of being with nature again as I freely swam with huge schools of fish which seem to be very friendly with humans. I felt I was cradled by the mother earth once more as I glimpsed into the sky-rocketing trees and other floras in their natural habitat.

Darkness was about to cover the place and it reminded us that we had to trek down the stream and be back to our camp. We spent our night once more near the headquarters of the park. The following day, we spent the whole morning milling around the nearby places bringing our cameras to look for beautiful subjects. We were supposed to trek the eco trail but time did not allow us anymore for we had to come back to Bangkok as the two of my adventure buddies had to attend their weekend class with their graduate studies while I also had to finish the grades of my students which I left undone because of my enthusiasm to explore Rayong.

THANK YOU to my adventure buddies and I hope that more will join in our next trek. After all, the more; the merrier.

For those who are interested to travel Rayong, this is the rough estimation of the amount that you are going to spend for a three days and two nights adventure. Much can be saved if you would bring your own tent (comfort is relative... hehehe).

Bangkok-Rayong-Bangkok - 292 Baht
Rides within Rayong - 500 Baht
(songtaew, bus, etc.)
Entrance fees - 150 Baht
Food (budget restaurants) - 500 Baht
(for 3 days and 2 nights)
Contingency fund - 1, 000 Baht

TOTAL - 2, 442 Baht

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Facing Philippine Politics

I thought that going to Thailand would keep me deserted by the dirtiest game in town – the Philippine politics. I don’t really want to talk about it because I have been doing my best to be at a distance from the reality which have been sucking me ever since. I don’t want to mean that politics in general is dirty or bad but the way it have been perceived by most of the Filipino politicians, I could say that politics led the Philippines to the downward spiral and even pressed the mass to voluntarily bury themselves in ground. Politics decelerates the pace of justice system, knocks down the quality of education, leaves huge eyesores in the community due to unfinished infrastructures, what else? Much as I want to focus on the positive things that have been happening in my country, I couldn’t help myself from mentioning all the downsides brought by those immature politicians who seem to have made the government offices their own playground. It’s so unthinkable to have leaders who are expected to lead people but then they seem to don’t understand their role as they have repeatedly shown their greatness in power and not in responsibility.

Recently, I have talked to a friend whose father has been politically maltreated by holding his monthly salary for a very obscure reason – a reason than can only be fathomed when the darker side of the Philippine politics will be viewed. I was not surprised when I heard my friend with a knotty voice because everyone who has experienced the hands of these inhuman people usually felt the same. These politicians who deliberately think that their position is more on power than responsibility are nothing but old figures in the Philippines and they do still exist until now.

I don’t want to associate these unruly behaviors to that of Filipinos because I do believe that these values are not genuine to Filipinos – they are undesirable habits started by few individuals and have been passed from generation to generation. Now, it’s very difficult to live away from the reality because these habits have permeated to almost every political icon. As of now, the Philippine government has been “personalized” that the “personalization” has even became a cliché in almost every corner of the country. Yes, personalized as in politicians are taking their positions personally and for their own personal benefits alone rather than considering the benefit of the majority as what a utilitarian leader should have done.

Up to now, I don’t where to run in times of need when the leader that I am expecting to help me would not lend a hand because of personal matters. I don’t know where to acquire genuine service when I have nothing left in my pocket. I don’t even know if the hospitals could still be trusted right now. I don’t even know if I could still expect quality education from schools when everything seems to have been influenced by this so-called dirty politics. I really don’t know! However, I could not just dwell in this stigma because life is still giving me reasons to live and I’d rather dwell on those reasons than focus on the negative issues which I don’t have any control at.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sharing What We Don’t Have?

How many times have we been disheartened because the people we love do not even show love and respect for themselves? We want to give those advices and hold them back as much as possible for we desire nothing but their own happiness but nothing seems to happen. At times, we give up our own happiness just to ensure our love ones’ but we both end up being dejected for we become foiled together.

When all those things happened, have we asked ourselves what went wrong? Have we reflected on why people refused to be happy when we offered them our shoulder? Have we been frustrated because we were not able to share the happiness that we wanted to share? Loads and loads of questions can be asked and those questions could only be answered by nobody else but ourselves as we personally reflect on our own individual lives.

No matter how much we try to make other people happy and satisfied, we will never be able to help them. Happiness is very relative that we can never define other people’s happiness the way we define it for ourselves. Let’s not be saddened by the fact that we cannot make even those people who are closest to us to be happy because we don’t have control over their lives and we could never dictate them how to feel. The best way to deal with it is to make ourselves feel the way we want others to feel. Our feelings are contagious to the people around us so we don’t have to slog just to make other people happy because we could establish it in very on get-up-and-go.

We can never make other people happy but we can show them how to live a happy life. However, in doing so, we have to make sure that we feel the bliss deep within for we could never share happiness if we don’t caress it. Yes, it’s so simple to say that we are happy although we feel exactly different. We cannot fake our emotion because it can always be seen and felt by the people around us, especially those who know us well. Hence, pretending to be happy just to make our love ones happy is nearly impossible for we could only share the very feeling that we feel and not the feeling that we want them to feel.

Yes, we are very much concerned of the people around us especially to the people we love – we want to make them happy by sacrificing our own happiness, we want to make them strong by sacrificing our own strength. However, several situations in the history of mankind have proven that we couldn't share what we don’t have. We heard the stories of those people in the history who committed suicide after achieving tremendous success in life. Kevin Carter, a renowned photographer who won the Pulitzer Prize award for feature photography, puzzled the world when he committed suicide after winning the prize. On his suicide note, he exclaimed his last words which include, "The pain of life overrides the joy to the point that joy does not exist." Right after receiving the trophy, Carter was very excited to share his victory with his love ones yet he knew deep within his real feeling which overrides the feeling that he called happiness.

Sharing has never been bad because we all live for one another, yet, we have to remember that it’s unbearable to share something we are not sure we have. We could not share our victory if we don’t feel victorious deep within, we could not share love if we don’t love ourselves, we could not share kindness if we are not kind to ourselves, we could not share our lives if we don’t live it. We could only share those things that are abundant in us just like we could not share a simple smile without having smile in our lips. We don’t have to wait for others to love us by forcing ourselves to love others because we deserve the best love and affection from ourselves. After we fully decipher the love and respect that we have for ourselves, we will enjoy loving and lending our shoulders to others.

The excerpt of Kevin Carter’s suicidal note was derived from Scott Macleod’s article on “The life and death of Kevin Carter.” For further reading on Kevin Carter’s life and Scott Macleod’s article, visit