New Hobby

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Fishing as a sport is fun. The moment when a fish swallows the hook, a moment of happiness is attained. It then takes all the stress and worries away. I have never tried fishing not until this year when out of sheer randomness, I decided to learn the art of catching fish. At first, I thought that it was easy, but it turned out that it was not. Fishing is all about patience, hard work, and luck.

My first fishing set was worth Php1,200 which I bought from a fishing store in Cebu City. This store sells a lot of items for subsistence and sport fishing. Bait fishing bores me to death so I bought fishing lures. To me, casting using artificial lures is a mix of exercise and fun. I bought my lures from my friend Cary who just opened a tackle store below his apartment unit.

On May 1 this year, I caught my first fish. A barracuda. I caught it under Marcelo Fernan Bridge at around 7PM. See the photo below.

Unlike subsistence fishing, sport fishing or angling does not require the angler to bring home the catch. It is really up to you. But when one catches a juvenile fish, it is a common practice that anglers release the it back to the wild.

I Just Dodged A Bullet

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Finally, I took an HIV test last Tuesday at our local health department. My mind seemed undistracted on my way to the testing center. All I thought was about how I should deal with the disease in case I'd be tested positive with the virus. I should have taken the test years ago but fear threatened my sanity. One important question had floated my mind that time: who should I tell in case I turned out to be HIV positive?

I talked to a counselor prior to my blood extraction. The counselor asked me questions and explained to me everything I needed to know about HIV and how the government fights against the spread of HIV. I learned that once a person is found to be REACTIVE or HIV positive after an HIV test, that person is endorsed to a nongoverment organization (NGO) so he/she could receive lifetime anti-retroviral medicines FOR FREE. That is something not availed of by HIV positive individuals ages ago. The counselor assigned me a code number but couldn't give me a paper copy of the result. I told him that it was fine and what should matter to me is the result.

The next day, I went back to the testing center to get my result. It took me some time before the person who released the result informed me that I'm HIV free. When I signed the log sheet, I quickly scanned the entire paper. I found out that there were more than five persons who were tested positive with the virus. Two codes below mine, a capital "R" was written in red ink at the end of the row which means that person is HIV positive. I was delighted about my result but at the same time my elation was pulled back down by sadness. I felt very sad to those individuals infected with HIV recorded on that log sheet. I just can't imagine how they would react once they learned about their status. I feel terribly sad for them.

After I learned about my HIV status, I realized that this is my second life. After this point, I should know more on how to deal with my sexual needs. It's either I continue to practice safe sex or abstain.

(Photo from

Kalanggaman Island On My Mind

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Seeing my friends frolic in the sun on Facebook gives me a surge of envy. Staying at home and complaining about the sweltering heat outside do not seem to help, so I've decided to spend the summer outdoors and travel to places I've never been to. There's nothing much to showcase as I only visited a couple of islands in the region. I've been to Malapascua Island in March this year and most recently I was at Kalanggaman Island located between Cebu and Leyte.

Photo from Sheila's Facebook.

The group of Sheila and Gian, owners of the travel blogsite, invited me for another travel experience (I traveled with them in the past). When I learned that we were going to Kalanggaman Island, it was a mental picture of isolation and long long travel that floated in my mind. Getting to the island is not easy as you need to charter a boat going there.

There are boatmen in Malapascua Island who offer day trips to Kalanggaman Island and I highly recommend them. A day trip could cost at least Php800 per head inclusive of lunch and drinks. Contact Leo at 09057497232 or Entoy Malinao at 09069270401; they are from the local tourism organization of Malapascua Island.

More than 20 of us took a bus at North Bus Terminal in Mandaue City, Cebu at 3AM. Our destination: Bogo City. The 4-hour trip is a literal pain in the ass. I've seen the towns in Northern Cebu and seeing them again and again bores me to smithereens.

We sailed past 9AM. It was calm. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday. But a few minutes after we sailed, waves began to slap our boat. It scared the hell out of me. It reminded me of my night trip to Olanggo Island some 5 years ago. It took us more than 2 hours before we reached Kalanggaman Island because the chief boatman had to maneuver against the rough seas to prevent the boat from capsizing.

Everyone was excited as we got closer to the Kalanggaman shores. As soon as I made my first step on the sun-drenched sands, it was a bliss.

There are no private resorts as this place is fully managed by the local government of Palompon. It is a very small island which makes slippers the only means of transportation. A 15-minute walk is what it takes to wander the whole island. Cottages are available but guests are expected to bring tents if they decide to stay overnight as protection for the ever-changing world—it might rain (read: climate change). Also, the strong blow of the winds of dawn felt so cold, I had to get inside my friend's tent. I should have brought a darn sweater. The only store in the island sells beverages at twice the regular price and that's understandable. The barbecue area is the only place where grilling is allowed but it is fine to cook using mobile stoves near your tents or cottages. Be aware that there is no freshwater available in the island.

Kalanggaman Island is famous for its sandbar. But for those who are fussy about fine white sands just like me, this may not be a perfect place for us: the sands are not as fine as those in the beaches in Panglao, Bohol. But that does not make Kalanggaman Island less worthy of attention.

One of the things I suggest for the local government of Palompon to do is that they need to have more people to clean up the shores. I found glass shards on the island's sandbar that could surely hurt wanderers. I also found empty wine bottles on the other side of the island and the sight of them depressed me.

A responsible guest does not leave his garbage everywhere he goes. The island is so small that the idea of a garbage pit is preposterous.

Photo from Sheila's Facebook.

I'd like to thank Sheila and Gian of for the invitation and to Mark of for taking a few of my solo shots.

More photos to come. Internet connection is acting up.

The Purple Veil

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Here's a priest's lengthy explanation about the veiling of sacred images inside Catholic churches during Lent which I find spooky.

As Monsignor Elliott remarks, "The custom of veiling crosses and images ... has much to commend it in terms of religious psychology, because it helps us to concentrate on the great essentials of Christ's work of Redemption." 
Although this is true, the historical origin of this practice lies elsewhere. It probably derives from a custom, noted in Germany from the ninth century, of extending a large cloth before the altar from the beginning of Lent. 
This cloth, called the "Hungertuch" (hunger cloth), hid the altar entirely from the faithful during Lent and was not removed until during the reading of the Passion on Holy Wednesday at the words "the veil of the temple was rent in two." 
Some authors say there was a practical reason for this practice insofar as the often-illiterate faithful needed a way to know it was Lent. 
Others, however, maintain that it was a remnant of the ancient practice of public penance in which the penitents were ritually expelled from the church at the beginning of Lent. 

More on

My Malapascua Solo Backpacking Trip (Abridged Version)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Note: For some reason, I decided to write an abridged version of the supposed two-part topic. See below.