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Review: Boracay Haven Resort

Boracay Haven Resort was our team’s lodging during the 11th Boracay International Dragon Boat Festival (BIDBF) from 20-22 April 2017.

I think it’s the best one I stayed at during a dragon boat race. This is third year in a row I participated at the BIDBF.

  • 2015, La Carmela de Boracay – the expansions give the resort a “mass tourism” taste to it, I did not enjoy my stay here.
  • 2016, Deparis Beach Resort – rustic, centrally located, great restaurant area

I was happy with Boracay Haven Resort. Its location is right at the heart of Station 2 (next to Henann Garden Resort and the McDonalds). It’s only a two minute walk to the beach down a reasonably sized alley.

I also liked the breakfast buffet spread. I wasn’t expecting much but what was on offer was tasty enough. The pool is a refreshing amenity. Great to take a dip before or after a trip to the beach. The whole idea of Boracay is to get wet and stay wet.

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Flight Review: SilkAir Singapore to Kalibo (MI 599)

I can now strike this off the bucket list!

I’ve always wanted to make a flight review video. I used to kill time by watching “flight review” videos on YouTube. When I was a little depressed last year, I would watch videos from the guy behind FlightTravels. It’s like I didn’t have to spend thousands of dollars flying around the world when all I could do is immerse myself in his videos.

Here’s a pocket-sized flight review of my experience on SilkAir flight MI 599 Singapore (SIN) to Kalibo (KLO).

The reason I prefer to fly direct to Kalibo from Singapore is because two years ago I almost missed my connecting flight back to Singapore after delays at NAIA. The bus ride between Kalibo and Caticlan isn’t so bad (the route is scenic).

As of April 2017, Kalibo is currently the only international airport that handles larger jets carrying travellers to Boracay. AFAIK, Caticlan has already expanded its runway but it hasn’t completed a new terminal yet.

When that new terminal opens in Caticlan, huge aircrafts will be bringing more and more tourists to Boracay. It’s good news for tourism but bad news for the environment. I personally can’t wait for Caticlan International Airport to open… but I also hope local government is stepping up to address Boracay’s growing pollution.

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Review: Changi Recommends Pocket Wifi for Overseas

Last weekend I was in Boracay for a dragon boat race. I wanted to stay connected but not have the hassle of switching phone numbers or adding an expensive data roaming service.

Then I discovered that the airport we love has a Pocket Wifi service being offered to travellers coming out of Singapore. I booked mine through their website and collected it on the morning of my flight to Kalibo.

I made a video about the experience! Click below to watch.

I guess the questions are…

Did it work?
– Yes, it did! In Kalibo, Caticlan, and Boracay. But there was no signal at some parts along the scenic route between Kalibo and Caticlan.

How’s the speed?
– Fair enough! I got to upload photos on Instagram during the times I had a connection. I got to send messages.

Is the connection stable?
– It was stable enough once you were at a location that seems to be connected. There’s a disclaimer saying that the device may not work well in coastal and mountainous areas. But it worked fine for me in Boracay.

How much did it cost?
– As of April 2017, it costs about S$8.00 per day. The first day is considered free. So I only ended up paying S$24.00 for a four-day trip to Boracay, Philippines.

Any other tips?
– I would purchase insurance (S$10.00) for the device if I were bringing to the Philippines. It’s only $10 for a little peace of mind.

It was a no-frills first experience using Changi Recommends Pocket Wifi for Overseas. I’m planning to use the service again in future travels.

In the Kitchen: Pork Adobo and Tuna Pasta

These are very basic! But happy to pull them off. NO, I’m not going to pretend that I’m some food blogger about to share recipes. I learned from my flatmate and from Panlasang Pinoy.

PORK ADOBO

  • Pork
  • Vinegar
  • Soy Sauce
  • Minced Garlic
  • Bayleaf
  • Black Peppercorns
  • Salt to taste

TUNA PASTA

  • Canned tuna
  • Pasta
  • Some butter
  • Chopped onions
  • Minced Garlic

I also tried my hand at baked mussels and lumpiang shanghai a few weeks back. I’m going to try beef steak (bistek tagalog) and beef with brocolli next. Stir-fried beef as well. Ultimately, I want to learn how to cook the yummiest yakisoba.

The Death of Compassion

I remember when I got into an argument with a friend recently.

It’s not about who was right or wrong. I think we both had valid points to share. Maybe because these days we live with opposing stances about service.

She’s a giver. She likes to provide. She does it selflessly. Devoted to her cause. And yet in my eyes, prone to be taken advantage of. All the kindness she gives. She doesn’t ask for anything in return. She finds that beautiful and satisfying.

I’m worried that I’m being consumed by too much grit and determination. I’ve become short of obsessed with self-improvement. I’ve put competitiveness over compassion. Is it my hormones? Is it the testosterone in my blood caused by consistent training?

Or is it about growing older and becoming more and more cynical.

  • Me: What’s the point of giving if you’re getting less in return?
  • Her: What’s the point of giving if you’re asking for something in return?

I’m selfish, yes. She’s selfless. Is being selfish a bad thing?

I feel that I am selfish because…

  • I’m protective of my resources. I’m not a doctor or a lawyer. I don’t earn tens of thousands of dollars. I earn a living as a content creator. A visual artist in my own right. For practicality, how stable is that? What happens when I stop being creative? What happens when reality catches up to the fantasies I create in my head that fuel new ideas? The reality that much of my life is “living a dream” over “making ends meet”. I am blessed to live this way. But I am careful not to throw it away.
  • I’ve given service to others only to see myself fail. I guess the best example is my sport. Volunteering much time in the previous year to helping with the team’s image… but seeing my progress as a paddler dwindle. I was slow. Last year, I was watching over my teammate’s bags and picking up tarpaulins. I took pride in being able to express myself creatively together with my team… (they trusted me with it). But the point of joining a dragon boat team is to be physically strong. Thankful for the award but unhappy in the position I put myself in: Servant.
  • I’m tired of being the nice guy. I’ve seen many times how people can take advantage of those who are nice and polite. I’m tired of it. I no longer have patience to smile and laugh in useless conversations or small talk. I’m no longer afraid of what people have to say. I’m considerate. But when crossed I’ll shout back if I want. I’ll push and I’ll pull. I won’t be silenced if I feel I need to speak up. What’s to achieve? Shredding that facade of pleasantries.

I had this conversation with my friend. I told her that an older version of myself would find joy in serving others. But these days I’m basically “you know what, fuck it”.

To have compassion is a wonderful thing. Despite the angst, it has not died in me.

But there’s a difference between being compassionate and being, for the lack of a better word… used.

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Game Complete: Final Fantasy XV

Just like that! Nauna ko pa tapusin ang FFXV over FFX.

Pros

  • Beautiful open world to explore.
  • Changing time of day and weather.
  • Fight system was engaging especially for an old timer.
Cons
  • The story was a bit meh.
  • Didn’t feel connected to the characters.
  • The ultimate villain was… not so ultimate IMHO.

Not going into spoilers… but I’m not too excited about the add-ons and downloadable content (DLCs) given the story that happens in the later chapters.

Final Fantasy VII, VIII, IX, X… Final Fantasy Tactics… these were the ones I played zealously before. I was really interested with the characters of these earlier installments. Noct and his band of brothers in FFXV was fun and entertaining. But I didn’t feel that connected with these guys. They were around to accompany and protect him. I couldn’t see beyond that.

Beautiful game and still worth all the fun times. And slashing my way through. And bringing back memories of playing video games when I was much younger. Highly recommended pa rin.

Review: 4 out of 5