Saturday, 30 October 2010

The North Face - BOA

Salivating on this very comfy BOA running shoes from The North Face.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

I love posting from MS Word

Despite the increasing task piling up everyday, I feel good about something. I feel good about being able to blog using MS Word, and click – Publish! Voila!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Posting from MS Word

I gotta love this. I have synced my MS Word to my blogger account. I hope I will love the outcome. Haha. I find it coo because I am thinking I could personalize my fonts and I could spell check each time! In the past I have been blogging directly. I seldom use notepads or MS Word. Well, I am that kind of person I guess. I am a random kind. So yeah, this is a trial!


Blogging to the max

This is weird. I have been blogging the past 24 hours non-stop. Thank God for importers, I was able to import my previous blogs posted in other sites. All i needed was to organize and tag them properly. Whew.

What's even weird is that, I was able to create some post relating to my travel in Mongolia. I know i have lots of things to post - I am trying to find the time since then. So abangan ang iba ko pang posts! See the side tabs on "Etiquetas", those are my blog labels. I classify my posts according to what is it about. If you want to see "Mongolia" related posts, click "Mongolia" or if you want to see "Travelling" or "Serious thoughts", etc.

That's it!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Trip to Terelj, Mongolia

The day after our arrival in Mongolia, VSO gave us a tour to Terelj in Nalaikh, ourskirts of Ulaanbaatar, the Capital of Mongolia. We got excited and I charged my batteries and brought extra so I could capture the scenic spots in that famous park.

That's me outside the hostel / guest house we were staying. It is a relatively nice and cheap guesthouse in the City. It would cost 1 tourist 5 USD per night. They have laundry service although they do not clean regularly - but we do clean ourselves. It provides hot and cold running water, electric cooker, a fridge, cookpots, double decker beds, 2 bedrooms, on the ground level floor.
So there, I'm ready to go! Terelj, here I come!

Notice the tree. It looks dead to me. They said, it is just hibernating. It will turn green in June.
Wow, can't wait for June! =)

First Stop! This is the viewing deck, first stop towards Terelj. Every troop has stopped here, so we just kind of follow. Haha. The summer houses down there looked so small! Yes they are exclusively summer houses. You will die if you live there on months that are not July, August or September. Not even exclusively on those months. The weather in Mongolia can be so unpredictable.

It doesn't snow very much in Mongolia. But make no mistake about it. It is lethally cold. I had to hold my breath many times just to manage the cold. And i thought i was gonna die. Had to run fast to the car.

Had to pose before running to the car! =)

I'll remind myself to get a moisturizer and loads of petroleum jelly. My mouth has dried up.
Cold and Dry. Nosebleed!

The rock formation looked nice, i thought.

And this one, this is perfect sky. The blue sky of Mongolia somehow has psychological effect on me. It makes me feel comforted.
But don't get tricked, you get the blue sky all year round (or almost!) and still feel cold each day.

The blue sky and Camp Site. We are yet to find where the resto is. Cold cold cold!

Seems like this is our Ger! Way to go!
Ger is the traditional dwelling of nomadic Mongolians. Ger, in Mongolian language meant Home and not a specific kind of dwelling. This one actually is a "Yurt".
But since Mongolians call this a Ger by operation, yeah, this is a Ger. Welcome! ^_^

That's me inside the Ger. The bed has its built-in drawers where you could arrange your clothes. The Ger can accommodate at most 5 beds. This one is a commercial place, so it has designs and all. But mongolian gers can be colorful in the inside even in slum areas.

Notice the details of the roof and its columns. Those are delicately carved by Mongolians. The opening in the roof is actually for ventilation purposes especially during the summer. It doesn't rain in Mongolia --- 20 days of rain per year is not rain, just some...well, drizzle. Hehe. It makes sense the nomads live in yurts, it the can be easily assembled, it can be carried, it is warm.

This is the heating system inside the Gers. Fueled by Cow and Horse's Dungs and sometimes with wooden sticks. Use of wood is not really environmentally friendly. Hmmmm.

That's Urnaa, our guide.

Pose before leaving. =)

Every Ger has a "bantay" - a guard dog. This is how Mongolian Askals look like. Most of them are rabied, so be careful!

That sums up my 2nd day in Mongolia.

The Marmot Barbecue

Mongolian barbecue is actually a mutton stew (read: isang putaheng may sabaw). They call it barbecue because they barbecued the entire pressure cooker! The traditional Mongolian barbecue is actually ermmmm – well, at least for me it is not edible. First the sheep is butchered, and no, it is not going to be washed properly, Mongolia is way too cold to do that --- then you have to scrap the skin, stash it somewhere, chop the whole poor sheep into huge cuts, and throw them all into a huge pressure cooker in a shape of a feeding bottle. Plus, stash a basket of un-peeled still soiled carrots and potatoes, throw in the firey stones too. Some salt, no, just little salt! Then barbecue the entire pressure cooker in a mountain of horse/cow's dung. Oh by the way, they put some water too. When the camp fire is on, singing is the next big thing. I mean, THROAT SINGING!

The MARMOT barbecue is way cool. But for starters, yes I ATE BOTH MENU! Darn! I got too hungry in Gobi, sorry. The marmot, being a popular carrier of Bubonic Plague, is “carefully” hunted. Yes it is not for hunting anymore. The Mongolian parliament has passed into law the prohibition of hunting Marmot. The Marmot’s fur can make a beautiful muffler or shawl.. and they say it is really warm?

Anyway, when I was in Gobi desert, we had a little excursion. The team went adventurous, well, except me! Someone went hunting --- i knowwww they should be imprisoned! Haha. And so, they got a marmot. What is that rodent doing in the Gobi??? You thought the rats would feast on human bodies – at that time, it was the other way around! We were feasting on that poor RAT.

That bloody hunter (who i think should have been living in prison by now) looked so prepared and got a blue torch and cow's dung handy. It looked so simple to cook the poor rodent. Scrape the skin, chop the body into pieces, burn stones in a pile of horse’s dung, when the stone got firey enough, stash them back into the marmot skin – both the stones and the meat, one after the other. Once everything was inside, put some salt, tie the skin – makes it look like an inflated monstrous RAT. When all was set, he blue torched the RAT until it looked oily enough on the outside. Then he washed the entire thing, sliced the miniature lechon rat in tiny pieces. FOOD WAS READY!
Here is a Step-by-Step Process:

1. Slice the throat part. Remove the bullet!

2. Scrap out the skin. Set Aside. Remove the heart and internal entrails. Eat the heart "fresh". If you don't eat it, i will! That's the attitude. If you don't behave like that, the locals will make you eat it. Boooo!

3. Set the horse/cow's dung on fire. Put stones in it. Put some more dung. And some more.

4. Slice the meat in small cuts. Set aside. Do not throw away anything. Every cut is priceless. Hihi.

5. Get the scrapped skin. Pour in the cutlets and the firey stones. Tie it securely. Put it down.

6. Get the blue torch. Blow the poor thing. Notice the fur will be wiped out. The thing becomes a lechon-lookalike.

7. Here it is! Well Done!

8. Wash it up to make it look decent. Get the knife!

9. Slice the subject carefully. Remove the stones and the cutlets. Cut also the skin - it is called food too.
Have fun! :-)

I told you, the place is a vacuum.

Microsoft Word and Blogging

Finally, I can write on MS Word. Ugh. I was actually on “read-only” mode the past weeks. My MS Office trial version needed to be activated. Sigh. I’m glad I found some means. Yeah, your guess is as good as mine. Haha.
Early on, I cross-uploaded my blogger account to my multiply account. I am contemplating of transferring and buying a premium account at multiply and just publish teasers rather than the whole posts. I kind of like it. I am not sure yet what for. I think, for privacy. Of course there is no such thing as privacy in this techno era, but I want to at least try. No, not yet. I am not buying yet. :-)

Woot woot!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Losing Someone

One of those times that i stop and think about losing someone dear to you. Many times, most of the time, i tend to brush the thought away. But it is real. So now, i want to talk about it.

My friend Mariezl lost her father last week. I can almost feel her pain. I say almost because you cannot really say you felt their pain... even if you are sisters by blood, you cannot say you understand what they felt. She told me, you cannot really say you felt someone else pain, until you experience it yourself. I thought so too. When she cried to me, it breaks my heart knowing she felt way beyond extreme compared to mine. Chielo also has a kababata who recently passed away and she could not believe it. Life is fleeting.

Since my childhood, i dreaded places like cemetery and events like funeral or wake. I always look away from the coffin. I never look at dead people. I don't know why and how it started. I've never lost someone dear to me. And i thought about preparing myself --- and it dawned me, no amount of preparation can make you feel at ease with losing someone. I have aging parents too and it makes me scared.

It should begin with "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding". It is trusting that life and death is in God's perfect time, in God's perfect command. It is believing that Christ died for all mankind so that a perfect life after death would be possible.

About the pain of losing - God the Father must have had so much pain losing His only begotten son. It must have been a lot of pain compared to humans, i mean knowing He is God and He has the power to stop things and turn those bastards into salt, i mean, He is God for all you care. He can do anything. But he did not. Because it was necessary. Because a sacrifice was necessary.

Still, I do not want my parents or any of my lovedones to leave or die or anything. It drives me sleepless with just the thought of losing them. So i pray:

Dear Lord,
Please hold my heart
Erase my doubts on your commands
Switch the pain into understandin
Brush away my fears into believin
Because you are the same God that holds them
Comfort my friends in their time of grief
You are the same God
I praise you.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Judge Bao and My Ancient China Connection :-)

Where is Judge Bao? I've been looking for Judge Bao episodes online. I found nothing. Maybe my effort were not yet at its best, but isn't everything on youtube and google? I thought so. Then lately, i found this wikipedia article about Bao Zheng, a magistrate during the Song dynasty of Ancient China. He must be the Judge Bao I am looking for. Hmmm.
What i love about this old Judge is not much about the Judge and the Justice System he implements. It is more about my fascination of Ancient China. I admit, during my high school, i did not pay attention to discussions on Ancient Civilization; i never even paid attention on Chinggis Khaan and many others. But not regrets! Today is still the best time to learn about these - because now, i can travel and see for myself the written accounts of history. I do not have to just sit and listen to teachers who haven’t even gone to these places themselves.
Judge Bao - I started watching Judge Bao on TV5 (yes, Kapatid Network now). Me and my husband are waiting for this teleserye in ABSCBN (the one with Angelica and Claudine), but we have to evade the other teleseryes aired prior to the awaited slot. In so doing, we have to browse other channels. And presto, we found Judge Bao. Then we got hooked. Then, when TV5 introduced their new format, there was no announcement what would happen to Judge Bao. Until now it remained a question to me.
"Ilabas and pamugot!", "Simulan na!", "Hindi ka na nagsisi sa ginawa mo!" Those are the lines I have committed to memory. Haha. I know it sounded corny. But only very few teleserye that talks about good governance, and honesty and defying royalties just to promote a better justice system. I know it is almost a myth - i say almost because i still want to believe that some people and places still promote better justice system.
According to wikipedia - Judge Bao is said to have come from the Province of Anhui (i will still have to check!). Anhui is the capital of ancient china during the reign of Song Dynasty (wiki wiki, totoo ba? ^_^). It is said to be located at the basin of Yangtze River. I am thinking of going there - me and my hubby for a historical field trip. Hehe. I never knew history can be a relaxing exercise and way better than tourism and politics. Until recently. My husband has become a significant influence in my present sense of history. Haha. Yeah, for example, i never even know about Austwitchz (??) and i thought Hitler was German. Boooo. So yeah, you are correct to assume i did not really listen to my high school social science, history and geography. I was then interested in writing letters, making greeting cards, caring for my garden, caring for my dog, winning backyard games. No time for history. I thought knowing Rizal meant knowing history, haha of course I’m exaggerating.
So there, i wish Judge Bao will be back. And even if he won’t, I’ll come to his place J

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Community Training in Gobi

Gobi desert

One day I got lucky.

 There is this expat friend of mine in Mongolia who works with ADRA (Adventist Development Relief Agency)… he is actually a long time friend of my ex-boss, Boss Andy. When Boss Andy learned that I am leaving for a volunteer stint in Mongolia, he told me to remind him to introduce me to his long time friend Gerry – but the long awaited introduction never happened. I was already in Mongolia then, some pinoys got excited to see us so we went to this famous bar with Filipino Band. Aha. There I met Gerry Ganaba and his family (Nancy and John). Of course I told him, hey I know you, boss andy was supposed to introduce me to you blah blah blah. And the rest is history. I am a frequent intruder in their house then on for pizza, karaoke, weekends, weekdays, parties, spaghetti, horse-meat steak, vodka, beer, dvd, martini, mutton barbecue, and overnights. I never knew then what lucky meant.

Then one day I got luckier. Gerry asked me if I could make a training design on community organizing in Mongolian countryside context. And Oh yes, we were planning to do some invasion in the famous last spots of the great dinosaurs – the Gobi.

Honestly, I would do anything if it would mean I could go to Gobi Desert for FREE.

So there we went. And here are some photos i manage to shoot. My poor old canon.

ayan, that's me grappling with terms. not sure they understood what im saying. hahaha. beside me is Ulzii, our translator/interpreter. I speak in english, Ulzii will translate my statements into mongolian, and the participants will respond, Ulzii will translate to English so i could then respond. It's crazy game but nevertheless fun fun fun.

Jack here is the project manager (? tama ba?) of SPADE Gobi. I asked him to explain his transect Map.

Yang naka uniform, that's me and Chielo. Kuya Gerry is in green shirt. Front row, rightmost is Doyo and leftmost is Ganaa. At the back, from rightmost, that is Jack, Tuya, Ulzii and hmmm i forgot his name.

Ulzii and me and our problem tree.

Spot the leader! Si Chielo ba ang leader? =)

English please???

Who wrote this? Hehe

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Microblogger no more...

Today marks my first attempt to end micro-blogging. And no it is not just microblogging, it is the amount of time i spend reading multi-million miles stretch of micro blogs about other people's rantings. I do not want to rant, but here i go paying attention while other people frets. No way, something is not right.

Yeah, I have to do this. First, it was hard for me to stop playing in Zynga. I just tried not to play for 5 days, then 10, then before i knew it, i stopped. No, Im not hooked on facebook, definitely. But i think i will be back. But I will no longer be as active (I hope), when i come back.

Bad things about facebook: you have all the kinds of people there, friends, family, co-workers, bosses and ex-bosses, acquaintances, enemies, people who like to pasikat. If i stay and be as active, i would be the same kind --- the same kind of brand i am actually classifying others into.

Facebook is actually a ranting place. It could be a stage of your agenda. However you intend to use it, it is there, for free. Most of the time it is a ranting place. And a campaign place. Oftentimes an ugly place to live. So unless you have a wonderful idea how to maximize the use of facebook to your favor, get away from it. It is no cleaner than a wet market.

For me, i will stay in this place. I will blog. I will put to words my feelings and my thoughts. Special thoughts that i sure would find grander meaning in the next couple of days. I felt wonderful having left facebook, however temporary.

goodbye ...