Our Drive To Onomichi Via Tomonoura Port


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This morning we had to say goodbye to Bingoya and Kurashiki and we moved on to our next destination – Onomichi. I had already bookmarked some places to see on route while I was doing my research for this holiday. Driving for a few hours is never fun, especially children can easily get bored so well planned breaks are always an idea.

Kurashiki japan roadKurashiki cyclists japanKurashiki Japan truck on the road

Half way along is Tomonoura, nestled in a half moon bay in the middle of the Seto inland sea. The town used to be a stopping point for ships going between western Japan and Edo. The town is still largely unspoilt and not a lot has happened here since Edo times. The town has a labyrinth of narrow alleys, where every other building is a designated national asset and an old harbour, which can easily explored by foot. Children might also be interested in the fact that…

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Regina RICA (A Pilgrimage Site)

No Juan Is An Island

The gift of faith taught me to perceive the astounding righteousness and grace that bound us if only we open our eyes and minds. I just want to thank God for all the things that cost nothing and are worth everything.


Regina RICA is a 13.5-hectare land, that is envisioned by the Dominican Sisters of Regina RICA (Rosarii Institute for Contemplation in Asia)  to be a place of prayer, pilgrimage, ecological sanctuary as well as a wellness environment. The major landmark in this pilgrimage site is a towering 71 foot high Mama Mary statue. The walk towards the image of Mama Mary is a S-rail to give the pilgrim a breathtaking view of the place. Also, there are 13 candle stations where one can leave candle offerings.


Note that there is a dress code – short shorts and too revealing upper garments are not allowed.  If one is not aware of…

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Nepal: More than the Himalayas

No Juan Is An Island

Nepal is probably world renowned because of the Himalayan mountain range, as it is home to the highest mountain in the world – Mount Everest. But to me, this landlocked nation is more than those snow peaks. It is the land of sherpas, yaks, and yetis, monasteries and mantras, and much more!


While I am still sorting out my busy schedule, here is a short post about my Nepal trip showcasing some of the stunning sites I have visited.


Don’t be a wasted soul, be “juan”derlust. Take it easy ebri’Juan’…

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Rhejane Nantes Umali…nagsisikap para sa dalawang anak kaya hindi nahiyang magtinda sa kalye

Rhejane Nantes Umali…nagsisikap para sa dalawang anak

kaya hindi nahiyang magtinda sa kalye

Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Huwebes ng umaga, papunta sana ako ng Maynila pero sa “stop light” intersection ng Molino Road at Aguinaldo Highway ay may napansin akong magandang babaeng tisayin na nagtitinda ng mga basahan at lumalapit sa mga nakatigil na jeep. Nagulat ako dahil ang karaniwang nagtitinda sa kalye, kung hindi matatanda ay mga lalaki. Dahil sa curiosity, bumaba ako at hinabol siya upang kausapin kung pwede ko siyang i-blog at nagpaunlak naman kahit naistorbo ko siya sa pagtinda. Ang sabi ko kasi ay interesado ako sa kuwento ng buhay niya na maaaring magiging inspirasyon ng ibang babae. Sa di-kalayuang Macdo ay nag-usap kami.


Ang pangalan niya ay Rhejane Nantes at sa pagkuwento niya, single mom siya at taga-Dipolog, Zamboanga…kaya pala tisayin, dahil sa nasabing probinsiya ay maraming tisay na “chavacana” . Ang tatay daw niya ay ang kilalang broadcaster/singer ng Dipolog na si Dan Nantes (Rufdan Quinlog Nantes, Jr.). Sa murang gulang na 16 taon ay nag-asawa siya ng taga-Batangas pero sa Pasig sila nagkita. Nagkaroon siya ng dalawang anak sa nasabing asawa, ang panganay ay 21 taon at ang sumunod ay 17.


Nang panahong sa Pasig siya nakatira, nag-negosyo siya ng “packed” buko juice at nagsu-supply siya sa mga kainan na nakapaligid sa mga construction sites sa Pasay, lalo na sa Mall of Asia mula pa noong taong 2000. May owner jeep siya noon at siya rin ang nagmamaneho, gamit niya sa negosyo. Balak sana niyang bumili ng isa pang jeep subalit siya ay naaksidente at naospital nang matagal noong 2013. Ang alaala ng aksidenteng yon ay ang peklat (scar) sa ilalim ng kanyang bibig na nasa kanang bahagi. Naubos ang kanyang ipon dahil sa pagpaospital niya.


Nang maghiwalay silang mag-asawa ay nagpaubaya siya kaya iniwan niya sa pangangalaga nito ang kanilang dalawang anak at siya naman ay nakitira muna sa kanyang lola, si Lola Dionisia, 82 taong gulang, na nagtitinda pa rin ng mga basahan. Nagkaroon ng pangalawang asawa si Jane at nagkaroon ng dalawang anak, subalit dahil hindi niya nakitaan ng pagsisikap ay nakipaghiwalay siya dito, at kasama ang dalawang anak ay nangupahan sa Talaba (Bacoor). Noon siya pinayuhan ng kanyang lolang nagtitinda ng mga basahan sa tapat ng St. Dominic Hospital sa Bacoor na tumulong sa kanya sa pagtinda.  Hindi nagdalawang isip si Jane dahil talagang mahilig siya sa negosyo at higit sa lahat ay para na rin sa dalawa niyang anak na ang mga gulang ay 7 at 5 taon, at parehong nag-aaral.


Kung minsan daw ay nagtitinda din siya ng barbecue, pero yong mumurahin lang para maging mabenta agad. Upang hindi mahirapan sa pagbayad ng upa sa tinitirhan nilang mag-iina sa Talaba (Bacoor), araw-araw ay nagbibigay siya sa may-ari ng 100pesos dahil ang buwanang upa ay 3,000pesos. Pinipilit din daw niyang makaipon uli upang makapag-negosyo uli ng “packed” buko juice na hinahango niya noon sa Pasig.


Hindi nawawalan ng pag-asa si Jane at hindi nahihiyang magtinda sa kalye kahit marami ang nagsabi sa kanyang hindi daw siya nababagay sa ganoong trabaho. Ang sagot niya ay wala siyang magagawa dahil may dalawa siyang anak at ayaw din niyang umasa sa iba kahit sa mga kamag-anak niya, at ang isa pa ay talagang hilig daw niya ang pagnegosyo kaya nag-iipon uli siya.


Sana ay magsilbing inspirasyon si Jane ng mga single mom na nagsisikap upang mabuhay ng marangal sa anumang paraan.



The Benefit of Apple Cider Vinegar and Olive Oil


By Apolinario Villalobos


When I had a severe pain in my chest just under the breast bone, I thought I was having a heart attack. After enduring it for several days, it went away. The next pain I had was on the right side of my stomach that radiated to the back just above my right buttock, I thought it was an indication of the spread of cancer cells from my prostrate, but I was not experiencing difficulty in passing urine in the evening…so the thought gave me relief. The pain went on especially in the evening so that I had to hold my breath every time I change my position and when I get off the bed. Fortunately, when I confided with a friend, he told me that he had the same experience. But he was able to “cure” it…


The cure?….APPLE CIDER VINEGAR! He took a spoonful of the vinegar at around 11PM or 3AM with a little water.  That’s the time when it gets to work….softening stones in the gall bladder. After 2 months of consistent “therapy”, the pain was totally gone according to my friend.


In my case, I enhanced the “cure” by taking 1 teaspoon of olive oil with 1 spoon of apple cider vinegar at either time mentioned in the previous paragraph. I thought, if the pain had got to do with galls stones, then those that will be softened by the vinegar and get released could be lubricated by the oil for easy expulsion. Also, I took 1 spoon of the vinegar with my dinner at 3PM. I diluted the vinegar in a mug of water with 1 spoon of honey – my personally concocted “softdrink”. After less than 1 month of such regimen, the pain was gone. It entailed a lot of discipline considering the time that I had to wake up, but the sacrifice paid up.


By the way, don’t worry about the acidic taste of the vinegar and the oily taste of the olive oil. Just force the idea in your mind that what you are doing is much cheaper than having complications later on which might require operation. Also, the “acid” in the vinegar is alkaline which our body needs, too.


Here’s how I do it: I first take the olive oil, followed by the vinegar, then honey (optional). But since I am used to the vinegary taste, I can even take it straight without water or honey….for the sake of healthy living. I also sprinkle some drops of the vinegar to my rice to make “Japanese rice” but enhance the taste with some drops of soy sauce, olive oil, and chili powder.





The Philippines’ Early Commercial Intercourse with China

The Philippines’ Early Commercial Intercourse with China

By Apolinario Villalobos


The early recorded commercial intercourse between the Philippines and China was dated 982 A.D. when a certain Sung-Shih (History of the Sung) mentioned about traders from Mo-yi or May-I, referring to the Philippines and sometimes the island of Mindoro, and who came to the southern coast of China. But even much earlier than the said date, according to a noted historian Berthold Laufer in his “Relations of Chinese to the Philippines”, and Austin Craig in his “A Thousand Years of Philippine History Before the Coming of the Spaniards”, among the goods from the Philippines were birds, pearls and tortoise shell, to which, another historian, Chao Ju-Kua added, yellow wax, cotton, medicinal betel nuts and “yu-la” cloth. Proof of the early trade relations between the two countries are the archaeological sites that date back to the T’ang dynasty, in Babuyan islands, coastal areas of Ilocos and Pangasinan, Manila, Bohol, Mindoro, Cebu, Jolo and Cagayan de Sulu, and Mindanao.


Accordingly, Chinese junks would leave the southern coast of China for the Philippines during the month of March and their travel would take about 15 to 20 days. The same junks would prepare for the return trip during the month of June. Trading was done with haste, usually three to four days at one convergence point along a safe coast, then, they would move to other traditionally appointed place, as some natives proved to be hostile.


The commercial intercourse brought about cultural enhancement on both trading parties. On the part of the Philippines, according to Filipino anthropologist, E. Arsenio Manuel, about 522 words in the vocabulary of Pilipino language are of Chinese origin. Among them are, bihon, miki, miswa, mami, kuchay, tokwa, kinchay,  lumpia, lome, kimto, goto, batsoy, tsa, liyempo, kamto, biko, bitsu, hopia, petsay/pechay, bakya, jusi, siyansi, ate, kuya, diko, ditse, sangko, siko, and siyaho.


As mentioned among the pages of “Ming History”, traders from Fukien of southern China flocked to Luzon to establish trading colonies, so that when the Spaniards came, they found well-entrenched Chinese communities along the Pasig River and the coastal areas of Pangasinan and Ilocos. While the Philippines was under the administration the Spaniards, there was a time when the Chinese were expelled. Upon realizing, however, the need for the business acumen of the Chinese, they were encouraged by the colonizers to return but made to dwell in settlements outside the Walled City or Intramuros, which was called “Parian”. That is how the Manila Chinatown, the oldest in the whole world came to be.


Historically, the Chinese were never interested in politically colonizing any of the islands of the archipelago, unlike the Spaniards who came to the Philippines purely for this purpose. It is for this reason that when the Hispanic administration of Manila took effect, there was no resistance from the Chinese community. If the dynasties of the mainland that saw the growth of trading with the archipelago had any intension of annexing it to their kingdom, they should have done it long before the Spaniards came. But Chinese traders came and went, instead of even a single Chinese soldier. It is for this reason that China can never site history to attest her rights over a major part of the South China Sea or Philippine Sea. Their trading ancestors could have named some islands and bodies of water in and around the archipelago but only for their convenient reference and nothing else.