Monday, July 27, 2009

State Of the Nation Address--No Classes?

Today is the State Of the Nation Address of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. People of the Philippines, have you watched it? I haven’t. I know I’m supposed to, but because of other pressures from school, I missed the chance to do so.

So, what do the people do here in Cagayan de Oro City? I’m pretty sure that some people in the political arena were tied up to their seats listening to what President Arroyo has to say. Most of the adults probably were, as of that moment, preoccupied of looking for a television to watch where they could listen to the SONA being aired locally. The question of, how much people were watching, that I could not tell. The last time I saw people getting interviewed by a local daily news program here in the city, many people don’t have much to say about the President’s SONA during that time. But there were many other people who gave their comments about the event; even some students.

Having said that, I myself as a student have observed that many students (I’m not saying most) have been so far apathetic about such events. The only question that comes into their minds would be (and I admit I’m part of this society sometimes), "Okay, so are there any classes today?" Funny as it is, but, yes, sometimes (or probably many times) students like me do tend to be that apathetic towards the Country’s events such as these. But who could blame us? Sometimes, it’s just so realistic to believe that as students, we can’t do anything to serve the purpose of SONA (whatever that is) or anything for that matter to be able to help the country by listening to the moment’s State of the Nation Address. (Pardon my immaturity, but please just let me live my age for a moment. *grin* ) So, what do we kids in the city have to say? Well simply, COOL, NO CLASSES AGAIN!

As students, times like these could be compared to Manny Pacquiao’s bouts. That’s not because the streets during that time are typically deserted (and I doubt it will ever be with a SONA), but more likely because it gives us that feeling that someone important (and yes, Manny Pacquiao has somehow been considered now as someone important) is on the spotlight at the moment and that somehow gives us the feeling that the streets are deserted because we know that a lot of people will be watching the airtime. At that moment, we students (not everyone, of course) are then triggered to think about what we can do for that day. If classes were suspended and a lot of students were not aware of this and were able to go to school at that day, usually, students would flood internet cafés (for the younger generation that is). Other students would go to places like Park Café, Dunkin Donuts (referring to students from a particular university located at Divisoria near to these establishments), or malls and hang out with their friends. And of course, others would go home.

So, have any of these taken place this day’s State Of the Nation Address? Well, that would be if classes were suspended today. And that would have been a blast. Too bad the priests in this university didn’t give us the chance to enjoy today’s event. Haha. But yeah, I was just trying to illustrate here what could have happened on a day like today, and if classes were indeed suspended in timing with the event.

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Unwind . . Get a Dose of Music @ Gigs

Music—the language of the world. No city in the world (or any place for that matter) can do away with it. This would neatly bring me to one of my pastimes here in Ekim of Kaa;pinthe city.

Nights could never have been more boring (for people around my age bracket, that is) without getting that dose of escape brought about by immersing oneself into music. And nothing could be more enjoyable than to sink into the sound around all those lights, drowning volume, and a lot of other people who seem to be enjoying it as much as you do.
Are you in to bands? Do you occasionally go to local gigs in your hometown to check out what some of the bands there have to offer for that night? Well, if you enjoy doing that, then you're never going to miss home when you're here in Cagayan de Oro City.

Cagayan de Oro City occasionally gives birth to young talented Guitarslocal individuals who form a group out of nowhere, with their own sets of reasons, and contribute to the flame that's sparking up the city's life. Some of them form bands, and those bands yet form another group which we know of as a Music group. Lucky for me, for I am a music lover, they give me yet another reason to stay alive at night.

Gigs—in the local lingo we call it tukar. Gigs aren't new in the city's premises. Typical Corridor GigThey have been in existence for as long as 8 years ago, as far as I can remember. But I'm pretty sure it dates back farther than that; I have witnessed that part of the city's scene only 8 years ago, and I was amazed at what I saw back then.

Gigs that happen in the city don't follow a fixed schedule and they don't have a fixed venue. What usually happens A Typical scene at Punchbowl Gigsis people get information by word of mouth. Some would also distribute flyers or post posters about the upcoming event usually a week before it happens. Lately, some of these local music groups put up websites that contain information about that group and their schedule of gigs. Two of the groups I know that have done this include Corridor Music Group and SLAM (the last time I checked, the latter doesn't seem to be that active anymore). On their websites, you'll see on their friend's list the bands that are regularly performing for them.

Some of the bands that made it to the mainstream started from these small gigs. And I tell you, how they play prior their way to the pop scene isn't much different compared to when Photobucketthey were still playing at these small gigs. And before you get me wrong, these guys still play at local gigs. (I was afraid I might give the impression that those guys are bloated enough for them not to play at local gigs anymore). Almost all the guys I know of who play at local gigs play without a charge. The organizer most likely give them free beers and stuff, but fees other than, you won't hear that from any of them. Those guys are pure music enthusiasts; they perform because they love to play music.

Here are some of the notable bands that made it to the mainstream: (Click on their names to open a window directing to their homepages)

and a lot more.

So if you are somewhere around the city, watch out for the events happening for the night. You won't regret spending P50 - P100 for a night floating on music. These guys are just amazing.

*First, second and fourth photos in courtesy of Pancho Trinidad.
*The rest of the photos in courtesy of Corridor Music Group.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Enjoying Kwek-Kwek on the Streets

Enjoying life in the city can be as simple as eating fishballs on the sidewalk. PhotobucketI used to do that a lot on my elementary days. For a peso, you already have 4 little fishballs. But a more enjoyable treat nowadays, and it has already become a favorite in the city, is munching on kwek-kwek. Yes. Kwek-kwek! For people inside the country, yes, we have kwek-kwek here in Cagayan de Oro; for people outside the country, I introduce you to kwek-kwek.

Kwek-kwek is a local treat not only present here in the city, but scattered around the country as well. It is sold in moving stalls put up by local entrepreneurs around the city after the sun sets. Lately, I’ve been seeing already a number of mini-stores selling kwek-kwek as their main product. Kwek-kwekThe delicacy is made up of either chicken egg or duck egg coated with a mixture of flour, baking powder, water, salt, and pepper. After which, it is then deep fried. When already cooked, it is either served with vinegar, gravy, or a special sauce made by the vendor. Diced cucumbers are also available for those who want to top their kwek-kwek with a bit of veggies.

One of the biggest factors that make kwek-kwek sell is its affordability. Depending on the vendor, it’s either sold at P10.00 or P8.00. Another factor that made it sell is it being sold with drinks (soft drink or buko juice) that ranges from P5.00 to P7.00. It’s really very affordable. With P25.00, I feel like I’m already having dinner. I guess that’s also one of the factors why many people enjoy eating kwek-kwek. It’s really amusing seeing yourself being able to buy a lot with just a little amount of money.

I don’t know about everyone else, everyone has distinct tastes; but I really enjoy the feeling of eating out on the streets at night with that cold ambiance and all those colors that light up the streets. So if you enjoy that, too, then I guess you’ll enjoy your stay here in this city.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cooling Down at The Malls in CDO

Of course, how could a city be a city without a mall? There are a few exceptions though, but a city just doesn’t seem to be complete without a mall, right? Anyone beg to differ?

Scattered around the city are the malls people in the city herd in order for them to do the usual activities that people do in any mall on any country—activities such as doing the grocery, Gaisano Cityshopping, watching movies, conducting business meetings, or anything on their to-do lists. There are currently 3 major malls standing around the city. This was formerly 4, but unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, it is now reduced to 3 because one of the malls (Ororama Mega Mall) got burned down last year. The first mall built in the city is Gaisano City. Now it has an annex just across the street where Gaisano City was built, joined together by an overpass. And they named it Gaisano Mall. The next mall stood up was Limketkai Mall. Formerly, this mall used to be open air. Only the outlets inside were airconditioned. Now, the whole mall is fully airconditioned. RobinsonsMoving on, the third mall that sprouted on Cagayan soil is the ever present SM City Mall. As being the mall on top of the hill, people who are headed towards the airport or people who just came from the airport make this their pit stop. And last but not the least, the latest mall (which is really more like an extension to Limketkai Mall) that made it's way in the city, is the young Robinsons Mall, the mall that houses one of the largest grocery store in the city. It also has a number of outlets inside its premises. These outlets range from cellular phone stores to stores that sell shirts and jeans, and from fastfood diners to coffee shops.

On a Saturday, you’ll typically see groups of teenagers scattered about inside the malls. There’s this, sort of, schedule on who goes to the mall on a particular day in a week. On Sundays, this would be family day—the scene inside the mall would most likely be groups of families strolling around. Limketkai MallFrom Mondays to Fridays, malls would have from a few people to moderate people—mostly college students and businessmen.

Back in high school, I and my friends used to go to malls on a Saturday to go “bird hunting.” By bird hunting I mean spotting cute and gorgeous girls coming from different campuses, tossing their hair like shampoo commercial models, putting that glow on their faces as if each of them are actresses from different TV programs. They would just melt our hearts out. But of course, that was before. I barely do that now, or maybe, I might not have even done it anymore. It’s not appropriate for my age anymore. Today would be younger generation’s time to do that. About what my generation does now, that would be the content for one of my next posts on this blog. Going back to the topic, yes, I don’t do it anymore, and neither do my friends, but the same rule still applies. SM CDO alsoAt times when I go to the malls on Saturdays and see all those young teenagers scattering about in the mall, I get reminded of those days when I still do those stuff.

Nowadays, every time I feel stressed from all the headaches that school gives us, I would think of having a stroll at one of the malls. A sip of coffee would be fine. Or they have these pearl coolers sold around the mall. That would be a good choice, too. Doing this for about an hour or an hour and a half would be enough to cool down my brain from thinking too much about school work.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Strolling Around Night Café at Cagayan de Oro City

It was a Friday night, and I just woke up from an exhausting day. Earlier in the morning, me and my partner in my final project two semesters ago (1st sem, 2008-2009) just passed our final output to our instructor. It was a product of a couple of months with sleepless nights trying to make our computer program to work. And it was hell. I have to ceaselessly read a whole book for two weeks straight trying to learn a computer language that I have encountered for the first time. It was like torture; considering we were given a time period enough only for us students to learn the advance topics in database that we were covering in class during that time; that is in my opinion of course (my apologies to readers not in the computer science field). Anyway, as I said before, I woke up that Friday night exhausted from all the things I’ve been through during that semester. I got up, took a drink from the fridge, and felt like I wanted to treat myself out. I wasn’t thinking of anything fancy; I just thought of giving myself a break from all the stresses I’ve been having for the past few months without spending a lot of money. I looked at the calendar, which was hanged just behind the fridge and remembered, hey, it’s a Friday night. How about strolling around Night Café?

night-cafe1-1-galleryfull.jpgFriday and Saturday nights have never been as alive as before. People of different ages and different walks of life have been flocking the streets of Divisoria ever since the streets were opened for the weekend Night Cafés. Various stalls are put up by local entrepreneurs. These stalls sell products ranging from food, to bags, to shoes, shirts, accessories, and a lot more. And they sell it a very affordable price—a hundred Pesos can buy you two decent short pants (by the time I’m writing this, the exchange rate from Philippine Pesos to U.S. Dollars is Php48.149 = $1.000). Here you’ll find everything under the sun, well in our case, moon. At one end, you’ll find a variety of food from a number of diners. Barbeque at night cafeTheir menu varies from stall to stall. One stall offers assorted barbeques, while another serve exquisite dishes such as calamari, smoked bangus, kinilaw, and a lot more. It’s a food haven out there at night, not to mention the open air city ambiance that the place gives. And if you’re not in to open air but are looking for some place air-conditioned, then there are always the all time favorite fast-food franchises around the area. Also, if you’re in for some booze, they always have that around the area. Check the nearest stall to see if they offer some.

Activities at the Night Café are not only limited to food, accessories, and the likes. There are also a lot of happenings aside from those. One I failed to mention was the nightly live band happening at the city Kiosk. While people, families, and other groups have their appetizing dinners, they are also serenaded by the city’s local bands. And if you’re lucky, you might end up jamming with the country’s top bands such as Bamboo, and the likes.

So if you’re somewhere around the city for a couple of days, make sure you reach at least a Friday or start your week here on a Saturday.

Here are two more photos taken during the Night Cafes:

This photo is in courtesy of jarqz at
Night CafeThis is a typical scene at the Night Cafe. People and booze get along quite well. In addition to that, one doesn't have to worry too much on security—police and other security personnel are deployed everywhere, scattered around the area. Although you still do have to be careful like we're always expected to. So as a tip: have all the fun that you can have, but be cautious as always. Below are stalls of diners. Families, groups of friends, or collegues usually dine here enjoying the atmosphere, and most especially the reasonable prices.

This photo is in courtesy of jarqz at

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Early Morning Walk at Cagayan de Oro's Beach

Waking up early at dawn, at around 5:30 in the morning, I found myself outside my grandparents’ house wondering what I could do on an early morning without any computer to tap at or anyone to talk to. It was still cold, and the sky just turned from purple to red. Standing outside, I took a deep breath to savor that fresh morning air that one could only scent during that time of the day. The air was fresh . . . and kind of salty. That sort of gave me an idea on what to do that morning. How about taking a walk at the beach?

From where I was standing, the beach was just a good 2.6 km away. I got my running shoes in my room that day, and there was nothing else to do that morning. So, what was I waiting for?

Beaches are one of the places where people love to go during a hot summer day. Families, friends . . . most often than not, beaches are almost always part of their list. And yes, Cagayan de Oro City has beaches to fill in that list.

Going to the beach during the day, usually around lunchtime, is when most of the locals and tourist would be most convenient to go. But during those jogging activities that I have had, I would recommend experiencing the beach on a pristine morning just about when the sun would pull itself up the mountain looking at the East direction when facing the water. It’s an experience one would incessantly savor. And pretty stress relieving, too.

Below is a photo taken from the beach in Opol, Misamis Oriental, which is just a part of Cagayan de Oro. This was taken when the sun was already up though. Click on the photo and it will open a new tab leading to the original website where I got this photo.
Sunrise at Opol Beach
This photo is in courtesy of

Here is a better scene of that sunrise I was talking about. This was taken around 5:30 in the morning at Marvilla Beach Resort.

Sunrise at Marvilla

What I usually do after a brief jog going to the beach is once I get there, I would go on an extra walk without my shoes on. Feeling the sand beneath my feet, inspiring that fresh, dawn breeze, listening to the frisky ruffles of the water brushing the sand, and indulging on to the awesome sight of the sun rising up the hills—it’s one of those experiences I just couldn’t trade off.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Mindanaoan Prologue

Here I will try to show in this whole blog how one enjoys life in the city, well, in my point of view that is. This I write in the context of living in a city situated here in one of the major islands in the Philippines—Mindanao. This blog can also be thought of as a travel guide for tourists who wishes or plans to visit the Philippines, particularly Mindanao. Or maybe for people from other parts of the country who were thinking of visiting the south side of the country but does not know what to expect from the place, they can make this their first step in coming to the shores of Mindanao. But perhaps it would be safer to say to people planning to do that kind of endeavor not to make this blog the sole basis of their travel guide. Here I just give the reader an idea of what it is like living in the cities of Philippines, particularly in Mindanao, and in the context of a young adult’s mind. I present this in the fashion of recounting the events that took place in cities here in Mindanao where I have resided or spent a considerable amount of time. Here I present a picture of the places and events with an eye deprived of bias. Here on this blog I will try and religiously paint a picture of people, situations, and places that made Mindanao an endearing home to me.

I am currently residing in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines. As you can see in the map below, she is situated at the bay area in the Northern part of Mindanao. This means that beaches are just a ride away! That would be about 20% of the allowance given to an average student like me. Economists say that this city is an economic hub: people who travel from the North to the south or vice versa, have to pass by Cagayan de Oro City.

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Anyway, I guess that would be enough for now. On the next blogs to come, I will slowly introduce to the reader the shores of a place I call home—Mindanao.

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