A Travellerspoint blog

I Am a Mistake

“There is nothing wrong in making mistakes. What’s wrong is letting it stay as a mistake without the effort of making it right.” 1126P, 17April2009

We talk over the phone and exchange messages on rare occasions.
You said you are immature and stupid.
You said you don’t like giving flowers and chocolates.
You said you won’t like it when someone would ask you to fetch him/her.
You made me aware you are in a relationship. You mentioned you are wearing some sort of an engagement ring. You asked me what if you are getting married soon.
Once I asked you why you called. You said you don’t want me to get mad at you.
There are times when you wont hung up first. At times that when you would, you will call me back.
One time you told me you want to feel and experience care from me.
You told me to stop smoking. You told me to take care of myself for you.
Those and a lot more made me assume things.
I assumed there is something budding between us.
I assumed I would matter to you.
I assumed I am important to you.
But just this recently, you are not communicating anymore.
I want to believe there is still tomorrow for our connection. But up to this point, I am left to myself, hanging in mid-air with no clear stand, no clear hope.
I poured time over thoughts of you and on how to make things work but to no avail. Things may not be meant to be at all.
I would like to believe I exerted all efforts I could to stay connected with you. Maybe I am not exerting enough.
Then I recalled the message you sent last 17April.
“Bon, I dunnu king mu apply ni sa ato duha: There is nothing wrong in making mistakes. What’s wrong is letting it stay as a mistake without the effort of making it right.”
My mind reeled.
Considering that you are in a relationship, I thought I am a mistake.
We talked about me and we talked about you but there was never a time when we talked about “us.”
Maybe, you are considering me a mistake. A big mistake.
Maybe you are working to correct this mistake to make things right for you.
I would understand.
I may just be another set of ripples to your otherwise placid life.
I feel sorry for myself I never had enough strength to let go of you.
It hurts you are not communicating anymore.
It hurts I am not hearing your voice any longer.
It hurts I am missing you bad.
It hurts I may not be able to talk to you again.
It hurts this may be goodbye.
Before we totally lose the connection, allow me to say a few more things.
Thank you for the time that you shared no matter how short it was.
Thank you for being the someone I was able to share some things with.
Thank you for entrusting some information about you.
Much more, thank you for being you.
Again, this may be goodbye. But thank you. Thank you so much!

Posted by bondabe 01:18 Comments (0)

Ask and Hear

In course of my job as travel specialist, I came across a lot of travel scenarios and arguments.

One evening, I got a call from an Indian woman about a flight cancellation. At the onset of the call, she sounded so calm when she mentioned the reason why she is calling.

While I was reviewing the restrictions of her booking, I asked her the reason for the cancellation so that I will be able to advice her more appropriately.

She replied “We won’t be able to travel anymore. I can’t go. My husband, who is the other traveler on this itinerary passed away just yesterday.” And then broke off.

I was left speechless. Of course we are trained how to empathize and I could have automatically answered her with the usual line “I am so sorry to hear about the loss. It must be hard.”

I had her talk more about it instead. Not that it is interesting to hear anything of that sort. Then she went “This is supposed to be our first trip back to India after a long time. He was excited to be there.”

It seemed to me she is fine talking about it. The rest of what she said was garbled and I didn’t ask her to say things over again so I would understand. For a long moment she cried on the phone and I said nothing.

After a while she opted to call back when she would feel better.

I asked her on what would make her feel better so we can deal with the issue right away, saving her another call back.

Then there was dead air.

After a few seconds of silence I suggested that we pray for the soul the departed.

Enthusiastically, she said yes.

But I don’t know how to pray the Indian way. So I said something like “I know we are not on the same religion and we have a different outlook when it comes to worship. But let me do it the way I know how.”

So we went ahead with the prayer.

After the lengthy prayer, she sighed and said she is feeling better.

So I reviewed the restrictions of her international economy ticket and the airline's policy for extenuating circumstances. In cases where the traveler’s reason for cancellation is death in the family or in this example, death of the traveler, the ticket will be refundable. I immediately processed the refund of both their tickets.

The rationale of this story is simple. Ask and hear.

Oftentimes, people would be so process-oriented and would be focused much on the procedures in doing what needs to be done. Often times we fail to listen.

Posted by bondabe 03:00 Archived in Philippines Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

Of Hotel Bookings and their Restrictions

I have been working as subject matter expert for an online travel agency based in the US and I had more than enough of those times when callers would shout on you especially when you discuss the restrictions of their booked travel items.

At this time, I would like to tackle on hotel bookings.

What is in the mind of most customers is that they have a 24-hour leeway in canceling their bookings. Indeed, there are hotel properties that are not very restrictive of their restrictions.

One of the facts that are not quite known to most customers is that the hotel reservations they are arranging with online travel agencies are contracted bookings – contracts between the hotel and the online travel agency. The online travel agency would buy a number of rooms from a certain property and offer it online for a much lower rate than the property’s published rates.

These rooms are then subject to the contract agreed by the property and the online travel agency. Of course that’s where cancellation or change restrictions come in.

In most cases, canceling a reservation 72 hours prior to check in time would mean a minimal cancellation fee. Cancellations within the 24-hour period would be subject to the first room night’s fee and tax. Cancellations after check in time (which is usually 3PM local hotel time) would be subject to the hundred percent cost of stay.

It is surprising to know that there are a lot of customers who would deny paying the penalty in canceling their booking especially if they are the ones who booked the reservation online.

The root cause of most arguments of this nature is the failure of a lot of people to read the fine prints of the booking. Of course it is pretty much understandable to argue about money matters but all these can be avoided if everyone would have a clear understanding of the booking restrictions.

So, bottom line is, carefully read the restrictions of whatever booking you are doing online.

Posted by bondabe 02:27 Archived in Philippines Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

just about anything

and everything else in between...

there are a number of things this earth that often annoy me. close-minded freakos who are up only for their own sake, wreckless drivers with smoky wheels running across and against my path, ant-brained fellows who act as if they have laurels on their heads, preppy good looks and well sculpted physiques that are completely out from my touch, dumb street audience who are wasting time on street corners, the brained populace who act as if they are out of sense, people who are with power who don't know how to manage what they are bestowed with, demanding lil rats running on my corridors, cramped linen left unwashed, slits for eyes looking at me, big mouths cursing at my back. et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. and the list goes on.

i am not perfect. but a struggling lil perfectionist. i might be ill-minded at times. i might be thinking creepy. but i am just a lil poor boy left wading thru the murky depths of this vast swamp called life.

i am what you percieve me to be. you're old enough to make sound judgements. i care less. whatever your opinion is, be it.

you would know if i disagree on things if you'll see me outwitting you. and i dont want it when people would be out-witted.

i want to go out and have a taste of practically everything sweet and nice. but i am not closing my doors to stupidity and bitterness.

CTCs wont be entertained. no brainer questions would be dumped. boring talks are unwanted. friendships and ONSs are welcome.

Posted by bondabe 03:39 Comments (0)

That Guy, That Daybreak

and everything else in between

I have been lurking around bars and party places with friends since time immemorial - filling our system with alcohol and nicotine and satisfying a little bit of carnal cravings. Sure this one would offend the traditional and the conservative minds. Hence, my apologies (if you are not prepared to read explicit stuff, refrain from reading on).

Before I go further, I would like this one fact known: I go out with male friends and we hunt for the species of our denomination.

One lazy weekday, I was with a couple of guy friends dancing our night out with the usual dosage of alcohol and vitamin N (N for nicotine) at a bar along Mango Av named Stiletto (now Numero Doce occupies its space after the latter ceased operations).

Click! We started dancing at around ten in the evening and our energy reserve can still power a subdivision for a night. We danced our way to drunkenness. And when everything seemed to have revolved around our heads, we started to get outta control. More like breaking out from a state of fixation and going into insanity or whatever you may wanna call it.

At around three in the morning I found myself on the dance floor near the bar with my friends. We earned some alien stares from the people around, it was like there are a number of eyes (slits more like) from around the darkened walls. I cared less.

Further on, I caught a glimpse of this guy staring at me, smiling.

I dismissed his stares. "He might be smiling at his reflection in the glass," I thought as I turned my back on him to look at the glass wall behind me. He continuously stared at me - somewhat insistent, somewhat provoking.

As if spreading myself to submission, I returned his smile.

The next moment, he was wading his way through the fool-flooded dance floor, walking towards me. In a millisecond, he anchored his hands on my waist, gyrating his loins against mine. I was caught under the threshold that separates aberration and actuality. I remained still. But as his impulse remained rather constant, I gained ground and went with the flow.

For a flashing moment, images of two masculine forms in union flashed on my already twisted mind. But I decided not to entertain those images and shifted my mind to the guy I am dancing with. He was about my height five feet five inches at least, about my built, a long nose, a pair of magnetic eyes…

Click! We were gyrating, loin against loin, chest against chest.

At first it was just a dance, a daring dance. I look at him straight in the eyes and both spelled something that turned me on. I can't go specific but yeah. Then he smiled and so I did. His thin lips parted and i saw his tongue licking his upper teeth. I did the same. Moments onwards, he stuck his tongue out. And so I did.

The somatic temperature went high and the heat's substratum were both our loins. Surely 'twasnt fever, is it? The magnitude of the situation gravitated and pinned me to a state of utter lunacy.

His teasing tongue was like a snake slithering out from its hole, looking for a prey to invade.

The perfect combination of alcohol and insanity told me to stuck mine out too. And so I did.

‘Twas just that at first – sticking our tongues out, never touching anything than the nicotine-filled air inside the bar.

Click! The heat intensified and I was surprised by my own action. Our faces went closer slowly and the next thing I knew, our tongues twisted, intertwined and were battling like swords, only, soft, wet and hot.

As the time progressed, your mouths connected. He expertly sucked both my lower and upper lips. And he sucked my tongue too. After every kiss, would break into smiles.

More things happened as daybreak cut in.

Click! I found myself on the ledge with that guy. The heat further intensified. He reached for my crotch, my butt cheeks and the portion where my a-hole is. He even went as far as licking my tummy. Cool! I shouted deep within.

Between what I call "takes", doses of alcohol were handed to me (courtesy of the guy) and my system was more than eager to drink up.

Have I been so imprisoned that I am acting like I broke out from jail? Is it the alcohol or the nicotine perhaps? Or is it the real me?

The constant lip and tongue sucking went on until we decided to call it a day. Time for us to go part ways – me with my friends and him with himself as he was alone that night.

Click! On the stair landing outside the bar, he went after me handing yet another serving of alcohol. One more dose then another torrid kiss and then we bid goodbye to each other.

"What a night!" I screamed to myself.

Click! Moments later on the roadside while waiting for our ride, he was again at my back. Before taking his ride, he motioned for another kiss but I refused. "Crazy!" I told myself. "This might be the last!" But no. The single strand of insanity that bound my brain to my head restrained me.

Click! He was gone. But with a promise. "See you!"

Click! Back to reality. (mirror+echo)

Posted by bondabe 05:21 Comments (0)

Episode: Marco Polo Plaza Hotel Cebu Blessing


Cebu City’s skyline will once again become as magnificent as it has been with the opening of the much talked about hotel in the metropolis today – Marco Polo Plaza Cebu. Very soon, Marco Polo Plaza Hotel Cebu will formally open its doors to the world populace.

Last February 22, Marco Polo Plaza Hotel had its blessing highlighting a high mass celebrated by His Eminence Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Vidal together with other bishops.

After the blessing of the 329-room hotel, lunch was served and guests were properly accommodated and were spoiled over excellent and well-presented food in the superb, medium lit second level function room.
This writer had the opportunity to talk to one of the top honchos of the Marco Polo Group, Director of Human Resources for Training and Development, Deanna McGonigal – the amiable Hongkong-based Canadian hotelier who is on top of the training and staff preparation of the hotel.

In between helpings, things about Marco Polo Plaza Hotel Cebu were disclosed.

“This is a brand new hotel and we don’t wanna stick on to the past. We hired some of the best in the region for management positions and we also hired the best for our hotel staff,” McGonigal Disclosed.

Marco Polo hotel properties are international hotels complying with the high international standards said McGonigal but with the expertise on the local flavors distinct in the region or area where a certain property is located. As for Marco Polo Plaza Hotel Cebu, “We can expect a true Cebuano experience.”

She observed that the hotel industry in the Philippines is growing together with international trade and tourism and Marco Polo is looking into establishing properties in major centers like Manila. “We are working with the tourism industry to enhance Cebu and the Philippines for that matter, as a destination,” McGonigal added.

Targeting the leisure and business market, McGonigal shared they are poised to becoming the home for the market if they stay in Cebu.

During the training she conducted with the staff, she observed that Cebuanos “they accepted the education and training we conducted. They are receptive and it’s so delightful.”

True to Marco Polo’s culture, “We are about people, service, commitment, growth and development,” McGonigal concluded.

Deanne McGonigal has been in the hotel industry for more than two decades and has just recently re-joined the Marco Polo Group. She has been touring around the 10 Marco Polo properties around the world and has served several other properties.

[NOTE: past record]

Posted by bondabe 02:46 Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

sumilon discovery: a trip to the island getway

A tranquil island that gives you a feeling of utmost privacy, a getaway from the hassle and bustle of the urban jungle and a place where nature is in harmony with all the life forms inhabiting in it. The island is called Sumilon – a 24-hectare coral island lying in the southeastern tip of Cebu mainland and plays host to the world-class Sumilon Bluewater Island Resort.


THE urban Cebu City gradually dissolved into memories of a fast-paced life as the Ceres bus trudged along the length of the national highway heading towards the southern town of Oslob where the island getaway of Sumilon is nestled. Bucolic landscapes unfolded as we passed along the towns of San Fernando, Car-car, Sibonga, Argao and so on (the places before the ones mentioned are already urbanized and the sight is something I am used to having been an urbanite since childhood).

We had the first stop at the old town of Argao (Pueblo de Argao during the Spanish times, circa 1600) where we had mid-morning snacks at Alex Kafe at the center of the old town. Owner and Argao Tourism Commissioner Alex Kintanar Gonzales disclosed that the structure they are occupying now has been a property of the Kintanar clan since 1927. “The place has a history for itself. This has been abandoned a lot of times and has been used for several purposes like a bodega for kerosene and a salon for the Japanese soldiers during the war. Now it has become my therapy place for about four years now and it helped me become a servant of the municipality of Argao,” Alex related on a short chat after a hearty platter of Torta (the town’s famous delicacy), bud-bud (sticky rice rolled and wrapped in banana leaves) and puto (another delicacy made from sticky rice) paired with hot chocolate and some fresh ripe mango. Later, I earned the title “Best in Interview Portion” courtesy of ABS-CBN Cebu’s Jud Morning host, my Kapamilya and good friend Jude Aparri Bacalso.

An urbanite on a sojourn, I spent the remainder of the bus trip napping.

At the time I woke up, I was greeted by the scenic vista of the blue seas meeting the azure skies in the horizon. At last, we are on the drop-off point for Sumilon Bluewater Island Resort at Bangcongon in Oslob town. Every guest were embraced by the warmth of the place that has nothing to do with the mid-day temperature but with the luminous and genuine smiles sported by the usherettes as they welcome the guests. Refreshments (bokarillo, chicharon, banana chips, tuna sandwich, juices, water, sodas, etc.) were offered at the spacious and open-air facility, which served as our reception while waiting for the barge that is to take us to the island.

I must admit that the long travel got me groggy but upon stepping foot at the island’s shifting white sand bar, I felt totally refreshed and invigorated. What greeted us in the island itself is a breath-taking sight – the crystal clear waters, the sun-kissed pristine white sand, the sound of the waves rushing to the shore of powdery sand and the Sinulog dance performance of a cultural ensemble performing on the sand bar – a perfect subject for artists who want to depict in their art pieces the wonderful harmony of nature and the life it hosts. By the way, they call it “shifting white sand bar” because, “Its changes shape and shifts location around the island depending on the season,” explains the amiable Margie Munsayac, the resort’s VP for Sales and Marketing on a chat before we boarded the barge off to the island.

Again, refreshments are offered at the beginning of the trail towards the resort’s reception area.

A little walk and we reached the reception area – the Island Pavilion, which houses the library, gift shop and the restaurant. It was lunchtime and the crowd was divided into cliques. Others opted to stay at the Island Pavilion while the bulk went straight to the picnic groove where lechon baka and lechon baboy laid waiting.
I shared a table with companions and dive enthusiasts Ms Tina (Poblador), this paper’s Advertising Manager; Mats (Galicano); and Rotarians Benjie and Mars. My favorite Third String (an acoustic band playing at Tequila Joe’s every Thursday and Saturday) serenaded us during the lunch of the ocean’s bounty. After partaking the gastronomic pleasures of mixed seafood (freshly cooked crabs, shrimps, squids, etc.), we registered for the free services like Kayaking, massage, diving and snorkeling.

The first that we did was kayaking (paddle boating) at the natural lagoon rested at the picnic groove. ‘Twas actually my second time to do the paddles, the first one at Rio de Cagayan (whitewater rafting!) which requires strength and presence of mind. This time, I don’t need to paddle vigorously. In a relaxed manner, I paddled to the end of the lagoon on my pink kayak, getting lost in my daydreams. The high mangroves surrounding the lagoon obstructed the wind from the open sea and the resulting current of air is a cool breeze, ideal for the much-needed relaxation.
We did snorkeling next at the marine sanctuary near Nikki’s Wall – dive site that plays host to, according to the handout, Jack, Tuna, Reef Fishes, Anduhaw, Snapper and Puffer Trigger among others. But before we reached the site, we traipsed along the footpath of white pebbles under the canopy of verdant trees. Nothing can be heard except the rustling of the foliage against the gentle breeze and the twittering of the birds and of course the snapping dried twigs that fell on the pathway.

A view of mainland Cebu’s southern part and a greenish blue silhouette of the nearby Negros Oriental spread out before us as the end of the trail fell to the aquamarine waters. We boarded the motorized banca and off we went to the dive site.

While Ms Tina and Mats went down for a dive together with a couple of divers, me together with Benjie and Mars were just at the surface taking a bird’s eye view of the enthralling marine world lying about 17 feet beneath us. My snorkeling companions were thrilled to find Nemo (some clown fishes) playing on their playground of sea anemone that swaying to the direction of the surface current. The underwater scenery captivated my sense that I lost track of time. After spending half an hour, we bid goodbye to the colorful corals and the vibrant marine life dwelling in the peaceful sanctuary down under.

When we returned, the picnic groove was showered with the soft orange glow of the late afternoon sunlight and the area was cleared of the buffet tables and refreshment stations – a sign that suggests we are about to leave. After taking my shower and while waiting for the Ms Tina and Mats, I settled at the cushioned duyan anchored on the trunks of two trees by the shore.

Moments later, we were schlepping back to the motorized banca that is to take us back to mainland Cebu. After negotiating the not-so-nice waters, I was jolted back to the present world, back to the metropolis, back to urban living inside the city of concrete jungle.

I have no regrets except that I was never able to check out the Yamashita Caves, the Tree Park, the Parola and the Balwarte. Then I promised to myself to be back and check out the pursuits I left for the simple reason that I wasn’t blest with more time to explore more of Sumilon and the resort it houses – the Sumilon Bluewater Island Resort.
I felt nostalgic as the Ceres bus left for the city. Nevertheless, I have been thankful to God for sculpting such a blissful island blest with sun-drenched beaches and natural landscapes.

- - - G e t t i n g T h e r e - - -

From Dumaguete City
There are direct flights between Manila and Dumaguete City. From Dumaguete City, the resort can arrange pumpboats (small fast crafts) to bring guests directly to Sumilon Island. if weather conditions do not allow travel via pump boat, then ferry rides to the port of Bato, Oslob and trasportation to the resort can be set up.
From Cebu City
There are daily flights between Manila and Cebu City. From Cebu City, guests can take a scenic drive through the southern coastal towns of mainland Cebu. The ride offers glimpses of both Filipino urban and rural life, as well as its historical past that help form the local culture. Once outside the city limits, a relaxing trip begins through a tree-canopied highway with breath-taking views of the eastern seashores.

Posted by bondabe 02:35 Comments (0)

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