Sunday, September 4, 2016

Terrorism in Davao City, Philippines

Okay, I don't really like to call it as such because for the past years, we call it insurgencies but never terrorism. However, since the President has already declared it to be one, might as well use it here to avoid confusion.

I was browsing my Twitter last two days ago when I saw this rather concerning tweet about my former classmate asking what the noise was about. Then I started seeing tweets from the VP of Ateneo that says there's a major explosion that happened along Roxas St. Few seconds later, CNN gave this headline of a blast, an explosion, people were dead, many were injured. The blast was along the open-air night market of the said street where students and people from different levels of society get to eat and catch up with friends and just experience Davao.

I was shocked because Davao is home. I lived in the city for four years and I get heart broken, what more for those who grew up in Davao? Every time I remember the victims, some were students, I can't help but get angry to the perpetrators. And then you can't do anything else really but to feel sick and cry with them. Imagine those poor vendors who just wanted to provide for their families. They went out and put a brave soul, not sleeping early so that they can send their children to school. And then sick people get to decide their fate in that instant.

I am about to go home this week and I intend to tour the city just to unwind before the grueling tasks ahead of me. Then the uni sent me this:

The whole world knows what happened and some of the countries already warned their citizens about it, issuing travel advisory to discourage people from going to the Philippines. A certain group already claimed responsibility for what happened and what is sad about it is that they are born and raised by their Filipino parents. They claim to be Filipinos but they gave up that right to be called as one the moment they killed other Filipinos for money. That's all there is to be honest. They hated the government so much but they are killing everyone, Filipinos and foreigners alike. They have no soul.

It's a tiring week to think that it is just starting. I pray for the victims and their families, that God will bring them comfort amidst all the hurt, that He will bring justice to those who deserve it, and that He will heal us. I just hate that some Manilenyos (not all okay) are blaming and saying stupid things like, "I thought Davao was safe?" Really? SERIOUSLY?

A Trip to Port Stephens

As I've said in one of my previous post, we had a farewell party and it was a blast! I'd like to say that it was because they like what I cooked. They said that it's their favourite. Yeey! But there were lots of alcohol at that time so I can't really be sure. The morning of that day, I went to Nelson Bay and Port Stephens to join the Tour coordinated by the uni.

First, we went to Murrook where we were educated a bit on the Aboriginal (indigenous) culture which includes their art, tools, way of life, and how they use their resources around them. It was really a unique experience. Two Aborigines facilitated this part. What I like the most was their belief of only taking what is enough; not to be greedy, basically.

We were supposed to practice how to use a boomerang properly but because the lawn was wet due to a moderate rainfall beforehand, we proceeded with the Aboriginal-inspired painting. Their paintings used dots heavily and a lot of symbols as well so we had to learn those. I came up with the picture below. Not really pretty but I love it!

Fun fact: Did you know that the dots in their paintings must be dip in the colour every single time to get that even circumference? Imagine having a standard canvas, it'll take you days just to complete it! Also, every painting has its own story as stories are part of their culture.

Then we went to Murray's for a beer tasting. I was really expecting to only have beers but I dunno what happened that we got to taste wines as well. No one's complaining, I mean, who would? I don't really drink beers because for me they taste awful but I like the first one that we tried. I forgot about the names of the beers we had but I kept drinking them because it's part of what I paid. Besides, I want to try new things so I drank them all. We tasted sauvignon blanc, semillon, pinot grigio, moscato (my favourite because it's the only sweet one), and other wines which names I also do not remember.

Too bad it was raining
This brewery
One of the beers that we had

Lunch as also served in this location. They served pizzas (no picture)! I love it. I sat beside and across German students and they ate really fast! I was still halfway through my first pizza and they are on to their second! With 2 pizzas that were served, I only ate 2 slices and a few chips. Then the girl beside me saw that there was another pizza in the other table (part of the group tour) so she took it (hopefully it was clean) and gave it to me. The other German guy was hungry as well but he let me have it. Ow. Nice. So I munched it hungrily then another pizza came. Yes! Turns out, German guy2 asked Murray's to give us another pizza for free because German guy1 said he was hungry. Sweet. For that pizza, I ate one as well. After four slices, I was still hungry! But, it was time for us to go and everything's eaten up already so no point in staying - except for that one slice that was thrown away. Geez. It was a full slice and they put serviettes and other trash on top of it. What a waste.

After lunch, we fed stingrays and sharks with fish, prawns and squids at Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters. It was fun! I get to pat a stingray's back and boy it was very soft that even the slightest touch could feel like you are hurting it.

Eat shark, eat
Not having success with this one

Overall, I'd rate this tour 7 out of 10. Not a perfect score because it was raining that resulted for us to skip the boomerang activity but good enough because of the bonus wines and the pizzas!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

A Night at Nobby's Beach

I feel like I needed to go somewhere just to break the monotony of always chilling at Nobby's Beach. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Nobby's Beach. But I feel like I needed to go somewhere different. Two things I hate about Merewether Beach are the double bus rides and a long walk after it. But we'll see. I want to go to Stockton first. Just have a picnic I guess.

When I went to Nobby's a while back, I was late for the sunset because I got tired from all the walking I did when I bought my groceries. Then, I had some side trips along the way (catching Pokemons). Good thing it didn't rain. So when I finally arrived at my spot, it was beginning to go dark. I didn't really stay long because it was just me and there were no lights. As I was heading towards the starting point of the breakwater, I stopped to catch a Machop. It's not everyday that you get a Machop so I stopped, naturally. Then this woman approached me and said, "Can I have a look? I've been seeing people playing it." She knows I'm playing the game and I said, "Sure!" So I started explaining how to catch a pokemon and the pokeballs, basically just a rundown of the important things and I showed her how to catch a pokemon. Then she said, "That looks like a Teddy Bear isn't it?" Poor Machop. She's a real sweetheart though. I love it when older people are trying to understand the new craze.

There was also this one time I rode a bus going to the uni. I sat beside an old man who has rather cheerful on that day. Out of nowhere he asked me, "Are you lost?" And I said, "No." Then I realised why he asked me that and added, "I'm just playing Pokemon Go." He must've seen the  map-like interface of the app and thought I was trying to figure out my way somewhere. He was a bit interested and asked me how it works. I'm not sure how I explained it because I was surprised by his cheerfulness. :))

So that's how my day went and I will be leaving you with this sole picture I took. Have a great day!

Beaches and Sunsets

Okay, I have a confession. I don't really like beaches and sunsets. That was before. Now, I feel like going to the beach everyday and watch as the sun sets would be one of the highlights in my stay here in Oz. I still don't swim in them but I enjoy watching how things, like the sun, rest at the end of the day. Here's some of the photos I took on several of my visits at Nobby's Beach:

This is was one of the first photos I took

My favourite spot to chill is under this I-dont-know-what-they-call-it

The island (sort of) opposite to the break water is the Stockton suburb

This is one very rusty ladder with some sort of cage
to discourage people from climbing it, I guess

Ted Chan looking relaxed while enjoying the sunset

And this, my friends, is the photo that reminds me how beautiful life is

Let's Mark This Day!

Today, I cried because I read something. I just woke up and read this rather lengthy note. I decided not to respond because it'll take me HOURS to write what I feel and that would mean HOURS of crying as well. Every time I remember it, I cry. So I decided I am gonna spare my emotions this time. I only have, what, a few days left before I go home and I want it to be free from all that. Tomorrow, I will go to Port Stephens for a tour. I have been craving for a pizza this past weeks (and I know it's not healthy hence I didn't buy any - I was thinking of buying a frozen one, HA!) BUT the uni email I received said they will be serving a GOURMET PIZZA for lunch tomorrow!!! OMG. SHUT. THE. FRONT. DOOR.

What kept me from registering (initially) though is the thought that tomorrow's gonna be our farewell party courtesy of our landlord. I'm not sure how to cook the food suggested to me. And no, I'm not an expert in cooking batches that would still taste the same in the end. In truth, I don't really know how to cook. :)) I could cook yes and I have that confidence to cook everyday but only because at the end of it, it will just be me who'll eat what's on the plate. I don't want people to get sick because I served them an expired meat, do I? I actually did that a lot of times already and so far, they're still alive which is a good sign! *two thumbs up* What I needed to do is too cook for a number of people. Like 50? Not sure who and how many people will attend but we'll see. Now, I have the task of going to a grocery store and buy stuff, cook it tonight, and sleep like a baby after, ready for tomorrow's tour. YES! I signed up! I'm WAAAY out of budget here but 9 days, what can I say?

This past days was a bit rocky for me. Didn't really like my decisions in those days but I'll take them as lessons. EVERYTHING. I'm an ass, I know that. So yeah. What's new? I'm just glad that this will be over soon. You know what's funny is that I have a suicidal tendency. A day like this makes me think of just killing myself but of course, I wouldn't do it. Thinking alone is crazy. I'm still sane enough to stop myself from doing it though. Don't worry, I'm not gonna do it. That would be extremely selfish. I was hurt when R did it so no, no. This is getting depressing. Okay. Grocery time.

Our Ourimbah Trip

Today, we went to Ourimbah campus of the University of Newcastle and had a quick tour. It was, I think, a 20 minute walk from the train station which is really convenient for students who are traveling everyday. To our surprise, we saw a miniature Holi festival on campus, hamsters balls and strapped trampolines. I'm guessing it is the culmination of the Cultural Week. The main campus has the same activity based on the Instragram posts I saw.

What I really like about the Ourimbah campus is the modern vibe you get in their library (I wasn't able to take a picture though), the cheap food, and a garden that looks like it is being surrounded by Cherry Blossoms. They also have a health bar (cafeteria) and an organic stall. How cool is that?! Plus, people in the campus are rare. Haha Meaning, it's not heavily populated. The downside though is that their cafeterias close at 3 PM

I'm hoping to visit the campus at Port Macquarie soon, hopefully before I leave. Some of the photos below are already posted in my Instagram and Twitter but because they are private, I'm sharing this to you (so it'd be easy for you to see). Enjoy the pics!

At the train station

The uni mascot!

And this is my favourite spot :)

One of the evidences of Holi

And this is what happens when you are with friends who are constantly playing Pokemon Go

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