Posted by: Kikomatching | May 8, 2014

Starting Over Again..

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Last night, I watched online the Filipino movie Starting Over Again with my roomies. My curiosity got in because of what I’ve been reading in FB from some friends who happened to watched the movie couple of months back. Most of them gave positive reviews of the movie and since we have time to watch last night over dinner, so we did. An added factor why we decided to watch it is because the lead actors, Piolo Pascual and Toni Gonzaga are both Christians (not discounting the fact that they are good actors too).

The storyline is simple and common to many Rom-com movies in the past. Girl meets Boy (or should I say “Man” because He was a former professor prior to being a couple), girl is deeply in love with him and did everything to win over the man of her dreams. Dream came true and they became a couple. On the night the man proposed marriage to her, she said NO for still unclear reason and she decided to leave the country leaving the poor guy puzzled and very heart broken. He wrote a letter to the girl for sending 4 years later expressing His strong feelings still and hoped that they would be together again.

However, as time passed by, guy met another lady who loved him despite his limitations and imperfections and made him whole again. But apparently, the original couple crossed paths once again when the guy planned to convert their old family house into a restaurant (which by the way was part of the plans of the then original couple). Girl tries to win him back despite the fact that he is already committed all because she realized that she still has feelings for him and that she was very sorry for her abrupt decision to leave him and has been regretting it since then.

One day, there was a confrontation between the two ladies and the ex-GF was begging the current GF to let the man go back to Him because she believes that He still loves her. Then a freak accident happened and both of them was rushed to the hospital. At that very moment, the guy had a realization that whilst he still love his ex-GF, He loves His current GF more and that the purpose of him crossing paths with his ex is to have a formal closure of their open-ended relationship so they could both be set free. They asked and released forgiveness to one another and the story ended with the guy proposing to his current love and the ex-GF finding a potential love of her life.

Many people including one of my room mate got a bit disappointed with the ending of the movie and complained that why they were not allowed to have a happy ending by being together again. It was not a typical ending to most love stories but I can personally relate to the movie’s the story line…

YES, not all Love stories have a happy ending (or so we thought). Sometimes, people can really not end up together even though they loved each other in the past..maybe because of certain unexpected circumstances or maybe because of their own decisions (but not necessarily mutual decision all the time, like what happened to the characters in the movie). But even though love stories ended unexpectedly, the most important thing when both parties realized that indeed they cannot be together again is to release forgiveness and receive forgiveness as well. Only then can they both move on.

It happened to me…It was really a struggle for few years not being sure of the future and still hoping that we could end up together again despite the fact that she is already committed by the time we were in speaking terms once again. But in our story, I was the Toni (meaning, I was the one who gave up) and had regretted it. I had fears and expectations..or maybe simply we are not in the same page anymore at that time so I decided to end the long-term relationship.

I also attempted to win her back but you know, God really has a way of telling what His plan is for us and His plan is always perfect and on time. When I realized that it was not God’s plan, only then that I tried to move on and asked for forgiveness and I also forgave myself. It was confirmed when she dreamt I had died. I believe it’s God’s way of telling us, that part of our life is a thing of the past and we must move on to what God has in-stored for us in the future.

I realized I had really moved on when last night while watching the movie and all the memories of the past flashed back, I no longer feel the pain but instead, I had that confident assurance that God is doing something great. Yes, I am still single for few years now but I know the future is so bright and wonderful.

Life is not like a timer in our phone wherein the moment we stopped time, automatically we can create a 2nd, 3rd lap and so on..We can never stop time nor turn it back but what we can be sure of is that God knows His plan for us. He already had the blue print of our lives even before we were born. All we need to do is completely trust and obey Him.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Posted by: Kikomatching | January 31, 2014

The True Meaning of LIFE.

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It has been more than a year that I never updated my blog. I rarely open my WordPress Account these days.

Seems I’m so busy lately and that I perceived life as still Goin’ Bananas…Definitely NOT!

I can proudly say that now I have LIFE.

A life that this world did not give but a life that was REDEEMED by JESUS CHRIST.

Yes, you read it right. I’m now living my life for JESUS.

If there is any life worth living, it’s the life living for the ONE, TRUE and LIVING GOD.

I used to believe I am a nobody. I am unloved and unworthy. A nerdy-looking guy living a mediocre life.

But God said: I am Fearfully and Wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

I used to believe life is full of uncertainties and that you have to live your life day by day because you are not sure about tomorrow.

But God said: For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah29:11)

I used to spell success as working so hard, making a lot of money and that rest and relaxation means living in a nice, comfortable house, dining and drinking in fine restaurants or bars or staying in fine hotels.

But God reminded me: For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? (Matthew 16:26)

Now I clearly understood that Life is more than what I see or feel.

Life is all about knowing and loving JESUS and living it according to His will and Purpose.

I never felt more at peace than what I am feeling now. Troubles or problems may come, but I have peace and joy in my heart. For I have the peace of God. (John 14:27)

I will never feel alone and empty. For I have a Heavenly Father who loves me so much and will never leave me nor forsake me.
He wants to give me His full inheritance through Jesus Christ.

He loves me and forgave me of my sins. He has forgotten my past and even saved me from eternal destruction.
I am a new creation in His eyes. (2 Cor. 5:17)

And the good news is, He doesn’t show any favoritism. Yes, I am special in His eyes. And so are you!

His love and mercy is for the whole world. For those willing to accept Him. (John 3:16)

He is giving it to you. Receive Jesus in your life and your life will never be the same again- 100% GUARANTEED.

God bless all of you!

Posted by: Kikomatching | September 20, 2012

Thinking of Thongsomboon Club…

Last August 13, I joined the annual Family Outdoor activity by my Christian Church here in Bangkok. It was a long holiday, being Her Majesty, The Queen of Thailand’s Birthday which is also the celebration of Mother’s Day for Thai people.

The Family Outdoor was held in Thongsomboon Club located in Pakchong, Nakhon Ratchasima Province which is in the Northeastern Part of Thailand. This region is usually called Isarn region by Thais.

Thongsomboon Club is an established family-oriented adventure park which is very near the well known Khao Yai National Park. In Thongsomboon, you can do various activities such as ATV, Horse Riding, Dry Sledge, Go Kart, Flying Fox, Bumper Boat, Rolling Ball and many others.

My Church has several activities for that day but the Singles Group (including me!) were there the day before (12 Aug) to spend overnight and be an advanced party to the group.

Accommodations in Thongsomboon are very unique in design. Some are like trailer vans in the US while some look like Indian Tents (Teepee) while the others are designed like a Cart suite. As there are 12 of us, we had to split the group into 3 rooms, 1 room is large enough to accommodate up to 6 persons.

 

 

 

 

 

The resort being near the National Park which is a mountainous area, the weather is usually cool and the air fresh. Luckily there are not much mosquitoes in our room as everyone failed to bring an insect repellent.

The view of the surrounding is just magnificent!

 

 

We were entitled to 6 activities during the Outdoor. All church members were divided into different color groups. I was assigned as part of the Yellow Team.

We tried the Luge, an engine-less luge car that allows you to steer down a zigzaggy hill. The course though in a slope is very safe and we had a great fun. Didn’t have a photo of this ride though.

We had to ride the Sky Lift (a cable car) to go back on top after the Luge ride.

Next stop we tried the Dry Sledge. You have to ride in an inflatable tube and you are pushed backwards down a hilltop. This one is also very exciting but the ride is a bit short.

We went to the ATV area next. I like this ride though the course is not as rough as I expected. The air so so fresh and the green surrounding is just so refreshing!

 


Next we rode the Log Ride. It is a ride that resembles a wooden log and you have to travel a short distance and ending on a big splash as the log climbs up a slope and slides you and your friends down the canal.

After this ride, we headed to the Bumper Boat area. As the name goes, we have to bump into each others boat but to add more fun, there is a water fight wherein you can splash water using the built in water gun in the Boat. Me and my team mates gamely splashed water to each other so at the end of the ride we were all soaking wet!

After completing all the ride entitlements, I decided to pay for an extra ride. I saw the Rolling Ball and got so excited to try this. I ever saw it on TV in Amazing Race and few other shows and wanna try it out myself to experience the thrill. And boy, I was not disappointed!
It actually was the best and most adrenaline pumping ride in Thongsomboon if I may say so.

If you look at the ball, it seems not scary or thrilling as it goes down the hill quite smoothly and not too fast. However, once you are inside, the ride is actually fast and there was a feeling of breathlessness. The ride was less than a minute but it is really worth it.

Actually there were many of us who wanted to try the ride but they have a weight and height restriction. You cannot be too heavy and cannot be too short to ride the ball. Fortunately for me and 3 other friends we can pass the requirement. I can still remember the disappointed faces of my friends upon learning they cannot ride the ball.

Inside the ball, me and John my companion wanted to scream but we just cannot as the ball is spinning very fast and even we tried to shout there is no voice coming out because we cannot breathe normally. Only when the ball was down hill and slower that we were able to say something. When I asked him about his feeling, we had the same reaction and just laugh till we were out of the ball.

I actually wanted to try again but we don’t have enough time as there are more activities that we need to do indoor.

After all the activities, we went back to Bangkok all tired but very happy with the new experience in Thongsomboon Club!

If you happen to be in Bangkok and want to spend you weekend somewhere else, Thongsomboon Club would be a good alternative to the usual trips to Pattaya, Hua Hin, Kanchanaburi, etc. Thongsomboon is only 2 to 2.5 Hours away from Bangkok.

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Kikomatching | September 8, 2012

Gardens by The Bay

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It is my 2nd visit to Singapore this year last being March and as I keep on mentioning, I’m really amazed that every time I visit this small city-state there is something new to see or do.

True enough, this trip I am blessed to be able to visit Singapore’s newest attraction, The Gardens by the Bay.

Last March, that place is totally a construction site! While passing the Marina Bay Sands area, I saw big skeleton posts and lots of big tractors or bulldozers. Those skeleton posts are now called the Supertree Grove and is just amazing!

Entrance to the Gardens by the Bay is around SGD 33 (approx. THB 900) per person. It is good for 2 conservatories and the OCBC Skyway.

At first, me and my colleagues thought that we don’t need to stay at the attraction long. We thought we will spend maximum 30 minutes, just walk around and take few snapshots. Apparently, the 30 minutes became almost 3 hours (including lunch) plus the heavy downpour just before we had our late lunch.

Gardens by the Bay opened few months ago so the place is not 100% complete. Even at its current state though, the place is just lovely. You can see many kinds of floras all over the world. While walking, we can’t help but compare the place to the setting of the movie Avatar (Pandora).

Our first stop is the Supertree Groves, 12 16-storey high structures that provides height and dimension to the place. Marina area is teeming with tall skyscrapers including the iconic Marina Bay Sands and Singapore Flyer. From the Supertree, you get to appreciate these modern wonders as the perfect backdrop for a truly magnificent photo.

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Then we headed upstairs to the OCBC Skyway. It is a foot bridge linking all the Supertrees together. The bridge is suspension type so it was slightly moving. I’m a bit anxious and wanted to walk fast to the other side of the bridge due to my fear of heights. But the sheer beauty of the surrounding kept me taking a lot of photos.

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Do I looked scared on the last picture above? He he he.

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You can really breathe fresh air while up there. Singapore is a very clean and green city so the air is fresher than most of the highly urbanized cities of the world (except occasional smog experienced yearly).

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Later on, the walls of the Supertree will be covered with flowers and plants. You could notice now that there are still some empty spaces because the vines or flowers have not fully grown yet.

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Then we headed to Cloud Forest. This is a cooled and covered conservatory that houses a giant man-made waterfalls and many more trees and flowers.

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There is also an audio tour for visitors who want to learn more about the species of plants in the Cloud Forest.

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From the glass panels, you can see the picturesque view of Singapore skyline.

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Suddenly, it started to rain heavily and it gives a nice waterfall effect on the glass dome.

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You can also see exotic plants like Venus Flytrap and Pitcher Plant.


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There is also the “Cloud Walk” allowing you to traverse around the man-made mountain and see the view from top.

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Last stop is the Flower Dome. It is a very big enclosed space housing more species of colorful flowers and plants. It is dubbed as the World’s largest columnless greenhouse.

The entrance to the Flower Dome is a visual feast with brightly colored flower walls surrounding the walk way.

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You can see variety of succulents, plants from Mediterranean, Australia, California and many other places.

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This picture is so cute..looks like the statue is smelling the flowers…ha ha ha.

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I’m now looking forward to go back to this Garden hopefully next year together with my family once all the flowers are in bloom.

God’s magnificence is surely in that place. He colours and beautifies our lives and surroundings.

Posted by: Kikomatching | May 13, 2012

4 Years in The Land of Smiles and Counting…

Sawadee Krap!

On this day exactly 4 years ago, I went out of my beloved country to take the opportunity of working in the Land of Smiles- Thailand. It was a gamble for myself and my would-be employer.
It was my first time working abroad in an almost 100% Thai environment and I had many questions in my mind back then as to what my future holds in Thailand.

For my employer, as in every employee that is newly hired, they are unable to judge 100%– my capabilities, my personality or even my commitment to working overseas as they’ve never met me personally before I landed in their country, but only knew me through some character references and background checking. However, since my designation is a Management post, it is definitely a gamble for them to accept me.

I would be working in the same company that I used to work for in Manila (Bangkok being another Branch office) so basically the systems and procedures are almost the same except it will be in a Thai setting and I just had to adjust my working style to adapt to Thai culture.

I had actually resigned from the company in Manila for almost a year prior to me accepting the job offer in Bangkok. I worked in a hotel group and was doing quite well if I may say so. One Sunday, I was on duty when my former boss of 7 years (which I also consider as my Mentor) Sir Nikki called me and asked where I am at that time and if he could meet me. There is a sense of urgency in his voice.

I told him I was in the hotel and just about to finish my duty. He drove all the way to the hotel on a weekend and meet up with me. He told me about the opportunity to work in Bangkok.

Naturally I was surprised by what he just told me because I really had no clue as to what his purpose is for meeting me so urgently on a weekend and I did not dare ask him earlier out of courtesy.

Besides, I am doing ok with my current employer at that time and has no plans of resigning too soon as there are a handful of projects I am heading and on the process of seeking approval from my current boss.

I would say the timing is right because at that time, I felt like the projects entrusted to me is progressing slower than I expected. I was used to having the liberty to make decisions quickly in my previous employer though I understand that the current one has to go through a long and tedious process and discussions even the very small details. I sort of felt I was not empowered.

Anyway, I still asked my Mentor what was the offer and how soon I need to fly in case I accepted the job. He told me about the position, the compensation offer and said I had to fly in about a month’s time. Once I make the decision, they have to process all the papers and stuff. It has to be decided quickly as my would-be boss will be on maternity leave for 3 months and I have to help her oversee the company during her absence.

Can u just imagine the shock on my face when I learned about it. Of course I felt flattered that my former boss still remembered me and vouched for my capabilities the reason why he recommended me for that job. I told him I cannot make the decision at that instant and I have to consult my family as it is definitely a big decision to make.

It was almost Holy Week at that time so I had time to contemplate. When I told my parents about it of course they wanted me to stay in the country. There was no member in our family who ever worked overseas so I was the first one to sort of “Explore the world”. After thinking of the big task I had to fill, I told my parents I want to take the challenge and perhaps try working abroad for a few years.

At the end, they supported me even though they still have some hesitations.

Fast forward, I accepted the job offer and  left for Bangkok.

When I saw the city, the people and surrounding it felt like I was still in Manila except that I can’t understand their language or the words written on the signs and billboards.

My mentor accompanied me in Bangkok and formally introduced me to my new boss, Khun Angie who I can say is a pleasant lady even meeting just for the first time. She only had over a week to train me and turnover some of the existing responsibilities. I must admit I was scared and worried if I can do the job well once she takes her maternity leave.

Fortunately, with the grace of God and the help of my supportive colleagues, I was able to do good (I think) until she returned. In the past 4 years I’ve been in Thailand I felt I was not an “alien” because my boss and colleagues are all kind and supportive and treated me as their own and not see me as a foreign Pinoy working in their country. They’ve also helped me grow as a person in terms of having more maturity now, gaining more confidence and having better business sense.

Over the years, I’ve also met  Filipino friends who are working and living in Bangkok like me. It is very hard to be in a foreign land by yourself but I believe my Pinoy friends helped me a lot to overcome home-sickness and in times I need some personal (or psychological?) help. LOL.

There are some who had come and go. Some are now based somewhere or back to the Philippines. Nothing is permanent in this world anyway. However the experiences we shared (whether good or bad) made our bond stronger.

Surely, tomorrow or in the longer future I would meet more new friends and I would welcome that opportunity as well.

I’ve also been to a lot of nice places in Thailand. I still have more places to go and definitely I will seize the opportunity to travel more whenever I can.

4 Years is too long for many, too short for some. As for my case, I now consider Thailand as my second home having stayed here quite long enough. I still don’t know how long I will still be working and living in Bangkok as I don’t know what will happen in the future.

But as the saying goes, Enjoy it while it lasts.

Over the years, I’ve gained some and also lost some but overall I can say I am blessed being here.

Kob Khun Krap Thailand! Looking forward to more great experiences here.

P.S. In the 4 years I’ve been here I think I only can speak the common phrases like “Sawadee Krap” and “Kob Khun Krap” which is a pity. Ha ha ha.

Posted by: Kikomatching | May 12, 2012

Tribute to Mom


I guess many of us becomes emotional when saying something or paying tribute to our parents. It’s because of the plain and simple fact that apart from nurturing us from the day we were born, they’ve been giving us unconditional love ever since.

Since Mother’s Day is fast approaching, allow me to write a simple tribute to my Mom. I don’t know if she is able to read this post as she hardly uses internet and if she do, normally she has to be helped by my siblings since she is not so familiar with using a computer. I love my parents equally but since the occasion is for Mom’s, I will focus my blog entry about my Mother which we fondly call “Mama”.

Reasons why I should be thankful to my Mom:

1. Being the instrument for my existence- God gave me life. And He used my Mom as the person to make me be part of this world when she gave birth to a bouncing baby boy few decades ago. I actually am so advanced and I wanted to go out earlier than expected. I was a premature born baby. I’ve been enjoying my life as far as I can remember.

2. Undeniable skills to nurture- I can’t remember any specific subject in school training would-be mom’s the skills to care for their future families. Surely we were taught of good values in school but I believe being able to nurture their children and bringing them up as a good individual is a “Mom’s Nature”, There is simply no Master’s Degree or even PhD courses training them to do it. It just comes out naturally to most of the moms.

We were 5 children in the family and you can just imagine how hard it is for my Mom to take care of us equally as we grow up. Naturally my siblings and I have different personalities and she has to manage us so we could still feel special and not left behind. We would often tell each other that this sibling is mom’s favorite, the other is dad’s favorite but they would always tell us we are all equal. I can’t contest because I still have no children of my own so I can’t exactly know if the feeling is true.

When we were studying, my Mom has to wake up around 4:30 or 5 am every day just to cook food for us, heat water, prepare our baon and make sure our uniforms are smartly pressed. We used to have a housekeeper but when we were growing up, my mom single-handedly take care of the household.

3. A good doctor even though she has no medical degree- We would get sick occasionally. But every time we are not feeling well, we know we will be ok as long as Mom is there. She would always cook good food and cared for us until we get better. If we complained of headache, stomachache and various body pains she would always have the good solution for it. That’s why I truly missed my mom every time I get sick now that I am overseas as I have to take care of myself.

4. Best cook- I’m sure every children would consider their mom the best cook in the world. Truly, no KFC, Jollibee, Barrio Fiesta, etc. can beat our own Mom’s cooking. We are fortunate that my Mom comes from a family wherein everyone can cook. Now me and the rest of my siblings acquire the same skills and would cook good food whenever we can.

5. Thinks of her family first before herself- I am so lucky to have parents who are so selfless. They would always think of their family first rather than themselves. I would remember my Dad would always tell my Mom why she don’t want to buy something for herself and she would always say she doesn’t need any more material things so she’d rather buy something for her family.

There are more reasons why I should be thankful to my Mom that I don’t have to write and I am sure she knows it. Now that I have a stable job, I want to give her the best, let her see the world while she can.

I’m sure my Dad would appreciate it and would be glad if we could continue what he has been doing before- that is giving our Mom the best that she truly deserves.

Happy Mother’s Day Mama! I love you.

Posted by: Kikomatching | May 2, 2012

Bangayan sa Bora

I was very bothered and alarmed upon watching “Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho”‘s last episode about a current dispute between the local Boracay Tour Guide vs. foreign guides.

Boracay is our country’s top beach destination and has consistently been voted as one of the best beaches in the world by many travel magazines and organizations. I’ve been to Boracay many times in the past and the sheer powdery like white sand, clear waters and vibrant night life are good enough magnets to draw attention of local and foreign tourists alike.

The last time I was in Boracay was more than 5 years ago. During that time, there are already plenty of Korean tourists but in recent years more and more South Koreans visit the country which is definitely good for our tourism. I can imagine some parts of Boracay now has transformed into a Korean town of sorts.

On top of that, we have also been drawing a good share of Mainland Chinese, Taiwanese and Russian tourists lately.

More tourists means more business and employment opportunities for locals right? But not in the case of Tour Guides in the island as what Jessica Soho’s program depicts in their last episode.

A lot of the licensed local tour guides are now finding themselves getting fewer share of the tour guiding works for these nationals. This is due to the fact that many of the tour groups and travel companies prefer hiring native speakers to assist the group rather than getting Filipino guide who mostly can only speak Filipino and English language.

Naturally, if I am a Korean I would prefer a Korean tour guide who speaks the same language as I am, understand a Korean tourist behavior better at the same or slightly higher price than Filipino guides.

According to the report, there are over 150 Korean guides working in the Island now many of them are tourists at the first time but decided to stay in Boracay longer. To sustain their expenses they have to work as a guide.

In the past, our local guides could earn up to PHP 30,000 per month  but with the influx of Korean guides, they are earning average of PHP 10,000 more or less whilst Korean guide could earn up to PHP 100,000 depending on the season and number of groups they assist. Big bucks right?

As a Filipino and a professional working in the travel industry I am very worried of these recent developments. Surely more tourists would mean added revenue to our country’s coffers. It would also attract more investors.

However, progress in our tourism should benefit Filipinos as a priority. There is no better host that could describe the real “Boracay” or even “Philippine” experience than a local despite the language barrier. Sadly, I don’t think our laws could regulate the number of foreign guides in the country at the moment.

I verified on the case of Tour guides in Thailand as I thought many of the tour guides serving in popular tourist attractions are locals but fluently speaking in a foreign language. I’ve been to touristy places like Royal Grand Palace, Wat Po, Pattaya or Phuket beaches and often times I would hear a Thai guide explaining to a group of tourist about the place either in French, German, Russian, Chinese, etc. I would always get amazed by how Thailand was able to maximize their tourism work force and even enhance the skills of the people in order to get the opportunities of their tourism boom. Of course once in a while some overseas companies would secretly hire the service of the guide from that country but the Government also protects the welfare of the Thai guides with regulations on foreign workers.

In our country’s case, regulating these foreign workers would also mean our tour guide must enhance their skills and learn how to speak a foreign language apart from English in order to compete. I believe it’s not hard as many Filipinos could learn a foreign language easily due to our common adaptability.

It is inevitable for our tourism to boom. I’ve been reading a lot of positive news about many hotels opening in the next few years and various efforts of public and private sector to lure overseas tourists and investors recently.

Apart from suggestions to improve the country’s infrastructure which is long overdue, we also have to consider the workforce if they are able to address the demands of the job.

The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) will be in effect by 2015. We could expect more ASEAN friends to influx our country either for leisure or employment. We have to be prepared as early as now.

Posted by: Kikomatching | April 30, 2012

JUICEtified

ImageYes, the title of my blog post is JUICEtified. Because drinking Juice has countless of proven and justified benefits to the body. When I say Juice, I meant fresh fruit or vegetable juice not the one bought in can or packs in the supermarket.

Those commercial juice surely have health benefits too and some are even fortified to give added nutrition. However, most of the tetra juices are very sweet which may not be too good for daily consumption.

I was a coffee, soft drink and alcohol drinker more than a juice fanatic in the past. I love drinking to socialize, relieve from stress and just be with my friends (or my lonesome at times). I even go to Wine Bar offering Wine Buffet for a very reasonable price. I loved Red wine and these wine buffet let me taste red wine from different countries like France, Italy, Romania, Argentina, South Africa, Australia and many others. I also stocked few bottles of wines and spirits in my pad so whenever I have friends coming over, we can enjoy few glasses or so. Or sometimes if I felt so stressed, I just sip a glass of wine then I’m fine.

I didn’t consider myself an alcoholic because I don’t drink wine everyday (or night) and on occasions that I do, I usually don’t allow myself to get drunk. However, towards December of last year, I sort of developed an allergy and according to the doctor the main culprit is alcohol. I thought I’ve eaten a kind of seafood that made me develop the allergy as it is almost simultaneous. I just came back from several back-to-back overseas and trip back home during that time. In one occasion, me and few other colleagues tried some seafood including Stingray. It was my first time to eat that seafood. About 1 or 2 days after, my body start to be itchy.

I remember there was also an occasion that I’ve eaten a lot of fresh oysters in a hotel buffet during Christmas and few days after I got a big red spot in my neck which resembles a hickey so some of my friends try to be naughty and asked me who gave me a kiss mark. LOL.

About 2 weeks ago when my family visited me in Bangkok for a week (which was my last blog post prior to this) , I may also have overeaten meat and seafood plus the very scorching heat of outdoor activities, I suddenly developed rashes in my chest.

Anyway, the doctor said there are certain triggers like food or alcohol but he told me to avoid alcohol if I can.
Seems life has been quite boring for me since then right? However, because I’m a firm believer of the saying “Health is Wealth”, I researched for some ways to live (or eat healthy).

There were a lot of topics in the internet suggesting people to be vegetarian for optimum health. But since I can’t give up crispy fried pork or KFC at this point, I searched for other alternative means.

Then I came across the blog called “Juicing for Health.com“. This blog I can say really convinced me to try drinking freshly juiced veggies or fruits.

The blog generously describes the health benefits of various fruits and vegetables and some helpful consumption tips and suggestions of which fruits or veggies are a good combination.

One day I decided to go to the nearest mall to purchase a juicer. I always had the impression that fruit juicers are expensive. I was very surprised when I realized that a good brand juicing machine costs less than THB 2,000 (approx. USD 64). There was a sale during that time so the discounted price was around THB 1,500 for a Tefal brand machine. Isn’t it really a good deal?

After that I went to the supermarket to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. I did my very first “concoction” of Orange and Carrot Juice that night. The taste was really refreshing and I felt my body is starting to detoxify all those bad cholesterol and gut in my stomach with a glass of juice. Ha ha ha. Of course, I’m just exaggerating.

Anyway, I continued reading the blog and got interested to try other varieties to benefit from it’s medicinal promise.

Over the next few days I tried Cucumber, Spinach, Beetroot and Bitter Gourd. Yes, you read it right- Bitter Gourd! This vegetable I believe is probably the most unappealing in terms of taste and texture to a lot of people. But reading the long list of benefits, I got encouraged to try it. Loving the juice of this veggie is an acquired taste. I had to try for few days before I started liking it. Now, I can drink a glass of bitter gourd (from 1 medium size gourd) juice in an empty stomach in the morning to get the maximum benefits. A caution though, you have to start with a small quantity at first otherwise you will have upset stomach the whole day.

I felt lighter, more alert and healthier after a month of drinking different kinds of juice. Since some of the juice serves as diuretic (to flush out toxins from the body), I lost weight a bit so my friends kept asking me why I lost weight. I jokingly told them I became vegetarian which they definitely will not believe me.

To reap the benefits of the juice, it has to be taken consistently (not once in a while). I read many articles about people looking very young and healthy because of regular consumption of these healthy drinks. Of course water must not be replaced by these juices. However, freshly made juice also aids in cooling off especially in this scorching summer. Try watermelon or cucumber and you surely will feel refreshed.

Some people may think that drinking fruit or vegetable juice is actually an expensive habit especially if the fruits are not in season. However, you can be smart enough to select what are in season so it is less expensive. There are a long list of fruits and vegetables you can choose from.

You may ask what is my favorite juice so far. I like Carrot Juice and Cucumber the most. Sometimes I mix them together. I also like Carrot and Beet Root but Beet Root is very potent so you have to put only a small or medium sized bulb for a start.

So start to be healthy, drink your juice regularly.

Posted by: Kikomatching | April 28, 2012

Family Fun in Thailand

It’s been 4 years in the making!

Last 2 weeks I was so busy. Busy with work and arranging itinerary for my so-called VIP’s.
You see, I’ve been working in Bangkok for nearly 4 years now and it will be the first time my family (not entire though) will visit the Land of Smiles- Thailand.

I would’ve wanted them to come earlier but as some of my regular blog readers would know, the past 2 years had been quite a roller coaster ride for me and my family. My Dad was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer and they have to stay home as much as possible due to frequent visits to the Doctor. He died early last year.

It was really my earnest wish for my parents to visit the place I now consider my 2nd home. I know my Dad really wanted me to just work in the country so the family could be together but I would always tell him I had to grab this opportunity. It also helped us financially speaking during his sickness.

Some years ago, I had the chance to take both of them to Ilocos Region during a business trip. The room and transfer was free anyway so I just had to pay for their meals and other miscellaneous costs. They would always tell their friends and relatives about how memorable that trip was and how beautiful are the places we’ve visited. Apart from that we would go to some nearby places like Baguio, Tagaytay, etc. if our busy schedule permits.

Going back to the Thailand trip, it was postponed further as my Mom had some problems in securing her passport due to her birth records cannot be found in Manila so they have to go to the province to secure the documents. Anyway, it finally happened mid of April in time for Thailand’s longest and happiest event- Songkran Festival or their Thai New Year.

My Mom, my youngest Sister and her Boyfriend arrived in Bangkok on 13 April which is the first day of Songkran. Traditionally, Songkran is a water-splashing festival wherein everyone just literally splash water to each other either by water gun, hose or any thing they can use to throw water to expecting or non-suspecting passersby.

I had to meet them at the airport so I really carefully walked along the street from my pad to the main road and gingerly took taxi. I was successful not to get wet.

After they arrived in my place and had few hours of rest, they began their 1-week journey with a visit to one of the biggest shopping mall in Bangkok, MBK or locally known as Mah Boon Krong. It is the counterpart of Greenhills Shopping Center in Manila but maybe 5x bigger. You can buy clothes, souvenirs, cellphone and all those gadgets in this mall.

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After MBK I took them to Siam area which many consider is the very heart of Bangkok. We visited few other shopping malls like Siam Center and Siam Paragon.

Next day I took them to the traditional places tourists visit such as Royal Grand Palace, Wat Po, Chatuchak Weekend Market. It was such a scorching hot day so it made our activities on that day more tiring. They enjoyed the cheap price of clothes and souvenirs though.

Before heading home, I let them try Thai Massage. It was indeed a great relief after walking almost the whole day!

Next day I took them to Holy Redeemer Church which is one of the few Catholic Churches in Bangkok. After that we went to Platinum Fashion Mall for more shopping. At night, I took them to a Dinner Cruise along Chao Phraya River.

Monday is still a holiday because of Songkran. My Thai boss and her family took us to the ancient capital of Siam (former name of Thailand), Ayutthaya to visit the ruins of the old city as well as the Bangpa-In Summer Palace. We also rode an Elephant which is a first time experience for me and my family.

We had our lunch in a popular restaurant by the River. We feast ourselves with a variety of Thai and Seafood dishes including the highlight of the restaurant, the grilled King Prawn. It’s very large and costs THB 300 a piece. Good enough to indulge once in a while.

We visited Bang Pa-In Royal Palace which is also known as Summer Palace. Entrance to the Palace is THB 100 per person for foreigner and it is convenient to rent a Golf Cart as the complex is big and if the weather is very warm, walking is discouraged.

The Palace has a mix of Thai, Roman and Chinese style structures. The lawn and gardens are well maintained and such a refreshing view.

Within the next few days we did more activities. We went watching Siam Niramit, dubbed as Thailand’s Must See Show. I’ve watched several other shows like Alangkarn Show, Tiffany Show and others but I must say that Siam Niramit is the best of them all in terms of grandeur and production value. Too bad they don’t allow photography or video inside the Theater but there are many interesting things in the Theater grounds that is worth taking few snapshots.

We stayed in one of Bangkok’s finest 5-Star Hotel, lebua at State Tower near the Chao Phraya Riverside Area. The hotel offers picturesque view from the balcony. We were assigned in the 57th floor of the hotel so you can just imagine the unobstructed magnificent view of the city.

Not only is the view the selling point of this hotel but all the spacious and luxurious guest rooms. We were assigned in the Club Floor Room with access to the Executive Lounge and the bath amenities are Bvlgari. You will literally bathe in perfume when using the toiletries.

We capped their  one week holiday with a drink in the hotel’s rooftop bar located at the 64th floor called “Sirocco- Sky Bar”on their last night in Bangkok.

It was such a memorable trip for my family. I would surely be glad to welcome them again and other family members too.

Posted by: Kikomatching | March 29, 2012

Hunger Games and our daily fight for survival.

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Last night me and my friends watched Hunger Games in cinema. This movie I read has been reaping big bucks at the Box Office and is already the 3rd highest grossing film opening weekend only behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Batman “The Dark Knight”.

The movie is about a fictional nation called “Panem” (which is where the previous North American countries were located) holding an annual game called “The Hunger Games” wherein each of the 12 districts shall pick 2 representatives (1 male and 1 female aged 12-18) by lottery. The persons who were picked are called “tributes”.  They are sent to the ultra-modern Capitol and they have to fight the other tributes to death in order to win the game and earn the honor of being called “victor”.

Each of the tribute has to gain the viewer’s support and admiration to gain sponsors which will help them to survive the game by sending foods, medicine or tools. The main character, Katniss Everdeen from District 12 can be considered fierce and elusive. However, because of these characteristics, people loved her and was even called “The Girl on Fire”. To add more drama to the games, she and the other tribute from District 12, Peeta Mellark were made to act like the “star-crossed lovers” which eventually Katniss decided to follow this calculated ploy in order to stay on in the battle.

The rules of the game was changed several times. When only Katniss and Peeta survived at the end of a few days battle, they changed the ruling and state that only 1 person must be the victor.

Upon hearing this, Katniss convinced Peeta not to let the Gamemakers and the audience have 1 victor and it’s better to have none. Peeta agreed to eat a poisonous berry called “nightlock” which Katniss got from one of the tributes who died eating the said fruit.

But before they were able to commit suicide, the Gamemakers announced that the rules were amended and that both of them were the victors. The movie ended showing the 2 victors returning to District 12 to the delight of the people.

This movie is actually taken from the highly successful Trilogy novel by Suzanne Collins which also includes “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay”.

At first, I didn’t intend to watch the movie because as I read the plot it seems the movie promotes violence due to the brutal fighting till death. However, as the movie progresses, I find there are still some redeeming values in the storyline:

1. Family is important and invaluable.
2. We need friends and alliances. As the saying goes, “No man is an island”.
3. We must know our strengths and maximize it, acknowledge our weaknesses and try to improve it.

In our daily lives, there are times that we are like tributes and we are participating in a very big hunger game. A lot of people are hungry for power, fame or fortune while many others are hungry for love and affection. There is nothing wrong in being hungry for these things. What’s wrong is if we already have more than what we can chew but we are still asking for more.  That’s called GREED already and is considered a deadly sin.

That’s all for now folks. May the odds be ever in your favor!

P.S. It is the Lenten Season next week. It’s time to fast, repent and reflect on God’s ultimate love for us. Less of us, more of God.

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