Saturday, October 31, 2009

Manila Zoo

Last time I went to Manila Zoo was when I was in elementary (yeah, that was a long time ago, I know! You'll grow old too. Bastard.) and this was according to my mom. I don't even remember going there. I think I have pictures but that I certainly didn't look like I was studying already then. Maybe my mom mistook another boy for me. Haha.



Anyway, my girlfriend and I paid the famous but now infamous Manila Zoo yesterday a visit. We really (she, actually) wanted to go to Malabon Zoo or Avilon Zoo but I convinced her that those two other (better) zoos were just too far away. For P40 (Manila City residents pay half the price) for adults and P20 for children, I can say that you really get what you pay for. Although it's not really my intention to lambast public officials who should take care of one of the oldest zoos in Asia, please bear with my honest observations.



The animals, I think, are poorly cared for. I am not really an expert in taking care of animals and they don't actually smile and let visitors know that they're happy so I may be wrong. Hehe. There's an Asian Elephant near the entrance of the zoo but he's alone. That's sad. Imagine being in captive and alone in a territory not of your own. And this elephant didn't rape a 13-year-old, mind you. Oh, that criminal had it better than him actually. I always thought of zoos as a very lively and happy place. Manila Zoo simply was not what I imagined. The animals seemed lonely, man. The tigers were always inside their little caves and went out for one minute just to pee. I was lucky to have caught a tiger out of its cave and resting on a monobloc chair (refer to picture above).  Haha, just playing. Here's a photo of one of the lonely tigers:


And yeah, it was actually peeing at that moment. Haha. Like in anything in life, Manila Zoo needs a lot of improving. But I still want to commend those who are responsible for maintaining the zoo for giving us Filipinos a chance to see different kinds of snakes, lizards, birds, monkeys, tigers and an elephant. I just hope that concerned officials (yes, those with funds that should be appropriated to endeavors like this) prioritize projects like this. I remember Manila Zoo as being one of the regular field trip destinations so kids would be educated more about animals. I hope we can bring back that time. Hey, viewing wild animals for P40? That's a bargain. I won't even discuss the rights of these animals in this blog entry. That's going to be a long discussion. I don't have the authority over that topic.

There were some fun instances though that were really funny. Like when this guy (Monalinda as his shirt said--nice name, huh? haha) from the zoo suddenly entered the crocodile's lair and poked the big fella to the delight of everyone! I also saw this poor old guy sleeping on the bench probably letting his grand children have a grand time while he's sleeping it off under some eagles. There was also a time when two young boys were calling the elephant, "Jumbo! Jumbo!" Yeah, if you don't see what's funny there then you should go back to elementary too.




Relating Manila Zoo to the main agenda of this blog, I just want to say that people should not be put in cages. Let us all be reminded that God gave us freedom to choose. Let us not be trapped in a box that society or our parents dictates us to be in. We should explore possibilities and not limit ourselves to certain things. Remember, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." Quarterlife Crisis will be easier to figure out.

Oh, we enjoyed a pedicab ride too!





Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It tastes like balls around here...hmm...


Here's an article I wrote for JUAN Philippines Magazine about being adventurous, dangerous and uhm...stupid? Haha. I took The Plunge. A different kind of plunge. A lighter plunge. Enough about plunges. Here's the article about Danao, Bohol (EAT Danao):


“Plunge boldly into the thick of life, and seize it where you will, it is always interesting.” –Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
With that quote and we took the plunge. No, not marriage (we’re not yet THAT crazy). THE PLUNGE. Yes, the one everyone is talking about nowadays. That amazing 45-meter drop to oblivion from a platform 200 meters from the ground. When we say ground, we mean, trees, rocks and a river. Wild, right?
Welcome to Danao, Bohol. THE next Mecca in adventure sports activities.
Cleverly coined E.A.T. Danao meaning Eco, Extreme and Educational Adventure Tourism, the Danao Adventure Park is really worth consuming. All 15 or so of its activities will leave you wanting for more. This, we must say, is what you call an adventure.
Just a 90-minute drive from the Tagbilaran airport, the adventure park offers activities like rappelling, kayaking, caving, tubing, root climbing, a zipline and The Plunge. The adventure park was borne out of the desire of the local government unit, led by Mayor Tom Gonzaga, to maximize the natural resources the community has to offer as well as provide the locals in the area livelihood. Oh, and the tourism aspect of the park just takes the cake. Known as the province where hero Francisco Dagohoy held off Spanish soldiers during the war, the area is presently being groomed to be the ultimate adventure sports enthusiast’s nirvana.
If you’re tired of always visiting the beaches around the country and get bored staying in hotels and you’re looking for other activities here in the PI that is really more than the usual, then Danao is the perfect place for you. Here, you can test your limits (or age) to the fullest. Are you afraid of heights? Do the Suislide (zipline), The Plunge, rappelling and the Sky Ride. Afraid of cramped spaces? Conquer the three caves that they offer.
The Sky Ride is a more relaxing and less nerve-wracking way of enjoying being on top of the world. You’re seated (with actual people) and you’re whisked off to travel some 900 meters (coming and going) above 200 meters of foliage. This, we think, is a more peaceful way of enjoying the natural resources of Danao.
This, probably, is what makes the Danao Adventure Park a place everyone can visit. If you’re too scared (yes, we’re mocking you) to do a 45-meter free fall or to devote two to three hours of your time exploring caves, the park has other activities for you that are equally relaxing but still possess that edge on it. You can be one with the lake by kayaking or tubing and even try your hand at mountain biking. You can also visit their organic farm and even make your own salad. How’s that for a balanced experience?
Aside from the activities mentioned above, the highlights of the trip to Danao are the zipline and The Plunge.
Imagine yourself above a river and lots and lots of trees then you zipping by them 200 meters above. Now we know how Superman feels like. It’s an exhilarating feeling being up there. You feel invincible. The first line measures a distance of 480 meters while the second line (yes, you have time to rest and compose yourself again—or think if you’re just going to go through the ride of shame back) is 460 meters. That’s a total of 940 meters of open air! Whew (we’re actually whew-ing because we had to add)!
The Suislide can also carry 25 tons so no need to worry about those extra pounds . You won’t fall. I didn’t.
Perhaps what stole my heart (or stopped it for some five seconds) in the trip to Danao was The Plunge. This, everyone should experience at least once in their life. AT LEAST once. After surviving this, we’re pretty sure you’d want to try it again and again. If you want to push yourself to the limit, The Plunge will definitely test what you have in your heart. Just don’t look down.
Hanging 200 meters above an undetermined amount of trees and water, you are left to your thoughts. “Why am I doing this?”, “Who put me up to this?” and “Where’s my mommy?!” Then a countdown begins and you’re released and experience a 45-meter drop to you-don’t-know-where-and-how-long. It’s been a month and I can still recall the free fall. Your life does not flash before your very eyes but, believe me, it’s very close to that. It’s just you, the cables and nature. After the drop, you’re again left to your thoughts while you’re hanging down that cable. The feeling is so peaceful and serene. This after an almost life-ending fall. The feeling is just magical. Adrenaline Rush Tourism at its best, as some locals call it. Once you take The Plunge, I guarantee you’ll be ready for any obstacle or challenge in life. If you conquered this fear, then you can just go on with life whistling happy tunes. You can even ask Tourism Sec. Ace Durano. He has already taken the plunge. And for only P700, you can conquer your fear or add on to your “Why did I do that?” or “Been there, done that” list. And here’s an extra challenge for men: 70 percent of those who have taken The Plunge are women. Yup.
The Plunge really comes close to being better than what you do with your husband or wife, I tell you. Yeah, grocery shopping is nothing compared to this. Wink, wink.
Accommodations and food are also not a problem as you feel like royalty once you’re there. The locals are also very friendly and helpful and they always have a smile ready for everyone that visits.
Are you the type of person that will try anything once in your life? Then you should definitely book that flight to Bohol now and visit Danao. Now.
We came. We saw. We consumed Danao. Yes, we ate Danao.
5,4,3,2,1! Bombs away!
Special thanks to Ian Gonzaga and Ian Sepulveda for assisting the JUAN team. For more information about the trips, you may visit www.eatdanao.com. The two Ian’s can also set up adventure tours depending on wha tactivities you want to do in Danao. Just call or text them at 0917-3252426.
Check out the October-November 2009 issue of JUAN Philippines Magazine in airports, call centers, resorts and hotels and in some coffee shops around the country or download the magazine at www.juanphilippines.com.






The best a man can get

Remember the razor commercial with this tagline? Yeah, stop singing the jingle now, please. I only found out a year ago that this can mean two things. The best a man can get can refer to the razor that he can use for best results in shaving. The other meaning can be taken as how can a man achieve greatness or how we can be the best that we can get. The other meaning was pointed out to me by a book by John O'Farell entitled...wait for it...The Best a Man Can Get. It's about a guy with a wife and a new born who works as an ad man and shuttles back and forth from his house to the recording studio. Uhm...the recording studio is actually a flat that he rents with three other guys. Yup, and the wife doesn't know it.

Anyway, it's about a man with two identities. He's the single guy when in his pad and he's the family guy (he tries his best to be) when he's at home. Eventually, he realizes that he needs his family more and that he needs to stop lying to his wife. Yeah, he got caught.

Tempting, huh? Yeah, go ahead, try it. Let's see if your conscience doesn't kill you.

At any rate, the book just reintroduced to me the responsibilities of being a man. Yes, if we're lucky, we may have that wife and kid who can love us and care for us. And yes, we SHOULD take care of them. That just means that we have to limit (notice I didn't say "stop") our lifestyle of living like a single man. No to three times a week of drinking with your buddies. Refraining from developing childlike hobbies unless you actually play with your children. Reserve the buying of really expensive sports cars or helicopters (hey, that's my dream! so what?!) until your kids are done with college. Things like that. BUT. Yes, there's a but so don't worry. But remember to keep your identity. I am still Dinjo sometimes and not Dinjo the Dad. We still all need to have our own personal space too. We also need time away from the wife and kids (No! Not with other women!).

Just remember your priority--your family. Don't forget that. We, men, were created to take care of our family. And that's the best that we can get. Not sports records. Not money in your bank account. Not the collection of girls. It's taking care of your wife and children. That's the best a man can get.




Sunday, October 25, 2009

Jump Shot

For reasons I don't know of and with no connections whatsoever to the topic in this blog, I just felt like writing about the now famous (infamous?) occurrence in every beach trip--the jump shot.

Yeah? Haven't been in a photo like this or haven't jumped with the sunset as background yet? Then you are not normal. Haha. I just find it funny. I've participated in one or two but that was due to peer pressure. I've taken a lot of those photos though and I really find it SOOOO funny!

It's a constant in all beach trips. Size doesn't matter also. This is where you realize that some jump higher than others and others are more creative in their poses.

My friends had a different idea. They posed for a jump shot in the airport AFTER the beach trip already. Hehe. Hey, technically it's still part of the trip, right?

I've even seen girls taking their own jump shots! Really! With the remote and tripod. True story! And also men, taking turns taking each others' jump shots using a cellphone! Hilarious!




Well, enough of this nonsense. Send me your jump shots through dinjo.constantino@gmail.com and let's make an album! Hehe.

The jump shot just goes to show that we will always be kids. No matter how old we are or no matter where we are. Altogether now...JUMP!!!




Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On Contentment

Do people ever get contented with what they have, who they are, who they're with, what they drive, what they do, where they live, etc.?

Are you?

Although we were taught to be content with what we already have, people around us still tell us to use our full potential and reach for more. Confusing, huh? Who do we follow? Our dad who thinks that we can have a better job? Our mom who wants us to find a more "suitable" girlfriend? Your peers who seem to just be enjoying living life because they have rich parents? Or your heart?

Your heart that tells you to follow what makes you happy. Your heart that skips a beat every time you're with the girl your mom doesn't like. Your heart that is still lost and is still looking for what's going to make it happy. Or your mind?

Your mind that tells you to stay where you are now because you're more stable there. Your mind that tells you to look for better opportunities because you will soon get married and you need a better job to support your family. Or society?

Does society say that since you're nearing your 30s you should be in this kind of job or living like this or like that? Do you feel condemned or pressured by society because at 30 you still don't have a steady girlfriend and still live with your parents?

What if we have all those already? What if you have all the material things that you think you need to survive? What if you don't? What if you do but you still feel that something is lacking?

Will we ever get contented? Are we going to always want for something better? Will we ever be happy in life? Where do we find contentment? I say it's within yourself. You find true happiness inside your heart. Whatever makes YOU happy, is what you SHOULD be doing.





Friday, October 9, 2009

What is Quarterlife Crisis? Pinoy style.

Exactly what is a quarterlife crisis?

Well, how old do you expect to live? How old is the midlife crisis usually? Well, it was pegged at 50 years old a few decades ago when there weren't too many factories emitting smoke, less drunk drivers, lower prices of fuel and not too many people were killing themselves (and others) just to rid them of problems in life (many EDSA billboards had been witness to this). Okay, so with my God Giveth and the Lord taketh away mathematical prowess, I assume that quarterlife crisis occurs when you're around 23 years old until you're around 30 (at least mine did). It's the time you wake up on your birthday (or one somebody else's bed) and question yourself--what have I done with my life?

Yeah, what have you done with your life? Or better yet, what are you capable of doing with your life? In those 20 or so years, what have you contributed to this world (or to make you feel a little better, in our country, your family or to your future at least). Or would you even have a future or just contribute to your early demise?

It's about re-evaluating your life. Your young and "productive" life. It's wondering about your self-worth. It's looking back at your high school and college (I'm hoping you're out of college already) peers and trying your best not to compare your achievements with them but failing to do so miserably. It's wishing you had richer parents or were just borne into royalty (lucky you! bastard). It's realizing that you're not the most sought after bachelor/bachelorette after graduating from high school now that your world just got bigger coz you're in college or in the corporate world and now have more competition (don't worry, I'm sure your GPA is higher than theirs. uh-huh. and isn't it normal to still have pimples?!).

Are you forever going to rely on your parents? If you are, then give me your address so I can ask your parents if they're open to adopting a 31 year old guy. If you're slowly growing a conscience and kicking yourself (not literally! stop that!) for still asking for gas money from "dada," then you are experiencing quarterlife crisis. If you're still reading this sentence, then you are experiencing quarterlife crisis.

Yes, admit it. Once in your life or in one drinking session with your best mates, you've thought of all those written above (lucky you if you don't have pimples though!).

I'm not saying or assuming that everyone goes through this phenomena. There are those lucky individuals (go rot in hell!) who just know what to do. Thrust upon them is the knowledge or wisdom that they are bound to achieve in this life. That they just know what to do with their lives. OR are just content with who they are now. We shall call them "the lucky ones." They are lucky enough to realize at a young age what they ought to do in this life. They know what they want and are already on their way to achieving that. Truly, they ARE the lucky ones.

Each individual has their own goals (growing a full mustache is not a goal, okay?). It may be serving people, buying expensive cars, providing for a family, being their own boss, traveling around the globe or even becoming the president (oh please have this dream come true for someone right now, Lord) but all of us pass through a stage. This stage I will call the "what if" stage.

What if I studied for that entrance exam instead of attending my friend's birthday party where I wasn't even able to talk to my crush? What if I trained hard at the sport I was excelling in rather than relying on my dad's friend to put me in the Philippine Team (the friend died before final the line up was announced?!). What if I took up that offer from my aunt to study abroad? What if I pursued her/him? What if I didn't let my boss harass me into having this relationship with him? What if I looked to the left first instead of to the right, then I wouldn't be in a wheelchair now (okay, just checking if you're still paying attention!).

Forgive the rambling. I just wanted everyone to understand what quarterlife crisis is and to let those that are experiencing them now know that they are not alone.

So, what are your "what if's?"

This is what this blog is all about.

Our journey to finding ourselves. Pinoy style.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

All for one and one for all

There I was in my previous blog entry, bitching about traffic and stupid politicians not knowing that one of the worst typhoons was on its way to ravage thousands of families here in Manila.

This blog concludes the moment of silence for all the victims of Typhoon Ondoy.

Let us forget how we, as a nation, stood tall amidst the floods and garbage. But let us always remember what happened and learn from what happened.