This is what a Filipino Airline’s Safety Video should look like!

The ubiquitous airline safety video seen on many airlines are usually boring and blah. I am not ashamed to admit it, I sleep through most of them. As a seasoned traveller, I pretty much memorized what to need to do while on my seat and in case of an emergency. Keep my safety belt fastened, fasten it loosely while seated, when the oxygen masks drop from the ceiling put your own first before helping others, follow emergency path lights to the nearest exit, the nearest door could be to your rear, etc.

Many of the videos are produced once then reused for years, I assume for budgetary purposes. Locally, this is the case for Philippine Airlines which uses the same videos for a decade before changing it. Oh well, buti pa sila, Cebu Pacific doesn’t even have a safety video, simply because… most of their planes don’t have monitors or in seat screens… again, for budgetary purposes.

Except for Air New Zealand. Every so often they update their safety videos which are always entertaining.  A few years ago, I flew Air New Zealand for the first time and caught this hilarious video starting Richard Simmons

Today I came across this amazing video entitled “Safety in Paradise”. When I saw it, I smiled, I laughed, then I sighed… “this would have been perfect for Philippine Airlines.”

Here it is, enjoy…


Air New Zealand has quote a number of awesome videos on its YouTube channel at

My personal favorite was the one inspired by The Hobbit:


This is Philippine Airlines’ current Saftey Video. It’s nice and all, especially when it was launched in 2011. Its cute and funny and all. But don’t you think its time it was updated, especially since they are trying to retire their 747s.

Whitewater Kayaking, Camiling River, Tarlac – September 16, 2012

Tarlac for me, and probably for many Manileneos has always been “that place along McArthur Highway you pass to get to Baguio.” It never occurred to me that in that big expanse of land between Pampanga and Pangasinan would be the potential for adventure spots yet undiscovered. One such adventure is Whitewater Kayaking.

I first became aware of this just a few days ago with a Facebook message from my niece suggesting we try out. She led me to this page on FB From there I sent them e-mail and quikly got a reply. I made a booking for party of five which included my sister, my two nieces, and my grandnephew.

Here’s a quick look at the salient points in their e-mail to me:

The Rapid Stream whitewater kayaking package is PHP 1800 per person and includes equipment rental, river guide fee, snack and native organic meal.


Typically, groups will meet at our site (also the take out point) in San Jose, Tarlac at 9am where we then do a safety briefing. From there we take jeepneys up to the put in site in a small mountain town called Maamot (about 30 min drive). It takes us about 3 hours to kayak the 12.5 km stretch of river. Lunch is then served upon our arrival at the Rapid Stream site.


8 years old is our minimum age. No maximum weight. Payment can be cash on arrival.

Note: This day was just totally awesome. I took some really fantastic pictures with my waterproof camera… of which I could not share with you because the camera is somewhere at the bottom of the Camiling River. Photos here are from my iPhone. More on this later.

We booked ourselves for the 9am trip. We left Manila at around 6:30am. My sister and I were contemplating the trip as it was raining in Manila at around 5am. Using the simple logic “just because its raining here, doesn’t mean its raining there” along with “just because its raining now doesn’t mean it will be raining later” and of course a quick check of the weather on the internet. We decided to push through with it. And incidentally, the weather, though overcast, was great.


It took us just an hour and a half to get to Tarlac City, finding Rapid Stream was a bit of a challenge. Apparently the Bing Map on their Facebook “Location” wasn’t to Rapid Stream itself, but to a meeting point where someone was supposed to wait for us guide us through. Nonetheless, we spent the next hour driving straight with the help of a phonecall and some directions.

We got to Rapid Stream just a little after 9am with the whole group already there.


After a while we go a jeep for the 30 minute trip to our jump off point where we would get on the boats and start the adventure.


Pictured above is me and my sister who didn’t do any paddling. She left the paddling to me and our guide.

If you are a novice, don’t fret. Each boat has its own guide, which means that you won’t be paddling by yourself.

The whole trip took around 3 hours from the time we started. The whole adventure was certainly simply awesome. While paddling we stopped at several spots where you could jump of rocks and into the river. As you paddle your way down the river one could appreciate the fantastic scenery of Tarlac… with Carabaos staring at you as you float by you.

I took several great photos along the way. But alas… I have none to show you. My waterproof Sony Cybershot was in my vest’s front pocket for convenience. Since the ride was tame enough. Then we reached a point they had named the “Washing Machine” where were given the option for the “safe route” or to go through Washing Machine itself.

All went well, but as we were traversing the “safe” route our boat hit a stalled boat and so we turned over.


The moment I got out of the water, I happened to glance at my chest and noticed that my camera (and my water bottle) were no longer on my vest pocket.  (The photo above is that said location)

Oh well. Had I known, I would have secured the camera in my hands or in my pockets.

While we waited for the rest to come through the path and fall in in the process… I pondered over my lost camera. Not so much with the camera itself, but the photos of the day’s trip. “Sayang”

Making up for lost time… and photos, I carefully took out my iPhone from my drybag and took a few shots.


Above are my nieces Leah and Kitkat and my grandnephew Ziggy having a blast as the guides brought them through the washing machine. My niece Kitkat was wailing like it was the end of the world… she had fun.



That’s my sister in the distance in the middle of the pic. She had drifted a little further before being rescued by the guides after our boat turned over.


My niece had fun as she watched us turn over in the water… hehe


Me at “the spot”


Despite my loss… and I really didn’t feel to bad about it… it was an awesome day! My nephew uttered the words to his manong guide “BEST SUNDAY EVER!”


We reached the end. We landed just outside the Rapid Stream site where the cars were parked. We had a late lunch, then we headed back to Manila shortly after.


I’ll say it again… this was an AWESOME ADVENTURE! This is certainly a “must try” for the adventure seekers out. And if you want to do this. Do it soon… while its still there.

According to Christian Yap, one of the owners of Rapid Stream (during a brief time he took over as our guide) the government plans to put a dam in 2013. If that happens the Barangay where Rapid Stream will find itself and many other towns underwater. The price of progress I guess.

This was certainly an eye opener to me to some of the potential lakwatsas in Tarlac. This inspires me to seek them out. Keep your eye out for this new site (still being built) called Visit Tarlac ( for list of other things to do in Tarlac.


For more information on Rapid Stream, look them up on their Facebook page:

Detail directions to the site are found in a map here:


Genting Highlands, Malaysia–June 23, 2012

Taking a break from the nature-filled adventures I am used to, I decided to explore the Genting Highlands… not totally sure of what to expect.

Genting Highlands is actually a development by Resorts World but the whole resort is on a mountain top with various other hotel operators.  Gunung Ulu Kali is like Filipino’s Baguio except its just 1 hour away from Kuala Lumpur.

Winston and I set out to get to Genting Highlands via bus from the Pudu Sentral Bus Station. We got to the station around 10:00am, and we actually saw the 10am bus to Genting leave the station, we thought we could make it to the 10:30 bus.


Unfortunately for us, just like in the airlines, the other trips were now fully booked (mental note for the future) and that the next available trip for those w/o tickets already was around 12:30. We looked at each other and considered the next best option… a TAXI. Which would just cost us 60 RM.

And so we were off! After around 40 min we reached the bottom of the mountain. “That was fast” I thought to myself. Only to realize that getting up the mountain was another 20 min.


While the taxi was climbing up the mountain, we began to see an unexpected sight… FOG! And here we are in shorts! We were definitely not prepared for this.

It was then that I thought that it was nice that there some place like this, so near the city, yet a place to enjoy a cool breeze of mountain air.

We got off the taxi and headed for the ticket booth. We opted to get the all park pass for both the Outdoor and the Indoor Theme Parks.


All banded up. Next problem… where to go?

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As we walked around the park… the thick fog was rolling in.

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After wandering about, we decided to try out the roller coaster

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The entire ride takes roughly one minute. While milder than an American roller coaster ride, it does have its moments of thrills… particularly the loops… it is after all called “corkscrew”

From the roller coaster we wandered a bit and had lunch.

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We then passed this ride the “Flying Coaster” which is like a regular roller coaster except that you are in a “Superman” type position. We would have wanted to take the ride but, the line was long and the ride only takes 4 persons at a time.

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We wandered into the Indoor Park… and right be entrance we tried te 4D experience which was a take on “The Little Prince.”

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From here, we signed up for the “Genting Sky Venture”… the indoor skydiving experience. That experience deserves its own blog post (plus, I need to rip the DVD first and post it on YouTube when I get back to Manila)

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While waiting for our 3PM timeslot for the skydiving, we passed the time in the Ripley’s Believe it or not Museum.

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I’ve been to two other Ripley’s museums. One in San Francisco and the other in Orlando, Florida. Each one has its own set of oddities.

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Ripley’s is always fun.

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From here we went to the Sky Venture for the Sky Diving (again, that is a separate post).

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Al in all Genting Highlands was an interesting place. It is definitely more for kids, but still has something for adults. And interestingly enough as we walked around. A lot the kiddie rides had adults in them… without kids. So I guess this is also a place for those wanting to just be a kid again!

The place isn’t Disneyland, but it is still a nice place for the family.

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From here, we went to the Batu Caves

Low Yat Plaza, Geek’s Paradise in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I know, I know. I find myself in another country, full of wonder and amazing cultural places of interest, and where do I end up as my first “tourist attraction?” The IT Mall.


Low Yat Plaza is to Malaysia as Funan Digital IT Mall is to Singapore (as opposed to Sim Lim Square). I would say Low Yat is a high-end IT haven full of branded IT items ranging from Computer to Cellphones.

As with the IT Trends these days, most of the stuff in Low Yat these days are either Tablets or Mobile Phones of various brands, models, and sizes.  Next to that… cameras… then PCs (PCs are now taking a back seat to tablets even in IT malls)

Ok… as I am like a little kid in a toy store, I forgot to actually take more pictures while inside the multi-level tech haven.

Why Travel Insurance is Important, a tour of Chartis’ Travel Guard center in Kuala Lumpur

I will admit it. I am one of the many travelers who never buys travel insurance. Like many I would say, “I don’t need that”.  In general I never really believed in insurance. It’s a non-tangible which, if you you went through life careful… you may never really need. I also always thought that,, if you just saved up all those insurance premiums, you would still have that money when you really need it.

I will need to re-think that thinking.

I have been lucky so far that I have never been in any situation where insurance would have been handy. I have never lost a bag, I have never lost travel documents. I have never been hospitalized while on travel or in any serious accident. But as the most wise Ate Vi has once said “you can never can tell.”

As part of the maiden flight of AirPhilExpress to Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, Chartis, the travel-insurance provider of AirPhilExpress, sponsored a tour of their response center in Malaysia to give us a glimpse as to what happens in the backend of things.

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It was really quite an eye-opener for me. I never really appreciated the breadth of services travel insurance offers, and of course the “things that could go wrong.” During a trip.

Without going through the whole briefing, I learned a lot about “what could happen” during a trip. We were relayed stories of simple trips gone wrong. From a medical perspective, imagine the costs of having to be hospitalized while away from home.

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While we there, we were introduced to some of the Filipino agents they had on the team that responds to call. Below is Mark. He relayed a story of helping out a family where the eldest son (of just around 22) passed away while studying in the UK and assisting the family from Singapore with their contact in the UK… yet not informing the parents at the brothers’ request.

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Through all of this. The agents need to remain focused on the task at hand. Through emotional situations, their role is assist the families get through these tough times. It is really quite an impressive setup.

The take-away from this, with regards to the agents, is that unlike a typical call-center agent, where the goal is to respond to a call and complete the call in the shortest possible time. With travel insurance agents like those in Travel Guard, they can follow a case for as long as it takes to complete the case. It could take a few hours, but it  could also take a few months.


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We then took a tour of the center and meeting some of the amazing folks who work there.

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After the tour we had a traditional Malaysian dish translated means “Merchant’s Rice” I forgot the Malaysian name.

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So as I said, I will need to rethink Travel Insurance. It is after all quite an affordable add-on of a few pesos when you book through AirPhileExpress. You are covered from 2 hours before your first leg’s departure until 2 hours after your return flight.

It is not something you wish you would need to avail of. But when something happens, it is something definitely great that you had availed of.

Stay safe! But be prepared.


The Travel Bloggers… photo courtesy of EAZY Traveler.

How to get to Anawangin Cove, Zambales

I’ve been asked several times recently how to get to Anawangin Cove from Manila. I decided to put a little post together with the very simple directions of how to get to Anawangin.

I will give you two options 1) by Private Vehicle and 2) by Public Transportation

Travel Times

Along with directions, I also get the question “how long does it take to get there.” That question of course depends on the following considerations:

1) What time of the day you leave Manila. As you guess there is a big difference when you start your trip at 5am, 7am, 9am, or any time after that. As the morning/day progresses your travel time will lengthen as more vehicles (specifically tricycles) occupy the road. Another
2) How fast you drive. I need not explain.

Depending on your answers to #1 and #2 above, the answer is… “it depends.”

For me, I like leaving Manila very early. And I drive very… very fast. So I can make the trip to Anawangin leaving Manila at around 5am in around 2 and a half hours. Give or take.

The Map

Having a visual of where to pass is always handy.

View Anawangin Cove, Zambales in a larger map


The Directions (by private vehicle)

1) Head to NLEX. I like passing the new Mindanao Avenue route. Passing through EDSA then turning right at Balintawak is always a bottle neck because its such a narrow one lane road with all the buses.

2) Head to the end of NLEX past the Dao exit then head for the SCTEX.

3) Follow the signs to the SCTEX.

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4) Be sure to NOT to head towards Tarlac. Be sure to head towards Subic which is heading to the right.

5) Exit at Subic. Pass through Subic and head for the gate at the extreme end of Dewey Street.

6) Exit Subic. You should see the Olongapo Public Cemetery in front of you. Turn Left.

7) Stay on the road. You will be passing through a number of towns on the way including; Subic Town, Castillejos, the San Marcelino. (you might also see some signs heading towards Iba).

NOTE: Depending on the time of day, from Subic to San Antonio, Zambales would take around 45 min to an hour.

8) When you reach San Marcelino, at the public market you will see an intersection. If you head straight you will be headed towards Iba. You should turn left to San Antonio.

9) When you get to San Antonio, head straight till you see the Municipal Hall and the Church. At the end of the main road you should turn LEFT.

10) Follow the signs headed to Pundaquit. The streets are parallel and perpendicular to one another so you should find the road.

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11) When you reach Pundaquit Beach… I suggest you keep on following the road till you see parking areas to your left. Park the car then inquire about boats to Anawangin.  Parking is (well, used to be the last time I was there) around P50 for the day.

12) This is where your negotiation skills come into play. Some charge per head, some for the whole boat. Don’t ask me what the cost will be… that is up to you. If you look at the comments page of this post, there is a guy who posted the boat rates. Bahala ka na.

13) Optionally, you could hike across the mountains to Anawangin. No, I have never done this, and will never do this. So I can’t help you here.

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The Directions (by public transportation)

While asked many times about how to get here via public transportation, I really have never done it. These directions are not out of experience, but through one of my best friends who grew up in San Antonio, Zambales.

1) Take a bus to San Antonio, Zambales. The prices may have changed, but as far as we know, it is currently P250/person for Victory Liner from the Pasay City or Cubao stations.

Depending on the time of day, the trip from Manila to San Antonio should take you anywhere from 2.5 hours to 5 hours.

2) When you get to San Antonio, you can take a tricycle to Pundaquit. If you are a big group you probably might be able to negotiate for a jeep at the town center to bring you to Pundaquit.

3) Get a boat from Pundaquit as staed at #12 above.


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I’ve been to Anawangin Twice in past few years. You can review my blog posts for reference:

Fondue at Eleven Tables, Kapitolyo, Pasig City

For my birthday last April, I treated one of my barkadas to an interesting little place in Pasig. This group of mine always gets together for one of our birthdays, usually at some new and interesting place. My specific interest in this place was the fact that they are known for FONDUE. We have been talking about doing fondue for several years and never really got around to it. When I came across this place while reading some Foodie blog posts, I knew this has got to be the resto to treat for my birthday.

Fondue is one of those forms of dishes which isn’t very popular in the Philippines. It’s rare. I’ve probably had fondue around 5-7 times in all my life. The last restaurant where I had fondue was Old Swiss Inn in Makati.

Fondue, Swiss in origin, is where folks would dip a food item into a common pot usually filled with cheese.  Filipinos are probably more familiar with the dessert variety of dipping marshmallows and fruit into chocolate… though in recent years this has given way to a chocolate fountain at parties, but the concept remains somewhat the same. The experience really isn’t new to Filipinos in general. It’s kinda like going to a shabu-shabu restaurant… well, in a way.

Visit Wikipedia for more info:

The restaurant is located at D’ Ace Plaza in Pasig, known for “Ace Water Spa.”IMG_3258

As you can probably guess, it is called Eleven Tables because the place has eleven tables. Eleven square tables. In our case, the four of us automatically occupied 2 tables.

I had txted ahead to make a reservation. But when we got there… the place was empty. It was a Sunday night though. It filled up with more groups as the evening drew on.



We went all fondue for the evening. 1 appetizer, 2 main. and 1 dessert. All of it… fondue.

First off Bacon, Cheddar, and Tomato. Yum! You can just see the bacon and the sea of melted cheese! It was… AWESOME!


For the savory fondue, we went with both option available. With these dishes they come with a communal pot of oil in which you cook the item (as opposed to dipping it in the cheese variant).

The Beef Bourguignonne.


Beef is always good! (I am a beef eater… yes, I belong to those that look as vegetables as decoration on a plate and not meant to be eaten).

They had an assortment of sauces for us to dip into. I forget what they were… some mustard like dip and a wasabe dip and 2 others.


We also had the Seafood Bourguignonne which came with scallops, salmon, white fish, and prawns


And for dessert we had (of course) Dark Chocolate. Came with potato chips, bananas, marshmallows, and wafers.



Our meal was definitely… different.

The experience itself was quite interesting. After all, one doesn’t get to do fondue often in Manila. In retrospect, having 4 different fondue dishes became a little redundant. But then again, we wanted to immerse ourselves into the experience.

I could say, it was a great… and unique… way of spending my birthday with friends.

If you are into something different for a change… try out the fondue at Eleven Tables. Just remember that it isn’t a spoon and fork type of place with rice. You have a skewer and you do a lots of poking and dipping.


Contact Details:
Eleven Tables
D’ Ace Plaza, United Street corner Brixton Street
Barangay Kapitolyo, Pasig City
Facebook Page:

Dive and Trek, Anilao (aka Batang Yagit goes Diving) – May 12, 2012

People go on lakwatsas for various reasons. Once it a while, it isn’t about you. Sometimes its about sharing an experience with a friend. For around a week, Benj Espina and I had been chatting on Facebook bringing Winston Almendras (aka Batang Yagit) Scuba Diving. I had been hearing about this from both of them for months, I thought it would make for an awesome adventure.

So we set off from BGC at around 5:15am and headed for Anilao. We leisurely got to Anilao at around 8am and waited for the boat to take us to Dive and Trek.

View Dive and Trek in a larger map


The weather was a bit overcast in the morning, fortunately, the skies cleared up as the day bore on.

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Arriving at Dive and Trek we settled in, registered ourselves, and scheduled our dives for the day. We got a dive master to bring out Winston for his check-out dive with a little intro lecture before hand.

Dive and Trek

The resort, inaccessible by land, is a quaint little place, very tastefully done. The thing Benj and I observed is that we Filipinos were the minority that day. It was nice to see a number of foreigners enjoying themselves.

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Benj I start out with a short dive while Winston does some snorkeling. This is one of those rare times where I get into the water from a pier and not off a boat. So my initial entry into the water was a bit clumsy.

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The waters around area were teaming with life. Lots of fish around. But of course, that does have its down side. I have observed, that lots of fish, means lots of food in the water… that translates to less then crystal clear visibility.

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Batang Yagit goes Diving

But of course, this day was about Winston. And helping him get an awesome experience out of this. On my part, I wanted to make sure the moment was well documented in photos and videos, first moments are always memorable.

Its rare for me to use my Liquid Image mask with the built in camera. So unlike taking video with an handheld camera, this take video from my point of view. So please excuse the sudden jerks in the video as I turn my head. But at least you get a real first-person view of what is happening. And as an added bonus (or annoyance) you get to hear what I hear… and in my case is… my breathing!

After our dive, the dive master sat Winston down for a brief lecture. With Winston, was this Australian lady, also a beginner.

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So we got suited up, and we were ready!

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This submerged pier was an interesting experience.

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The excitement mounts…

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Getting strapped in

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There was a lot of time spent on getting his mask on just right.

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And he finally goes in…

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Video moment… (more at the bottom of the post)

Probably Wins’ greatest issue dealt with mask clearing (in fairness is a common newbie issue). Benj took him through the paces a number of times. (that’s Benj’s glove)

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and we’re off!

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Haha! Parang pro na!

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FISHES! (ok… the grammar is questionable on that one).

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He seems to be getting used to it.

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The one thing we kept on noticing with Winston was his “bicycle peddling” movement. Normally you are supposed to keep your legs straight and extend with slight knee bending. In Winston’s case he was moving his legs like crazy.

We also kept on floating upwards. There was a funny-panic moment when Benj and I looked at each other and gesturing to one another “where is he?” as we looked left and right in panic! We found him hovering over us around 2 meters above us.

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He looked like he was having fun experiencing the awesomeness of the moment.

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And around 40 minutes later! SUCCESS with Dive 1

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After lunch we went down for another dive.

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During the second dive, Benj tells Wins to stay close to us. Then… at one point during the dive… Benj vanishes for a few minutes!

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All in all it was a great leisurely day. We had a great time at the resort. The weather was great. And of course we are thankful that there were no serious incidents.

By around 3:30pm we were all packed and ready to go back. We paid what we owed to the resort and we headed back.

We ended the day with some Batangas Bulalo at Benj’s Family’s restaurant. Rose and Grace, in Sto. Tomas, Batangas.

Photo May 12, 6 41 23 PM

It’s always great to expose friends to new experiences, especially those that you yourself are passionate about.


More Video Moments.

All of these are the raw video from my mask-cam. With my breathing and the sound of my breathing, you get the “being there” experience.

Video 2

Video 3

Video 4

Video 5