Friday, June 11, 2010

In a Mango Orchard


A very good friend, Cynthia, invited us to visit their mango orchard.



It was a great getaway for us and our daughter experienced a lot of firsts there. So let me give this page to our daughter as another first - blogging.


We are encouraging her to write short essays of her experiences to help develop her writing skills. It also serves as time machine snapshots that she can read again when she gets older. Forgive the word construct and appreciate the thoughts of our 7-year old little lady. Presenting you (drumroll) her first blog:


The Thing that I like in The Farm


In the farm my mother told me to climb the tree but I said "I don't like I'm scared!" Daddy just carried me to the tree so I don't need to climb the tree. Daddy pretended that the tree was tall but it was only short. Daddy told me to stand on the tree. Daddy was holding me while I'm standing on the tree.


I was a little scared because the branch is still thin, that's why I'm scared when I'm standing on the branch. After that I decided to just swing on the branch. It was fun and the branch did not fall too.


Mommy said to go to the top of the tree and stand up and raise one leg. I was scared and I just raised my leg very low. Only up to 10 inches.


Mommy just told me to sit down on the top of the tree so I won't be scared now.


After that we sat on a chair that was made of wood to rest.


After rest we picked some mangoes on the tree.


We also took pictures with the mangoes too.


There are dogs with us to protect us from snakes.


Mommy also gave me a stick to pinch the other snakes by myself.


Even if it's just a stick I still like it. I always play with it. I pretend that it's a shovel. I use it everyday in the farm.


At night we had a bonfire, marshmallow and a stick.


We placed the marshmallows on the stick, place it in the bonfire and ate it. It was very yummy!



After we woke up, we saw a white crane and two baby goats, one is color black and the other is brown and white.


We went to a river. We also swam in the river. We took pictures too.


We also picked stones in the river. They were many and colorful.


One of the stones looked like a chocolate, its the very small stone that we found.


I also swam in the river. Mommy was just holding me with the towel because I was scared I might not float.


Some of them bring carpet to sit on. They also brought some food and tricycle.


The river is also clean, there are no garbage.


I saw kids diving in the river.

Monday, March 22, 2010

GPS in the Philippines

Two years had passed since I took home my trusty mobile phone as part of Smart Communications customer retention plan. It was again time for me to claim a brand new free cellphone unit or get a more expensive phone with a big discount.

This retention round I chose a Nokia 5800 XpressMusic. It costs 15,000 in malls but I got it for only 7,300 under Smart's retention plan. Yehey! I chose it because of the high resolution video recording with 30 fps frame rate, Auto focus lens with macro mode for those close up shots, Vario Tessar focusing system, Wi-fi to connect our home's network and the thing I've always wanted to play around - GPS (Global Positioning System).

This year is a good time to buy a GPS capable phone because shortly after Google announced the availability of free turn by turn voice navigation in the US for their Nexus One phone, Nokia, to protect their worldwide leadership I guess, announced that it will stop asking payments for GPS voice guided navigation and will now give it away for free in all their GPS capable phones all over the world including the Philippines. I read that stock prices of GPS navigation devices dropped after this announcement. Good thing also that Nokia announced it early this year because I was eagerly awaiting for the GPS Navigation Systems that will soon arrive in CD-R King Stores. Now I don't need to buy it because my new phone already has it. Voice guided drive navigation and pedestrian navigation. Woohoo! I downloaded the British female voice as my voice navigator. So when the phone announces the driving directions, it's like being in James Bond's car complete with the British accent - bloody cool! hehe.


I owe much to CD-R King with their low cost consumer products so I bought from them the car mount for the phone.


Now let's take this new phone for a ride and see and hear what Nokia OVI Maps can do. I tied a safety cord to the car mount inspired by the harness we used in Dahilayan Adventure Park's longest dual zip line in Asia. It took 3 minutes for the GPS receiver to lock on to the satellites and determine where we're at.


We drove to NUVALI with the GPS navigation on and visited Treveia. Nokia OVI Maps has a navigation window that displays a real-time compass showing which direction you're headed, how long you've been driving and your current speed. The speed was actually very close to the car's speedometer. Those satellites up there looking at me sure have clear eyes!


The trip distance window shows real-time numbers and statistics of your trip. Now this is a good trip meter!


This is the view of Treveia's Phase 2 taken from the central park with a cloudy view of Mount Makiling.

Scr000013 treveia nuvali

And this is the altitude and GPS location of Treveia's Central Park.



The voice guided navigation displays where you are, street names, current speed, compass, how far you are to the next turn, total distance traveled and marks where the gasoline stations are located.


One thing funny happened is that when we were on top of the overpass crossing SLEX, it told us to turn left and jump off the overpass to get to SLEX. But if you don't do it for obvious reasons, it auto re-calculated our route and kindly told us to take the cloverleaf toll road instead. Never believe in it a hundred percent.


This is the dashboard window info while voice guided navigation is turned on.


This is what the screen looks like at night to lessen night driving disruption.

All in all, a Nokia phone with Nokia OVI Maps installed is a good GPS for a newbie like me. The whole Philippine roadmap is just a 12MB file that you can download at home and use on the road without the need to connect to the internet then pay 3G/HSPDA charges. When I tried using Google Maps for Mobile 4.0, it needed 3G/HSPDA/Wi-fi connection to download maps while you drive so it will cost you money. It also saves downloaded maps to the phone memory without an option to save them to the memory card. But one good thing with Google Maps is that they have more updated street maps than Nokia and Navteq. I hope Nokia catches up soon in this respect.

What's missing in Nokia OVI Maps for the Philippines are the POI or points of interest. After some searching I came across a Java based open source application than can run on any gadget that allows running Java apps including your PSP. The graphics is not as good as Nokia OVI Maps or Garmin Mobile but all the important and meaty guts are there - comprehensive POI all over the Philippines that's updated weekly thanks to, altitude, speed, compass, the ability to define roads & POI of uncharted areas, uploading to and voice navigation.


Driving along Governor's drive with visible POI.


Complete POI details of a part of Makati including traffic directions.


Zooming in will give you the names of each building.


Driving along an uncharted area. So what do you do?


Well, be an explorer like Magellan and define the roads as you drive by. Upload it later to Openstreetmaps so others will benefit from your exploration.


Uploading my first GPS tracks for an uncharted part of the Philippines in Openstreetmaps.


Before charting.


After charting.


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Amaia Scapes Calamba - An Ayala Land Project

Ayala Land enters a new phase in their land development and offers affordable homes to more Filipinos with the same high standards that Ayala is known for.Time for you to get that dream home and good real estate investment.

  1. Ayala properties are know to have above average property appreciation rate.
  2. Amaia Scapes is located in Calamba City near SLEX Batino Exit.
  3. Seven house designs to choose from. Price starts P600,000.
  4. All homes sold comes with 1 year workmanship warranty.
  5. Amaia Scapes will be continuously managed by Ayala Properties Management Corporation so you can be assured the village rules and restrictions will really be enforced similar to what they still do in Ayala Alabang Village, Forbes Park, Santa Rosa Estates and now in NUVALI.

Serious buyers can contact Lilia Unite at 09088637715 or for inquiries and reservations.

Still in pre-selling stage so hurry!

Click here for a satellite view (Wikimapia, Google Earth)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dahilayan Adventure Park - Unfinished Business

It's time to return to Dahilayan Adventure Park for some unfinished business.



We had a great time on our first visit. The ride going there, the 320-meter and 150-meter zips were great but sadly we were not able to try the 840-meter line due to the long queue.



So this time we went there earlier and brought along more excited faces, snacks, lunch, hot and cold drinks. We're ready and nothing will stop us now from conquering that almost-a-kilometer cable.


Majority of the vehicles brought there are these big ones but that did not stop us from bringing a sedan. It was able to keep up with the two Rev-O in our group even on rough roads.



We went straight to the flight center to confirm our reservation and lined up for the 320-meter and 150-meter zip lines.




Now it's me and my wife's turn. Woohoo!


It's our second time in these lines so we had more time to enjoy the ride than trying to hold to dear life the first few seconds when we were here the first time. My wife even found time to wave at her fans :)


Jumping with joy - We made it! And plenty of time left for the finale ride!



But first, we went to the woods... spooky...


... for some demure shots...



a Twilight movie shot...


and Jollibee lunch.


After we recharged ourselves, we're looking at this long and high contraption of thrill and excitement.


This is a zoomed in view of the starting point.


It's time to go up there. And go up there in rugged safari style!


Woohoo! Smile muna!


The ride up was fast and bumpy like you're on a roller coaster with cold mountain air in your face.




Here we are at last.


The flight deck going down.



Zoomed in view of the landing area down below.


Finally, it's almost our turn. Can't wait. Nothing will stop us now!

Then the clouds came in, and with it came the rain. It became so foggy that you can't see anymore the adjacent mountain range.


But still, this did not stop us. "Naligo na naman kami." It's just water. Who's afraid of zipping in high altitude, in low visibility rainy weather, cold rain on your back and cold air to give you chills to the bones. Not us!


The flight deck crew strapped us in, two at a time.


While we try to see the best we can where the landing pad is.


Meanwhile, the landing crew had no idea if someone's landing or not. So they wait there in the foggy rain looking at nothing.


But thanks for their patience to wait for all of us to land.


It really was a great experience.


Come join us as one of the many who experienced the longest dual zip line in Asia.


From Cagayan de Oro, take the Davao-Bukidnon Highway, right on the Alae Junction, proceed 25 kms to Baranggay Dahilayan past Camp Phillips and the pineapple fields via Mampayag. Book online here.

Here are some tips:
  1. Don't gate crash. Book online or call them days ahead. Walk-in adventurers rarely get a chance to ride. The line for groups with reservations are long enough for the day.
  2. Bring a jacket if you go there on cold months.
  3. Bring drinks, snacks and packed lunch. Plenty of benches in the woods. Hot water, choco and coffee is good to have.
  4. Horseback riding and ATV rides are available.