Touched by Disney UK!

Disney UK got a cool and heartwarming Christmas advert!  I am particularly touched and moved by this video ad simply because it features bits of the Filipino qualities and culture. 

Mano:  the gentle placing of the back of the hands of your elders to your forehead is a unique Filipino gesture to show sign of respect to elders

Parol & Parol-Making:  a lantern which is made of bamboo sticks and colored paper is a major Christmas symbol of every household in the Philippines.  And it is a common practice that grade school students would create one as a school project during Christmas season so as to have it hanged in their respective houses.  I made a horrible-looking one myself during my young school days!

Simbang Gabi: a Filipino-Catholic tradition of attending midnight Mass at a nearby Catholic church for 9 consecutive nights prior to Christmas Eve.  And since I am wicked, this is one Filipino tradition that I never get to complete!

Recycling of an old cookie tin can:  Lola-s (translation: grandmothers) around the nation would never throw away metal cookie cans.  These would instead be re-used either as a jewelry box, a sewing kit container, an old photos or greeting cards chest or other similar charms, trinkets and mementos that a usual Filipino lola wants to keep.

Thanks Disney UK!  You moved me.

Bigger than present-day USA, Iran & UK is the Wrath of Taal Volcano

While Iran and USA are so busy hating each other and while Prince Harry and Megan Markle are so into each other that they turned down the opportunity to be United Kingdom’s royal role models who can inspire and help the needy, us here in the impoverished Philippines are in the process of surviving and standing up from the wrath brought about by the littlest and most active volcano in the planet.

now an iconic photograph featuring the scary wrath of Taal

grabbed this photo from Instagram account of my friend, Alex Villavicencio, a local of Taal and full-blooded Batangueño.

With this Taal volcano devastation, we are too busy that we no longer have the time to hate another country.  We too are too busy that we no longer care if royal highnesses Harry and Megan will live a normal quiet life.

How I wish we Pinoys can bring Taal Volcano to the negotiation table to achieve peace and harmony.  How I wish we Pinoys are called by her majesty, Taal Volcano, for an emergency meeting so as to finalize talks about our security and funding of her geography.

Filipinos has had so much when it comes to battling with nature – super typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, severe tropical storms, tsunamis, etc.  and “resilience” has been one genuine character among us.

i love Taal (my 2015 visit)

Now tell me.  Who among the Americans, the Brits and Iranians are facing the bigger challenge in this so called life if compared to the Filipinos?  The hardest battle a nation can encounter is the walloping clash against nature.  But guess what? We Pinoys chose to be tough and resilient despite the fact that our mood and spirit for now has been covered by thick volcanic ash!

Visa Application: The Expensive Way of Proving My Being a Human Being

My comment on a Facebook post by Business Insider “Hahaha! No need to read the article.  I know this so well… (Filipino here)” is gaining semi-popularity.  This article written by a Syrian was about how difficult it is to travel when you don’t have the power of a privileged passport.

And like Syrians, Filipinos like me has to face expensive challenges and time-consuming process of obtaining a travel visa.  Like Syrians, Filipino-world travelers has very weak passports.  We are not privileged to travel easily like the French, the Norwegians and the Singaporeans to name a few.

new zealand: visa fee usd 140

shanghai, china: visa fee usd 27.50

Belgians and South Koreans and other nationalities with powerful passport need not plan so much ahead of time.  They can easily go and hop on the next flight available to another country if they wish to.  But Syrians and Filipinos need months in advance of processing our visit visa.  We need to prepare a long list of proofs of our being human beings as well as present our capability to finance ourselves during our travel.

We have to pay the expensive visa fees which Australians, Americans and Canadians can already apportion to their room accommodations or meal expense during their travel.  We have to allot a separate budget for that. Hahaha!  And these pricy visa fees does not actually assure us of securing our needed visit visa.  We need to do loads of prayers to the heavens plus tons of luck!

mexico: visa-free entry if you have japanese or us visa

israel: visa free (yohooo!!!)

turkey: need to have US visa + usd 20 for evisa

As of this writing I have to pay 60 euros to secure a Schengen visa, 160 US dollars to obtain an American visa and 832 US dollars to acquire a 5-year UK visa.  And according to 2018 schengenvisainfo.com report, Schengen embassies and consulates in the Philippines processed 175,700 visa applications.  UK on the other hand processed 78,482 applications.  And these are just Schengen and UK, we Filipinos love USA so do the math on how much these embassies profited from travel-loving Filipinos.

Wealthy Malaysians, Japanese and Singaporeans has to pay nothing.  Zero.  Thus, Schengen, UK and US embassies and consulates don’t earn from them considering that they can effortlessly afford it. 

If for some people getting lost in a foreign country is the most tough, Syrians for and Filipinos on the other hand, the process of obtaining visa is the most difficult.  Hahaha!  It is actually the very element that hinders me from going to places I want to explore.  It is one sad truth that a travel lover like me has to endure and undertake.

Man on the Moon by John Lewis

I know that it already have stores here in Manila, but if destiny would grant my wish of travelling someday to the United Kingdom, I will never miss the chance of going to John Lewis.  This is for the simple reason of being so touched every year by their Christmas ad.

John Lewis Christmas ads are so awe-inspiring, it seem to have become a tradition for Britons to look forward to its annual release.

This year’s edition is entitled “Man On The Moon”

tear-jerking...

tear-jerking…

Ang Es Em kaya maka-gawa ng ganyang ka-tatching na patalastas?

Hey British Kids: Don’t Go to Syria, Go to Metro Manila

It is all over the news that 3 British teens tried to enter Syria for their alleged plan of joining the Islamic State (Isis) militants in Syria.  And according to news, prior to these 3 aspiring slaughterers there has been hundreds of young Britons lured, bewildered and mystified has gone to Syria.

These are my thoughts about it.  I guess these British kids don’t actually realize how privileged they are for being born and to be living in one of the wealthiest countries in the world.  They don’t realize how lucky they are and how easy it is for them to live a life.  These homo sapiens basically do not need to be worried about the basics of living a life because their government’s social services are much better if compared to the majority of the countries around the planet.  The basic physiological, security and self-esteem needs of living a life are essentially prearranged before their birth and are actually given to them even before they start breathing.

Instead of joining Isis, I recommend these kids to try living for a month (no a week) to some poverty-stricken area here in Metro Manila.  I suppose these kids don’t need to join a fatally flawed group of assassins to be able to realize what life is all about.  At least here in Metro Manila, they will experience the hell which they seem to aspire and look for but without the need or the requirement of killing another human being.

Here in Metro Manila, they will experience the hell of traffic, the hell of human congestion, the hell of all sorts of pollution, the hell of public service and servants, the hell of riding the metro, the hell of dealing with perverse taxi drivers and a lot lot more. But what is good in experiencing these hells is that they would not entail to kill anyone.  Given a month (no a week) here in Metro Manila, I suppose these kids would be able to realize how lucky and fortunate they are as human beings.

i heart gbBut in case these teens would really opt to join Isis and go to Syria, may I further suggest two things.  First, these kids when they leave for Syria should be deprived of their British citizenship and should not have the option of returning due to threats in security.  Second, the consulate of the United Kingdom here in Metro Manila should award the stripped citizenship of these would-be bandits to those human beings here in Metro Manila who  aspire and dreams to live a peaceful and privileged life in UK.  I for one would be the first in line when applying.  I would love to live a colorful life in UK and have the opportunity to experience what a civilized, cultured and privileged Briton life would be.

Sige palit tayo.  Dito kayo, dyan ako. Mga bobong bata ‘to!