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Monday, January 28, 2013

2nd Year Of Trunk Locking

My new vocabulary, "trunk locking" which means enjoyably blogging using my Trunk Locker... hahaha. Time really flies, my blog is already in it's 2nd year.  As everyone would I think agree, that it's never a hassle once you're passionate in what you're doing.

I'm proud to give an update of what my Trunk Locker had accomplished and achieved more:
  • This is the 245th post of my blog.  I already wrote that much articles and I'm still planning to write more.  What to write about?  Well, our experiences never stops, right?  As long as my family, my life, gives me inspirations, then there's just a lot of things to share with you.  I just hope blogger can accommodate it.  hehehe.
  • I have 479 and 606 friends in Google Friend Connect and Networkedblogs, respectively.  Again and again, thank you so much for following my blog guys, I'm not sure why you are following my blog... just kidding... but hey, I'm truly honored and humbled.  Just to show you how much I truly appreciate it, I'll give each one $100 each... LOL.  Kidding aside, thank you.
  • Currently, I have a Google page rank of 3 and an Alexa rank of 100,543.  I would never gone this far if not for you guys, who never get tired of visiting my blog and reading my posts.  And most especially to my wife, who never runs out of strength to edit my post, even how tired she was after her shifts.  I share these achievements to all.
  • Trunk Locker has 3 blogging awards. Wooh, not from a recognized award giving body, but heartily given by fellow bloggers and it is as well deeply appreciated.  Formal awards are for those who worked full time and dedicated in building their blog's name and reputation... but I'm not closing the doors for Trunk Locker, maybe someday (LOL)... there's nothing wrong to dream, right?
  • My Adsense earnings is already $36.63, it gained $6.03 compared to last year. Wow, that's huge... hahaha.  Well, I just enjoyed seeing the advertisement in my blog, it felt more like it's worth something.
  • Received a couple of paid posts offers from various review sites.
  • Right now, I have a total pageviews of 136,933.  Again, not that much, but appreciate each one of them.  The only thing is, I've got more viewers from the United States than in my own country.  Hey guys, what's happening, where's our motto of "loving our own", hahaha... I guess the only way to explain it is population and landmass.
  •  Still, if one search "trunk locker" or "trunklocker" in Google... I'm proud to say, my blog's still tops the list.  It may not be 1st in Yahoo, but at least, it's still in the first page... yes!!!
I'm humbled with all the good things my blog accomplished throughout the years.  I will continue to stick to the principles which I started my blog from, to give valuable information, share my learnings and experiences in life and always give due praise to our Lord for all the blessings I received and will be receiving.  Writing is really easy when you are inspired and supported, it makes your thoughts overflow with ideas.  For this I will never get tired to thank the people responsible for it, my family... my life... love you guys.  To my blog friends, readers or visitors, my never ending gratitude.  And to our Almighty Father, may He always be my guide so that I may glorify His name with every post I make.   Happy 2nd anniversary to my Trunk Locker.  Yahweh bless.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

My PMA Cadet Years (Yearling) - Almost Like Home

November 1996

1 to 2 - Cadets were given a 2 day mass leave for the celebration of All Saints and All Souls Day.  I did not went home considering practicality.  I considered the invitation of an upperclassman to visit their hometown.  It was my first time to San Fernando, La Union, so it was definitely a trip I've been looking forward to.  And besides, being with an upperclass cadet is a treat, as it's in our tradition that they pay most of the expenses or at least pay a bigger share like when in dining out.

We went out skin diving the first day, but we're not so lucky to see the corals and fishes as the water was too cloudy that day.  However, it's not everyday I see a sea, definitely not in Baguio City.   I had a chance to witness a fish (bangus or milkfish) harvest the following day in their family fish pond in Dagupan City.  There, I appreciated the taste of a freshly caught roasted bangus dipped in soy sauce with cut fresh tomatoes in a steaming rice.  Also, I had my first encounter with the Ilocanos' "jumping salad".  It's just like our very own "kinilaw" (local sushi) but with a twist, they were using small live shrimps.  The taste?  I won't tell, it's for you to try and find out. LOL.

3 to 5 - We returned to PMA on a Sunday, and we were welcome by academics with surprise L.E.'s (lesson exams) the following day.  As cadets, we were expected to be always prepared in class, even after a break.  But who would have thought hahaha, so if you really had none, just have to rely to stock knowledge or "hugot" (chance).  By the way, cheating, in any form, in the academy is punishable by expulsion.

7 - We also had guest from other academies, a graduating Navy cadet stayed in our room once.  As hospitable as any other Filipinos, we offered what's best to our guests to make them comfortable during their visit.

8 to 9 - Parades were a duty to us cadets, and we do it as long as it's possible.  Usually, we had them during special occasions and every Saturday, after our inspection.  Here, we had 2 succeeding parades.  The first was to welcome our new superintendent and the second one was for the Saturday parade.  A storm had just hit Baguio City that time, but just like what they say in TV, the show must go on.  Not to worry, we wore our raincoats during those times... and they gave us a hop in the evening.

10 -  Foster Parent Program.  Cadets during their yearling (3rd class) or 2nd year were given foster parents.  It's a way PMA provides us a family that were almost like our own.  A really great help especially for those who were miles away from home.  There were things PMA could teach a cadet, but to keep them guided and look at a different perspective from being trim and proper, they may need an unbiased opinion from those outside the portals.  Something like having a family nearby, that you may consider almost like that of your home.  The program gave me not only foster parents but 3 new younger sisters and a brother.

16 - Had an official business in Baguio, and for my side trip, passed by a record shop and buy 2 cassette tapes; Eraserhead's Fruitcake and a Michael Learns to Rock album.  The bands I used to listen even before I entered the academy.  Cadets in official business status were those tasked to arrange certain transactions in behalf of PMA or needed to buy something for the academy's use.  The thing is, you could still linger in the city if you still have time, provided of course you've done your task.

20 - We always had our Corps drill most especially if we were preparing for something just to familiarize ourselves to the sequence of the parade.  If needed, we practice our drills for hours even under a bad weather.  Do we get sick? Definitely, but the training made us tougher, not only physically but also mentally.  As we termed it "PMA" for positive mental attitude.

26 to 28 - Entrucking bound to Manila for the change in the Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Position.  Upon arrival, after resting for a while, we already had our drills since we only had 2 days left to practice and adjust to the parameters of the actual location.  At that time, we had 3 speakers during the ceremony, President Fidel Ramos, AFP CS Arturo Enrile (outgoing) and AFP CS Arnulfo Acedera (incoming).  And we stood motionless until all the speeches are over.  The only rest we had was if the official commands the baron to change our position from attention to "tikas pahinga" or parade rest.

But you know what's the best thing of having parade in Manila was the privilege or short breaks given to cadets every after drills and parades.  I had the chance to visit the family that I considered my home there.

30 - It's not everyday cadets are being visited by friends and family, more especially those miles away from home.  So when I had an unexpected visit from friends in my hometown, I jumped to my uniform so I could go on entertaining.  How glad I was that it's a Sunday, and we're not in any duty.  Though I wasn't yet sure who they were, since all I got was "Marion & company", and I known 2 Marions... LOL.  Well, it didn't really matter, I was just eager to see familiar faces.

When I met them in the visitor's lounge, they were my friend's sisters Marion and Jean with their friend Joy.  After a short chat while having snacks in the cafeteria, I toured them around PMA.  There was somewhat an unfamiliar breeze as things wasn't as they were.  I was a cadet then, and must act accordingly and even without words, it's understandable.

My visit to a fellow cadet's hometown, a foster family, side trips, visiting and being visited by friends and family... each and everything was appreciated.  It somewhat gave me a feeling of home... well, almost like home.  And I'll forever be thankful to the Lord for such blessings, just the things I needed for the time being.  The Lord truly provides...  Yahweh bless.

Recent Related Post: Vacation, Privileges And Mass Leave

Friday, January 11, 2013

100,000th Kilometers Of Travel

While riding my motorcycle, I can't help but notice my odometer was already reaching its limit in figures or maximum reading.  So when the meter reached the 99,999 kilometers mark, I stopped and took a pic of it. And I took another shot as it was about to rollover back to zero again.  I wouldn't miss that milestone, since I heard, some motorcycles' odometers become defective before reaching such figure.  More, it meant that I already traveled a hundred thousand colorful kilometer experience with my motorcycle.

100,000 kilometers, that's just like circling the earth 2.5 times with my bike.  Well, the farthest I've been so far were Valencia City in Bukidnon, Aguacan resort in Maragusan, Toyozu resort in Nabuntutan, and Lake Sebu in South Cotabato.  But what mostly consist of my mileage were my daily long distance travels to work.  Whew... I already rode that much?  No wonder my back is aching already.

It was a rain and shine, smooth and rough, funny and painful travel experience for a couple of years now.  I met many accidents along the road, just glad a lot of them did not include me.  For those that did, I thank the Lord that they were just minor accidents.  Nearly forgot, except one, when I collided with a person driving a bicycle.  He suddenly turned left... I stepped and gripped on my brakes, so I was thrown to him... He lost consciousness, nearly lost mine... And we're both brought to the hospital... Long story to detail... Just glad we're both fine... Thank God.

Just had my bike repainted, not in the plan, met an accident, and the insurance covered it... many thanks for that.  My odometer had a new start again and begun to roll as I continue in my travels.  My prayer is that He protects me from the troubles in my way and He gives me the presence of mind and sense of precaution that others might be protected as well.  May Yahweh always bless our way.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sleepless Nights Again

It has been 5 years since we had a baby in our home, I almost forgot what  it was like having one.  Now, our little one is reminding me those sleepless nights once more.  Newborns seem to have their own sleeping hours, very unique to the rest of us.  Mine is wide awake during times people should have been sleeping, 11 in the evening until 5 in the morning of the following day.  He has this habit of always wanting to be carried almost the whole time when awake.  A friend told us that premature babies are like that because they got out early when they should have been still be in the womb.  Logical or not, I'm starting to believe it.

I really wouldn't mind being awake with our son, but needing to go to work without a proper sleep is another thing.  So I'm now trying to recall what were those things I did in the past.  And then I realized the same things happened back then, the only thing that changed is I was 5 years younger back then.  It's really amazing what age can do to you, things were just not as easy as before.

Here are a list of things I tried just to make him fall asleep:
  • bore him to sleep with a lullaby;
  • carry him in a comfortable position and start dancing slowly in a rocking motion;
  • blow his eyes softly;
  • new diapers and feed him milk, and never forget the "burp" part;
  • (if still nothing prevails), I beg him to sleep and even bribe him with my 1 month salary just for a straight hour of sleep;
  • but the most effective, tagging my wife and telling her the baby needs motherly love... hahaha...;
  • however, if wifey is in the night shift, I have no choice but to play with our baby a game we call "who will blink first"... until morning.
Kidding aside, we know that having a baby isn't an easy responsibility to bear.  And it ain't new to us.  I just dunno why I feel like a newbie time and time again.  Well, though I know I will never be an expert on child care but I just know I can, it's innate...  No matter how hard it is, as a parent, sacrifices are such an easy thing to give to a child, for they are created beautiful, irresistible, cute and most of all, a precious gift the Lord had given us.  Yahweh bless.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My PMA Cadet Years (Yearling) - Vacation, Privileges And Mass Leave

October 1996

1 to 5 - Our flight bookings were handled by PMA, and plane tickets were handed to us.  Very convenient, as it would take a day or two doing the same.    And then at last I reached Davao City early of the very first day of the month.  There were just a lot of things running on my mind back then, things I wanted to do which I had to accomplish in a 5-day period, I couldn't even decide if I'd include sleeping in the schedule.

After a long period of not able to go home, I maximized my very limited time catching up with friends and family, dating friends and making courtesy calls to some cavaliers or PMA alumni.   I also took the opportunity of meeting some of my "barkada" or dear friends in college before I entered the academy.  Unexpectedly, the meet made it possible for me to get acquainted with someone whom I'm calling my wife today.  You really wouldn't know what life has in stored for you, a total stranger at a point in time not knowingly would be your lifetime partner in the future.

I chose my scheduled return flight in the evening of my last stay, which was the day before termination of  leave.  For me, it was the most comfortable time to travel to Baguio;  arrived late in the evening in Manila, then rode a bus in Victory Liner station, traveled and slept for 6 hours (no traffic yet considering I started traveling more or less at midnight or early dawn), and still had time to have a breakfast in the city before going back to barracks.  And in the following day, academics started and my usual cadet life continued...

14 - PMA Commissary - Cadets walk quite a distance from their barracks just to reach this place during their free time, and I was no exception.  Why?  Simple first answer: boodles.  Aside from food (snacks), we also bought our personal stuffs here.  The advantage was, if we got short of cash, we could charge it to our account by simply signing in a voucher.

Located beside our station hospital, it was actually composed of small stalls, different businesses but compliment each other.  Aside from snack houses, there was a photograph shop, delivery and long distance call shop, eye wear center, gadgets, RTW's and more.  I remembered one store in particular, Bilsamera, where the "manang" or old lady in-charge became a friend.  I would always buy civilian shirt and jeans there or memorabilia items with Baguio trademarks as gifts for friends given at a good price.  Missed the place.  If I'll return to PMA, something I won't forget to pass by.

19 and 20 - Just a trivia, the term "privilege" is an opportunity given to upperclassmen cadets to go to places outside the academy but usually just within the vicinity of Baguio City.  Provided, however, that the cadet is not deficient in any subject, no existing punishment tours, and generally no duties or incoming duties that require him to be inside PMA.  As to duration, it is shorter than vacation and leave, just a day or two.  And normally given during Saturdays and Sundays.

Since we had a hectic schedule and confined within the premises of the academy, we used these times to roam around Baguio City and if lucky, being invited by our mistah(s) or squadmates when they visit their family.  These days, in particular, we visited a squadmate's aunt and attended a foster-sis' birthday the following day.  Might just be simple events, but it helped me a lot in easing the stiff life of being a cadet.  Pressure released... again human... hahaha.

26 - Being a cadet, it's always been an honor to be visited by special friends.  So when we were then surprised by a visit from our friends in Manila whom I already treat as my family, we really cleared or made the necessary exchanges in our schedules to accompany them and made their stay worthwhile.  But I had no worries, they knew a lot of my "mistah", it was not a problem finding someone to entertain them.  Being friendly really pays.

31- The month ended in a mass leave for the upcoming holidays.  I decided to go with an upperclassman to visit their place in San Fernando, La Union.  I thought it was impractical to go home for such a very limited time.  And, I've never been to the place, I was actually curious to see it, back then.  Yahweh bless.

Recent Related Post:  Punishment Tours And Other Hurdles