Monday, 9 October 2017

Going Back To Philippines

It has long been planned out that I’d have my holiday leave on October, during which temperatures in the Philippines will go down a bit and the usual rain showers and storms will make brief passes over the archipelago.  And so it has come to pass that I had triumphantly returned to my homeland, with the prospect of re-visiting familiar places at hand.

This is I at the Jackson International Airport in Port Moresby while waiting for the crew of Philippine Airline to get the plane ready for us. People will usually wish you a “Happy trip” when embarking on a journey somewhere. Well, I prefer to fulfil such wishes at the soonest time possible. So here’s a smiling me for all my readers out there. I do feel happy that I’ve decided to finally take this holiday break after three years.

The flight to Philippines from Papua New Guinea takes about five hours to complete. Inside a PAL airplane, you can either sleep through it or spend those hours watching in-flight  movies on a small overhead LCD screens.  I believe I had been shifting constantly between sleeping and watching what was being played on the screen until the dry lands of the Philippines had come into view on the windowpane.

Ah, there’s no place like home indeed.

The food being served in the airplane is prepared with high nutritional value in mind. Those pretty flight stewardesses will usually offer two sets of food comprised of either pork stew or fish stew. After giving it some careful thinking, I have to admit that it is easier to choose pork over fish simply for the reason that the former is less complicated to eat than the latter.

I’ve arranged for someone to pick me up from the NAIA Terminal 2 Airport. One thing noteworthy of being mentioned here is that the person I have contacted for this vehicle through a friend, is a Barangay Captain of Pagas, Cabanatuan City, and he has assigned a Toyota Hiace Grandia Van to me. The van was really huge for the driver and me and there were more than enough legrooms at the back as I chose to sit at the front. The rent was fairly reasonable and it was a comfortable ride all the way through.

One of the peculiarities of Manila and its relative cities is the never-ending queues of vehicles in a bumper-to-bumper traffic. If there is something that I need to share about the experience, it would be to advice anyone to avoid going back home on Fridays if you didn’t want to get caught in a heavy traffic.

That’s all everyone. I hope to share more of my experience during my holiday vacation in the Philippines. Cheers!

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Daru Island, My Arrival

One of the few things that I thought would not come to pass was the possibility of going to Daru Island. For starters, I always have the notion that life in Daru is particularly hard, having heard about the grievances in shortage of water supply or the intermittent power loss or the lack of mobile signal therein. Hence, I came up with a foregone conclusion that nothing on Earth could make me go to Daru.

 Well, almost.

On Monday, 7th of August, I booked for a flight to Daru via Air Nuigini. The company that I am currently working with has a branch in Daru Island that is being renovated and I was sent there to help. My directives were to install network cables, CCTV cameras and its public address sound system. Aside from those, I am also tasked to assist Harsya, an Indonesian national, and to make sure that the new POS Systems that our company has acquired from him should be up and running before the grand opening on the 21st of August.

The purple luggage is mine and is packed with a week’s supply of fresh clothing.

I had successfully checked in my baggage two hours earlier before the flight. I figured that if I had to endure the long wait before boarding time, I needed to, at least, eat something to keep my mouth busy during the whole waiting process. Luckily, there’s a small cafeteria near the boarding gates, which has an adequate variety of pastries to choose from. 

When embarking on a long journey, I made it a habit not to indulge myself in a heavy meal. Therefore, my ideal choice of food in the cafeteria at the time being has involved a combo of fruit slices and a chicken sandwich. On the left side is my boarding pass. The typical air fare to Daru from POM is around K500 to K700. I’m not sure though what kind of variable is at play here for the price shift but the frequent flyers might figure that out easily.

Turboprop planes are the main mode of air transportation to Daru.  During take offs, the plane may bank sideways to adjust directions. This can cause the plane to appear like it’s stalling. But one must not fear that moment because turboprop planes are highly efficient while flying slow and are less efficient when flying fast.

I always like to think that airplanes are safe.

Unlike jet planes, turboprop planes show little or no visible exhaust gases that produce the trust, and instead direct all of its exhaust gases to turn the propeller. The land mass below was of Port Moresby. Shortly after taking this view, the pilot has announced that we are in for a long flight. An hour and fifteen minutes later, we were on Daru Island.

For such a short flight, I wouldn’t expect the crew to be serving us any meals. But they did serve us with these nice treats. I finished them all in five minutes. The flight attendant seemed delighted.

Daru Airport was relatively small compared to Jackson Aiport at POM. But again, turboprop planes can operate on short runways.  And if the pilots were to try, they could land the plane on someone’s front lawn without a problem.

Just kidding.

The huge door in the building is the departure area and on the left side is the arrival area. The building doesn’t have a conveyor belt that brings your luggage to you as you wait but rather relies on the human workforce to stockpile your belongings on a large table where it is good enough for everyone to see.

When I arrived at the airport, this fellow was already patiently waiting for me. By the way, kuya Levi is in Daru at the time being and Sarigi (this guy) said that it was kuya Levi who arranged for him to pick me up at the airport. Thanks for the effort Sarigi.

Good job kuya Levi. Cheers!

They say that Daru Island is quite a small place. It only has a population of more than 13,000 probably. Wikipedia says it actually has an area of 14.7 km2, and it’s quite big for an island. You could fit in it around 1,400 soccer fields. 

Now that’s a lot of soccer fields!

This is the view from our branch in Daru. We are located on the beach side. The boats in the background seemed to have been stuck on the muddy shore, but it was actually low tide when I took this photo. Later that night, all of those boats are floating on the water.

Well, it turned out that life in Daru wasn't as hard as what I thought it was. Telikom PNG is operating in the Island so there is a telephone line except for its mobile services. Telikom ADSL internet is available through landline connection which suits those who'd like to stay longer. Digicel internet is available through mobile 3G and it's quite fast for the average internet users although most of the time the network is down.

Water supply comes from the rainwater collected into reservoirs which you can safely use for cooking and bathing. There are also deep wells that serve as a backup system in case there's hardly a rain. I didn't a have problem with water supply since the day I arrived. For drinking, it's most likely that you're offered to drink bottled water instead.

Electricity is also consistent, thus far. During my stay, I only experienced two power outage at least.

That’s all for today. Have a good Sunday everyone! :)

Friday, 4 August 2017

Intermittent Fasting

There are two things I like about Sunday in Papua New Guinea, the first being the day when there is almost no traffic on the roads and second, there’s a chance that you can be invited to a birthday party.

I like a traffic-less road and birthday parties!

As one might expect on a Sunday afternoon, the roads are indeed clear and the Sun is providing an excellent illumination that made this “selfie” of me really bright.  When driving around the streets of Papua New Guinea, it’s good to be observant. One of the things I find peculiar here is that there are lots of roundabouts in place of traffic lights. Runabouts are an economical alternative to traffic lights in that they don’t require an electricity to work and they instill discipline on the drivers.  

I’m following a strict diet these days and it involves an intermittent fasting. The definition of intermittent fasting is different on each of us and for me, it’s just skipping breakfast and eating a small amount of food during lunch, and going on a binge at night. The success of which depends on the nutritional values of the foods you eat.  For example, I eat nothing in breakfast and then I take a boiled egg, an apple and an orange for lunch. To make sure that I don’t get malnourished, I eat whatever I can eat at night.  Then the cycle continues throughout the next day. From 89 Kilos, I am now down to 83 Kilos in just 2 months.

Although I find it to be physically tormenting, I intend to keep this habit for, maybe, a year more.

Here’s me and Ryan during a night out at Duffy Harbor Side. Ryan used to have less body fats the first time he arrived in PNG. But eventually, sedentary lifestyle has caught up and made him grow cuter but bigger.

“Fat is wealth! Ho-ho-ho!” He used to joke around when someone says he’s not getting any thinner.

During Sundays, however, all of my dieting routines are suspended lest I’ll get tired of it. Sundays are more like of a reward day for going through a 6-day course of intermittent fasting. In one of those “reward days”, I cooked up a full American breakfast for me and some friends.

That’s all for today. Happy dieting everyone! 

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Oh Look! Someone Sent Me A Gift

Every once in a while, almost all of us are hoping to have something for free, things that we wish we have but we neither like to get now nor shred a part of our earnings for it. Attempting to get it at such point in time should probably leave one feeling guilty over its course for being the impulsive buyer that we never want us to be.

Sometimes, we may just get lucky. A couple of weeks ago, I received this set of Mont Marte acrylic brushes from a long-time reader of this blog. I have since been meaning to write this post about thanking her for these art tools, and I feel a little bad for not doing it right away.

But I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Ms. Maria, for sending me this wonderful gift and for being a regular reader of this blog. I also appreciate that you specifically wrote my blog’s name on that sticky note. Now it hangs permanently next to my drawing table to remind me of your kindness.

Kind of like "Oh hey! Yeah. I've got these brushes from Maria." reminder. Cheers!

Again, thank you and have a nice day.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Betel Nut, Mustard and Lime

One of the peculiarities of Papua New Guinea is that it’s rather a common thing to see folks chewing buai (betel nut) to pass the time. Back in the Philippines, I’ve known some people who are fond of chewing buai but over the years, the number of my countrymen engaged to this habit had dwindled down. The decline can probably be traced back to the diminishing source of betel nuts and the rise of street foods everywhere.

Remind me to bring home betel nut seeds when I go for holiday so I can marginally contribute to the revival of what was once a favorite pastime of our predecessors.

With permission from these two gentlemen, they let me take a photo of them as they show me the most preferred way to chew daka, which is a bean-like green called mustard.  The small jar the left man was holding had a whitish powder in it which they called kamang or lime. 

The kamang is what’s responsible for turning the mixture of chewed buai and daka in their mouth to red. 

So basically, the whole idea about chewing betel nut encompasses a small jar of lime, a beetle nut with its skin peeled off, and a stick of mustard. I believe there is a certain technique to learn when it comes to trying these the first time; like making sure not to put the lime directly on the gums to avoid having an unpleasant burning sensation.

Certain habits have their dangers. So I’m told.

Our friend Nessy here is gladly showing us what kind of reaction takes place when the mixture of  juices from betel nut and mustard blend in with lime and saliva. The reddish part stain on his teeth is just  the normal chemical reaction.

One important thing to remember when chewing buai is that one needs to spit out the fibrous residue as often as needed. If you happen to have imbibed the juices, you can get mildly euphoric or mildly high. The locals will then refer to you along with the current stimulated effect you’re feeling as, spak man long buai (spark). 

Have a nice week everyone!

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Just Another Day In Papua New Guinea

The intense heat and the sweaty feeling that one experiences during which time the sun is at its peak on a wide arc is probably called, heat intolerance. This usually leads up to heat exhaustion if ignored. Yet I often find it mesmerizing that there are those who can take the heat like a pro and don’t mind getting a sun tan every now and then.

Here in Pinoy In PNG Blog, it can be said that life in Papua New Guinea is not without the abundance of sunlight. Clear skies and sunny days are the usual source of jovial moods that leave a trail of happiness on everyone’s faces. And if there is some kind of a meter with which one can use to measure the amount of work that one can do after gaining such merriment, it’ll tip the scales off, much like how the Scouters break into pieces when a Saiyan attempts to measure Goku's power in Super Saiyan mode.

In some biological lifeforms, like the ants for example, ants may tend to set aside the urge to entertain nonsensical ideas when at work. But we, humans, have the exact opposite of which, and a forklift driver can stop driving it anytime for a cool pose when I'm taking a picture of him.

Like what our friend Rajiv is doing in this picture.

Sometimes, a group of highly jealous cummulonimbus clouds can come and establish dominance over our airspace. Like the ants, no matter how resilient an ant can be, we humans will scamper off into the safety of our homes when faced with a gloomy weather on such atmospheric heights. 

But most of the time, the threat of rain remains just a threat. It ends up being shy that slowly dissipates into oblivion leaving a window of opportunity for the sun to peek through its gaps.  At this point in time, what we can do is sit back and enjoy such spectacular view in the presence of our love ones.

Or in Facebook messenger with our love ones.

Have a nice day everyone!

Monday, 1 May 2017

50th Post

I started this blog in the last quarter of 2014 and I have not stopped posting since then. Albeit the number of times I post are few and far between, I’m pretty much happy that this blog has made it this far. Today, I’m writing for my fiftieth post into Pinoy In Papua New Guinea. For those who are wondering about how long I’m still planning to work in this lovely country, the answer is yet to come.

From a not-so-distant universe, I guess.

But having stayed here for six years, I’m beginning to feel the weight of not being able to experience the things that I used to have or do back home.When things of the present cross path with vague recollections of things in the past, I fantasize sometimes of getting back home.

The speed, at which reality strikes us, is faster than a blink of an eye. It’s always ahead of the fantasies that we create in our daydreams. What I mean is that, we adults consider it more important to think about our current responsibilities than anything else. And at the end of the day, we all need to put some food on the table so anything that I missed doing back in the 'ol Philippines can wait.

Sometimes, I find it tempting to ask if the point of living is to grow up fast so we can fulfill our imminent destinies to work our lives off until eventually, we pipe down to an old rocking chair as we become too old for anything other than be a witness to the flickering flame of our own dying candle light. But such question is not worth asking for, because we, at Pinoy in Papua New Guinea do not worry about the things we are not in control of.

While I’m not sure about what tomorrow may bring us, I hope to go on with what I have started in this blog. As long as you continue to find delight in what I share, you’ll definitely see more of it posted here in the future.


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