Posted by: Stef | August 28, 2009

See You at the Finish Line

Wow, it’s been a while since I wrote on this blog… I really owe this one a few posts… anyhoo, for the love of driving, those who just like joy rides or are born with a healthy (or even slightly unhealthy) sense of competition, here’s one for you:

the Northern Adventure Race is a Point to Point Race with Checkpoints. (Manila – Baguio – San Fernando, La Union – Dagupan – Subic)

The goal is to reach the Finish Line with the least time and within the limits of the law. A minimum time from point to point shall be set by Race Director using a theoretical computation between distance and maximum speed limits.

Every minute under theoretical time will mean incurring a penalty of plus 5 minutes.

Anyway, here are the Mechanics:


– Interested participants can fill up Registration Form at http://www.m150unleashed.multiply.com
– Email separately soft copies of the following requirements to m150unleashed@gmail.com (a) 2×2 individual photos of Team Members, (b) scanned valid license of appointed driver and co-driver, (c) pic of car to be used for the Race, (d) scanned car registration. If Team doesn’t own car, submit authorization from registered owner.
– Attend the Aug 29 Project Launch in Greenhills Shopping Complex, 9pm. Bring car and photocopies of required documents.
– No Registration Fee for the first 50 Cars who will be approved to join.
– After 50 Cars, Registration Fee of P1000 will be imposed. Reg Fees shall be made part of the Grand Prize
– To determine if you are part of the first 50 Cars with no Registration Fee, an email will be sent back to you confirming your Registration Number. A slot will be reserved for you pending final confirmation on August 29 during the Launch Celebration.

GUIDELINES

– Map & Route will be emailed to Participating Teams 5 days before Event Day.
– Checkpoint Locations will be given on the day of the Event
– There shall be one minute interval for the start of each car
– Competitors will be issued score cards to keep track of route and times
– Gas for the Race & Accommodations in Subic shall be to the account of the Participating Team

SCHEDULE

August 29, 2009 (Sat) Launch & Screening in Greenhills Shopping Complex, 9pm
September 19, 2009 (Sat) Northern Adventure Race (Actual Event)

GRAND PRIZE

P 50,000 cash
Special Edition Jacket
5 cases M-150 Energy Drink
Special Gift Packs from Partners

Grand feast awaits all finishers in Subic!

FOR INQUIRIES: Call M-150 Secretariat. Ask for Kat Corpus

Hotlines: (632) 707.9859 / (632) 393.0288
Cell: (63) 9193292013 / (63) 9228808805
Email : m150unleashed@gmail.com

Godspeed guys. I wanna join this race too. I love to drive!


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Posted by: Stef | July 20, 2009

my life as a pedestrian

I think it’s been more than a year since I last posted here… my life has taken a radical turn in 2009, in a sense that I gave up my car and moved to Makati City from Imus, Cavite to become a full-fledged pedestrian and commuter. Gone are the days of waking up in the morning, dreading the hours of crawling through traffic just to get to the office . My friends can swear to you that I have shed years off my face and now look younger and healthier than ever before. I have made friends and enemies with taxi drivers, got sick because of the pollution while my body adjusted to higher levels of carbon dioxide and exhaust.

i really don’t miss driving through traffic, except when i’m lugging around a lot of stuff, or when it’s raining and my socks are wet and taxi drivers are choosy with their passengers. my building is right along the main thoroughfares in Makati, and all I have to do to get to work is walk to the corner, get on a jeep to the MRT and take the 20-minute train ride to Quezon City. I’ve finished several books on these train rides. No more screaming at jeepney drivers, bus drivers, car drivers, and the MMDA. No more crying in the mornings because I’m already tired at the thought of driving two and a half hours to work. No more worrying if I’d have enough money for gas. I don’t even have to worry if there’s parking at where I’m going.

I love walking. Walking around Makati is a great supplement to my gym workouts, or when I just need to clear my head. My gym is just a few blocks away from my condo building, I can choose to walk to church if I want to, the park is just five minutes away. The mall is a big 20-minute walk away, but it’s a good after-date stroll on the way home. hihi

Being a pedestrian also opened up a different kind of road rage in me… I notice that I’m very territorial when it comes to pedestrian lanes. I always assert my right of way, yes, even standing in front of a big threatening bus and yelling at the driver (who can’t hear me). I once hit a cab with an umbrella for nearly running me over while I was crossing on the pedestrian lane at the corner of Tordesillas and Dela Costa. Sometimes I wonder if I have a death wish because I don’t even flinch whenever I stop in the middle of the pedestrian lane just to prove to speeding cabs (that shriek to a stop two feet away) that yes, pedestrians have a right of way too.

Of course this new awareness has made me a kinder driver (whenever I do drive) to pedestrians, although I’m still ruthless to jaywalkers.

But just in case you’re wondering, yes, Stef still drives fast.

Posted by: Stef | January 6, 2008

On Standby at the NAIA 2 DOMESTIC TERMINAL

it’s funny that my devotions for the day is about waiting. i often feel like i’ve been waiting all my life for something or another. as a daughter of a pilot, we get nearly free tickets– it’s just that we’re chance passengers and lately, i’ve been finding myself on standby just to see if i made it to the flight that i want. so far, i’ve just been bumped off a flight once, right now at the mactan international airport. i don’t mind, because we’re on the waiting list for the next flight, thirty minutes from now, so i’ll find out if we made it to that.

it has only occurred  to me (and my sisters) yesterday morning, that the waiting area for the passengers in the NAIA 2 airport were not well thought out. imagine, waiting for over an hour, seated on un-cushioned metal benches right in front of a huge aircon vent in full blast. it’s hypothermia waiting to happen. our body-warmth couldn’t compete with the continuous assault of cold air, and there was nowhere else to wait at, unless we’d rather sit on the colder marble floor.

whoever designed that airport was brilliant, has good modern tastes, and apparently, has never had to wait for a flight before. because that hour of waiting in the NAIA 2 domestic terminal was the most uncomfortable hour i’ve ever had to spend anywhere. i had to go to the toilets to warm-up under the hand dryer.

if i were going to design a waiting area, i would make it as comfortable as possible. waiting is hard enough, i should know, and in this country, punctuality is an under-appreciated virtue since no one’s there to appreciate it, so i always end up waiting. airport benches would be cushioned, with a comfortable temperature, has a TV in an educational or news channel, have drinks available, and would have a lot of electrical outlets. i don’t think putting newspapers and magazines would be good, since they would be likely stolen. i would make waiting a pleasure– for people to take that time to meditate and relax– but without encouraging idleness or loitering.

OVER-ALL GRADE: F

LAST WORDS AND RECOMMENDATION: if you’re expecting to wait at the NAIA 2 terminal, i would suggest you bring your own cushion, and a heavy jacket, and even a beanie to protect yourself from the cold.

Posted by: Stef | November 13, 2007

bottling memories

like what Neil Gaiman’s Morpheus did to that fabled city of Baghdad (did i get that right?), i’d like to save my baguio inside a bottle and keep it hidden deep inside a trunk, where it can lie still and warm, under a blanket of dust, safe from age and other memories.

the road up to baguio would always be golden with the sunrise burning away the fog of the night before.

this baguio wouldn’t have that horrid SM Mall. In its place is the old Pines Hotel park, where kindred spirits played cards, climbed trees, drew their dreams on paper and burned incense. This is where a girl danced barefoot in her skirt and pretended to be a faerie under the February sun and where she and her friends counted shooting stars when the day was done.

this Baguio would have that lonely afternoon on the view deck of Tam-awan Village forever– where the sky was so clear that you could see the Lingayen Gulf shimmering orange in the light of the setting sun.

The rock at Beckel would be there, complete with Sixpence None the Richer’s Beautiful Mess playing in the background. It would have a makeshift dreamcatcher on a hill, and a mandala-printed bed sheet for a picnic blanket.

And it would have that sidewalk on top of session road where three loony students burned incense, lit candles and blew soap bubbles at passersby until the wee hours of the morning.

Somewhere in that Baguio would be a house that would always be open to a runaway from Manila. it would have lots of freshly brewed coffee and great food, and gentle words of guidance.

And last, there would be an old guard house at the Pines Hotel, where a boy and a girl waited the rain out. They talked and made jokes from their own corners in the small shelter. They stood there, apart, shivering from the cold, but afraid to even hold out their hands to each other for fear of rejection. It was only much later that the boy finally asked if he could hold her hand.

and she said yes.

Posted by: Stef | November 8, 2007

The Roads I’ve Traveled: Aguinaldo Highway

I live in Imus, Cavite and most of my work takes me to the esteemed urban territories of Manila, Makati, Pasig, Quezon City, and even Alabang, Muntinlupa. having attended schools outside of my beloved hometown since preschool, I think I’ve spent a third (or more) of my life aboard a four-wheeled vehicle, either stuck in traffic, or speeding to a destination or on our way home. so, my first series of reviews will be on the major highways i have gotten to know intimately throughout the course of my life.

AGUINALDO HIGHWAY

This is probably the longest stretch of road i regularly travel on– stretching from the end of Coastal Road (AKA Aguinaldo Ave.– at least according to the sign posted at the exit of Macapagal Ave.– but does that mean it’s still Aguinaldo H-way? it’s confusing), where Roxas Blvd. begins, to the Tagaytay Rotunda (where i think it ends, but i still have to verify that).

it is most notorious for its ridiculously heavy traffic during morning and evening rush hours among the residents of Cavite. having lived with it all my life, i figure that it’s either i leave for work to early or too late.

if i’m lucky, i’ll catch the “buhos” or counterflow scheme wherein all the southbound vehicles are stopped at the end of Coastal Road so that northbound vehicles will get free-reign of the high way, then vice versa. Personally, while it is very gratifying to be speeding down the road, when I do catch it on effect, and thereby getting to my destination faster than expected, the “buhos scheme” needs to be rethought by the traffic enforcers because it’s just a temporary solution to a problem that’s threatening to be permanent—not to mention frustrating when you’re caught on the other side of the “buhos,” which is the “ipon,” where you have to wait for half an hour before you can move on. it feeds on the instant gratification mentality that we Filipinos need to be cured of. What we need is a wider road (because the h-way is just four lanes wide! but on really bad days, there are six lanes, albeit still being four lanes wide.), better enforcement on the traffic laws, better public transportation regulation (there are just too many freaking jeeps and buses!) and perhaps a mass recall of public transportation drivers’ licenses.

This highway is also the site of too-numerous vehicular accidents and hit-and-runs. i have personally witnessed a body dripping with blood being carried off the road with the perpetrator nowhere in sight. my sister and my dad had actually seen a girl hit by a speeding owner-type jeep and the vehicle didn’t even slow down after it hit the girl! (my dad and several jeepney drivers who had witnessed the accident stopped and took the girl to the nearby hospital where she died shortly afterward…). my trauma surgeon friend in De La Salle University Hospital said that the most common ER cases are vehicle-related accidents. These accidents mostly happen during the “buhos” scheme, and at night.

There are three main causes of these accidents on Aguinaldo Highway.

  1. The PEDESTRIANS– while they are the victims, accidents involving them is still partly their fault. They just cross whenever and wherever and however they please! How can a driver avoid hitting him/her/them if they just step on the road, without looking, and often acting like they couldn’t get hit? As a former reckless pedestrian who became a driver, I now understand that drivers need more time to react to a person crossing the road. Hence, pedestrians, PLEASE, look both ways before crossing, do not cross when the car is going fast (it’s easy to tell, believe me), at night, make sure that the car’s headlights is just a dot in the distance before crossing, and if possible, wear brightly-colored clothes.
  2. the DRIVERS – the highway is just a four-lane road! Unless you still can’t tell from the potholes, this isn’t a racetrack. So drive in a reasonable speed, especially at night—when reckless pedestrians in black seem to enjoy taking their time crossing the road. Don’t weave in and out of traffic so much, while it seems cool to be doing that (I admit, I love doing it, especially in front of an audience), It. Is. Not. Safe.
  3. the GOVERNMENT – yes, I will blame the government, not just for the sucky “buhos scheme,” but also because I see a lot of street lamps that aren’t working! And there are billboards proclaiming the PAILAW NI GLORIA on Aguinaldo Highway, but where are the lights? Sure, the lampposts are there, and I’m sure it cost us taxpayers a lot of money, but how come they don’t turn on at night?! It’s really dark on the highway, so it’s hard to avoid pedestrians once they’re in front of you! (is my frustration starting to show?)

And finally, the potholes, especially during rainy season. They are horrible. They just pop out after the rain like mushrooms. Some of them are so deep that they nearly took a wheel off my car when I didn’t see one at night (because it’s too dark in the highway!). The right most lanes are half-crumbled into the dirt on the side of the road. While I must admit that the highway gets smoother and prettier, but narrower, as you progress more to the south (Silang and Tagaytay) that part of the road has nearly zero light at night.

 POINTS OF INTEREST: The towns of Bacoor, Imus, Dasmarinas, Silang and Tagaytay City. There’s SM Bacoor, Robinson’s Imus, Robinson’s Dasmarinas, swimming resorts such as Four Steps Resort and Volets in Dasmarinas, The Riviera Country Club in Silang. There are more than hundreds of big and little eating places along the highway– from the mom and pop establishments, to fastfood (Mcdonald’s Jollibee, KFC, Pizza Hut etc.)  to upscale places like Gourmet and Santi’s in Silang.

 OVERALL GRADE:

LAST WORDS AND RECOMMENDATION: I would avoid it if I could, but I can’t. Sometimes I take the back roads, but while they may have less traffic, they have more potholes, and they are scary at night. On a good time (or on Sundays), it’s the fastest route from Cavite to Metro Manila, or from my town to Tagaytay.

PERIPATEPI’s TRAVEL TIPS:

  1. To avoid accidents, drive like the other drivers don’t know the rules of the road, in other words DRIVE DEFENSIVELY.
  2. As for the potholes, when you see one, change lanes when it’s still far off, or slow down when you’re already there. DO NOT SWERVE—that would be stupid.
  3. For a fruitful stay in a traffic jam, bring a good book or good music, maybe even snacks or try make friends with your fellow victims.

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