20 February, 2011

Do you really have to tip people simply for doing their job?

It seems as though every store you go into these days has a jar on the counter for tips. Sometimes, you find this irritating and wonder If you really have to tip people simply for doing their job?

As tip is traditionally given for personal service, and the situation you describe involves little of that. So it's understandable that many of us feel annoyed and pressured by these ubiquitous appeals for a handout. But realize that a tip under these circumstances truly is optional (it's not with table servers, taxi drivers, manicurists or hotel staff). Most of the time I ignore the jars unless I've received super-sweet service, or I'm a regular, or I'm having a good day or feel a surge of irrational warmth for the college-bound kids waiting on me. Then I'll drop in my change and maybe an extra buck. Feel free-- but by no means obligated -- to do the same.

11 February, 2011

The Buried Church

(A continuation of my yesterday's post -- Subic Bay, An Extreme Adventure)

Last summer, May 2010, my family joined an educational tour bound to Subic Bay Freeport. A visit in a historical church in Pampanga was included in the trip.

San Guillermo Parish Church is named after San Guillermo, the patron saint of Bacolor, Pampanga. The church was originally constructed by the Agustinian Friars in 1576. The church was destroyed by an earthquake in 1980 and on the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption, half its 12-m height was buried from lahar.

The structure is still being used as place of worship. It was already a world renowned tourist destination prior to the lahar tragedies. More tourists flock to the church which remaining features are being preserved and maintained.

Only half of the original facade of the church can be seen today due to the eruption of Mount Pinatubo. After the volcanic eruption, the town’s people painstakingly excavated the altar and relocated it under the dome.

What you see in the picture is actually the 2nd or 3rd floor of the church. The entrances or doors were originally the church windows.
This is my son viewing the outside of the church. He had to bend down to go near it.

(one of the preserved and maintained paintings)

I would definitely recommend the place to those who love to witness the historical places in the Philippines.

10 February, 2011

Subic Bay, An Extreme Adventure

It's a hot day today. The heat made me remember of our last year's summer experience at Subic Bay Freeport Zone in Zambales.

THE ZOOBIC SAFARI -- a 25-hectare amusement park, with exotic animals roaming in their natural habitat and surroundings of individual planes and native grasslands. It's a nice day trip for the kids and adults who enjoy encounters with the wild. 

TIGER SAFARI -- Full-Sized Siberian Tigers are roaming around the Safari vehicle. Riding along with us is a tour guide. The tiger-feeding experience is the highlight of the place. You have to buy a chicken (optional fee) and the tour guide will dangle it outside the vehicle. It is very exciting although a bit short, the tigers get so near you could pat it on the nose. You can really see the teeth! The 400-pound tiger easily jumped on top of our vehicle. The vehicle is fully enclosed in steel so you don't feel in danger.

ANIMAL SHOW -- featured wildlife of the forest. There, we met a variety of birds, bats, mammals and reptiles. All the guests were surprised when the host announced that they left a snake inside a bag, beneath the audience's seats (my son jumped up on my lap!). Of course, it was part of the show to add more thrill for the audiences.

THE OCEAN ADVENTURE -- the High Dive Show features International Champions in diving competitions. It was really fun watching them as if diving was really that easy.

The kids really enjoyed it. A very satisfying attraction and the wild monkeys playing on the access road definitely add to the experience. (more photos)

09 February, 2011

Science High Schools in the Philippines

Most Filipino students who began studying at private high schools are forced to transfer to public high schools because of the increasing cost of living and private school fees and financial distress. That’s why the number of applicants in public high schools is increasing every year. The number of pupils per class ranges from 40 to 60, some rooms even reach 70. That’s one teacher per class.

January 15, 2011 - High School Entrance Examination at the Manila Science High School (Taft Avenue/Padre Faura Street).
Parents were not allowed to enter the school premises. I was one them and we were patiently waiting for our children to come out. The exam was scheduled at 1pm up to 6pm.
Students started to come out. A mother managed to make a placard and raised it up for her child to see.

The official names of the public high schools are taken from the names of the town/city or its former Mayor.  But there is a type of High School in the country, the “Science High School”, wherein the teachings and facilities are very much advanced compared to a typical public high school. Since the lessons and trainings are far more advanced in these schools, aspiring applicants must obtain an above average grades in their 6th grade (primary/elementary school) then undergo “challenging” sets of entrance exam and some interviews.

On December 3, 2010, my daughter together with some of her classmates, took the entrance exam at the Makati Science High School. When she passed the test, mixed emotions were obvious on her face. She was very happy for making it but then again, there was some blue on her face when we cannot find the names of her classmates in the test results. While she was looking at the school’s website, I was trying to read her mind. Probably, she felt sad because she's going to miss some of those classmates who were also her close friends. As for me and my husband, this news was in fact a relief. Knowing that our daughter will be studying in one of the best public schools in the country, it prevented us from ‘touching’ our savings in the bank. As a reward for all her effort, we got her a brand new notebook.

A lot of good things happened to her when the test results came out. It made her more confident and her critics were hushed. Sounds good to me…  =)