Wednesday, May 11, 2011

busuanga by bike

I arrived at NAIA Terminal 3 fifty minutes before my flight. In normal circumstances, i.e. Off-peak travel season, it's perfectly fine to check in 30minutes before your flight. So I felt I had time to spare when I went in line to check in. When Cebu Pacific announced “last call for passengers bound for busuanga,” I calmly took out my ticket while the others hurriedly submitted their tickets to the counter. There were a couple of people who went ahead of me. I was the last. Alas, cebu pac had overbooked their flight, which they admitted they always do during peak season. They were apologetic, and offered to give me free roundtrip tickets to any domestic destination. We tried to ask other passengers if they would give up their seat for me in exchange for the freebie, but no one budged.

Blessing or Buwisit

I'm not sure if because I was in the middle of reading 'Eat, Pray, Love' that gave me some zen look to it, but I didn't freak out and confronted the counter that I booked my tickets months ago. I just let it go, and instead took delight in the fact that I could choose to go to the Davao tourney (which I didn't), or to the Dumaguete tourney in August, or to Boracay in November when my good friend Zoey visits.

However, the experience left me weak for some reason, unable to move forward or think. They offered to give me free hotel, food and transfer for the night, which would've been the most practical and convenient choice. But I was sure I was gonna get depressed if I get stuck in a room in Manila, alone. So instead, I asked friends who live nearby to let me crash in their place and hang out. Karen Ferrer was generous enough to host me for the night.

We went to beer pong with a bunch of ultimate players and had a lot of fun. The next day I dragged my heavy bags to the airport, checked in without a hitch, and flew to Busuanga.

Off We Go

I met with my roomie Jonjon 'LA' Villareal, stowed our bags at the boarding house in Coron town, rented motorbikes, loaded our backpacks, and took off. Our destination: 35kms, Maricaban Bay.

to maricaban
For the first 20kms, the road was really nice and paved. We went past cows grazing, the hills surrounding us on both sides. But soon we were on graded soil, dusty and dry. We were using scooters, which were not suited for rough terrain such as this. After 2.5 hours, we arrived in Maricaban.

The landscape was pretty, especially at sunset. Vicky's Place, where we stayed, was facing picturesque islands. It would've been nice to kayak and explore. We had a pleasant dinner of grilled fish just caught that morning, and buttery veggies. We opened our first bottle of wine and congratulated ourselves for arriving scathe-free.

Diving for Dugong

The next morning, a boat picked us up and brought us to Club Paradise, where we had a briefing. We were going dugong watching. We saw huge bats flying overhead; a lot of them were hanging on branches, sleeping, exposed to the sun. We went to a reef an hour away, geared up and dove twice. We saw a turtle feeding on sea grass, and 10 cuttle fish laying eggs on a reef. Just as the sun was setting, we spotted a couple of dugongs from the boat, but when we swam after them, we couldn't find them.

Marooned at Maricaban

At sunrise the following morning, we were supposed to leave for Calauit, but our bikes wouldn't start. The good thing about travelling in your own country is that you'll never have trouble asking for help and you'll never run out of people willing to help you. A total of six mechanics tried to fix our bikes, one after the other. They just walked over and asked what's wrong and lend their hand. It was amazing. That's probably why i was calm throughout, while LA was literally sweating buckets while he used his mechanical skills and kick-starting our bikes to life. He got his bike running, but mine wouldn't, even after they dismantled the carburator, exchanged the batteries, even the spark plugs. As a last resort, we asked the bike owner, Mang Boyet, to go over and fix it. I just snorkelled in front of the resort while we waited, and LA had to take a nap because he was wasted from playing mechanic. Mang Boyet arrived in an hour and fixed the bike in 30 minutes.

I think it was God's way of allowing unfortunate things to happen to us for our own good that our bikes broke at the resort, and that Mang Boyet had to go through all the trouble of coming over and fix them. If we encountered problems later (which we did), it would've been impossible to find help on the road where there are no houses, and there was no cellphone signal to call Mang Boyet. Moreover, after fixing our bike, he decided to escort us to Calauit, just in case we had trouble with the bikes again. Which was great, because the road got much steeper, and much rutted. He taught us how to gun the engine when going uphill, to not hesitate and just press on the gas so the bikes wouldn't stall. He helped me with my bike when I couldn't manage the trail and the bike fell (fortunately i was going so slow that i always had time to plant my feet). He kept our spirits high with his light demeanor, and laughed when i struggled to keep my bike upright but the 500-pound thing was just too heavy for me and the bike would fall on the ground. He said that any foreigner would've just let it crash, but not me. He was our personal angel, guide and cheerleader. As a result, LA just had one minor scrape, when we went up our first steep hill, and his knee banged up against the side mirror. Not a scratch on me.

We arrived in Calauit at 3pm, the perfect time to see the animals, when the sun was getting low, and the giraffes and the zebras got out from the shade. My fatigue dissipated when i fed the eager giraffes, touched a deer's antlers, and marvelled at the graceful stripes of the zebras. I wanted to stuff the small turtle in my bag and bring it home as a pet. It was worth all the trouble.

We biked again and arrived just before dark at Ocamocam resort. It was a secret paradise, with manicured lawn, nice cottages and a white beach. We ate chewy dried pusit and fresh fish for dinner. We finished all the wine while we hung out at the beach, staring at the stars.

Black Island

The next day, we hired a small boat and went to Black Island. The island had a mountain made of limestone, and it had a big cave with a natural pool you could swim in. The sand was powdery white, and the reef in front was home to baraccuda, clams, moorish idols (si William Defoe in 'Finding Nemo') and other small fishes.

We went back to the resort at lunchtime and shared what was the biggest crab I've ever eaten, it covered the entire plate. A boy sold us this 1.5-kilo crab that morning for only P120!

We were on the road again after lunch, but the road was much kinder and less steep. We passed by Salvacion and Concepcion, but didn't have time to check out the towns. We drove through wooden and steel bridges, mangroves and canopied roads. The ride was much more pleasant and relaxed. It was a long trip, though, 74kms, and it was around 5pm when we arrived in coron town.

LA and i were dog-tired but gave each other a high five, by doing that difficult but absolutely awesome adventure.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Part 5: From a Bad Start to a Good Finish (Bicol Tour 2011)

Day 5: Chasing Butandings (Donsol to Manila)

While the rest of the group left early for their flight home, Lyra and I grabbed our masks, snorkels and fins and went to swim with the whale sharks. We were joining four more people on the boat, whose purpose was to shoot video of the butandings with swimmers for DOT. Ruben, the videographer, was happy to find out that Lyra and I are good swimmers.

It took a while before we found our first whale shark. After about 40 minutes, we found a group of swimmers chasing after one in the shallows. We wore our gear, and at the BIO's signal, jumped in the water. The visibility was clear, about 10 meters. “Look down!” said our guide, and swimming toward us was a 15-ft butanding. There was a scramble that followed but soon it was Lyra and I who were in front, kicking with all the power we had as we swim over it. I even had the nerve to dive under and get closer, but I was afraid it would dive deep and disappear (which didn't happen, because it was already at the bottom) or it might decide to come up and hit me. Honestly, I couldn't imagine why anyone would even attempt to touch one of those creatures. They were so huge and intimidating, plus I remembered Gali's and LA's wounds from getting too close. I kept a respectful distance.

Nevertheless, my adrenaline was high after that first swim. We were eager for more!

I gave my camera to the BIO (Butanding Interaction Officer) the first time (he wasn't able to get good footage), but i tried to record my next two interactions myself. I think I had a few decent shots, particularly when Lyra gave a thumbs up sign while we were chasing after it. The other butanding we saw was 25 feet! With a mouth a wide as a car! That chase was frantic, there was a lot of jostling to get a good position, until someone almost took my mask off I had to stop. In the succeeding swims, I left my camera on the boat, adjusted my snorkel to the other side so no water would come in, and wore my paddles on. They made my strokes more powerful that I was able to swim ahead of the butanding. Great view! With no fear of getting hit by the tail. It was however exhausting after a few more chases. And it was time to go back anyway. We got one last interaction near the tourism center, but the water was murky and you only get to see a few meters ahead.

We got back just in time to shower, grabbed our bags then dropped dead in the van. We slept the whole way. Had lunch at the airport. Slept on the plane. Then took a cab home.

On our last night, we made a toast: Lei toasted to “good company,” Choy toasted to “success,” LA toasted to our next adventure “Matnog,” I toasted to “positive thinking,” Mel toasted to "new friends" and Lyra toasted to “Rhona Agtay,” who sold her the tickets. So Rhonalyn, you were there in spirit. I wonder how you could have chased the butandings though? It required a bit of a cardio workout.

Part 4: From a Bad Start to a Good Finish (Bicol Tour 2011)

Day 4: Seeing Sea Snakes, Corals and Butandings

Everyone woke up early, thanked the resort for giving us four complimentary breakfast (more savings!). Lei, Choy, Mel and LA went to the Tourism Center to register and see butandings. Lyra and I went to the dive shop and got briefed on our dive.

The dive masters at Fundive Asia, I observed, were huge. Marco, a former varsity football player in Ateneo, and I had the same dive instructor. He gave a lengthy presentation of Ticao Pass, a 35-km boat ride from Donsol. The Manta Bowl was accidentally discovered by the diveshop owner, when a fin fell off their boat one day and he decided to go after it. Then instead of fins, he saw mantas!

However, it is difficult to get, much less dive, there. It is situated in open water, with huge waves. If you manage to get off the boat without getting hit by the bamboo katig or the steel ladder, you have to do a negative dive (to sink immediately) and hook yourself to a rock underneath to prevent you from being carried by the strong current (eight knots!) while waiting for the mantas to appear. We'll be like kites securely fastened to rock. My adrenaline shoots up.

Our dive master was another huge round man named Jess (Dandi to foreigners) who reminded me of the Michelin tire mascot. He's a friendly Batangue┼ło who told stories about how he came to work at Donsol and how it took 20 dives for him to master Ticao Pass.

The other passengers on the boat were a couple from London; a lone Swiss diver who has dived Palawan, Moal Boal, Malapascua and Puerto Galera during his seven-week trip in the country; a 40ish lady whose favorite dive was in the Red Sea, Egypt and a cute Australian who looked like an older version of Lyra's first boyfriend, or so she told me (not to worry, Heyman, he had a girlfriend with him, who just didn't dive).

Our first dive was an easy dive, to assess our water skills and buoyancy in preparation to the much tougher Manta Bowl. It was in San Miguel, behind limestone walls, a protective barricade against the open sea. The water was pleasantly flat. We suited up, and back-rolled to the unknown.

It was my first time to dive with an underwater camera. A dear friend sold a Canon G10 with the matching casing for just a bit over the price of a brand-new casing. Sweet deal! So I didn't pay much attention to my buoyancy but on my camera settings. Luckily, it was Lyra who looked after me when i was getting deeper or was being left behind (trying to get a decent shot), who pointed out the sea snake, and the clown fish in the anemone. We saw some brain coral, bright sponges, pastel sea fan, small but bright-colored fishes, tube worm, puffer fish, nudibranch, spider crab and the blue-and-black-striped sea snake.

sea snake

tube worm


We tried to go to the Manta Bowl but it was too rough. The boatman was shaking his head no. Jess also thought it was too dangerous to go. We might've gone on another coral dive at San Miguel but the Swiss guy got the others to abort the remaining dives. We went there for the mantas after all. They'll try again tomorrow. Lyra and I just kept quiet. Let them work it out, although it would've been nice to go on another dive. On the other hand, if it meant that we can go on this trip debt-free and get a refund, that's fine too.

The ride back was choppy, chilly and wet , the salt water spraying our eyes every time we wipe it off. The Brit dude just laid down the floor to hide from the wind. Good thing some of us still had our wetsuits on. We might as well have kept our masks on, we were so drenched.

When i was chatting with the two DMs back at the shop, one confessed that they actually haven't seen a manta for over a month! And he even said that diving should be closed for the time being because of the freaky weather. Nakakahiya daw sa mga bisita. That info would've been useful the night before. Oh well, i still liked the coral. It reminded me of Anilao, with a lot of macro life.

Our friends were pleasantly surprised to see us finish early. At first they said the butanding watching was boring daw, which I didn't believe. And then they said LA got bit by a whale shark when he got too close. He had a thin but pretty long scratch on his arm (which he eventually confessed he got from the boat, not the butanding). In truth they had a fantabulous time with the whale sharks.

We ate kalderetang kambing at the seaside karenderia. But it was only 3pm, with nothing to do. We decided to just swim near our new lodging, at the Jolee, a cheaper but nice room for half the price. The water was a bit murky, the sand slimy, but we made do. Mel played with the local girls on the shore while the rest of us swam a bit, made farting sounds on my snorkel, took jump shots and sexy shots (at least Choy posed sexy). Drank more GP and ate nori, cashews, Pringles and Stick-O.

After dinner we went on the Firefly Tour. It was a bit scary at first, the boat brought us to a pitch dark place by the river, and the only sound you hear was the motor running. It was like a beginning of a bad B-movie. Tourists being tricked to go on a trip, brought to an isolated place... then we saw fireflies, not many at first, just a few here and there on both sides of the river. We were awestruck when we saw thousands of bright little things over the coconut trees. It was magical. We moved to another place where the boatman caught a couple of fireflies and handed them to us. Lei made them like neon lights and danced a rave.

Oh, and I left the key in the room, and Lei had to open it with a card (again)!

Part 3: From a Bad Start to a Good Finish (Bicol Tour 2011)

Day 3: A Larger Patch of Blue (Paniman to Donsol)

I woke up early-ish, to the animated voices of our landlady and her neighbors. I got out of the room and saw rays of sunshine hitting the table. Finally! I woke up LA and Lyra, my roomies, and we all went to the beach and savored the warmth of the sunrise. We saw the busy locals tending their nets and their boats. I took my fist photos that actually had the semblance of summer. After a while i woke up Lei, Choy and Mel so they could enjoy it too. There is now blue skies peeking over the grey shroud. Yay!

It is with good cheer that we left Paniman, on a jeepney. We initially hired a tricycle to bring us to the port (P300 vs the jeepney's P800). We were trying to fit ourselves and our bags like something from a backpack skills test when the driver decided to offer us P500 for the jeepney ride. Without a second thought we said okay and immediately transferred. We were spared the walks on muddy trails, which was a good part of the way, when the tricycle would not be able to climb the muddy trails with us on.

We wrote our names once again on the manifesto, the locals urging us to toss some disc before we leave, but we wanted to get good seats. And so we left Caramoan for real.

We were all looking forward to replenish our stocks. We have consumed six bottles of gin and wine in two nights, and we have depleted our supplies. We bought eight bottles of alcohol this time for the remaining two nights: three GP and five reds.

We ate at Mondo's Grill, kare-kare which LA and I shared. Chicken Inasal and Sinaing na Isda and Binagoongang Lechon Kawali for the others.

We took a van to Daraga, Legaspi for two hours. Then hired another van to bring us to Donsol for another hour. It was late, around eight p.m. when we got to Woodland, a sprawling beach resort.

Dinner was Laing and Bicol Express Pizzas! The former was okay, with a thin crust and lots of cheese, but the latter was just too weird-- bagoong on my pizza!

There was a lot of budgeting and computing that followed while drinking wine and eating gruyere cheese, because Lyra and I were diving the following day to see mantas! We didn't think that the dive would cost so much (P3,500 for three dives). Donsol didn't have atm, so we were forced to scrimp and even borrow money from the others (thanks LA and Choy!). But we were all looking forward to tomorrow.

From a Bad Start to a Good Finish (Bicol Tour 2011) Part 2

Part 2: Day 2: To Leave or not to Leave (Guijalo Port to Paniman)

The weather was still shitty and shifty the next day. The rain would stop a bit, and a bit of sunshine would pierce the clouds, then it would drizzle in ten seconds. It was frustrating. So with heavy hearts, we packed our barely opened bags, and left our hotel.

We already were in Guijalo Port. The boat won't leave till 1230pm. It was only 11am. No problem, some of us took our cameras to take pictures, books to read, even a disc to toss, to pass the time. We wrote our name on the manifesto, and paid the terminal fee. Then the rain stopped. And held. There was hope after all. After a brief discussion, we decided to stay another night, beachfront this time. The pickup which dropped us off to our hotel yesterday fetched us. It was a 40-minute bumpy ride through rice fields and muddy roads. Our lodging was a humble and basic hut, but with an eatery which served us hot lunch for only P100 each.
the lagoon

We eagerly wolfed down our lunch and wore our bikinis to go island hopping. We were informed that inspite of the still cloudy skies, the weather was well enough for a half-day trip.

We went to Lahus and Matukad Islands. They're near the mainland, a 20-minute boat ride. We saw Gota Beach from afar, where Survivor Holland will preside in the next few months. The approach to the islets reminded me a bit of Vietnam's Halong Bay, minus the junk boats. Lahus Island is comprised of a wide spread of white sand attaching two limestone walls. We tossed a few disc, started drinking GP, and swam a bit. The water was too rough to swim on one side.

Matukad Island was much friendlier. We climbed a limestone cliff to find a mysterious-looking lagoon. Fishermen kept guard over us as they spread out their nets around the island for the day's catch. Lyra and I made ephemeral art from coral, shell and sea weeds. Lei made a fool of herself trying to lay out and catch a disc mid-air, resulting to belly flops and a whip-lashed neck. Mel took photos with her huge camera, watching bemusedly. LA was faithful in making sure that all of us had a swig of GP every five minutes.

The weather has not gotten any better, in fact, it has grown worse. We were swimming under the rain when the boatman signalled that it was time for us to go. With bluish lips and shivering bodies, we reluctantly went home.

What followed was the most delicious meal in the whole trip. We ate at Angge's restaurant, a set meal for P200 each--chop suey, garlic butter shrimps, grilled squid stuffed with tomatoes and their version of adobong pusit, which was flavored with coconut milk. And the piece de resistance, at least for Lei, who practically wolfed down the whole tin can, dolce de leche. It was a sumptuous spread! We all went home pot-bellied and happy as a horse. Well, except for LA who drank a bit more than intended and felt a bit tipsy. It was all he could do but put his head on the table.

The stars were out! We decided to go for a walk on the beach. It had a slight breeze, which cooled us down and made us all much much better after all that food and drink. It was a good ending to a good day.

From a Bad Start to a Good Finish (Bicol Tour 2011) Part 1

Part 1: You call this summer?! (Manila to Caramoan)

Aahh... summertime... the season to put on our bikinis and get a real tan... the season for island hopping and frolicking under the hot sun drinking GP... that's what we were dreaming of when a bunch of friends (Lei Mangubat, Mel Dator, Lyra Dietrich, LA Villareal and Choy Calunsod) and I left for our Bicol trip. Two days of beacheneering in the pristine white beaches of Caramoan Peninsula, one day of swimming with whale sharks and in Lyra's and my case, diving with mantas! That was the plan.
coprahan next door

caramoan in this freakin' weather

No one expected that it would be raining in Naga, with gray ominous skies looming over Mount Mayon, obscuring our view. We sneaked each other glances, as if afraid to say the truth lest saying the word “ulan” might bring a string of curses to our adventure.

We immediately boarded a van which took us to Sabang Port. The driver was busy texting when we almost hit a truck in front of us with the big “Keep Distance” painted at its rear. Mel's chicken and egg sandwiches cheered us up. After an hour, we arrive at the port, and a bunch of porters unceremoniously handled our bags and stowed them in the boat. Of course, they charged us after. Hay, support local tourism na lang!

The long, narrow and low boat had no easy access to its seats. One had to be on all fours, and crawl from the side into the seats. Rain fell harder. Lei and Mel got drenched within five minutes because the strip of tarp covering their heads just wasn't enough.

Everyone else in our group fell asleep on the boat except for me since I downed a cup of brewed coffee at my house, leaving me uppity and alert. After a while, I felt Lyra stir in her seat, looking green and queasy. Her stomach was giving her problems, bad! For the whole trip when she had her head bowed, she was actually praying that she'd make it to the bathroom. And so her prayer was answered. She was even provided with wipes. :) Lei was confused when she saw Lyra getting off the boat first and literally sprinting away. By the time she came back with an impish smile, we were all aboard a pick-up which will drop us off to La Casa Roa.

On the way, the driver shared that the weather hadn't been cooperative for weeks! It's been raining on and off since the unfortunate tsunami in Japan. We're f___ed.

La Casa Roa was an old house turned into a lodging, it had a warm feel of a lola's ancestral house, but with colorful walls. Our room had two bunk beds, a matrimonial bed and toilet and shower rooms. And bright pink walls. Girls got dibs on the bunk beds. The boys shared the big bed.

There was no question of even boarding another boat for island hopping, the weather was that bad, and the trip too long. We had our lunch at a resto in town- bicol express, laing, sinigang na baboy, perfect for the chilly weather. We refused to let the rain restrain us to our room, so we put on our rain jackets (buti na lang!) and walked around town. We saw a tiny barbershop where equally tiny 7-year-old boys were having their hair cut. We saw a mocha brown river looking very much like Mekong River in Luang Prabang, Laos. We saw a huge brick church and the market. I took a few pictures at the neighboring coprahan. Then we conceded and settled in the hotel.

We passed the time reading Outside magazine, books like “Big Fish,” and “After Dark.” Mel was the only one capable of doing the complicated accounting of our expenses. When all else failed, we took out the GP and wine. We plotted our plan in case it still rains the following day--We'll leave Caramoan and spend two days in Donsol instead. If the rain stops, we'll go island hopping. Dinner was fried chicken and pork chop. We turned in after the third bottle.

Oh, and I left the key in the room, and Lei had to open it with a card.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Trekking Tinoc (Part 1)

Our scene started inside the DENR office in Amabangeg, Benguet. A large number of climbers waited for the mandatory briefing for all who wanted to climb Mount Pulag, the highest mountain in Luzon. A small team of UP Mountaineers, and an inductee, were also present.

Thumbie “Lady Gago” Remigio - Team Leader, Master Teaser, Talkshow Host
Jonjon “LA Lopez” Villareal - Kichen Scenestealer
Claire “Sollen Muros” Montemayor - Police Food Thief
Lei “Big Mouth” Mangubat - EB, Talkshow Guest 1
Sir Paul “SPV” Villegas - Man of the Hour, Talkshow Guest 2
Cherry “Pa-porter” Sy - Amused Audience
Dara “Reverse Trekker” Redulla - Inductee, Special Talkshow Guest 3
Jamel “Mama Texter” Pangandaman - Sweeper, Junior Teaser
Choy “Baboy ba Corned Beef” Calunsod - Photographer

A woman in leather vest, long skirt and flowing hair entered and stood in front of the “class,” and introduced herself as Miriam, Park Superintendent, and she briefed us on the impact we will be doing to Mt Pulag, and what we should do to minimize it. She was a quirky hostess, with a joke injected between lectures. She swatted LA with a long stick when she thought him sleeping during her all-important speech. Another time she cornered Jamel and demanded he define what a “sweeper”'s role is in a team. One was left speechless and the other horrified. She also talked about faith in God, and how that will determine if we'll see a beautiful sunrise on the summit. She told the Team Leaders, “if the going gets rough, don't resign.” And, “don't leave even biodegradables, because it will look strange if the grassland starts growing avocado and mango trees. Don't wash your clothes in the river, a katutubo might just be downstream drinking that very same water.” All in all, it was an entertaining lecture on environmentalism and culture-sensitivity.

We boarded a jeepney and tried to get a comfortable sleeping position as we rocked side to side because of the rutty road to the rangers' station. Claire got buried underneath a mountain of backpacks, and Thumbie's booted feet made a nice cross on top.

At the rangers' station, we ate our packed lunch. Porters offered their services to carry our backpacks to the camp for P250 each. Sir Paul and I grabbed at the opportunity. After a beat, Thumbie followed suit, “to support the tourism industry.” After 15 years of trekking, I think it's time to succumb to the pressure of bad knees and have someone else carry my heavy pack.

The weather wasn't good, but it wasn't that bad either. It drizzled the whole time, making us wear our outer shells during the trek. We had other company who wore denim jeans, mall sweaters and sneakers, and among ourselves wished them luck to the freezing night ahead.

After two hours, we arrived at a shelter in Camp 2. We camped beneath the local guides' sleeping quarters, offering us covered ground for our sleeping bags and a cooking spot. We hadn't laid down our packs yet when a bottle of Gin Premium is put down the table, and generous portions went around the group. Thumbie gave a rousing number of Pokerface as Lady Gago, adorned in matching blue and gray jacket and pants, head tube and shades. Claire came back from the water source with our bottles, and started doing hot poses as Solenn Muros. Both people didn't drink alcohol.

First meal: Steaming Nilagang Baka, complete with potatoes, cabbage, pechay and saba. After our second bottle of GP, we decided to ration our supplies, we only have three more for the remaining three days. How??? How can we make them last??? So we slept. Everyone got a decent sleeping spot, except for Claire, who slept at our feet. She is after all a police, the protector of us all.

photos by Choy Calunsod