Monday, May 22, 2006

Me and "The Da Vinci Code"

The Da Vinci Code has generally been trashed by critics that ignited me to watch it. I had a nice 2 hours and 30 minutes running time for the movie.

Last Saturday in Den Haag, (the capital city of the Netherland's government parliament) I was with my hubby for a shopping spree :-). Actually just to shop for a dress I'm going to wear for an upcoming friend's wedding...and we just also dropped by in a Filipino shop for some pinoy goodies.
It was a windy day with wind speed of about 43km/hour... but the sunshine was kind enough to show up late in the, we were delighted to watch the film that we crushed to finish our snacks in McDonalds to catch the 4.30pm full show.

It is adapted from Dan Brown’s best-selling novel that says Jesus Christ married the biblical character Mary Magdalene and started a sacred bloodline that still exists in secret.
The movie has stirred up intense debate among religious scholars and has been branded blasphemous by some Catholics around the world.

In the Philippines Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said he would lead a crusade to ban the film because it is “sacrilegious against God.”
Yes. Controversy. That made up the movie a top grosser of the year. The idea that " The Da Vinci Code", the Movie Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) in the Philippines was finally given the movie an R-18 rating, which means that this will be release for showing and not banned anymore with strictly tagged for adults only.

I treated the movie as really entertainment, nothing more, nothing less. The plot of puzzles and mind boggling clues completed the mystery thriller. The intangling of secrets were written in Da Vinci's paintings that is to translate the embodying codes to lead the 2000 year old secret covered up by the religious catholic council. As qouted in the movie: "The biggest cover-up in human history." The movie is nicely directed, and a well-written novel that creates total imagination of fiction. Right, the movie is entirely fictitious as what the film producers claimed. There is no reason to be is a matter of self's faith foundation.

The movie has nice cinematography featuring wonderful, scenic photography of France, England, Scotland, and portrayals of the holy land. Actually the illustration of the historical significance of those locations especially in France had delighted and fascinated me most. Why? It is because I was exactly at the place where the main locations were shot and taken.
Take note of the following scenes:

1. During the first scene of the movie, a murder inside the Louvre Museum where the story started. We were in that exact place strolling around where also the dead body of Jacques Sauniere(played by Jeane-Piere Maurielle) as the murdered keeper of the secret.
2. The painting of Mona Lisa. I was there.

Take a look with this picture that my hubby took secretly :-) I'm on the right side. I intended not to show my whole shot here for little secrecy :-)

3. The glass pyramid in Louvre, the great work of Ieoh Ming Pei. In the movie, it was presummebly ended that the tomb where the body of Mary Magdalene lies is believed to be at the base of the pyramid. It is nice to think huh! It is because we had a picture to show that we where there right at its core :-)

Look at the right pic...with my hubby :-)

Down left is the Louvre museum.

It is nice to remember that we have our keepsake fotos where this bluckbuster and controversial movie was shot. And to think that the novel had created its stories in this historical spot of Paris.

This is the glass pyramid at night. (at the right pic).
This is actually the view of the inverted pyramid above the ground that is connected to the based where we are sitting.

On the left is still the interior view of the pyramid.

If only that the novel is true, then I will be glad the idea that Mary Magdalene lies under that pyramid. It is only because of the idea that I have the chance to walk above her. Since it is a history, then I will be part of the history as living witness of her grandiose piece of mystery.

Yeah, now, my review for the film is that: let people decide individually whether they go to see it or not, and let their spiritual advisers guide them if their faith is shaken by the film. Banning the movie would only stir up more interest. What you have believed today, will bring you to the idea of how strong you're faith is...and how much you know your God. If you are secured...then, this movie is a good challenge for you if not, then still, this is a good start to choose what you really believe in.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

My Nederlands Class (Part 1)

I was just on my 19th day of stay here in Netherlands that I started my language class. It is the Nederlands (Level 1 & 2) as my second language here. Fresh from my native home, I jumped right away to a newly way of life.
It has been eight years ago that I finished college and this time is my new entry again to a school, or a university actually. I studied in Leiden Universiteit for an intensive 2-month Nederlands course. It is a very nice and prestigious school as I would say. It is in the city of Leiden, 23 kms from our home city, also known as a University town. It is actally the oldest university in the country. Check this for more information about the school:

This is the academic building with the clocktower on top. Click to enlarge.
Armed with enthusiasm to learn, I started...studied...enjoyed...learned...and failed.
Ja, I failed my exam that blocked me to continue level 3&4.
It was disappointing, humiliating (...coz it's my first time being failed in an exam since time immemorial). That gave me time to contemplate...recall and looked back, and count things I learned for that short time. Then I realized that what I went through is not as simple but it was a battle. I went to a battle unarmed, full of changes and observations around. Here I have some insights about the language:

1. Dutch sometimes referred to as Netherlandic in English, is a Low Western Germanic language spoken by around 22 million people, mainly in the Netherlands and Belgium(2005). Dutch is an official language of the Netherlands, Belgium, Suriname, Aruba, and the Netherlands Antilles. Dutch was an official language in South Africa up until 1961, having fallen into disuse since Afrikaans became an official language in 1925. Of the inhabitants of New Zealand, 0.7% say their home language is Dutch (see article on New Zealand).
2. The Dutch vocabulary is one of the richest in the world and comprises over 350,000 headwords.
3.The Dutch alphabet has 26 or 27 letters (always considered 26 by Dutch native speakers, though), five or six of which are vowels. The alphabet used for the Dutch language is based on the Latin alphabet.
The letters are:
A- B - C - D- E - F- G - H - I - J- K- L - M - N - O- P - Q - R - S -
T- U - V - W - X- (Yor) IJ - Z

The vowels are:
A - E - I - O - U - and some consider IJ a vowel as well. The vowel inventory of Dutch would be large and will be more complicated with 14 simple vowels and four diphthongs.

4. The sounds and pronounciation perhaps put off by its guttural sound especially the letter /G/. There used to say that "Dutch isn't a language; it's a disease of the throat." Pronunciation can be a challenge as many of the Dutch vowel sounds are difficult for non native speakers. Vowel sounds can be trickier than the consonants because they differ from those in English. There are short vowel sounds, long vowel sounds and combinations of vowels. More about the language:

Below is the Filipino alphabet with its pronounciation :

Aa B b Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii
ey bi si di ii ef dzi eyst ay
Jj K k Ll Mm Nn Nn Oo Pp Qq
dzey key el em en enye o pi kyu
Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz
ar es ti yu vi dobolyu eks way zi

Dutch Alphabet and its pronounciation:

Aa B b Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii

ah bey cey dey ey ef gh ha ij

Jj K k Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr

jij ka el em en ow pey ku er

Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx IJ Zz

es te uw ve vey ix ey zet

Just try to spot the difference...however, it's hard to see it well unless you will try to listen, the exact sounds. Meanwhile, I am already in other school just here around my city...that's gonna be my part II story next time.
Foto was taken at the School's cafe in Leiden with my classmates.( From left:Ms. China, Ms. India, Me, Ms. France, Ms. Poland & Ms. Morocco)

My first Dutch learning was also fun and I met new friends among my classmates. Most of them were from European countries, United States and we're only three Aseans, one was from China and India. We were fifteen students and seemed to be we are in a perfect United Nation Conference :-)...I had two different male is always on his red pants actually, so I won't forget him...:-)

Well, time is up for now...I will give extra list of Dutch counting (cardinal) numbers next time. I would just like to share how I really find it hard to learn...maybe this is a way of extracting my tongue's difficulty :-0 :-) Help me..........alstublief ! (please!).

Monday, May 08, 2006

Four Seasons...

I arrived in Holland at winter many said that I came at the worst time of the year...and even my hubby had told me. But I had no much choice but to fly or else my 3-months approved visa will expire. Well, I came just with my knowledge about winter through the powerful encyclopedia and the "Knowledge Power" of the late Ernie Baron.
I took plane right from Davao via Singapore to Amsterdam. It took 16 hours before I arrived at Schipol Airport in the capital city of Netherlands.

I should arrived at 6:45am but the plane landed 32 minutes earlier, that is SQ 324 carrier.

That's the flight schedule monitor at the Schipol airport :-), my partner took while he was waiting for me. Click for larger view.

So, there I was completely surprised. It was really damned cold. At 6:13am was really dark seemed to be at the middle of the night which is far from I expect. Of course we are used to have a complete sunshine bath at 6:00am in the Philippines. At that time I thought, I am starting to enter another planet...
Yeah, I am now in a temperate weather zone comprising the four seasons: winter, spring summer and fall. New huh! I came from a tropical zone, which we have the dry and wet season. Help me check this:
It was like 5-6 degrees cold. I am quite clueless huh! Ja, no matter how smart you are. I really realized that theory is really far from actual senses. I mean you will never know how deep the water is unless you were drowned :-( Well, exaggeration I think, but low temperature remains an idea as freezing point..that is the theory but shivering with your nerves and teeth grouching each other will definitely describe how cold it is.
It is a real make over. Through the winter I am inside of my thermal wear...not to mention how many socks I'm on. I was wearing my ski jacket with other jacket inside...and shirts till I can feel my skin. Our home was on fire :-) the heating system is on the highest level...I think I was giving my husband an ultimate summer vacation at home. It was too warm for him but still I was cold.
Yeah, I felt heavy with all my bugging get-ups...I felt stressed and sometimes...I can't hold it and my shoulders almost retired and my legs ached 'coz of heavy boots. Ummmh, I think it was a good way to loose weight... :-(
Really, it is entirely different. I am just freshed from our famous "la nina " (wet season) and "el nino" (dry season) phenomenon.
I also remembered my first weeks here and while I started my language school. I started right away to school in the earliest weeks of winter. Seemed to be brave I should say. My school is about 23 kms away from home. It is from other city.( I will tell something about it next time.)

Our view from home during freezing time in February 2006.

I went to school in my heaviest best. At that time, I encountered the fluctuation of weather here. Unpredictable. Wet. Cold. Wind. Snow. Rain. No greens. Dark. That was all during winter! Grrrh!
Can you imagine how displaced my nerves now? Hahaha! Just kidding! However, I would like to say that I like snow :-) that is somewhat a "consuelo". Maybe because I am imagining of something...uhmmm...of white ice cream...lekker! (delicious!):-)

I am already relieved now. Well, it is and greens of course. Everything comes back to life again. Then it will be summer, autumn and winter again. Interesting huh! Sound to be challenging. I hope I will not be as changeable as the weather. Climatic? Not. Nice to see changes...of something or anything. It can be gradual and sudden...but if I would choose, it's nice if it is dramatic...seemed to be unpredictable but seasonal! Got yuh? :-)

Friday, May 05, 2006

My APO shirt

This is my grabbed APO (Alpha Phi Omega) shirt from a certain brother of my fraternity & sorority organization. Honestly, Bro. Cuabo as I call him...voluntarily and heartily gave this shirt to me before I leave for Netherlands. I still have two more APO shirts here gave from my brothers.
I was actually wearing the shirt when the photo was taken but I decided to cut and just show the logo to suffice my intention. The intention is just to show how nice it is..every detail of its print.
Well, maybe some can not relate and understand what is in it...this reminds me of how active I am before within my Alpha Phi Omega circle. Click this:

On the right is the APO coat-of-arm symbol.

The ideals are embodied in this symbol for the three guiding principles. Check more of this: .
The organization believes the three principles of Leadership, Friendship and Service.

I joined the organization on 1996, a year while anti-hazing law was a national issue and a controversial year during the SPCPD ( Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development) in Mindanao. Check this also: Our batch name was named after it and that is one of my memorable time in college days...Now, it is my 10th or tin anniversary of my lifetime membership. I have so many things to remember from goodness to wickedness :-) (just kidding!)

Yeah, since I have been a member...I had travelled from different places aside from work-related assignments. I had great escapades :-) and I had joined activities with noble causes in the local community and schools. I am not posting this to encourage college students to join my organization. However, I would say that I am glad and proud to be a part of the strong hold of APO principles.

My collegiate chapter, Epsilon-Upsilon, is always a home for me before.
There are so many things to remember actually, and this is just one of those and my Apo shirt that always reminds me on what is in it.

For now, I am patiently tracking the national and international APO offices to find alumni communities around and across the globe. I am thinking, if I can find one here...but so far, there is none. What I have only in the list, are Apo fellows in Austria, Germany, and Italy and at press time, an initiative is started to put up an Apo-Europe alumni association. Definitely, I am looking forward to it...not only to find more homes but just to continue what I and we had upholding the three principles.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Tulips: "Perfect Lover" ( in the Keukenhof )

Yesterday, we went to Keukenhof in Lisse part of Zuid-Holland (South Holland). Prachtig! (wonderful !) I think that this is the capital town of tulips here in Netherlands. Flowers are there and everywhere in different colors, sizes and shapes.Check this

The tulip has come to be a loved symbol of the Netherlands. Many tourists visit the country just to see the bright coloured flower and the astonishing view over the bulb fields. The season begins in March with crocuses, followed by the daffodil and the yellow narcissi. In April the hyacinths and tulips blosssom to some time in mid May, depending on the weather. Later, in August it is time for the gladioli. Even when spring is over, the Netherlands is still a garden, visitors can enjoy flowers in the Netherlands all year round. Links here:

Many have put meanings about flowers and tulip is not an exempted for it. Tulips in general mean perfect lover, fame, and of course the flower emblem of Holland. Red tulip means believe me or a declaration of love; variegated tulip presents beautiful eyes and yellow tulip means "there's sunshine in your smile". Wow! meaningful ! Aren't they? hahaha!
This orchid variety was inside in the greenhouse for their orchid exhibit.
Now, I started to ask the meaning of our "waling-waling" (Philippine orchid). So I check the google power and here it is: orchid in general means love; beauty; refinement; beautiful lady; and flower of magnificence. Actually, the orchid right in the picture was the same type of my wedding bouquet. So, then I am amused by my partner with his tulips gifts to put up our vases in our living room. He is a perfect lover I think...thanks for the tulips and its meaning. Well, it is the thought that counts actually, that makes it really sweet and even sweeter.

Flowers are truly sweet and plus "pogi" points for the sender or suitor. I love flowers...and here, it is like bed of "tulips". I remembered before when I was in a flower shop in one of the biggest mall in Davao City, I really like to buy cut flowers like tulips but helaas, it was very expensive so better not and just enjoy looking at them. Can you imagine, tulips in the Philippines are much-like the most travelled flower? It is imported and being shipped or flew by plane just to arrived to specific local dealers to three big islands of the country. I think they still have like a jet-lag but no choice to get ready for public display and social arrangements.

And so when I was in Keukenhof, it is like walking in a busy garden of Eden with my Adam who was already tired of taking pictures for me. He,he,he. Yeah, there are so many people and in fact, the park attracts from 600,000 to 700,000 visitors a year, peaking at more than 900,000. I thought it is only during Konninginnedag that people are rushing outside but really, also in the park. I think any corners with greens and flowers, there are people around. Inside the 32-hectare park, are restaurants, coffie and souvenir shops where the best buys for post cards and tulip bulbs. But, I didn't buy anything...'coz I feel like it is my last day :-) I would still like to visit there again actually.

Between the ancient trees, beside the pond, colourful flowerbeds are everywhere. Fronting the pond is a nice place to take a break for a cup of coffee with a sandwich lunch. We are still there late afternoon so we had also our early dinner setted there. It was nice and breathtaking with the sunset rays outside while having a sweet pink wine.

These also included a great many 'World Figures' such as the US Presidents Eisenhower and Clinton and Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. Keukenhof also had the honour of providing the décor for the first public appearance of Princess Máxima, who at the time was still the fiancée of Crown Prince Willem-Alexander. Keukenhof has become one of the best-known attractions in the country and one of the most photographed sights in the world.
See this:

For now, the poster of tulip garden that I keep for almost a year now, and was actually a birthday postal gift of my parents-in-law was not just a poster for me. It is really a place that I can recall that once I was already been there.
Script trivia: It was in Keukenhof where the first date of my in-laws 42 years ago:-).

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Sea breeze...Sea water...

I am definitely missing it!
The warm sea water especially in Davao.

Divine's pictures in Babu Santa, Samal, The Garden City, 30 minutes boat ride from Davao City.

I started to think and recalled my times when I was along the seashores in the island of Samal. A friend of mine sent her pictures during her holiday escapade last May 1, labor day in Philippines.

I am jealous and missed it...coz if I am not here...surely I am with her splashing and plunging in the water (shallow water, coz I am not a skilled swimmer :-() Yeah, quite bad. When you imagined how I grew up in an archipelago but I can not swim. My home country has 7, 107 islands, surrounded by water of course. I had so many swimming lessons before, but then I ended up drowned. I do not know, maybe I am not also blessed with scales and gills and I just leave out my fantasy in "Marina", a mermaid Filipino soap-opera starred by Claudine Baretto. However, my zeal and love for beaches is still on the-go and same with other water enthusiasts, I went home with sun burns and an ironed-masked face :-)

Check this for more Samal beaches:

I remembered my Samal vacation in Pearl Farm last April 2005 with my honey . That was a wonderful sunny day...but my man was sicked at that time :-( so well, just enjoy the breeze and the food of course. A nice "harana" (seranade) was rendered too that completed the evening.
That time the resort was booked of Korean honeymooners. Foreign couples and mixed one like us. Ahh! What a paradise it seemed and I was just observing them :-) I am quite "mosang" or in a nice manner "öbservant".We had few pictures and this is one of them.

A view from the Parola bar of Pearl Farm beach resort.

Now, as I look my friend's pics, days had flashbacked to me...I am already counting the months to spend vacation there again. We are not yet sure but who knows:-)

More of Pearl farm here:

The blue crystal sparkling water...hahaha! can you imagine what's that? Well, thats how I imagined. The place was exhilirating...ahhh! I really missed my place. I have been so many beaches in Davao. I still do not mention the western pacific water ( Celebes Sea) fronting Davao Oriental. I worked in this province before...and the place has so much to offer. Visit this:
For now, I still don't have a chance to dip myself in The Netherlands sea. I am not planning to freeze myself to death :-) Well, I have views of the sea already...I will give you a shot next time.

Monday, May 01, 2006

My French Kiss

Paris is one of the most romantic cities in the world. The top most destination for couples.
I would like to find out why...uhmmn, that is for myself to discover when we drive off to Paris via Gent in Belgium last April 20 for a 3-day break...and oops, I am actually saving my first time french kiss...hahaha! how did Meg Ryan had caught one.

Lets check the best spots where I snuggle and smooch with my honey :-)
Right above pic is me, with the Notre Dame cathedral as background.

Everyone knows about the Eiffel Tower, but there are two other ways to get high. However, we did not climb and make it to the top it is because we didn't like to join the longest "tug-of war"(it's the fall-in line system). So, we went to the Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame both provide stunning views of the city. There are few better places to put arms around with my partner than atop these two attractions. And at Notre Dame, we got the bonus of being close to the gothic styles.
A few more minutes further , we walked...walked and walked to other parks. This is the best thing you will get while in Paris, as your eyes where filled with amusements and adorements, you have also burning lots of calories with your leg muscles are in their best forward (march!).

Bond with nature, and each other! Paris is filled with beautiful gardens, and all make an unbelievably romantic setting. Spring is on the air. Flowers bloom earlier than in the Netherlands(how much more in the Philippines with the "sun shining armor" throughout the whole year). Luxembourg Gardens, in particular, is a great spot for couples, and is adjacent to the breathtaking Luxembourg Castle...and so we went there maybe four times :-) that is because it is only minutes walk from our hotel.

Do some very French kissing! Ja, this is my awaited time. We've seen the scene in almost every romance set in Paris: a couple embraces for a deep kiss on a bridge overlooking the Seine River. There's a reason filmmakers use this image. It's wonderfully romantic. The ambiance was definitely for lovers. Anywhere I will look, are couples, in teens, mid-teens, middle ages and oldies dragging up their honeys to the nearest bridge, walk to the center and get smooching.

Wine and dine! There are few things better to savor in Paris than a wonderful meal, accompanied by a delectable bottle of wine. Wander along the Champs Elysee until a sidewalk cafe that captures every tourists attention.

Walk arm in arm! Venture to the place de la Concorde for a great neighborhood for walking and near to that is the Musee du Louvre where I did not missed the chance to get up-close and personal with Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci's signature painting.
The tiny island within the Seine connecting the du Pont-Neuf is the most attracting shot of the sunshine in Paris where we had started our river cruise along the Seine river. That was alluring when we passed many of the classic and architectural designs of the buildings and houses, museums and churches, schools and bridges built during around 16th-17th century.
We also paid visit to the famous French Fathers' graves, Voltaire nad Rousseau in The Pantheon of the Nation -a temple honored for the great men of the nation.

Well, time for us for dinner and were great but then I braced up myself to hear new tongue dialectics ( I mean French language)...I am just in my Nederlands class, and there I was caught at the middle of bees-and-buzz in my ears...I can't understand.

Well, I was not there for French lesson but for a honeymoon :-) Jazz it up! This is one of the best cities in the world to listen to jazz, whether it's at a smoky hole-in-the-wall or a popular club. We spent and hit jazz music inside the restaurant, snuggle, sip wine and listen to the sounds of Paris.
We drove back in Nederland around 9pm and arrived home at 2.30am. And still my french kiss is just a hug away from me...right honey? :-)

Check this related site for more Paris attractions: