2005-May Part3 Camiguin-White Island-Lechon

We were going to have our wedding at Camiguin Highland. It's a very new hotel and the building, rooms and restaurants are very nice. They haven't deteriorated yet due to time and the filipino inability to maintain anything.

The friends who were with us on the Canopy Walk in Claveria, Misamis Oriental and the whitewater rafting in CDO (pics sometime in the near future) came over to Camiguin with us on Friday, and more

Friends from Manila, in a jeepney arrived on Saturday

After lunch and siesta at Camiguin Highland

we got on a two hired multicabs and went to Katibawasan falls (short picture taking trip, the pics below are from another trip later in the month, but they give an idea of what it's like)

I like going under the waterfall (well, a bit behind, right under the waterfall the weight of the water is too great, it would knock me out).

Sometimes, the pictures from that are creepy.

We then went on to Camiguin Action Gecko Galactic Headquarters

to pick up the lechon

The lechon is a bit denuded because there were two multicabs and naturally, there was some lechon skin picking on our multicab :-).

There are several jump off points to White Island, but the most popular is at Caves Dive Resort, where the Camiguinaction Diveshop is located.

I've heard of a spanish woman who swam to White Island from one of the Agoho beaches, but we took a pumpboat there.

They're usually around PHP 350 for a roundtrip. It can cost less than that if the boat can go fishing and pick you up, but it's more convenient to keep the boat so that you can leave whenever you want. It's very hot after 9AM and before around 4PM so most people go at dawn or in the late afternoon.

This summer, the locals from the Agoho shore built some bamboo and coconut leaf shelters.

To be continued


Stupid security rules

There is a tidal wave of stupid security rules all over the place these days. Most of them I don't mind since they don't affect me much. If malls insist on looking at my belt bag (fanny pack, to americans) and checking my lower back to see if there's a gun in there, I don't mind as long as it doesn't waste my time, or not much anyway. And mall searches only cost me maybe 3 seconds everytime.

MetroRail searches tend to cost more, but it's usually only 5-10 seconds (if there's someone ahead of me), so I don't care much either.

Of course, ideally, this stupidity should be stopped anyway since, really, if anyone with half a brain wanted to bring explosives or a small gun or dangerous chemicals anywhere, it's pretty much impossible to stop. Well, OK, so maybe it takes more than half a brain. But really, it would be trivial to smuggle in something dangerous (that's not perfume in that perfume container, that's alcohol, or, in combination with a lighter, that perfume works as a small flamethrower. how about that kerosene (or some other flammable but not so strong smelling liquid) in the shaving cream container? how about just that lighter. a terrorist could break five bottles of vodka in the wine shop, set it all on fire, and then start throwing more bottles of alcohol in there. five seconds, tops.

Those searches don't increase security (i'd link to schneier or someone, but I'm too lazy, Oh, ok, Bruce Schneier's site, they just inject inefficiency into everyday life.

But again, I don't mind them too much. Stupidities that cost me almost nothing I ignore. Sometimes (as with the cell phones or CD players on airplanes thing, now how dumb can an airline (or another, or maybe it's just the civil aviation board [can't find the website with a quick search and not interested enough to spend 30 minutes on it] be to not revoke the ban on CD players when there's no reasonable way for CD players to be a threat to avionics or control systems?) I flout them if they're sufficiently inconvenient.

On the other hand, yesterday I was at the University of Santo Tomas Hospital and the guard wanted me to leave my laptop. Now my laptop is my other life. I'm not leaving it ANYWHERE. So I said no. He said to leave the power supply then. I wouldn't leave that either. If it gets lost, it would take months to get a replacement from overseas (it's a Winbook, not a common brand in the Philippines). Finally I left the cable (detachable) that connects the power supply to wall power.

I don't see what the deal is with laptops though. Are they concerned about the wifi or the CD player interfering with avionics, I mean, hospital equipment? All the cell phones in the building are already doing that and I don't see people dying every second due to GSM and bluetooth and maybe even the occasional IR and (Lord forbid), laser light from a leaky CD-ROM player interfering with avion...hospital equipment. So maybe they're concerned about people connecting to an unprotected LAN connections and sniffing the network? they should use switches then! or, no, there aren't any LAN connections, this is an old building. No Lan connections anywhere.

So the only thing that comes to mind is that they're concerned about people stealing electricity. But that's yet another stupidity. This is a hospital where they have airconditioners everywhere. That's where they need to be saving electricity. Pissing off paying customers (what does it cost to be confined in a room there, maybe PHP 2000-4000 a day?) is counterproductive. I had a similar experience at Clinica Manila in SM Megamall. I was there with Sol and while waiting, I wanted to plug in. They're against electricity theft too. But the way I see it, anyone with a laptop who wants to plug in is a potential customer who could afford a laptop. They should be *encouraging* those people to plug in, so that they'll feel comfortable and warm and fuzzy and will keep coming back for health services. As it is, I'm not going to Clinica Manila for anything.

I couldn't do much about UST Hospital, but I can write this blog and castigate them in public. Maybe if enough people ask them about it they'll rescind that rule and maybe even bend over backwards and offer free wifi throughout their hospital. I rather doubt it, but wishes are free.

Maybe someone in there is smart enough to understand what a marketing coup that would be, free wifi in the hospital, on a budget of maybe PHP 5000 a month for the bandwidth and less than PHP 250,000 for the access points, wiring and router (and maybe another PHP 50,000 for the services of the company that would install all that, although they've got a computer science and engineering college in there, they could do it for free with student labor).

vim settings i always use

set ruler
set noincsearch
set nohlsearch
syntax off
set ts=4
set ai

i should probably also use
set ic

ok, that's it, i will :-)


No handsfree

I thought I'd try the handsfree headphones/mic for my Sony-Ericsson K700i phone. Not because I needed it for calling (we don't call, in the philippines, it's too expensive, and it's impossible to do hands free SMS texting), but because I thought I'd try the phone's radio feature.

The bad news is, I'm giving up. FM radio, even in Metro Manila, is execrable. The DJs are terrible, the station identification items are incredibly stupid, the ads are ads and the music ranges from oldies with nothing left but sap (if they ever had any meaning in there at all) to rap and R&B which, frankly, I can't get into, there is nothing there for me.

Even the classical music station, and the jazz station, when I could get them (the signals were sufficiently weak, I could never get a good enough fix, or the surrounding stations were so strong they overwhelmed the signal. But maybe that was just the phone) aren't worth much. I may try to get those stations again. But If i can't, well, they might as well not exist as far as my handsfree listening on jeepneys and the Metro Rail system are concerned.

I thought that there might be an AM receiver on there. On AM things are much the same, but at least there are the occasional (very occasional) entertaining talk shows. But there's no AM option, so I'm hanging up the handsfree set. Or maybe not. I might just find some MP3s, resample them down to much smaller sizes, and use up the 40MB memory of the phone for storing them. If I can get the MP3s down to 1MB or so (mono since i don't like being not able to hear things that are happening around me, very low sampling rate so the space requirement drops :-) I might get back to using it. Although if I rip or download comedy shows it's going to be very disconcerting for the other people on the jeep or train :-)



2005-May Part 2 - Canopy Walk in Cagayan de Oro

sol and I took the whole of May 2005 off in preparation for the wedding, the actual wedding, diving and honeymoon travel. There will be blog entries about all of those later. There are a lot of pics and, actually, I haven't organized everything yet. I need to get pictures of the wedding itself from friends since we don't have any on our own camera (forgot to assign someone to take all the pics, we had kublai or jen in mind for that, but they were late for the ceremony).

On May 3rd we went to CDO to meet friends and go whitewater rafting (blog entry for that and pics, later). The rafting was on the 4th. On the 5th we went on the Claveria Canopy walk. There are two or three canopy walk adventures in the Cagayan de Oro area. The Claveria one is the first and the best.

It's a long drive (maybe 2 hours) to the jump off point. I'm sure everyone has pictures taken there. So did we, of course.

That sign says that it's 1.5 kilometers to the top station. It's not a difficult walk, but there is going to be sweating. Also, both times that I went on the canopy walk it rained (at different parts of the course). So don't bring anything large that needs to be dry. Or bring a drybag. The top station is a platform from which we clip on to a zip line

and are lowered to the first station proper.

There was a light drizzle when we got to the first station and the view of the forest in the mist was nice.

From the first station it's just walking over hanging bridges (while attached by 2 clips to another line above).

The bridges, and the line to which everyone is clipped, are very securely attached to the trees.

There are five stations altogether (with, I think, one more not in use, and possible additions as the site is enhanced, the organizers talked about a very long zip line down to the bottom of the valley and a river traverse back down to the pickup site). The bridge to the last station is downward, some people have trouble traversing that. It's all very safe though. At the fifth station, there is a break for lunch. It's usually lechon manok, puso (rice in palm leaf wrap) and some other things. Naturally, there had to be a picture of the lunch group.

There are lots of great views of trees and forest plants. These next ones are of plants that grow on trees.

This is what it's like to look down :-)

And in the distance, it's a little sad to see the contrast between the forest and the farms where forest used to be.


Mandriva, kernel 2.6.11 and cpufreq

I installed Mandriva 2005 and my scripts for slowing down the CPU stopped working. Well, the cpufreq stuff has been modularized and now, with the stock 2.6.11 kernel that comes with Mandriva I have to modprobe p4-clockmod before the entries in /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0 become available.

I'm glad that it's all still there though, I was thinking I'd have to config and rebuild the kernel, something I try to avoid when running at 2.4Ghz in an un-aircon room :-).