Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Captivating Cordova

Our company’s community of photographer wannabes headed out to Cordova, a municipality located in the 6th district of Cebu, to give our cameras a run for the so-called street photography. We had no idea what to expect in the place but we went, anyway. From Cebu City, we decided to ride via jeepney to Mandaue, then to Opon, and finally, Cordova. Expectation-wise, I envisioned a place crowded with people and busy streets. Instead, we were greeted by few pedal trike drivers and the smell of grilled pork barbecue at a nearby food shop. At the jeepney drop, we caught sight of a Sweet Corn for Sale sign and headed to the vendor to inquire. Apparently, they just started cooking, so some of us bought bread from Julies’ approximately 6 meters across the street.  As soon as everyone began filling their stomachs, we started walking.

First stop: the Freedom Plaza. When you are a stranger in a new place, you would likely find capitols, museums and plazas the popular landmarks and immediate representations of the community and its history. We decided to take a picture of the Freedom monument which proved witness to the heroism of two Cordova locals, Juan Nuñez and Pablo Biongcog, who lost their lives during the Japanese occupation. We were busy having our pictures taken when we realized that the structure held the word “FREEDOM” with the last letter inverted, showing “FREEDOW”, instead. It must have been removed through time and put back in place the wrong way. Sometimes, we unconsciously present the irony in our messages. In this case, looking around the old capitol (designed with touches of Spanish and American style)  and the inverted “M” makes me skeptic if  the municipality indeed fully freed itself from the bondage of its past under non-Filipino regimes. To note, “CORDOBA”, a merging of 3 balangays (Gab-I, Day-as, and Pilipul), was decreed independent from Opon in 1863.

Right across the plaza, we paused to take a picture of San Roque Parish Church, and side-tripped on what hoped to be our overt attempt to sports photography when we chanced upon tennis players whiling away time at the court beside the church. Further onwards, we caught sight of an old, rustic gasoline station (a non-operating Petron station), kids playing on the streets, men drinking on their pedal trikes under the bright 8AM-sunshine, and a lounging grand dad bonding with his grandchild.

Some other shots were taken at the parola, which stood beside a supposed hotel. Both (parola and hotel) were unfinished structures which have instead become a popular photography subject in the town. Right at the place where both stand, we noticed families and friends on a picnic beside the shore. Even casual acquaintance frolic the beach area for a good time. A stranger approached one of my confreres to ask if we brought a lighter and a foil. Although he didn’t get any from us, he still voluntarily shared information about how he and his friend ended up on the beach with a girl they met from a public disco who insisted to go with them wherever they went. I think we all silently agreed not to meddle with their public lives. Besides they all appear to be enjoying the chance to bask under the sunlight together with other happy locals.

The simplicity of life in Cordova reminds me of my hometown and the genuine, carefree laughs I shared with friends whether by the beach or just along the streets. It is a challenge for me and others who succumb to complications and harassed by city noise to have intentional pauses, just appreciating and reflecting the plain and ordinary things that mean more in life: family, friends, and a quiet, peaceful soul. However, to maintain these treasures, the town has to also be able to live up to the standards of a healthy society where the families are taught and ushered to ways and means of surviving modernization and overcoming crises. I trust that their local government officials are constantly executing well-thought-of plans for the upliftment of the lives of the locals from whose taxes its operating expenses are sourced from. Albeit slow, the town's progress is promising.

Last stop: Lantaw Floating Restaurant. The team headed out to Day-as mangrove plantation known by the Traffic enforcer we met at the junction as the famed "bird sanctuary". Most of the common trike drivers had no knowledge of such reference but will take you there if you tell them to drive you to the "bacau-an" (pronounced bakhawan). When we arrived, there were no birds in sight except for the common ones we see all the time. However, what seemed to be disappointing turned out to be a special treat. The arduous journey brought us to rewarding Lantaw, a floating native restaurant. It was only on its 5th day since it started operating in Day-as, Cordova when we arrived and their delicious food offerings were ravishing treats for the excited palate.

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Further readings:
- Wikipedia -,_Cebu
- -

Lantaw Restaurant
Contact Information:
Manager: Allen N. Malubay
Globe #: 09176680464
SUN #: 09332704731

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Predictable Tendencies - A Book Review

Knowledge through education produces and multiplies reasons. Suddenly, people who had no say on several matters now begin to learn assertion. It has leveraged self-esteem enough for most to finally say “No” on subjects that do not jibe to personal reasons and “Yes” to those that are rational. People have become logical and analytical through education. In effect, standards, rules, and guidelines were penned and posted on walls to keep our kind from unreasonable blunders. Be it good or bad, it has at some point created a pattern in our action and reaction, thus, the emergence of predictability in human behavior.  For example, a glass labeled “CLEAN” would most likely be used over one labeled “DIRTY”, or a rim of BRIGHT white bond paper will be preferred over DIRTY white;  even the simplest illustration of wearing thick, warm clothes over silky clothing on a cold rainy day is rational.

Despite what seemed to have already been an established notion, that humans are REALLY rational beings, quite a number of people tend to disagree. Perhaps, because apparently being rational is not absolute. Although our brain makes the decisions, it does not solely source inputs from agreed norms or test results. It is in fact frequently influenced by our feelings and other inputs coming from other sensors like our eyes, nose, skin, and ears.

Dan Ariely is one of the authors who publish personally conducted researches which bring light to how equally irrational a person is as he is rational. His book, Predictably Irrational  (cover  shows the latter word inverted and read from right to left), details some of the studies and social experiments he conducted in various locations that depicted how people tend to deviate from standards and react unconventionally either in the absence or presence of certain stimuli or factors.

Some of his experiments uncover social issues like the level of distrust in people on products that are marketed publicly as free.  The experiment showed that these days, people do not think that things come absolutely for free. Oftentimes, they are prejudiced, thinking that it must be a promotional event in the interest of getting people to purchase products and services. Apparently, the level of distrust in our society is increasing as ads and marketing strategies become cleverer and intentionally misleading. These come in the form of finely printed surcharge details in flyers, or even exaggerated images of products that show the actual items in surreal graphics.

The book also introduces behavioral economics concepts like “placebo” and “free lunches”. Other than that, it contains ideas that can be helpful against overspending or unrestricted credit card usage.

One observation that’s hard to miss while reading through is the way the material is packed with lots of illustrative experiments that support the author’s hypotheses. Although the amount of effort put in the creation of the material can be astounding, the details and statistics can also be overwhelming for some readers. While science junkies (addicts) could find it entertaining, a regular guy may find it puzzling.

Overall, I will recommend this book primarily because it is a pill for obsessive compulsion (my preferred terminology for over-idealism).  I am for rational-mindedness but against boxing human behavior in a single definition. I think humans were created a complex being and therefore, potentially creative. We don’t settle on established standards alone but sees room for better versions. Unless we degrade, we should always welcome changes and improvements. It’s good to be idealistic but try not to be trapped in it too much. It narrows our life outlook. Instead achieve some sort of balance and understand that there will always be things in and about us that breaks from normal. Like God’s mercy and grace to us go beyond comprehension, so is man’s occasional irrationality. Some big things do come from out-of-the-box ideas conceived in minds of crazy (unlikely), curious individuals. Come to think of it and you better agree, in more ways than one, we are predictably irrational.

Get yourself a copy at today!

Personal Review Rating: 7 of 10
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