Before January 2013 Ends Part 1: Foreign Currency Paper Bill Collection

It all started with fun exchange of tweets between me (@BalutManila) and these awesome fellow bloggers and twitter friends, @Archieviner, @GraciesNetwork and @Travel_Quests. 

@Travel_Quest mentioned that she is collecting foreign currency paper bills and I suddenly remember I used to collect that too while mentally recalling as well on where did I place this collection of mine.

I collect a lot of things.  I have STAMP, PERFUME BOTTLES, (Mcdonald’s) 101 DALMATIAN, RACE BIBS and SINGLETS, MUGS and some more collections that I can’t no longer remember because they are no longer on display at my (ware)home (LOL).  I’m a pack rat  - maybe the reason why I collect things. There are more weird things that I collected and it will need a single blog post for me to explain why I collect them.  I’m now making a mental note to make a post about this collections.  For now let’s talk about my foreign currency paper bill collection.

I started to take fancy with foreign currency paper bills when I was working with the  international operations group of a certain corporation.  Part of my job was to monitor the foreign currency exchange rate.  Back then you can ask me how much is the exchange rate of a certain currency versus the US Dollar and I can answer you in one quick second plus I’ll make you a cross reference rate of each currency (wink*).

Since I always need to look at the dollar, I used to keep a dollar bill in my office desk. Then later I think I got a hold with another foreign currency that I placed beside the US Dollar bill that I only used for reference.  It started from there and later I realized I have a collection. The collections came from different people but I remember  that the most contributor of these currencies is hubby who used to travel as an athlete delegate under the Philippine National Football Team. The other main contributor is the son of  the owner of the company where I was working. 

Here’s a glimpse of my foreign currency paper bill collection.  They used to adorn my office desk and they really looked good with glass top on it.  It was from my office desk where colleagues and other people took notice of them and suddenly some of them started to pitch in a contribution to my collection.   It used to be more than this number but some of them are maybe misplaced somewhere because I still have lots of (pack rat) things boxed somewhere.

Top Collector’s Item: (Real) Ten Peso Bill During the Japanese Government

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Love my Own Collector’s Item:’ (Obsolete) Two and Five Philippine Peso Bill


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Fun Collections: Dunkin Dough
(I have play money for foreign  currencies too but it might incriminate me if I’ll post them here :)


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Smallest Paper Bill Collection: Yuan (not sure)

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From Around the World:
ONE US Dollar; MILLE LIVRES (Lebanese Pound); FIVE /TEN  DIRHAMS (United Arab Emirates Central Bank); ONE/TEN RIYALS  (Saudi Arabia Monetary Agency); 1000 WON (The Bank of Korea); MIL CRUZADOS (Banco Central De Brazil); 2 ER YUAN/ 10 SHI YUAN (Zhongghou Renmin Yinhang); TWENTY TAKA (Bangladesh Bank); 5000 TURK LIRASI (Turkiye Cumhuriyet Merkez Bankasi); SATU RINGGIT (Bank Negara Malaysia; CINQUECENTO (Repubblica Italiana); TWO SINGAPORE DOLLARS (Majulah Singapura); 10 DZIESIEC ZLOTYCH (Narodowy Bank Polski)+; 100 SERATUS RUPIAH (Bank Indonesia);  TWENTY THAILAND BAHT; TEN/FIFTY NEW TAIWAN DOLLARS

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So why am I showing this collection with you? Hmn… It has something to do with the Part 2 of this post which I titled “Before January Ends Part 2: New Caledonia, Norway and New York!”

P.S. The photos were taken in a hurry my apologies for the poor quality.

Sunday Memory and Photograph: Hala Bira Iloilo!

Today, January 26, 2013.  Iloilo is celebrating the climactic Sunday of the biggest festival in this city that is comparable to Cebu’s Sinulog - the Dinagyang Festival 2013.  Expect everyone to be in the streets and shouting Hala Bira!

Going back to the Monday that we were leaving Cebu, my heart was aching to stay longer and explore Cebu City.  If not for a business appointment that was waiting for us in Iloilo city, I was ready to miss that Monday morning flight and go on flight hunting once more.  But that was one important appointment that we can not afford to miss so off we go to Cebu International Airport with heavy hearts.

“Pit Senyor” was still playing in my ears and my foot is still hopping to the tune.  But as we step on familiar grounds at Sta. Barbara Airport, another festival air welcomed us.  It’s in the breeze, it’s all around us.

Hala Bira Iloilo!  It’s the Dinagyang Festival!

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The photo is taken from one Korean restaurant in downtown Iloilo during the Kasadyahan Night.  KGB stands for “Korean Grill Barbeque”.  There was so much business competition during the Dinagyang festival.  Cheaper food “tiangge” were scattered all around the streets and it sort of became the major competitors versus the more established restaurants. I say the owner is so witty to post this signage on her Korean restaurant.  It did serve its purpose for whoever passed at this place is amused of the signage.  Some got curious and made them come in and check the place.  We are one among the curious and we got lucky to be served personally by the owner.  She cooked the super hot Korean noodles that we ordered right on our table.  Unfortunately, with some beers and so much going on during the day and night of the "Kasadyahan", I can’t remember any name of the Korean dish that we had.  what I do remember was that all of them tasted awesome and hot!

A series of posts under the category “When in Iloilo” will be published on this blog.  That is to share my awesome experiences in this beautiful city that I considered my third home.  I hope that the things that I will be sharing in my "When in Iloilo" posts will be helpful to those who wanted to explore this beautiful city.   Meanwhile you may want to join me as I reminisce my Dinagyang Festival experience.

Iloilo Gearing for Dinagyang festival 2012

Dinagyang 2012 Kasadyahan Night

Dinagyang 2012 - Ati Parade and Competition.

Hala Bira! Kadto na sa Iloilo!

Sunday Prose and Photographs: Bridges

There are bridges that are meant to be crossed,
to find the joyful world waiting at the other end.

There are bridges that people are afraid to cross
unsure of the unfamiliar world waiting at the other end.


There are bridges that are forbidden
but people still crossed in spite of the forbidden sign.

There are bridges that are meant to be crossed twice
to figure out what had gone wrong during the first try.

There are bridges that are worth looking back
to smile at the memories left at the other end 

There are bridges that are meant to be burned
so there will be just one path to take and that is to go forward.

What bridge are you crossing right now?
@2013 By: Balut Manila

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Leaving Mandaue City - approaching the arch 
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"look back shot" after crossing the arch

The photographs of  "Marcelo Fernan Bridge" were taken while aboard a speeding taxi heading to the airport.  The first photo is taken while approaching the bridge's arch after leaving Mandaue City.  The second photo is a “look back” shot after crossing the arch from Mandaue City.

This bridge brings a lot of happy memories in my short but colorful stay in Cebu.  This is the kind of bridge that I won’t mind crossing over and over.

Fats about the Marcelo Fernan Bridge:
The Marcelo Fernan Bridge is an extra-dosed cable-stayed bridge located in Metro Cebu, Philippines.   It spans across Mactan Channel connecting Cebu Island to Mactan Island.   It is opened in August 1999, has a total length of 1237 meters (4058.40 feet) with a enter span of 185 meters (606.96 feet).  This is one of the widest and longest bridge spans in the Philippines.  It carries 4 lanes of vehicular traffic and pedestrian sidewalks.  It was named after Senator Marcelo Fernan, a political figure from Cebu City.
(Source:  Wikipedia)

When in Cebu: After the Grand Parade. Malls and Pier One

The parade will not be over soon but lucky us that we were able to watch each tribe performed their Sinulog dance.  The smart cabby is worth thanking by the way for dropping us in that particular place. 

What we need now is for a place to relax and freshen up.  The traffic is still at its best  (or worst) all around Cebu and there could be one place to go. The mall!

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Here are the list of Malls in Cebu and they are all open during the Sinulog Sunday.
  • Cebu Mall in Ayala Business Park : Gaisano Department Stores, Rustans Supermarkets
  • Reclamation area:  SM City, ParkMall, Makro 
  • Banilad Area: Gaisano Country Mall, Banilad Town Center
  • Lahug Area: JY Square Mall
  • Fuente Mango Avenue Area: Mango Square Mall, Robinson’s Mall and Department Store, Raintree Mall (I saw all these mall because this is the area where we watched the grand parade but we opted for SM)
  • Downtown Area: Elizabeth Mall
  • Mactan Island:  Marina Mall, Gaisano Mactan

We saw most of the malls around Mango Avenue because that is the area where we watched the grand parade where each tribe performed.  We opted for SM because it is not too crowded compared to the area where the parade is passing by.  It gives us the chance to shop for souvenirs, watched photo exhibits and shop some more (lol).

We tried to scout for a restaurant inside the mall that is not too crowded to have our refreshment but even coffee shops are jam packed with crowd.  We settled at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf but we still spent some waiting time but I think it still shorter compared to the waiting time in other restaurants.

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My companion went to a salon for a massage and facial “blah blah”. I’m not a fan of vanity so I opted to go to an internet shop and uploaded some of our Sinulog photos in Facebook.  Comments from my friends instantly pop-out -

(Nasan ka na ba?  Di ba nasa Iloilo ka?)
Where are you? I thought you’re in Iloilo?

(Parang yung picture mo nung isang araw nasa Mall of Asia ka? Bakit nandyan ka na sa Cebu?)
I saw your picture the other day you were in Mall of Asia, how did it happen that you’re in Cebu now?

After SM, we went back to our settling place but we passed by the ParkMall to have some more shopping (lol).  We had our dinner at Pier One located at the ParkMall also.

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Pier One in ParkMall Cebu was the best choice for our dinner.  We ordered Filipino and Cebuano foods.  I can’t remember the names but I do remember that their “sinigang” didn’t stand a chance with us.  A two-piece band serenated us while we are enjoying our dinner.

And if you think that we settle for the night because of this tiresome day, well not really Winking smile.

When in Cebu: During the Climactic Weekend of Sinulog

Let’s skip first the two night party where we had a blast and get on with the climactic Sunday’s grand parade. 

Since I already shared the excitement and photos of my Sinulog experience, what I will be sharing to you right now is what you should expect, could and could not do during the climactic weekend or the grand parade day.   My previous post is a bit summarized because I was a “blogger on the run” during those days.  I am actually amazed how I managed to post entries during those times.  So here are some important things that you should take note of if you are in Cebu during the climactic weekend of the Sinulog Festival.

Traffic.
You can’t go to the places that you wish to go.  The farthest place that you will reach is to where the grand parade is passing through.  The parade usually starts from Cebu Sports Complex and will pass through major streets and avenues.   We took a cab and told the driver to bring us anywhere near the parade and he gladly said yes.  He drove  for five minutes, took a curb and drop us off in a corner which I surmise is that we can walk in fifteen to twenty minutes from the place where we hail him (LOL smart cabby).   We were dropped off near Mango avenue and we walk our way to the center of the parade.

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Be ready to walk.
You need to walk under the blazing January sun. The good thing is that you will be able to explore the streets by foot.

What to wear and what to bring.
Wear comfortable street clothes and shoes. Bring camera and video – you will miss one half of your life if you don’t have one.

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WHAT YOU EXPECT TO SEE

Everything that you will see in a provincial feast day only that this one is bigger and grander.  There are people everywhere. If you’re not a mixed people person and not ready to be deglamorized, don’t try going out from where you are BUT hey you will miss one half of your life!

Spectacularly designed floats with muses and the most graceful Sinulog dancers.

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Banderitas (Flaglets),    Buri hats, masks.

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You will be an out cast if you don’t wear face paint and tattoo .
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Tourist and Professional Photographers.
Some tourist are there just to enjoy the experience, some are really documenting the event. I was amazed how some photographers follow the swaying Sinulog dancers and catch every move and even take some close up photos.  There’s an annual Sinulog photography contest and the winners are being displayed in galleries.

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Sinulog muses and celebrities! (Whoops!)

We are not allowed to get inside the parade rope, but you can not stop these two (feeling) celebrities.

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(“Ang kulet ko ayaw paawat sa loob ng parade ha ha ha!”)  I’m persistent that my photo be taken inside the security rope.  After these photos I was escorted out LOL!

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The real Sinulog muses and celebrities. 
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What you can eat and drink.
Cebu is known for its famous lechon and danggit but while you’re in the street during the parade, you will forget about them and the food around you are all tempting.  Fast food restaurants are the best solutions if you are hungry.  But if you are experimental in trying Cebu’s street food, they are everywhere.  Sipping soft drinks in a plastic (only in the Philippines) is one of my most hated thing to do but I did not have a choice when I was real thirsty ha ha.  No drinks in can was available and we need to catch up and take photos of each performing tribe.

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Disappointments
You will not be able to explore the places that you would want to visit during the grand parade. You will be trapped somewhere with the parade somehow.  The parade is really LOOOONG and they have particular places where each tribe is performing the Sinulog Dance.  We wanted to go to the Basilica de Sto. Niṅo de Cebu but no taxi wanted to drive us there until the parade is over (and it will not be over soon).  We look for nearby church where we can celebrate the Sunday mass and we are lucky that the National Shrine of St. Joseph is nearby.  Finding places by chance added to the delight of this unplanned trip.

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You may want to read some facts about Cebu’s Sinulog  here.

When in Cebu: The ParkMall and Dimsum for Lunch

My Cebu trip was not ideal when it comes to planning and preparation.  It was spontaneous and out of plan but absolutely enjoyable – just like the rest of my best adventures.  All I can remember was that I was hopping from one airport to another and before I knew it I was in Cebu (lol but true).  I hope I can squeeze in from this series a post about the time when I spent a lot of waiting time and frustrations in Philippine airports.

So I was in Iloilo assisting a relative to do some legal documentations and property purchase (I’m not a lawyer but I do have have ample knowledge when it comes to legal matters wink*) when out of the blue the Cebu trip idea came in.  I was hesitant because it was supposed to be a three day Manila-Iloilo round trip.  It didn’t happen that way.  What happened was that I was just carrying an overnight bag to Iloilo and I ended up pulling quite a larger luggage back home to Manila after two weeks! Yep the three day didn’t happen.  What happened was TWO WEEKS!

Since this week is about Cebu and Sinulog, let’s talk about Cebu first.  And besides I think I will be making a regular post with the category “When in Iloilo” so I'll have a lot of time posting about Iloilo City.

I read a comment from my previous post about not finding a promotional air fares in going to Cebu and that almost everything is expensive during the Sinulog Festival.  It is absolutely true not only in Cebu but anywhere where there's an ongoing festival.  It is called the “season” rate where air fare is expensive and everything is expensive.

Miraculously (or just pure ability), I was able to get a ticket to Cebu for me and my relative just four days before the weekend of the grand parade.  Some of my relatives flew ahead of us – they are the reason why we decided to go on that trip and they are also responsible for our accommodations.  We stayed in a private property in Mandaue City.  You may find a list of Cebu hotels from here

Touch down Cebu airport, we were greeted by the festive mood.  “Pit Senyor” is the only song that you will hear all over the city.

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We were picked up from the airport by our relatives who flew ahead of us.  Our first stop from the airport is ParkMall located at Mandaue City also.  I was travelling with a shopaholic by the way so it’s no wonder why our first stop is in a mall (lol).  Just like in Manila, any celebration is always reflected in the mall’s decoration.  The ParkMall caters to all kinds of shoppers.  They basically has everything that  you will be looking for in a mall including popular coffee shops and restaurants.

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It was lunch time when we arrived in Cebu so we ate at the first fast food restaurant that we found and it so happens that it was Dimsum Break located in the same mall.  I really enjoyed the dimsum and I will  definitely  eat at this place again if I happen to be back in Cebu.

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We explored the mall and of course ended into a shopping spree – I don’t want to bore you with the details because there’s a lot more exciting to share than shopping so watch out!  Meanwhile we settled for the day to re-charge our energy because a bombastic Sinulog shindig was waiting for us that night!

Sunday Song and Photograph: Pit Senyor and Sinulog Festival

Sugod na sa Sinulog
Kitang Tanan mag Pit Senyor
Sugod na sa Sinulog
Kitang Tanan mag Pit Senyor

Sinulog Ace in A Face

To visit the key cities and islands in the Philippines is one great experience. But being able to be there during its famous and grandest festival is a far more greatER experience.

I posted this festival song in my Sinulog Post of 2012 and I'm posting it here once again inspired by the ongoing Sinulog 2013 in Cebu City Philippines.  As I've mentioned in my last year's post when you're in Cebu during the Sinulog Festival, you can't help but chant this song and it will be your LSS.

"Pit Senyor" or "Viva Pit Senyor" (:Long Live the Holy Child") is the traditional chant in honor of the patron of the Sinulog feast - Seňor Sto. Niňo (The Holy Child).

The photo is taken from a photo booth at MO2 Bar and Restaurant on the Saturday night before the climactic Sunday grand parade.

This year’s celebration is from January 10 and will culminate to a grand parade on January 20, 2013.  I am planning to publish a series of post here regarding my experience in Cebu and the Sinulog Festival. I will categorize the series as “When in Cebu”.

Mixed Nuts: A Special Acknowledgment Post

Ok I’m not referring here about the popular junk food and the former TV show but I’m referring to several blog post tags and greetings that I need to acknowledge “big time” not only for blogging ethics but also because I sincerely appreciate them “BIG TIME!”

I intentionally did not mention about them during the holiday season because my plan is to acknowledge them altogether in one post.  However, I under estimated the thoughtfulness of my fellow bloggers. I did not expect that there would be a lot!  So this post might be a bit long please bear with me because these people deserved a well written acknowledgement.

First, the SMP Blog Award and awesome holiday widgets from Maria.

First off, I apologize my dear if I didn’t get to reply to this tag during the holidays.  It is for the same reason as I’ve mentioned above.  But nonetheless I just want you to know that this is much appreciated. Who wouldn’t want to be awarded as “Super Miss Popular”!? Aaaw! So here’s my answer to your questions.
Maria
Your life is going to become a script for a movie. Whose local/foreign celebrity would you want to play you?
Angelina Jolie or Sandra Bullock maybe?  I’m really not sure who I want.  I chose these two actresses because they have hyper-active life like me.

You get to become a villain for a day from a Disney movie. Which villain are you?
The wicked aunt of Cinderella.  I consider her as the most famous villain so if I will be known for such I would rather choose the most famous or, the most hated one lol.

Aside from family, what's your greatest accomplishment in life?
My blogs. Because I used to write for someone else before and it’s always a plan to write for my own but I kind of delaying it. So I consider this as one of my accomplishments though not the greatest.

In your own views, what's the spirit of Christmas?
The spirit of Christmas is HOPE. Because it is the birth of our savior.
balutmanila
I apologize if I will park the tagging from here.  Since my reply to this is quite late I read from other blogs that almost every blogger I know is tagged.   Much thanks also for the wonderful holiday widgets girl!  The one posted here adorned my side bar for the whole holiday season and the blinking “Balut Manila” widget was useful for my Christmas Post.  You are so creative!

THANK YOU to Pao Kun of  "To Infinity and Beyond! Pangkalawakan!" for this awesome FAMILY picture!  I proudly posted this in my personal Facebook labeled as “my blogging family”.  I saw also that this has been a “box-office” hit among fellow bloggers - applause, applause!

My Blogging Family

My smile is gleaming when I see this unique Christmas Tree from Sis Leah of Travel Quest.  A much even better holiday tree than all the one I saw this season. See those beautiful faces in the Christmas balls? I’m one of them yey!

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Juicy JayAbout Jay's Journey shared to my Facebook Timeline this beautiful Christmas family picture that you can also find from his holiday post, just click the link.  It is heartwarming to see a fellow blogger in a happy home with his happy family.  Thanks so much Jay for the Facebook greetings.  May God continually bless and guide you and your family.
JonDMur

Aside from the awesome New Year greeting card that JONDMUR created for me and my other fellow bloggers, I found this cute Christmas card in my Facebook inbox!  I’m imagining that Jon is one of the chipmunks, but oh I remember he’s a “Blogerong Penguin” ha ha.  Love it!

123 Greet from King AI also found this warm greetings from my email inbox and it came from no other than King A of Chateau De Archieviner.  Wow.. this really makes my holiday a little more warmer.  Thanks again King A!

The next two are not holiday greetings but I can’t just let these two sweetness and thoughtfulness past without special acknowledgment.

Apart from the sweet New Year greetings that Arline of the Pink Line sent me, she made me these sweet cup cakes for my blog anniversary.  Hmn.. I can taste its deliciousness even by just looking at it from Twitter.  Thanks again Arline. Aside from being one of the sexiest, you are also one among the sweetest in the blogosphere.

Pink Line
And if there’s a sweetest girl here, here’s one among the sweetest and the most supportive boy in the blogosphere - MEcoy!  I am out words describing how you've been around all along.  THANK YOU Mecoy - really love and appreciate this cute greet!

MEcoy

THANKS to all of you thoughtful people! I feel so guilty that I can’t return your thoughtfulness in deed (yet) - again my apologies. My schedule for the last quarter of 2012 and until now is too chaotic. If not for my passion for writing and expression plus the fun I'm getting from all of you, I might have given up blogging considering my current scenario. The “chaos” here is in the positive side though, except that I feel that I have too much to handle right now that if I will add anything that is even the most minimal, I will be unable to handle it anymore.

A BIG THANK YOU also to those who greeted me during the holidays.  My blogs followers, readers and especially my frequent commentators.  I know that most of you has the same busy “going-ons” in life especially during the holidays but you still took the time to visit my blogs.  I said this before and I’ll say it again, you made my holidays in the blogosphere more meaningful, fun and exciting!

And for those who think that they should be especially mentioned in this post but did not see themselves -  I love surprises, who knows you might receive one from me one of these days (wink*wink*).  See you around peeps!

SPAMMERS NO SPAMMING!

No CLICKABLE LINKS PLEASE.
A single link is okay as long it says something about your comment or related to my posts. Apart from that I'm sorry I need to delete your links. THANKS!
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