Sunday, February 28, 2010

Stage 2 Tour of Luzon Results : I see it coming!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

I took this photo of my friend rider Reid Mumford and his co-Kelly Benefit Strategies rider Ryan Anderson after the Stage 1 criterium at Macapagal Avenue yesterday. Today is the Stage 2 at Daang Hari, Muntinlupa and my family was not able to see the action since we attended church and the race was also in the morning. So when Reid informed me of the personal time trial results with Ryan and him getting the first and the second places respectively, I was thrilled. With the picture, I guess I saw it coming huh!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Stage 1 Tour of Luzon 2010 Experience

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

My whole family has its first taste of cycling competition today as our friend, Reid Mumford wheeled off at the Macapagal Avenue for the first foreign - spiced Tour of Luzon 2010. Reid is the team captain of the Kelly Benefit Strategies from the USA.

Our family was there to see Reid and his team tackled the 87 km, 15 laps Stage 1 criterium. We had a pretty good view enough to see all actions from start to finish and see the transponder results as it happens.

After the race, Reid finished 6th in the Sprint competition which was won by his team mate Guy East as the sprint king. At the Stage 1 tally board, Reid finished in the 15th rank, while his team mate Ryan Anderson made it as the second placed Stage 1 winner. Both KBS Guy East and David Veilleux also made it as the 12th and 13th rankings.

Reid was too nice to pose with the family after the race and allowed to be interviewed by my curious nephews and nieces. We had a lot of fun!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Friend, Cycling and the Tour of Luzon!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

After four years of no communications, I was surprised to receive an email from a very good friend Reid Mumford.

Reid served a mission in the Philippines Quezon City Mission in 1995-1997. He was the one who actually encouraged me to serve a mission, and has really been an honest to goodness friend. He visited the Philippines in April 2000 and I accompanied him to tour around his areas and the areas of his childhood friend Jeremy Miner who served in the then Cabanatuan Mission (Angeles Mission).

Now after a decade, Reid is here again. This time to take me for another type of tour - The Tour of Luzon 2010!

The 2010 LPGMA Tour of Luzon is a Philippine cycling competition set to fire off on February 27, 2010 for its first foreign-spiced, nine-day race. LPGMA will have a multistage Tour where 10 local teams of six riders each would be pitted against seven foreign clubs. The Tour will feature six circuit races and three road competitions.

Reid is the team captain for the Kelly Benefit Strategies (KBS) from the United States. According to reports (and confirmed to me by Reid), KBS ended the 2009 season as the highest ranked non-ProTour team on the USA Cycling Professional Tour where they place fifth. KBS is also the highest-ranked North American Team on the UCI America Tour at third spot. The team also won three international UCI stage races and team members also made two podium appearances at the USPRO road championships in Greenville, South Carolina. Team KBS is also planning to join a race in Singapore, and the Tour of Thailand. The team will also make two trips to Europe, once in the spring to prepare for the Tour of California and again in the summer.
Stage One will be held on Macapagal Avenue before the Tour jumps to Daang Hari, Cavite (individual time trial) and Nuvali, Santa Rosa, Laguna (criterium).
The caravan then proceeds to Clark, Pampanga (criterium), Clark to Subic (road), Subic (criterium), Tagaytay (road), Matabungkay (road) and ends up at the Ayala Triangle (criterium).

Road races is where all riders start simultaneously, individual time trial and team time trial events are also held on road-based courses. Criteriums are races based on circuits typically less than a mile in length and sometimes run for a set time.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Recalling Extremes at Tongdo Fantasia in Busan, South Korea

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

I call any activities that involve speed, height, a high level of physical exertion, and highly specialized gear or spectacular stunts as "extreme". In this category of extreme, I included activities like my wall climbing in Las Pinas, skyride and luge in Singapore, river rafting in Cagayan De Oro, Viking in Hongkong, riding cable cars at the Great Wall of China and Hongkong Disneyland, log ride in Los Angeles Disneyland, Niagara falls in KL Malaysia, scuba diving in Philippine beaches like Boracay (i love this one!!), whale shark hunting in Donsol, Sorsogon(because you have to dive fast to keep up with the whale sharks (but this is fun!), jet skiing in Bataan, ice skating in SM Megamall,snow skiing in Salt Lake City, Utah and the beginning of it all - something that got the fear out me are the rides at Tongdo Fantasia. in Busan, South Korea.

Tongdo Fantasia is the largest amusement park in the Busan/South Gyeongsang Province area in South Korea. Tongdo Fantasia is a theme park for culture, education, entertainment and sports training.

Being located beneath the YeongChuksan (Mt.) the Youngnam Alps, Tongdo Fantasia has about 30 types of playing cultural amenities such as natural lake, open-air theater, exhibition hall, and the park presents dreams and adventures - extreme rides that is!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Gyeongju City and Ulsan South Korea: An Adventure with my BFFs

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

If you are watching Koreanovela Queen Seon Deok on GMA, chances are you already heard the place called Seorabeol in Silla and probably wondered where that is now. Seorabeol is the ancient capital city of the Silla Dynasty where Queen Seon Deok reigned as its first queen. Now, it is called Gyeongju City in South Korea. I visited Gyeongju in May 2001 with my bestfriend Dearie during my trip based on an invitation by my Korean best friend Michael who lives in Ulsan, South Korea.

Gyeongju City as the ruling seat of the old empire Silla has some nice parks and historic sites. Since Ulsan is near Gyeongju, Michael's family toured us around Geoungju particularly at the Gyeongju World Culture Expo 2000. It was an impressive meeting place where Korean culture harmonized with world cultures, filled with new millennium's breath.

Other highlights are Bulgoksa Temple, which is one of the largest, most famous temples in Korea; it is beautiful, but heavily visited.

We also went around Ulsan and visited the Ulsan Grand Park, first established as the biggest downtown ecological park in the Eastern world, the Munsu Soccer Stadium, the venue of the 2002 World Cup; the Ulsan Athlete Park, located at the heart of a beautiful natural setting in Ulsan; and the Daewangam Park, which boasts of a stunning views of the Sea of Korea, as well as of the breathtaking rock formations, and a lush pine woods populated by about 15,000 trees.

In addition, there are many small parks located near residential areas so that Buk-gu residents can visit and enjoy the beauty of nature any time. Each small park features a children's playground and a miniature sports field.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Queen Seondeok TV and My visit to Yangsan, South Korea

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Queen Seon Deok is a koreanovela that premiered last January 4, 2010 on GMA 7. I love watching it and I wouldn't miss it for anything. Queen Seondeok reigned as Queen of Silla, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, from 632 to 647. She was Silla's twenty-seventh ruler, and its first reigning queen.

Watching Queen Seondok brought back memories of my visit to Yangsan, South Korea in May 2001. One of the places I visited was the Tongdosa Temple. Tongdosa located in YeongChuksan (Mt.). is a thousand year old temple which was built in 646 C.E., during the reign of Queen Seondok, and it was a major temple throughout the Unified Silla and Goryeo periods, when Buddhism was the state religion, and remained strong even in the Joseon Dynasty.

Tongdosa is Korea's largest temple and often called "The temple without a Buddha" because it contains no outdoor statues of the Buddha. A total of 65 buildings separately house a shrine for virtually every major Buddhist deity.

The first gate to the temple, Iljumun, is called the One Pillar Gate because when viewed from the side the gate appears to be supported by a single pillar, symbolizes the one true path of enlightenment, supporting the world. Iljumun is the boundary between the spiritual world and the secular world.

Approaching the entrance the first bridge one sees is Samseongbanwol - Three Arch Bridge - meaning three stars and a half moon, sometimes also called the One Mind Bridge.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pampering by WENSHA and My Gutsiness

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Last night, I went to WENSHA in Timog with my friend Arlene and my Couch surfing Canadian guest Sean. It was my idea for my friends to experience this kind of pampering. Sean is on his last leg of his 6-week Philippine adventure (flying back on Saturday morning) and has just gotten back from his Palawan trip. I thought he will surely appreciate the kind of services that WENSHA has to offer. For Arlene, it was her first time and I am happy to let her experience stuff like this.

WENSHA is a 24/7 spa at Timog Avenue in Quezon City with an eat-all-you-can buffet forming the package rate of P680 per person for the one hour full-body massage (among other services offered) and a free use of the jacuzzi, sauna and steam bath within six hours. It wasn't my first time to avail of some massage treatment at a spa before and in fact my second time in WENSHA within a month, but last night was one of a kind. I had finally crossed out the item “going naked in jacuzzi” on my 2001 things-to-do-before-you-die list and included it in my journey to gutsiness.

I was first introduced to the WENSHA concept when I visited Ulsan, South Korea last May 2001 with my best friend Dearie. The visit was an invitation from my Korean best friend Ji Bong Gyu nicknamed Michael. Koreans call these places as public bath houses or in Korean language jjimjilbang.. Jjimjilbang is a one-stop total service 24-hours-a-day Korean way of relaxation. At the public bathhouse, Koreans take a bath on a jacuzzi and a sauna, and also eat, sleep, date, watch television, read, and play computer games.

Before my trip to Korea, I was already forewarned by my friend Jenny about the authentic Korean experience of going to the public bath. I told myself I wouldn't be able to handle such a thing so I put a "No No" warning sign on my forehead if ever my best friend Michael will ask me to go to a public bath with him. Michael's invitation the following day of our arrival, however, didn't include the word "public bath" or "jjimjilbang" but he just asked me to go jogging with him and then go swimming after. Of course, wanting to be fit, jogging and swimming sounded a great idea of hanging out with my best friend. Besides, he was the one who invited me to visit him and paid for my plane tickets and other expenses so any little time I can spend with him (since he has to work) would be gladly accepted.

When we arrived at the "swimming pool" there was a separate entrance for male and female and I agreed to meet Michael at the other end of the pool once I got on my swim suit. He told me I would have a locker where I can put my stuff but didn't make mention of the "must -do -jacuzzi -before -swimming" requirement nor the "no-cubicle -changing clothes station". As I entered, I was shock! I saw all the naked ladies calmly doing their stuff - combing hair, chatting, and just acting so "free" without any inhibitions about being stared at. Then I saw naked ladies in and out of the jacuzzi pools. Wow! Culture Shock that is, that sent me out of the room in an instant! And poor Michael was left waiting and didn't have a choice but to just swim alone!

My first visit at WENSHA last February 9, 2010 was a de ja vu of my jjimjilbang experience! Since my driver was late picking me up from work (as he drove my Couch Surfing guest Chel to Clark airport) and got into extreme traffic jam on his way to the office, I thought of going to WENSHA. WENSHA was recommended by my friends Issel and Roy who mentioned about the eat all you can buffet before and/or after the full body massage, enough to lure me into the idea. After the buffet, I went to the locker rooms which were good, with padded benches, lots of toiletries, and a cool keyless locker system (a wristband that automatically opens the locker door). I was given a towel and robe and went to the shower rooms. Naked ladies in and out of the jacuzzi pools, sauna and steam bath welcomed me. I was shocked! I didn't have a heart for this thing so I hurriedly taken my shower in a cubicled shower room and went straight for the whole body massage. The massage was great!

So, before yesterday, when I invited Arlene to go with me to WENSHA, I also skipped about the jacuzzi detail. But she asked me about it. So to convince her into coming with me, I told her that we can skip that part and still enjoy the other services like what I did during my first visit! When we were there, Arlene was pumped up to try daring stuff. She came in too convincing that I actually found my self swimming naked in the jacuzzi. I was very shy at first (and Arlene too), but after a while we got out of our shell and just swam normally as if we have swim suits on. It made me feel good.I guess with that you can call me a"gutsy" lady!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hearts' Day Fun

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Valentines Day is a day for couple's expressions of love, a time to be together! But since we are far apart this heart's day, I was at a loss as to how to honor my prince and make him feel warm, confident, and loved on this special day.

Thoughts and feelings of love for my prince inspired my creativity and created a poem, and made a scrapbook of us, something beyond the normal gift of chocolates and kisses. Then, his phone call on my Valentines Day and my phone call on his Valentines Day made this heart's day something to remember.

(The Man Of My Dreams)

Met him in June Two Thousand Seven
Amiable, tall, awesomely good looking
Rekindled my desire for a loving feeling
Knowing fully- well he will soon be leaving.

As days went by got to know him better
Liking togetherness, revealing true feelings
A chance to tour Cebu and dated one evening
Next at the “Transformer” movie, desire grew much fonder.

Paris, at the Eiffel Tower
Oh, how romantic how thrilling
For my prince as the man of my dreams
Forever I longed to be with him.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Building Personal Arks and Not Towers

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda
(outrigger boat in Donsol, Sorsogon taken last January 28-30, 2010)
Elder W. Don Ladd taught: " Our arks will float on a sea of faith if our works have been steadily and surely preparing for the future".

Today's lesson in Sunday School entitled "Noah...Prepared an Ark to the Saving of His House" is about prophet Noah who was commanded by the Lord to build an ark where he and his family found refuge during flood that lasted 40 days and 40 nights. Because of the people's utter wickedness during Noah's days, the Lord saw fit to destroy all flesh from the earth. All the people and creatures that were not on the ark died.

A few generations after the flood, the people tried to build a tower to heaven commonly called "the tower of Babel". The people who build the tower was punished as they tried to reach heaven by wordly means, to escape from flood that shows that the people acted contrary to the will of God and to make a name for themselves.

(lighthouse at Lakeshore in Mexico, Pampanga taken last February 5, 2010)

Like in Noah's days, Church leaders have commanded each of us to "build a personal ark'. Arks can help save us from the evil around us like our homes and families, friends,temples, seminary, Church meetings, prayer, the scriptures, and living prophets.

The only way for us to reach heaven - to live with our Havenly Father - is through the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must live righteously, as Noah did, having faith in Christ, repenting of our sins, receiving sacred ordinances, and enduring to the end of our lives.

Hence, what we really need in our lives are "arks" and not "towers".

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Before I Hit The Twig: Make A Photo Album For My Best Friend - Dearie!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Cover Page of  BFF Coffee Table Book
Today is my best friend Dearie's birthday. As a gift and tribute for our David-Jonathan's friendship, I searched, scanned and organized all the photos we have taken together over the years and put them in a coffee table book called - My Adventures Around The Globe With My BFF -Dearie Tan. I have the photo book made through Digiprint. "Making a Photo Album or Collage For My Best Friend" is one of the tasks I counted up in the "2001 Things To Do Before You Die" since I have made a number of photo albums for my best friends, but has not written about it yet on this blog. At least now, I can write about the experience in current and not in retrospect.

Back Page of BFF Coffee Table Book
I love making a coffee table book with Digiprint where I am a loyal member and enjoy a big discount. I have all my travels made into coffee table books so I thought giving a coffee table book of our pictures together, Ate Dearie will surely love and appreciate the gift! The coffee table book is an 8 x 10 in size, with 40 pages so it is not too big nor too small. It is bound in a hard cover using glossy photographic paper prints.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Utah: Destination For All Season

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Like many Latter-day Saints, I have a so called "Utah Dream". Utah is a western state of the United States and is so deeply intertwined with the history of the LDS Church of which I am a member for almost 23 years now. Mormon pioneers arrived in Salt Lake Valley and began carving out an existence in 1847. In 1849, Brigham Young began sending settlers to establish cities in the Utah Valley.

My Utah Dream came into fulfillment in the new millennium! Last August 20 to September 12, 2000, I made my first trip to Utah. It was almost the end of Summer then and the beginning of Fall so the trip satisfied my need for adventure, culture, and history all in one vacation. But since Utah has four seasons - December - February (Winter), March - May (Spring), June - August (Summer)and September - November (Fall), I was pumped up to experience its Winter and Spring as well. I had a return trip to Utah last December 23-January 15, 2001 to experience Winter and then went back on April 2001 for Spring. As each season has a different forte for showing off the natural beauty of Utah, I had visited it over and over again since then(and even intended to lived there in 2002).

For LDS like me, there were many cultural attractions and historical sites available for touring and exploring in Utah that can be enjoyed year-round . My "must see" list includes a visit of course to several LDS temples (which deserves another blog entry), Temple Square, multiple pioneer parks and museums, located in Spanish Fork, Provo, Pleasant Grove, Springville, St. George and Alpine.

Salt Lake City Temple

Temple Square was ranked as the 16th most visited tourist attraction in the United States by Forbes Magazine.

But each season poses a unique reason for an ideal getaway that I was able to experience. Utah is indeed a home to breathtaking natural wonders and entertaining attractions - for all season! The variety is endless and changes with each season, bringing new elements to be enjoyed and explored.


One of the most popular reasons for visiting Utah comes each winter since Utah is home to the "greatest snow on earth" and thus, Utah is well known for its winter activities like skiing.

Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Provo are places known for ski resorts that are well liked among tourists for their convenience and proximity to a large city and international airport.

(Park City in Spring)

Spring is that time of the year to appreciate the natural beauty of Utah with its abundant mountains and trails, rivers, lakes, and campgrounds and hundreds of miles of trails since the earth is covered fully with lush green plants bearing beautiful flowers. Its the season of growth for the plants during when the plants and trees wake up from their long cold winter sleep and showing their joy with colors.


Utah has five national parks (Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion) and features seven national monuments, two national recreation areas, six national forests, and numerous state parks and monuments.

As there are ample places to camp in Utah like the Utah Lake State Park and other parks located in Provo and Springville, summer heat is no reason to have lazy days. Canyons offer ways to escape the heat in cooler temperatures and shady trails. You can choose one of several parks located a short drive up Provo Canyon - for a family picnic, or choose from over fifty trails of varying difficulty for some serious mountain biking, hiking, biking, or rollerblading.


Jacob Hamblin Home

Jacob Hamblin was a noted colonizer who helped forge treaties with local Native Americans. His home in Santa Clara, west of St. George, became headquarters for his work and his family's varied activities.

Brigham Young Home

Brigham Young led the LDS Church for three decades. During his annual visits to St. George, he made plans for the construction of the temple and tabernacle.In 1871 he purchased this home. Brigham Young spent the last winters of his life at this home.

Lakbayan Philippines Grade

My Lakbayan grade is A!

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out at Lakbayan!

Created by Eugene Villar.

Trotting The Globe

Travel Map
I've been to 660 cities in 26 countries
Mhe-Anne is an explorer that:
does their own thing
doesn't mind roughing it
lives on the edge
Travel cred: high
I rank in the top...
0.1% most cities visited - Philippines
0.1% most cities visited - Brunei Darussalam
0.1% most cities visited - Asia

Travel Philippines

Travel Philippines

Travel USA

Travel USA
New York - View from the Empire State Building

Travel Australia

Travel Australia
Opera House - Sydney