Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kissing 100 people you never knew

This morning I was in for a surprise. I was surfing Yahoo Philippines for the latest news heads when I got this very interesting odd news about a 27-year old music student and Taiwanese girl who posted on her personal blog that she wanted to kiss 100 people (men) while she is in Paris. This attracted 1.97 million visitors to her blog (, including more than 224,000 on Monday alone. I did not understand the language so I checked on her albums, and my, she's pretty. Her name is Yang Ya-ching.

The news read:
A Taiwanese woman's ambition to kiss 100 men in Paris has become an overnight web sensation after she provided details of the quest on her much-visited blog.

Yang Ya-ching, a 27-year-old music major living in the French capital, has so far notched up 54 smooches, she said on her blog, which features photos of some of the encounters.

Collaborators in her project included a factory worker, a model, an Italian tourist and even a soldier visiting the capital of romance for Bastille Day.

"I came up with the idea three years ago," she said on her blog.

"Three of my four friends who were aware of the plan warned me that I might wind up getting slapped rather than kissed."

Yang, who plans to write a book about her kissing experiences, has attracted 1.97 million visitors to her blog (, including more than 224,000 on Monday alone.
"Aren't you afraid of catching a disease?" one of her followers asked.
"No," she replied. "The more you're afraid of, the less you accomplish."
One thing I realized in blogging is that you have to make a strange, odd, unusual gimmick to ensure sure hits. Like this girl. But she has another interesting plan. She wants to publish a book about her experience in kissing 100 men. That must be another hit in the making.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Unforgettable Moments in Mt. Banahaw

In September of 2007, I had the privilege of scaling the heights of Mt. Banahaw with our 4th Year students for their Outbound Education. I must say it was a once in a lifetime experience. What with the so many legends and stories of mysticism about the mountain.

Mt. Banahaw is located some 170 kilometers from Manila. If I am not mistaken, this is a part of Lucban, Quezon. Legends have it that a certain Agripino Lontok had a vision that the mountain was to become the New Jerusalem. Many believe that there is a certain mysterious energy that the mountain possesses that pilgrims claim they feel renewed and invigorated once they visit the mountain for a spiritual journey. In fact, we were oriented by our guides that many places afoot the mountain have been identified as puwesto, or "holy sites" which should not be desecrated. Allegedly, many religious cults or groups abound around the mountain.The names of these puwestos were given some biblical allusions like Kinabuhayan, Dolores, Santo Kalbaryo, Kweba ng Dios Ama and the famous Jacob’s Well. 

I remember, there was this water fall where the water practically descended from the thick roots of a particular vine. Our students were told that the water coming from the fall allegedly had healing powers. The guides called it Buhok ni Ina.

During Holy Week, pilgrims ascend to the mountain for spiritual reasons. Many would try to reach the crater rim peaks called Durungawan to relieve the passion and death of Jesus Christ. There, three crosses have been strategically planted to recreate the actual crucifixion scene. On Good Friday, however, the summit should be deserted, as the mystics believe that only God the Father may bear witness to His Son’s death.

When we went there, we hiked up the mountain with ample amount of water. We had to make sure our water supply would be able to carry us through. We were led to the cold running water of the creek. Then we scaled the heights 'til we found ourselves at the mouth of a very challenging crevice which the people call a cave. It was an exhilarating experience going through the dephts of the cave.

The greatest challenge was being able to reach the peak of the mountain where a large cross was planted. I think the people called it the Kalbaryo. Whoa! Trekking the heights almost made me give up. Thanks to my students who had always been with me. I especially took care of one of them, my ever sweet Jerrmaine de Jesus. Her father entrusted her to me prior to our trip to Mt. Banahaw.

Perhaps if I were to climb the mountain again, I would prefer it on a Holy Week so that I would really experience the mystical magic of the mountain.

Here were some of the unforgettable moments while we were in Mt. Banahaw.