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Monday, January 24, 2011

2011 Baguio City Tour in One Day: Part 3

This is a continuation of my blog post in Cebu MD: "2011 Baguio City Tour in One Day: Part 2" which chronicles our recent 1-day Baguio tour to serve as a reference for future Baguio backpackers.

It was lunch time and instead of having lunch within Camp John Hay, we decided to try the talked about "Good Taste" restaurant at the back of Magsaysay Road. Going there at noon on a Sunday was quite time-consuming because of the traffic jam. Parking was difficult since the place was full of customers and the location near the Dangwa Bus station did not help.

But it was worth the wait...

Good Taste is a Filipino-Chinese restaurant. Quite an old one by the looks of it but surprise! The waiters and waitresses have radio communications and what seem to be a Personal Digital Assistant handy device to aid in taking the orders.

We asked the waitress what were the bestsellers and she mentioned spicy butter chicken, mixed pulutan and chopsuey. Knowing beforehand that the servings are large, we ordered just half serving for the chicken but we got the surprise of our lives upon seeing the actual served food...It was indeed LARGE!!! It was just insane!

I liked the chicken and the chop suey. The vegetables in the chop suey were obviously fresh.

The mixed pulutan was gone by the end of mealtime but the chicken we had to take home because the serving was even more for the three of us. (That later served as our dinner.) The restaurant deserved its name Good Taste. And the price is very affordable. They also have set meals known better as rice toppings which actually can feed more than 1 person.

You can see from the background its many patrons. It is said to be open 24/7.
After the very sumptuous meal, we proceeded to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA). It was quite far from Good Taste. The area was big and one can see the trainees having their jogging or running exercises in color-coded attire.

If you are in PMA, do not forget to pose beside the tanks and old artillery weapons, plane and chopper. (Well I hope those are no the ones our military are still using).

Enough satisfying your violent side. On the romantic side, you may want to pose also with the nice flowers within PMA and pretend you're a Bench or Penshoppe clothing brand model.
The pictures were just to many, I cannot post all of them unless I want to risk lengthening the time for my blog to load.

We managed to go also to the Tam-awan village which showcase traditional Igorot dwellings and Baguio artists' works or paintings.

We also had a nice view of the Kennon road's breathtaking zigzag paths amidst large mountains...
And prayed in the Lourdes grotto with more than a hundred steps leading to the main grotto. (Of course I did not go through all the steps because of my condition..I may collapse if I proceed). It was already also becoming cold again (I have cold intolerance perhaps like many other PKD patients also).

So that's about it. The Baguio visit started and ended with prayers. I prayed for good health and I thanked God for still being able to enjoy His creation despite my condition...for giving me the opportunity to experience Baguio anew with my wife despite my anemia and cold intolerance, to forget work momentarily and to appreciate life.

Even with PKD, life goes on for God is always around and the Baguio experience made me feel God's presence.  Enjoy too your Baguio trip in the future.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

MRT: Mag-ingat sa Riles Tayo reported (that Radyo Inquirer reported) that there has been a mishap in the MRT just today when smoke was observed to come out from the front of the northbound train prompting the opening of the MRT's doors followed by people rushing out in panic. This resulted to injuries to at least six passengers.

Days ago, some of the MRT's riding public in the Ayala station also got injured after the escalators inside the station abruptly stopped prompting some to fall down. You could just imagine how difficult it is to avoid such accidents in the station with all the people packed liked sardines-in-a-can during rush hour.

And what did the MRT officials say?

As reported by
"MRT officials say these technical issues are symptoms of the train system’s lack of adequate maintenance.
MRT General Manager Glicerio Sicat said earlier this week that this shows how badly the MRT’s fares need to be raised."

They are essentially saying, blame the incidents on the people complaining against the fare increase.

Does this mean, expect no attempt to alleviate the technical issues unless MRT fares are raised? I hope not.
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

2011 Baguio City Tour in One Day: Part 1

I got the chance to go to Baguio with my wife (who is going to that city for the first time) when I was invited to attend an annual convention for a group of Microbiology and Parasitology teachers.

Well at first (prior to saying yes), I was anxious because as you may already know if you are following my blog, I have PKD with episodes of hematuria and anemia already. I also easily feel the cold extremes of temperature which Baguio has compared to other parts of the country. The temperature was recently at a year 2011 low of almost 10 degrees Celsius. I cannot even stand the usual air-con temperatures sometimes so what more Baguio's cool temperature?

But I eventually said yes because of the importance of the task regarding standardization of microbiology and parasitology manuals in Philippine medical schools and to let my wife experience Baguio.

So here is the story from preparation to the fulfillment of the goal to sneak in a one-day tour of Baguio prior to the working convention.

Step one is Research...

Days prior, I searched various websites as to the places to go for sight-seeing and eating in Baguio.

I bought a map of Baguio of course.

I set one day, a Sunday, a day prior to the convention to target a visit to its tourist destinations.

With the help of the net, I found a recommended taxi driver in Baguio which I likewise would recommend. He is Arnel Rodriguez and he is the one  seated on the right with a mustache.

He is driving an SUV, specifically a Crosswind with the name PINE CONE with Plate No. AYS-574 and his cellular phone number is +639172505543.

Do not be surprised if his taxi has no air-conditioning system. All taxis in Baguio don't have aircon most likely because the environment is already cool to begin with. You might even want to close the taxi windows completely to stay warm.

Anyway, Mr. Rodriguez is I believe an experienced driver who knows Baguio a lot and he is very accommodating. He would offer to take our pictures (but then me and my wife bought our own tripod so we can have nice pictures minus the blur and so also we can have our pics taken without other person's help with the use of the timer function) .This driver can pass for a tourist guide.

Here is some tips that I can offer which I hope would be helpful...

Baguio during January is cool and so one has to bring sweaters and jackets to protect you from the cold. But if you are from a warm place like Cebu, you may not have these already and so you have to buy. Jackets and sweaters are expensive and so others go to the "ukay-ukay" to buy second-hand good quality sweaters and jackets at a much lower price than in the regular market.

Prepare your digital cameras and place silica gel in the camera bag so that it will not acquire moisture with a disparity of temperatures from "downtown" going uphill to Baguio.

As I said bring your own tripod, battery charger and enough rechargeable batteries as batteries' power are said to drain faster in the cold.

The above things we did and we brought for the trip uphill something to feed our stomachs for a 6-hour trip more or less (if you are travelling in a Victory Liner Deluxe Bus with own toilet or mini comfort room).

This is how the said bus looks from the inside featuring the mini comfort the room which I saw just for the first time.

Being a PKD patient myself which cannot concentrate the urine well, I frequently go to the comfort room and so this type of Deluxe bus is a must for me. The fare is much expensive at P715 per person. There are two DVD screens showing the latest movies and the seats are well-spaced enough room for each passenger to relax.

The other buses have at least 2 stopovers for meals and health breaks and picks up passengers along the way thus the travel time is said to be 7 hours or more.

Read the next blog entry Part 2 of this post in my Cebu MD blog for the places we actually visited in Baguio in just one day with actual pictures to give you an idea that it is possible to visit most of the important Baguio tourist spots in a single day...

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Leg cramps in PKD

Leg Cramps: A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography, And Annotated Research Guide To Internet ReferencesIn many PKD forums and discussions, leg cramps have been always a common topic, a common problem among those with PKD. Sadly, many PKD patients are also clueless regarding leg cramps occuring especially at night waking them up to sleep.

I remember during my mom's lifetime, she had several bouts of leg cramps at night and she would shout in pain.

Having leg cramps is no joke as many PKD patients will attest. It is one of the most painful experiences for me. Most of the time, it is calf muscle cramps. I myself experienced in the past frequent leg cramps. I just had one this dawn. However, it has successfully decreased in frequency.

This info may help...

Muscle cramps especially in PKD may be caused by electrolyte imbalances like sodium depletion especially due to dehydration, low blood calcium and low potassium. Acidosis is also said to be associated with leg cramps although it is also believed that these cases caused by lactic acid accumulation in the muscle is more of claudication pain which is almost similar to leg cramps, not actual muscle cramping.

Vitamin B deficiencies are associated also with leg cramps although the exact mechanism is unknown.

It is important to monitor serum electrolytes regularly and to correct any imbalance with your nephrologist's help and guidance. In my case, I have calcium carbonate, vitamin B and E supplements, potassium citrate and sodium bicarbonate which may help correct the problem supplying the needed electrolytes and at the same time prevent renal stones from forming by keeping my urine alkaline. Monitoring will tell me if I have too much of the said medications also. Of course, medications should not be taken without your doctor's advice.

"For a calf muscle cramp, the person can stand about 2 to 2.5 feet from a wall (possibly farther for a tall person) and lean into the wall to place the forearms against the wall with the knees and back straight and the heels in contact with the floor...Another technique involves flexing the ankle by pulling the toes up toward the head while still lying in bed with the leg as straight as possible."

To prevent muscle cramps, it is recommended to do stretching before exercise and have proper hydration.

Also regular stretching exercises are recommended to prevent rest or night cramps common in PKD. The same stretching maneuver described above held for 10 to 15 seconds and repeated two or three times just before going to bed, can be done even when without a cramp and will serve as stretching exercise. This maneuver can also be repeated everytime one goes to the bathroom at night.

Hope this will help you as it helped me.

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