Sunday, April 15, 2018

Destination: Cebu Philippines? Learn the Visayan Language Quickly!

It is no joke when you have to travel to other worldly destinations and the first hurdle you need to overcome is the language barrier.  Is it possible to be ready to mingle and interact with the locals armed with your spoken language whether it be English, German, Finnish, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, or whichever language you speak?

The answer is an unequivocal, YES. 

It is absolutely possible especially in Cebu and the Philippine islands in general, for you to explore the islands even without knowing a single spoken word in the locale since English is considered a second language.  Thus, most everyone know and understand English.

But if you have the chance to be equipped and be readily able to speak the language which you could potentially use to enrich your island-hopping experience, would you pass the opportunity?

Learning a new language in general seems to be such a daunting task. And it's even going to be such a challenge if you don't have the time to learn it.  If you merely decided to fly to the Cebu islands on a whim, and realize later than sooner that you knew nothing about the language, let alone the culture of the people living in that island, chances are you'll be praying on your way there that you will find a good travel agent who can guide you around, and hope with all your might that you'll meet people who will be more than willing to help you out to keep you safe and have an enjoyable stay away from home.

Well, those days of leaving your options to chance is over. You can actually prepare yourself for the new experience by taking a quick handy tutorial that you can learn while en route to the Philippine islands. Let's put it this way.  All you need is a good two to five hours of your travel time which you will probably mostly spend watching movies or shows that you have previously watched a thousand times already, on the plane.  I promise you it's not uncommon.  I've done that myself out of boredom and excitement to arrive to my destination as quickly as I can.  This happens when your mindset is traveling faster than your actual on air speed, theoretically.  I am just stating the obvious.  Travel to the tropical islands is always a very exciting adventure, and the enthusiasm sometimes kills our enjoyment of the journey.

But going back, if you can make good use of two hours of your travel time to learn the basics and spend another three hours to gain mastery of the most common phrases of the Cebuano language will you waste that chance?

I am not going to write a very lengthy prologue, but this post is intended for your to get acquainted to a Cebuano language learning material that a good friend of mine has authored and I personally believe as one of the best Visayan language tutorials available today be it online or from a hard copy. Fortunately for travelers like you who has a need to get tutored on the spoken language, this material is available now for easy download from You can quickly find it by typing the keyword -- bisdak which is the slang for a Cebuano local or native.

There is a bunch of possible language tutorials that you can buy out there, but those references don't really convey to you the core idea of what the spoken Cebuano or Visayan language is about. The tutorials out there are either too lengthy or too complex to digest in a short amount of time.  Sometimes we get panicked when we don't have enough time to learn something new, and more so when the subject matter is not laid out for the total beginner.

And I could not stress enough the importance of a well-devised language tutorial that focuses on the functional use of the language especially without the extra language structure conundrum.

I am not saying that this beginner's reference for the spoken Visayan language is not structured per se, but it is designed with you in mind -- a traveler who is pressed for time and has no exposure to the language.

It is made with practical simplicity and an uncompromising flow so that by the time you get to finish the book, you are already armed with the most commonly spoken words and phrases.  You will literally surprise any Cebuano or Visayan speaking resident of your new-found skill and unquestionable comprehension of a foreign language. In addition to that you will also gain a basic understanding of Cebu's cultural heritage and a bit of the Cebuano background.

Enrich your learning now with an easily deliverable e-book which you can read through the kindle app on your desktop or on your different mobile devices.  Better yet, if time affords you, you can order the paperback copy and have it delivered to your doorstep overnight.

With that I am hoping that the material that I have shared to you will effectively make your travel to the islands, easy, enjoyable, worthwhile and will enrich your experience with new adventures.

I will be eagerly awaiting for your feedback

Bon voyage!

And when you get to Cebu or the Visayan islands, let me say in unison with the locals,  'Maayong Pag-abot.'

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Filipino Nation: In the Face of Tragedy

Typhoon ‘Ondoy’ struck the northern part of the Philippines and flooded most of the Metro Manila areas. Rainfall that didn’t fall for six months poured in just a matter of six hours causing loss of lives and devastation in the hard hit areas.

The initial death toll was at 73, and still rising as more and more bodies are pulled out from flooded regions. There’s countless number of victims who are still missing; and displaced families ran in thousands.

Is the country and its disaster preparedness agency ready enough to tackle the huge task of helping all who are directly affected by the tragedy? It might have been too much but the president promised that ‘it didn’t break’ the resolve of the nation.

It’s too early to tell because as I write this blog there’s a good portion of the region that is still under water and has no electricity and probably has no water resource safe enough for human consumption.

This is not the first time that heavy torrential rains brought about by a typhoon has drenched the countryside and flooded the region. In fact the number of casualties doesn’t even come as a surprise at all. Landslides and flooding have already claimed a many lives in the past.

In all these, the Filipino nation of course is uniting to help out those who are in dire need. Overseas workers are even extending support thru a relief drive. The global community is also helping through the Red Cross.

Was there anything that could have been done to lessen the damage of this recent disaster? Who knows? I’m sure the poorest of the poor who are probably among the casualties would have no choice but to live in uninhabitable areas, building shanties made of cardboard boxes, a makeshift of a floating abode with a luxurious view of the bay, yet was in all sense is and was a tragedy waiting to happen.

It was not uncommon to build a tent on top of a slightly covered sewer system and call it home. And when the downpour ravaged the land, these people had nowhere to run to seek refuge or at least stay out of harm’s way as the threat of the typhoon looms.

That’s the biggest tragedy! These people would have easily awashed with just the rising of the tide because they were in a place where they weren’t supposed to be.

Time and time again, tragedies have occurred in this poverty-stricken country and it’s always the poor who suffered. Did the leaders learn their lesson?

I doubt it. This is not the first time that the nation is bruised and left helpless with a tragic event, and certainly, this will not be the last. The country’s leaders need to be proactive to the obvious need of the poor, if things have to change. Until then, I, being a Filipino feel that I can only watch in horror as tragic events like this unfold.

On the lighter side, I believe that pain and suffering are the common strands that bind all of humanity. We all at some point in our lifetime have to deal with pain and suffering.

Pain and suffering makes us more humane every time, if only we see the silver lining.

For anyone who wishes to help, you can contact the International Red Cross hotline.

Friday, July 31, 2009

A Great Political Icon: Corazon C. Aquino (1933-2009)

The Filipino nation is mourning today the loss of a great leader and a beloved past Philippine president ‘Cory Aquino’. Cory died at 3:18 a.m. on August 1, 2009 (Philippine time) after she was diagnosed with colon cancer over a year ago.

Cory Aquino is notably remembered for changing the face of Philippine politics after ousting a former dictator-president Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 through a people’s revolt on the streets. She then became the first lady president of the Philippines.

She was an intelligent, courageous and a morally-conscious leader who openly waged a war against the ugliness that hounds the face of Philippine politics. After her reign as president, she continued to be an ambassadress for the masses.

The Filipino nation owe her a lot for all the lessons she has imparted being a true Filipino in spirit, defending and fighting for the cause of democracy and together with her husband, Ninoy Aquino, gave so much to us all--the Filipino nation.

She is a great hero, and she will be remembered as one.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Pacquiao vs. Hatton: KO at 2:59 of Round 2

Tonight’s boxing match between two great fighters in the boxing arena was sweet and short.

Like he normally does, Pacquiao was brilliant in his boxing techniques that led to a premature end of a match that was slated to go for twelve rounds. For all Hatton fanatics, it was a surprising and disappointing end after Pacquiao brutally pounded Hatton with his left and right hooks, at lightning-fast speed.

I have watched the pre-fight documentary, Pacquiao-Hatton 24/7 which highlighted both fighters’ unique journey to prepare for tonight’s match. It was entertaining to listen to the exchange of words between two camps. It was obvious, that there was intent to psyche out each other. Hatton’s camp in fact claimed a sure win over Pacquiao, made visibly clear by Mayweather Sr.’s remarks. He was very dramatic over the certainty of their victory that he even made poetic rhymes to mock Pacquiao’s camp.

On the other hand, Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer knew better. He casually brushed aside the remarks by saying, “I have the best fighter.”

I couldn’t agree more. Pacquiao is the best pound for pound boxer not only in this era but probably throughout the history of boxing. Pacquiao from six years ago has annihilated boxing’s notable names: Barrera, Marquez, Morales, de la Hoya one by one.

Tonight’s performance by Pacquiao surely shut out doubts about how far Manny Pacquiao can go as a boxer. Pacquiao has evolved from a regular boxer-puncher to one who knows priceless techniques inside the ring, studying his opponent quite artistically as he throws his quick damaging punches.

I could go on and talk about how great Manny Pacquiao is as a boxer, but I wouldn’t even go there. The boxing match tonight said it all.

I am amused though, at hindsight, remembering Hatton’s trainer’s comments.

Talk is cheap. And for some, they can talk the talk, but can’t quite walk the walk.

What matters inside the ring is performance and results. Pacquiao delivered what was expected of him and more.

It couldn’t get any better than that.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Francis M: Farewell

I recently learned that Francis Magalona recently passed away on March 6, 2009 due to complications of leukemia at the young age of 44. He is survived by his wife and eight children who surprisingly remained strong amid the great loss.

What can I say? Francis M. was an icon in the Filipino entertainment arena. His one famous rap song “Mga Kababayan Ko” left an indelible imprint in our memories after it has topped the music charts during the rap-song music era.

I really haven’t followed much of his recent music contributions, but I would just like to say that Francis M. was a great talent who carries himself with pizzazz and a sense of class.

Unlike other artists out there, he stands out because he is not only talented but he is also obviously intelligent. His persona always commands some serious respect. Don’t get me wrong though. He was a guy who loves to have fun and have a good laugh. In fact he was a regular at a noontime show “Eat Bulaga” for a long time.

He died at a young age, but from all he’s done, it would be fair to say that he has lived his life’s worth by doing what he enjoyed doing and imparting and sharing his talent to the Filipino nation.

If there’s any consolation in all of this, his life was a life lived with enthusiasm, talent, and enormous zest for life and humanity.

His songs and his legacy will be remembered in our hearts for a long time.