My long absence and Christmas Eve on the island

My long absence from this blog is due to my graduate thesis. It’s all my thesis’ fault! I took 2.5 months off work so that I could work on it full-time in Manila. Unfortunately, those 2.5 months were not enough as my adviser had me do more analysis work to get the results we wanted. Even more unfortunately, I really had to go back to work this December (before Christmas!) because I work for a resort and Christmas-New Year’s is our busiest time of the year. Good luck if I can finish my thesis now.

Anyway, here are some photos from our little island celebration. These photos are the result of weeks to months of prep work, including turning our conference room into Santa’s workshop. This post is all about the finished product. I’ll post the behind-the-scenes photos afterwards πŸ™‚

The belen (Nativity scene) made by the guides. Simple but effective.
The belen (Nativity scene) made by the guides. Simple but effective.

The AWESOMEST day of 2012 thus far

So. What happened today that made it so freaking awesome? This:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fa8j7BHax8M]

Yep, that is a freaking WHALE SHARK (Rhincodon typus) in front of Miniloc Island Resort. You can hear our excited squeals in the video πŸ˜› Now, people have been spotting these whale sharks all around the bay starting December 2011 but those sightings tapered off in late January and this is my first time to see one. And I got to swim with it! How? I jumped into the water, not caring that I was in my full work uniform. No mask, no snorkel, no fins. Melo (one of our dive masters) was kind enough to lend me his mask so I could see. I swam with it for a good 10 minutes, treading water and realizing that I am severely out of shape. Sigh. It also wasn’t until later when I remembered that our uniform shorts turn transparent when wet >_< Raymond was kind enough not to say anything and just handed me a towel to wear around my waist until I got cleaned up.

The second part of what made this day awesome: my entry making it to the top 5 of the Philippine Travel Operators Association (PhilTOA) poster-making contest. YAY!!!! My entry:

Our company actually got 2 out of the 5 slots – our other entry featured my friend and coworker Rima’s turtle photo and my caption. Not bad for two Bio majors with no formal art-related training πŸ˜› DOT Secretary Jimenez will be choosing the Top 3. I hope we win (and the prizes are awesome)! πŸ˜€