Vertical Horizon and Live’s Ed Kowalczyk in Manila

Was surprised to hear these rock alternative artists were headed to Manila for a concert. I was kinda worried, though, since I don’t they are that popular now compared to the ’90s.


I knew I wanted to watch the concert, but I wasn’t sure if I could get my sister to watch it with me. (If my old friend Raymond Rueda was here, it would have been a no-brainer decision and we might have gotten Lower Box tickets and watched together LOL). Anyway, at the last minute, the morning before the concert, I got us General Admission tickets. My sister is only familiar with Vertical Horizon from their album that I usually play in the car.  And I only have 1 album of each.

Vertical Horizon’s Everything You Want
Li've's Throwing Copper

Since we only had Gen Admission tickets, we lined up early so we could choose a better location in the middle. At around 8:00 PM, there were still a lot of empty seats in all sections. Only, the Gen Ad sections seemed to be filling up quickly.

The concert started at 8:30 PM with Vertical Horizon in the first set.

(I think I saw Steve Fekete in the poster, but I did not see him on stage. Yeah, I know him because he played for David Archuleta for David’s AOL Sessions and Jingle Ball appearances in 2008). I really enjoyed Vertical Horizon’s set. They sang a lot of familiar music from Everything You Want – You’re A God, Everything You Want, Best I Ever Had, Send It Up, Miracle. They also introduced some new songs from their new record (I forgot the title). He also sang a song called The Lucky One, but there was no mention if it was at all related to the movie of the same title (which I did not watch, and have no plans of watching). The lead singer, Matt Scannell, said that he hated himself for writing that song because its not his usual type of music and theme LOL. Matt charmed the crowd with some of the Tagalog words he learned (‘Magandang gabi po!’ ‘Maraming salamat po!’ ‘Gusto niyo ba kaming bumalik?’) and some Filipino food they’ve tried (pork and chicken adobe…which he later corrected to adobo). The crowd sang along to many of the songs. I almost lost my voice towards the end of their set for so much singing and screaming. I didn’t plan on taking videos so I did not bring a camera. In the end, I decided to record portions of 2 songs:

Live’s Ed Kowalczyk played on the second set. They opened their set with a rockin’ version of All Over You. The crowd came alive, many stood up dancing and singing to the song. He sang a lot of new songs from his solo album which were not familiar to me.  But I am glad that Ed still sang a few songs from Live such as Selling the Drama, White Discussion, I Alone and Shit Towne. When Ed came out for the Encore, it is a given that he will sing Lightning Crashes. It was already the third song for the encore but still no Lightning Crashes. I started to feel some disappointment. I was surprised to hear a fourth song and, yes, it was Lightning Crashes. The bad part was, my iphone ran out of battery. I used my blackberry to record it, but it also ran out after the first chorus. It was okay, though, since I was able to concentrate on enjoying the song. It was awesome!

I feel bad that not a lot of people came out to watch them. There was a lot of open spaces, especially in the lower sections. I hope Ovation Productions made a call to get the people to move to the lower sections so the artists as well as the crowd could enjoy. I felt bad for the artists seeing so many open spaces in the arena. Maybe, next time, for artists not as well known as the contemporary artists, they’ll use smaller venues such as Ultra. There was probably only 5,000 – 6,000 in the audience last night.

Summer 2012: Calaguas Island, Camarines Norte

I’ve never heard of Calaguas Island before. When my sister asked if I wanted to join her and her friends to a packaged tour to the island, I was hesitant. What’s in that place? I looked it up and I saw a natural beauty – white sand, blue sea, green mountains – somewhere in Camarines Norte.  People who go there stay in tents and cook their own food. There is no electricity on the island and you bring your own drinking water. Interesting. It’s gonna be a great adventure. So, I signed up for a trip from March 30 – April 1.

We met at around 9:00 PM at the Shell gas station along Edsa/Ayala. The organizer was a group called Vagabond Pinas. We were going with another group and they were all from Chevron Phils. There were 2 vans – one with our group – me, my sister and her friends, May and Pao – and the other the Chevron peeps.  We were 2 hours late from the original time we were supposed to leave, but I just took that time to either read my Hunger Games book or take a nap.

We left at around 10:00 PM.  I slept through most of the 7 hour-trip. We had a quick stop in Daet for breakfast  and to buy some stuff.  While walking around we saw this wide variety of rice cakes being sold. We got samples of each!

Rice Cakes!

The ride to the port took less than five minutes. This is where we had our bags put in large plastic bags so they are protected from water during the boat ride to the island.

One of the outrigger boats to Calaguas Island

We passed through this little body of water before we got to the sea. There were kids maneuvering their canoe as well.

When we got to the sea, we had to get everything covered in plastic. There were huge waves and it rained a lot. I wish I wore my swimsuit during  the boat ride. My shirt and jeans were soaking wet when we arrived on the island  almost two hours later. But, it didn’t  matter. The island that welcomed us was such a beauty!

Welcome to Calaguas Island!

It was sunny for a bit then it went overcast with some rains. It was a bit gloomy that afternoon, but it did not dampen our spirits as we walked down the shore and took pictures. There were only a few of us on the beach. And I did not see a single foreigner. Definitely, this place is not yet known.

The other groups and their tents

By mid-afternoon, our group started pitching our tents. My sister and I shared one tent.

With my sister, May and Beth
What’s inside our tent
Our wet stuff
Cow sled
Poso. Where we fetch water for bathing and for flushing the toilet.
Spent the rest of the afternoon in this cabana where I took a nap, listened to music and read a book 
My pillow, music source and book
Almost sunset – my view from the cabana
Attempt at capturing sunset

There was no electricity on the island. So we lighted lamps as we ate the sumptuous dinner prepared by our organizer. The group had a campfire as they shared stories and had drinks. I decided to just stay in our tent and sleep early since my head started throbbing. The sound of the waves from the nearby beach quickly lulled me to sleep.

Was up by 5:00 AM the next morning and felt well-rested and refreshed. The sun was just rising, too.

Sunrise in Calaguas Island

It was a beautiful, sunny morning, the sky was almost clear and the beach was much lovelier.

Good mornng

Attempt at some yoga

Had a quick breakfast before we headed off for a bit of hiking in the hills.

Corned beef, scrambed eggs and rice for breakfast
Iyah, May, Pao
We are headed to that hill
We’re on our way
Cow and its calf
Passing through the swamp
Half-way I think
This girl was our guide along with her brother (at the back)
Almost there
Empty hut at the top of the hill
With the Chevron peeps

It was starting to rain on our way on our way down.


We got ready to leave by noon.

The group with the Vagabond Pinas crew
Bye, Calaguas Island

I hope we could stay longer to relax and enjoy the scenery. I hope the next time I visit the place, it won’t be commercialized yet and we still get to sleep in tents.

For more information about Vagabond Pinas and their upcoming tours, visit or