Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Good morning!

Good morning! Starting my day early and trying to catch up on my emails.  Am I imagining things or is my coffe cup starting to  look like the dimples on my golf balls????

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


High ball-Low ball is a golf format I like to play. It's especially fun when you are familiar with your golf partners game.

Ogie Alcasid

It's team work and yet allows you to play your own game. My golf buddy Ogie and I won our High - Low match in our foursome with 5 up. And that's without really trying.  Some days are just like that....


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sundays at Carmona

Blessed are Sundays in Carmona when we can paraglide. The winds were right and there was a window to fly, so we wasted no time and drove over to Carmona to squeeze in a flight.  Today I was lucky and did four flights before the rains came.

Instructor Buko with Andrew Chinalpan

Dids Veneracion

Top landings today for Dids Veneracion (the youngest female pilot in the Philippines) and Andrew Chinalpan.  So that made our Sunday even more special.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Why Rickie Fowler always wears orange

John Anderson may have finally figured out why Rickie Fowler wears so many bright-colored outfits.  Check this out:

Saturday golf

Saturday morning golf with my regular golf buddies at Forest Hills Golf & Country Club is something I really look forward to.  It's 4 1/2 hours of laughter, exercise (we try to walk all the whole course while our caddies ride our carts...) and relaxing golf.  I love it!


Thursday, July 11, 2013

My 17 year old Graves

I finally organized my wine ref.  It had become such a mess that I was no longer sure what I had in it.

This despite the fact we have a couple of glasses every night. No excuse. Because of this I discovered several bottles that i thought would be way past its prime.  I randomly opened a couple only to realize that some of the wines had began to die ....  The lesson here is that you shouldn't keep waiting for "that right moment" to open a good bottle of wine.  There almost always is a good reason to open a bottle of wine!  Plus somewhere around the world it's happy hour :-)
So tonight I decided to open a 17-year old bottle of Chateau Ducasse Graves 1996 i had bought from Bacchus years ago.  I was crossing my fingers and hoping it was still alive.

I was pleasantly surprised that it was still quite good.  This time I am going to make sure I don't wait 17 years to open another bottle like this.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

After 10 years, she gave up

I love a good cup of cappuccino in the morning. I will maybe have another in the afternoon as well. It's  the one thing I indulge in.  My dentist tells me coffee, tea and red wine are the culprits for teeth stains. But i prefer to have regular whitening treatments than to stop having my cup of coffee.  Through all these years my Saeco coffee machine has been with me.  Rain or shine it made me a faithful cup. Until recently she gave up on me.  After 10 long years she conked out. No amount of repairs helped.   I searched around, considered numerous other brands and after weeks on end of comparing coffee machines i ended up with an improved version of her...
I supposed i am just loyal or resistant to change but I chose the same SAECO brand. This time with the Saeco Odea Giro.  The consideration for me was could this machine make me a mean cappuccino?

To test this I starteded out with some nice French roast beans.  Set the the dial to medium.  That meant that my coffee would be medium in strength.  Not too light and not too strong.
Next step was to froth the milk.  They say there's nothing like full cream milk.  However if you want to cut on some calories you can can use low fat milk.  The downside is that the milk will not froth as much with low fat milk.  Boy was I pleasantly surprised that even with low fat milk my new Saeco could froth just as nicely as full cream milk!

I added a dash of cinnamon and voila! My daily morning cup of Cappucino fix.
This time i hope she gives me more than 10 years!  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Practice your swing while parawaiting...

What can you do while waiting for the perfect wind conditions to fly in Carmona?
Well you could practice your golf swing.

In my case it was a side hill/down hill lie.  Plus, it was 27 km per hour against the wind.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

My first top landing!

Sarangani flysite
The past few days have been quite exciting for me. It's been momentous because of my "first attempts" at trying some new paragliding skills.  Last January 7,  I did my first solo flight. That was six months ago. Since then I have had some time to learn more about flying and make some progress for my beginner pilot certification

Recently paragliders from all over the country gathered in Sarangani near General Santos to enjoy some flying time. It was my first time to visit this beautiful province and fly at the  SAFI Ranch. We had 4 glorious days of flying and even managed to squeeze in a dive at the Lemlunay Dive resort. Our last day in Sarangani was the most exciting day for me as I did my first top landing.  

A top landing is when you land in the same area where you take off.    For beginners like me it can be frightening to attempt to top land. Our take off point was 970 ft above sea level where the winds were turbulent at times. Executing  a top landing could be tricky for my skill level.

Take off site
 But with the guidance of my paragliding instructor Buko Raymundo I managed to do so safely. I   soared up to 1,540 feet and “crabbed” my way slowly back to  the ridge where I took off.  I hovered on top of the ridge with strong winds while i tried my best to do a top landing.

 It took me several attempts to land and there were moments where I felt lots of rough and bumpy winds much like a strong air pocket that you feel when riding a plane. It was nerve-racking. Then I heard Buko say "look at me, focus on me Monique".  That's all I needed to hear.  In a situation when your heartbeat is racing and there's a million things going on in your head it is easy to panic and lose focus.  So zeroing in on a target (in this case my instructor) and staying locked on that focal point really helped. I made three unsuccessful attempts and came close to landing only to abort because of the strong winds. But I was determined to top land and I tried one last time and finally made it!
With Buko after my top landing
In this flight I was able to soar and fly for a whole hour and two minutes! It was just lovely up there facing Sarangani Bay and being able to share the skies with some very awesome pilots. It was really special...

I have a long way to go before I can become an intermediate pilot and there is still so much to learn. So I am certain there will be more “firsts” for me to experience. Until then, staying UP is Great!

With pilot Beng Pascual

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Fun Fly in Sarangani

Flying over Sarangani Bay
It was time for a little break from golf.  With the ladies golf federation competition season over,  some leisure time for paragliding at Sarangani was in order.
SAFI paragliding site
Who would have thought that there would be paragliding in this part of the country?  So when the Philippine Paragliding and Hang Gliding Association of the Philippines headed by Buko Raymundo organized the 2nd accuracy landing competition in Sarangani I was only too thrilled to go.  As a beginner pilot trying to progress to the next level, I get fired up by watching the more experienced pilots. I felt that this trip would be a chance for me to acquire new flying skills by simply being with the best pilots in the country.
Paragliding pilots from all over the Philippines
The competition required one to take off from the fly site  and land as close as possible to the target. Much like a shooting target.

The tricky part was that landing inside the target area was not enough. You had to be landing standing up and on both feet or it didn't count.

This is how it looks like from the take off zone. You would have to fly all the way down from some 970 ft. and zero in on your target to win. So it's not as easy as one would think. At least not for me.

This year had the most number of participants which made the competition much more interesting.

The big winner was German National Uwe Klein who landed right on the bulls eye. Other winners include Nixon Chua and Moon Yeen of Davao and Andrew Chinalpan of Sagada.

Uwe Klein
Moon Yeen

Andrew Chinalpan
Nixon Chua

It was an awesome experience to fly, and to do so in such a picturesque flysite with such wonderful pilots. I am so looking forward to the next fun fly event in Sarangani next year.