The City That Never Sleeps
My name is John Mark Francia. I am, a Filipino. I find it hard to name things I hate (because i barely hate anything). I'm 18 and I don't mind being shy.I try my best at everything and never fear failure because I believe that there is a reason for everything

posted : Sunday, August 18, 2013
title : Passing the Nursing Board Examination

            Nursing profession is performing of an act or activities, guided by a unique body of knowledge, training or by experience and ethical code, for a fee or compensation of nursing services to various clients—families, individuals and communities in all setting and stages of development for the promotion of health, prevention of illness, restoration of health and alleviation of suffering.

But how can you fulfill this big responsibility if you are incompetent and unsuitable for this career? That is probably the reason why nursing students are required to take the ride to hell disguised as examinations, toxic duties and tons of dilemmas before taking the ride to heaven.

I am pretty much aware that a lot of students took this course because of its opportunities abroad. Of course, the hypocrites say they want to help people and continue the legacy of the great Florence Nightingale, or to apply the theories of Dorothea Orem and Jean Watson. Some might also be dreaming they want to amend Sigmund Freud’s Psychosexual Theory or Erik Erickson’s Psychosocial Theory. But me, I say, I want to earn money in the fastest possible way to help my parents be freed from diseases they may acquire from working very hard to give us the best they can bestow. 

Preparing for the Philippine Nurses Licensure Examination or locally known as Board Exam is the most difficult part, because people who are not used in strict way of studying will hardly take time to sit and read lot of books and answer thousands of practice questions. I believe that the more prepared you’ll be, the higher the chance of passing because the board is a not a battle of intelligence, but of readiness. Of course, overflowing will and determination for the license is badly needed. It is very helpful that you allow yourself a day to think and reflect of the things that welcome you once you passed or failed the exam. Think of the fact that you need to uplift yourself and believe that you can catch that letters R and N, attach it in your name free of misdemeanor and practice the profession as humanely as possible. You also have to make you proud of yourself, and believe that you can make it because you cannot make others believe in you if you, yourself don’t. You need to realize that you may not reach the stars; forget about topping the exam, you just need to secure the license to make your trek worthy. Always remember that before you make others proud of you, be proud of yourself first. Think of yourself, your family, your neighbors and the billion people in the world, their life is already at your hand.

I started reviewing my notes on February 4, 2013. At first it was really hard, because there are lot of temptations. Television is there, laptop, cell phone, malls; they are all lures that’s going to make you lazy in studying. Of course, you need not to punish yourself by studying all day; you just need to allot few hours to learn. Time management is very important here, so I made a schedule from February 4 to May 29, and allot my remaining 3 days to visit all the churches I could, to reach out for help and guidance. Weeks after reviewing every day, I felt so obsessed in it that I could not sleep at night without reading at least 10-15 pages. The result? I became advance in my schedule, well it’s a good thing just in case I miss to study a day due to unforeseen circumstances.

The board examination was rescheduled to June 2-3, 2013 by the Board of Nursing. Well, it’s a big deal because they have taken a month from us. In that span of time, I could even read the whole Brunner. My examination place was St. Paul College along Pedro Gil in Manila. The ambiance is good, perfect for exam takers. It is air-conditioned, and is very clean. On the first day, I felt really sad because of NP2 and NP3. That moment I was answering NP3, my dreams of passing the exam is starting to crash. I can’t remember any lessons I know, and I almost cursed that Irritable Bowel Syndrome. On the next day, I felt quite happy because of NP4 and NP5 which I think I did really well.

A week after the board exam, an article stating that the result would be released by June 17 was spreading real fast over the internet. Because of the number of examinees which is almost 38,000 it would be released sooner. That was a pretty convincing explanation but on that day, the results never came. Another article stated that it would be released on June 28 or June 29 and then July 1 and then July 5. I was tired of waiting because I want that anxiety to be over! On July 7, 2013 a text message, a facebook status and a twitter update state that the results will be posted midnight at the PRC Building but will be opened to the public by 8AM, as soon as the office opens for Monday. I was convinced, but I did not take it serious.

JULY 8, 2013. I was in our office in Pacifichub Corporation when someone texted me a “CONGRATULATIONS” message. That time, I knew it was about the Board Examination. I screamed really loud in the cafeteria, I didn’t care who’s or how many people are there. I just wanted to shout. Lot of text messages confirmed that I made it. Right after, I immediately texted my parents and my sister to tell the good news. My dreams turned into reality, yes RN NA AKO! I supposed to go on lunch that time because I felt really hungry during the training, but I wasn’t able to eat because of excitement. Now I know the feeling of those people who pass the licensure exam. I was exhilarating, palpitating and catching breath. Is that what I should really feel? I don’t know. If only I don’t have work that time, I would go immediately to the church and thank God for the greatest blessing I receive this 2013.

Well, I have friends who didn’t make it but just a simple thought; don’t let that sink in to your mind. There will be lot of chances and there will come a time that the license will be the one pulling you, just don’t give up on it. God is planning for a perfect timing, that license will be yours soon.

Nursing Practice I82 (Well I am expecting a higher grade on this because this is the easiest for me)
Nursing Practice II85 (I didn’t know what happened here. I am not expecting an 8th grade, maybe a 6th or 7th. On this NP, I am only sure to my 5 answers about Herbal Meds, so that 80 points additional is a miracle)
Nursing Practice III78 ( This part was the hardest! I almost give up while answering those questions on this NP. Well, God is so powerful that he led my pencil to the correct options)
Nursing Practice IV- 72 (I felt comfortable with this NP because it’s the easiest next to NP1, but look at my score. HAHA.)
Nursing Practice V80 (Well, I know I really did well at this NP)


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posted : Sunday, June 23, 2013
title : ILOCOS NORTE: Hidden Paradise of the North

It was June 14, 2013 when I and my friends Verna, Carl, April and her boyfriend Kurt left for our planned escapade in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. The trip had flimsy preparation and lack of travel know-how’s. It was entirely young adventurer’s burning desire to feel the most sought after destination in the Northern Philippines.

It was around 7am when we met up at downtown Roxas (Isabela).  Since we are already too late for the GMW trip straight to Ilocos, we had no choice but to ride a van bound to Tuguegarao City in Cagayan. It was 9am when we reached the GMW Terminal in the city, and left at around 9.30am.

We had our stop-over/lunch in Gattaran, Cagayan and then continue travelled the rest of Maharlika Highway through the municipalities of Lal-lo, Alcala, Abulug and Camalaniugan. It was quarter to 2 when we reached the municipality of Claveria and had a taste of their yummy ‘bibingka’. The view in Claveria is the first peek of what you will experience up north; it was amazing to see the Babuyan Channel and mountains packed with coconut trees and Anahaw, our national leaf. We were able to reach Sta. Praxedes by 3pm, a town where Cagayan and Ilocos Norte meet each other. As soon as we enter the first town of Ilocos Norte which is Pagudpud, we pass by through the Patapat Viaduct, a landmark which serves as a boundary between Region I and II.

(Lhea, Verna and April)

We were dropped off at Baduang Market in Pagudpud pass 3PM but the person we made contact with didn’t show up. He is supposed to take us to a public house we reserved and tour us around. Because of that we ended up checking-in at an expensive tavern at Casa Victoria Hotel along Saud Beach. The room has an LCD TV, double-decked bed and it is pretty spacious for us. We changed our clothes right away and had a taste of their pancit and fruit shake.  To finally start our adventure, we roam around the nearest beach at night and had some alcohol shot. There were line of hotels and resorts along Saud Beach but there were only few tourists that time because summer has already ended. 

(Pancit and fruit shake)

15th JUNE, 2013th

An ensemble of strapping winds and unruffled waves extending towards the shores,  with the tender brushing of trees, all together, played a melodious ambient tune which greeted us a good morning at Casa Victoria Hotel. We woke up at around 5 in the morning because we want to see the sunrise. Only to find out that you cannot witness the sunset and sunrise in the beach because of its location, but there is the view of Bangui Windmills which is a great replacement. Theatric cloud formations seen from the horizon contrasted the stunning hues of blue dominating the open sky. The morning was full of colors, sounds, and energy. It seemed like a perfect day for a Pagudpud day-out so off we went
(Pagudpud welcome arc)

It was 8AM when the two tricycles who will tour us, arrived. Our first destination was the PATAPAT VIADUCT, a long highway at the northernmost tip of Luzon Island. It is a snaky 1.3 kilometer concrete bridge that follows the outline of the northernmost mountains of Cordillera, elevated 31 meters above sea level, and the 4th longest bridge of the Philippines was strategically built to avoid accidents in this landslide prone area.

(Patapat Viaduct)

Next was the AQUA GRANDE PICNIK PARK. According to our tour guide, the park also serves as an alternative source of electricity. The place is very good for people with problems because it is so breezy and so relaxing.  Our third destination was the PARAISO NI ANTON. According to our tour guide, they do not have any idea why they call it that way. It is a twin falls which the locale believed is miraculous. I also noticed those buses coming from Cagayan were dropping by to drink its blessed water. So, to maximize our Ilocos experience, we also had the chance to drink its water. Beside the falls is flight of stairs leading to a Virgin Mary sculpture.
(Aqua Grande Picnik Park)

On our way to Hannah’s beach, we passed by the TIMMANGTANG ROCK and BANTAY ABOT CAVE. We went first in Timmangtang Rock, which according to our tour guide is synonymous to a male cock. On its left side is the Bantay Abot Cave but we needed to ride a tricycle first in order to reach it. Well, our world is full of tales, and these two tourist spots also have its own.  According to our tour guide, a long time ago there were two lovers who went to the sea but unfortunately, were drown. Then suddenly, the Timmangtang rock which is the male and Bantay Abot Cave which is the female appeared in the area. Strong Pacific waves relentlessly pummeling the coastline of Pagudpud since the dawn of time could’ve punched the huge hole into the mountain that made Bantay Abot truly a sight to see.

(Timmangtang Rock and Bantay Abot Cave)
 (Timmangtang Rock signage)
(Bantay Abot Cave)

Next is the HANNAH’s BEACH. There were lot of establishments within its vicinity such as Convention Center, Hotels, Resort, Resto’s and Bar’s which I think is very-Bora. J According to my research it is the most sought after place in Ilocos Norte because it is where you can experience the wonderful scenery of the Blue Lagoon Beach. It is a place perfect for adventure seeker, there is the longest Zip line and of course the Banana Boat experience. It was my first time to ride a Banana boat, and I got so excited so I really screamed at my loudest all throughout the ride. 

(Hannah's Beach from afar)
(Blue Lagoon Beach)
(Hannah's Beach Resort Convention Center)
(Getting ready for the boat ride)
(Banana Boat!)

After 10 minutes of travelling, we were able to reach the entrance of KABIGAN FALLS.  The entrance costs 10 pesos per head and a hundred pesos minimum fee for the tour guide. Beside the entrance is a restaurant where you can order foods they are going to cook for you. :) In front of a small chapel was a grass-covered parking space which also marks the jump off point for the 1.8 kilometer hike to the falls. We went hiking for 30 minutes, and we pass by a really forested area and a brook similar to that of Flatrocks in Los Banos, Laguna.  The trail was easy and entrenched. Flatland covered most of the hike leading deeper into the forest. Improvised bridges built from fastened tree trunks or wooden planks enable easier crossing of the streams. On a relaxed pace, Pagudpud’s waterfalls is in sight within 30 minutes. According to Ate Chona, the tour guide, the two people who discovered the said falls are friends who ended up as lovers. “Magkaibigan na nagka-ibigan”, and that is where its name Kabigan was derived. Surges of water plus the greenest of green welcomed us atop. We were amazed on the breathtaking view the falls has to offer. I admit that it was tiring to go hiking, but it seems like our effort was shelved off because of the reward. The 80-foot falls was surrounded by luscious green forest vegetation, and at the bottom was a basin of freezing water. I and my friends went on swimming and the water was so wintry and the cool mist felt in the air was refreshing, and a dip into the pool will kick tiredness and weariness out of your system. The local government bans any use of shampoo and soap on the falls because they are preserving its natural exquisiteness. When we got back to the restaurant, our Tilapia and Liempo were already cooked. Perfect! We were already hungry at that moment. We went back to Casa Victoria after eating to change our wet clothes.

(Kabigan Falls signage)
(Balete tree)
(After 30 minutes of hiking, finally...)
(Kabigan Falls)

Thirty minutes away from Pagudpud comes the KAPURPURAWAN ROCK FORMATION in the municipality of Burgos. The rock formations has been a shooting place for various movies such as Suddenly it’s Magic, Panday and Si Agimat, Si Enteng Kabisote at Si Ako. The rock is made up of limestones, with a sand-like texture and dirty white color. They used to allow tourists to climb up the limestone formations until it was becoming thinner because of human activity. 
(Kapurpurawan Rock Formations)

It was 4PM when we were brought to our next destination, the CAPE BOJEADOR LIGHTHOUSE. Because it was already late, the lighthouse was already closed but we managed to beg for the caretaker to open it for us. Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, also known as Burgos Lighthouse, is a cultural heritage structure in Burgos, Ilocos Norte, that was established during the Spanish Colonial period in the Philippines. It was first lit on March 30, 1892, and is set high on Vigia de Nagpartian Hill overlooking the scenic Cape Bojeador where early galleons used to sail by. After over 100 years, it still functions as a welcoming beacon to the international ships that enter the Philippine Archipelago from the north and guide them safely away from the rocky coast of the town.

(Cape Bojeador Lighthouse)

Our last destination for the day was the BANGUI WINDMILLS, located in the municipality of Bangui. Arranged on a single row stretching along a nine-kilometer shoreline off Bangui Bay, facing the South China Sea, it is the first power generating windmill farm in Southeast Asia. At first, I got so scared of coming near the windmills because it is so massive. But as soon as we came accross the mills, i began to appreciate it :)

(Bangui Windmills)

It was 7PM when we got back to Casa Victoria Hotel. Knowing that it is already our last day in the province, we went out to the sea, left our camera in the room and enjoyed the place as it is. We experienced the fine sand, felt the coldness of the sea and watched the moon shining over us. Forget about trying to capture everything, record everything, because in the first place we went there to enjoy the magnificent paradise of the North.

Our trip in Ilocos Norte was full of tiresome activities, but it’s definitely worth it. The people were accommodating and more friendly than its counterpart province. Wandering around the place will lash out stress and negativities out of your physical body. The province is highly recommended especially for family gatherings because of various attractions it offers. The place is also perfect for nature lover and adventure seekers because it’s full of exciting tricks. Ilocos Norte will leave you breathless with its sundry topography that persuades you to come back again and again…


Hidden Paradise of the North
photos courtesy of: CARL ALLAN TARUN
narration by: JOHN MARK FRANCIA

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