Tag Archives: Photography

Travelling is Living

12 Jan

BanguiWindmills,IlocosNorte
Reverie. Bliss. Excitement. Fear. Love. Life.

All of these emotions embrace me with great intensity every single time that I travel. With each place that I set my feet unto brings me a renewed appreciation of how big and wonderful the world is. And with each of these places, I come to realize that I am no more than a speck in the whole realm of creation.

Travelling allows me to immerse in the lush of serenity of tropical rainforest, feast on the bounties of nature, and savour an invigorating scenario which brings nothing but a sense of fulfilment. But travelling doesn’t only allow my eyes to feast on scenic spots but also lets my stomach indulge in tasty treats and sumptuous food offers. The whiff of fresh foods, unlike those in fast foods, stokes a gastronomical delight bringing me into an unknown place of satisfaction and curiosity. I’ve also come to learn about each place’s glorious past thru its songs and dances. The way indigenous people live their lives in the middle of the mountain seems so simple yet very enchanting.

I’ve climbed the second highest mountain peak in the Philippines, explored the deepest chamber of caves, jumped off of a waterfall, crossed one of the longest hanging/ suspended bridge in the country. I rode in a vehicle that couldn’t almost get thru a high-waist mud as it traverses the top of the mountain.  I experienced riding on the top load of a jeepney while overlooking deadly cliffs on our way through.

I did some extreme adventures, too, like that of a somersault in a river with sharp and giant stones around. I got face to face with a python, a crocodile, and even the remaining smallest primate on this planet. I tried walking and hiking for twelve straight hours, mountains after mountains, just to get to my destination.  I rode in a roller coaster where I literally felt my body departed from my soul. I tried living in the middle of a mountain where there is no electricity but a single lamp lighting the whole house. I bathed on a river naked as it is a way of life in that village. I’ve visited museums, centuries-old churches, and unknown sub-villages. And I’ve listened to many stories by old villagers as they unveiled the secrets of the past and the stories of the World War II.

To top it all, travelling makes me a better person. It allows me to appreciate the simple things that I have. It gives me a better sense of responsibility toward nature, culture, and life itself.

So I dare you to go out and discover the beauty of the world. Head off somewhere away from the hustle and bustle of a city life. Allow yourself to get lost in the wilderness. There are a lot of surprises waiting for us to discover. While a lot of references can vividly describe how beautiful a certain place is, I tell you, it is way more beautiful and exciting if you experience it yourself.

Wherever you go, keep your wonder alive. Keep moving. Go forward. Keep your spirit adventurous. And keep it still enough to savour the beauty that moves around you, too. So go travel while you are still able and free.

P.S. Don’t forget to take photographs.

12 best places I visited in 2011

5 Jan

Capping my 2011’s wonderful and worth-reliving moments won’t be complete without giving them justice through photos.

Being an innate adventure-quencher that I am, I have been to several places around the Philippines as well as outside the country. While most of the places I have been in 2011 were more of a duty,( as part of my job so I can gather stories), I always took time to capture the beauty being offered in every place I set my feet to and immortalized them in photos.

1. Taj Mahal, Agra, India

The incredible Taj Mahal! I failed to visit Taj the first time I went to India and how sad I was. So the second time around, I was very lucky to finally get so close with this majestic, one-of-its kind world's wonder. To my amazement, I even touched every wall I passed through!

2. Bangkok, Thailand

What first caught my attention during my trip in Bangkok was the emanating bright colors of taxis and 'tuktuk' all over its street. These, for me, are simple treats for the eye. They are... lovely!

One, of course, should never miss the food delights on the streets. They are so delectable! Plus they cook the food to you right away and the whiff of it makes the food all the more enticing. This, too, is best to sate the rumbling stomach after a feet gone tired. 🙂

3. Enchanted Kingom, Sta. Rosa, Laguna

The Space Shuttle Ride. It has been a childhood dream to experience the 'magic' enchanted kingdom unselfishly offers. To complete my EK adventure, I summoned all the energy and guts to ride in this space shuttle and for the first time (ever) in my life, I felt how my soul literally departed from my body! It was uber fun, nonetheless!

4. Island Cove Resort and Leisure Park , Kawit, Cavite

Island Cove, Kawit, Cavite. This is a perfect place for a get-away for at least a couple of days after hustles and bustles from work. It offers various exciting activities such as outdoor paintball field, giant chess set, biking, horseback riding and a lot more. And the pool? It is sooooo inviting you'd love to keep your body dipped for hours!

5. People’s Park in the Sky, Tagaytay City

People's Park in the Sky, Tagaytay, Cavite. This is only one of the right places to have a wide appreciation of how beautiful the southern part of the Philippines is. At this view deck, you can see the ever-famous Taal Lake plus the Canyon Woods subdivision on the opposite side. It's a sure eye-treat!

6. Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort (Border of Tiaong, Quezon and San Pablo City, Laguna)

Villa Escudero. This place brings you back to the setting of a rustic Philippines where Filipino traditions come to life and constant appreciation. Riding in a carabao-driven cart serenaded by excellent folk artists are just some of the bonuses!

7. Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon

Pahiyas Festival, Lucban, Quezon. Being one of the most-awaited summer festivals in the Philippines, Pahiyas never fail, not even once, its spectators as select houses are grandiosely decorated with multitude of colors using 'kiping', a famous Lucbanin decoration made of rice dough. This century-old festival showcases the unequaled creativity of its townspeople as it brings out a lively and colorful festive mood during this prestigious gaiety.

8. Katigbawan festival in Catigbian, Bohol

Katigbawan Festival, Catigbian, Bohol. In this celebration, the kabaws are dressed up to the nines like “kings and queens” using every material available, indigenous as well as artificial. They blaze in all their glory with their painted nails, grandiose ‘gowns’, extravagant head dresses, colored eyelashes, and complete make-up at that. Very interesting! 🙂

9. Blood Compact Site, Tagbilaran City, Bohol

The Blood Compact site, Tagbilaran City, Bohol. Now this one is a true spectacle! This particular site was made in honor of a very important event in the Philippine history done between Miguel Lopez de Legazpi of Spain and Rajah Sikatuna of Bohol. At my back is the Panglao Island which also offers an array of pristine spots one can enjoy to its maximum.

Blood Compact Site

10. Streets of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur

Marawi City. Just some of the snap shots I took while roaming around the streets of Marawi City in Lanao del Sur. All over, one can see buildings like this, the mosque for Muslims.

Marawi City street. And oh, this cute little boy. He is so angelic, isn't he? 🙂

11. Davao City

Durian fruit in Davao City. This city offers unlimited list of things to do and places to visit. But, for me, one's Davao adventure won't be complete without trying this exotic durian fruit. a very extraordinary and really a-need-courage-all challenge for first-timers is because of its foul odor that would make you puke the moment it is stuffed into your mouth. But for the second time around, you'll praise this fruit for it's exotic but mouth-watering goodness. Try it! 🙂

12. Chocolate Hills, Bohol

Chocolate Hill, Bohol. And lastly, my top favorite place--Chocolate hills. This has been one of the world's eight wonders. As to why it has named as "Chocolate hills" is because its lush green mountains magically turns into chocolate brown during the dry season.

And there you go—the best 12 places ever that has completed my 2011 and made it even better. Plus, this is my 70th post. Hooray!

My Durian-eating challenge in Davao

7 Dec

Davao City is known to be a dazzling cornucopia of things to see and do. It offers a wide range of exciting and extraordinary adventures and activities that any tourists, even locals, won’t dare to miss.

Davao has been very well-known in housing the tallest mountain peak in the Philippines which is the Mount Apo. It is also home to the very rare and exquisite orchid—the waling-waling. Aside from these, it has also been inherently identified as the haven of the Philippine eagle.

But among all these treasure-trove offerings, the most exciting and must-try experience (for me) is eating the durian fruit. In fact, Davao City has been dubbed as the “Durian City of the Philippine” for this exotic fruit grows abundantly in this city.

As to why eating durian became a very extraordinary and really a-need-courage-all challenge for first-timers is because of its foul odor that would make you puke the moment it is stuffed into your mouth. The odor is like a fume from the unknown jungle (I might be exaggerating here but really the odor is no good at all). After eating, too, the smell in your breath won’t give up that easily. It would last until the morning even after having mouthwash or bubble gum.

I have observed from the durian eaters, though, that they would eat the fruit with their bare hands. This, they said, makes durian-eating all the tastier. Of course, I thought, the odor of the durian would stick on to their hands. The folks, though, gave a very simple hint that could wash the odor away. And that is by pouring water in the durian’s shell and washing your hand in it. Same thing goes with relieving the smell from your mouth. Pour water in the durian’s shell and use it as a gargle.  I did not try this tactic but these folks attested its wonders. I might try this when I get a chance to eat another durian fruit. I promise! It is not the most appetizing description to a fruit, yes, but certainly a Davaoeño favorite. In fact, it’s Davaoeños famous dessert.

And to give you an idea how this durian fruit looks like and how I struggled to stuff it into my mouth with all the super powers I can summon, take a look at the photos below.

The exotic Durian fruit!

I nearly puked!

Trying all might to swallow it.

One chunk down! Yahoo!

Success!

Just some of the left-overs.

I was able to finish four huge chunks! Yehey! And for an adventure-seeker, must-try-it-all person that I am, this is one of the challenges I’ll forever cherish. It wasn’t really easy to keep stuffing it in your mouth but indeed it’s worth a try.

After surpassing such challenge, for sure you’ll say: One more!

Pahiyas Festival 2011

18 Nov

Okay, so this may be out of date by now. I, however, am still compelled to make a blog about this as I first planned six months ago. Six months ago?! Wow. That’s way too aged now really. So before the calendar turns its leaf from 2011 to 2012, I am fulfilling my promise to one day make a blog about the various carabao (buffalo) festivals here in the Philippines that I was able to experience myself.

But before peeping through the photos, here is a brief description of what Pahiyas Festival is all about. The following photos will describe further.

Pahiyas Festival is one of the biggest, most tourist-studded festivals in the Philippines. As the month of May approaches, the townspeople in Lucban, Quezon are already on their feet for the big feast as it is thronged with thousands of people, tourists and residents alike.

Every single house passed by the chosen route of the year is draped with colorful, must-see chandeliers and other art decorations out of vegetable fruits and mainly with “kiping”. Kiping, on the other hand, is the famous Lucbanin decoration made of rice dough. When the grandiose showcasing of the arts that only Lucbanin’s can expertly handle starts on the 15th of May, the streets can be barely passed by a vehicle either big or small. Not even people at times.

And of course, the star of the festival kneeling upon the onlookers’ request, the carabao.

Plus the cute, little children who made the festival more charming as it has always been.

I have to have a photo here too. At my back is the Church of Lucban which was first built in 1595 and was ruined in 1629. The second church, according to accounts, was constructed between 1630 and 1640 but was seriously damaged in 1733. In 1738, this church was finally rebuilt and completed in 1738. So you can guess how old this church is. Pretty interesting.

And when I said that this festival is thronged with thousands of people, I was serious.

These people, like me, just don’t want to miss every single detail of the big affair. The displays and art works are simply stunning and jaw-dropping. And as the sun comes down, the displays just got even brighter as lights transcended and illuminated from each house delicately decorated.

These are just some of the photos about the festival but there are a lot more than the displays like the Lucban’s longganisa and pancit habhab which are really sought-after dishes. I promise to make a blog on this. Promise.

After a winding day taking photographs, running here and there, I and my boss finally took some rest. We were exhausted and drained snaking through the crowd to get some good shots. Nonetheless, the efforts were worth it. In fact, when you experience this yourself, you will surely tell yourself, just like my boss put it: I’ll keep coming back.

(Thanks to my boss Weng for some of the photos here.)

It’s a beautiful day

10 Nov

What else is more heartwarming and rejuvenating other than feeling lighthearted because of the infinite wonders around you?

Today, I woke up early, feeling lighthearted and animated, as if zillions of vigor is infused in every inch of my nerves. I rose from my bed, murmured a prayer for a minute, and released a heavy sigh of relief. It’s going to be a good day, I told myself.

As deliberate as it is, I made myself a cup of coffee, sat on my native-inspired couch, tucked my knees together and slowly sipped my coffee, not wanting to miss its perfectly blended taste and rich aroma spewing around my room. Then I watched the hands of the clock as it tick around the numbers and felt relaxed for I still have an hour to enjoy my morning routine before I head straight to my office again.

Still feeling undisturbed, I scanned through my books and re-read a letter from a dear friend. Then I realize that written words on paper never seem to go out of style. And it never fails to make the heart grow fonder.

After a couple of minutes tripping down memory lane, I stepped inside my shower room and enjoyed the splash of cold water on my skin. The bubbles of my musky body soap felt smooth and caressing.

As I stepped towards my door, ready to battle over workloads, I stood still for a minute and felt my heart. It beats very silently and normally. I smiled and raced outside. As the air caught my breath, I closed my eyes and felt the tranquility of the day. The wind sings a melody.

Looking up, I noticed how gorgeous the blue skies are. The sky hums along.

As I tread along, the buds around are starting to uncoil into a lovely flower. The dews settled on the green grasses are vividly shining as the sunlight breaks through the clouds. The nature is coming back to life.

For another minute, I stood still again and just listened to the sounds. The chirping of birds and the rustling of leaves connived along.

For the first time in year, I noticed how beautiful the wonders of my surroundings are. I noticed how simple things could mean big. And I realize how focusing on the positive vibes could do wonder amidst debilitating chapters of my life. This, too, reminded me how being grateful instead of focusing on the hardships of life could magically turn your spirit high and your aims in life clear and straight.

Keep thinking happy thoughts!

Red Fort, India

21 Oct

I promised to make a blog about my very first travel abroad which is India but my schedules have been very unforgiving. So to start off, here are some photos I took (and some friends) during my visit at Red Fort.

As a first-time traveler abroad, I was overly amazed by every building I saw during my tours around New Delhi. When we were approaching Red Fort, I was stunned looking at the stretch of the fort, which according to accounts, Red Fort is perhaps one of the most magnificent specimens of Mughal architecture which portrays their creative and artistic genius to the fullest. In fact, it took several decades to build this extraordinary monument.

The Lahore gate

I, together with co-Action Partner, went to Red Fort basically to watch a show. We were expecting some surprises about the show. And guess what? We did get a surprise.

The organizer of our conference who brought us to Red Fort told us there will be a great show which starts at 7pm. So when we arrived it was already dark. The sight of the fort, however, is just magnificent as everything around is dramatically shed with different colors of light.

The entrance going to the ‘show’. I’m quite not sure what they call this gate.

We spotted our seats and waited for some surprise from the show. We were anticipating a real good show as the surroundings is in total darkness. Until different colors of light were coming through and sounds (like that of a war) echoing around.

Then we saw these:

And this:

For the first 10 minutes of the show, I was turning my head to every direction where the voice (rather sound) was coming through only to realize at the end that the show is portrayed through special lights and sounds alone.

Now I understand why we were greeted with rainbows of lights when we first entered the fort. It was a fantastic light show, though. Plus the voice overs sounded like real people doing a theatre play.

I had fun! 🙂

Coming next: Sikh temple